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The Cancer in Occupy

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Posted on Feb 6, 2012
Mr. Fish

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.

Black Bloc adherents detest those of us on the organized left and seek, quite consciously, to take away our tools of empowerment. They confuse acts of petty vandalism and a repellent cynicism with revolution. The real enemies, they argue, are not the corporate capitalists, but their collaborators among the unions, workers’ movements, radical intellectuals, environmental activists and populist movements such as the Zapatistas. Any group that seeks to rebuild social structures, especially through nonviolent acts of civil disobedience, rather than physically destroy, becomes, in the eyes of Black Bloc anarchists, the enemy. Black Bloc anarchists spend most of their fury not on the architects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or globalism, but on those, such as the Zapatistas, who respond to the problem. It is a grotesque inversion of value systems.

Because Black Bloc anarchists do not believe in organization, indeed oppose all organized movements, they ensure their own powerlessness. They can only be obstructionist. And they are primarily obstructionist to those who resist. John Zerzan, one of the principal ideologues of the Black Bloc movement in the United States, defended “Industrial Society and Its Future,” the rambling manifesto by Theodore Kaczynski, known as the Unabomber, although he did not endorse Kaczynski’s bombings. Zerzan is a fierce critic of a long list of supposed sellouts starting with Noam Chomsky. Black Bloc anarchists are an example of what Theodore Roszak in “The Making of a Counter Culture” called the “progressive adolescentization” of the American left.

In Zerzan’s now defunct magazine Green Anarchy (which survives as a website) he published an article by someone named “Venomous Butterfly” that excoriated the Zapatista Army for National Liberation (EZLN). The essay declared that “not only are those [the Zapatistas’] aims not anarchist; they are not even revolutionary.” It also denounced the indigenous movement for “nationalist language,” for asserting the right of people to “alter or modify their form of government” and for having the goals of “work, land, housing, health care, education, independence, freedom, democracy, justice and peace.” The movement, the article stated, was not worthy of support because it called for “nothing concrete that could not be provided by capitalism.”

“Of course,” the article went on, “the social struggles of exploited and oppressed people cannot be expected to conform to some abstract anarchist ideal. These struggles arise in particular situations, sparked by specific events. The question of revolutionary solidarity in these struggles is, therefore, the question of how to intervene in a way that is fitting with one’s aims, in a way that moves one’s revolutionary anarchist project forward.”

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Solidarity becomes the hijacking or destruction of competing movements, which is exactly what the Black Bloc contingents are attempting to do with the Occupy movement.

“The Black Bloc can say they are attacking cops, but what they are really doing is destroying the Occupy movement,” the writer and environmental activist Derrick Jensen told me when I reached him by phone in California. “If their real target actually was the cops and not the Occupy movement, the Black Bloc would make their actions completely separate from Occupy, instead of effectively using these others as a human shield. Their attacks on cops are simply a means to an end, which is to destroy a movement that doesn’t fit their ideological standard.”

“I don’t have a problem with escalating tactics to some sort of militant resistance if it is appropriate morally, strategically and tactically,” Jensen continued. “This is true if one is going to pick up a sign, a rock or a gun. But you need to have thought it through. The Black Bloc spends more time attempting to destroy movements than they do attacking those in power. They hate the left more than they hate capitalists.”

“Their thinking is not only nonstrategic, but actively opposed to strategy,” said Jensen, author of several books, including “The Culture of Make Believe.” “They are unwilling to think critically about whether one is acting appropriately in the moment. I have no problem with someone violating boundaries [when] that violation is the smart, appropriate thing to do. I have a huge problem with people violating boundaries for the sake of violating boundaries. It is a lot easier to pick up a rock and throw it through the nearest window than it is to organize, or at least figure out which window you should throw a rock through if you are going to throw a rock. A lot of it is laziness.” 

Groups of Black Bloc protesters, for example, smashed the windows of a locally owned coffee shop in November in Oakland and looted it. It was not, as Jensen points out, a strategic, moral or tactical act. It was done for its own sake. Random acts of violence, looting and vandalism are justified, in the jargon of the movement, as components of “feral” or “spontaneous insurrection.” These acts, the movement argues, can never be organized. Organization, in the thinking of the movement, implies hierarchy, which must always be opposed. There can be no restraints on “feral” or “spontaneous” acts of insurrection. Whoever gets hurt gets hurt. Whatever gets destroyed gets destroyed.

There is a word for this—“criminal.”


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By tomcat, February 12, 2012 at 9:28 pm Link to this comment

On the subject of violence.
“We are Spirits in the Material World” (Sting)
Need I say more?...

ok, I will.
So long as spirit…the beautiful connectedness…is tied to an animate, demanding body, and a deceiving brain, violence will be…an option?

Saying we don’t believe in it…wanting to not do it…is not enough.
Practicing yoga, chanting om and meditating, or other roads to complete connectedness, are usually not enough.

Perhaps there are some who’ve embraced nonviolence unshakably throughout their being, but they are few…and the rest of us…sadly…are many.

And perhaps that state of being is not an evolutionarily sound path, but, rather, a dead end.

Either way, most of us are susceptible to violent urges under various circumstances…and I doubt that testosterone helps!

So, in this ulta-violent world and society, considering the meager historical precedents, and the nature of the challenge against the military corporate complex… random, or spontaneous acts of violence against others by an overwhelmingly peaceful movement must be at LEAST tolerated, if not entirely ignored, by supporters of the movement, and left in the hands of those on the ground to address as they deem fit…left for the collective to analyze and, if need be, act upon.

TRUST in those who truly value the lives of the people and the planet.


The issue of property destruction must be separately discussed.

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By elisalouisa, February 12, 2012 at 8:56 pm Link to this comment

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/01/30/occupy-oakland-s-violent-turn-proves-the-movement-has-lost-its-way.html


The last half of this column is especially interesting. The Cancer in Occupy came out the following Monday.

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By tomcat, February 12, 2012 at 7:22 pm Link to this comment

It’s amazing how many people talk about black bloc like they know anything about it.
Can anyone quote an occupier who uses black bloc tactics?
Can anyone quote a self-described black bloc anarchist?
Can anyone cite two examples where black bloc tactics were used in an Occupy action (without doing an internet search)?

David Graeber, anarchist, “anti-leader” and co-founder of OWS, doesn’t presume to offer unsolicited advice on black bloc.
He knows it’s up to the occupiers to decide when to use black bloc…and they DO decide.

It’s up to those who are about to face certain violence, as has happened time and again in Oakland, what tactics they will use, based on circumstances.

Read the accounts of the resisters from J28 in Oakland.
They’re glad black bloc was there. They had peace shields, and they were men and women…young and old.

Hedges could have written about the amazing things occupiers do daily all over the country.
They need our encouragement and solidarity.
Many of them have put their lives on hold…left jobs or school, to devote themselves to living the change they envision.
Many of the encampments were vibrant, creative, egalitarian communities. Many occupiers were devastated by their loss.
Yet they persevere.

I’m a baby boomer. We had our chance.
It’s a new age…11-11-11 marked the official beginning of the age of Aquarius.
We lived through the end of the age of Pisces- an age of belief and ideology…and the violence that was necessary to validate those positions.

Aquarius is the age of information and knowledge….
and peace.
We’re just at the beginning…and there’s a lot to unwind and throw off…it will be…rocky…
but we’ll get there.
Let’s embrace Occupy as the vanguard…the harbinger…of change.


.

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By OzarkMichael, February 12, 2012 at 6:31 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie said;

There is no doubt that, according to the laws of the place and time, the counter in Woolworth’s was private property, and those who occupied it against the will of its proprietors were violating the law.  On the other hand, the Civil Rights movement is constantly cited here for the purity of its non-violence.

The civil rights movement demanded equal rights with the rest of society. The civil rights folks wanted the ordinary priviledges that all other citizens have, and did not expect special priviledges at all.

Occupy contrasts with this. Occupy does not demand for itself equality with other citizens, instead Occupy demands special priviledged influence platforms for itself that other citizens cannot utilize, which is to say that Occupy is the opposite of equal civil rights, since it places itself above the common citizen.

Now to the topic of ‘violence’. Please dont put words in my mouth. I never described the Occupation of a park as ‘violence’. As you know, Anarcissie, i have defined Occupation as a type of ‘force’ but people dont understand so i never use the term.

I went to some trouble to describe the steps of Occupy. I did not mention ‘violence’. Your ‘punishment’ for saying that i did so… is that you should read the following and respond to it. Note that at some points the civil rights protest and the Occupy are similar. I quote myself:

OWS seeks confrontation with authority. The confrontation starts by bending and breaking the rules that the rest of us must live by. (a brief digression:  I am not discussing all the positive reasons why OWS breaks the rules, or all the negative aspects of the rules. I am only describing the OWS method objectively)

The confrontation begins with a question from the police, such as “do you have a permit to close down this port?”... (another digression: I am not discussing whether the 1% deserve to own or operate or profit from a port. I am only describing the method of Occupy)

OWS answers the police question and then makes an appeal: “We dont need a permit, we are the 99%, and you must let us do this, or we will escalate”  (another digression: I am not describing a particlar escalation since Occupy gets more milage from keeping the threat vague. I am only describing the Occupy method)

The police might back down, or not(I am not describing why they back down one at one port,or why at the next port the police enforce the rules. I am merely discussing the Occupy method)

If the police back down, it is a victory for Occupy, which thus obtains a new tool, a new power, a new “right”, a new platform, which they consider to be “free speech”.(I am not discussing whether a “free speech” platform for only one faction is good for democracy or not. I am not discussing the content of that free speech either. I am only describing the Occupy method)

If instead of backing down, the police stand the line and enforce the law, then the Occupy confrontation seems to be defeated, but in fact Occupy might gain a payoff. If an Occupier gets hurt and that is caught on film, it is a golden moment for Occupy. If the police use excessive force that is a golden moment for Occupy. This is where the Occupy method of confrontation generates its great moments, its life blood of gaining the common man’s sympathy. (a digression: i am not defining any particular Occupy leadership as a locus of planning all this. Nor am i defining the degree of police brutality. I am merely discussing the Occupy confrontation process)

If you disagree with my description, please feel free to amend it.

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By elisalouisa, February 12, 2012 at 5:47 pm Link to this comment

Is a comment true just because you MESmith make it? No, of course not. As to agenda and tactics, that is for the OWS people to decide within the perimeters of nonviolence. Period. If a group wishes to practice nonviolence, along with the supporters of that group, who are you to barge in, try to take over and even more state that nonviolence is passe. Start your own group and stop smearing Chris Hedges who has spent a lifetime bettering all forms of life. From what I have read, correct me if I am wrong, you advocate mayhem, revolution and also doing away with government. You have no reservation as to using less than ethical tactics and that is unacceptable.

