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The Black Bloc and Movement Solidarity
05 Oct 2000
Despite differences in tactics, and sometimes overarching strategy, I believe deeply that those commited to peaceful protest and those commited to assertive direct action can work in unison. If we defuse unnecessary animosities and attempt to open communication, we can both work toward eachother's mutual benefit.
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thank you
05 Oct 2000
thank you for speaking up for solidarity. I think the main movement killer is division. I've heard a lot of people say they aren't voting for Nader because they don't believe in the concept of presidency. I'm voting for Nader because the only way I see of going from where we are to a true democracy is small steps. By true democracy I mean no executives, western European civilization hasn't had a democracy since before Caesar took over the Roman Republic (although even before that they hadn't got it right, most groups weren't represented in the legislature)

I don't think voting for Nader is compromising, it's balancing the short-term with the long-term. it would only be compromising if you thought Nader would make the world perfect, and you stopped working for change if he was elected. I think Nader's focus on strengthening unions, consumer rights groups, and ANYTHING that would give people more power (including the changes to the ballot he's suggested) are the only way to move towards abolishing the executive branch. Reclaim government, then restructure it. I'd like to hear everyone's ideas, and other ways of abolishing the presidency.
Building Solidarity
05 Oct 2000
As someone who has both worked for Ralph Nader has been involved in direct actions and joined the Black Bloc in April in D.C., I do believe there is common ground between Anarchists, Socialists, Greens, and Naderite 'Capitalists' which we must build on. We are all anti-corporate, all want major systemic changes and we all are at least on the edge of having an anti-capitalist perspective. Sure Nader is a believer in markets but in my opinion his critique is radical enough to be a step toward greater changes and yet open enough to galvanize youth and others who have yet to come to the point of anti-capitalism.

It is really difficult in our propagandistic society to reach an anti-capitalist conclusion and thus we must keep lines of communication open with those who are unsure but pissed off. This is not to say that Nader or the Greens should not be critiqued or that we should water down our critiques, we just need more, not less open borders of inclusion. For example, we must be vigilant in our critique of the German Greens without dismissing automatically as just the same as any bunch of capitalists. There is a great difference between someone like Oskar LaFontaine (green Finance Minister dismissed by Schroeder's 'Social Democrats') and, say, former right-wing leader Helmut Kohl.

We need to build this into a larger movement that is open to as many people discouraged by our system as possible. Check out Michael Albert's new article "The Trajectory of Change" on the ZNet website (www.zmag.org) for a compelling argument for building the "movement" beyond its somewhat static borders.

One last point, I know that Nader vision is much more fluid than it is perceived to be and that many people who work in Nader's organizations are committed to anti-capitalism.

Apologies to those who have noticed I posted this twice, I think it is more appropriate as a response to this article.
This Is Heartening to Read
05 Oct 2000
This is heartening to read. It seems that the Black Bloc is maturing and that there is some serious thinking going on inside it about how to take into consideration the needs of other protesters. I still think hurling objects at the police gives the media a pretext to smear all of us but I can at least respect this kind of action knowing that it is a part of an intelligent plan not just a pique of anger.

Zaro
Past examples vs. success
05 Oct 2000
Im begining to feel that media demonizing is completely irrelevant.

National news did NOT cover o3 at all, especially not on the scale that it was.

National news gave (relatively) considerable attention to Prague 2 weeks ago, even though it was international news.

Was this because of the "violence"?

I have begun to loathe ignored protests much more than demonized actions.

In LA the Black Bloc was engaged in very very limited actions, namely scaling a fence in defiance of the police. The police reacted overwhelingly as we all know, but media converage was minimal.

At Australia's WEF where protesters who were clearly non-violent were clubbed and beaten repeatedly, Australia's papers were critical of the protesters and internationally, coverage was almost non-existant.

Compare this to Seattle's infamous window smashing. Not only did it get sustained coverage, along with the delay of the WTO meeting, some green anarchists wound up on 60 minutes and America was forced to awaken to its first bout of serious radicalism in 30 years.

In Prague after S26 reports came out that the delegates were seriously too scared to attend the next day's meetings. Property damage and aggressive challenges to the police brought the bankers to their knees.

This is hardly an irrational "lets smash shit up" presumption.
Having participated in several Black Blocs and reading about the end results of others, aggressive tactics have their time, place and most importantly, rational purpose.

I recall in DC discussing among ourselves, "if the cops attack the non-violent activists, we smash the nearby GAP windows." Calculated, timed and intentional. The cops did not attack, and nothing was smashed. (And attention was minimal...)


Until we accept the relationship the corporate media has about spectacles and attention, we have no right to whine when our voices are ignored.

