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Ear to the Ground

More From Chris Hedges on Black Bloc

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Posted on Feb 9, 2012
Simon Oosterman (CC-BY)

With his column “The Cancer in Occupy,” published earlier this week at Truthdig, Chris Hedges angered many on the radical left with his harsh criticism of the Black Bloc anarchists. Truthout’s J.A. Myerson, an activist and journalist involved in OWS since the occupation’s earliest days, got hold of Hedges by phone to press the issue. —ARK

J.A. Myerson at Truthout:

JAM: You speak of the black bloc as though it were a political organization with membership, a violent, secretive, nihilistic cabal, which calls to mind the Black Hand, conveniently. It sounds like a really snarky question, but I swear I am genuinely interested in your answer: were you aware writing this piece that that is not an apt description of a black bloc, which is no organization at all, but a protest tactic that does more than just smash and burn?

CH: I put in there that they detest organization of any kind. I use part of their jargon - “feral” and “spontaneous” protest - whereby you walk down a street and nothing is planned. You walk by a window and you break it. They feel that any kind of attempt to plan immediately imposes a kind of hierarchy that they oppose. That’s in the piece. There’s a limit to expounding upon the internal - I didn’t get into primitive anarchism and all this kind of stuff. But that was certainly part of the piece. It’s precisely because they detest - there’s a line in the article that says that they are opposed to those of us on the organized left. The operative word is “organization.”

...

JAM: What then is the solution to the problem? What is the prognosis for the cancer?

CH: There has to be a rigid adherence to nonviolence. That does not mean that the black bloc can’t exist. We saw a multiplicity of groups in the 1960s - from the Yippies to the Panthers to the Weather Underground - but the movement itself has to continue to operate in a way that it does not alienate the mainstream. If the security and surveillance state is able to alienate the mainstream from OWS, then OWS will be far more vulnerable to being destroyed. That’s very similar to the civil rights movement. I’m a huge admirer of Malcolm X. And, yet, the establishment didn’t really fear Malcolm X; they feared King. That’s true here. They fear OWS. They don’t fear the black bloc.

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By fourthdimension, February 27, 2012 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For an insightful article which settled for me once and
for all the question of whether Hedges’ narcissistic
rants are at all relevant to Occupy (they’re not), I
would direct the reader to this:

http://dissidentvoice.org/2012/02/debating-violence-in-
the-occupy-movement/

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By trialbywater, February 20, 2012 at 8:02 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges is digging himself into a deeper and deeper hole every time he opens his mouth. And now he’s engaging in revisionist history in order to justify his self-righteous, reactionary, and authoritarian ideology. Both Malcolm X and MLK Jr. were very definitely considered threats by the US government. Here’s a quote from cointelpro memos that elucidate the FBI’s feelings about the matter:

“Prevent the rise of a “messiah” who could unify, and electrify, the militant black nationalist movement. Malcolm X might have been such a “messiah;” he is the martyr of the movement today. Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael and Elijah Muhammed all aspire to this position. Elijah Muhammed is less of a threat because of his age. King could be a very real contender for this position should he abandon his supposed “obedience” to “white, liberal doctrines” (nonviolence) and embrace black nationalism. Carmichael has the necessary charisma to be a real threat in this way. “

I can’t believe the organized left in this country has gotten to this point. Hedges is no slouch; he’s produced some great reporting about the abuses of power in this country and the damaging effects of war, but please, for everyone’s sake (including your own) stay out of discussions of the civil rights movement or prescriptions on how to create positive change. You’re embarrassing yourself.

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By ardee, February 16, 2012 at 4:18 am Link to this comment

By katsteevns, February 15 at 3:30 am Link to this comment

Non-violence from the heart of the most violent nation. How quaint.

Are you so ignorant that you fail to recognise the difference between the actions of a government ( ours) and the wishes of its people?