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By elisalouisa, February 12, 2012 at 5:23 pm Link to this comment

These threads have changed. Lots of talk here about government being the enemy, an Evangelical Fundamentalist and anarchist concept.The enemy is Wall Street.  Corporations are the enemy. Through control of corporations,  the finances of Wall Street, and puppet government representatives the oligarch is in charge.

ReadingJones: Wikipedia:Subsidiarity is even more a tenet of some forms of conservative or libertarian thought which you must agree with. For example, conservative author Reid Buckley, (William F. Buckley’s brother), writes:

“Will the American people never learn that, as a principle, to expect swift response and efficiency from government is fatuous? Will we never heed the principle of subsidiarity (in which our fathers were bred), namely that no public agency should do what a private agency can do better, and that no higher-level public agency should attempt to do what a lower-level agency can do better – that to the degree the principle of subsidiarity is violated, first local government, the state government, and then federal government wax in inefficiency? Moreover, the more powers that are invested in government, and the more powers that are wielded by government, the less well does government discharge its primary responsibilities, which are (1) defense of the commonwealth,2. protection of the rights of citizens, and (3) support of just order.”

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By heterochromatic, February 12, 2012 at 5:09 pm Link to this comment

street vilence is not the same as the ritualized violence of football and the parodic
violence of pro wrestling, Mark.

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By Mark E. Smith, February 12, 2012 at 4:53 pm Link to this comment

Elisalouisa, in simple arithmetic, two and two make four. That solution is 100% correct and nobody disagrees with it. If Hedges was 110% correct, there would be no disagreement.

If violence is toxic to OWS’s agenda and potential, why isn’t it toxic to football and pro wrestling? The US military is violent, yet there are bigger crowds for any military air show or Army/Navy game than for any Occupy event.

Look at what US Americans who watch TV prefer. Some of the most popular shows are all about violence, and not only from the cops. I don’t have a TV and have never seen it, but I’m told there is even a TV show about a serial killer everyone loves. US Americans love violence, and they love serial killing and mass murder, as long as it is done by the government or its armed proxies and done away from home.

As for the OWS agenda, it varies from place to place. In some cities the agenda is still to replace tyranny with direct democracy, while in others that have been co-opted it is to hope for more benevolent tyrants. The potential of OWS depends not on its tactics, but on its agenda. If the agenda is to continue the same old same old, it has no potential to bring about change.

Excellent post, Calm. The US armed the “protesters” in Libya and armed the “protesters” in Syria. The US armed, trained, and funded the Taliban and Al Quedah. There are very few “terrorist” groups in the world that weren’t armed, trained, and funded by the US at some point. The US is in the arms business and sold arms to Iran in defiance of Congress in order to arm the violent Contras in Central America. The US sold weapons to Sadaam Hussein. The US sent $42 million to the Taliban and Osama bin Laden just a few months before 9/11. Violence is as “American” as apple pie. The entire military-industrial complex, and therefore the entire US government, is dedicated to violence. When Wikileaks released the video of US troops gunning down journalists and children, the government didn’t apologize, it searched for and is trying to punish those they think responsible for the leak.

Dave Ewoldt’s position is admirable: “I tend to lean toward the bodhisattva ethic where if you see harm about to happen to an innocent, and you do nothing to try to prevent that harm, you earn the same bad karma as the perpetrator.” More than 90% of the people the US tortures and murders are innocent, having done nothing more than being born in the “wrong” country or having the “wrong” color skin, and more than 85% of those killed in US wars of aggression are women, children, and elderly nonviolent civilians who have never even protested anything.

If nonviolence is so effective, why does the US government spend more on its military than all other nations combined? Why don’t the proponents of nonviolence tell the US government that they will not vote, pay taxes, or buy corporate products until the government-sponsored violence stops? Those are all legal, totally nonviolent tactics, and they’re much more effective than having your head bashed in and getting arrested for carrying a sign that few will ever see. Those who benefit from and support the US government’s genocidal system reject both violent AND nonviolent tactics. What they want is for the genocides to continue and a greater share of the benefits for themselves.

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By Anarcissie, February 12, 2012 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment

I think those of you who are promoting non-violence for the Occupy movement(s) in an absolutistic manner, more or less as Hedges does, need to consider the ambiguities of the idea of violence.  For example, at least two participants here, Ozark Michael and heterochromatic, have defined any action in violation of the laws of property (as defined and enforced by government) as intrinsically violent.  While one can argue with their opinions, they are rationally developed. 

A similar contrast may be observed in the Greensboro Sit-ins of 1960.  There is no doubt that, according to the laws of the place and time, the counter in Woolworth’s was private property, and those who occupied it against the will of its proprietors were violating the law.  On the other hand, the Civil Rights movement is constantly cited here for the purity of its non-violence.

Of course we can disdain logical consistency along with Emerson and Whitman, but doing so will make our intentions more obscure, even from ourselves.

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By FchrisHedges, February 12, 2012 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

READ THIS NOW   http://nplusonemag.com/concerning-the-violent-peace-police

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By ReadingJones, February 12, 2012 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment

@ Dave Ewoldt The Catholic church has a thing called
The principle of subsidiarity. Basically it means to
push the responsibility for decision making as far
down in the hierarchy as possible. It works because
the person faced with a question/problem has the most
immediate and thorough knowledge of the pertinent
facts. This makes hierarchal management more
effective and bearable. Upper layers of management
become sources for resources and information. It is a
middle ground between the triangle and the horizontal
form.

This is a very simplified explanation for a very
complex subject. Study of the governing structures of
the Vikings and the various groups of Native
Americans is also useful.

On a different topic I think OWS should invest in a
security system that vets those who are suspected of
being provocative at the behest of outside forces.

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By elisalouisa, February 12, 2012 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment

Very good post Patrick Henry.

From other great posts, excerpts worth revisiting:

Lucius Feb 12 at 9:35 am “However, and in any event, those few who choose to commit acts of violence cannot be part of Occupy and must be marginalized as thugs at best, undercover provocateurs (as witnessed in 1999 in Seattle) at worse.”

Nick_Lento, Feb. 12 at 10:32 a.m. “The advocates of violence are
delusional/mistaken at best and malevolent miscreants at worst, either way they are functionally coounterevolutionary and, yes, a cancer on the Occupy movement.”

JDmysticDJ Feb. 12 at 9:44 am “Hedges’ metaphor of Cancer might seem to be inappropriate hyperbole but a “Cancer” left untreated will eventually be fatal. Whether Black Bloc Anarchists will prove to be fatal to Occupy Wall Street is doubtful, but the “danger” presented by Black Bloc Anarchists is real in terms of winning “The battle for hearts and minds” and in that sense Black Bloc Anarchists are: a “Danger,” a “Hazard,” a “Risk,” a “Peril,” and a “Menace.”

Valerie Feb. 10 at 11:46 a.m   “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.”

Nick_Lento 2/10 at 4:46 p.m. In response to MESmith: “Occupy is a good and decent and productive and powerful movement that has REAL grass roots energy and potency and your take on it is that it needs to be consumed by old line anarchists who specialize in taunting the cops and some petty
vandalism!?!  That’s not revolutionary, that’s a cathartic temper tantrum that plays into the hands of the cops who are pigs (not all of them are) and into the hands of oppressive elements of our government who would like nothing more than to impose an absolute police state.

You may be a sincere true believer or you may be an agent provocateur either way it’s irrelevant in the sense that the direction in which you are trying to steer the OWS movement is one that leads to more repression and eventual utter irrelevance. If you want to go off and start some kind of violent revolution in the USA go do it on your own time and be willing to spill your own blood and serve your own time.  Don’t hide behind crowds of innocent peaceful OWS folks who didn’t sign up to be part of a violent mob.  They are the ones who get their heads busted and get gassed while your boys are well protected and get to run free.  ?Evidently the cops leave y’all alone.

Hedges is 110% correct about the violent tactics being toxic to OWS’s agenda and potential.  To anyone except dyed in to wool hard core ideologues like yourself that is ?obvious.”

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By Dave Ewoldt, February 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment

It seems that in a manner similar to not wanting to admit the distinction between nihilism and anarchism, many here are also unwilling to examine the difference between violence and defense. I tend to lean toward the bodhisattva ethic where if you see harm about to happen to an innocent, and you do nothing to try to prevent that harm, you earn the same bad karma as the perpetrator.

Non-violence is not sufficient to be opposed to tyranny. Coercion and exploitation must be opposed as well. It is also true that we could quite peaceably consume ourselves into extinction. Any new paradigm that is life-affirming must also be willing to explicitly state that it is willing to defend itself and life in general by all means at its disposal.

Sociopaths are a real and present danger. The natural systems principle of increasing diversity also shows that they cannot simply be bred out of our midst, nor will they simply go away and leave the good folks alone if they chant Om loudly enough.

I think our first project—as we invite others to work together on creating a future based on ecological integrity, social justice, economic equity, and participatory democracy (or in a word, a _sustainable_ future)—might have to be learning how to deal with natural reality.

That said, I also believe that the most productive way overall to bring the masses into the Occupy movement—masses who, because they are part of life and thus naturally most attracted to life-affirming actions—will be through non-violent means.

On another point JDmysticDJ brought up, true anarchists do NOT recognize the need for hierarchy. The opposite is part of the definition of anarchy. However, there are known and effective methods for non-hierarchical organization, communication, shared leadership, and democratic decision making.

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By heterochromatic, February 12, 2012 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

Clam_____"How can we support arming the protesters in
Syria and not here in North America?“________


how can we be as stupid as to ask that question?

all governments are the same and all deserve to be
opposed with arms?

how many thousand of the Occupy protesters were shot to
death or killed by tank cannon?

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By CalmCalm, February 12, 2012 at 3:02 pm Link to this comment

Western governments have all encouraged supplying arms to the protesters in Syria. A majority of the North American population agrees with this scenario.

How can we support arming the protesters in Syria and not here in North America?

Ashleigh Banfield (CNN) called the Armed Protesters “Activists”.
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1202/10/es.01.html

What would have anybody believe that our own government will not shoot us all down like dogs in the street if they thought that their power was being successfully challenged?

Just how many people would need to be killed by our government in order to justify outright violence?

When John McCain stands up and says that if arms are not supplied, then the Syrian government forces will continue to win.

What would have John McCain think that Peaceful protests in North America will succeed when he states that only violent protests will succeed in other countries around the globe?

Our governments have been arming insurrections in many countries, but discourage it here in North America.