So I am forced to conclude that either we begin to blockade and protest the corporate media centers...
or we turn up the heat everywhere else.
Blac Bloc
05 Oct 2000
I think it's great that the Blac Bloc has tactics and purpose. But I see no reason why the Blac Bloc shouldn't just go ahead and smash the GAP anyways.
Zaro...
05 Oct 2000
There is no "maturing." The Black Bloc is not a being of its own, it is a collection of various protesters with similar goals. Depending on location and the situation the actions of a particular "Black Bloc" will differ from protest to protest. It isn't as if it is some roaming group of protesters who learn more as they protest. All protesters do learn more no matter where they stand with their protest actions, whether they participate in the Black Bloc, hold signs, or block busses.

As far as catering to the media, you must learn that the media is not friendly at all to the radical protests. If it's for gun control, abortion, gay rights or something else pretty mainstream NOW, then they give it fair coverage. If it conflicts with status quo and their viewers/customers (or what they want their customers to know and think), then they obviously aren't going to be so "non-biased" no matter what actually happens.

In Seattle, they already began smearing protesters when it was extremely clear the cops were acting against people who just sat there and took it. The window smashing came later and obviously doesn't justify an action that occured prior to it, nor after considering breaking a select few windows hurts no one. Of course this has been discussed 9048759437594385743985 times.

When CNN began reporting in Prague, they first started writing off the protest as a "failure" because bankers were inside, people were standing around, etc. etc. When there was success, it was barely reported. Success that came from mix of actions, even those which were more violent against the cops.

We can look at their coverage of Belgrade today and see that they had no problems with the citizens storming parliament or throwing rocks, glasses, etc. This is nowhere NEAR ANYTHING that has happened in the US, and how can they report on that fine...the rocks are from people wanting freedom! They're good! But if a rock comes from a left/anarchist political activist, they're an angry, know-nothing mob! They're a bunch of spoiled know-nothing students who smell bad if they are just THERE protesing.

So, the point is, the media chooses sides and angles ahead of time and just picks out pieces they like to use. The only way you'll get the media to report on you/us in a positive way is to not do anything and have them not report on us at all, and that is ridiculous. Did the people of Belgrade bicker about tactics to use because, perhaps, the state media showed them in a negative light? "Hey guys, this isn't working. They arent reporting on us fairly! Lets blame each other and then go back home."

FORGET the media and act. Do what you know needs to be done. If it ends up with conflicts with the police for the overall goal, go for it. The police are well protected...No police officer was killed in Prague, AND people managed to shut the meetings down early. We must work together and not work around the mainstream media. We should all be beyond this point now (catering to the media and blaming other activists for their negative and uninformative portrayals of protests)
Speaking truth to power
05 Oct 2000
I enjoyed your article very very much. I appreciate your efforts toward solidarity. And I apologize for other protestors who haven't given the black bloc their due respect.

I have the utmost respect for Martin Luther King. I adhere strongly (although not fully or completely) to his teachings. As such, I believe in protesting peacefully. Even when the cops beat protestors, I do not beat back.

This is not because I am passive, or willing to be walked all over. It is because I believe that, regardless of who is doing the beating, violence is wrong. And I don't believe that we can progress forward if we use violence to combat violence.

That being said, I am also becoming more "radical" (and the grownups told me I'd get more conservative as I grow older.....). When I was sitting in silence, hands in the peace sign position in the air, facing the riot cops, I was thinking. They have a pentagon full of weapons at their disposal. I have my voice, my strength, and my brothers and sisters. To be quite honest, I think that watching the black bloc through numerous protests is one of the components that is making me more committed and, well, more "radical".

I admire people who can replicate the kind of society that they envision in their protests. And I have seen the black bloc do this time and again. They are tighter and much more resourceful than any affinity group I have ever seen. And as a general rule of thumb, as a "softcore" protester, I know that they have my back. Even if I don't agree with anarchy because I don't trust people as a whole, I know that they really don't care about that in the midst of a demonstration. What they care about it pretty much identical to what I care about: resistance.

I hope that this can mark the beginning of the end of disparaging remarks, insults, threats, and general hostility that I myself have witnessed directed at the black bloc. There should be absolutely nothing dividing us, especially not minor differences in opinion. If we are to accomplish anything, we must achieve solidarity.

