Black Blocs and the Clash of IdeologiesPosted: February 10, 2012
Journalist Chris Hedges wrote a piece over at Truth Dig condemning blac bloc anarchists within the Occupy Movement which can be found following the below link:
The Cancer in Occupy: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_cancer_of_occupy_20120206/
The blog over at Jacobin Magazine posted a related piece from Louis Proyect titled “Black Bloc Idiots” on February 7, 2012 which can be found here: http://jacobinmag.com/blog/2012/02/black-bloc-idiots
I left a comment over at the Jacobin blog. My reply:
“My quick take is that with the rise of individualism, decline of “real” communities, and the heavy presence/proliferation of and access to media, particularly the internet… disciplined, mass collective action is almost impossible. Moreover, the potential socio/economical stratification of the participants in mass actions will almost always be points of serious contention and will shape the course of actions.
1. I do believe that the attention and focus placed on the “anarchists” and the black bloc are overblown and intentionally sensational.
2. For whatever its worth, Chris Hedges is an elite- maybe not of the economic type but still… For the time being, I think he should have skipped over addressing this issue…
3. Ultimately, I think that you have to let people do whatever they want… Acceptance of a “diversity of tactics” to me reads “we know that we can’t control people so we are not going to try.” It would be funny though if an advocate of nonviolence decided to get all reactionary and violently respond to a black blocer.
I was reading in the Ed Noys edited Communization and its Discontents a little while ago and in an article someone made the claim that the current modes of protest and dissent harmfully gloss over and/or conceal the very real contradictions present within our society- perhaps for the sake of unity, nonviolence, long term planning, or whatever… All of that gloss-over-work is hard and doesn’t always mean that progress is being made.
If nothing else; I say, let every contradiction stand… There’s enough concealing coming from all sides.”
Making the above all that much more interesting, David Graeber an activist, participant of OWS, and a professor of Anthropology issued an open letter to Hedges defending black bloc tactics, their history, and he expounded upon their context within OWS. A link to the open letter is posted below:
Turns out Hedges had somewhat of a reply which seems to read as if he’s trying to establish or advocate for “organization” with the movement:
CH: I put in there that they detest organization of any kind. I use part of their jargon – “feral” and “spontaneous” protest – whereby you walk down a street and nothing is planned. You walk by a window and you break it. They feel that any kind of attempt to plan immediately imposes a kind of hierarchy that they oppose. That’s in the piece. There’s a limit to expounding upon the internal – I didn’t get into primitive anarchism and all this kind of stuff. But that was certainly part of the piece. It’s precisely because they detest – there’s a line in the article that says that they are opposed to those of us on the organized left. The operative word is “organization.”
Before I move forward, I just want to add that what I think that we are seeing is an attempt to sort out all of the ideological inconsistencies that I and many other people were writting about and experiencing in the early days of OWS…
“There are no leaders…”
“We are all leaders…”
Thirty More Years of Hell
By Connor Kilpatrick on February 6, 2012
Conner Kilpatrick wrote this entertaining generational oriented survey of the past few years highlighting the more favorable conditions that older people faced in their formative years compared to current conditions faced by young people.
I wrote a reply calling for an analysis of cohort effects rather than continuing the debate over the validity of mainstream media derived generational analysis:
“If people don’t want to believe in “generations” and marketing terms like “millennials” then fine; but, you can’t deny what academics call cohort effects. The fact is that a large number of older people within American society paid significantly less for higher education, received better job training, enjoyed better wages in relation to living expenses, and a large number of older people did discharge student loan debt and were afforded a “second chance”…
Today, many young people are experiencing the opposite of those things… and it doesn’t look like anything will change anytime soon.
Many older people are using their benefits and their ideologically informed bullshit subjectivities to advocate for the passing of the problems of our time to younger people- largely so that they can hold on to the little bit of garbage that they have and to protect their precious, private families.
The gig is up (whether people want it to be or not) because the current system is simply unsustainable…”