Calm

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By heterochromatic, February 12, 2012 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

____” the women next to him said that the cops shouldn’t be penalizing the
peaceful protesters for what the violent protesters do—that’s “collective
punishment.”“_____


Mark, you’ve got to have your head in the clouds to offer that bit of stupidity.

perhaps if the peaceful rioters stood separately from the violent rioters it would
make for nice orderly riots that the police respond to in a humane and caring
manner.

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By Mark E. Smith, February 12, 2012 at 2:25 pm Link to this comment

Lots of Black Bloc tactics in Greece now. Masked people in black throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at the cops.

How strange that 50,000 Greeks are out in the streets.

Those using Black Bloc tactics are in the front lines. the peaceful protesters are right behind them and are opposing the cops and the state, not the more violent protesters.

One person on Twitter remarked that the women next to him said that the cops shouldn’t be penalizing the peaceful protesters for what the violent protesters do—that’s “collective punishment.”

And so it is. Collective punishment is when the state penalizes everyone for the actions of a few.

If people agree that the enemy is the state, they they support each other in opposing it in whatever ways each individual sees fit.

Even Chris Hedges supported the riots in Greece.

Hedges didn’t advise the Greeks to excise the violent cancer in their midst so that more mainstream people would support their cause, because too many mainstream people were already supporting the cause. Hedges is appealing to the reactionaries here who don’t see the government as the problem but as a possible solution.

A labor leader was quoted in a NYT article today saying that Occupy has done more to change the political discourse in this country in three months, than the unions have done in decades of lobbying and voting.

In Greece there is a popular, informal consensus that the government is the problem. Here in the US there are still many reactionaries who think that the solution can come from the source of the problem. The disagreement about tactics here stems from the fact that there is disagreement about what the problem is.

Einstein is reputed to have said that if he had twenty days in which to solve a problem, he’d spend the first nineteen days defining the problem. Once people understand the problem, they have the possibility of solving it, but until then they don’t.

There are people here who don’t think the problem is with the US system of government, but with how it is interpreted and implemented.

Those of us who understand that the Constitution of the United States of America established a plutocracy rather than a democracy or a republic, and that the 1%, including Ben Franklin, lied about it to get it ratified, understand the problem.

The Counterrevolutionary Constitution
http://fubarandgrill.org/node/1085

Those who don’t understand that the Framers of the Constitution established a plutocracy that betrayed the founders who fought the American Revolution and who wrote and shed blood for the Declaration of Independence, still think that the Constitution established a democracy or a republic, and are still trying to reform it, amend it, and work within it, rather than oppose it. Or else they happen to prefer plutocracy to more democratic forms of government.

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By heterochromatic, February 12, 2012 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment

Pat—- you can fully blow your revolution.  still carrying round pictures of
Chariman Mao?

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By ReadingJones, February 12, 2012 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment

@ Whitedog

This performance is a perfect illustration of your
post. You Tube Korea’s Got Talent Homeless Boy Steals
Talent Show

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By PatrickHenry, February 12, 2012 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment

Imax,

I miss what this site once represented.  This was once an open and respectful venue for discussions on many topics coming from many points of view.

This is based on your 10/15/2011 join date, the same date as heterowhatever.

RD has been posting here much much longer than you and believe me has remained constant throughout that time.  While I have gone head to head on numerous occaisions with him and disagree frequently he has as much of a right to be here as you do voicing his dumb ass opinions which I find in view of yours, more intelligent and less whiney.

If and individual such as ardee attended an Occupy general assembly and opened his mouth as he does here I am 90% certain he would be asked to leave and never return

I see yourself as the person who would ask him to leave.  Nothing like a democracy run by monitors or those with self ordained powers over others to regulate and stifle opinions, ideas and debate.  Much like the systems we have in place now.

This is why black-block will continue to grow as an adjunct to the occupy movement, protester frustration, police abuse of power, the lack of willpower of our elected political leaders to address the movements demands.  Finally the so called occupy ‘leaders’ who claim to have the rubber stamp on who is in the movement and who isn’t. 

Black block is here to stay and it will grow until that cancer kills the movement and manifests itself into a full blown revolution.

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By Hermann Haberl, February 12, 2012 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In Europe, we know the “Black Block” now for a while and they showed up with their provocations always, when protests and demonstrations got a very political momentum and got great support in the broad population (see Genua or other world economy events).In all this cases we saw a close linkage to police forces and some of us made the joke with real background that the black block is a brigade of the ministries of internal affairs and they were always very good organized and also very well accepted by police forces. When the protests faded out also the Black Block diappeared withouth any juridical traces or charges.

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By whitedog, February 12, 2012 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

I am in utter agreement with those who advocate nonviolent means to counter the violent or even disingenuous or corrupt onslaughts from the right. The efforts of Abdul Gaffar Kahn and his Kudai Kitmatgars, or The Soldiers of God were perfectly effective in shutting down the very violent British occupation of Afganistan. Owned no weapons, built schools and hospitals, fed the hungry, fell like cord wood during their efforts to haul away the dead at rallies, and so broke the spirit of those shooting on them. Kahn was as inspired as Gandhi, was his friend. A very moving description of Gandhi’s visit to Afganistan spoke of his leaving the screaming thousands in India to the streets thick lined with Afganis- standing silent. Kahn had an epiphany in his early years and shared it with his countrymen, the result was years of building and rallies and jailtime at the end of which his efforts yielded freedom from a long and brutal occupation. Now they need someone like that again. So do we.

The most feared of the right are the deeply spiritual. The religious are accepted but those with any real insight or connection to spiritual presence are targeted. So it is worth a look, so worth it. It will be, is our personal wholeness they fear more than rhetoric. Or talent or dedication to political ideals. The-our ability to find perfect happiness within any level of poverty or humble circumstances deeply confounds the corrupt; thwarts and shakes their foundations; distains their goals; confuses their outlook. Dignity is fine but true happiness knows no boundaries—genius and love aren’t particular about their surroundings.

Picture Saint Francis engaging the Pope.

The Ocupy Movement will stand or fall on its ideas-ideals and the character and nature of its people. It will weather any Black Bloc insurgents no problem with its reputation in tact should those be secure, deep, true

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By Cuthred, February 12, 2012 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment

David Graeber absolutely dismantles Hedges’ weak, divisive and misinformed arguments in N+1, “Concerning the Violent Peace Police; An Open Letter to Chris Hedges.”

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By Nick_Lento, February 12, 2012 at 11:32 am Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ said it well….

 


http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_cancer_of_occupy_20120206/utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+Truthdig/ChrisHedges+Chris+Hedges+on+Truthdig#459500

>>>”...Black Bloc violence validates right-wing dialectic regarding Occupy Wall
Street and, in that sense, Black Bloc violence makes Occupy Wall Street
“vulnerable” to right-wing dialectic. A “Battle for hearts and minds” is what is
occurring and any action that serves to turn the general population against
Occupy Wall Street is “harmful” to Occupy Wall Street and its objectives, such
actions are potentially: “hazardous,” “ risky,” “perilous,” Create a “menace,” and
place Occupy Wall Street’s objectives in “jeopardy.”


Hedges’ metaphor of Cancer might seem to be inappropriate hyperbole but a
“Cancer” left untreated will eventually be fatal. Whether Black Bloc Anarchists
will prove to be fatal to Occupy Wall Street is doubtful, but the “danger”
presented by Black Bloc Anarchists is real in terms of winning “The battle for
hearts and minds” and in that sense Black Bloc Anarchists are: a “Danger,” a
“Hazard,” a “Risk,” a “Peril,” and a “Menace.”


men•ace

1.  possible source of danger: a possible source of danger or harm

2.  nuisance: a constant source of trouble and annoyance

3.  threatening quality: a threatening quality, feeling, or tone

Could it be that Black Bloc Anarchists are nothing more than a nuisance? It
would appear that a “Battle for hearts and minds” is occurring within Occupy
Wall Street itself. Reading the comments here we see coming from Occupy Wall
Street members and supporters a call for violent resistance and “Full Scale
Revolt.” Carrying such comments to their logical conclusion it would appear
that some are calling for what would amount to de-facto, or even real, civil war.
It would appear that Black Bloc Anarchists and their supporters have aspirations
of becoming the new bosses to some extent or another. Wrong! They will
exclaim. We want a society where there are no bosses, which is the essence of
Anarchical thinking, but Anarchists are not total morons, are they? Those who
define themselves as Anarchists recognize the need for some hierarchy, don’t
they? I’m unsure.>>>”<<<

I’ve read scores of posts here and submitted a bunch myself.

The arguments for a non violent approach for OWS are overwhelming…all the
folks who advocate violence can do is put up the same hardcore extremist
ideologically fixated rhetoric that belongs more to the 18th century than the
21st.

Whether the advocates of violence are working for corporations or the
government or whether they are sincere true believers…the net result is the
same, and that is that the OWS movement is discredited and weakend.

I wish these violent people would go and to their thing on their own and not
hide behind peaceful OWS protesters.

Clearly the advocates of violence here are indeed pushing for a civl war…which
is where their fantasies take us if enough people were to buy into them…...and
such a war would be a bloody mess and would indeed result in an oppressive
police state.

The advocates of violence are delusional/mistaken at best and malevolent
miscreants at worst, either way they are functionally coounterevolutionary and,
yes, a cancer on the Occupy movement.

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By JDmysticDJ, February 12, 2012 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

Those who justify violence as a means of achieving political objectives reveal what would be their leadership style; new boss, old boss, different political perspectives using the same tactics. Any new paradigm that claims to be opposed to tyranny and injustice must have non-violence as its credo.

Passive, non-violent, peaceful protest and civil disobedience is not at all impotent, quite the contrary. It is the violence perpetrated by Black Bloc Anarchists that will prove impotent but more importantly Black Bloc violence is counter productive. The issue raised here by Hedges is a simple one; is Black Bloc violence, as seemingly insignificant as it might appear as compared to State violence, counter productive and dangerous?

dan•ger: 

1.  exposure to harm: exposure or vulnerability to harm, injury, or loss

2.  somebody or something that causes harm: somebody or something that may cause harm, injury, or loss

Synonyms: hazard, risk, peril, threat, menace, jeopardy, vulnerability, endangerment


Black Bloc violence validates right-wing dialectic regarding Occupy Wall Street and, in that sense, Black Bloc violence makes Occupy Wall Street “vulnerable” to right-wing dialectic. A “Battle for hearts and minds” is what is occurring and any action that serves to turn the general population against Occupy Wall Street is “harmful” to Occupy Wall Street and its objectives, such actions are potentially: “hazardous,” “ risky,” “perilous,” Create a “menace,” and place Occupy Wall Street’s objectives in “jeopardy.”