Let's Work Together
05 Oct 2000
I would like to applaud the author of the above article for being courageous and even-minded enough to make a conciliatory call for solidarity. I have never participated in a black bloc (which, by the way, is not an organization, but an ever-changing contingent within different demonstrations. For example, the Seattle Black Bloc was made up of entirely different people than the Boston Black Bloc).
Yet, I feel that their tactics have been misunderstood, and that others have demonized them unfairly. I also think that *some* black bloc participants have been needlessly confrontational and arrogant when dealing with other protesters, and have engaged in tactically questionable behavior. We need to get beyond finger pointing and infighting. Just to make it known, none of the Black Bloc participants I've talked to have ever condoned or participated in behavior which could cause serious harm to human beings. Most of the "violent acts" associated with this contingent have been throwing harmless objects at police, rushing police lines (without weapons or punches), and strategically destroying corporate and police property. None of this behavior has resulted in serious harm to human beings, and virtually all of it has been in the pursuit of some tactical gain. Black Bloc people tend to clash with police because the police impede our progress in reclaiming public property and because they generally believe in *active* resistance rather than passive resistance. We need to find a way to allow this sort of resistance to occur hand-in-hand with the peaceful protesting that I, and many of us, find more palatable. I fear alienating the exact people who we wish to educate and recruit by providing opportunities for the corporate press to discredit us as "violent thugs". Yet, when we make few tactical gains, we are often ignored. It seems there needs to be room for both. There also needs to be preparatory discussion and planning to ensure that the tactics don't clash and obstruct one another. We are all one movement. We are struggling against the same global monsters. If our resistance is to be global it must be both peaceful and raucus. Most of all, it must be unified. Fuck divisiveness. We are nothing without eachother. I was not in Boston, but I want to thank all of you who were. Props to the Greens. Props to the BB. Props to all who have the courage to sacrifice their safety to expose the ridiculousness of a one-party system of corporate domination.
Love and Revolution,
Gerry
Anarchist for Nader
06 Oct 2000
Although voting for a politician is at best a reform, and although I disagree with the idea of leaders, etc...and all the other reasons myself and other anarchists, libertarian socialists etc... give for why politicians are not to be supported, I draw exception with Nader for a few reasons.

The Bully Pulpit: In a society where most of us believe that corporations, concentrated private power, etc...are good things to usually be trusted, Nader could at least make many people AWARE of the shit around us and help to form free organizations based on taking power away from these private interests.

Labor: Nader is the only candidate who shows any interest in strengthening the labor "movement" in America, and stopping US backed suppresion of labor movements in the rest of the world. If you're into the plight of labor, and I know the sydicalists will back me up on this, it's clear that it's those who REALLY produce the economies of the world who need to be in power of decision making. Labor forces are the only democratic forces shown to have the capablity of doing that. The two main candidates spell death for those forces of real democracy, and at least Nader, i believe, cares at all about putting those in the real working class, that being, anyone who does real work, into power.
Apology from B-C Greens
06 Oct 2000
Perhaps our statement concerning the Black Block was overstated and undiplomatic. Certainly our observation was misinterpreted by some.

We apologize if it offended anybody who is earnestly struggling against global corporate fascism.

Yes, we need to struggle on all fronts, and the B-C Greens are doing exactly that. We are in the midst of this struggle, facing direct and indirect threats, in the streets and elsewhere (not in ivory or broccoli towers) and particularly observant of - and experienced with - the police state and its underhanded tactics.

Let us all be bold but observant.

In Solidarity,

B-C Greens
See also:
http://www.greens.org
Fuck The B-C Greens
06 Oct 2000
All these calls for solidarity have been heartening, however, in light of the irresponsible red baiting, intentional attempts at activist marginalization, blatent falisification, and outright provocaton on the part of the B-C Greens (or at least the individual using this email address), I will not accept the above apology.

You are fucking scum.

