A Question Of Tactics

David Graeber responds to Chris Hedges.


David Graeber has been involved with Occupy Wall Street since the early days of September, when he partook in the first ad hoc general assemblies in New York City and helped articulate the movements' nonviolent ethos. He is also a self-professed anarchist and Black Bloc supporter.

In response to Chris Hedges Feb 6 article on, The Cancer in Occupy, Graeber drafted the following open letter challenging the Pulitzer Prize winning authors’ characterization of the Black Bloc and the movement itself.

I am writing this on the premise that you are a well-meaning person who wishes Occupy Wall Street to succeed. I am also writing as someone who was deeply involved in the early stages of planning Occupy in New York.

I am also an anarchist who has participated in many Black Blocs. While I have never personally engaged in acts of property destruction, I have on more than one occasion taken part in Blocs where property damage has occurred. (I have taken part in even more Blocs that did not engage in such tactics. It is a common fallacy that this is what Black Blocs are all about. It isn’t.)

I was hardly the only Black Bloc veteran who took part in planning the initial strategy for Occupy Wall Street. In fact, anarchists like myself were the real core of the group that came up with the idea of occupying Zuccotti Park, the “99%” slogan, the General Assembly process, and, in fact, who collectively decided that we would adopt a strategy of Gandhian non-violence and eschew acts of property damage. Many of us had taken part in Black Blocs. We just didn’t feel that was an appropriate tactic for the situation we were in.


Mirrors: |

Adbusters 111 Cover

On Newsstands December 3

At last we’re in Winter. It’s the year 2047. A worn scrapbook from the future arrives in your lap. It offers a stunning global vision, a warning to the next generations, a repository of practical wisdom, and an invaluable roadmap which you need to navigate the dark times, and the opportunities, which lie ahead.

Subscribe to Adbusters Magazine

28 comments on the article “A Question Of Tactics”

Displaying 11 - 20 of 28

Page 2 of 3


I appreciate the efforts of Hedges and Graeber. However, I don't appreciate Graeber's self-aggrandizing to the effect that it was "anarchists like myself were the real core of the group that came up with the idea of occupying Zuccotti Park..." Yeah, Graeber and his buddies were the "real core." The rest of us were just bodies. Mr. Graeber, you do yourself and the Occupy movement a disservice when you seek to makle yourself out to be the leader or originator.

Preening never looks good.


Actually I don't appreciate your colonialist perspective and thinking that what you think is what everyone think, as if you are some sort of Universal Person.

To some preening always looks good.

Therefore, what you should have said is:

"To those for whom preening never looks, preening never looks good. However, to those for whom preening always looks good, preening always looks good. Therefore I apologize for my post, wish I hadn't submitted it, and therefore issue a full retraction of the post and ask that my full and sincere apology be accepted by all".

But I doubt you'll say that.


graeber did publish a well notated 400 page book on the very issue occupy is grounded on. sooooo. whatever. let him be a leader. let the articulate ones, the strong ones lead. lets make cliche posters of people's crappy faces. we are all david graeber. just dumber, we are all troy davis just richer, we are all schmoooo.


I don't know about that whole anarchists being the core group at the beginning of OWS, but please
don't confuse one's considerable share of labor in helping a monumental movement gain form with that proclaiming oneself a leader or originator, reign it in a little.


A few things I never understood:

How did the Occupy Zuccotti Park movement become known as Occupy Wall Street?

How did you fit 99% of the population of America into Zuccotti Park?

How could you hold a General Assembly for the 99% without the 99%?


Add a new comment

Comments are closed.