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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 pwest, February 7, 2012 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

Funniest comment on here:

“By tim, February 7 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

AGI, your suspicious of people who use the words
‘direct action’? Martin Luther used those words and
they are often used with the word ‘non-violent’...

Anarchists of many types exist. Largely, they know how
to get things done on a collective scale. This author
needs to get out more. He is clueless.”

Uh, Chris Hedges was a war correspondent for the NY Times. And what is it you do keyboard warrior, tim??

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By Michael Shaw, February 7, 2012 at 12:18 pm Link to this comment

In case some don’t know it, this country is at a precipice. Millions of Americans are being disenfranchised and ignored, becoming as Chomsky suggests…non-people. When things like this happen for long periods of time, the chances of violence become more inevitable.

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By heterochromatic, February 7, 2012 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment

Shaw—- “hetero-homo phobe”????

I kinda care not to much about what seems to you..

gibbering gibbon.

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By Michael Shaw, February 7, 2012 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment

Sue Basko, you make a whole lot of sense!!!Sounds like these groups could would fit rather easily into the racist anti immigrant movement which is also being led by many neo-nazies.

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By heterochromatic, February 7, 2012 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment

Shaw——my own nephew , who lives with us, is involved in OWS and HAS been
arrested out in Seattle while still attending college near there.

he’s only a little bit of an asshole….and he has stories about the real full-bore
assholes that abound and are intent on violence in all tis mindless splendor.

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By heterochromatic, February 7, 2012 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

NOLA—thank you for printing that statement from the beautiful, beautiful people
who bravely survived the response of the people of Oakland to the ludicrous
bullshit of anarchists attempting to appropriate other people’s property.

let us all hope that they survive their next bit of idiocy as well.

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By Michael Shaw, February 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm Link to this comment

I’d also like to know exactly who “they” are? Let us not for an instant blame the entire movement on the actions of a few. There are many progressive and peaceful groups involved in Occupy and they make up the bulk of those participating. I have a nephew involved in Occupy. He is a college grad and he believes in peace and nonviolence. Yes he does sometimes where a Hawkins mask or a kerchief over his face. But they are symbolic, not to hide his face. By now I’m sure the FBI knows every face in every organized protest around the country. My nephew has been beaten and tear gassed in both DC and Washington. He was never arrested and he never damaged private property. Does this make him one of the assholes you speak of heterochromatic? I think not!

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By Michael Shaw, February 7, 2012 at 11:51 am Link to this comment

One more point concerning the police surveillance state. To state Occupy disruptives are feeding the flames to that seems a bit reaching since our coerced leadership has been on a bipartisan level undermining the Bill of Rights and relinquishing our protections under law without any inspiration whatsoever from the Occupy movement. Now perhaps it might speed up the tempo, but it seems to me the direction of our Wall Street controlled government is very clear.

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By heterochromatic, February 7, 2012 at 11:48 am Link to this comment

Michael—- black blocheads could be anyone, even angels of mercy sent from

but they’re not, they’re stupid asses.

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By NolaAnarcha, February 7, 2012 at 11:46 am Link to this comment

a statement from occupy oakland regarding Move-In day:

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By Michael Shaw, February 7, 2012 at 11:45 am Link to this comment

Black Bloc, according to Wikipedia could be practically anyone, even someone who assists a tear gas victim in a police only zone. That seems to me to be a bit over the edge, calling people in that category a cancer to the movement. The police have been brutal from the get go, particularly in Oakland, where the police have a long history of brutality. That said, I have encountered some people who try to scapegoat Noam Chomsky and other humanitarian progressives as sellouts. I, like the author, find this absurd. One thing I do know and that is every time large groups of people assemble, there are always disruptive individuals or small, disruptive groups. Often they are found to be government infiltrators, as was the case at Kent State, or the GOP Convention in Indianapolis when that neocon newscaster from Texas infiltrated the anti-war movement, pretending to be an organizer of that group, misled members into bombing cars(which they never did) while working for the FBI the entire time. Similar events like the Chicago Seven or Father Doyle and the Camden 28 where the FBI informant planned the breakin of the government offices to burn draft cards. Even at the OWS site, where undercover cops were dropping off beer(and bums) at Zocotti Park to create an excuse to raid the encampment. It has always been hard to tell friends from enemies. Now, with this article, it seems even harder. Sounds like today’s anarchists are not Emma Goldman types who believed in peace. Who to trust and who to believe?

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By Ron O, February 7, 2012 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

I hate to be dogmatic, but for all that is said here, the fact remains that violence and vandalism that can be attributed to the Occupy movement (rightly or wrongly) will kill it. It gives the 1% all they need to be sanctimonious and then to use violence 100 times greater than the Occupy movement could ever summon. Read Gene Sharp’s books. He has spent a lifetime researching this and analyzing which tactics are successful and which are self-destructive.

Sharp deals with historical facts, not opinions. And he has said a hundred times that violent methods are the fastest route to self-destruction.

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

Chris Hedges and the black bloc:

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By glitterbloc, February 7, 2012 at 11:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

tired, skimming article before i go to work. this author is writing with such authority on the subject, but i don’t see that he has actually interviewed any members of oakland’s “black bloc” so im confused about where he go all this information. also, the most violent acts of, and where the term black bloc was first used here in oakland to my knowledge, was by mayor jean quan after some “black bloc anarchists” smashed out the windows of whole foods. there has been a lot of speculation and some evidence to suggest that these black bloc anarchists were actually minor offenders paid by the police/had their charges dropped on the condition that they would go fuck shit up and give occupy oakland a really bad name. further more, to classify every protestor who is wearing all black and a black bandana “mask” is very dangerous. it demonizes everyone wearing this outft, and turns the movement even further in on itself. many people wear this uniform because police harassment is rampant, and often police are just standing around video taping us like animals at a zoo. i wear the black bandana because i dont want to be videotaped at a march, and then recognized and stopped on the street. opd has a VERY LONG history of corruption, violence and murder. there is nothing to stop them from targeting me. that is why myself, and many others dress in black and wear bandana masks, to blend in with the crowd so as not to be identified and targeted. as for black bloc violence? i personaly have not seen it. what i have seen of black bloc protestors is they are helpful and well informed. they have saline and malox to disperse tear gas chemicals in peopeles eyes, the hand out bandanas to protect your lungs, they have food, water, many of them are medics, and many of them are helping shepard young and elderly from very dangerous and violent situations started by the police. the only people that i saw throw ANYTHING that day was some bro dude who threw a plastic bottle, and a few JUGGALOS throwing bottles and rocks. are juggalos and bros the cancer in occupy? i think it is very dangerous to point fingers and assume anything about “black bloc”. at this point i think it mostly only still exists because jean quan and her army of thugs has named it and demonized it, and thus it keeps showing up in the media. whatever the case, a few empty plastic bottles and rocks does not warrant the level of police brutality and 400+ illegal arrests, and inmate torture that occourned on and the days following to recap, black bloc is just a general term for anyone dressed in all black with a bandana on their face. it has nothing to do with your level of violence or nonviolence, as is largely the case. mayor jean quan cioned and demonized this term to try to divide the movement. we wont let her. there is also a glitter bloc, made up of feminists and queers.

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By Robert Christie, February 7, 2012 at 11:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges has experienced more of the consequences of violence and the impact of non-violent resistance than these nihilist thugs, the Black Block, can even imagine.  But they don’t really care, since their only goal is self delusional expression of negation.

The success of OWS has come from their smart strategy in keeping focus on the fundamental issue of social and economic justice rather than some minor ‘reforms’ and by their commitment to non-violent resistance.  One might recommend that these thugs read a little history of non-violent civil resistance, such as Gene Sharp’s From Dictatorship to Democracy, or Ackerman and Duvall’s A Force More Powerful, but it’s likely that they read very little other than media stories about their own misdeeds, and certainly not the classical anarchist theorists either.

The most important Occupy tactic now must be complete disassociation from these stupid self-defeating thugs.  How?  Well, since their primary form of action is to disrupt peaceful demonstrations by engaging in violent acts—blindly playing into the hands of the corporate state—it seems to me that the necessary counter-action for any Occupy demonstration is to simply and all together physically move away from them, leaving a large enough space between Occupy folks and the thugs, that there can be no confusion as to who is whom.  That may be logistically tricky, depending on the physical layout of streets, squares, etc., but it is absolutely necessary if the OCCUPY IDENTITY is to be protected and sustained.

In this way, the Occupy departure from any proximity to the Black Block can become an active and symbolic demonstration of the distinct Occupy identity and its disdain for and total rejection of the insanity of this peculiar threat to The American Revolution.  That the American people will understand and respect.

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By MeHere, February 7, 2012 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

I support 100% non-violent political action, but my gut feeling tells me that perhaps C. Hedges is making too much out of the episodes of violence by the group he mentions in his article. If the non-violent OWS movement is strong enough, it will prevail. It may be necessary to find a way to make the non-violent position more public and very clear without necessarily getting into a battle with the black bloc. This is some of the difficult and fairly predictable stuff that can develop in political activism

At the same time, there’s something else in terms of political action that should not be ignored and which merits discussion. It is a fact that when enough people find that the degree of injustice threatens their very own survival, they will resort to violence (not always in a mature, rational way.) It is not desirable and we don’t like to think too much about it, but it happens. No nation is exempt from this possibility. C. Hedges would be the right person to throw more light on the subject at some point.

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By EmileZ, February 7, 2012 at 11:12 am Link to this comment

Maybe the black clad ones could go to a Moistboyz show (and not smash things) instead of fucking up otherwise non-violent movements like OWS.

I have no doubt that a good many of them are righteous revolutionary radical hardcore motherfuckers.

