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 71 - 80 of 102

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Here is our flag. Green March 2013.


How civilization currently operates does not pass the sniff-test. In the face of malevolent, dominate power, neither does bloodless, broken-glass free non-violence pass the sniff test. Ghandi brilliantly took his passionate revolution to where the British were weakest; that is, he took his fight to the justice system. He flooded the jails with revolutionary folk who allowed themselves to be arrested by the thousands and even ten of thousands. Justice costs the system big bucks. Fill the jails and then overfill the jails with our bodies so that our minds and hearts are free from the tyranny of having to choose between violence or non-violence...between desecrated life or free living...this passes the sniff test


Dude, that's exactly what non-violent civil disobedience is. When we talk "non-violence", we are talking Gandhi.


In Britain they are talking of using nerve agents on crowds of demonstrators, when it has got to this stage anything goes.

Craig Watts

Any possibility of winning hearts and minds will be destroyed by violence and destruction. Sympathy for OWS will evaporate if the violence of the minority comes to be viewed as representing the mindset of the majority. All violence must be loudly repudiated if OWS is to have any chance of making a lasting positive impact. Violent tactics are a gift to the Right, a gift that should not be given. All the violence must be on the side of the police and officialdom to make clear the systematic violence in service to the wealthy 1%. Anger expressed in destructive action is foolishly self-indulgent and counter-productive.


words are not owned. isn't that a major theme of this publication/ movement. 'hearts and minds" doesn't belong to W.


Really? Do you imagine that those outside of Occupy, both sympathetic and antagonistic won't be debating these issues themselves?

Out with it: rather than a pedantic lecture on whether it's a group or a tactic, why not spell out what vandalism and the vandals who vandalize imagine the have accomplished or will accomplish?


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