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The Terror Dream

The Terror Dream

By Susan Faludi

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The Cancer in Occupy

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.

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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 heterochromatic, February 7, 2012 at 10:44 pm Link to this comment

EZ the rats win far too often…......

and sometimes they ween all over the country….

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By elisalouisa, February 7, 2012 at 10:37 pm Link to this comment

Nonviolent movements, on some level, embrace police brutality. The continuing attempt by the state to crush peaceful protesters who call for simple acts of justice delegitimizes the power elite. It prompts a passive population to
respond. .  .  .

Losing this moral authority, this ability to show through nonviolent protest the corruption and decadence of the corporate state, would be crippling to the movement. It would reduce us to the moral degradation of our oppressors. And that is what our oppressors want.

So true Chris Hedges. Thank you.

Interesting link,videos in particular.

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By EmileZ, February 7, 2012 at 10:37 pm Link to this comment

@ Heterochromatic

Jackie Wilson - “Even When You Cry”

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By heterochromatic, February 7, 2012 at 10:01 pm Link to this comment

I’m a 83 year old man and I was at the Oakland demonstration with my mom and,
while we didn’t see everything,  I saw protesters dressing up like police and firing
flame-throwers at at cops and cub scouts leading homeless orphans to safety.

I saw black blocheads filling Salvation Army donation kettles with finishing nails an
d military-grade high explosives and so much more before they killed my mom’s
helper animal and we decided to leave.

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By katsteevns, February 7, 2012 at 9:55 pm Link to this comment

By Rafael Ravenet, February 7 at 1:12 pm

“Peace, respect for rule of law and private property are the bulwarks of a successful grass roots movement in our day and age.  Chris Hedges is well aware of the standard opposition any current social justice movement will probably experience on the road to real positive change. “

I’d say that private property IS the problem, considering that most of it has been swindled or stolen away from its owners.

“Please Massah, can I have the crumbs that fall from your table even though it was I who labored to make the bread from the dirt to the dish?!?”



“When change threatens to rule, then the rules are changed.” - Michael Parenti

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By geoduck, February 7, 2012 at 9:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Like I said before: black bloc fashionism began as a 10th group operation in Berlin when it was still under 4 powers military occupation in the 1970s.  It’s a pseudo gang.  The cops let it happen because some reserve SF group is calling it a field exercise which just happens to coincide with an OWS march. Talk about clueless and being played.

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By Wikileaks for Nobel, February 7, 2012 at 9:45 pm Link to this comment

Occupy has to decide whether we really are the 99%—and therefore consider the fate, feelings, and perceptions of the 99% in what we do and say—or only mean that as a rhetorical ploy that can be discarded when it suits.  I’ve seen this before, when at the end of its implosion, what became the Weathermen were taking NLF flags onto beaches and having fist fights with those who didn’t like what they saw.  The slogan was “Fight the People” and the cockeyed idea was to “engage people” in this way. 

Engaging them by airs of Guevarist superiority in the urban mountains of Oakland, dismissing them as fools and pigs when they fail to rise up to the expectations of the Vanguard, makes sense if you really aren’t relying on the 99% to make basic changes in society.  If your goal is just to bait the cops and have optimum opportunities to yell “fuck you!” then by all means, continue.  However, if you really do think that the vast majority of people in this country might be necessary to bring about the difficult and far-reaching transformation that some call “revolutionary,” it would be a good idea to have less adrenaline and more moderation in action.  It’s possibly less satisfying than a more militant posture, but posturing is no substitute for the real solidarity of people who know you care about their well-being.

All Power to the People

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By greta151, February 7, 2012 at 9:41 pm Link to this comment

I am a 60+ woman who was at the January 28 move-in day in Oakland where peaceful Occupy protesters were kettled by the OPD, and then beaten, gassed, and eventually arrested en masse. I didn’t see every aspect of the march, but I didn’t see marchers toss objects at the police. But I did see the police behave
brutally and thuggishly, shooting lots of gas and various projectiles at the demonstrators once they had them surrounded and trapped. This was well documented by local residents and independent reporters—several of whom posted their unedited video footage on YouTube.

The mainstream media, on the other hand, showed edited footage that made it appear that the protesters preemptively attacked the police during the afternoon (not true), and reported that 3 police officers were injured. The msm did not report the numerous injuries—some serious—inflicted on the peaceful
protesters, or even the fact that six reporters were arrested that night.

The following Saturday I went to a rally— really just a group of people milling around waiting for the march to start—before the anti-police march in Oakland. I wasn’t going to fight the police, but I wanted to see who was there and what people were thinking. My husband and I talked to several of the
masked youth dressed in black, all of whom said that they did not initiate any violence on January 28 or on previous marches. And true to their word, the anti-police march that followed the rally on Saturday was non-violent from all accounts—even those from the msm.

I agree that non-violence should be the goal of Occupy, but in different political struggles around the world, people have used all sorts of different tactics to bring about change, including during the 1960s in this country. For example, during the anti-war movement in the USA, although there were groups like the Weather Underground, the movement did not fall apart because
there was a contingent that advocated violence, and in fact, the movement remained mostly non-violent.

And during the anti-war marches after the USA invaded Iraq, there were tens of thousands of people peacefully marching in the streets with permits that allowed us to protest in prescribed areas. The powers-that-be allowed us to have our protests, while they continued to do whatever they wanted. That model of a peaceful, non-confrontational protest doesn’t work in this country any more.

I think that there is a lot of disagreement about what constitutes violence. I think that throwing tear gas back at the police, for instance, is a form of self-defense, although some people might characterize it as violence. Nor did I think that provoking the police by continuing to advance on them when they gave an order to disperse on January 28 was violent, although some people may have seen it that way. And while there may be reasons not to vandalize property, does spray-painting graffiti on the side of a bank really constitute violence?

One way or another, Occupy is going to be accused of violent behavior (or of being dirty and camping in our own excrement, or whatever the next accusation is) no matter what we do. I’m sure that there are people associated with Occupy who get off on violence, and Occupy gives them an excuse to act it out. But it’s unrealistic to think that everyone is going to be non-violent—especially in this country.

And let’s not forget that there really are agent provocateurs. Last week I read an account by a woman who marched with the Black Bloc on one of the Port closure days. She noticed two men with new shoes and black clothes that looked like they had just come off the rack join the Black Bloc. Her suspicions were raised so she observed these two men during the march. They didn’t
interact with the rest of the Black Bloc contingent, and one of them was the first one to throw a rock through a window. The other one shouted inciting comments throughout the march.

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By ReadingJones, February 7, 2012 at 9:30 pm Link to this comment

Some remarks in no organized manner—like OWS. TKS to
Chris Hedges, Mark E Smith, Retrograde and many
others (I ran out of time.) Trollspick nit picking
quarrels to make truthdig less effective. Do not feed
trolls. Ignoring them kills them like DEET on a
mosquito. Mark E Smith here are some other
strategies/methods…LocalFood, Bicycles, Lo Energy
Living. Simplicity versus Materialism, Hidden cell
phones against violent Police, Facebook their
pictures so their neighbors, children, and pastors
can see them. Some genius could work out a changeable
voice command to operate a concealed cell phone
camera. The FBI has been kicking violent local PDs in
Seattle and Spokane to the curb. I’m aware of correct
spelling and grammer BTW. Kelsey is my middle
name.Establish or enroll your children in Private
Schools. Catholic Schools have programs called “Fair
Share” that makes them affordable and the education
is far superior to Public Schools. (I think the 1% is
deliberatly choking the Public Schools.) Further—
Occupy should stop occupying specific targets for
long periods. Instead use tactics of quick assembly
and immediate dispersal. Identify appropriate targets
and ridicule them. Public Schools and town councils
are usually easy to ridicule. Finally, only a small
number of 1%ers are Predators. Work at identifying
those who are kindly, altruistic,  and idealistic. 
Many of them despise the Predators. Mitt the Tit is a

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By EmileZ, February 7, 2012 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment

@ Mark E. Smith

RE: “People who get worked up about a few broken windows or a few rocks hurled at cops, but don’t seem to get as emotional about the millions of innocent people that the US kills, are beyond my comprehension”

Maybe people are worked up about the millions of innocent people the U.S. kills and get emotional about the fact that people keep showing up to their best efforts at organizing a non-violent resistance movement and start throwing rocks and smash shit up.