Moistboyz - I Don’t Give A Fuck Where The Eagle Flies

One of my favorite lines from the above linked to song are:

“You can’t smell all the rage I’m feelin”

Well my alienated black clad comrades, I, EmileZ “smell the rage”, not teen spirit, the RAGE.

I’m FEELIN’ it too. We all are.

That’s why we showed up at this boring NON-VIOLENT protest.

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By gregorylkruse, February 7, 2012 at 10:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am far removed from the front lines.  Hedges is a war correspondent.  We need him. We also need the police, the military, and the Tea Party.  We need the libertarians and the conservatives.  We need the bold, and we need the meek.  It is better to be killed as an innocent, than to be executed as a criminal. As the thief on the cross said, “At least we deserve punishment, but he has done nothing wrong”.

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By balkas, February 7, 2012 at 10:07 am Link to this comment

more on violence, coup d’etats, armed rebellions, etc.
they work or fulfill the desires of the rebels or revolutionaries.
and that’s why—and only why—99% of american pop demonizes some revolutions and sanctifies
let’s please take just a few revolutions which world supremacists condemn, vilify, etc?
well, there is the OCTOBER ‘17 REVOLUTION in russia. it brought much good to most people in usssr;
also death to many enemies of the ussr people.
the revolution, among many other things, ended serfdom.
eventually, millions of ussr’s citizen were willing to lay down their lives to defend their liberties and basic
human rights.
actually 22 million died defending ussr from people who thought in same way about so much as most
americans do; perhaps, as much as 98% of them.
cubans, vietnamese still cherish fruits of their revolutions and still stand up to world supremacists. [this
doesn’t mean that US/nato may not one day revisit these countries in order to destroy their respective
laws and orders].
revolutions also worked in syria, iraq, egypt. nasser in egypt had deposed king farouk; while syrians and
iraqi got rid of their monarchies; reducing there much the vitiating influence of the goddologists and
and iraqis, syrians, egyptians loved the new law and order. and it had to be destroyed by world fascists;
headed by US!!

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By techcafe, February 7, 2012 at 10:01 am Link to this comment

another perspective on Hedges’ “Cancer in Occupy”

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By Ed Romano, February 7, 2012 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

Golly ! I’d really like to defame someone here. You know- show how smart I am by making their statements look foolish - but there are so many I don’t where to start…. As for the few people who actually have something constructive to say…isn’t there a way we could censor them ?

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By johnnysaynever, February 7, 2012 at 9:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hedges has said from day one that the Occupy movement needs to remain non-violent. Black Bloc/insurrectionist anarchists seek direct confrontation with the police and consider non-anarchists reformist trash, which taken together or separately are threats to the non-violent movement-building that Occupy needs. That’s what the article is about, and it’s not a surprise, or hypocritical, or any of the other dozen things that Hedges has been accused of. There are anarchist elements of Occupy, but anarchists don’t ‘own’ occupy—I’ve personally heard them refer to Kalle Lasn as ‘reformist trash’(as well as Chomsky & Zinn)—basically anyone who isn’t as ‘revolutionary’ and bespeckled with Hot Topic anarchy patches as they are. Insurrectionist anarchists like OWS because of the participation of non-anarchists in marches provides them with many more ‘meat shields’ than they would typically be able to enjoy. But now that winter is here and many occupations have been evicted they are bored with their toy and are no longer willing to hide their disdain for the rest of the 99%, as is apparent in this comments thread.

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By John Drabble, February 7, 2012 at 9:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

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.

See—the anarchists and blac block don’t need the occupy movement to do their silliness. Lets watch and see how effective this behavior is at bringing change in this country and contrast it with what a non-violent occupy movement has accomplished.;=

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By mjewell, February 7, 2012 at 9:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Missoula has not yet produced a Black Bloc to my knowledge or a group using similar tactics. However, in Missoula it would be difficult to condemn (or endorse) a Black Bloc because it would be difficult to bring the question to a timely and democratic vote.

The insistence on “solidarity” with Occupy Wall Street is used to mandate consensus decision-making which, in practice, enables a minority to arbitrarily stop some decisions from being made in the GA.

Though I’ve not been physically present in GA’s in NY, DC, Oakland or elsewhere, I believe from published accounts that the same problem may exist to one extent or another in those occupations.

True, reaction against repudiating Black Bloc tactics may rely partly on portraying such proposals as divisive. But the more practical and immediate problem is that questions cannot be democratically decided because there is insufficient procedure for doing so.

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By retrogrouch, February 7, 2012 at 9:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Think about what the Officer pepper spraying peaceful students did to legitimize Occupy and spread the message. Meanwhile Black block violence deligitimizes the efforts, and gives government legitimacy to use violence against the broader movement. If you want a mass movement (and you need one for real change) you need to attract and keep the masses.
Black block drives them away. It selfish feel good violence for their own personal ills and pain. And the authorities thank them for providing them a solution to their problem.

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By sid hatfield, February 7, 2012 at 9:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

scabbiest article i’ve read in a while

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By retrogrouch, February 7, 2012 at 9:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s so easy to succumb to the feel-good myth of righteous violence. And ironically that derives comes from much of what the same people complain about - a mass media that sells you the tale of Shane, or Gibson in “The Patriot”. “There comes a time where every good man [it’s usually men as part of the masculinity myth] has to lay down his peaceful ways and fight - pick up a gun or a brick,” they tell us. These myths and memes are peddled to us to make us fodder for war. We end up embracing the myth of righteous violence. (Part of why we are the most violent developed country with the highest incarceration rate - but that’s another story).

The power of Occupy comes from it’s nonviolence. Because government and the 1% do not know how to respond to it. When they resort to violence against the nonviolent Occupy’s message grows and spreads and gains legitimacy.

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By Cuthred, February 7, 2012 at 9:22 am Link to this comment

Dear DLC liberals,

It’s cute that you all refer to acts like stealing a flag, pulling friends away from crazed roided-up cops, or turning over a table outside a McDonald’s as “violence”.

Don’t burn your lips on that $8 latte!

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By Bret Simpson, February 7, 2012 at 9:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A little bit of this,a little bit of that.We all might not agree which method works…throw enough shit on the wall and somethin’ is bound to stick.

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By balkas, February 7, 2012 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

either-or linguistic structure often does not fit reality.
so, either behave violently or not against violent people, in this case, against onepercent, would depend on many factors.
one of them is always the time. others are the purpose or end solution for violence, what kind of violence to apply [there are many kinds],
effect of it on the onepercent, mood/approval of the people, outside helpers of it, etc.
violence in libya worked because armed rebels [were they ever just protestors?] were helped by world’s onepercent and some muslim
countries—which are governed by diktators; such as most clergy, amirs, aghas, beys, deys, kings, princes, et al.

in US we only have protestors. alas, they may constitute just 001% of american pop; while the possibly 95% + of american pop remains
silent just like it remained silent in ‘50, ‘60s ‘01, ‘03, ‘11 and now about syria, palestina, cuba.
and silence meant approval for US or US/nato aggressions against palestina, korea, ‘nam, cuba, nicaragua, afgh’n, iraq, libya, and others.
and after each of these aggressions [and many other horrors and terrors by nato, israel, US] 99% of americans at voting time approbated
or even sanctified such violence.
how about this year’s election? will we witness once again a 98% approval for US foreign and domestic policies? suppose we see in ‘12
about the same % of approval for US policies?
and thus we obtain not 99% against the 1%, but 001% against 98%?
would that prove how ineffectual or even counterproductive are protests of whatever kind!?
looks to me that the protestors are vastly underestimating value of tedious, unrewarding, long, hard political work and overestimating
value of protesting. thanks, bozhidar balkas, planet earth

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By oakieguy, February 7, 2012 at 9:14 am Link to this comment

Much of Hedges’ article is correct.  The so-called anarchists are like a religious sect.

Why don’t they go and occupy Los Altos Hills, Piedmont, Hillsborough or Sausalito?

The brats are too lazy or to scared.  They pick on working class Oakland rather than go where the money is.

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By tim, February 7, 2012 at 9:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

AGI, your suspicious of people who use the words
“direct action”? Martin Luther used those words and
they are often used with the word “non-violent”...

Anarchists of many types exist. Largely, they know how
to get things done on a collective scale. This author
needs to get out more. He is clueless.

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By IronColumn, February 7, 2012 at 9:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“We are anarchists, we have nothing to do with any
eventual management of the State. Our aim is that of trying to destroy the
projects and realisations it is bringing about, that could end up by
closing us up in a structure of control that will turn out to be absolutely
insurmountable.” Alfredo M Bonanno.

At first I thought this article was a joke.  At best it’s nothing but hilarious satire.  What a poorly reasoned and researched excuse for journalism. 

People’s comments are also great!  Instead of having an open dialogue, and doing some research it’s easier to resort to tactics of “good protester versus bad protester,’ that have always been used to break up and then co-opt movements to be consumed by our current repressive system.  You’re right Hedges:  anyone that resists this system will be shown through the media to be both criminally and mentally insane. 

