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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To say that what happened on May Day is blackbloc is weird. Blackbloc that happened on May Day was not the same as Battle of Seattle. It is good that blackbloc is focusing on more positive action such as protecting fellow marchers and evading kettling.

I would say that it isn't necessary even blackbloc, but something different. People are becoming for strategic, tactical, and coordinated in their actions.


Without high taxes and loop holes to force them to do responsible things with their money the rich did irresponsible things with their money and by extension irresponsible things with societies money.
They lost their wad, which was really our wad because we helped them create it but they went and lost it. Then because in a scarcity system their money is their power they went begging to the state goverments of the world to reimburse them for their gambling losses. The initial loss process destroyed the lives out countelss everyday people but that wasn't enough for the rich. They don't want to pay taxes. They want austerity where people already realing and hurting will pay back all of their losses for them plus continue to provide them with the usual surplus reciept nonsense.

In short austerity is tax evasion by the rich. The rich need to be made to pay for the mess they created. The answer to who pays for this mess is the rich, they pay the entire cost, they made it and as far as participating together, well that may be the case but how many of the rich today are not rent seekers. The Thomas Edisons can be excepted but the rent seekers need to be kept from socializing their mistakes. Them having their money is far from the most important thing it society. Their losses can be the opportunity for others almost the way the black plague was.


A strategic defensive force protective and independent of Occupy is practical.

Whatever advances Occupy and reduces Military attacks on it is progress.

If the Bloc is capable of or is gaining the capability to inflict steady losses on the Military side without Military reprisals against Occupy, then what's the problem?


Oh dear a t.v baby. As William Burroughs once said "They don't know what's real". You imagine the rag-tag teenagers as going against the military-industrial complex head to head? LOL! Methinks you watch too much anime.


What I expected, I had too much hope for this movement when it first started, but as the months pass and the movement increase, I beginning to think this movement has been dead for months and this is the aftermath of Occupy Wall streets. The Zombies of Occupy have taken over, these Zombies are the Anarchist(black bloc). This movement provided a plot form for many people, and now thinking about it, it was crazy of me to think that we can actually achieve a form of change from this movement. With so much demands from different groups how is the government going to fulfil such demands, its not like a union that went on strike and demanded its employers more hours or less hours.
This occupy movement reminds me of the French Revolution because what they are asking for is not a simple change such as the American Revolution, but rather a change in the whole system, that means turning what society and state as created and called the status Quo, which is close to impossible.
Regardless I look forward to the movement's feature and as a history major, this is every historian's dream to be part of a history making event and being able to discuss it in five or ten years.


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