Think about it old man who seems to think non-voting will eventually go somewhere.

Are you a nihilist or what???

“Cold Blows The Wind” by Ween

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By Mark E. Smith, February 7, 2012 at 9:16 pm Link to this comment

Tomcat, that is a beautiful juxtaposition. Thank you.

Lloyd, I agree with your comment and don’t think it should have been deleted. While it promotes discussion to ban personal attacks on other participants, saying fuck you to the system (the big system or a little system) and to public figures is protected free speech. If TD wants to ban incendiary language, they can start by not calling the black bloc a cancer.

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By sallysense, February 7, 2012 at 9:12 pm Link to this comment

from the occupy wall street declaration…

“Exercise your right to peaceably assemble, occupy public space, create a process
to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct
democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our

Join us and make your voices heard.”


while occupy’s declaration states peaceable assembly…
violent counterfeit substitutes become new bootleg acts…
still history recalls some similar courses and divergencies…
when common good’s groundwork withstood flawed copycats!...


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By heterochromatic, February 7, 2012 at 9:00 pm Link to this comment

Great comment, Lloyd.  I support you when you laud the senseless and puerile
violence of the balck bloc and feel that misdirected, artless ineffective and self-
defeating rage is the way to go.

have another of cup of bile and crank it up.

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By Mark E. Smith, February 7, 2012 at 8:58 pm Link to this comment

How about if I thank you right now, EmileZ?

Thank you.

Here’s why I make such a big deal about not voting.

Sometimes an election boycott works. When an oligarchy sees that it no longer has the consent of the governed, sometimes they just leave. That might seem unlikely here, but just about every oligarch in the US government has one or more homes overseas, substantial assets stashed offshore, and is prepared to flee into exile at a moment’s notice. They know that they are criminals and they’re determined to escape being brought to justice. If people stop voting for them, some of them will take the hint.

The rest will undoubtedly ignore the will of the people and continue to rule without the consent of the governed, by force alone, as they do in Haiti, but that would cost them credit and allies.

Boils down to not voting doesn’t hurt and it might help. Right now the patriotic flag-waving voters are on the side of the cops and the government, not on the side of the people. But this is kind of a dead time from now until November. Once the election is over and voters realize they’ve been suckered again, they’ll be more open to not voting. Unfortunately, they seem to have short attention spans, so the next election they’ll fall for the hype again.

That’s a very old picture of me, EmileZ. I’m 71 years old and at this point in my life I’m just a spectator and commentator, not an activist. I’d probably have given up hope except that I have a friend who lives in Caracas. Talking with him is like talking with a time traveler from an unimaginable future. Their revolution is 13 years old and he takes it for granted that government can operate on behalf of the poor instead of on behalf of the rich. From his perspective, impossible as it may seem to me, it’s all over and we won. So maybe it can’t happen here. Or maybe it can.

It is certainly curious to see people who claim that they want nonviolence and change, yet refuse to stop voting even though it is a nonviolent tactic that has the potential to bring about change. Maybe they’re just liars and they really do want violence and don’t want change. Or maybe not voting could bring about change too quickly for them, and they’d rather try to elect a few good people and work toward gaining a majority in government in a few hundred years or so. People who get worked up about a few broken windows or a few rocks hurled at cops, but don’t seem to get as emotional about the millions of innocent people that the US kills, are beyond my comprehension. I’ll probably never convince them to stop voting because they’re true capitalist imperialists and they have more respect for property and authority than they have for people and democracy.

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By Greetings, February 7, 2012 at 8:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges is right, and so are Anonymous. “Consider this an act of diplomacy.”

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By 0kami, February 7, 2012 at 8:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sadly, most of the Black Bloc members are products of modern day pop-culture,
rather than informed debate and literature. Back in the days of the Paris
Commune, many leftist writers held up their theories and philosophies towards
confronting the police state and capitalist dogma, along with plans to rebuild a
more equal and interwoven society. Today, what do so called “anarchists” rally
around? Fictional figures like V from the film “V for Vendetta”, or the Joker from
“The Dark Knight”, ironically co-opted from Hollywood movies, and advents of
terrorist actions and mentalities. It’s sad that the intelligent wing of the movement
is being so swiftly brushed aside by those explosive members who, to borrow
another line from The Dark Knight, “just want to watch the world burn”.

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By tomcat, February 7, 2012 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment

“The violent subjugation of the Palestinians, Iraqis, and Afghans will only ensure that those who oppose us will increasingly speak to us in the language we speak to them—violence.”
? Chris Hedges

Now think of this in terms of Occupy Oakland violently subjugated by Oakland PD, the most violent police department in the country, and consequently under threat of being federalized.

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By tomcat, February 7, 2012 at 7:38 pm Link to this comment

“spirit fingers”!

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By tomcat, February 7, 2012 at 7:34 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges debates with a member of Occupy Oakland tomorrow, 2-08-12, on at 10am pacific.

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By gerard, February 7, 2012 at 7:31 pm Link to this comment

Don’t forget to count all the good small stuff being done in local communities all over the country. Local peoplee are communicating, cooperating, convincing others on the basis of small and significant accomplishments.  It’s not all about Oakland, though unfortunately Oakland gets the big-time publicity. Ask yourself:  Why aren’t the black shirts and the masks in Podunk?
  Furthermore ...

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By EmileZ, February 7, 2012 at 7:26 pm Link to this comment

You know people, I’m really glad we had this chat.

Jackie Wilson - “Beautiful Day”

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

A thoughtful post.
Can you define reformer?
And give an example of reformer action leading to violence? Thanks.

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By heterochromatic, February 7, 2012 at 7:14 pm Link to this comment

tom___ I wiah that I could agree with you that there’s
been no harm done to the movement by the violent few.

alas, I can not…. this movement succeeds or fails by
attracting support from left to the center and idiotic
violence and masked hooliganism is self-defeating.

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By EmileZ, February 7, 2012 at 7:14 pm Link to this comment

@ Mark E. Smith

Listen buddy, this is EmileZ talking to you and I’m here to tell you what time it is (assuming you live in the U.S).

Okay… Here it comes… Ready???

Alright I’m just warming up a bit here 47, 48, 49, 50.

Now where was I???

Oh yeah, you’re not living in Chile bro.

You are living in the heart of the evil empire.

Now how you gonna stop the imperialist war machine???

How you gonna stop these motherfuckers???

You try to educate the sorry-ass ignorant latte drinking buttholes right here where it matters the most and try to mobilize support against the oppressive forces of evil subjugation and environmental destruction, and torture and murder and privatization and imposed debt and austerity and such.

Think about it.

If you don’t want to vote, that’s your thing, but why make such a big deal about it. It’s not gonna do shit anyway partner. Neither is dressing up and smashing shit.

You’ve got the power my main man (you’re a man now).

You can thank me later.

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By Mark E. Smith, February 7, 2012 at 7:04 pm Link to this comment

While revolutions can be nonviolent, and revolutionary actions can be nonviolent as with the example I gave of the students in Chile, attempts to reform a violent system cannot.