What about the violence of that system?  To allow people to starve to death is violence.  Apathy is violence.  Even the non-violent have to recognize that they are complacent in the violence of this system, as it has been using their money to nearly constantly wage war since its brutal beginning (I don’t recall the Ancient Americans being allowed to help frame the constitution).  The State holds the monopoly on violence. Attempts to break up that monopoly is defense.  For Left wing and Right wing Capitalists, you must realize that any act of production is also an act of destruction of this Earth.  The only economist to come close to this reality has been Stiglitz, with ‘externalities.’  Last time I checked, I don’t recall black blocs being engaged in clear cutting, owning and operating BP, etc… 

Where have Anarchists been in making change?  At the forefront of all liberatory struggles.  Remember Haymarket?  Remember child labor?  Remember the Spanish Civil War?  During the Spanish Civil War, which involved roughly 3 million anarchists, women were allowed to join the workforce and have an equal say (for which work was self-managed by workers that had liberated their work environments).  We’ve been at the forefront of the environmental movement, women and queer liberation movements, anti-racist and anti-fascist movements.  We helped get the 5 day work week, and the 8 hour day.  And, contrary to one commentor, there have been anarchist/anarchistic societies, and for a long time.  Many didn’t call themselves anarchists, as the term didn’t exist at the time, or in their cultures.  Also, Somalia is not an anarchistic society, especially if there is ‘mob rule.’  I don’t recall, in tribal societies, the violence of allowing people to starve to death…as one commentor tried to present all humans as greedy (which only justify the worst atrocities, slavery, and domination as long as the ‘right people’ are in charge). 

Hedges criticizes Zerzan for pointing out how Noam Chomsky is not an Anarchist, and then stomps on Anarchistic ideas of hierarchy.  Noam Chomsky always has pointed out that all centralized institutions are immoral because they use coercion to maintain their structure.

Hedges could have cited the Blac Bloc Papers, to explain their history and their use (which is not always called upon).  You can find that book for free, here:

It’s funny to see people call the black bloc tactic a movement, neo-nazis, violent, directionless violence, unorganized.  You’ll find in blocs, pacifists, and people that don’t engage in property destruction.  The private property destruction is always supposed to be targeted against the worst of capitalist private wealth usurpers.  In Oakland, some were baffled with why Whole Foods may have been targeted.  Whole Foods threatened to fire those that wanted to participate in the General Strike.  The fellow who runs the Whole Foods corporation believes that food, clothing, shelter can only be acquired by people with money.

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By haightashton, February 7, 2012 at 9:07 am Link to this comment

Here’s the funniest sentence,

(BTW, Derrick, your poseur status has been renewed.):

“But we have to go through the process of trying to work with the system and
getting screwed.”

Isn’t that so-called “process” going on since America began? Haven’t we been
trying to work “with the system[?]” We’ve been and will continue to be screwed
by said system. The cops are the organic extension of the 1 %. They’re as close
we (and the Bloc get). I seem to remember lots of nice non-violent “types”
getting pepper sprayed and worse, despite their. Derrick has been supportive of
aggression as long as it’s directed a those in power. How does we do that?
Storm the penthouses? The weekend retreats of the rich? Derrick, are you there?
Answer me?

The rich and powerful aren’t simply going to hand over their riches or power.
Not gonna happen. Someone has to take it. And when they do, someone will
come along and take it back.

Being human is the disease. Good luck.

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By groobiecat, February 7, 2012 at 9:07 am Link to this comment

@Lloyd Hart

Wow. Another angry male. What a strange surprise to find this. And somehow
smashing up stuff will alleviate the pain you feel for your family members?

Your arguments, such as they are, are not logical, aggressive, and empty. You
ignored Chris’s key points—like most of your angry brethren here—to wit:
violence in this movement is exactly what its detractors most want. Anyone who
condones violence—and frankly, doesn’t understand basic civil discourse (i.e.,
governed by far too high levels of testosterone)—will be marginalized. The core
believe of OWS is based on non-violence, if you don’t agree with that, then go
form your own core black bloc party.

Sadly, you and your ilk ignore the keep points that Chris has made here; ignore
the founding members of OWS’s credo; and ignore the principles of peaceful,
non-violent protest as the mover of all things, as outlined by MLK and Gandhi.
Somehow, with arrogance and hubris, you think your short years here on the
third planet make your somehow more enlightened? You think that the original
protesters—whom you were part of, right—used violence? They did not. And they
grew and pulled in people specifically because they did not.

Advocating violence will only decrease the numbers of people willing to join the
movement, not increase them. This is basic, obvious analysis.

First, learn humility. Then, learn love. If you can’t do either, then join the
republican party, because that’s where mistrust, fear, and violence dwell.
Otherwise, you will be, rightly, marginalized and ejected from the body of the

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By Cuthred, February 7, 2012 at 8:51 am Link to this comment

Just re-read this article this morning and wow, it’s even worse with age.

If Hedges ever mentions Big Bill Haywood or the Wobblies or other direct-action heroes of the working people of this country again, I hope he has the decency to throw up in his mouth a little from the hypocrisy he’s now peddling.

Hedges own astute analysis of the liberal class, its collapse and unmasking as a control-and-reward arm of the financial elite surely makes this article doubly weird and sad. Like a liberal relapse! I bet he passed by the sleek NPR studios on the way to some ramshackle independent media interview and said to himself “I can’t do it anymore. I want back in”...

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By Lafayette, February 7, 2012 at 7:56 am Link to this comment


Ark: This will only last until all avenues have been explored, and the Global Elite know this.  They are determined to lower the population, keep us drugged, and break our bank accounts so we must depend on them.

The above is feckless victimization.

Been seeing this “handwriting on the wall” for decades. Have you already forgot the Great Society that was supposed to change fundamentally what we should expect from government? And what is left of that promise? Nada.

No, the problem lies in the fact that we, the sheeple, fellow citizens like you and me, have an insufficient understanding of what we want and how to get there. We live day by day manipulated by Media Messaging on the BoobTube convincing of what we want. When what we need may be very different.

Besides, WE keep electing a political class that cares little about the poor and middle-classes, where the most hurt is felt. They think we should be fat, dumb and happy with Minimum-wage-plus-ten-percent. Given our civic duty to vote, dumb is spot-on target. It is dumb not to vote not to exercise the one means we have to select our destiny. And yet at the last mid-terms 52% of voters stayed away from the polls.

And we accept the crap that what is good for BigBusiness is good from Jack ‘n Jill America. We deserve better, but will not have better until we reinvigorate our political class with progressive candidates to Congress. If the Koch Bros could send the T-Party into Congress, then so can we send progressives to do the same, but for Us and not Them (the OnePercenters).

Let’s not just “send a message to Congress”. Let’s change it fundamentally such that Progressive Values prevail. Can we not believe in an Egalitarian Meritocracy. Egalitarian meaning fair, but not equal. Meritocracy meaning that we earn a decent wage for a decent day’s work and no gaming-the-system by WallStreet Wiseacres.

But getting there is a long, hard slog. There is no Quick Fix. For an egalitarian society to be obtained we must understand the limits of a Free-Market Economy and expect the government to fulfill our needs where the F-M E fails to deliver.

Our country, through our Labor and our Consumption, generates ample wealth. It is a question, today, of sharing that richness more fairly.

Let’s not loose sight of that Key Objective of an Egalitarian Society.


Forget about THEM. Keep focussed on US - what WE want of government. How we can change government. Perhaps slowly, slowly ... but surely, surely.

And for that to happen, we must reform our Political Class and rid ourselves of the present one. Far too many rich who couldn’t give a fly’s fart about the needs of Jack ‘n Jill America.

And we can bring about this reform peacefully but effectively - at the ballot box.

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By zoskia, February 7, 2012 at 7:52 am Link to this comment

Truthdig…you’re still doing a good job.Keep Up The Good Work and assume this phone is tapped.

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By Titus, February 7, 2012 at 7:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As we discuss a few smashed windows, some spray paint
and our horror that some folks might actually be
vocalizing their disgust with the police, I’d like to
take a moment to remind people that the only reason
there is outrage over such trivialities is because
CORPORATIONS and the STATE are using their grip on
the media to maintain their monopoly on violence. So
let’s discuss a burning flag, like good sheeple, and
turn our attention and energies away from less
interesting issues such as destroying the illusion
that we live in a peaceful and free society, exposing
the whitewashing of history that leads us to believe
that non-violent movements alone are the only
legitimate catalysts for change, ignoring that our
“peaceful and non-violent state” is dependent upon
the more than 1,000,000’s of deaths that have been
inflicted by the US military in the last decade.
Let’s not discuss the trillions of dollars that are
being wasted in war and corporate giveaways as the
state calls for austerity. Let’s look away as the
conversion of our natural resources into toxic waste
(called the GDP) continues unabated and threatens to
kill us all. We should continue to ignore the
imprisonment and damnation to poverty of millions of
people domestically (and billions globally). Let’s
not discuss that capitalism’s “gun of poverty”
insures most people are forced to exert almost all of
their energy, time and creativity into a system of
wage slavery in which the trillions of dollars are
being appropriated by the rich rather than being used
to end scarcity. Most importantly, let’s focus on
sensationalist news so that we can forget the
feelings of disconnectedness and the meaningless that
most people experience as life, created when our
relations with each other are constrained by a system
dependent on giving us limited choices masked as
freedom, a system which simultaneously hollows us by
denying our will to live and create, all the while
bombarding us with advertising assuring us that our
emptiness can only be corrected by consumption of the
very goods that the system depends on. The media
(thank you, Chris Hedges) does it’s job and refocuses
us on what they want us to believe is the real danger
to our security lets us know what stands in the way
of the realization of our desires (which they have
been nice enough to define for us); the real danger
to freedom are these violent protesters who dare to
use plastic shields and overturn snack machines! And
we fall in line when we continue their propaganda and
continue the conversation. Meanwhile, the mechanisms
of oppression that CORPORATIONS and the STATE utilize
to keep us in line remain unquestioned.

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By Jay Lindberg, February 7, 2012 at 7:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Practical Coward

Chris Hedges is what I refer to as a practical
coward. He knows, deep down inside that promoting
non-violence will be ineffective but as a writer,
plugging non-violence pays his bills.  He also
realizes that if he had the courage to fight to win
these political battles. the system would make
targets out of his family.  To borrow a phrase from
Scientology, they call this fair game.

