Black Bloc

Violence or nonviolence: where do you draw the line?


On Feb 6, America author and Occupy activist Chris Hedges wrote a piece for titled “The Cancer in Occupy.” In it he criticized the violent actions of Black Bloc operatives within the movement, saying they are the greatest threat to the future of Occupy. The article has generated a heated debate online about non-violence, political strategy and protest in America, and has garnered a response by Anarchist thinker Dr. Zakk Flash.

Read both articles and weigh-in.

The Cancer in Occupy by Chris Hedges

The Black Bloc anarchists, who have been active on the streets in Oakland and other cities, are the cancer of the Occupy movement. The presence of Black Bloc anarchists—so named because they dress in black, obscure their faces, move as a unified mass, seek physical confrontations with police and destroy property—is a gift from heaven to the security and surveillance state. The Occupy encampments in various cities were shut down precisely because they were nonviolent. They were shut down because the state realized the potential of their broad appeal even to those within the systems of power. They were shut down because they articulated a truth about our economic and political system that cut across political and cultural lines. And they were shut down because they were places mothers and fathers with strollers felt safe.


Hedging Our Bets on the Black Bloc by Dr. Zakk Flash

Chris Hedges has written some of the most insightful analysis of the U.S. war machine in recent years. His 2009 book “The Empire of Illusion” was an exploration of how exhibition has eclipsed truth and meaningful connection in American society. His acknowledgment of the ease in which one can buy into such spectacles is a small part of why it was so odd to read his article on Truthdig attacking both anarchists and black bloc tactics entitled “The Cancer in Occupy.”


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102 comments on the article “Black Bloc”

Displaying 31 - 40 of 102

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Read David Graeber's response to Hedges. Chris' piece is a joke, and it proves that he is hopelessly out of touch with contemporary anarchism, and has no idea what a black bloc is. For christ's sake, he calls up Derrick Jensen to ask him about the ethics of the black bloc? Jensen is the guy who implores others to use militant tactics such as destroying dams and targeted assasinations to bring down western civilization and modern agriculture so that humans can hunt and gather in some bullshit hippie utopia. Seriously. And Hedges is worried about some spraypaint on a Whole Foods making the movement look bad? Graeber (very civilly and respectfully) shines the floor with Hedges' ass in this one.


Hedges is right. The strength of Occupy is in Solidarity. IF it becomes violent and warlike, most people will be forced to stay home. The Breast Cancer group and the equal pay group is not going to turn out if there is violence, Unions can't touch it if it becomes violent, etc..

The cops and OnePercent want violence. Violence puts the whole situation squarely on their turf. By bringing violence and destruction to the table, it gives TPTB all they need to install total Marshall Law and Curfew and the whole nine yards of oppression.

If Black Bloc continues to make this violent, people will say Soros, etc. planned it to install Marshall Law. It will appear to be a no brainer. Personally, I think Black Bloc is playing right into the Bankster / OnePercent's hands by giving them the rope they need. This is tricky business. And BB could bring about the end to the movement which makes it look like a OnePErcent set up.

Do I think OWS should be passive indefinitely. Not really, because I don't think the powers that be give a rat's ass how many people demonstrate or live in homeless tents. I don't. I don't think it bothers them one bit. In fact, I think they see it as successful and the extent of their power and their ability to force Americans to support them like toddlers while they turn them into the streets.

I think the focus for OWS should be the up coming election which is a sham. We have been effectively removed from the equation. The time for a serious movement is now. But we can't play into the hands of the Neanderthal knuckle draggers running illegitimately running the country. Solidarity will bring the masses and masses is our strength, certainly not fighting a heavily armed police state.


Violence against lifeless windows is not violence, for starters.

Hedges seems to think we are going to win over the majority of people by moral authority. That is really, really stupid. Moral authority or not, we are never going to win over ALL the people. And winning people over does nothing if those people stay in their homes and never go outside.

Property destruction has to happen if anything is going to change. We've gone through the channels over and over, their system doesn't work. We have to fight by our rules.

Gandhi and MLK didn't win by themselves. Look up Bhagat Singh in India. He has 40% of Indians as the most respectable man in their country, while Gandhi only has 15%. He spent his time killing people and blowing shit up. Gandhi is actually looked upon in India as a collaborator and sellout. Same thing with MLK, who do you think the people in power feared more: the ideology of MLK or the ideology of Malcolm X?


"Gandhi is actually looked upon in India as a collaborator and sellout."

I live in India and I can confirm that nothing is further from the truth, I am not going to debate about the whether Gandhi was really a positive force or not but whatever the answer to that may be, the general perception of Gandhi in India is largely very positive. Sure there are people who think what you say but they are fringe.

Charlie Supertramp

Okay man, but this is not the point of this comment, which could be used to end the discussion. Gandhi is part of the illusion that peaceful protest is going to change anything. The minorities who have power never leave their position because they are asked friendly to do so. Get real and acknowledge that their will be no planet left, when the system is reformed.


Actually, you may be right about that. Most of the people I've talked to from India are radicals who see people for what they are. So while Gandhi may not be perceived by the general public at large as being a collaborator and sellout, his actions most certainly do paint him as such.


Peaceful protest is not going to change anything. How effective is a march once a month really? How effective is 50 people gathering for some speeches? Get real.

50 people marching versus 50 people smashing the banks at windows.
50 people listening to speeches versus 50 people burning down a lumber mill.
50 people flyering versus 50 people looting a grocery store.


If you live by the sword you will die by the sword.

This is the time to educate the public and expose the corrupt ... show their faces all over the internet with list of crimes they committed, on lampposts, buildings, signs and everywhere.
Once the public is educated they will rise up on their own.

Besides, how stupid can you get when you cause trouble while women, children and elderly are present at peaceful demonstrations?

When you have a minimum of 50% of the people pissed off and fully armed to the teeth then you can cause trouble all you want. Before this all you are doing is signing your own death warrant or nice long stay in a prison. Or worse .. being exposed by the community and given to Police State as an example of your stupidity.


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