A violent system is prepared to react violently to any and all challenges, and is not prepared to react in any other way. Since the only tool they have is a hammer, to them we all look like nails.

The billions of dollars spent on crowd control weapons and training for local law enforcement through the Department of Homeland Security were not intended for negotiations or concessions. They were designed and intended for crowd control, the suppression of civil dissent by violent means.

Attempts to reform the system will therefore always result in violence.

Revolutions which do not attempt to challenge or reform the system, but simply stop condoning it, stop complying with it, and direct their energies into constructing a new, better, revolutionary system, can be, and indeed on occasion have been nonviolent.

The Move Your Money action was revolutionary, nonviolent, and effective. Millions of people took their money out of crooked banks and put it into credit unions and community banks instead. More people are still doing it. Instead of asking or “demanding” that the government regulate banks or that banks reform themselves, people just put their money where their mouths were.

The organic farming movement is revolutionary, nonviolent, and effective. When people stopped buying GMO pesticide-laden foods and bought organic foods instead, the impact was so great that even corporate chain supermarkets now have “organic” aisles.

To be effective, we have to direct our energies toward what we can do, not what we want government to do. When we do it, it is called direct democracy and we can truly say that this is what democracy looks like. When we ask government to do something, they will inevitably respond violently and we can only say that this is what a police state looks like.

Some revolutionaries are violent and some are not, but all reformers are violent because they are incapable of doing anything that will not result in violence. In fact, they’re incapable of doing anything at all, which is why they focus on trying to get government to do things for them.

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By RanDomino, February 7, 2012 at 6:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Never mind that property destruction isn’t actually violence- the only time a black bloc did even that (what, six windows?  OH NO!) was OVER THREE MONTHS AGO!  For reference, OWS only STARTED five months ago!

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By tomcat, February 7, 2012 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment

It’s your error to characterize “the actions of the part of the movement” as “idiotic” without demonstrating the veracity of your characterization.
The only damage to the movement taking place is the Hedges article which offers no firsthand knowledge or insight into the situation in Oakland, but rather dumps them into his preconceived notions of black bloc.

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By heterochromatic, February 7, 2012 at 6:16 pm Link to this comment

tomcat—-it’s your error to denounce without being able
to argue the falsity of the content ....

but it’s your right to be wrong
and your nine lives.

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By tomcat, February 7, 2012 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment

I will denounce corporate media at the drop of a hat…
it’s a mouthpiece of the system which I, as a supporter of Occupy, also denounce.
I denounce Hedges, an avid supporter of OWS, for writing an opinion piece…not investigative journalism which he should have done,and the potential damage HE is doing.
I denounce truthdig for publishing his article.

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By Duncan A. Dow, February 7, 2012 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris is right, AND:

I think the nonviolent aspect of our Occupy movement can use this situation to advantage.

There are a heck of a lot more of us deep nonviolent types than Black Bloc-ers..
When these Black Bloc-ers show up (In Black, how convenient!) we can surround them and let them know we WILL turn them over to the police if they screw up.
If they start smashing stuff we will have to overwhelm them, tie them up and turn them over.  Some of use WILL get hurt in the process. But Occupy isn’t about being afraid, is it?It is too important to allow these cointelpro tactics to be effective.

Rounding these destuctive folks up along with more personal sacrifice will give us amazing good press, and increase the Occupy support.

We will have to be brave. But heck, LET’S ROLL!

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By Mark E. Smith, February 7, 2012 at 5:54 pm Link to this comment

Macaraby, who are these “people who condone violence?”

If you vote, you are delegating your power and authority to the state and granting it the sole legitimate use of violence. Since the state, in our case, is the US government, which is now the world’s sole superpower and THE most violent government on the planet, even if you vote for a peace candidate or a nonviolent Occupy candidate, you are delegating the power to decide whether or not to use violence to a government based on a military economy, and therefore condoning violence. You’re not delegating your power to the nonviolent candidate or party you vote for, but to whoever has the most influence in the White House and the most votes in Congress, which in the US means defense contractors, people in the genocide-for-profit industry. Read Andrew Feinstein’s book, The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade to learn how the system works.

Furthermore, if you allow agents of the state such as law enforcement to perpetrate violence on you without attempting to escape, defend yourself, resist, or fight back, you are condoning violence by the state, by accepting it, allowing it, and submitting to it.

The first dictionary definition that a search for the word “condone” brought up was:

“Accept and allow (behavior that is considered morally wrong or offensive) to continue.”

It isn’t the black bloc that is condoning violence, it is the people who accept and allow it who are condoning it.

Suppose you are the parent of a small child that is hurting other children. Do you accept and allow (condone) such behavior? Do you tell the other children to submit passively and not try to escape, defend themselves, resist, or fight back, so that they will gain public support? Are you a responsible parent, or don’t you care if your child hurts other kids? If the child is a teen who is bigger and stronger than you and you can’t control that child, do you accept and allow them to hurt other kids and tell the other kids not to fight back?

I fully agree that people should not condone (accept and allow) violence. I think everyone has a right to try to escape violence, and if that is not possible, to defend themself against violence, to resist violence, and to fight back against violence.

But I don’t think it is appropriate behavior to provoke violence, to knowingly do things that you are aware will result in violence, to have videocams, legal observers, and nonviolence training in preparation for the violence you know you will provoke, and then claim to be nonviolent. If you pick a fight with somebody known to be violent, and you know that violence will result, you’re not being nonviolent.

Here’s how the students in Chile are doing things:

They’re being constructive and proactive, not defensive and reactive. They’re not asking government for what they need, they’re doing things themselves to ensure that they have what they need, and their parents, teachers, and the community are supporting them. That’s how a nonviolent revolution works. You stop supporting or protesting the old system, stop condoning and complying with the old system, you abandon the old system, ignore the old system, and you create a new system.

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By heterochromatic, February 7, 2012 at 5:52 pm Link to this comment

tomcat___classic error to denounce anyone or thing in
defense of denying the harm caused to a movement by the
idiotic actions of a part of the movement.

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By tomcat, February 7, 2012 at 5:47 pm Link to this comment

classic corporate media propaganda!...intended to portray a divided occupy movement in order to marginalize it.
You must read major media with a skeptical and watchful eye.
Whose interests does CBS serve?
Always bear that in mind when you hear them attempt to speak for “the majority of Occupy Oakland”....
excuse me!....did CBS do a survey?
The fact is that black bloc is as much a part of OO as anyone.
I expect better from Hedges….and truthdig.

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By Charles Yaker, February 7, 2012 at 5:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So the Koch brothers and Tea Party have a subsidiary

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By Tray, February 7, 2012 at 5:35 pm Link to this comment

In November, a group of experience nonviolence trainers and organizers wrote this open letter to the Occupy Movement, which addresses the same issues of violence and property destruction.  I think their approach is far more constructive.

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By TAGGLINE, February 7, 2012 at 5:20 pm Link to this comment

Gettin’ rough up in here, eh??
Jesus H…give it a rest kids.
Or, back to your respective caves!!
Chris, my brother…thou hath wrought such fury from de
masses!! Oy Vey!!

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By redteddy, February 7, 2012 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment

And to all those who think Occupy Oakland has been advanced by Black bloc
just read the following:

Peaceful protests by the Occupy Oakland movement were overshadowed this
week by violent clashes between a small group of demonstrators and police.
Now there’s concern among the majority of protesters that their message is
being hijacked. CBS News correspondent John Blackstone looks into this latest
It could be seen as a battle for the image of the Occupy movement. One
demonstrator struggles to put out the flames of a burning barricade as others
masked and dressed in black pull him away.