Following Chris Hedges and his plan for reform is
simply check mate-game over.  The only problem is
that you will have to burn up a huge chunk of your
life before you figure that out.

There is a dirty little secret out there about the
decision to use or not to use violence.  Here it is.

Non-violence has a reasonable chance of success when
dealing with failed and flawed policies. When you are
dealing with corruption, a crime, you are dealing
with illegitimate power. They will leave in cuffs or
they will leave in a box. 

It is obvious at this point that the banksters are
not going to go to jail.  The next time they lead
this country to bankruptcy, we will get what we deserve when this country goes bankrupt and breaks up
into a bunch of little pieces.

The coward class has earned its chains and the Jack
boots are your throats.  It’s time to snap your f’in
necks and put you whining sh*ts out of your misery.

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By groobiecat, February 7, 2012 at 7:47 am Link to this comment

@Buffalo Bill

Wow. Thank god. For a while there, I didn’t think we’d find someone who had all the

I just want to take a moment to congratulate you on your humility and insight. We
can all go home now and have a good think on the new intellectual nutrition you’ve
so generously provided—pre-chewed over—to our waiting, collectively gaping
maws of ignorance.

Please, also, thank your parents for having the foresight to bring forth such a
towering philosopher to this intellectually barren wasteland.

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By geebee, February 7, 2012 at 7:40 am Link to this comment

I accidentally reported you Ty Gelmaker, sorry. Was trying to find an easier way respond.

Using illness as a metaphor seems pretty simple and obvious to me and Sontag is way over my head. I’m a nurse. Trying to understand what ails our culture and society naturally will bring up illnesses of the individual. We are, after all, one massive organism. No metaphor necessary. Those that seek violence and perpetuate mindless destruction in the way Jenson talks about ARE a cancer. They are a different type of cancer than say a crooked investor in a porche, but still cancer.

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By Buffalo Bill, February 7, 2012 at 7:37 am Link to this comment

Forget about revolution or change in this country.  This is a country composed of complacent soft weaklings.  LOL, you expect Americans, Prozac-popping individuals who rush to see a therapist because of the trauma they suffered from being called fat when they were 10 to be a revolutionary vanguard?  C’mon.  Right-wing red necks are brain-dead from cheap beer and nascar.  At the same time latte-drinking, Subaru driving liberals will never sacrifice their privilege and comforts to mix with the unwashed masses. 
    I love Chris Hedges, but sometimes his columns are incoherent and contradictory.  He’ll outline how sick and empty this society is, and then at the same time he’ll promote the hard-slog of non-violent sacrifice as a means to fix the ills of America.  Sorry Chris, but overweight, fragile, and lazy Americans will always just be gears in a large machine that just perpetually grinds away under its own momentum.
    Ps. For you OWS folks who are probably offended—slumming in a sleeping bag and banging a drum all day gets you nothing and requires no political backbone.  But at least you are not YET “radical” suburban dwelling well-off liberals who I have the greatest contempt for. However, when you grow up, will you become “radical” liberals?  I think you will.

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By Diane Gee, February 7, 2012 at 7:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have penned a rather rational reply to Mr Hedges.  One I doubt he will read or rely to, but one that will be widely read nevertheless.


But timing is everything, and the ONLY redeeming thought that could be garnered from Hedges article is that we have not reached that tipping point yet, with enough support so that fighting back could be an option. He could have begged them patience.  He could have cited when and why fighting back WORKS.  He could have explained the differences in Popular Support that may have made the Greek Riots or the Arab spring more successful. He could have spoken of resistance movements in Cuba, Chile, Venezuela and how they had to Unite the workers together to be successful.  He missed the chance to speak of adapting, changing tactics, and how to work for unity to ultimately make Occupy live on. He could have been the voice of the Elders telling the young, “Patience Grasshopper.”

He didn’t.  He damned them instead.

What is killing Occupy is Division and Bad Press. 

And, woooosh, with his pen, Hedges cut a weeping gash in the body Occupy that did not excise a Cancer, but ultimately bled the body and made it weaker, feeding the Cancer by providing division and bad press.

Chris helped the Cancer grow yesterday.

And helped “Failure” be our new normal.

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By Arianna, February 7, 2012 at 6:56 am Link to this comment

The strongest weapon in the arsenal of dictators throughout history, has been to divide and conquer. It
is being done to us now by using politics and policies
to keep us arguing with each other.  This serves to distract us from the real issues.  Fear mongering, financial and economic terrorism, fluoridating our water, genetically modifying our food, drugging us into oblivion and perpetual wars against phantom enemies also keep us focused on the wrong side of the
problems we all face TOGETHER!  We try to remain non-
violent as a means to accomplish our goals.  This will
only last until all avenues have been explored, and the Global Elite know this.  They are determined to lower the population, keep us drugged, and break our
bank accounts so we must depend on them.  Once all that happens the non-violence will cease and our survival instinct will kick in.  I pray it will not be
too late at that point to have a positive impact on where we are headed.

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By Lafayette, February 7, 2012 at 6:30 am Link to this comment

SDD: It’s because this disgusting and corrupt system is actually working for them. They don’t want revolution.

Yet another revolutionary from the Looney Left promoting all-out War on the “1 Percent”.

Your romanticism blinds you to the fact that revolution means conflict, conflict means deaths and ... is that what you really want. Is death really a necessary alternative?

Of course not.

We must reform America - yes. But the way to do it is the long, hard slog through the ballot-box. It will take time - which is unfortunate in a country that is inured to the Quick Fix.

Where history was five minutes ago and ancient history yesterday.

Whose people are lost on the road to Here & Now - where they want it All ...

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By organic dream, February 7, 2012 at 6:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well I tell ya, if i was 20 years younger , had no prenatal control and open mine for the slant bull shit going on in the world now, I’d know dough be wearing black and doing the some shit.

come on, who wound want to toss a mail box through a window of a bank. The youth are our warriors, we just missed the boat on informing them the war is not black tie.

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By groobiecat, February 7, 2012 at 6:16 am Link to this comment

@ Ty Geltmaker—Read the quote from Gandhi—he does so. Or was he not
orthodox enough?

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By OzarkMichael, February 7, 2012 at 6:15 am Link to this comment

I said:  “Cant you guys just talk this out? Can we make this a little more reasonable or at least a little lighter?”

followed By Sue Basko advising NotSasha:

Please think about: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. ”Would you like if someone smashed your guitar, ripped up your books, broke your fireplace?
Being “good” is not as easy a way to distinguish yourself as is putting on a scarf
and smashing a window.  But it will get you more and prettier girls.  I guarantee it.  Best wishes with the music.

Now thats what I’m talkin about. The Left just like in the days of old. Smarter, more focused, and doing only “good” to accomplish their goals. Its much more effective. Oh, I will still argue against some of your political views, but I dont feel like the world is going to collapse into chaos if I lose the argument, and i am probably wrong sometimes so i need to lose some arguments once in awhile.

Besides, who wants to argue against a little peace and love?


Wouldnt that be nice?

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By groobiecat, February 7, 2012 at 6:12 am Link to this comment

For all you “violent” types, perhaps you need to refresh your memory. Here’s what the “founders” of the movement
stated, early on. Note: “...engaged in non-violent civil disobedience.” Clear enough for you?

Principles of solidarity – working draft

Posted on September 24, 2011

What follows is a living document that will be revised through democratic process of General Assembly.

On September 17, 2011, people from all across the United States of America and the world came to protest the
blatant injustices of our times perpetuated by the economic and political elites.  On the 17th we as individuals rose
up against political disenfranchisement and social and economic injustice.  We spoke out, resisted, and successfully
occupied Wall Street.  Today, we proudly remain in Liberty Square constituting ourselves as autonomous political
beings engaged in non-violent civil disobedience and building solidarity based on mutual respect, acceptance, and
love.  It is from these reclaimed grounds that we say to all Americans and to the world, Enough! How many crises
does it take? We are the 99% and we have moved to reclaim our mortgaged future.

Through a direct democratic process, we have come together as individuals and crafted these principles of solidarity,
which are points of unity that include but are not limited to:

Engaging in direct and transparent participatory democracy;
Exercising personal and collective responsibility;
Recognizing individuals’ inherent privilege and the influence it has on all interactions;
Empowering one another against all forms of oppression;
Redefining how labor is valued;
The sanctity of individual privacy;
The belief that education is human right; and
Endeavoring to practice and support wide application of open source.
We are daring to imagine a new socio-political and economic alternative that offers greater possibility of equality. 
We are consolidating the other proposed principles of solidarity, after which demands will follow.


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By Anarcissie, February 7, 2012 at 6:09 am Link to this comment

Ty Geltmaker, February 6 at 9:40 pm:

‘Re: Chris Hedges’ “Cancer in Occupy.” Without entering into a Sontag-esque disquisition, is it necessary or useful to engage illness as metaphor in this or any political instance?’

Hedges’s style is to use violent, hysterical, apocalyptic language.  I don’t think there’s much more to it in this instance than that, although it is true that the anti-Occupy propaganda factory has been often concerned with portraying their targets in terms of disease and pollution.  More in the early days, though, than now.

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By David J. Cyr, February 7, 2012 at 5:54 am Link to this comment

QUOTE, Arianna:

“Non-violent resistance works”

Yes, it does work… but for whom?

The Violence of “Nonviolence”:

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By DarwinsBeagle, February 7, 2012 at 5:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Pastor Hedges is really showing his true colors with this one. While I frequently appreciated his inflammatory columns in the past, I knew deep down that there lurked a Harvard graduate, fully ensconced in his upper-class lifestyle. Any doubts that he embraced any kind of significant change in the existing power structures have come to full fruition with this piece. This article is a tremendous collection of logical fallacies and twisted facts.