A fruitful discussion
06 Oct 2000
I am very impressed both with the initial article and the discussion that has popped up around it. At this point, solidarity between many factions of progressive/anti-capitalist forces is necessary, and it seems as if people are overcoming the media myths about the Black Bloc (and come on now, didn't you all have a little moment of joy when you heard about the window-smashing in Seattle?)
Our opponents aren't kidding around. There has been at least one politically-motivated burglary that I know of in the Boston area in the weeks leading up to O3: see
http://www.bostonphoenix.com/archive/features/00/09/28/tji/crime.html
for details. I'm sure many of you have your own stories as well. A main tactic of the Feds time and time again, since the time of Marcus Garvey, is to create divisiveness in the movement. (For those interested, Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall's The COINTELPRO Papers is essential reading). This is not to say that legitimate differences don't exist within the movement, but it *is* to say that the direction this discussion is heading in seems to be absolutely the right way to head off these kinds of tactics.
Voting
06 Oct 2000
Giving up one's power to vote, especially in a year when we have a truly progressive candidate to vote for is truly giving up. It is foolhardy to think that real change can occur by dropping out or using violence. If Nader does not get at least 5% in the polls nationally, it will appear that people are satisfied with the status quo, and the progressive movement may be dead for along time. I strongly urge all to register and vote for Nader.
Colleen is right, Black bloc is wrong
06 Oct 2000
Colleen is right, if Nader does not get a significant vote, then the majority of Americans, rightly or wrongly, indicates that the status quo is just fine.
In fact, either Gore or Bush will be our next president, in fact, our movement have had no significant affect on the status quo. In fact the cops are getting better and better at beating us on the streets and in the court of public opinion. In fact, our tactics and strategy sucks, in fact instead of working the streets, convincing the masses to pay attention to and vote for Nader, we waste our time storming barricades, getting ourselves arrected, and practicing jail and court solidarity.
In fact, the Black Bloc is the best thing that has happened to the police and the corporate power structure, for they get the protray us a violent spoiled white brats.
Our movement will be dead within the year. We are like insects, we make a big mess on windshields, but a fast car wash cleans away our effects in no time.
Fuck the Black Bloc.
RC you don't fool us!
06 Oct 2000
RC You don't fool us, I can smell an agent of the gov't, even over the net.
Something smells funny
06 Oct 2000
Somehow the "movement" (even though it is a collection of many strong movements) will be dead in a year, even though the "movement" has been growing extremely rapidly.

Somehow the "Black Bloc" is ruining things even though they have been steadily gaining support within the activist community.

Don't blame any group of protesters for the actions of the media. Again, we can compare this right now with what has happened in Serbia recently and you get my point. The petty violence of the protesters and building burnings were great heroic actions symbolizing the fall of Milosevic. Despite the conflicts with police, the police and military began joining their side!

All this crap about all confrontations will only cause harm and lead nowhere is bullshit. You can't just sit your way through a revolution. Whether it's in front of your computer or on the street. It takes more action than civil disobedience used for a different purpose, in different situations, for a different time.

This isn't a call to take up arms, it's a call for a respect for a variation of tactics.

What has happened in Serbia illustrates it well...general strikes and freed citizens. Unfortunately most of them were rallying behind another ruler, but one day it's going to be done for the abolition of all rulers. Few injuries, few (if any deaths), yet people had to do much more than sit in road ways and hold signs.
Get real, America is not Serbia
06 Oct 2000
Our movement will die, because some in our movement must be smoking something if they think America is Serbia.
MIlosovic was a tyrant, a mini-Hitler. He committed literal genocide and ethnic cleaning, massacreing people, and causing mass migrations of entire populations.
There is no comparison between Milosivic and our Clinton/Bush/Gore.

The masses arose in Serbia, because the government tried to steal an election. In other words, the Serbian government said the hell with the political system, just as what the Black Bloc and other anarchists are saying about our political system.

You fucking Black Bloc assholes will ending up causing the American masses to rise up against our movement. The rest of us in our movement, those of us who want Nader, who want justice for Mumia, who wants better health care, and and end to globalization, need to rid our movement of the Black Bloc, for they are destroying us, and turning the rest of America against us.
Milosevic and Clinton/Bush/Gore
06 Oct 2000
Come on RC, there is a comparison between Clinton/Bush/Gore and Milosovic, no one honest with themselves can ignore that the massive bombing in Yugoslavia massively increased the 'ethnic cleansing' and destroyed huge amounts of Yugoslavian infrastructure, let alone the killing of many civilians when NATO's 'smart bombs' were not acting so smart. The bombing took place while Turkey continued to kill and displace Kurds at a rate at least as great as Yugoslavia did in Kosovo, yet they are rewarded with NATO membership and a whole lot of silence on the part of the U.S. state department. Shall I speak of Kissinger and Ford giving the ok to Suharto's genocide in East Timor where over one-third (200,000) of the population was killed? What about Nicaragua? El Salvador? Vietnam? The U.S.'s record is not pretty either. And dont get me started on U.S. domestic policy and democracy.

I'm happy Milosevic is out, he was a tyrant, and I am happy for the people in the country, But I'm not happy to see that the U.S. funded the opposition on mass so that a neo-liberal gets in in his place and 'revolution can be solidified in the manner the U.S. desires.