Hedges’ metaphor of Cancer might seem to be inappropriate hyperbole but a “Cancer” left untreated will eventually be fatal. Whether Black Bloc Anarchists will prove to be fatal to Occupy Wall Street is doubtful, but the “danger” presented by Black Bloc Anarchists is real in terms of winning “The battle for hearts and minds” and in that sense Black Bloc Anarchists are: a “Danger,” a “Hazard,” a “Risk,” a “Peril,” and a “Menace.”


men•ace

1.  possible source of danger: a possible source of danger or harm

2.  nuisance: a constant source of trouble and annoyance

3.  threatening quality: a threatening quality, feeling, or tone

Could it be that Black Bloc Anarchists are nothing more than a nuisance? It would appear that a “Battle for hearts and minds” is occurring within Occupy Wall Street itself. Reading the comments here we see coming from Occupy Wall Street members and supporters a call for violent resistance and “Full Scale Revolt.” Carrying such comments to their logical conclusion it would appear that some are calling for what would amount to de-facto, or even real, civil war. It would appear that Black Bloc Anarchists and their supporters have aspirations of becoming the new bosses to some extent or another. Wrong! They will exclaim. We want a society where there are no bosses, which is the essence of Anarchical thinking, but Anarchists are not total morons, are they? Those who define themselves as Anarchists recognize the need for some hierarchy, don’t they? I’m unsure.

Now I find myself in a dilemma; how does one comment about absurdity without pointing out that it is absurd. Surely the absurd will take offense when their absurdity is made evident, but I can not consider Anarchists merely absurd, I can only consider them to be “harmful” “dangerous” a “threat,” and so on regarding achieving more rational objectives. Stating my beliefs more succinctly I will proffer that these utopian Anarchists are better described as cancerous morons with propensities for violence. Now, if I were Robespierre (The real one) I would cart them off to the guillotine, but fortunately for them I am not Robespierre. (I jest, would that these advocates of violence were merely jesting too.)

Incidentally, Robespierre lost his head too; much like the advocates of violence have lost their heads, minds, whatever.

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By Lucius, February 12, 2012 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

Pardon my ignorance, and getting to this party a bit late, but I hadn’t heard of ‘black bloc’ until a couple of days ago when I saw a Facebook posting of a depiction that smeared Hedges and Derrick Jensen in a truly vile and noxious homophobic fashion. Many of the comments called them traitors. 

Given that these two have been at the forefront of a revolutionary intelligentsia that gives voice to the disenfranchised and who speak out against the forces that both destroy the Earth and marginalize Human Beings, I found this visceral reaction odd, to say the least.  And Hedges, especially, has been an ardent supporter of Occupy from the beginning, so I was flummoxed.

Then I read the Hedges piece to see what the problem was. But I couldn’t find the problem. Perhaps Hedges’ title is over the top, but that just a rhetorical flourish. Since I had no prior knowledge, I took Hedges at his word. 

But then I read a response to Hedges by David Graeber, a radical anthropologist who was with #OWS at the beginning.  http://www.truth-out.org/concerning-violent-peace-police-open-letter-chris-hedges/1328903282
His critique of Hedges seems to have some merit insofar as it seems to correct some of Hedges’ historical and ideological misconstruals. As Graeber asserts, the Ghandian tactic of non-violence is, in fact, the dominant paradigm of the Occupy Movement.  Therefore, his rather more benign view of “BB” is certainly at odds with Hedges’ view.

However, and in any event, those few who choose to commit acts of violence cannot be part of Occupy and must be marginalized as thugs at best, undercover provocateurs (as witnessed in 1999 in Seattle) at worse.

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By IMax, February 12, 2012 at 10:24 am Link to this comment

I find myself almost completely disagreeing with Sue on the issue of Black Bloc, however, I am embarrassed that so many on a liberal site such as this would advocate shutting down her point of view while no one speaks out again the atrocious and venomous rants from ardee.

I miss what this site once represented.  This was once an open and respectful venue for discussions on many topics coming from many points of view.

-

If and individual such as ardee attended an Occupy general assembly and opened his mouth as he does here I am 90% certain he would be asked to leave and never return.  So ugly and vile is his attitude toward people who see things differently.

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By 4thdimensionfound, February 12, 2012 at 9:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gee, Chris, I’m watching livestream from Athens and it
sure looks like the protesters are throwing shit to me. 
I guess it’s only OK if it doesn’t happen on your
block.  Maybe the rumor is true - you are a neoliberal
“plant” perhaps working for the CIA?

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By Dave Ewoldt, February 12, 2012 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

People, when someone like Sue Basko interjects themselves on a thread, the only response is to silently roll your eyes and move on. Perhaps feel pity for them, but unless you’re a mental health professional, don’t say anything or even remind the person to take their meds, as the only result is to disrupt the minimal intelligent discourse these threads develop.

No one that I’m aware of has come up with an effective way of dealing with them other than the silent treatment, and they’ve been trying at least since the early Usenet and FidoNet days in the mid-80s.  The other type it is often best to ignore are those who occasionally have something intelligent to say, but generally get their kicks from pushing buttons. They, however, can generally be dealt with if one is patient.

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By Anarcissie, February 12, 2012 at 8:37 am Link to this comment

Please, people—you’re being trolled again.

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By elisalouisa, February 12, 2012 at 8:19 am Link to this comment

You once mentioned that you you were interested in going to the Oakland
demonstrations ardee,  There was no follow-up so I assume you changed your
plans. Would have been good to have some first hand reporting as to the goings-
on..

Hope you have fully recovered from your hip surgery.

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By IMax, February 12, 2012 at 7:37 am Link to this comment

Sue Basko,

Ardee-full-of-putrid-hatred was the first individual on TruthDig to attack me in the most personal of ways.  This disgusting human-being relies almost entirely on petulant rants.  Only an angry little boy repeatedly tells everyone who happens to disagree with him how “stupid” they are for not seeing the world as he does.

This horribly disturbed misogynist once pretended I wrote him an odd private message.  I didn’t even know how do to that on Truthdig at the time.  He is also aware that I am female but, insists on referring to me as a man.  This guy is truly an odd bird. 

Be prepared, Sue.  From here on out this man will attack you mercilessly on these threads.  Why?  What is your crime?  You’re a female who has disagreed with him.

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By ardee, February 12, 2012 at 6:18 am Link to this comment

By Sue Basko, February 11 at 1:40 am Link to this comment

To the men posting ten jezillion comments each:

I think you guys need to get girlfriends or join a gym.  Just sayin’

This was the source of my criticism of your stupidity. I stand by my judgement of you as useless. Possibly a hater of all men as well, certainly childish.

I enclose the response that you objected to below, thinking it apt and perhaps harsh but certainly not inaccurate.

Sorry you give feminism in general such a bad name. You are obviously a young and stupid young woman without the common sense to understand that, in a political forum, people discuss politics.
Back to the night club, imbecile.

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By michael meinhof, February 12, 2012 at 5:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

there are is so much misinformation in this article. maybe do a little research on black bloc before you write this kind of drivel. for starters, black bloc is a tactic not a movement. and how long should we try to work with a system that oppresses us? when is it okay to physically resist? you let us know chris, until then we’ll sit idly by being beaten, pepper sprayed, and jailed. you make sure and let us know when the time is right!

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By tomcat, February 12, 2012 at 12:12 am Link to this comment

So you’ve learned nothing?

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By heterochromatic, February 11, 2012 at 11:49 pm Link to this comment

Basko——your first comment was anything other than a
bit of lighthearted and sexist abuse?

maybe you should take your umbrage further up the road.
just saying.

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By elisalouisa, February 11, 2012 at 10:56 pm Link to this comment

More than ever, thank you Chris Hedges for all you do.

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By Sue Basko, February 11, 2012 at 10:18 pm Link to this comment

To whoever ARDEE is:

Your post is abusive and so I have reported it.

People with intelligence do not need to write such things as you have written.

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By Mitchel Cohen, February 11, 2012 at 10:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Some wise words from Ordinary Joe. Thank you.

However, in saying “I do agree that such Black Bloc actions will give the establishment a temporary leg up, so to speak on their class war, but only temporarily,” I wouldn’t even go that far.

In NYC, the Black Bloc did not engage in acts of property destruction that I’m aware of. The cops didn’t need it as an excuse to pepper-spray people or to club them. All they needed were people setting up tents; or playing a guitar (yes, I saw a fellow arrested for playing his guitar while walking past a checkpoint to get into Zuccotti Park). Or distributing free food.

It’s true that the public perceptions are shaped by media and by people turning the other cheek (and getting the shit beaten out of them) when sitting at “whites only” lunchcounters and demanding the same service as whites. But Chris Hedges’ report goes far beyond arguing about perceptions. First, he invents a strawman, and then he calls the invented strawmen a “cancer” to be rooted out and disposed of.

And for what grievous act do we need to turn ourselves into cops? Because some kid somewhere threw a soda can against a window, so it’s ok to wreck his entire life? Where’s the morality in that?

And, it’s all based on a fiction, on some idiot’s line in an obscure magazine that no one reads, but Chris resurrects and builds his whole case upon it. Very, very foolish.

Mitchel Cohen
Brooklyn Greens/Green Party

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By TAGGLINE, February 11, 2012 at 9:51 pm Link to this comment

ECHOES

Did you lose me in the forest, while looking through the trees?
What you know ‘bout living… when you spend life on
your knees?
Now, where’s that plan to take a stand; don’t hustle revolution
Cuz, it’s real clear, this livin’ in fear just ain’t no real solution
Blaring’ all yo’ loud talk, and promises of change
Their voices mumblin’ useless, when you pick up on the game.

These dreams… they seem to be a desperation quest…
Move slow under the radar, with the bands of
dispossessed…
Now, offer up a tiny noise, or shout out to the
nation
And what you hear, are echoes of the songs of
desolation.

I push my body up each day to reach and grab the
brass
While the daily news, serves up the cues within that
looking glass
‘Hey, preacher-man confessor, say… you’re mighty big
on grace…
Cuz, you keep on talking all that shit ‘till you’re
blue in the face’
So, maybe you can help me out…I dropped the ball
somewhere
My soul support is reeling like the prophet in
despair’

So, power up that ‘shield of faith’…and keep on
movin’ on
What the hell’s the hoopla for when it’s all been
said and done?
Now, bend your knees and whisper, or bang the drum
out loud
Yeah, there’s one born every minute, give ‘em room,
they love a crowd!!

