David Graeber (in black)
I’ve been doing some research on the “Black Bloc” movement and its relationship to OWS. Here’s a piece of what I’ve found:
Concerning the Violent Peace-Police: An Open Letter to Chris Hedges
I am writing this on the premise that you are a well-meaning person who wishes Occupy Wall Street to succeed. I am also writing as someone who was deeply involved in the early stages of planning Occupy in New York.
I am also an anarchist who has participated in many Black Blocs. While I have never personally engaged in acts of property destruction, I have on more than one occasion taken part in Blocs where property damage has occurred. (I have taken part in even more Blocs that did not engage in such tactics. It is a common fallacy that this is what Black Blocs are all about. It isn’t.)
I was hardly the only Black Bloc veteran who took part in planning the initial strategy for Occupy Wall Street. In fact, anarchists like myself were the real core of the group that came up with the idea of occupying Zuccotti Park, the “99%” slogan, the General Assembly process, and, in fact, who collectively decided that we would adopt a strategy of Gandhian non-violence and eschew acts of property damage.
I said several months ago that the idea that OWS was leaderless was bullshit. I am now doing my “I told ya so!” dance.
I thought the Anarchists had gone the way of the Luddites and Shakers – strange movements that died out long ago. I’m still trying to learn more about them. Until recently I was blissfully ignorant of David Graeber.
But the point of this post is that OWS does have leaders. Even before we knew who they were we could be certain they existed.
From what I have seen, there are basically four categories of Occupiers.
First there are the True Believers. These are the idealists that sound like religious converts. But they aren’t just talking the talk, they really, really like the taste of Koolaid. IYKWIMAITYD
Then there are the Day Trippers. They are sympathetic to the cause and they might attend a rally or two but they have no interest in going to jail or sleeping in tents. This group includes the union members that show up to swell the numbers when they have a march.
Next are the Free Riders. These are hardcore homeless, the hustlers and the rest of the criminal element. They are there for the free meals and a place to camp-out. They might talk the talk, but they don’t believe it.
Last of all is the Black Bloc. They have their own agenda. In a sense they are true believers but what they believe in is destruction.
“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.”
Of course nobody wants to admit to being an advocate of violence. That might get them arrested and/or sued. Few are even willing to admit to being members of the Black Bloc but if they do they deny having anything to with the violence.
The Black Bloc anarchists organized OWS. It’s their blueprint that has been used across the country. But they didn’t finance it. They didn’t convince the union leaders to lend support to OWS.
They think they are using OWS but they don’t realize that they are being used too.
Filed under: OWS | Tagged: #OWS | 82 Comments »