It wasn’t the only time during a huge Occupy demonstration in Oakland this
week that protesters found themselves on opposite sides. When dozens of
black clad marchers began attacking a supermarket, others urged them to stop
—finally linking arms to protect the store from further destruction.

One demonstrator, Sheik Anderson, distanced most of the protesters from the

“We called the mayor’s office the moment we understood what was going on
over there,” said Anderson. “That was an anonymous action, that was nothing
to do with Occupy Oakland.

OWS tell black bloc and other extremists to go and create their own bloody

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By tomcat, February 7, 2012 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

It’s unfortunate that Hedges writes a piece on Occupy, yet he’s done none of the legwork to connect his Black Bloc history with the present.
He cites Occupy Oakland as the latest incarnation of his horrific vision of Black Bloc, but where’s the journalism?
He quotes no one from Occupy Oakland (nor anyone in Oakland opposed to Black Bloc, yet he assumes that because individuals wearing masks may have been throwing objects at OPD on J28, that these individuals are acting with the same intent as the indivuals/statements he referenced to make his case.

Oakland has perhaps the most violent police in the country…there’s the possibility the PD will be federalized.
Criminal police behavior has been rampant. This is not L.A., or New York, or D.C.

Hedges should spend some time in Oakland and dig…for the truth.

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By moonraven, February 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment

Hetttienitwit:  I forgot, you whites are always right.

And we indigenous folks cannot find our butts with both hands—no matter how hard we try.

You know absolutely nothing.  stop clowning around.

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By heterochromatic, February 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm Link to this comment

another raven loonie——if it’s violence, it’s just gotta be FBI guys posing as
protesters. doesn’t matter that the guys throwing the rocks are clearly kids that
are nothing like FBI…’s just gotta be that way.

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By Fullblad, February 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm Link to this comment

The provocateur theme is definatly correct to some extent. In Canada the Front de-Liberation Quebec, or
FLQ, espoused violence in their bid to separate from Canada. Bombing mailboxes was a favourite. Then there was the report of an RCMP police officer who badly injured himself when he experienced an expolsion at home. The FLQ went on to commit murder etc until the government came down really hard and rounded them all up. The public was pissed at having their civil rights completely suspended (war measures act) for a couple of weeks until the FLQ were apprehended, but by and large had no sympathy for the FLQ’s more violent acts.The suspension of civil rights is still somewhat contorversial today. Most of the FLQ recanted their strategy of direct action violence in later years after long prison terms or exciles.They could not hope to have won a violent contest against the might of a state which has fought major wars and has allies. What were they thinking?

The only way to defeat the injustices of todays world is by showing the injustice perpetrated by the oligarch and winning by the moral rightousness of the majority.This is not just an American crusade but must be international in scope. It must be persevered until victory is won completely or else defeat will eventually ensue. Violence will not win and I want to win. I don’t want someone to protect me from the oppressors baton of immorality as it will only make our case stronger, and at some point we win. Now this is going to take some time, with ups and downs,errors and brilliancies, and battles won and lost and not within my lifetime. However, as the holistic Occupy movement is just born we must allow it to grow and attrack the mainstream and have it act. Violence won’t accomplish this. Those so inclinded feel free to do your thing,  but on your own and not as part of what is billed as a non-violent demonstration or act of civil disobedience. That way the common goal can be approached without all the internal semantics on who and when and how etc. It seems those favouring black bloc tactics wish to have the anomynity of acting from within and out of peacefull marches. This will not do in attracting larger numbers of people to the cause which is of immediate importance.The black blocers may not be able to see this reasoning and if not must be cut out from participating for the good of the cause.

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By Dave Ewoldt, February 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm Link to this comment

afs… you seem to have the situation in Somalia exactly backward. Somalia is probably the only country in the world where a pure free-market is at work. Anarchism, on the other hand, is a political philosophy that involves people self-organizing without authoritarian hierarchies. What anarchists tend to be most against is coercion. They are not against the state or government per se, and come in many stripes that run from anarcho-communitarians to anarcho-capitalists.

As others have already pointed out, the use of violence has long divided anti-authoritarians in the struggle against unjust and illegitimate authority.

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By moonraven, February 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm Link to this comment


Where DO they find you people, anyway?  Under rocks?  In the Black Lagoon?

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By OzarkMichael, February 7, 2012 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

Cuthred, I understand that this thread is an argument between two or three Leftist factions. But who here do you label as a follower of Trotsky? Why?

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By Macresarf1, February 7, 2012 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment

MARK E. SMITH makes excellent observations.  There are now tens of millions of victims at home, hundreds of millions of victims overseas, destroyed by the increasingly powerful mechanism the United States has accepted and embraced.

  A main task of the Occupy Movements is to help citizens see how all of those victims are members of the 99%,  members of “us.”

  Be of good hope, nihilists and agent provocateurs to one side, Spring is coming, and short of a nuclear catastrophe, the 99% will rise, stronger and more democratic and peaceful than ever from the earth sown last Fall.

  It will be the job of everyone wishing for real democratic change to nurture what the 99%  has accomplished.


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By lilacaraby, February 7, 2012 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It will be very sad if Occupy is destroyed by people
who condone violence. I’m surprised at the number of
people on here coming up with excuses for using

There isn’t a reason to be as violent as the people
who are being violent towards you. This only feeds
the cycle of violence and abuse.

IF we are to rise above the greed and violence then
we must RISE above the greed and violence, which
includes, in my estimation, not going about breaking
windows and pretending that it is okay.

Excellent article, spot on.

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By EmileZ, February 7, 2012 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment

@ Mark E. Smith

That comment I can get behind.

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By Mark E. Smith, February 7, 2012 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment

Good point, Michelle. But if Jensen is to be mentioned at all, let’s include something from his recent book, Truths Among Us, where he quotes George Gerbner from a 1998 interview. They’re talking about US fascism and Gerbner says, “Why is it not fascism when it is done a few thousand miles away? Does it have to be here? If you accept what they do elsewhere, they don’t need to do it here. That is essentially what fascism and the stories that teach us how to be social beings have done: make people accept unspeakable brutality, make people accept genocide. We have accepted it and we have supported it. It continues to this day.”

There have been stories about people who were happily and knowingly married to serial killers and it didn’t bother them because the killing was all done outside the home. That’s us. As long as it is done elsewhere, or done to people of a darker skin color, the system is acceptable and can be lived with and worked within. Only if the killer is caught and brought to justice will there be crocodile tears of remorse. But this is the information age and nobody will be able to claim that they didn’t know. We know. Next step—can we care about the victims, or only about ourselves?

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By moonraven, February 7, 2012 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment

So, the FBI puts on masks and black clothing and gets violent.

What else is new?

Same shit they pulled when they infiltrated AIM in the 70s.  It was called COINTELPRO then.

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By redteddy, February 7, 2012 at 3:28 pm Link to this comment

What I find interesting is all the money OWS sits on was provided by average
americans, the working men and women whom a portion of the movement now
speaks of in scorn while at the same time trying to affiliate themselves with ‘the
whole’, the ‘majority’.  Well I wonder what is going to happen when the money
dries out and there isn’t any more coming in.  Is the movement going to be
financed by the punks and the radical left of left? Does Black bloc have a hidden
trust fund we all don’t know about?  Because if it does then they might as well
start opening their purse strings because they are going to have to live on that. 
For all of those poo-pooing Hedges as some traitor (ironic how Nan who uses
violence and intimidation towards OWS members is embraced but an
intellectual critique is admonished..funny that) if you think that OWS will have
any sway with the public without the Chomsky’s, Hedges and Wests going out
there and taking the name into the mainstream, advising people to support and
join the movement then you’ve all lost perspective.  When you have lost public
support you would also have lost the basis for the revolution.