These dreams…come calling to our soul survivor quest…
Move slowly, take your time, you’ll get the meaning
of the test
We cry for love… and struggle for a simple, ancient
urge,
And, in the end, those echoes fade to black when we
converge

taggline music 2010

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By Mark E. Smith, February 11, 2012 at 9:40 pm Link to this comment

A few more responses to Hedges:

I respectfully disagree, Chris The Bat Country Word http://bit.ly/zeVSZG

I am the cancer. I am not a human being, I am the beast. Birds Before The Storm http://bit.ly/x8FBCc

What Progressive Criticisms of Anarchists in Occupy Don’t Understand: A Response to Chris Hedges Occupy Wall Street AlterNet http://bit.ly/zu9tjb

Nihilo Zero: The Folly of Christopher Hedges http://bit.ly/zKA08T

pink scare: Against Hedges on the Black Bloc http://bit.ly/zP57Bw

How not to block the black bloc / Waging Nonviolence - People-Powered News and Analysis http://bit.ly/ADkZqj

Facing Reality - To Be Fair, He Is a Journalist: A Short Response to Chris Hedges on the Black Bloc http://bit.ly/xnehjR

Hedging Our Bets on the Black Bloc: The Impotence of Mere Liberalism - UK Indymedia http://bit.ly/zCWYDv

Will Occupy Choose Super-PAC Funding Over Radical Action? News Junkie Post http://bit.ly/z03sTM

Fighting Chris Hedges with Chris Hedges: Why He’s So Wrong About “the” Black Bloc qcmississippimud.com http://bit.ly/wHYJEH

Colonizer: A Postcolonial Reading of Chris Hedges http://ola-asm.tumblr.com/post/17189347129/colonizerchrishedges

There are many more. And for each response, there are many who openly support and agree with it. Who knew that a “few hooligans” could be so vast in numbers and have so much public support?

I think my earlier analogy comparing the relationship between white liberals and the US government to somebody knowingly and happily married to a serial killer is apt. As long as he is a good provider and does his killing outside the home, they have no problem. Should he stop being a good provider, the appropriate response is to ask him to provide for his family better. Only if he starts killing his family members at home would self-defense be appropriate, at least according to Chris Hedges and his supporters. The problem is that many of the people in Occupy, particularly Occupy Oakland and other cities with large communities of color, are people from the communities where the serial killer has been doing his killing. It was away from Hedges’ home and away from the homes of his liberal supporters, but it wasn’t away from the homes of the communities the serial killer frequented while on his killing sprees.

The real problem is that Hedges has witnessed some of those killings and even sympathized, but did not say, as peace activist S. Brian Willson says, that they are us and we are them, that “We are not worth more, they are not worth less.” Hedges agrees that self-defense is appropriate for “them,” but not yet for “us.” That “us” is a racist “us,” and excludes the communities that are appropriately using self-defense. And while I have not (yet) used Black Bloc tactics, it also excludes me, because I will not deny communities that have been preyed upon by a serial killer called the U.S. government the right to self-defense merely because the government hasn’t gotten around to killing me yet. And I think the peaceful, nonviolent tactic of asking the killer to be a better provider is just the trigger that is likely to get him thinking about doing his killing at home to silence such pesky demands.

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By elisalouisa, February 11, 2012 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment

I recall that paragraph very well. Something about it rang true. Letting something take its course may include your involvement. Just remember that. Chris Hedges didn’t say he would join a monastic community he asked us to create small, monastic communities where we can sustain and feed ourselves.  Communes where we work together if you will.

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katsteevns's avatar

By katsteevns, February 11, 2012 at 7:35 pm Link to this comment

By heterochromatic, February 11 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

“the government is legitimate because the overwhelming
majority of the citizenry agree that it is “
              —————

....as did most of Germany right up to 1945.

So then, we have established that the overwhelming consensus flies in the face of peace and justice for all.

      ————————————-

  Back in April of last year, Hedges said this to us in his article The Corporate State Wins Again:


          “These elites do not have a vision. They know only one word—more.  They will continue to exploit the nation, the global economy and the ecosystem. And they will use their money to hide in gated compounds when it all implodes. Do not expect them to take care of us when it starts to unravel. We will have to take care of ourselves. We will have to create small, monastic communities where we can sustain and feed ourselves. It will be up to us to keep alive the intellectual, moral and culture values the corporate state has attempted to snuff out. It is either that or become drones and serfs in a global, corporate dystopia. It is not much of a choice. But at least we still have one.”

So, I didn’t get the memo about the monastic community he has joined. And if it is all going to “unravel” like he says, why doesn’t he just let it take it’s course instead of giving the government good reason to dump even more money into Homeland Security and think tanks that design police states and countermeasures against dissenters???

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By Ordinary Joe, February 11, 2012 at 7:33 pm Link to this comment

While I think it is unfortunate that the so call Black Bloc groups have invaded the Occupy movement, hoping or wishing it wouldn’t have happened will not make it so.  Even discouraging it as your finely written exposition seems directed toward will not change anything.  I do agree that such Black Bloc actions will give the establishment a temporary leg up, so to speak on their class war, but only temporarily.  I do not agree, as you seem to indicate, that such actions will permanently quash protest.  The circumstances which brought about discontent remain with us.  As J.F.K told us many years ago: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”  We are seeing the truth of this statement play out.  I do believe it may be some time but the popular will eventually will triumph.  Why?  As Paul Krugman so excellently states in his article “The Unwisdom Of The Elites”, it is because they have in fact been unwise.  This is nothing new in history.  Incompetent leadership has always fallen.  It matters not how much money the elites possess, it neither matters how many sell-out politicians they own.  I doesn’t even matter how many weapons they have.  In their greed and stupidity, they have written the script for their own demise.  Perhaps they ought to have read Machiavelli?

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By tomcat, February 11, 2012 at 6:38 pm Link to this comment

Ardee,
What exactly is the connection between the 2nd sentence in your reply and the 3rd?
Then maybe I can better address your “ally vs. moron”
paradigm.

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By ardee, February 11, 2012 at 5:53 pm Link to this comment

tomcat, February 11 at 2:39 pm

That esteemed political scientist, Bugs Bunny, had a comment apropos of your position in this post; “What a Maroon”!

You see no hope voting Green yet you will persist in doing so. Please do not call yourself an ally of mine, thanks very much.

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By heterochromatic, February 11, 2012 at 5:47 pm Link to this comment

it’s come up in my past. it seems I do.

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By tomcat, February 11, 2012 at 5:19 pm Link to this comment

Dear troll,
you won’t ask them because you don’t have the balls.
But hypothetically, if you did (have the balls and ask), not a single one would comply.
Peace

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By Mitchel Cohen, February 11, 2012 at 5:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To ReadingJones

I have no idea what you are talking about. Do you?

I’ve long fought to free Leonard Peltier (and Mumia Abu-Jamal, and Lynne Stewart, and all political prisoners).

What do you believe I’m advocating on behalf of Leonard Peltier that you think is wrong?

Or are we to simply guess what your point is?

Mitchel Cohen
Brooklyn Greens/Green Party

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By heterochromatic, February 11, 2012 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment

_____” When non-violence is under attack. What do we
do?“______


we tell the assholes throwing rocks to stop their
attack before they get people killed.


then maybe we find a few who persist and we take some
pictures of them and post them on-line.

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By ReadingJones, February 11, 2012 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment

@MR COHEN,
  Ask various members of AIM how the tactics you
espouse worked out. Maybe you could interview Leonard
Peltier.

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By tomcat, February 11, 2012 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment

Yeah, Ardee, let’s vote our way to a revolution!
As a Green of fifteen years, I can say,  we’d love it!
After all, the heart of the Green Party is revolutionary.
It’s just that in the early 90’s, the then Green movement decide to go the route of electoral politics…and become a party…following European predecessors.
The rest is…history?
The Green Party has done some wonderful things, but it has absolutely zero future in national politics.
Repubs and Dems have one party…it’s a private party and crashers will be crushed.

To paraphrase Nader: “The only difference between having democrats or republicans in power is that with republicans, the slope of our descent will be steeper….but either way…dems or repubs…we’re going down.

and as Dylan said, “The hour’s getting late”.

But I’ll continue to vote Green…for what it’s worth…and I’ll vote on local issues (where your vote CAN matter), because as the country sink, the people still need some victories…just to tread water.

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By tomcat, February 11, 2012 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

thefight’swithin,
welcome to the party…been goin’ on for four days…getting exhausted!
Read some of my posts…I share with you some specific critiques of Hedges.

I think Hedges is aiming for his old NY Times job….well, what else can one think?
Because of the platform he has, and the likelihood the article will be accepted as reality, I consider him a turncoat.
I think he will feel the fallout from his article for a long time.

It seems you have familiarity with black bloc, and I appreciate your perspective.
I stand with you.

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By ardee, February 11, 2012 at 2:47 pm Link to this comment

By katsteevns, February 11 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment

None of the posters here have addressed this fundamental argument made by Mark E. Smith:

Might I interject that the fundamental argument of Mr. Smith is as an advocate of non-intervention. Have you detected, in even a small way, any alternative to voting in his screeds?

It is not enough to say that our government is illegitimate and to shun participation. He constantly ignores the fact that all Greens understand the problem yet, unlike the silly hatted one, work to make it better.

Instead he demeans third party voters as still participating in the sick system when anyone with a brain, whether hatted or bareheaded, understands that the interjection of third parties in our Legislature is a proven way to bring progressive agendas back to the floor of those bodies.

Instead we get derision and no clue as to a solution. Silly as his hat.

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By heterochromatic, February 11, 2012 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment

swithy—-“there will be some out there wondering how
much
you’ve been paid….”
======================
shit such as that should stay in your butt.

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By heterochromatic, February 11, 2012 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment

the government is legitimate because the overwhelming
majority of the citizenry agree that it is

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By thefight'swithin, February 11, 2012 at 1:35 pm Link to this comment

chris, i am a big fan of your writing, i’ve just
finished ‘empire of illusion’ and am some way into
‘the world as it is.’
i respect and admire who you are and the contribution
you’ve made thus far to changing things in this
world. but i’m deeply disappointed with this article.
you seem to have done most of your research by
talking to derrick jensen than actually going out
there and seeing for yourself.