Black bloc often misunderstood tactic
06 Oct 2000
I feel the need to explain a few things, even though after every protest we end up having to do the same things over and over. the black bloc is a tactic that was used very effectively in germany in the 80s and has spread throughout the world. the FUNCTION of the bloc(def.-BLOC: group of like-minded individuals who stay in a group) is to conceal identity, providing more space for freedom of action, to provide safety for each other in case of snatch squads and general arrests by police, and to show solidarity with one another and represent the presence of anarchists in a semi-organized fashion. i think the tactic of non-violent civil disobediance, will not be able to accomplish substantial change by itself, and as someone said, it is "more palatable" for activists. revolution isn't about what is palatable. talk to the young kids growing up in the projects and all the "oppressed communities" for sit down for. these kids don't give a fuck how it gets done, they want change. its about survival. its not about "media message", or "appealing to the masses". which masses is it that your appealing to? the middle class, or the project kids that i went to school and work with? there are several problems beyond the debateable "what will influence the masses" arguement.
1-media message: a main point of NVCD is to attract media attention of the issue(s) your voicin concern over. well, maybe it the days of the civil rights movement, when the media was much less corporate than today, your message can get accross relatively well, provided you have the numbers. today on the other hand, if you do NVCD with less then a hundred thousand people, you get little, if any, media attention, and issues are NEVER dealt with in depth no matter what. and if there is police confrontation, self-defense, or anything other than pacafist ass-kicking by the cops going on, then everything is painted as a bunch of know-nothing vandals, hooligans, etc... and the issues don't get covered. that is why pandering to the mainstream media for "coverage" will never work. that is why we are collectively choosing to become the media, through IMCs and other avenues, but we have much less resources than the corporate media, and whoever owns the printing press controls the news, and that sure ain't us.
2-the separation from rationality: most ration people, one would assume, would not willingly get there own ass kicked, right? when those "masses" other that middle or upper class suburbanite types, they have to ask, as do i, why the FUCK would someone ever let theyselves be beat up by cops? do they want to feel what it is like to be black in amerika? what is it? resistance does not mean acceptance of their consequences. accepting their consequences legitimizes their power to control people and to make laws. when the poor of this country see perople willingly getting put into jail, where many of us have been, willingly!, they get confused. the point is that, ESPECIALLY when your message is guaranteed not to even get across, why would you want to set the example gettin locked up, beaten, and arrrested? that is why i choose direct action as a tactic. if i didn't have to cover my face, i wouldn't. but i am no martyr, and i want to live free, not rot in prison. and when people set a trully empowering example of taking back control of the protest area, even temporarily, it poses a threat to capitalism and the state.
3-thinking that BB should protect you-if you decide to "suffer the consequences" and let the police state take control of you, thats your ill-fated choice, and maybe after you make that choice, you will realize that the amount of pain you endure doesn't necessarily lessen the pain anyone else must endure. i say that i will be there for anyone who decides, at any point, that NVCD is not productive and it is really stupid to let people hurt you, especially people that you should KNOW will hurt you. i will grab you and pull you out, i disagree with letting the state hurt you, if you so choose. perhaps that will give some respect to us from those who choose to criticize us and refuse to see the position we are coming from.
yes, i am an anarchist. yes, i refuse to put time and energy into "letting ralph debate" and more time into, "let us debate among our communities and decide things for ourselves". i would not mind seeing ralph debate, since he brings up good points, but i want to be able to debate, the decisions affect me. if nader ever won and many concessions made and laws were changed to immdeiately make things better for people, that would be great, but the power structure will have remained unchanged. perhaps nader would be a catalyst for communities taking autonomous control, but more likely, he would apathize MANY people, and delay the systemic change needed to free ourselves from this new corporate power structure and the classic authoritarian state.
anyways, the BB is a tactic(mode of employing strategy in a way in line with the goals), direct action is a strategy(an idea of how to get from "here" to "there"), and te goal is complete autonomy, and an end the all authoritarian vices and exploitation of any kind. the only reason i could have seen an explanation for the BB being at the debates was to take them over, to let us in, along with ralph, to the decisions that affect our lives. sold
See also:
no
RC's response is extremely confrontational
07 Oct 2000
This person is getting angry over a pereived negative media coverage that he/she believes is hurting Ralph Nader!

The Black Bloc is scaring away the stock owning, CNN addicted upper-middle class...everyone, go home and write letters to your congress members, stop protesting! Disrupting traffic annoys people! We can't scare them away.

We need more matyrs who don't mind being added to the activist black list and getting the shit beat out of them and potentially facing heavy charges! See, if enough of us become sterile, get further in debt, and we can't protest outside of our local city, then everyone will understand! The media will certainly cover that fairly and we will win the whole world over! The poor will think, "Even though the police have historically been brutal to those who are poor and are non-white, I will join these brave people in being beaten and taken to prison because I really hate the WTO!" Rather than some silly alternative that allows for them to protest, remain anonymous, and encourages them to avoid arrest (and therefore not supporting the existence of the police force, the state, and the general system-structure they're in). The stock owners will think "Jeeze, I really rather get my face pummeled in to shut down the IMF/World Bank than making more money from their actions!" That's how it'll work! And Ralph Nader will become president and the whole world will be perfect! Except this crazy Black Block and other "alternative" protesters who are ruining everything and should be fucking murdered by us enlightened protesters who know exactly what works!