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By Justin Case, February 15, 2012 at 10:05 pm Link to this comment

“Compare pictures of Tahir Sq with millions of people
joining the protest to pictures of a few hundred of
the Radical 0.01% marching in the streets and you’ll
immediately understand why at least some change was
achieved in Egypt, while no change at all was
achieved in the USA”
Samson: #1 Egypt retains most of the Mubarak regime. #2 the people burned things & threw police vehicles into the Nile, more than what Black Bloc are now doing.
Most important of all is incentive to destroy property:
if a thief keeps losing property while stealing yours, that thief will have no resources to continue stealing from you. If a thief, such as a corporation or government, keeps losing property they steal because it is destroyed during the theft, then this removes incentive to continue stealing.
It’s instinct to use property destruction during theft & it’s effective.
It’s sensible also to use force to protect one’s life. In these dire times there is NO chance for those less able. No matter how you cut it those not fighting back will be injured or killed by police. The most kills always wins the day. Sad but history proves it true.

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By katsteevns, February 15, 2012 at 4:30 am Link to this comment

Non-violence from the heart of the most violent nation. How quaint.

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By ardee, February 13, 2012 at 4:34 am Link to this comment

By 4thdimensionfound, February 12 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sadly, the peaceful protest will get you nothing.  Those of us who are involved, well, we do it anyway.

Actually, the peaceful protest is the ONLY tactic that has a prayer of working. Violence plays into the hands of those who wield all the power and alienates all those potential allies we need in order to actually get tens and hundreds of thousands into the streets.


But we have already lost and neither marching around screeching “mic check” nor randomly throwing a few rocks will change things.


You seems to agitate for non-participation now, you may very well be attempting to deceive us here. I see no point in continuing to discuss this with an obvious outside agitator, whether intentional or not.

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By cclauson, February 12, 2012 at 9:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Listening to some of the fallout around this article, I think part of the problem is that Chris Hedges is using the term “Black Block” to describe what would better be called insurrectionism.  Black block is a tactic, but insurrectionist anarchism actually is a belief system, and I think that’s what Chris meant to target.

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By fourthdimension, February 12, 2012 at 7:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

According to Hedges, the Greeks know how to do it… so
apparently, the “cancer” of smashing windows needs to
take a lesson from the “moral right” of those who set
entire buildings on fire… brilliant….
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/12/greek-debt-
deal_n_1271524.html

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By John, February 12, 2012 at 6:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Hedges was wrong about Black Bloc. Though he’s usually correct; he’s also been wrong before. Recently he said that Clausewitz was wrong in stating nearly 200 years ago that war is the advancement of policy by other means. Mr. Hedges confused advancing policy with governance or statesmanship. Advancing olicy is all about imposing ones will on the opposition. Advancing policy and politics is the antithesis of compromise. Cast an ear to the primaries. No one is running to be the compromiser-in-chief. Contrary, the candidates jostle to impose their more radical views on the electorate or foreign nations. Politics and advancing policy is all about imposing ones will on opponents and enemies.

Contrast that with governance. Governance requires statesmanship. Most of our modern politicians forgot the distinction and chose to campaign 24/7/365 in opposition to what’s in the nations best interest.

Recently we’ve (re)learned another 200 year old truth-economics is the advancement of policy by other means. The unwillingness to indict and prosecute the banksters will be as much the republic’s undoing as would a foreign invader.
“There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.”
-John Adams 1826

Mr. Hedges critique usefully helps all retain the focus.

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By 4thdimensionfound, February 12, 2012 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sadly, the peaceful protest will get you nothing. 
Those of us who are involved, well, we do it anyway. 
But we have already lost and neither marching around
screeching “mic check” nor randomly throwing a few
rocks will change things.  Those in control began to
respond out of fear and quickly made everyone back
down.  Now, they know their limited violence works,
and they are no longer concerned with the impotent
Occupy movement - any more than they are concerned
with the likes of Hedges, who - if he isn’t already
on their payroll - certainly is no threat to the
“stability” of Empire.

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By Samson, February 12, 2012 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

Ah, classic misdirection.  Criticize the anarchists,
and the first thing they want to do is divert debate
into a bunch of nonsense about political structures.

The real point is this.  These tactics don’t work. 
Do the anarchists keep stats?  Probably not, but I
wish they did.  After all, keeping stats lets you
celebrate milestone moments like the one thousandth
time in a row that they lose and the police kick
their butts.  Or by now, is it the ten thousandth
time in a row the Radical 0.01% has lost.