I always worry about people who try to tell me what other people stand for. The initial gist of the article attempts to paint Black Bloc tactics in the most unsavory fashion. His attempt to make a post by someone named “Venomous Butterfly” as the defining ideology of anarchists is laughable. He tosses out Ted Kaczynski as some sort of feeble red herring. Oh My! A series of ad hominem attacks, one after another, is laid out in gory detail. Anarchists detest everyone. Anarchists are petty vandals. Anarchists are feral. Anarchists are hypermasculine. Anarchists are adolescent. It’s one after another. It is simple name calling. Here’s an “oh duh” moment for him when he states that anarchists oppose hierarchical organization. He uses it as a pejorative! Truly laughable. The highlight of this assault occurs when he alleges that anarchists are criminals! This should get any law abiding citizen into a frothing frenzy. Let’s forget about our current system of legalized criminality that has our bought off representatives opening the vaults of the treasury to the banksters and MICsters. Let’s forget about a justice system that puts forth the personhood of corporations. Let’s forget about a corporate fascist system of criminality that terrorizes the world, assassinates its own citizens and tosses habeas corpus into the garbage can. That isn’t criminal. Anarchists are criminal.

Unfortunately, the first page is just a warm up. Petty vandals who gut a corporate coffee shop are then put on par with the murderous thugs who run our country. What are they Chris, vandals or murderers? Someone who equivocates property destruction with three wars of foreign aggression, mass murder and drone bombing terror throughout the world is clearly beyond the pale.

He trots out his winning of hearts and minds. Does he really care about destroying this capitalist system of greed and oppression or does he want a popularity contest? Anyone truly concerned with social justice realizes the vast majority of Americans could give two craps about their rights, drone bombings and imperialistic rampages and exploitation. They’re too busy talking about the commercials on the super bowl. If anarchists are waiting for a 51% approval before we take action against this rampaging global capitalist beast, I suspect we’ll be long dead before that happens (as well as much, if not all of life on the planet).

He mocks people who actually try to change their lifestyles and live a more sustainable life. Not feeding the beast is futile in Hedge’s view. The reason he mocks us is because if he actually put his lifestyle under a microscope, he’d have to make some changes himself. No way that happens.

Every person I know who understands anarchy is in support of the occupy movement. None of us want to see it fail. Many are on the front lines and contributing their time and effort. At the same time, many of us realize that the corporate fascist powers in this country hold all the levers of power. They will not relinquish them voluntarily. Since treasure and property are the only things the 1% value, it is obvious that any effective fight against the corporate fascists will have to attack what they value most. On the other hand, Hedges comes out full force in favor of hierarchical, organized power structures. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. The amount of projection he is putting forth with this article is obvious. People need to ask themselves who is really rigid, close-minded and dogmatic. Who is really being divisive?

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By Arianna, February 7, 2012 at 4:21 am Link to this comment

It is quite obvious that Black Bloc has no business at
any of the Occupy events.  I’m not saying they don’t have the same right to be there as anyone else, merely
that their ideology doesn’t fit in.  The police have
definitely co-opted these goons and it shows the true
color of the establishment by doing so.  Non-violent
resistance works, even at the cost of being pepper
sprayed and arrested.  The Black Bloc are nothing more
than bullies running wild on a power trip.  Once they
finish their destructive activities, they leave the area, allowing the police to blame innocent protestors
for their destructive behavior.  The police are no
better, standing down and allowing these knuckle-draggers to commit such violence.

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By Chips, February 7, 2012 at 3:57 am Link to this comment

COLONIZER: a Postcolonial Reading of Chris Hedges

In the process of decolonization, intellectuals and activists in the immediate political fall out of the deconstruction of empire, must still fight with its continuing legacy. In order to succeed in successfully destroying the dominant definitions of race, class, language and culture, they must offer an alternative to the old colonialist discourse, a new form which establishes itself as a formidale, powerful and distinct identity. This is what Oakland’s Black Bloc, the anarchists and the radicals of the Occupy movement are doing. The fact that they face resistance from the colonizer, represented by the white, educated face of Hedges, is only evidence that they are succeeding in challenging the old hegemonic ways of thinking. In the meantime, they leave Chris Hedges and his ilk struggling with the internal contradictions faced by their role as former colonizer, striving vainly to justify and sustain their old methods of control in the face of tumultuous revolution.

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By ardee, February 7, 2012 at 3:53 am Link to this comment

Macresarf1, February 6 at 8:19 pm Link to this comment

To heterochromatic and any others who question my credentials:

  Many years ago an organization called The Macedoneans was named in my honor at Kent State University, dedicated to bringing about social change (in the late 1950’s

Thank you for the laugh, and the glimpse into a bottomless ego. Macedonia should be googled by any who think this self inflated egotist has any merit whatsoever.

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By brfelix, February 7, 2012 at 3:49 am Link to this comment

“First they came for Black Bloc…”

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By Laughing Fish, February 7, 2012 at 3:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree with Chris.  In short, this is the cause:

And this is the effect:

In my own political experience over the last decade or so, I’ve become more and more convinced of the destructiveness of these kind of tactics. I have seen this in action time and again, usually breaking stuff and graffiti type behavior increases as the political frustration of a movement increases during a period of stagnation or retreat. The search for a way out is abandoned, and those without the patience to build a movement that relates to non-participants put their intelligence on hold for the sake of frustration-venting.

In my opinion, the “black block” is something like a political black hole from whence no protest generally emerges. It is possible that they weren’t originally invented by the media or the police, but in action that possibility is meaningless. Their function, consciously understood or not, is to drive a wedge between any protest they are part of and working class, minority, and mass participation.

“Diversity of Tactics” is the slogan under which movements time and again, with the motivation of being inclusive and open to militancy, have allowed ultra lefts and provocateurs to invite repression and marginalization on movements. 1960s non-violent protests worked, and got popular sympathy, because they were disciplined. That meant they had marshals at the demos who told people, “no, you can’t do this at our protest.” Maybe that is “authoritarian”. And I don’t care if it is. Because it worked. Unlike the “anarchism” of the black block, which has left a legacy in the US only of failure, despair, and disintegration.

Things that invite arrest and police repression will scare most people away, like people who have to show up tomorrow for work because they have kids and rent due and car payments, or maybe undocumented immigrants, or maybe black people already subjected to greater than usual police oppression. These people are not going to be part of a movement they see as having its level of “intensity” determined by an unaccountable group of usually white, usually middle class young people who are not going to suffer the same consequences of arrest as they would.

Being radical, being interested in changing the problem at its root, and learning to target the system as a whole, the question of violence or non-violence isn’t one of principles or morals. It is one of effectiveness. And that is something George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and everyone else who was part of the violent American Revolution understood. You don’t just put up flyers building the minutemen militia today. You’ve got to have the Boston tea party first.

If we can win without violence, so much the better. If violence is necessary for a people to exercise their democratic right as a majority to alter or abolish their form of government, that argument can’t be won among a small group of isolated activists in a room somewhere. It is won in a society.

But society is never even going to have that conversation as long as entities like the Black Block continue doing their best to isolate “activism” into a cultish “subculture” rather than a popular, mass activity.

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By Matt Cornell, February 7, 2012 at 3:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Here’s what Hedges meant by hypermasculinity.

Bonus: It’s funny.

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By Comrade Phi, February 7, 2012 at 2:40 am Link to this comment

As a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and 1970s I can assure you that the benefits of Non Violent protest vastly outweigh the momentary thrill and orgasmic experiences of violence.  I witnessed the effect of the Agents Provocateurs of COINTELPRO euchring the strategic impact of diverse organizations during the later stages of the Movement.  Now, as then, the forces of the institutions we must protest against await any opportunity to characterize us as a violent rabble as opposed to a collective of citizens seeking to manifest systemic change.

We can only achieve our desired results by expanding our numbers to include those in the center and to the right of center in our society.  Purity/dogma/anarchistic fantasies will never replace a representation of our cause to those who are uncommitted but could be swayed.  We either expand to incorporate them or become identified in their minds as “other.”

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By Sue Basko, February 7, 2012 at 2:30 am Link to this comment

TO SirDejaDoog - I followed through to your youtube page.  I listened to the
two songs you wrote and sang. I noticed you appear to be a white male
educated middle class person.  You appear to have a very beautiful guitar, a
fireplace, a nice rug, a high quality wooden bookcase filled with real books. 

I read the lyrics and listened to your songs—about the pretty girls at the
farmer’s market that takes place at the Occupy camp.  Were you at Occupy LA? 
I thought the lyrics were interesting and good. 

I would like to ask you to see beauty and goodness—the fresh fruits and
vegetable, the pretty women, making food for others, living in community—
and realize that this is antithetical to the idea of acting like a thug and
destroying the property of others or hurting other people. 

I had the opportunity a few years ago to live in a community of people in the
arts for about a year.  We shared meals, living spaces, our time, and our
creativity.  It was wonderful.  I think living in community is so strong, so
powerful.  I think perhaps it is what the post-Occupy-Camps people miss the
most.  I think,  especially with creative single adults, (as you appear to be),
creating communal shared living spaces should be the wave of the future.  It is
so needed—to share costs, share lives.

Please think about: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. ” 
Would you like if someone smashed your guitar, ripped up your books, broke
your fireplace? 

Being “good” is not as easy a way to distinguish yourself as is putting on a scarf
and smashing a window.  But it will get you more and prettier girls.  I
guarantee it.  Best wishes with the music.