Please read this response to your article by David
Graeber:
Vhttp://nplusonemag.com/concerning-the-violent-peace-
police

there’s really a whole lot of nonsense in what you’ve
written and i think you need to do a lot more finding
out for yourself. all the folk i know who’ve been
engaged in black bloc actions are highly organised,
conscientious and thoughtful people who have seen the
“maturation process” go full circle and finish up
fruitless time after time. there will be no fair
outcome from bargaining with those whose only
interests are power and money. we can wait all our
lifetimes for the system to become honest and fair
but that’s never going to happen is it?
the system does not fear the people because the
system’s power is hidden and the people are
vulnerable, every detail of our lives is known and
watched. the act of ‘masking up’ is not
hypermasculinity, it is strength in anonymity, and
yes- comradeship, a way to counter the powerlessness
that is caused when faced by a line of armed, masked
and disguised police. it is playing them at their own
game, and - it works!
for sure, there will always be glory-seekers, but for
you to outright trash the behaviour of a mass
movement of dedicated activists without understanding
it or really backing yourself up at all is more than reprehensible, it’s damaging and
offensive.

there will be some out there wondering how much
you’ve been paid….

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By katsteevns, February 11, 2012 at 1:31 pm Link to this comment

None of the posters here have addressed this fundamental argument made by Mark E. Smith:
      ———————————


“The real question, is whether or not a government is legitimate. If it isn’t, then few people will condemn those who oppose it. As long as a government is considered legitimate, those who oppose it will be seen as a cancer endangering those who appease it. “

“The US is still viewed by many US Americans as a legitimate government because almost all of its crimes against humanity have been committed against people of color, usually thousands of miles away with the exception of certain places in the US like Oakland where there are large communities of color. People and communities of color are easily depicted as violent and therefore deserving of genocide by the state. Perhaps the Greeks fare better in Hedges’ eyes because they have lighter skin. Many Jews also have lighter skin, and in fact, here in the US most of us pass for white.

People who vote in the US are people who consider the US government to be legitimate. When I urge people not to vote, what I’m asking them to do is to stop recognizing and affirming the legitimacy of the government…....”
  ——————————————

In fact, I would argue that most here would probably take it as a giving that the US gov. is legitimate just because it is socially unacceptable(radical, dangerous) to think otherwise.

The criterion for measuring the legitimacy of your government (in your mind) does not extend to actions beyond its own physical borders….....Who can be proud of that?.....Many, apparently.

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By Jacob Richardson, February 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The cancer of Occupy is the divisive and cynical co-
opting of the overall protest movement as some sort of
brand. Jean Quan, who ordered the paramilitary assault
on the Occupy Oakland camp, has asked them to “disown”
the alternative tactics of those such as the black
bloc. The irresponsible actions as a few does not
justify the modelling of an ineffective smugness that receives a pat on the head from those such as Mayor
Quan.

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By Mark E. Smith, February 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

Research help needed, please. I’ve searched and searched for days now and I can’t find where it says that calling people a cancer is a nonviolent communications technique.

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By Mark E. Smith, February 11, 2012 at 12:50 pm Link to this comment

Great Tweet by @punkboyinsf:

When non-violence is under attack. What do we do? Stand up.. oh.. wait..

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By elisalouisa, February 11, 2012 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment

The only way to examine the Occupy method is to get out there Michael. A first hand report would make your comments authentic.

Most now follow Jerry Gerber’s advice concerning to your posts.

Change that.

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By Jerry Gerber, February 11, 2012 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment

Ignore this.

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

Part 2.

Let me be clear: “By any means necessary” is not a code-word for acting stupidly or individualistically. But those strategic occupations and our physical defense of them galvanize the community around what Marxists and Anarchists call “the property question”. Such occupations and organizing to defend them require all sorts of tactics, different ones at different times. Tactics utilized in self-defense of a hospital or a community center being occupied and “opened up” for the community are different than when those same tactics are employed in a different context (say, during a protest march, or a bank expropriation). We have to stop falling into the trap of arguing about tactics in the abstract.

Hedges’ limiting of tactics to moralistic civil disobedience accepts the authority of those in power and appeals to them to “do the right thing” through our self-sacrifice as a moral force. This tactic—which is obviously useful in some circumstances and at certain stages—becomes self-defeating when abstracted from the goal it is trying to achieve and raised to the level of moral principle. That, to me, is Hedges’ error.

A Little History

One line in the Occupy Oakland response to critics reads: “The OPD and the city claim that we are outsiders and that we are not from Oakland (even as 93% of OPD officers live outside Oakland).”

Very nicely put! The Occupy Oakland statement is fine; if anything, it’s too defensive.

Remember, some folks accused the occupyers of the same thing in 1969, when people from all over the region converged on what was to become People’s Park in Berkeley, to defend it from UC Berkeley’s so-called “development” bulldozer. James Rector was shot and killed by police; tear-gassing went on for weeks. Years later, Rosebud was murdered by a cop after she snuck into the Chancellor’s house – which turned out to be empty!—to discuss with him the University’s orders to the police to evict her friends from People’s Park. The struggle went on for decades.

The violence from the state was over-the-top; it exposed the lengths to which it would go when property is threatened by peaceful activists. The assumption some are making that, therefore, property seizures should stop because they cause the police to react violently is exactly the opposite of what needs to happen. In actuality, they need to expand. We need to seize back the municipal and private properties that the 1 percent and its government have stolen from us and put them to use in the service of the 99 percent.

Keep focus on who is the real enemy, and who is committing the real violence.

- Mitchel Cohen
Brooklyn Greens/Green Party

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By Mitchel Cohen, February 11, 2012 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Tactics Depend on the Larger Strategy

(Part 1 of 2)

Chris Hedges has and continues to make very valuable historical critiques of both the Democratic and Republican parties, who do the bidding of the 1 percent. But his strategic options for Occupy Wall Street are fundamentally flawed. Here’s why.

I attended Chris Hedges’ talk Tuesday night in Manhattan. In my view, 3/4 of his speech was absolutely fantastic. And then he talked about Occupy Oakland and the black bloc and it went downhill from there, in my opinion..

Seth, Bill K (from Manhattan Greens list), and I talked with Hedges afterwards. Bill K. challenged Hedges’ support for Bill McKibben, who has himself been absolutely fawning in his praise of Obama. While doing good organizing, McKibben constantly misinforms ecological activists about Obama’s position on the tar sands pipeline, twisting Obama’s decisions so that they are viewed in the best possible light (whishful thinking), but only to “disappoint” the anti-tar-sands pipeline movement a few weeks later. As Hedges had publicly and skillfully skewered Obama’s policies, we wondered why he did not also criticize McK, especially given Hedges’ excoriation of the far less potent Black Bloc, who most clearly are not – unlike McKibben – trying to mislead people into voting for the Democratic Party. We did not get a clear answer.

I questioned Hedges’ on his position, especially with regard to Occupy Oakland. I pointed out two things:

1) Hedges is using (mis)information garnered from the same news sources he lambasted in the main part of his talk without at least supplementing it—let alone checking its accuracy over the extent of so-called “violence”—with actual participants at Occupy Oakland. David Graeber makes this point clear in his rebuttal: Talk to real people who are part of the Black Bloc.

2) He’s setting up a flawed framework in which the poles of debate are either Black Bloc “violence” or non-violent Civil Disobedience, which Hedges seems to have elevated into a moral principle. (Note that there are two parts to that and both require deconstruction: a) non-violence, and b) civil disobedience).

It’s this second point about the weakness of presenting these as the two poles to the debate that is part of its seeming intractability of the choice as posed. “Violence” in the abstract, or “non-violence” in the abstract, cannot even hold as definitions (see David Graeber’s commentary in discussing the supposedly “non-violent” movement in Egypt and in India.) The poles in answering that question devoid of context represent a false alternative.

Leftists need to reframe our strategic choices and begin to reclaim, occupy, and “open up” property that has been stolen from us (as a class). We do this through direct action. That is the strategy I am proposing.

We convert that occupied property to the uses needed by the communities in which it resides. We need to take over and open up hospitals, libraries, schools, train stations that have been shut down by the government. We need to reclaim the millions of homes and farms that the banks foreclosed on.

Take, for example, St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village. The Bloomberg administration has shuttered this essential hospital—with the support of the Democrats. Christine Quinn, a Democrat politician, who is the chair of the NYC City Council. Quinn received large campaign contributions from Scott Rudin, a Manhattan “developer”. It was on Quinn’s approval along with the Mayor’s that gave the go-ahead to Rudin to convert the hospital into luxury condos.

Occupy Wall Street should reclaim that hospital and re-open it. Similarly, the Occupy Oakland movement has the right to seize abandoned property and use it for the community’s needs.

Those communities have not only the right but the responsibility to defend those building occupations by any means necessary.

(See Part 2)

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By Ed Romano, February 11, 2012 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

Okay. I see that we’re not going to get anything productive off the ground here. The occasional nugget of wisdom gets lost under the barrage sent up by brick throwers and dim wits. Good luck folks and bye bye.

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

EZ—- question away, if you keep providing the tunes.

relentlessly yours,

http://youtu.be/fetGGg9uM-M

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By OzarkMichael, February 11, 2012 at 10:57 am Link to this comment

In the past when manners were more a part of social interchange there would be a call to a non-violent group planning a demonstration asking if another group (not of similar non-violent views) could join in.

The methods of OWS probably matter more in the equation than polite phone calls about who can join in. There might be something to the Occupy method that invites violence(perhaps unintentionally).
I would like to examine the Occupy method and find out. Lets begin.

OWS seeks confrontation with authority. The confrontation starts by bending and breaking the rules that the rest of us must live by. (a brief digression:  I am not discussing all the positive reasons why OWS breaks the rules, or all the negative aspects of the rules. I am only describing the OWS method objectively)

The confrontation begins with a question from the police, such as “do you have a permit to close down this port?”... (another digression: I am not discussing whether the 1% deserve to own or operate or profit from a port. I am only describing the method of Occupy)

OWS answers the police question and then makes an appeal: “We dont need a permit, we are the 99%, and you must let us do this, or we will escalate”  (another digression: I am not describing a particlar escalation since Occupy gets more milage from keeping the threat vague. I am only describing the Occupy method)

The police might back down, or not(I am not describing why they back down one at one port,or why at the next port the police enforce the rules. I am merely discussing the Occupy method)

If the police back down, it is a victory for Occupy, which thus obtains a new tool, a new power, a new “right”, a new platform, which they consider to be “free speech”.(I am not discussing whether a “free speech” platform for only one faction is good for democracy or not. I am not discussing the content of that free speech either. I am only describing the Occupy method)

If instead of backing down, the police stand the line and enforce the law, then the Occupy confrontation seems to be defeated, but in fact Occupy might gain a payoff. If an Occupier gets hurt and that is caught on film, it is a golden moment for Occupy. If the police use excessive force that is a golden moment for Occupy. This is where the Occupy method of confrontation generates its great moments, its life blood of gaining the common man’s sympathy. (a digression: i am not defining any particular Occupy leadership as a locus of planning all this. Nor am i defining the degree of police brutality. I am merely discussing the Occupy confrontation process)

So now I have traced out several steps to the Occupy method of confrontation. We are only talking about method. I have not included any rationale for backing Occupy, nor any rationale for opposing it. All i have done is described a process.

