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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You wouldn't be an old perv by any chance?

"innocent, smooth skinned, joyfully naive young people"


All these myths have been addressed endlessly. Do your homework because you're not very convincing.


P.S. - In what fantasy world do you have to live to equate property destruction and political vandalism with the military/armed struggle?



that was what i used to think, and as i got older i became more mature, realistic, pragmatic...



screams the pacifists that will not tolerate activism that makes them feel uncomfortable.


Why is everyone freaking out. You do not understand what Black Bloc is.

Black Bloc is a TACTIC, it is not an organization, it is not a group.

Provocateurs who want to create trouble or infiltrate a peaceful movement will usually engage in Black Bloc TACTICS.


I like that you reference wikipedia when referring to black bloc tactics.

Don't lecture a black blocker on black block tactics. I know exactly what I'm doing when I do participate and not a single person provoked me to participate except my own moral feelings toward the direction we, as a nation, are headed in. When I smash a bank window with a hammer, I know exactly who I am targeting.

I also know who I am saving from being arrested when me and my unknown comrades storm a pig that's arresting a non-blac-blocker. That could be you.

I would gladly take the heat off a comrade being pepper-sprayed, beaten, arrested.

I love this movement. Every single part of it. If you don't, you should. SOLIDARITY!


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