I try to go around the whole political structure
thing and just call them the Radical 0.01%.  Given
the numbers at OccupyDenver after they took over,
that’s about right.  That’s giving them credit for
200 people in a metro area of roughly 2,000,000.  The
real number is probably lower than that.  But,
Radical 0.01% works for me poetically than the
Radical 0.006%.  So, I’ll give them credit for bigger
numbers than they really seem to have.

The Radical 0.01% is on a losing streak that makes
the Chicago Cubs look like the mighty New York
Yankees.  In fact, the last time the Radical 0.01%
had any real political momentum in this country was
around back when Emma Goldman was around.  And
that’s also roughly the last time the Cubs won the
World Series.

The problem is simple.  The so-called tactics of the
Radical 0.01% simple do not work.  In many ways, with
the Occupy Movement they’ve taken what was a
promising and hopeful beginning of what might have
been a mass public uprising and speaking out about
being ripped off, and they’ve turned it into yet
another hopeless protest of the Radical 0.01% being
silly in the streets. 

The tactics of the Radical 0.01% are the tactics of
the World War One generals.  Show your elan and your
attacking spirit by charging those machine guns boys. 
Don’t worry, your spirit and belief will carry the
day over those soulless machine gun bullets.  The
Radical 0.01% seems to insist on confronting a
powerfully armed police state head on in a contest of
violence in the streets.  Absolute foolishness. 
Charge those machine guns boys.

Smart tactics says that you attack an enemy where
they are the weakest ... not where they are the
strongest.  People like King and Ghandi understood
that. They looked for different ways to create
leverage and political strength to achieve change. 
They found it in the mass numbers of peaceful non-
violent people demanding change.

Compare pictures of Tahir Sq with millions of people
joining the protest to pictures of a few hundred of
the Radical 0.01% marching in the streets and you’ll
immediately understand why at least some change was
achieved in Egypt, while no change at all was
achieved in the USA.

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By Brian Routh, February 12, 2012 at 11:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I just don’t know if I agree with total non violence….
if I saw a cop beating up on some woman in the street my instinct would be to
go and restrain him.
I have been in situations where someone was being attacked and my instinct
was to confront the attackers…it’s something that just takes over….I couldn’t
stand by and watch, I’m no Buddhist.
I used to be close friends with a Buddhist monk and would go and meditate
with him and seek his guidance, I once asked him what he would do if he saw a
woman in the street being beaten….if he would go to her help and he said
no…that he wouldn’t get involved…
I can’t agree with that sorry, I would and have on a number of occasions rushed
to help and had to physically restrain people from beating up on other
people….usually someone being attacked for just being in the wrong place at
the wrong time!!!...
working as a bouncer in a club I have had to physically remove people when
they have had too much to drink and began to attack some innocent
bystander….
In my teens in the 60s I went on many peaceful protests and lived through the
mods and rockers violence….
In the 70s I was very much a part of the punk scene which was a different kind
of protest.
This current generation of young people have many who are political and
willing to fight for their beliefs and thankfully the hippy dippy generation are
old now and their ‘we shall overcome’ sit down protests and flower power are a
dying breed…..
something a lot stronger is needed to fight this militarised police force than
protest songs.
I see where Chris Hedges is coming from with his verbal attacks on militant
anarchists but I don’t think it’s enough to stir people up and expect them to do
nothing except sing folks songs and become passive while the police and
military shoot us and beat us up….and I’m not talking mindless violence….but
aggressive tactics are needed to fight the fight today….what we did in the 60s
wouldn’t work today…..it’s a very different world.
Like ·  · Share

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By ardee, February 12, 2012 at 6:21 am Link to this comment

Sue Basko, February 11 at 9:26 pm

You accuse me of being hateful towards intelligent women, thus , by inference including yourself as such. I have, thus far, seen no evidence that would include you in that category.

I am certain, though, that you are a legend in your own mind.

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By heterochromatic, February 11, 2012 at 11:33 pm Link to this comment

Sue Basko—- you ever hear of an entire street demo
charged for the crimes of a few individuals who aren’t
acting as agents of whatever group might have called
for the demo?

or are you suggesting liability for damages?

