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.


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28 comments on the article “A Question Of Tactics”

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It started as Occupy Wall Street, and it started in Zuccotti Park.
99% of the population is invited. That's exactly the point. If they came, it'd turn from 'Occupy' to 'Revolution'.


From Wikipedia... Legends of Masamune and Muramasa

"A legend tells of a test where Muramasa challenged his master, Masamune, to see who could make a finer sword. They both worked tirelessly and eventually, when both swords were finished, they decided to test the results. The contest was for each to suspend the blades in a small creek with the cutting edge facing the current. Muramasa's sword, the Juuchi Yosamu (10,000 Cold Nights / 十千夜寒) cut everything that passed its way; fish, leaves floating down the river, the very air which blew on it. Highly impressed with his pupil's work, Masamune lowered his sword, the Yawarakai-Te (Tender Hands / 柔らかい手), into the current and waited patiently. Not a leaf was cut, the fish swam right up to it, and the air hissed as it gently blew by the blade. After a while, Muramasa began to scoff at his master for his apparent lack of skill in the making of his sword. Smiling to himself, Masamune pulled up his sword, dried it, and sheathed it. All the while, Muramasa was heckling him for his sword's inability to cut anything. A monk, who had been watching the whole ordeal, walked over and bowed low to the two sword masters. He then began to explain what he had seen.
"The first of the swords was by all accounts a fine sword, however it is a blood thirsty, evil blade, as it does not discriminate as to who or what it will cut. It may just as well be cutting down butterflies as severing heads. The second was by far the finer of the two, as it does not needlessly cut that which is innocent and undeserving."
In another account of the story, both blades cut the leaves that went down on the river's current equally well, but the leaves would stick to the blade of Muramasa whereas they would slip on past Masamune's after being sliced. Or alternatively both leaves were cut, but those cut by Masamune's blade would reform as it traveled down the stream. Yet another version has leaves being sliced by Muramasa's blade while the leaves were repelled by Masamune's, and another again has leaves being sliced by Muramasa's blade and healed by Masamune's.
In yet another story Muramasa and Masamune were summoned to make swords for the Shogun or Emperor and the finished swords were held in a waterfall. The result is the same as the other stories, and Masamune's swords are deemed holy swords. In one version of the story Muramasa is killed for creating evil swords.
While all known legends of the two ever having met are historically impossible, both smiths are widely regarded as symbols for their respective eras."


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Violence begets more violence and retaliation. (e.g. Hatfields vs McCoys, Northern Ireland, Israelis vs. Palestinians, etc.). We're obviously divided. We are defeated. We might as well go home and occupt our couches if we don't have any better sense than this.


I've heard that Black Bloc'ers are actually severely mutated degenerates from a failed secret Mars colony under those black masks.

Guess we'll never know for sure.

But if you look carefully.....


Hedges responded w this


David Graeber main interest in life is selling his books and babbling dogma and other ideological based anarchist psycho-babble. He gets credit for far more than he deserves when it comes to the roots occupywallstreet. His pronouncement have often done more to divide the movement then to promote it. Everything he says should be taken with a grain of salt.


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