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By john gardner, February 7, 2012 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Looks like it’s all over for occupy.  Maybe I can join the Tea Party.  Mitt Romney might just be the guy to get America back in order.  Maybe Obama, if reelected, will use his polical capital for real hope and change.  Glen Beck and Rush might have the answers.  It’s too bad about occupy, they always march for peace and try to help the homeless and forclosure victims.  They are working for universal healthcare and try to stop the trend of privatization of our world.  What a bunch of losers.  How about Oakland—- can you imagine trying to take an unused and empty public building and using it to help fellow human beings.  There’s got to be something better out there.

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By redteddy, February 7, 2012 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment


Then why claim to represent the 99%?  Why say “We are the 99%”?  If you are all at
the back of the stack then claim yourself the ‘back-stacked’ movement and stop
claiming to represent those whom you don’t even feel affiliated with.  Trouble is
that revolutions are dependent on the working class if they are to advance. 
Imagine the cavalry charging ahead as the infantry stays behind.

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By Chris, February 7, 2012 at 3:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“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.”

The Zapatistas were an army (see included picture, everyone knows this). They did not believe in nonviolence. They used the media to show them carrying weapons.

The Black Blocs are right. Those are the real enemy, and non-violent tactics (which the Occupy Movement has never uniformly been known to use) do not work.

Chris Hedges is the problem with the movement; he’s the very type of public intellectual that they are talking about. You can’t write piece like this without mentioning that. He’s simply defending himself.

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By EmileZ, February 7, 2012 at 3:06 pm Link to this comment

@ Cuthred

You may feel you are acting in the spirit of the Wobblies (I don’t know precisely how you are acting), but you are not Big Bill Haywood and you are not the Wobblies and I seriously doubt you are a labor organizer.

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By Steve Newcomb, February 7, 2012 at 3:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The problem with Chris Hedges is that he wants things to be better than they are, he has thought deeply about what “better” might mean, and he is strongly influenced by the thinking of Martin Luther King, Mohandas Gandhi, and similar thinkers. 

Hedges can hardly be expected to be pleased when a proven but difficult strategy for making things better—nonviolent resistance—is made far more difficult, even by people who mean well.  Damaging actions by well-meaning people are part of the human condition.  Deploring the human condition is an insufficient recipe for improving it.

So, like everyone else I know, including myself, Hedges has still more to learn from Dr. King et al.  The struggle for peace and justice will not be won in the street; it can only be won in the heart, one human heart at a time.  Sometimes street action can help in that struggle.

Humanity gains little from defenders of the meaning of any specific symbol, such as “Occupy Wall Street” (or, for that matter, “SPQR”, or the cross of Jesus, or the American flag, or any other symbol).  There is plenty to be gained by teaching and learning justice and peace, especially on the desperate battlefield of one’s own heart, or anyone else’s heart.  It’s just incredibly hard to do, that’s all.  It’s much easier assign blame than it is to actually do it. 

Dear Reader: When you figure out how to teach and learn peace and justice, to yourself and/or to others, please let us all know.  We need to know the secret. 

About one thing I’m quite certain: the secret is NOT some form of idolatry, even though most human institutions involve the promotion of some form of idolatry as a core mission, and many claim that their particular kind of idolatry is, in fact, the core of the secret of peace and justice.  Be suspicious of any such claim.

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By Cuthred, February 7, 2012 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

This sort of reminds me of the back and forth between Trotsky and the
Makhnovists… sad to see Hedges on the wrong side of this one.

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By Cuthred, February 7, 2012 at 3:01 pm Link to this comment

Well it looks like this board is evenly split between Mahnovists and Trotsyites.

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By Cuthred, February 7, 2012 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment

For a great article from the anti-authoritarian perspective, search for “The Folly of
Christopher Hedges”.

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By Macresarf1, February 7, 2012 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment

Despite a great deal of dueling egotism, and tired academic theoretical arguments, this discussion may have been useful.  Cards were laid on the table.

  The conclusion I drew from those who actually observed the “black blocs” at close hand was that they are mainly made up of either of bored, ignorant, frustrated young raised on an American media diet of violent solutions, or in some cases, para-military inspired squads deployed to discredit the Occupy Movements,
whose greatest strength is its Emersonian, Thoreauvian tradition of non-violence and participatory democracy; whose most effective tactic is that of not having a list of specific demands, so easily satisfied or discredited.

  Either group of “black bloc” participants, as Chris Hedges suggests, is a small cancer on a massive peaceful movement.  But like any “cancer” of this sort, as anyone with a knowledge of history may point out, its violent poisons have destroyed countless admirable movements which were hoping to achieve real
systemic social justice.

  When a squad in black masks and monkey suits smash the windows of a coffee shop, or of a Bank America, certainly when they vandalize a City Hall, one would expect that they be captured, identified, indicted, and put on trial.  These are conceivably felonies.  Why does that so seldom happen?  Why are the few who are arrested and identified usually from out of town, or even out of state?

  The 99% for massive PEACFUL change is new—truly revolutionary.  Let’s keep it that way!

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By Ed Romano, February 7, 2012 at 2:56 pm Link to this comment

To John Drabble, You’re amazed at the low level of reading comprehension? What about the level of critical thinking ? Tocqueville said that a vital democracy demands a politically educated citizenry. Not all-  but a good number of these posts help a person to realize why this country is in the pickle that it’s in.

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By Cuthred, February 7, 2012 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

Thirdman, you hit the nail on the head.

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By Cuthred, February 7, 2012 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment

Lloyd, I notice no one is engaging you on your blatant criminality, i.e defending
your picket line!

You have the libs on here paralyzed—they probably are revolted by your
comment but are afraid to openly admit that the institutional left now represents
Wall St and not the working man.

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By thethirdman, February 7, 2012 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

Alas, Chris Hedges shows himself to be human.
Listen, it’s all just a matter of perspective.  Maybe those who participate in
“violence,” as if any of you really know violence from the state, are just closer to
the fringe and are ready to deal with exploring some more physical solutions.  I
suspect those here advocating complete non-violence benefit a great deal more
than they know from the state, and are not so keen on risking more than they
have to. And that’s cool too.  If it ain’t worth it, it ain’t worth it.
What blows my mind is Jensen’s role in this hit piece.  I can only assume that his
words were taken out of context, because they don’t for one second match the
bulk of his work.

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By Cuthred, February 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

Donna, if you believe haughtily correcting spelling and grammar is going to get
people on YOUR side, you’re completely out of touch with how Americans think.

Thanks for the wonderful illustration of the Straw Man Argument, by the way.

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By neilr, February 7, 2012 at 2:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

While I think Chris Hedges’ analysis of the state we’re in and the forces ranged against the occupy movement is among the most lucid out there, I hesitate to embrace this article. I do not believe the movement is threatened by the black bloc, and it is inflammatory, divisive and exaggerated to call them a cancer. Non-violence is one of the movement’s watchwords and no doubt the excessive force used by the police and others against non-violent protest helped and will continue to help in the battle for hearts and minds.

However, in my humble opinion a) there is a big difference between violence and property destruction, and I would argue that the black bloc - or others - have only really engaged in the latter, b) it is frankly astounding not to mention encouraging to me that many hundreds of marches and other actions by thousands and thousands of protesters across the country has to date resulted in so little violence and destruction of property that you can count the instances on one hand and c) be mindful of Slavoj Zizek’s observation that violence (physical, moral, emotional) is integral to perpetuating the system under which we currently live - and which occupy is trying to unseat.