After all, sitting down in the street is just as symbolically powerful as sitting down for hours in white owned restaurants in a segregrated and extremely racist society, or is it? Or is it different times and a completly different situation?

Whatever.
Black Bloc ain't scaring nobody
07 Oct 2000
The Black Bloc ain't scaring nobody!
Seattle last year, 40,000 protestors; Seattle today, same old corporate shit.
Washington D.C. in April, 10,000 protestors; D.C. today, Gore or Bush heading for election as president.
Philadelphia during R2K, about 4,000 protestors; Philly today, Timoney a hero, protestors practicing court solidarity, trying like hell to stay out of jail, our Mayor Street still in charge.
LA during D2K, about 4,000 to 6,000 protestors; LA today , same old Shit.
Melbourne last month, 4,000 protestors, Melbourne today, more court solidarity and the same old shit.
Sydney during the Olympics, not even 500 protestors.
Prague, 5,000 protesters, mass arrest, the masses in Prague saying that they cops should now be given the right to use pepper gas.
Boston, 3,000 protestors, and Nader still isn't allowed to debate.

It has been a year since Seattle, the masses are not coming to us, the number of protestors are getting smaller, the cops are kicking butts and the masses call them heros, maintaining law and order against us white punks.

This doesn't sound like revolution around the corner, this sounds like revolution whithering away - all becausing of the fucking Black Bloc who make the rest of us look like a bunch of violent spoiled young white brats. I am not a spoiled white brat; I'm a serious young person who want things to change for our generation.
I say again, FUCK THE BLACK BLOC.
BB confrontational tactics
07 Oct 2000
While I appreciate the sentiment BB expresses I am not comfortable with the confrontational tactics I have seen used by the Black Bloc in DC and Boston.

In the original article BB writes:

:So, some within the black bloc chose to push back, tear down, and rush
:some of the barricades. This was not an attempt to incite the police to attack
:us, however. We are not massochistic, nor do we want merely to "fight with
:the police". As I understand it, we wanted to move our demonstration to the
:debate center itself, and block the participants from leaving for as long as
:possible. Because the police violently prevented us from doing so, we were
:forced to engage them.

I do not consider this nonviolent. Violence undermines the message we are trying to get out and provides an excuse for the state to use violence, endangering all of those at the demonstration. Nonviolent direct action is possible and can achieve the goals BB describes of asserting one's Constitutional and moral rights. It is more difficult, but will ultimately be more effective.

Given the Black Bloc's confrontational tactics, I will not be involved in direct action where they are active, for safety and ethical reasons.

peace.
Right, and it's the "black bloc's" fault?
07 Oct 2000
Your comments are almost ridicously divisive to a point you're trying to be a troll or trying to scare the more "unsure" types into hating a strong part of the many "movements" that also seems to be increasing awareness and serious consideration of anarchism which only a few years ago many of the people now protesting would have written off as "chaos, terror, murder, disorder" just because they may not have been aware of how many people support it, the history it has, and so on. And they would never had a reason to consider it because it really wouldn't exist to them, except beyond anarchist-style protest decision making. Instead we may have everyone running behind Nader (as an ultimate goal) as many of the American 60s activists ran to the Democratic party not to protest their absurdity, but they favored this Democratic candidate more, or that the party should reform slightly to at least stop supporting the Vietnam war.

Anyway, to address you comment...Ever heard of a concept called community organizing? This is by far the most important part of sustained and increasing resistance.

If you believe that the purpose of protesting is to recruit new people, then you are seriously misunderstanding something. Protesting is not an advertisement for "cause" recruitment. Protesting is done to confront whatever problems the protest is focused on. People went out to Seattle to "shut down" the WTO (not all, many of those who got a bit of CNN airtime were promoting reform), in DC to confront the IMF, in Melbourne to confront the WEF, in Minneapolis to confront the ISAG, in Prague to confront (and shut down) the IMF, and in San Francisco to confront the NAB.

That is the purpose of protesting.

If you are worried about gathering support, as most of us are, STOP THINKING THROUGH PROTESTS AND MAINSTREAM MEDIA!!!!!!!!! Please! This has to stop. We have to (and many of us currently are) work locally.

There is a big difference to this. First of all, it's realistic. Some people seem to be living in some absurd fantasy world where some ideal, unknown, magical protest will get the mainstream media to report on the protest in-depth and without the tabloid, smeary, hateful style slanting. And this wil lsomehow awaken the TV watching masses to RISE UP and figure out about activism on their own. Right.