Why did I do this? I did it in order to discover if Occupy ‘invites’ radicals. We are not looking for polite phone calls between disparate groups of protesters, we are instead looking for something like a dog-whistle by Occupy, a welcome whistle for radicals to participate.

Before i proceed, i ask you to critique what i have said so far. As you do so, please remember one thing: For all the Truthdig articles about Occupy, and all the Truthdig authors who are so involved in Occupy, and all the bloggers here who vehemently support Occupy, somehow I am the only one who took the time to observe, think about, and describe Occupy as a process.

I thought of this a long time ago, but there was no room for it until i saw a little wink, a little understanding of irony by a Leftist here today. 

Leftist accusations against me… of idiocy, fascism, bad faith, etc. serve one purpose… to collectively hold your hands over your ears in order to shut reason out. After that happens i can only use irony at your expense. But when my irony meets with your understanding the door opens again, as it has today.

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By EmileZ, February 11, 2012 at 10:15 am Link to this comment

@ heterochromatic

You are quite relentless aren’t you???

It is your life buddy, and I promise I will never question the way you choose to spend your time etc. (unless I change my mind).

Naval Aviation In Art - Zappa

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEHGDvDGjXs

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By ardee, February 11, 2012 at 10:09 am Link to this comment

By Sue Basko, February 11 at 1:40 am Link to this comment

To the men posting ten jezillion comments each:

I think you guys need to get girlfriends or join a gym.  Just sayin’

Sorry you give feminism in general such a bad name. You are obviously a young and stupid young woman without the common sense to understand that, in a political forum, people discuss politics.
Back to the night club, imbecile.

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By heterochromatic, February 11, 2012 at 9:58 am Link to this comment

thanks Dave, the meetings at OWS are, by design,  long and slow

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By Anarcissie, February 11, 2012 at 9:56 am Link to this comment

I think it’s probably a mistake to institutionalize OWS and its kin.

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By Daniel, February 11, 2012 at 9:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hedges ftw!

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By Dave Ewoldt, February 11, 2012 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

One thing I think it is important to touch on that was mentioned by tomcat, I think, is the manner in which the 99% movement considers itself a leaderless movement, but then pretty much everyone says that we’re all leaders. At some point I believe it is going to be necessary to understand the movement will be most effective if it adopts a model of
_shared_ leadership. While this model is explicitly non-hierarchical, I’m not sure if what’s being referred to as horizontalism is a good way to express it. Horizontal is still linear—just because it’s a different direction than the status quo doesn’t mean it’s the right or at least the best direction.

The 99% movement is non-linear and dynamic, and seeks, I believe anyway, to function and support a fundamental cultural shift toward the creative, cooperative, compassionate and nurturing manner in which life itself works and has been sustaining itself for billions of years. Our cultural detour into dominator hierarchies and separation from nature is only about 8,000 years long, and it’s pretty obvious even to the casual observer that it simply isn’t sustainable. Not even 1% of the 1% will be able to nourish themselves by eating their stock options when the rest of the planet is dead, and that is the only outcome possible under the Industrial Growth Society, economic cannibalism, and a pathological sense of the other. Please believe me, folks, it’s not the Federal Reserve (or any other single manifestation) that’s at the root of our problems today.

Shared leadership is covered in depth by Margaret Wheatley in her book Finding Our Way: Leadership For an Uncertain Time. With all the other trained facilitators and change agents involved in the movement, I’m a bit surprised no one else seems to have brought this up yet. The concept of shared leadership is one of the few I go into in any detail during the two-hour teach-in on coalition development—itself just an overview of our two-day workshop—I’ve done for a few of the occupy encampments due to what I see as its fundamental importance to the success of the 99% movement. It also directly deals with one of the major issues many of the GAs seem to have with an inability to move forward on anything of substance (besides _generally_ not getting the consensus process right, or using it to its maximum effectiveness).

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By Ed Romano, February 11, 2012 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

For anarchism to have a voice in opposition to this death dealing state it must develop a coherent body of ideas rather than content itself with anti-intellectual adventurism. Even if it is able to do this it must first find a way to allay the fears of the population that the dismantling of the state will not leave it prey to roving bands of marauders… Let’s stop and think about this.Is this development in any way liable to take place ? In the meantime, those who think they can go up against the awesome fire power and organization of the U.S. Government with sticks and stones ,or by breaking store windows are folks to avoid like the plague. Their comical and futile posturings can do nothing but bring discredit on any reasonable opposition. I believe these are valid observations and would like to see some discussion of them rather than continually hurling verbal bricks at each other.

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By elisalouisa, February 11, 2012 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

It the past when manners were more a part of social interchange there would be a call to a non-violent group planning a demonstration asking if another group (not of similar non-violent views) could join in. It was accepted that groups had their own agenda and way of achieving their goals. Apparently, that is no longer true. Of course, at that time it was those who were not in agreement with non-violence that had the national headlines.  Chris Hedges has now made the non-violent advocates nationally known. Black Bloc seeks to gain national attention through OWS dismissing the difference in modus operandi that is there.
Can one say there is no difference between a Conscientious Objector and a volunteer in the Armed Forces? They both may be in agreement as to the goal but are quite dissimilar as to methods used to achieve success.

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By carrie reichardt, February 11, 2012 at 9:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Have a look at the difference beween suffragettes and suffragists…the suffragists were the black bloc of the womens movement….I personally would of been a suffragist!!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16945901

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By Anarcissie, February 11, 2012 at 8:50 am Link to this comment

I think there’s a considerable question as to whether there is a gap.  Most people use terms like ‘violence’, ‘force’, ‘coercion’, ‘terror’ and so on pretty loosely.  Hedges has not contributed to clarifying the issues by writing hysterically about ‘cancer’.

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By elisalouisa, February 11, 2012 at 8:23 am Link to this comment

MESmith:  Chris Hedges call attention to a divide that has always been there. The chasm between passive resistance proponents and those who support the use of violence is deep-rooted. Similar to Hedges, Gandhi also had to battle advocates of the use of violence. What is astounding is that there are those who refuse to acknowledge this gap.

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By Anarcissie, February 11, 2012 at 8:18 am Link to this comment

Here’s yet another view, ‘That Window at Starbucks’ by Bhaskar Sunkara in Dissent.

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By anomar, February 11, 2012 at 7:33 am Link to this comment

OWS must remain non-violent for it to succeed.  If the Black Bloc were smart, they would hang back and watch non-violent protestors gain sympathy via their sacrifice.

But Black Bloc is not smart. 

I, like others, am not absolutely against ‘violence’ in that it is sometimes necessary in defense.  However, the moral high ground will only be gained via non-violence at this moment in time and under present conditions.

Innocent people will have to die to make a better world.  Ever was it thus.  It is depressing that we still have a significant portion of American ‘leftists’ who do not see this simple fact: we are not in a cultural position to advocate violent change.  It will not work, and it should be discouraged at every turn.

Now if Black Bloc members were willing to lie down and die, I might be impressed with them.

There are many forms of anarchy.  Violent anarchy will only beget violence and ensure the victory of the 1%.

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By Karen, February 11, 2012 at 7:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

At first I was appalled at Hedge’s vitriol, his
unmasked hatred for the Black Bloc and his
declaration of moral superiority; I particularly took
umbrage to his declarations of pacifism while all the
while spewing hate speech that incites violence
against those we should be in solidarity with.  Did
some more research and I realize this is, as Hedges
once said, fear which “causes you to think with a
different part of your brain.”  Like a wounded
badger, Chris has lashed out blindly and with fury
against those who would put themselves in harm’s way
over matters that threaten his very survival.  Chris,
your paranoid rantings are unbecoming and
disingenuous.  If violence scares you, as you have
said more than once, then come out and be a man and
say it, rather than resorting to your own violent
tactics to push it out of your world view.

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By EmileZ, February 11, 2012 at 3:06 am Link to this comment

@ Sue Basko

You would probably have a heart attack if I disrobed in your presence.

I encourage you to think of me as a Jamie Foxx type with a lot less money and a profound interest in social justice and stuff, the likes of which no one seems to be able to fathom on this website.

Don’t listen to that 98 pound weakling Mark E. Smith who cares nothing for the occupy movement.

What are you doing up this late at night with that cute little fleece lined hood on anyhow???

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By Sue Basko, February 11, 2012 at 2:40 am Link to this comment

To the men posting ten jezillion comments each:

I think you guys need to get girlfriends or join a gym.  Just sayin’

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By Mark E. Smith, February 11, 2012 at 2:19 am Link to this comment

Nobody cares if Chris Hedges lays himself open to attack, EmileZ. That’s what writers do.

The problem is that he laid other people open to attack.

And that in doing it, he proved himself to be a hypocrite, condoning violence in Greece but not here.

Also that his reasoning was totally illogical. He seems to think that the US public prefers 98-pound weaklings who let bullies kick sand in their faces, to people who stand up and defend themselves. Even the most rookie ad writer straight out of college knows better than that.

He also seems to think that more people will voluntarily submit themselves to police brutality if there is nobody there who might help them escape being kettled or shield them from the brunt of it.

Worst of all, his attack on the Black Bloc served to divide Occupy, when what the movement needs is unity.

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By EmileZ, February 11, 2012 at 12:56 am Link to this comment

@ tomcat

Thank you for replying.

I agree that these actions would not be approved of by -my words- any serious, thoughtful, mature member of Occupy Seattle.

There is a lot of important stuff going on, but this is important as well, as I see it.

I hope you can forgive Chris Hedges for laying himself open to attack by bringing up some of these issues, even if you think he did a poor job articulating them, or you don’t entirely agree.

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By Valerie, February 11, 2012 at 12:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am a huge fan of Hedges. I think he 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.

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 focussed 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 tomcat, February 11, 2012 at 12:33 am Link to this comment

Well, I guess some people don’t like banks!
And I guess I feel the same way!

Now, do I care that windows at a bank are broken or an ATM set on fire?.....Not at all.

Am I concerned that people will link these events, in their minds, to Occupy Seattle? Yes….
Isn’t that what the media want?...Surely.

Do I advocate the use of explosive devices?...no…and I doubt ANYONE who is a part of ANY occupy would either.

The bottom line is I can assure you that none of these actions would be approved by Occupy Seattle’s decision-making body.
The key takeaway here is how to get the people of Seattle to trust their occupiers, so that random incidents like these don’t raise red flags in their minds>
There’s more that could be said…but it’s late.
But regarding your concern about “this shit”, I’d just say there’s a hell of a lot of things of more importance to be concerned about.

