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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This comes compliments of a Oakland blac blocker.

I apologize to no pigs, and no skeptics.


When you smash a bank window with a hammer you are actually furthering the act of capitalism by creating insurance claims and a glazier to come out and replace it. Smashing that window inf act probably gives no less than 15 people a job.

The bank doesnt give a shit if you smash its windows or burn it to the ground. Theyre a BANK!!!!


As an Occupier, it really saddens me to see how many of my comrades have forgotten that we are supposed to be a NON-VIOLENT movement...


Who the fuck said we were a non-violent movement?

We ARE the 99%.

Don't forget that this movement is for everyone so don't be the least bit surprised that some of us in the 99% (Which constitutes about 250,000,000 people) are ready to break shit.

There are people, formerly of the middle class, that are just starting to see how fucked up things are. On the other hand, there are people that have been living this way for decades and decades. So don't be surprised when some people are more angry,and more ready to take shit to the next level.

Non-violence only works within the imaginary of the pacifist that has their eyes closed and no sense of history. They have an understanding of history that has been white-washed and wrapped up in a nice pretty little package that they can accept.

Do some fucking RESEARCH (like some real fucking research) and tell me that non-violence as an explicit tactic to be taken by a movement. Hint: really look into MLK and Ghandi and their movements and tell me that their cause was truly non-violent. I mean the totality of their cause.

Diversity of tactics. Not just pacifist tactics (which are in themselves; patriarchal, sexist, racist and classist)

Don't hijack my movement. I'm not trying to hijack yours.

Let us instead stand in solidarity with each other. If you don't want to do some next-level shit, that's fine. I understand completely. However, don't condemn those with the same ends in mind just because you feel uncomfortable with the means.

We are on the same side. Don't fucking forget that.

These divisive conversations are exactly the kind that THEY want us to have.

We can't rely on mainstream media to give us favorable coverage. That's a pipe-dream. Thus we can't worry ourselves with what they accept as acceptable. Fuck them. They are not on our side. They never will be.

Let's lift it up and flip it over, because we are all struggling. We are on your side. We are not against you. Don't let them divide us.


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