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Sue Basko's avatar

By Sue Basko, February 11, 2012 at 11:14 pm Link to this comment

People are proposing that Occupy groups should allow so-called Black Bloc or
pro-violence people to remain in the Occupy groups, and that disavowing their
tactics might suffice to clear the Occupy group of culpability or liability.  This is
not so.  Such laws as accountability, conspiracy, etc., can make one liable for a
crime committed by others in the group.

If any person is committed to behaving in a legal, peaceful way, that person risks
criminal prosecution simply being in a group with others who plan or do any
criminal acts.  The federal laws differ from state laws, and each state’s laws are
unique, but all states have some form of law that makes one culpable for the acts
of another.

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By Rwolf, February 11, 2012 at 11:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is foreseeable U.S. activists in the future that occupy government and other property (and) violate State or Federal laws will be charged by U.S. Government with supporting International and or Domestic Terrorism; incarcerated in Indefinite Detention and or prosecuted under United States Code 18 Sec. 2331 (appear intended (i)“to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion…” Any Violent-Occupation or Protest even if caused by agent provocateurs, can potentially play into the hands of individuals, law enforcement and corporations that may want America turned into a Police State. Note below the United States Code Definitions of Terrorism: Almost any criminal or physical act can be used by U.S. Government or Police to charge a person or group with advocating, supporting or committing terrorism. Considering these laws—only idiots or provocateurs would advocate violence or destruction of property.
                     
The terrorist laws below are broad and vague and can be used by Government an Police against anyone which makes it easy for government, police and provocateurs to set up or frame anyone for being involved in or connected to terrorism—perhaps for no other reason a Citizen or group dared challenge or question government policy.

Where U.S. Government appears headed with the Patriot Act, The National Authorization Act of 2012 and introduced “Enemy Expatriation Act” that would let Government Strip Your Citizenship without evidence or a conviction—to have Congress grant U.S. Government (The Executive Branch) Power to arbitrarily arrest, charge and or Indefinitely Detain Americans that participate in 1st Amendment activities as supporting terrorism or being combatants; provoking, supporting or being Belligerents; or threatening National Security.

18 U.S.C. § 2331 : US Code - Section 2331: Definitions of Terrorism
As used in this chapter -
(1) the term “international terrorism” means activities that -
(A) involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended -
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by
intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass
destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
(C) occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of
the United States, or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum;
(2) the term “national of the United States” has the meaning given such term in section 101(a)(22) of the Immigration and Nationality Act;
(3) the term “person” means any individual or entity capable of holding a legal or beneficial interest in property;
(4) the term “act of war” means any act occurring in the course
of -
(A) declared war;
(B) armed conflict, whether or not war has been declared,
between two or more nations; or
(C) armed conflict between military forces of any origin; and
(5) the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that -
(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended -
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by
intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass
destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of
the United States.

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Sue Basko's avatar

By Sue Basko, February 11, 2012 at 11:00 pm Link to this comment

TO NABNYC -

I AGREE with some of your ideas.  I agree that H1B visas should end. I also
agree that medical and dental care for all should happen.  I think that would
best happen as National Health Care as so many other nations have.  I also
agree that free trade agreements have caused trouble. 

I also think we should not allow imports of all these cheap and defective
products from China.

As for breaking up chains - chains are not monopolies. 

About your idea of employment for all—I would agree with this if people were
allowed to do the work best suited to their gifts and education.  By this, I mean,
songwriters would be paid to write songs; musicians would be paid to make
music; writers would be paid to write; carpenters would be paid to work with
wood.  If it were a situation where all seeking guaranteed work were forced into
tedious manual labor, then I think it would not be good. 

How do you envision your own plan?

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By Sue Basko, February 11, 2012 at 10:45 pm Link to this comment

WRITTEN BY GERARD:

By gerard, February 11 at 12:53 pm
One purpose of the so-called “black bloc” is to sidetrack non-violent protesters
and lead them into vindictive and counterproductive activity that underminess
their original purpose.

See any resemblance here in this string, I wonder?

WRITTEN BY SUE:

YES, GERARD, I DO SEE IT.  The kind of unintelligent, misogynistic replies on
this Comment board are quite similar to the unintelligent misogyny being
spewn by the so-called Black Bloc in Occupy.