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By Vincent Vibbert, February 7, 2012 at 1:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So many things wrong with this straw-dog critique. First, he references at length green
anarchists/anarcho-primitivists and implies that all black bloc is comprised of like minded
individuals. Very few of the anarchists in my circles fit into this category. Nevermind that
most black bloc participants I know base a lot of what their ideal world should look like
on the EZLN. Hedges implies that we all oppose them. After implying that we’re all
anarcho-primitivists he then quotes one at length, Derrick Jensen. Derrick Jensen’s
assessment is actually pretty on point. Destroying a locally owned coffee shop instead of
a Bank of America is tactically moronic. Separation of time and space is a pretty well
accepted rule amongst organized radicals. The number one *absolutely* wrong
implication Hedges makes is that black bloc is an ideology. It’s not. It’s a tactic. It could
be employed by any group with any ideology. Some anarchist will employ it effectively.
Others won’t. Hedges is either just ignorant about what he’s talking about (unlikely, he’s
a smart guy) or he’s engaging in some serious intellectual dishonesty. 

You libs like to whine about violence, yet we are all complicit in it to a degree that far
outweighs some broken windows. When you stop paying taxes that fund murderous
police and military oppression then you can start calling for abolishing it altogether. When
you stop supporting neo-liberal policies that inflict brutal economic violence on the third
world, you can call for an end to violence. When you stop buying products which require
slave-labor in order to be affordable, you can call for an abolishment of violence. Until
then, you can feel free to critique the manner and the targets chosen by certain short-
sighted anarchists who employ black bloc tactics ineffectively. As the occupy movement
devolves into the same tired, ineffective, and publicly rejected tactics of popular symbolic
protest culture you sure as hell can stop blaming us for your faltering. I suggest you
google Frances Fox Piven talking at OWS about the real “cancer” plaguing this
country…. Namely neo-liberalism of which you nearly all you haters either actively
support (obama2012!) or at minimum refuse to denounce the status-quo which actively
supports it. Fuck the peace police. Some of these kids just need to learn how to aim
before pulling the proverbial trigger.

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By General Wildcat, February 7, 2012 at 1:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is my humble opinion that Chris Hedges represents a recuperating cancer in our movement. A self-described ‘social democrat’, Hedges uses our language and a facade of being radical to appropriate, cripple and pacify real radical and revolutionary struggle. Of course he advocates militancy in Greece whilst describing it as a “cancer” in the US, his audience isn’t in Greece! I’m constantly disappointed every time I see Adbusters include articles by this man, but hopefully, now he has taken a firm stand on dividing the Occupy movement, they’ll reconsider.

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By Macresarf1, February 7, 2012 at 12:43 am Link to this comment

Ladies and Gentlemen:  My history IS my experience.  I know of what I speak.

  The Occupy Movements, as they were presented, without demands, threats, claptrap of any kind, but welcoming all who sincerely recognize that the majority of Western Man(yes, and Woman)kind have been made suckers the priests and aristocracy since at least the Middle Ages down to the present. That’s always been the 1%. They developed Capitalism as a method for hoarding their power and money from the 18th Century on to present day Corporatism.

  We of the 99%. Don’t let power brokers, police agents, ideologues, and the ignorant divide us with talk of this group or that group being the problem.  All of us who are non-violent, standing together for the long haul is a plan the aggregates
of World power and finance find profoundly perplexing.  They will do whatever necessary to splinter us, to make us act violently, so that the perceived “radical center,” the “silent majority” (remember that one?) will turn actively against us.


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By Dolly13, February 7, 2012 at 12:09 am Link to this comment

Dig this, trolls:

Have your histrionics. Play your roles. Try to convince the general
public that Occupy is composed of buffoons, thugs and dangerous radicals
with all your blah blah blahing.


By definition, the 99% are not buffoons, thugs and dangerous radicals. The
99% are all the regular decent people you encountered today.

No amount of trolling, misrepresentation, and “scary political trigger words”
can obscure that fact. It’s possible to lead a nation into war on the basis of
a few well-placed lies, but you cannot convince an entire nation of people
that they themselves are the bad guys. That effort is doomed to fail.

Okay, off the Internet and back to things that matter.

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By NotSasha, February 7, 2012 at 12:06 am Link to this comment

Reposted from my FB page.

Just as Lenin and the Bolsheviks were the worst thing to happen to socialism, so are the Black Bloc are the worst thing to happen to anarchists. I have absolutely no problem with those who identify as anarchists and believe that we can create a society without government, and work constructively to implement their ideals. I will fully support all such constructivist endeavors.

Yet based on my experiences and studies of several political ideologies, philosophies and systems of governance, and the environmental holocaust that is quickly approaching if we cannot accomplish a transformation of our society, I do not agree that anarchy is capable of achieving that transformation. But I will always want anarchists at the table. I want to hear their voice, just as I want to hear the voices of the libertarians, the capitalists, the conservatives and every other ideology and philosophy I do not agree with. I want to hear their disagreements, and see where we can agree. I do believe obtaining a consensus is possible, yet that consensus can only be legitimate if all of us are welcome. Otherwise, we are merely trading one set of ideological masters for another.

But I am adamantly opposed to the methods of violence and those who believe it is an effective tactic, a proper strategy or a moral obligation to engage in violence as a means of progress. Our world is built on violence - personal violence within our families, institutional violence within our governments, and systemic violence within our society.

It disgusts me that I cannot do something as simple as making cookies for my friends and not be absolutely certain that someone was not forced against their will in bringing those goods to market that I cannot procure or create on my own. And I will use a great diversity of tactics to create a world to establish that certainty - yet not one of those tactics will be based on propagating more violence as I reject the economic, political and social violence that currently dominates our world.

And reclaiming public spaces through peaceful occupation has been one of the most effective tactics I have seen. Yet it is but one tactic that must be used along with the strategic purpose of creating a world that is acceptable to all who must share it. Even more important than occupations is outreaching to those who disagree with us the most, and educating one another on those issues each of us feels is paramount, whether it be solidarity, liberty, equality, autonomy or whatever.

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By IMTreble, February 6, 2012 at 11:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Oh please!  I live in San Francisco and have been involved in, or organized, many protests and demonstrations in the city since the 80’s.  These “black bloc” anarchists have been showing up at nearly every protest and demonstration for years now.  I call them anarchists because that is what THEY call themselves, or they always have.  SFPD got wise to their shenanigans and started marginalizing them by forming a ring around them.  I saw this at one demonstration and at first I started to protest the police limiting protestors, then I saw who they had surrounded. I then heard a cop tell the Black Bloc punks “you can protest all you want, from within this circle”.  After a good bit of time two of these punks start pleading with the cop in charge to let them go because they have an important test they have to study for.  Whining like the weak little brats they are.  They managed to destroy many protests and demonstrations on very important issues because, of course, the media focused on the broken windows and crap leaving the real message unreported.  Now they are trying to destroy Occupy.  I say we do as the cops did and marginalize them!  When you see them show up surround them and make it clear they are welcome to join Occupy but the violence and stupid ignorant behavior is not going to be tollerated.  I’m tempted to bring some of my real biker felon buddies to show these children what violence for the sake of violence truly is.  Just for lulz…..

Now quit trying to make these fools into anything but the pointless, violent, little boys they are.  Oh, and since it is impossible that the current anarchists could be the same individuals all of these years, unless they have remained in their 20’s for 20 years, it is not too hard to believe they are provocateurs.

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By SirDejaDoog, February 6, 2012 at 11:29 pm Link to this comment

We really need to purge the movement of liberals.  They’re out of touch with what life is
really like for most people on this planet.
When global income inequality is considered those who make more than $35000 a year
are the 1%.
That’s the reason so many posting in this comments section legitimize the violence of
the state while condemning BB tactics. It’s because this disgusting and corrupt system is
actually working for them. They don’t want revolution.  They just want reform so they can
be more comfortable.
Meanwhile billions are suffering due to their complacency and narrow vision of the
The anarchists don’t make sense to you. You don’t make sense to them either.

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By Darrell, February 6, 2012 at 11:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

here’s what the kiddies in hoodies are doing in Seattle:

2-6-2012 Three banks on Capitol Hill were vandalized Monday night, and Seattle police are searching for several suspects.

Shortly before 7 p.m., police received reports of vandalism at three banks. The first is the U.S. Bank at Broadway East and East John Street; the second is the Bank of America at Broadway East and East Thomas Street.; the third is a KeyBank at 15th Avenue East and East Thomas Street.

Windows were smashed at all three locations.

“The suspects are described as wearing masks, dark hooded sweatshirts and dark clothing,” Detective Jeff Kappel said in a statement. He did not have additional information.

There have been several incidents of bank damage in Seattle in the last three months.

The morning of Jan. 30, police responded to the Wells Fargo at 4000 block of East Madison Street and found the words “NO BANK,” “NO COPS,” “OCCUPY,” and “OAKLAND” spray-painted on the exterior doors. An exterior window also was smashed. No arrests have been made in the case.

On Jan. 6, police say a man put an explosive device near a Chase Bank ATM, but the device failed to ignite. Click here to see photos of the Chase Bank suspect.

About 2:50 a.m. on Nov. 26th, suspects shattered nearly all of the windows and the ATM screen at the U.S. Bank in the 1000 block of Northeast 63rd Street. Police say “REVENGE FOR OCCUPY OAKLAND” was spray-painted on the bank’s southwest exterior wall.

About 2 a.m. Nov. 9, police responded to the Bank of America in the 4100 block of East Madison Street and found the ATM engulfed in flames. No arrests have been made in that case.

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

doogie, they were doing bad enough cleaning the camps.