Or you can see it as, the protest is over, now what do I do when i get back home? Who cares about the media? Certainly this is not something people should worry themselves over to a point where they stop protesting or want to forcefully exclude people because they believe they hurt the ideal protest they are trying to achieve.

You can't blame protest tactics for a lack of community organizing or laziness on your own part in that area. It just takes effort and it snowballs. At least from my own experience recently in which the work of only a few of us has increased local activism greatly in only a few months. And we never had to tell people the "black bloc" (that they may or may not even know of) is an evil group that is infested with secret agents looking to destroy a movement by breaking police lines and avoiding arrest. It never comes up, except when we talk about global protests of course.
Corporate media the problem
07 Oct 2000
The problem you mention is not due to the black block but the corporate media who go out of their way to present all the activists as violent or as extrmists regardless of the facts that happen. I have read several articles about the protests which accuse activists of throwing vollies of stones at the police after the barricades were overturned. The fact is the media is owned by the very people who support global capitalism and have an interest in keeping Nader and other alternatives out of the debates. Thus they will go out of their way to make the protesters look violent. It is not theblack block that is responsible for this. However if we ever hope to achieve social change we need all of the groups to work in cooperation and while tactics and politics may differ I think we all need to remember we are fighting the same thing.

Solidarity
-Todd
So why are the masses not responding?
07 Oct 2000
So why aren't the masses responding, why are the number of protestors declining with each "Direct Action"? In Seattle we had 40-60,000 on the streets. In every protest since Seattle, we haven't summoned 1/10 of that number.

Because our tactics suck, because our tolerance of picking fights with cops suck. We just a bunch of white college kids and young white punks, going from city to city wearing puppits and picking fights with cops.

Where are the blacks, where are Al Sharpton and Farrackhan? Where are the labor unions? Where are the tens of thousands of poor people marching with us? Why haven't there been in prison uprisings against brutality behind bars?

I say again, the fucking Black Bloc have scared our allies away from supporting us; because they have no interest in getting into fights with cops.

I say again, either Bush or Gore with be president; meaning that all our protests is a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Not all will be lost
07 Oct 2000
I do not think you can blame all the problems on the black block. And the movement is far from dying. A good many people do in fact support us and many more would if we could actually get a fair say in the media. In fact as a result of the protests and being turned away from the debates Nader gained in the polls. All is far from lost. As a result of Nader and the actions in Seattle a good many people have been exposed to an anti-corperate message then before. Our movement is growing if anything. A few years ago do you think Nader would have been able to get 12000 people to pay $10 dollars to hear him speak. I doubt it. You can not expect victory after just one protest or even one election. Capitalism has been around for hundreds of years and is not about to suddenly disappear. I'll tell you one thing, BUsh or Gore may be our next president but the risistence to them will not die. It will be alive as long as their are those out their fighting against them. I encourage you to go out and get as many people involved and as many poeple to vote for Nader as you can. Then after the election remain active in the movement. It will not be a defeat if we all work together. Socical change will not happen overnight. VBut I can tell you one thing. Our movement will not die. Help fight to keep it alive.

-Todd
"Seattle" vs Everything Else
07 Oct 2000
Seattle can be seen as a spark, but even then, it isn't. At this stage, it was sort of a fortunate and rare occurence.
Many groups had growing hatred of the actions of the WTO. So, when it was found out that the next meeting was going to be in the US, in Seattle, long and extensive planning began to occur. Of course it's more complex than I make it sound.

Since then however, the protests have had a shorter notice. Also the negative effects of say, the IMF/World Bank are less observable for those living in western capitalist nations, especially the United States. While the WTO affected everyone from labor unions to animal and wild life activists of all kinds.

There is little visible connection of the IMF to labor unions or even animal activists. The same goes for many of the other protests such as with the WEF and the US political parties.

The correct way to look at all of this is comparing events where there are now protests to those events/meetings the previous year or year before that. How many people were protesting the IMF in western capitalist nations 5 years ago? 3? Last year? How about this year? What about the WEF? FTAA? The party conventions? Debates? Elections?
There wasn't even a dot on the radar map for all of these things!

What about race? Well, in Seattle there was a HORRIBLE problem with that but you have to be out of your fucking mind to try to state that there hasn't been any increase (or even a decrease) in non-white involvement since "Seattle."

What about the increased strength in unions very recently? Look how much power the workers are getting in LA that they've never had before. Is this a sign things are going downhill because some protesters at some protest wore black and attempted to cross police lines (to get to those they strongly oppose!) rather than sit helplessly in front of them?