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Sue Basko's avatar

By Sue Basko, February 11, 2012 at 10:26 pm Link to this comment

TO ARDEE:  The comment you wrote here directed at me is ignorant and
inappropriate. so I reported it.  Does this forum tolerate your hate speech?

You wrote an ignorant comment directed to me on the other page too, and I
reported that also.
 
Your ignorant hateful speech is not worth replying to, other than to note you are
hateful towards intelligent women.

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By Mohanad, February 11, 2012 at 10:23 pm Link to this comment

I am not sure where the readers are located but this happened in Quebec and look it up:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZm-AL9uIPc&feature=related

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By radson, February 11, 2012 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment

NABNYC
I like what you wrote ,commonsense Socialism for the the people ,by the people of the people .Yes and get rid of the Federal Reserve and all the cronie Monarchists and the free loaders that tag along.

cheers

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By NABNYC, February 11, 2012 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges’ comments were fair in the first article.  OWS started out with tremendous public support.  That support will be lost if the group, or members associated with it, engage in random and pointless acts of violence and try to justify it by claiming they are anarchists and don’t believe in organizing.  Anybody who knows a thing about our history should understand that the people in any movement who are advocating or trying to instigate violence usually are working for the state. 

Beyond that, it is time for OWS to plan a spring offensive.  I suggest One Big Union.  The union would represent all working people and retirees, students and spouses of working people.  The union would make demands that affect all working people, which is most of us.  Start with the demand for a full employment law.  Anybody who is out of work is entitled to a job provided by the government, or through the government, with a living wage, probably $15/hour. 

Then assemble groups of attorneys across the nation willing to file anti-trust lawsuits to bust up the monopolies in our country:  every firm on Wall Street, every bank, most drug stores, most grocery chains, the oil corporations, gas, lumber, steel—all the big ones.  They all are monopolies, they all violate our anti-trust laws, and they need to be busted up.  The government won’t do it because our politicians take bribes from the monopoly corporations, so we, the citizens, have to take over.

Immediately demand a national usury law prohibiting any interest, fee, or charge, which results in payment in excess of 10%/year on any loan or forbearance.

Demand a halt to all h1b visas and the import of foreign labor to take American jobs. 

Demand a rescission of every “free” trade treaty, and withdraw from the WTO, which has nothing but crush the working people of this country.  We’ll start over.  Make it here, grow it here, use it here, recycle it here.  Halt the import of any foods, and immediately bust up agribusiness and increase and support the family farms.  Grow, buy, consume locally.

Demand medicare for all.  No more minor revisions to healthcare.  Make it available to everyone who wants to participate, maybe on a sliding scale.  We also need to add dental to a national healthcare plan.

These are big ideas.  Much more significant than whether some anarchist should break a plateglass window because they felt like it.  Honestly, we need to get to work.  OWS is a perfect platform.  National conferences, an agenda, vote, then let’s start getting the public to support these various platforms.

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By ardee, February 11, 2012 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

By Sue Basko, February 11 at 9:20 am Link to this comment

OKAY LET ME EXPLAIN IT- as a person who has been seriously harmed by the so-called Black Bloc kiddies

personally and seriously harmed? I would think an explanation is in order….

:  The so-called Black Block of TODAY is a group of white guys (and a few wannabe others) who harass and harm women,
minorities, gays, etc., who are within the Occupy groups.  That is what makes
them a “cancer.” They have done huge damage to women, minorities and gays
who are working peacefully on simple things.

I am not a defender of the tactics of those Black Bloc folks, far from it in fact. But the truth and accuracy of comments here is a concern to me. I think you are a disruptor who levels silly charges without bothering to explain them.

You are adding nothing here and taking up valuable time. I think you should go into the ignore basket with another who posts inanities if not insanities…IMax.