What’s my point? At some point - even during the many revolutions and uprisings that Chris Hedges himself covered - violence is either a necessary or unavoidable part of a popular uprising. The British did not hand over power during the American Revolution without a fight, neither did Louis 16th or Tsar Nicholas II. Ditto Mubarak, Qaddafi or Ben Ali. Ghandi’s philosophy of non-violence is clear and enlightened, but India did not secure its indepenence without blood being spilled.

This is not to say we should take up arms or that only violence will secure our objectives. Nonetheless, while non-violence is a strength and cornerstone of the movement, I think it is ostrich-like to pretend that every person and every action under the banner of occupy must and will forever be non-violent. Ask yourself honestly, how many times would each one of you turn the other cheek? Many times I’m sure, but someday, it might be the last.

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By Jay Lindberg, February 7, 2012 at 2:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How effective was the Non-violent OWS?

They could not even get one Democrat, not even one to
run against our bought and paid for, Bankster puppet,
Half Black Messiah, Obama. 

Pretty damn ineffective.  Now we see no mention of the
movement in the national media except them being booted
out of one encampment after another.  I’m so impressed
I can Sh*t.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, February 7, 2012 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment

Donna, uh, of course.  it sounded right, I’m auditory not visual.  Apologies.

You do make excellent points, concluding with “Perception management is key to our success. We can’t
afford to blow it.”  I’ve argued as much, but some of the OWS babies who have time to take off and go camp out seem to want to have a filthy communal kumbaya sit-in.  Not a real indicator I want these people leading or speaking for me. 

On a related note, the difference between random idiotic acts of misadventure (graffiti, rock throwing, window smashing, etc. need to be separated from acts of physical defiance and signs of resolve.  In the context of a movement with clear achievable, workable demands, said resolve is a sign of bravery and worthiness.  I don’t rule out ‘the physical’.  Physical submission (called non-violence) is not the answer, will acheive nothing worthwhile, and may simply be cowardice.

I might have to agree with those who say ‘fuck you’ to Hedges on this, but that doesn;t mean I agree with the so-called black-bloc’s ‘let’s have us some fun’ tactics.

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By Donna Fritz, February 7, 2012 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment

If you believe that throwing bottles at random cops or
throwing bricks through storefront windows is going to
attract more Americans to our side, you’re completely
out of touch with how most Americans think, as most
Americans are repulsed by those actions, of course
including myself.

And btw, I’m not a Democrat and have never been a
Democrat - I’m a socialist. And I’ve taken part in a
number of direct actions including the action last
December at the Port of Long Beach.

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By EmileZ, February 7, 2012 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

@ Donna Fritz

You wrote:

“Their commentary, which is almost always dripping with vitriol and hostility and the kind of personal attacks that one might hear in a middle school boys locker room…”

I disagree. I am seeing a lot more stuff like this courtesy of Mark E. Smith…

“Some of us want global social, economic, and environmental justice. Others just want more benevolent corporate and military dictators. Since we have different goals, we have different strategies and tactics.”


“The black bloc isn’t a cancer on Occupy… In understanding the capitalist imperialist system, opposing it, and fighting back, they may be the only healthy cells in the entire Occupy organism.”

They don’t seem to care how effective their tactics are, or have much of a long-term view.

They try to associate their tactics with “understanding the capitalist imperialist system” while asserting that those who practice non-violence “want more benevolent corporate and military dictators”.

Some also proclaim they are fighting for the good of the poor and persecuted in a city such as Oakland. I don’t know why they believe this, but they seem to have appointed themselves as representatives.

Then there is quite frequently:

“The black bloc are a lot less violent than the cops and have destroyed a lot less private property than the cops.”

I dunno.

I just dunno sometimes.

Oh, yes I forgot the familiar refrain that property destruction is not violence.

Seems like violence to me in most cases.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, February 7, 2012 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

redteddy…....I’d love to be in the 99%, but OWS told my kind I have to go to the back of the stack.

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By Donna Fritz, February 7, 2012 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment

Donna, I fail to see a grammar problem with what Lloyd
wrote (the statement “Well fuck you Chris, your a
fucking asshole.”) - What Is Progress

It should read “’re a fucking asshole”.

No big deal and not the crux of my criticism, though.

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By John Drabble, February 7, 2012 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@ What Is Progress,

“your” should be you’re or you are. OK?

I’m amazed at the low level of reading comprehension demonstrated in so many comments. Careful and thoughtful reading seems to be a lost art. Many comments address points in Hedges’ essay that were either not made and are simply the product of an emotional response.

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By redteddy, February 7, 2012 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment


But OWS is not yet composed of the 99%, its composed of 1% of the 99%.  Dig that. 
Because outreach to the 99% has been one of OWS’s goals.  If its still one of their
goals then they have to meet the public where they are or be ignored and
marginalized by the 99%.  OWS still hasn’t come to grips with the fact that they are
still a minority fraction claiming to work for the whole.  When OWS has managed
to bring in a good 45-50% or more of the general public THEN they can say we are
the 99%.  It wasn’t only a few hundred or a few thousand who brought down
Mubarak, it was middle-class people, working class people, students,
marginalized politicians and groups.  It was liberals, fundamentalists and
everything in between.

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By Cuthred, February 7, 2012 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment

Oakland kids just don’t get it! If you were a Greek kid Hedges would shower you with praise for rioting in defense of your future, but YOU as an American in Chris’ back yard, are supposed to endure the systematic and physical violence with stiff-upper-lip liberal aplomb! Retreat to your upper east side walk up for a glass of Chablis if you’re sick of being framed, beaten, and profiled by the police.

But seriously folks, if you were about to be tear gassed and arrested by roided up cops in Oakland, you would probably be thankful there are still some residual Tom Joads on the street who haven’t yet been culled from the herd, who would pull you to safety from a police-only zone. Oh sorry, I guess that’s just wanton criminality, so you’d probably tell them to leave the area before you got a knee in your back.

Mr. Hedges, please never mention Big Bill Haywood or the Wobblies at your talks again. You’ve showed your willingness to throw the direct action legacy of the workers’ movement under the bus for the sake of your made-for-TV revolution.

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By Michelle, February 7, 2012 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why is Jensen even quoted here?  His is an intense critic of the Occupy Movement, on several levels.  Jensen has also advocated that people blow up dams with explosives.  What a joke in light of all that that he would offer ANY critique of black bloc tactics.  But I guess he got some “good press” for himself here, and his dozens of books.

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By Michelle, February 7, 2012 at 2:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It seems to me that Chris Hedges is more concerned here with himself than anything else.  He wants to own the Occupy Movement, tell people what is the “right way” to do things. 

Hedges is concerned how black bloc tactics will reflect on him.  This is because he has attached himself publically to the OWS movement and doesn’t want to be associated with anything that could ease his status, or book sales in the eyes and pocketbooks of the “progressive” minions grovelling at his feet.

I just have one question for people like Hedges, and Jensen for that matter, since he was quoted here as well, that question is; what good has come out of all your book writing?  I’m talking on the ground changes for the better that have been made as a result of the book after book after book you have both written?  Things are far worse now, at every level I can conceive of.  Time to try something else fellas.

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By Lloyd Hart, February 7, 2012 at 2:17 pm Link to this comment

Right on Mark, well said. My union local has no problem scraping with the cops
when union busting requires a picket line that is then attacked by the cops.
Construction is hard enough without union busting. The problem is that most
people these days have no experience with fighting back and fighting hard
enough to win.

My union local has successfully stopped union busting every time we take
action. And if fighting the cops is required you don’t see anyone on our side
whining about the cops we sent to the hospital. If the cops come to the picket
line in riot gear and billy clubs their just asking for it. We are defending our
families and our communities from union busting scum and will give our lives
to do it.

