Battle for the Soul of Occupy

Round 7 - The Black Bloc Anarchist Turn.


Occupy’s May Day General Strike was a surprising and bold success for the visceral side of the movement. While most of Occupy put its energy into building coalitions with “legacy progressive groups”, labor unions and immigrant rights organizations, these efforts did not yield the anticipated results. In New York, for example, despite amassing a coalition of over a hundred organizations and rallying a crowd of more than 30,000, occupiers were thwarted in their attempts to shut down banks or re-occupy Wall Street. And some Zuccottis have complained that union representatives actively blocked an attempt to lead the crowd toward direct action at the end of the night. Meanwhile in Seattle, Oakland, San Francisco, New Orleans and elsewhere, anarchists using Black Bloc tactics stole the show.

On websites and forums, anarchists are rejoicing the spectacular showing of Black Bloc. “American anarchists haven’t experienced this much positive public attention since the euphoria and aftermath of N30 in Seattle,” writes one commentator. For many, the Black Bloc represents a tactical innovation that suggests the future of Occupy. “Occupy is dead, long live the Black Bloc,” writes another. An anarchist in New Orleans described how the status quo was unprepared for their tactics: “the Anti-Capitalism march caught the police off-guard and has the media dumb-founded. A full 24-hours later the Times Picayune has said nothing about the Anti-Capitalist March, only making mention of the permitted march that happened earlier in the day.”

In Oakland, the Black Bloc, which made up a large portion of the May Day General Strike, displayed a coordinated tactical philosophy – including the de-arresting of comrades, throwing eggs filled with paint, using homemade smoke-creating incendiaries to confuse police, and the rejection of media – that suggests prior planning, ongoing innovation and increasing sophistication. And Black Bloc tactics are just one aspect of the overall rejuvenation of anarchism that is happening right now including the increase of infoshops (there are two near Occupy Oakland: The Holdout and The Longhaul); the creation of bottom-up solidarity networks to replace top-down unions; providing free food on the model of Food Not Bombs; offering a compelling DIY aesthetic.

Anarchist occupiers are energized and their visceral tactics are attracting members. Now, the power of the Black Bloc is growing within Occupy and pushing the movement in unexpected directions.

Round 7 goes to the Black Bloc – now let’s see what we can do for the rest of May!

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316 comments on the article “Battle for the Soul of Occupy”

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Page 11 of 32


my address is 420 Montgomery Street San Francisco, CA 94104

bring your cop buddies too! you'll need all the help you can get.


Anarchists aren't the only ones who want to "wag the dog". Its a tactic favored by many fleas. The 99% are not fleas. We are the Big Dog.


no, you're probably another right wing populist. You're the big Dog? We're the Fleas? Rats? take your jingoism to the Tea Party.


You guys are assholes. How about mentioning in your piece at least a modicum of a warning that this is going to cause the police and various federal agencies to go after anarchists with a vengeance???

And that the first most vulnerable will be the maskless anarchists hanging out food and such. And that all information will be beaten out of them as an excuse to find the masked anarchists.

How about a smidgen of responsible journalism instead of keyboard cheerleading????



Well what one must realize is that the movement as a whole is a response to the disparities that capitalism has rendered within our society and our communities. I assume you are in favor of peaceful protests and handing out food are reasonable ways to demonstrate within the movement. I agree, it is reasonable to do that, optimal even. However when people like yourself are being beaten, peppersprayed and arrested, those of us who stand in solidarity with those who employ blac bloc tactics (there is no "blac bloc") see the necessity for there to be an entity to combat that physical tyranny brought down on those like you.

They do it for you. They do it to show those in control that we as a movement DO have teeth and we will use them. We will confuse their methods in our anonymity. We will use our numbers to stop an individual officer from wrongfully arresting protesting citizens. We will break their windows and their rules. The fact that they will retaliate is evidence that we are hurting them; that we are making headway.

It's rather irritating that this has become such a divisive topic amongst us because the idea of solidarity is central to the movement. 99%...remember? That means us. Get back on board with us brother. Let's get to work.

If you don't want to participate in blac bloc tactics, don't. We won't think you a coward. Contribute in your own way. We are.


No you misunderstood my comment. What I was lamenting is the complete lack of warning from these cheerleaders about how the cops are going to come down even harder with brutality, frame ups, and infiltration as soon as they can find people alone with no one watching.

A responsible location would make sure that its frequenters are aware.


who writes this crap? there was no General Strike and all black bloc has done is discredit anarchism and occupy.


HOw have they done that, specifically? Sorry, there really is no evidence for your claim but feel free to be specific and give us material evidence for your ridiculous assertion.


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