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By YoungGringos, February 11, 2012 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

Hedges got one wrong.
He admits he doesn’t know anything about the Bloc- other than what he can glean from 2 hours of a radio program and a cherry-picked comment in an old magazine.  Perhaps Chris needs an editor to maintain his journalistic integrity. 
He doesn’t even know what’s happening on the ground in Oakland.  That’s understandable because he’s never been here.  He canceled an appearance some months back and at the time I suspected it was because he didn’t want to tarnish his Gandhi shield by being in close proximity to so many violent, blood-thirsty anarchists. 
Chris- you often pontificate on your love of the old movements like the Wobblies and Big Bill Haywood.  Are you really so ignorant of their militant stances or do you only appreciate them at a distance?

I’ll let Helen Keller have the last word:

“It is with the deepest regret that I have read the attacks upon Comrade Haywood… such an ignoble strife between two factions which should be one, and that, too, at a most critical period in the struggle of the proletariat…
What? Are we to put difference of party tactics before the desperate needs of the workers?  While countless women and children are breaking their hearts and ruining their bodies in long days of toil, we are fighting one another.  Shame upon us!”
Helen Keller

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zoskia's avatar

By zoskia, February 11, 2012 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment

Dictators are never as strong as they tell they are.
People are never as weak as they think they are.

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By gerard, February 11, 2012 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment

One purpose of the so-called “black bloc” is to sidetrack non-violent protesters and lead them into vindictive and counterproductive activity that underminess their original purpose.

See any resemblance here in this string, I wonder?

Report this

By Ross Vachon, February 11, 2012 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges knows the score. The Black Bloc may or may not be a government
plant, but they’re counter-productive.

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By rumblingspire, February 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

THE PLASTIC CLOUD-Civilization machine
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FC18UvffXI

ends in an explosion.

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By radson, February 11, 2012 at 11:43 am Link to this comment

EmileZ

Have another half pound Bacon sandwich ,it might not
help your waistline but it might help your figure
,really go figure .

cheers

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, February 11, 2012 at 11:14 am Link to this comment

I was going for classical…

I thank you all for being so quick to notice, and I would also like to thank Russian literature, without which, I could never have come up with such a classically misogynistic statement.

I trust no females were harmed, and I hope only minimal damage was inflicted upon the pride of Wikileaks For Nobel and Balkas.

All in all, it was definately worth it and I will perhaps do it again if I feel like it.

Thanking you again,

EmileZ

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By balkas, February 11, 2012 at 11:05 am Link to this comment

sue,
you may be right about black block being infiltrated or a few rabid
americans committing petiness; while posing as anarchists, members of
OWS, or Lefists.
the petty violence—and much counterproductive, imo—committed by
these individuals wearing face cover, strongly suggest that it may be so.
having said this, i myself, would never hide my face. i suggest nobody
does that. it is not fair to, say, 95% of the 99% who do not hide their.
identity.
i also use my real name when posting. if nader, moore, carlin, chomsky
can do it, i can do it. thanks

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By Wikileaks for Nobel, February 11, 2012 at 10:49 am Link to this comment

Read EmileZ’s response to Sue Basko’s specific and rational critique of what the criminal “Black Bloc” mentality has brought to Oakland Occupy.  EmileZ’s response is classically misogynistic and sexist.  It is also quintessentially Black Bloc.

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By Sue Basko, February 11, 2012 at 10:20 am Link to this comment

OKAY LET ME EXPLAIN IT- as a person who has been seriously harmed by the
so-called Black Bloc kiddies :  The so-called Black Block of TODAY is a group of
white guys (and a few wannabe others) who harass and harm women,
minorities, gays, etc., who are within the Occupy groups.  That is what makes
them a “cancer.” They have done huge damage to women, minorities and gays
who are working peacefully on simple things.

I believe, yes, they are being led by government infiltrators and undercover
cops.  I also think this is a violation and misuse of police power and goes
contrary to the DOJ guidelines on infiltration.  Infiltrators are NOT supposed to
interfere with the First Amendment rights of peaceful protest groups, but these
Black Bloc groups being led by undercovers do just that.  The undercovers are
trying to “catch” the young men who follow along in the supposed plans for
violence.  In the meantime, the right of hundreds of other people to engage in
peaceful legal protest is being harmed. 

I think of these “Black Bloc” schmoes as the “wife beaters” of Occupy.  They have
everyone walking on eggshells.  They have posted defamation and threats all
over the internet.  They send emails and list serves full of smear campaigns,
threats, defamation, etc.  They harass, harangue, cyberstalk, cyberbully,
intimidate.