These progressives just don’t want their election plans disrupted by a real
protest movement because in their fairy tale, democrats are coming to the
rescue so you don’t need to protest. What crap.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, February 7, 2012 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment

Donna Fritz, February 7 at 12:58 pm writes, “And don’t get me started on the spelling and grammar, as evidenced above.”  This is in reference to a statement by Lloyd Hart, who wrote, “Well fuck you Chris, your a fucking asshole.”

Donna, I fail to see a grammar problem with what Lloyd wrote.

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By Rafael Ravenet, February 7, 2012 at 2:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Peace, respect for rule of law and private property are the bulwarks of a successful grass roots movement in our day and age.  Chris Hedges is well aware of the standard opposition any current social justice movement will probably experience on the road to real positive change. 

As a member of a small grass roots organization, I have witnessed in horror as black draped, Halloween masked individuals steeped in adolescent perpetuity disrupt orderly peace-bound demonstrations. 

Our education system has failed when it gives up the duty and obligation to train minds and lives on community responsibility and also important personal, career fulfillment by way of self respecting conscientious, reflexive, reasoned and informed learning.

The question is no longer why younger generations increasingly appeal to magic and swagger as our societies are erroneously built on infantile belonging and identification with colors, tribes, appearance, material possession and agelessness?  Given our challenging near term future, are children going to succeed prepared only with skill sets defined and perfected on violent fantasy video games?

Local economies must start with clear and distinct community oriented values.  We all need to work for the goal by examining our place in the status quo.

What do we need to understand?  How do people get food, clothing and shelter?  Who helps individuals, families and whole communities achieve honest, meaningful, self reliant societal achievement?  It starts with each of us. It can start now.

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By redteddy, February 7, 2012 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment


If they are protecting ‘us’ from police then why are they in the media for attacking
an independent journalist who was filming at the march?  Even OWS members have
questioned direct action and the assault on this guy.  But go ahead, go on with
your bad self as they say.  We shall see where it gets you WITHOUT the support of
the 99%!

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By pointus, February 7, 2012 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment

So many so-called “anarchists” are often undercover police, agents-provocateurs, whose sole purpose is to marginalize popular movements.

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By Cuthred, February 7, 2012 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment

You’re right, Mark.

I cringe to think what the new Chris Hedges would say about the women in Tahrir who threw rocks when the cops and pro-Mubarak thugs were closing in.

“There is a word for this! Criminals!”

Only a certain elite are handled with kid gloves when they’re liberal-arrested. Most are beaten, trumped up with 20 offenses, and charged more in court fees than their net worth.

Hedges also ignores that Zapatistas wear masks almost without exception when direct action is in the cards.

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By Flickford, February 7, 2012 at 2:02 pm Link to this comment

There’s no quick fix to the global banking occupation and corporate coup of
governments worldwide. It is impossible to police civil disobedience. OWS and
GIABO will inspire all manner of spin-off movements and actions for better and for
worse. There will be no self-correction by the status-quo. In typical American
fashion we debate whether OWS has succeeded or failed like spoiled brats
expecting a push-button expedient solution. What we are facing will be the
defining struggle of the 21st Century - a global revolution against corporate
feudalism. We are only one “nation” of people worldwide in this fight. We may not
be the nation who can get it done, but I think it will happen with perseverance and
great sacrifice. A struggle of this magnitude will not be comfortable or orderly.

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By Donna Fritz, February 7, 2012 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment

“Well fuck you Chris, your a fucking asshole.” -
Lloyd Hart

That statement pretty much sums up why the lovers of
violence will remain a marginal element deserving of
the scorn they’ve been receiving. Their commentary,
which is almost always dripping with vitriol and
hostility and the kind of personal attacks that one
might hear in a middle school boys locker room, makes
me wonder if they figured out a way to freebase
testosterone. (And don’t get me started on the
spelling and grammar, as evidenced above.)

I’m not immune to feeling enraged. If someone or some
group inflicted serious harm to me or my loved ones,
and the powers that be allowed the perpetrators to
walk free or participated in the evil themselves, I
would probably dedicate the rest of my life to
hunting down the evildoers and taking care of them

I can assure you, though, that none of my actions
would involve throwing rocks at random cops or
storefront windows. Not only do such actions
accomplish exactly zero - they’re childish and

We’re in the process of building the Movement. If
we’re ever to be successful in wresting control of
our government and our institutions away from the
oligarchs who have usurped them, it’s paramount that
we attract a larger number of Americans to join us in
the fight. To achieve that, we must always be
cognizant of how our words and actions will be
perceived by the people we’re trying to attract,
which includes the police themselves, most of whom
are are working class union members. If we aren’t
able to at least get local law enforcement on our
side—and I think Chris Hedges would agree with
this—we probably won’t be successful.

Perception management is key to our success. We can’t
afford to blow it.

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By redteddy, February 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment

@Joel Bee

You don’t get it do you?  First of all the Greek crises was acute, much worse than the US. The Greek riots led to the death of a teenager, more costly problems with infrastructure (must be payed through taxes from the over-taxed public), and
nothing much else.  Papendreous left but the present government continues his austerity measures, and debt up the yay-yo.  They are STILL in debt to the bankers and EU nations.  They have the option to bailout but haven’t as yet, the
crowds rioting in the street has forced absolutely NO change in their governments policy.  The riots haven’t frightened away the speculators and to boot Greece has lost their sovereignty.

If they had rioted to default and exit of the EU they may have gotten their referendum, instead they rioted to keep their pensions, jobs, benefits and not have their taxes raised which would have been IMPOSSIBLE under the guidelines of the European bailout.  So Chris jumped the gun on Greece.  On the other hand OWS has and continues to marginalize itself by taking not other action than protesting and allowing themselves to be linked to violence through black bloc.  OWS is calling itself a revolution. You don’t really believe that the average american is looking for that kind of a solution do you?  Do you really believe the average american who isn’t punk or radical left is going to participate in a movement where they fear for their individual safety?  No.  Meanwhile OWS cannot even agree to get rid of a member (Nan) who is physically aggressive and threatening to their own bloody members!  OWS is in disarray and you should thank Hedges for bringing it to public attention so the members of OWS can re-group, re-think and strategize and get their sh** together!

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By Mark E. Smith, February 7, 2012 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment

There’s no need to “short-circuit the process.” All we have to do is recognize that we are all Ken Saro-Wiwa and we are all Oscar Grant.

If violence discouraged public support, there would be no support for the troops, as they are undeniably and boastfully violent.

People have a right to their lifestyle choices, but those who enjoy getting beaten up should pay those in the B/D & S/M industry to do it, instead of provoking the cops and putting the burden on the taxpayers.

Those who cannot or do not wish to stand up and fight back, can donate to those who can and will, the Tactical Actions Committee (TAC) of Occupy Oakland:

As for those who want jobs, housing, education, health care, and the other benefits that this capitalist imperialist system won’t give them anyway (and has destroyed other countries for providing), they can’t fight the system that they’re importuning for a bigger share of the loot.

Some of us want global social, economic, and environmental justice. Others just want more benevolent corporate and military dictators. Since we have different goals, we have different strategies and tactics.

The US government, through the proxy military junta that it funds, arms, and trains in Egypt, has killed over a thousand protesters there, seriously injured (we train the Egyptians to aim for the eyes, so many protesters have lost an eye or are blind) thousands more, and has tortured at least 15,000 who are in their military prisons. The US is one of the world’s top arms dealers and it supplies crowd control weapons and training to most of the world’s brutal dictators. Should the US fail to suppress civil dissent at home, it would lose market share abroad, as those dictators would stop buying weapons and training that weren’t effective.

The black bloc have averted violence by opening up police lines so that protesters could escape being kettled, pepper-sprayed, beaten, and arrested.