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By elisalouisa, February 11, 2012 at 12:30 am Link to this comment

The unknown quantity here is Black Bloc. Do they just show up at events Occupy has organized and do their thing? With Black Bloc I am reminded of a loose canon.

http://blogs.wsj.com/ideas-market/2012/02/10/black-blocs-an-intra-occupy-debate

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By Mark E. Smith, February 11, 2012 at 12:23 am Link to this comment

I went to a play about Nat Turner this evening. He was much worse than the Black Bloc, who have never harmed anyone but are said, if the media is to be believed and they weren’t police provocateurs, to have damaged some property. Nat Turner was a black slave who led a rebellion and killed whites. Not only was he executed, but the repercussions were horrendous. I guess he was one of the cancers on the Abolition movement.

Some still condemn him. The audience this evening honored him. It’s all a matter of viewpoint, of which you see as having been worse, the institution of slavery, or slaves rebelling. Nat Turner, like many other slaves who led violent revolts, had hoped to start the Civil War. Whether they failed or not is again a matter of viewpoint. Perhaps the Civil War started sooner because of slave rebellions, perhaps the rebellions delayed the war, or perhaps they had no effect on the timing at all.

My personal viewpoint is that injustice always and inevitably leads to resistance. The more violent the injustice, the more likely that the resistance will also be violent. Remember Michael Moore’s film, “Bowling for Columbine,” and the scene where he filmed one of the fathers of the boys who had gone on a rampage and killed people at their high school? In what may have been the most ironic scene in the history of documentary films, the father, who worked for a defense contractor and was filmed standing in front of one of the deadly missiles they manufacture, saying that he couldn’t understand where the boys got the idea that violence could solve anything.

The liberals have had over 200 years to prove that they could change our government’s genocidal policies through elections, petitions, peaceful protests, and other nonviolent means. The genocides continue.

No justice, no peace.

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By EmileZ, February 11, 2012 at 12:22 am Link to this comment

RE: My comment below.

Bad spelling on my behalf, I meant “conveniently”, not “conviently”.

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By EmileZ, February 11, 2012 at 12:15 am Link to this comment

@ tomcat

Too bad my query doesn’t fall in with your conviently created article-related question answering rules.

I was looking forward to hearing your answer.

Perhaps you could be moved to explain how you feel about what was written before the link.

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By tomcat, February 10, 2012 at 11:41 pm Link to this comment

Regarding your burning question about present vs. past. I’ll try put it as simply as possible. This present thread on which I’m writing is about the article I’m addressing!...and which I believe we all are…
so yes…the “past” and the “present” here converge…or are linked.
My point was that you had touted his past writings as evidence that THIS article therefore merits higher consideration or value.
My point is that each piece stands on its own. ok?

Now, more importantly, as to the issue of OWS, and I’m glad you brought it up because I should have addressed it in the previous post, there are hundreds of Occupies throughout the country and around the world. In the L.A.
area, there is Occupy L.A, Pasadena, Occupy the Hood, San Fernando Valley, Long Beach, Irvine…and more.
Each is autonomous, grown locally and organically, beholden to no other occupy.
They craft their owm statements of purpose or mission…they decide what types of action and issues to take on, etc…often based on what’s happening in their communities.
Of course there is cross pollination of ideas and individuals, communication (there’s a weekly national conference call), and some planning of joint actions….port shutdowns, general strike, convergences, etc.

Most occupies use the general assembly (GA) model for meetings, and these operate by consensus.
Other facets of this model is that it is horizontal, non-hierarchical, transparent and leaderless…everyone is a leader.

Regarding statements on non-violence…New York has one, Oakland does not, L.A. has one, but there doesn’t seem to be a record of it, as it occurred very early…I think September, and there is no livestream or notes to verify it. The subject arose again in December, and after MUCH debate, even on Christmas eve, no further action has been taken to craft a statement.


As for other cities, you’d have to check. Most occupies have websites and you can google them.
So the relevance of all of this to the Hedges article is that he can’t reasonably address a movement which is, in fact, an array of independently thinking communities, united by the original call of OWS in New York, and the few general issues it addressed:
the damage that has been and currently is being done to the 99% by a financial system run amok, corporate domination of our lives, and a political system fueled by money.

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

@ tomcat

Last night the windows of three Seattle banks were broken by people described as wearing black masks and hoodies. A week or so ago the windows of a Wells Fargo bank were broken, the Anarchist’s sign and occupy spray painted on the facade. A few weeks ago a guy in a black mask and hoodie left a bomb inside the atm area of a bank. It didn’t explode.

How do you feel about these and other acts described in the Seattle PI article linked to here???

http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattle911/2012/02/06/three-capitol-hill-banks-vandalized-monday/

This kind of shit is really happening.

When you are through condemning Hedges and Truthdig, when you are through trying to make Hedges a “persona non grata” in the Occupy movement, when you are through comparing Hedges article to Glen Beck, perhaps you could answer.

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

Again, your writing is all about Chris Hedges, and obviously, it has taken on a diabolical twist tomcat.

I shall quote again from your post Feb.10 at 10:15 a.m.
Hedges is just a person, with no more value than you or me. ?What anyone has done in the past is meaningless here. ?The issue is what we’re doing now.  You were referring only to what Chris Hedges has achieved. That’s what is meaningless, dead and gone. However, his last column that you have critiqued in such a vengeful manner each and every day, that past is still with us right?

As to OWS,one cannot help but ask,  Is there one movement or has it splintered?  Who decides?  The Modus Operandi of this movement as to violence must be spelled out. People who wish to be supportive deserve to know.

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By tomcat, February 10, 2012 at 9:20 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa,
Mt “principal role” here has been to try to shed some light on an opinion piece, devoid of journalistic integrity, which, had it not been written by Hedges, I might call a “hit” piece of…......propaganda.
Ultimately, and sadly, that will be the effect of
it… anti-OWS propaganda.  It has the level of quality of…Glen Beck…and he (Beck) is probably loving it.

Aside from being devoid of any relevant or recent facts of black bloc in OWS, Hedges, the prophet, has the audacity to trumpet a warning call to his beloved movement, as if all those folks on the ground will just say: “oh!...we didn’t know that! Thanks, Chris, we’ll get it right next time.
Did he think he has that kind of capital with the occupiers? Is he that delusional?
There are a lot of very bright minds in the movement (I’m not one of them), but even I know shit when I see it.
What POSSESSED him to do this?
I would imagine Hedges will be more of a persona non grata in the movement now.

By the way, I was a fan of the eloquent and powerful anti-imperial writings of Mr. creme de la creme before this.
I’ve felt betrayed, angry, and motivated to dig deeper, after being initially stunned.
Why didn’t he write an article on the military/police state, their increased violence, state of the art weaponry, and THEIR threat to OWS, and ALL of the people?

At a time when the movement needs powerful propaganda to counter the mass media, we get this.

For a population that welcomes anything that will justify them sitting back in their easy chair instead of joining in, at the most serious point in our history, what is likely the best hope of reclaiming our communities, our country, and our planet, they get their wish.
As I said in another post. The kettle is hot..and full of frogs. I don’t want the kettle to boil.

I know now to listen to voices like those from here in L.A. who went to Oakland on J28, and told of the masked resisters with peace shields who protected their terrorized comrades.
They felt the burn of tear gas for the first time…tight handcuffs cutting off circulation to the hands after being on for three hours…then spending 48 hours in jail with no blankets.
409 arrested…and as with all who go thru this…now doubly motivated to change their world.

When OccupyLA was evicted from city hall (solidarity park)on Nov.30, similar stories…298 arrested…Handcuffs on for SEVEN hours…peaceful people shot in the back with rubber bullets while running away from 1400 LAPD…..1400 cops bussed in by a cavalcade of busses from a staging point at the police academy…and, of course, DHS…the hand behind the rash of evictions of occupations that had taken place.
These are the stories which give me heart…and clarity.

I know who has that thing which Hedges holds so dear:
moral authority…it’s the people on the front line.
I trust them, including those who wear masks, and my heart is with them…as I expect to be soon.

I don’t trust a paranoid writer who sees black bloc under the covers, while lying in the dark.

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By heterochromatic, February 10, 2012 at 9:13 pm Link to this comment

Dave—fighting against an organized armed terrorist
group given sanctuary by those exercising sovereign
power over the nation of Afghanistan…..is neither
quite opposing crime or fighting a war.

and that is why the AUMF is worded as it is.
I don’t agree that bombing in Afghanistan was
senseless, and fail to understand how, if you know
the history of the Taliban and Al Qaeda and our
efforts through the UN prior to 9/11 you can assert
that.

Absolutely agree that the invasion of Iraq had
nothing to do with 0/11 and that it was a fraud
perpetrated by the Rumsfeld/Cheney gang…....


—————


on the issue of petitioning for a redress of
grievances, Dave, I’ve got raise the sad point that
protesters propose but the govt disposes…..we get
to ask, but we’re not to expect that we will have our
petition looked upon with favor.

again sadly, we don’t get to stay assembled in the
park forever merely because we’ve been frustrated.

there’s no way that such a thing can be workable,
particularly as there’s no immediate connection
between parks and the grievances.


for example, I kinda think I might like to get some
friends and occupy Central Park’s Sheep Meadow for
the summer if the government doesn’t agree to make
university education a right for all.

(or a decade if the donations cover the cost of a
nice log cabin w/plumbing and not just food and
clothing)

somehow I think my friends and I will have to make
other plans.

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By elisalouisa, February 10, 2012 at 9:08 pm Link to this comment

I shall quote your last sentence Jerry Gerber: ” So long as people understand that the more rights one has, the more responsibility to one’s self and to others one has, the expansion of rights is a good thing.”

That’s really good. 

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By heterochromatic, February 10, 2012 at 8:55 pm Link to this comment

Jerry Gerber——-Every generation is free to decide
what new rights are to be sought for.
——


that’s good Jerry, thank you. We all agree that it’s
a great idea and not anything that is currently a
right.

We might also all agree that making it some kind of
right, via legislation probably, might also be a
great idea if we agree to fund such a thing and
agree as to the conditions that would attach.

I do recall that at the end of WWII the nation agreed
to fund some higher education for veterans of the
armed services.

Since then there have been added other conditional
programs

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By Ed Romano, February 10, 2012 at 8:38 pm Link to this comment

You see folks- the problem with freedom of speech is that even retards like Arkansas Ike can avail themselves of it. You’ll notice that I didn’t address the content of anything he said. I just laid a lot of vicious crap on on him. Since that’s the way he operates I figure he’ll understand it better. As soon as he finishes slopping the hogs I’m sure we’ll hear from him again.

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