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By ardee, February 11, 2012 at 10:16 am Link to this comment

By Sue Basko, February 11 at 2:02 am Link to this comment

MY OPINION

Thus far, Ms. Basko, your opinions seems worthless.

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By balkas, February 11, 2012 at 8:33 am Link to this comment

i agree with CH hedges that we ALL desist from any violent act which the
ONE PERCENT regards illegal.
and if the ONE PERCENT orders you to leave an area, please leave it in an
orderly fashion and with a smile on your face.
for this is what, i expect, 99.999% of ‘americans’ want you to do.
as for the Left that CH speaks of, i think CH himself is just s’mwhere left
of obama, clinton, mussolini; a mullah, priest, rabbi, ‘reverend’, some
MSM columnists, et al.
none of which are egalitarians or truly against war! thanks

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, February 11, 2012 at 4:45 am Link to this comment

@ Sue Basko

Check out the awesome “Nights In White Satin” youtube video I posted in the truthdigger of the week column.

I guarantee you will be impressed.

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Sue Basko's avatar

By Sue Basko, February 11, 2012 at 3:02 am Link to this comment

MY OPINION:  Today’s “Black Bloc” is led by FBI infiltrators and undercover cops,
followed by 20-something white boys who aren’t smart enough to know how to
hack, and philosophized about by old professors and ass scratchers.

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By Textynn, February 11, 2012 at 1:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When I was little I thought I could get out of having a shot at the docs by cupping my hands over my upper arms. I remember how satisfied I was that I’d taken things into my own hands. To my complete and utter shock, the nurse had me flipped over, trouw down, and stuck in about a millisecond, faster than she could say “next”.

Seriously, I had complete and totally underestimated what I was up against.  That’s what will happen to Black Bloc. Violence is playing into OnePercent run police’s game and they know exactly how to handle it.

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By Valerie, February 11, 2012 at 12:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hedges is thoughtful and sincere and while he does seem to have a depressive side to his temperament, it doesn’t mean that he isn’t seeing things pretty realistically. That is why I was so delighted when he was so positive about the Occupy Movement. If Chris Hedges had faith that this was “the real thing” and cause for hope, that was a very good sign that the Movement was legitimate and would endure. So when he says there is a cancer in Occupy, it is worth paying attention to.

Like Derrick Jensen who Hedges quoted in his piece, “I don’t have a problem with escalating tactics to some sort of militant resistance if it is appropriate morally, strategically and tactically,” There will come a point when violence will be the right approach but the time for violence is later – when we have exhausted all other options. Right now, Occupy needs to be focused on winning hearts and minds, particularly of the average middle class person in America and those people – people like me – are repelled by senseless violence and senseless destruction. We DO want mothers and fathers pushing strollers and grandmothers bringing their grandkids to protests. We want to draw as many every day Americans to our numbers as possible because our power and legitimacy will lie in our numbers. We won’t attract the people we want to attract if Occupy protests are not perceived as being peaceful and safe.

I agree with Chris Hedges that the Black Block doesn’t serve a valuable purpose. They remind me very much of the young skin-heads (neo-Nazis) in Germany. They enjoy the power of being able to destroy something with little effort and the feeling that people are a little afraid of them. It is very much a mob mentality; people acting in a way they probably wouldn’t otherwise act if they were on their own and couldn’t remain anonymous. Chris Hedges is right. The behaviour of the Black Block – particularly the dishonesty of doing their mischief anonymously – alienates people who might otherwise be willing to listen and support Occupy.