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By SirDejaDoog, February 6, 2012 at 11:09 pm Link to this comment

I have to chime in again.
Most people using black bloc tactics are not provocateurs. If you were actually involved
in the movement you would know this. They are the very same people who feed you,
clean the camp, organize the teach ins, and facilitate. Now they’re defending you from
the cops. Don’t you recognize them, or are you a tourist, an armchair revolutionary, or a
bougouisie activist here for the weekend? 
The anarchists are not co-opting the movement. They started it. They’ve been doing it
for years.  They live revolution. If you don’t understand them it’s because you’ve been
reading garbage like this article instead of educating yourself.
When a real provacatuer does show up it’s the black bloc that calls them out. They
know because they’re in highly organized close knit small groups.
Chris Hedges is a liar. If anyone is a provacatuer it’s him and those that perpetuate
these lies.

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By heterochromatic, February 6, 2012 at 10:48 pm Link to this comment

that’s a sick question, Ty

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By Ty Geltmaker, February 6, 2012 at 10:40 pm Link to this comment

Re: Chris Hedges’ “Cancer in Occupy.” Without entering into a Sontag-esque disquisition, is it necessary or useful to engage illness as metaphor in this or any political instance?

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By heterochromatic, February 6, 2012 at 10:38 pm Link to this comment

Best way to find out if the black bloc crowd are police agents is take an axe to the
the heads of a couple dozen of them and see if the police arrest you killing them
or simply have them carted away by sanitation crews like the dead rats at the DC

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By SocialistBooks, February 6, 2012 at 10:38 pm Link to this comment

Damn, Chris .... you really dropped the soap on this
one. Why is it that liberals always play right into
the machinations of the 1%? I don’t agree with a lot
of black bloc tactics but I they are still part of
the movement and the idea that it’s the black blocs
fault that OWS is being marginalized by the state and
the media is pretty F’ing stupid .... remind me of
the time in which OWS wasn’t marginalized by the
authorities and their propaganda mouthpieces? Oh,
right, they did that when we were peaceful and
‘Gandhi-like’ too.

I think you played right into their attempts to
divide us .... and were hardly convincing in that
capacity. Where did you get your information on the
supposedly monolithic group called “black blocs”?
Rev-left? Seriously, Chris I used to respect you but
it’s painfully obvious that you don’t know what the F
you are talking about. After all, I’m guessing you
have never been a camp resident for more than the two
hours it takes to lecture, preform some street
theater, or give a speech.

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By OzarkMichael, February 6, 2012 at 10:34 pm Link to this comment

The Leftist paranoia concerning Agents Provocateur was only something I read about in history, and for the last few months on Truthdig it seemed a quirky, amusing and I thought temporary aspect of Occupy.

I was wrong. Today we are seeing Stalinist “Spy Mania” and Robespierre “purity or death” in an outbreak of red on red hatespeech. The hateful talk that Leftists usually aim at conservatives is now directed at their fellows, and no one is worse than Hedges, who calls them “Cancer”.

This is a new and unexpected phase, which is increasing to a fever pitch of paranoia and accusations. I dont like it. One side calls the other “Cancer”, while another groups calls them “Agents Provocateur”, and those accused are ready to threaten violence over it.

Yes there is a problem, but you went from complete denial to seething anger so fast that i got whiplash. It is a mark of instability. Whatever good was going to be accomplished by Occupy is fading fast. Even i, a Conservative Christian, dont want you to fall apart completely. I dont want the government and the corporations to get off the hook that easily. 

Whatever center of gravity there is to the Left is not holding. More and more of you guys are starting to lose your grip. I have a bad feeling about this. Cant you guys just talk this out? Can we make this a little more reasonable or at least a little lighter?

Listen a minute and let Macresarf1 show you the way out of your squabbles. We need not question his credentials: Many years ago an organization called The Macadamians was named in his honor.  One of its members was the late Carl “Mr Peanut” Oglesby, who later co-founded the Left Wing-Nuts and he explained how the Wing-Nuts foundered over just the kind of conundrum which faces the Occupy Movements now.

And that conundrum is this:

Smooth or Chunky style?

Either way, this is no time to go nuts.

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By Ron O, February 6, 2012 at 10:33 pm Link to this comment

OK Chris, so what can be done about it? I think the Agents Provocateurs theory is a very plausible one, but how would you go about proving it? “Citizens’ arrests” of Black Bloc hooligans by legitimate members of the Occupy movement followed by identifications and background checks (including whether or not any of them work for the state)?

This IS a big problem. Now it’s identified, who’s got a plausible solution? I’ll have to see what Gene Sharp says about this.

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By heterochromatic, February 6, 2012 at 10:20 pm Link to this comment

lawdy, get with the right groomer and they can do wonders with extensions these

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By brfelix, February 6, 2012 at 10:13 pm Link to this comment

Hedges seems to me to be lashing out wildly at… something… and “the Black Bloc anarchists” just happened to be targets of convenience.

He’s been around enough to know how rationally insignificant Black Bloc action is in the Occupy movement.

It doesn’t seem to matter, though. If anyone throws a bottle, some “Black Bloc anarchist” has to be expelled, until they’re all purged and the Movement is purified of anarchist taint.

And what then? Who will be targeted then?

Truly sad decline on Hedges’ part. I thought he was better than this.

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By lawdog, February 6, 2012 at 10:12 pm Link to this comment

Actually, I wear a Mohawk just like my Grandson’s, it I
could grow hair. :/

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By Ger, February 6, 2012 at 9:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Here is a chant I composed for when the cops get rough on OWSs:
“Men and women in blue—-we’re fighting for you too.”

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By heterochromatic, February 6, 2012 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment

yeah, Mac…I didn’t question your credentials, I asked WTF EVIDENCE you had for
your observations.

not your past history, not the content of your character, not whether you have
socks older than the rest of us, or whether you have a pony-tail.

where’s the evidence that these idiots aren’t just what they appear to be and claim
to be?

all else is vanity, young man.

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By Jay, February 6, 2012 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Marx had to deal with this type in his day, too. He wrote:

“Their job indeed consists in forestalling the process of revolutionary development, pushing it artificially into crises, making a revolution on the spur of the moment without the conditions for a revolution. For them the only condition for the revolution is a sufficient organization of their conspiracy. They are the alchemists of the revolution, and wholly share the confusion of ideas and the limitation to fixed notions of the old alchemists. They go eagerly for invented devices to achieve the revolutionary miracle: incendiary bombs, explosive contraptions with magical powers, riots, whose effects are sure to be all the more miraculous and awesome the less they have any rational basis. Busy with such plot-mongering, they have no other aim than the next overthrow of the existing government, and look with deepest disdain on a more theoretical clarification of the workers as to their class interests.”

Couldn’t put it any better than that.

As for those who argue that these sorts of ‘tactics’ are automatically justified just because there have been lots of marches and such over the years and they haven’t always gotten results, Marx’s lifelong friend and collaborator Engels put them in their place when he said:

“What childish innocence it is to present one’s own impatience as a theoretically convincing argument!”

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By justananarchist, February 6, 2012 at 9:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

John Zerzan is certainly not a “principal ideologues of the Black Bloc movement in the United States.” I’m genuinely not sure what gave you that impression. He’s got more in common with Jensen than with any of the insurectionist people.

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By techcafe, February 6, 2012 at 9:22 pm Link to this comment

political science professor talks about anarchism and the Black Bloc

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By techcafe, February 6, 2012 at 9:20 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges completely overlooks the fact that the ‘Black Bloc’ are easily infiltrated/usurped by agent provocateurs, acting on behalf of the government and/or other entities/corporations which have a vested interest in making protest movements just ‘go away’.

how? well that’s easy: simply create some ‘controlled chaos’ and superficial property damage (intent being to incite/divide the protest group of course), as a pretext for sending in the state thugs to arrest protesters, ‘public safety’, blahblahblah… and voila, protest shutdown.

sending in the provocateurs, masqeurading as anarchists, to ‘overthrow a protest’ movement is a commonly used cointel tactic (look it up).

Hedges ought to know better. and dig deeper next time

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By Joel Bee, February 6, 2012 at 9:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Here’s to the Greeks. They know what to do when
corporations pillage and loot their country. They know
what to do when Goldman Sachs and international bankers
collude with their power elite to falsify economic data
and then make billions betting that the Greek economy
will collapse. They know what to do when they are told
their pensions, benefits and jobs have to be cut to pay
corporate banks, which screwed them in the first place.
Call a general strike. Riot. Shut down the city centers.
Toss the bastards out.” - Chris Hedges, The Greeks Get It
- May 24, 2010

Essentially, when people riot in other countries against
global capitalist institutions and the governments that
serve them, it’s admirable and worthy of our support. But
when it happens here it is somehow becomes ‘a cancer’
because the American sheep will easily believe whatever
the media says about the evil ‘black bloc’. This is funny
to me because OWS was actually born out of supreme
distrust of the mainstream media. If people actually
believed in what the MSM says about our society, OWS
would never have existed in the first place.

This kind of public condemnation of offensive to the
people who are at the core of the movement. Liberals
weren’t anywhere to be seen during the early weeks of
Occupy Wall Street. Anarchists, punks, far-left radicals
were really at the core of things and the confrontational
tactics they engaged in got the ball rolling and got the
media to pay attention (I consider sleeping in parks and
taking over streets to be confrontational in the climate
we find ourselves in). It’s clear to me now that Chris
Hedges sees himself as some sort of moral higher force
who is willing to condemn passionate radicals for his own
personal ambitions. And he isn’t the only one.