The black bloc are a lot less violent than the cops and have destroyed a lot less private property than the cops. But they sometimes might break the window of a capitalist establishment, instead of just destroying the tents, books, medical supplies, and other “hazardous waste” of poor people. Why so much concern about the property of the 1% and so little concern for the health and welfare of the 99%?

The black bloc isn’t a cancer on Occupy, it is the closest thing to the Egyptian revolution that Occupy has. In understanding the capitalist imperialist system, opposing it, and fighting back, they may be the only healthy cells in the entire Occupy organism.

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By Lloyd Hart, February 7, 2012 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment

Once again, OWS is a complete failure. OWS squandered all their public support
and hundreds of thousands of dollars on a non-confrontational strategy that
produced zero results. Chris Hedges just can’t deal with the fact that OWS wasted
all it’s opportunities to increase public support and keep the donations coming in
and is now finished and not trust worthy anymore.

Don’t worry, a more militant coalition will form and press the 1% into a corner that
will have them begging to give us higher wages and a clean environment But it
won’t be led by progressives. Real lefties will rise. Not enablers of anti worker
legislation that the progs just past in the senate.

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By Alex R Delp, February 7, 2012 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As an anarchist, I’m surprised at Mr. Hedges’ ill-informed statements about anarchists being opposed to organization, given that he otherwise seems to be a very apt scholar of American radicalism in the previous century.  Perhaps I misunderstand what was intended.

That said, I fully agree with his points about the Occupy Movement’s dire need to remain non-violent and distance itself from acts of violence, whether against human or property.  I couldn’t agree more.  If we engage the state on it’s terms, violence, it is a fight we cannot win, morally justified or not.

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By DLT, February 7, 2012 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Are we SURE the ‘elite’ are not funding and behind these people the way they paid people to counter-protest the anti-war protesters back in 2001 and 2002??  I wouldn’t doubt it for a second!  3 men dressed all in black infiltrated a labor protest in Canada a few years ago.  They were loud and rowdy and tried to get the others to commit vandalism.  No one took the bait and told them to leave.  The cops had to ‘arrest’ them and put them face down on the ground.  On the bottom of their shoes was the answer.  ALL 3 were wearing police-issued shoes.  THEY WERE COPS.  The 1% NEED for violence to happen so they are probably funding these ‘brats’ to do this so the news will show the movement has gone violent and so they can bring in the military.  It’s a set-up, I suspect.

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By Arianna, February 7, 2012 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment

No one seems to be getting the message!  We are being split into two camps(or more).  This is not about race, sexuality or politics.  It is about getting the
public to fight amongst themselves as a distraction from the real issues.  We are being stripped of our liberties and rights and argue more over our own agendas than that of the Elite 1%.  All the differences of opinion can be sorted out after these
people have been removed from power.  The primary objective should be to get rid of these clowns NOW!

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Sue Basko's avatar

By Sue Basko, February 7, 2012 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment

Anyone on here who wants to know REALITY—read the comment on here by
IMTREBLE.  Seriously, that is the whole truth in a nutshell.

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By smilesberger, February 7, 2012 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

i hope the “black bloc” wussies try breaking windows or messing with cars here in ny. i am begging them to try it. this ain’t oakland, kiddies. the boys in blue will knock some sense into you pussy boys and good. you’ll be crying back to your mamas in the ‘burbs. we mean business here, little feggelehs. try breaking one window, see what happens. theyll rip the ski masks right off your face and smash your noses real good.

oh, you run in packs? why’s that? not man enough to show your faces or stand up for yourselves? bring your little packs here, try some bullshit on some of our businesses and cars here, girls.

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By Concerned Canuck, February 7, 2012 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment

So: where do we go from here? Of course Occupy has been contaminated by a 5th
column since day 1. Yet unfortunately most of these goons are acting on their own, rather
like the Sturmabletung.  Perhaps and most ironically, the best way to save Ocuppy’s non-
violent philosophy is through the use of internal violence to exorcise this cancer.

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By heterochromatic, February 7, 2012 at 12:51 pm Link to this comment

gerard-where were you in the late 1960s?

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By gerard, February 7, 2012 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

I never thought I’d live to see the day of such spirited and conscientious argument and discussion on non-violence, what it really means, its essential-ity, its merits, its problems, its quandaries, its
history, its possibilities and progress…!!

So another accomplishment we can chalk up to the Occupy movement and the struggling political consciousness of the 99%.  A discussion long overdue
has arrived.  Another clear evidence that we need to hang onto freedom of speech and of the press! Another strong argument in favor of democracy and against authoritarianism.

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By heterochromatic, February 7, 2012 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment

Shaw—you’re a gibbering CLUELESS gibbon.

I’m more the “Louis Abolafia for President”  lawn sign type and wouldn’t piss on

maybe when you stumble across a clue, you’ll learn that there’s a great big old
spectrum and stop thinking that anything not solidly black is therefore all white.

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By seasnun, February 7, 2012 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Anarchy (from Greek: ??????? anarchí?), has
more than one definition. In the United States,
the term “anarchy” typically is meant to refer to
a society without a publicly enforced
government or violently enforced political
authority.[1][2] When used in this sense,
anarchy may[3] or may not[4] be intended to
imply political disorder or lawlessness within a

“Outside of the US, and by most individuals that
self-identify as anarchists, it implies a system of
governance, mostly theoretical at a nation state
level although there are a few successful
historical examples,[5] that goes to lengths to
avoid the use of coercion, violence, force and
authority, while still producing a productive and
desirable society.[6]”

The definitions above are from Wikipedia and
would define the current state of anarchy, not
the historical state, which was popularly
perceived only as being violent. Most
interestingly, the Occupy movement is an
anarchic movement that matches both
definitions above, with much emphasis on the
statement in the second definition that describes
those who “self-identify as anarchists.” I have
hesitated to name the Occupy movement and
structure as anarchic, as I suppose have others,
because of the stigma of violence and chaos,
which in a way Hedges (perhaps unwittingly)
reinforces by using the term “black block
anarchists” more than once. The Occupy
movement is international, and they
communicate with each other easily in this day
and age so that national borders become
irrelevant and separate definitions for inside and
outside the US become somewhat false.

Occupy is an international nonviolent anarchic
movement. Hedges is correct in pointing out
that the Black Bloc anarchists, who are not
nonviolent, can give the rest of the Occupy
movement a bad reputation and name.

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

I am appalled and disgusted by the sheer number of people who applaud stupid, mindless violence.  It makes me realize even though we’re in the 21st century and we know well the perversity and corruption that violence brings to people’s psyches, still, the mob is clamoring for action, revenge, and more thoughtless violence.  Legitimate self-defense is totally understandable and acceptable under certain conditions.  What happened in Oakland was not legitimate self-defense. 

Throwing a rock through a window takes no courage, unless you count the courage of nihilism as real courage, which I do not.  And even real courage, which for most people means physical courage—pales in comparison to moral courage.  Physical courage in violent situations usually involves the group, the support of others in committing the violence.  but in moral courage, each one of us is alone with their conscience, their values and their own soul.  Moral courage is so much more rare, so much more difficult because it requires self-restraint and self-knowledge. 

I see now more clearly why the human race is so intractably stubborn and resistant to the power of non-violent civil disobedience:  impatience, lack of self-control, mob rule and submerging individuality to group behavior is the order of the day. 

Jerry Gerber

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By Michael Shaw, February 7, 2012 at 12:20 pm Link to this comment

If you didn’t care hetero, then why bother answering? It seems very clear to me who you are and who you represent. In my mind’s eye I can see the sign in front of your house….“Santorum for President”

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