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By radson, February 10, 2012 at 8:20 pm Link to this comment

What the hell is the Black Bloc good for anyway .This is basically a shit disturbing outfit that is designed to minimize the OWS movement and co-opt if not supplant it through so-called spontaneous aggression .Sure the Righties like it and sure the extreme Lefties like it ,but these same folks prefer violence to begin with and Foreign Policy that dictates the same .Welcome to the Unipolar World where American
and British with a good dose of Swiss Western Civilization is in the drivers seat .Now some of you may question the lack of Israeli influence ,well to to be blunt about it, there is little worthy of mention ,other than the fact that they are minor players . The USA is not being run by what most constituents qualify as the Constitution that has been sold away way back in 1944 with Bretton Woods .The US today has become a sucker for Foreign interventionists and that most infamous word called INTERESTS .The word in itself is interesting ,but when you go to the Bank and deposit your money who’s Interest are You considering .Well it sure as hell is not the Black Bloc and whatever there trying to block ,as a matter of inquisitiveness -What is it that the Bloc is trying to Block .Maybe the head blockhead doesn’t know him/herself and donning the attire of a black jumpsuit has a certain corny appeal to it after all gay things take precedent on US MSM over other things like perhaps the survival of the species and mass murder perpetuated in the name of Democracy.Tell me all you Soldiers /brothers in arms are you actually in the Service because you sincerely believe in Humanitarian Rights and Democracy or are you there because the money is acceptable and your loved ones have basic social coverage .Which leads to the definition of Socialism itself ,even the most astute deniers of Socialism them self and that would include that madman called McCain are socialists themselves ,although they would deny it because John apparently lives in a cave -Plato’s Cave .Now all you Blockheads don’t get me wrong I believe in the good things that America has provided to the world and the list is very long ,but just for a moment think about Who and What your promoting ,its the other nations that need America so why supplant yourself.

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By Maani, February 10, 2012 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment

This all sounds very familiar.  Its King vs. Malcolm redux.  And Hedges is correct.  If BB wants to be the “Malcolm X” of the movement (“by any means necessary”), while the “core” of the movement wants to be MLK, fine.  But I agree that the “core” should disavow the tactics used by BB, as those tactics only serve to “tarnish” the movement as a whole.

Peace.

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By Wikileaks for Nobel, February 10, 2012 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment

Saul Alinsky famously remarked that “A tactic that drags on too long is a drag.”  Repeating—with slight variations—the same thing over and over both stereotypes a movement and signals Power in advance what is coming.  Worst of all is to engage in a set-piece affray, as though basic social change were a sporting event, which it isn’t. 

The people I’ve seen talking about “diversity of tactics” have no conception at all of nonviolence, thinking it simply means refraining from hitting or throwing…as though simultaneously verbally baiting armed cops weren’t conflict-producing (as well as seriously stupid).  Supposed elders who know better from long experience should have spoken up much earlier to their autonomous charges, pointing out the obvious.  Somehow, this wise counsel has not appeared even now. 

The time for sobriety is long since past.  The future of Occupation is not inward-turning and being tight with one’s group.  The future is out there, in the unfamiliar community that is not interested in an endless caravan of militant theater.

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By gerard, February 10, 2012 at 3:37 pm Link to this comment

The bare bones is “I don’t want Ows to be persuaded by any individual or faction to descend into violence.”  And next, to recognize that 1.Ows’ political, social-justice stand threatens the 1%, and on top of that, 2. their non-violence also threatens the 1% by making it harder to use violence against them. 
  Using violence against nonviolence looks “out of proportion”, therefore unfair. To use weapons against people who have no weapons shows the brutality of physical harm. (Proven by the known fact that police violence turns the public 99% against the police and (often) in favor of the protesters.
  If, on the other hand, OWs can be persuaded into using violence, it will be easy to use their violence to justify police violence.
  One way out of this is to teach the police themselves something about non-violence and how to use it for “crowd control”—which is supposed to be the point, not arrest and punishment of protest.
  But of course that requires more than just simple-minded action/reaction thinking, more than the habituated response of government to protest. That’s part of the “superiority” of nonviolence as a strategy and tactic:  It tries to call out better responses than beating, tasing, mauling, puncturing spleene, causing head injuries and arrests.
  At base, it asks for better ways to solve problems together. Sometimes it succeeds; sometimes not. And when it succeeds, something really great has happened because when we are behaving honestly we know instinctively that not injuring and killing people is better than injuring and killing them.
  Violence is a denial of this basic truth and that’s one thing that is wrong with violence.

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By ardee, February 10, 2012 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment

Thus Hedges refutes much of the criticism leveled at him. “I am not a pacifist” he says, and speaks volumes about the premature actions of the Black Bloc, the tactics that disallow the OWS potential to flourish.

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