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By Macresarf1, February 6, 2012 at 9:19 pm Link to this comment

To heterochromatic and any others who question my credentials:

  Many years ago an organization called The Macedoneans was named in my honor at Kent State University, dedicated to bringing about social change (in the late 1950’s).  One of its members was the late Carl Oglesby, who later co-founded the Students for
Democratic Society (with some other Macedoneans, in part).  Carl and I were back in touch occasionally over the years, and he told me how the SDS foundered over just the kind of conundrum which faces the Occupy Movements now.  The SDS was split because
factions (including black bloc factions) complained that non-violent means were “too slow,” that “they didn’t work.”  Carl was thrown out of the Presidency, and the black bloc group became essentially the Weathermen—making bombs, sometimes blowing
themselves up, losing the amazing mass credibility the SDS had developed by “participatory democracy” and peaceful means; culminating, some would argue, ironically, in the Ohio National Guard slaughter back at Kent State on May 4, 1970.  [Again, ironically, we have learned in the last year that audio and video tapes have long existed which show evidence that a police agent (still alive) fired a pistol, which signaled the deadly fusillade.]

  Since then, I’ve attended a number of mass peace and anti-government demonstrations, where I have observed (mostly) young men giving whistle and hand signals, surreptitiously donning balaclava helmets, breaking away from the main group
late in the day.  On couple of occasions, I later happened to see a few of these “petty criminals and vandals” (for that’s what they were) running down side streets, knocking over trash cans and newspaper kiosks.  REALLY REVOLUTIONARY STUFF!  (But of course, those acts were what was on the 6 o’clock and media—and helped turn the 99% of the time against the Anti-Iraq “war” movement!)

  Any other questions?

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By AG1, February 6, 2012 at 9:18 pm Link to this comment

I’m always personally suspicious of individuals who use the term “direct action”. It’s as they could easily make the transition to being a police officer maintaining “law and order.”

I always have the feeling listening to them speak that I would be the first to be arrested after the revolution. It’s bad enough that the corporate state is making a mockery of “law and order”. Do we really need the Black Bloc helping them?

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By Wikileaks for Nobel, February 6, 2012 at 9:15 pm Link to this comment

What Dolly13 said.  Brilliant post.  Spot on.

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By heterochromatic, February 6, 2012 at 9:10 pm Link to this comment

No, it’s ok for the black bloc goon squads to do damage, Pal.

It’s not OK for the cops to and it’s sure as hell not OK for the idiots in black.

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By SirDejaDoog, February 6, 2012 at 9:10 pm Link to this comment

This article is hella ignorant.  I feel embarrassed
for Chris Hedges.  I actually used to respect him!  A
lot of the comments are even more ignorant.  I hope
some of the people who may not have thought about
this before will now be inspired to do some research
and broaden their personal experience of the
Having actually been there in support of the
courageous black bloc, I could tell you what I saw on
J28 and exactly how these lies are lies, but I’d
rather just offer this new meme I’ve created:  The
duplicity of Chris Hedges.  Have fun with it!

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By Palindromedary, February 6, 2012 at 9:04 pm Link to this comment

So, it’s ok for the goon squads to do damage to human beings peacefully protesting but not for demonstrators, who become more rebellious, for breaking a few windows. Since when are a few windows more precious than peaceful human beings? And where is all of the words of empathy and encouragement from the same establishment and political leaders who cheered on the demonstrators in Libya, Egypt, and elsewhere? Hypocrites all!!

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By TAGGLINE, February 6, 2012 at 9:03 pm Link to this comment

Agents Provocateurs, indeed…end of story.
The ‘man” finally has a ‘face’ to lay waste to, and to
lump all the agents of civil change and the fruition of
an egalitarian society within the idiocy and counter-
productive shit these macho-men claim is ‘for the
common good’
The only agenda for this anomaly is violence for IT’S
own sake…

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By Psychobabbler, February 6, 2012 at 9:02 pm Link to this comment

I can connect with the anger and outrage expressed by these people and their “don’t tread on me” Ozark counterparts on one hand and the rejection of this kind of provocative misdirected mess on the other. Getting pushy with the local coffee shop is a sure sign that you have lost the plot. I am not a great admirer of police work considering the potential they have to abuse citizens with semi-immunity, but they have a very highly regulated job and are not the people who desperately need to be confronted. (all things considered)

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By Palindromedary, February 6, 2012 at 8:55 pm Link to this comment

And so our country gets away with murdering many thousands of civilians, men, women, and children, or horribly maiming them and our country says…“oh, sorry, but that was unintentional ‘collateral damage’ ” But we now know that there was nothing unintentional about it…they were trying to make everyone very afraid and killing civilians was part of it. Why? because the criminals running this country, the US, needs as many enemies as they can get in order to keep up the charade and keep American taxpayers very afraid of the potential “terrorist” boogy man. But let some demonstrators break a few windows and everyone tries to paint these people as enemies of the state. What hypocrisy!!

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By Palindromedary, February 6, 2012 at 8:46 pm Link to this comment

Sounds like some people don’t know their history very well. We wouldn’t even have had a middle class if it had not been for a lot of active rebellion…even violence on the part of people willing to actively fight back even though the regimentation and arms technology was not on their side. Yes, unfortunately, many people suffered the wrath but you don’t think FDR and other wealthy people would have given in to change history if it had not gotten to the boiling point that it did. They will try to downplay the historical violent episodes and try to make you believe that it was peaceful people like MLK and Ghandi that deserve all the credit for winning gains for the downtrodden. Because that is what they want…for you to play nice (while they don’t play nice). Just keep thinking you are going to change things at the ballot box and you are just fooling yourselves. I used to think Chris Hedges was right on but it looks like he is wimping out. Maybe he feels threatened by all of the FEMA detention centers that have been set up around the country…or the prospect of being tortured at Gitmo….or expecting a pin prick from some passing agent…just don’t put on new boots given free by a stranger…might die of cancer of the toe (re: Bob Marley).

Funny how these people can play dirty and kill lots of people, or even just mace them, and the masses just shrug their shoulders…maybe you’ll get “oh, how horrible…gonna vote for Obama for sure now!” Yeah, right! Obama is part of the problem and the Republicans are definitely part of the problem. But when a few from the masses have legitimate grievances they are treated as terrible people, who have committed a cardinal sin, when they become aggressive. Again, who are we trying to impress with all of this politeness and civility? Voters who will only vote for one of two of the same ruling elite useful idiots?

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By Tony Soldo, February 6, 2012 at 8:33 pm Link to this comment

When protesters, like the Black Bloc Anarchists, actually do more than stand and chant
until the government goon squad storms in and attacks and arrest them, when they push
back, cause a ruckus, and show the people in power that controlling the masses might
become more difficult and expensive, that tactic, while being more effective than mass
obedience, has it’s drawbacks.
It’s a ?“Catch 22”.
Non violent resistance = more of the same, but, we can continue to be allowed to
protest, at least until we cut too much into the profit margin of the corporations by
drawing attention to all of their sins against mankind and the planet.
Then they send in the police-goon union members, to taser, mace, skull-crack, tear gas,
stun grenade, sound weapon, video tape, and arrest, the freedom loving, peaceful
Black bloc anarchists pushing back with some property damage and some self defense
counter attacks against the brutal police and military goons = the excuse the controllers
need to attack the protesters, and the media shows how “bad” protesting is, and they
pass more laws taking away more of our freedom, and oh yeah…some of the black bloc
anarchists are really cops and soldiers, dressed up as anarchists (agent provocatuers)
sent to cause trouble and incite riots, for more police oppression, so… what to do…
How about some non violent civil disobedience and some non cooperation, stop
shopping corporate, stop paying taxes whenever possible, stop supporting their goons;
cops and soldiers, stop playing the game, stop waving their flags, and honoring their
borders, stop following their orders. 
Think like an Anarchist, Live like a Pacifist, Peace.

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D.R. Zing's avatar

By D.R. Zing, February 6, 2012 at 8:29 pm Link to this comment

1. Anarchists at Occupy should be regarded as:

a. Paid stooges working for corporations seeking to discredit the movement.
b. Undercover cops seeking to entrap. 
c. Jackasses, turds, and thugs.
d. All of the above.

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By Dolly13, February 6, 2012 at 8:28 pm Link to this comment

As Chris says, “The state could not be happier.” Whatever you think about whether rioting is justified and Chris’s use of the word “anarchist,” think about that and ask yourself if it’s true: “The state could not be happier.” I happen to agree, and that’s why this black bloc stuff needs to go.

Actually, their antics make me think these people are driven by law-enforcement provocateurs. My experience with infiltrators has led me to be leery of the guy who shows up at meetings out of nowhere, doesn’t know anyone, and starts asking about guns.

But even if these folks aren’t cops—even if they’re just reg’lar folks who for whatever reason are using “different tactics”—we need to think about what it’s going to accomplish. Let’s think about whether or not it’s helping the 99% or whether it’s playing into the hands of the powers that be.

You can argue all day about the meaning of the word “anarchist.” You can comment all day about Chris Hedges’ age or social class or generation or education. (Dividing ourselves despite our natural common interests is counterproductive.) You can have a verbal tug-of-war about whether these black bloc tactics are justified, whether people have a right to be angry (duh). Whatever—it’s all beside the point.

If we care about effecting change, if we care about taking control back from the corporations, we need to be asking ourselves one thing: “What works?”

This silly black bloc stuff hands ammo to the powers that be. The mainstream media loves a spectacle, and it loves scaring people—fear makes people watch their shows. The media, in fact, will whip up a broken window or a burning flag into something much scarier and more threatening than it is.

Meanwhile, a large group of “disaffected regular folks” in this country who don’t question authority very much and who find an outlet for their frustrations in the Tea Party and Fox News are afraid of the black bloc sh*t. Instead of inviting more people into Occupy, we are driving our natural allies away.

We need to ask ourselves whether the black bloc tactics play into the corporate agenda. If they do, the tactics are stupid. If they do, they need to be excised—yeah, like a cancer.

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