And the protests have been scattered all over the place. So, where many people had plenty of time to plan ahead for Seattle and perhaps fly/drive out there, most of those that have come recently are not made up of those who have travelled across the country or world. If it's on the east coast, it's mainly east coast people out there .If it's in Canada, it's mainly Canadians and Northern US protesters. If it's in Prague, it's mainly East and Western European activists...and those with the time and money to make it out.

Oh, and the strong union presence (due to the direct connection of the WTO to workers' rights and job security) in Seattle added 20-40,000k people to the Seattle numbers. There has not been anything like that since, which isn't because the unions are afraid of people dressed in black, but just because they haven't encountered anything that important YET. And it hasn't even been a year since then.

Much like your misunderstanding of political resistance, you misunderstand the complexity of political protests.
We are so full of bullshit
08 Oct 2000
We are so full of bullshit. In Seattle, the unions were with us. Then the fucking Black Bloc rioted. Since then the unions have not lifted one finger to help us. They were not with us in Washington. Here in Philadelphia, they actually wore T-shirts saying "We are Republicans this Week," as they help prepare the First Union Center for the Republican convention. Then Gore declared himself a populist, and now nearly all of the unions are endorsing Gore. Bush is trying to lure union votes by appealing to "working famillies who need a tax cut."
Meanwhile, we look like a bunch of stupid white kids mouthing off on IMC websites about how we are winning.
We are not winning, we're losing because the fucking black bloc has scared away everyone who is not white, young and in college.
Change does not come by picking fights with cops, getting ourselves arrested, practicing jail and court solidarity, and writing wonderful essays on the Internet. Change comes by first walking the streets and back alleys, persuading people to support us, getting one of our supporters elected.
The cops can't pepperspray a politician who we elect to office. The media can't ignore a politician who beat both the Democrats and the Republicans.
We are stupid, we feed the media and the corporate monster exactly what they want to destroy. The fucking Black Bloc get all the attention. The media only records the violence, and then say, "What do they want, so many causes, which ended in confrontation and violence with the police ... now lets move on to sports and the weather.

Fuck the Black Bloc.
Fuck the Black Bloc,
Fuck the fucking Black Bloc!!!!!!
Wow, where do I begin?
08 Oct 2000
alright. RC, i'm not sure if you were in dc or not. I was there. at the intersection where I was, there was A LOT of union support. they taught me the words to "Solidarity". even in philly there was *some* union support (remember, just b/c one union does or doesn't support something, doesn't mean that every single person in a union, and every single union, will follow suit. these are individuals we're talking about, not robots).

even in boston we had some union support, although i'll be the first to tell you that since O3 i have become extremely disappointed w/ labor's actions.

instead of resorting to finger-pointing, scapegoating, and infighting, why don't we take a SERIOUS, HARD LOOK at our movement. why are the numbers dwindling? i believe this was answered pretty extensively earlier. why don't we have as much support from groups of people that *we* think should be supporting us? it's a movement's problem, and certainly NOT the fault of the black bloc. what a childish way to halt a movement's activity.

oh, and one more thing before i forget. the black bloc in seattle DID NOT riot. what are you talking about? i've seen the footage; the violence was initiated by the cops. and if you actually take the time to get to know ppl in black blocs, instead of just making broad judgements about them, you'll realize that they, for the most part, are opposed to initiating violence.
We start by dumping the Black Bloc
08 Oct 2000
We start by dumping the Black Bloc, because in order to get the masses to listen to us, we must change how the masses perceive us.

I was looking at some historical tapes from my father's generation in the 1960s, about the civil rights demonstrations in the South. Our black brothers were dignified, they didn't pick fights with cops or wear masks. They walked with dignity, singing hymns and such. I saw the white racist pigs (Bull Connor and his henchmen) turn the waterhoses and the police dogs on the dignified blacks. When dignified people were seen on TV being beaten by the pigs, the public turned against the pigs and made Martin Luther King and the blacks heroes.

The public sees us peppersprayed, and hit with rubber bullets, and beaten with clubs, and arrested - and the masses cheer the pigs; because the media showed Black Bloc assholes throwing things at the pigs, breaking windows, destroying police cars, and turning over dumpsters. That's the corporate media showed on TV here in Philly, and now our police commissioner Timoney is loved by the masses; while our brothers and sisters who were arrested during R2k are still trying to stay out of jail, here in October, now the 3rd month since R2K.

Nothing has changed here in Philly, because of the fucking Black Bloc.
At Least We've got Someone Else to Blame
09 Oct 2000
I agree whole-heartedly that communicating with people does more to change things than throwing plastic bottles at police, however, it always disturbs me to see someone blame such enormous problems as racial disharmony, social apathy, and lack of a revolution that leads to Utopia on a single group of people.

You make a valid point that confrontations with the police and smashing windows and whatnot give the media photo ops they can use to characterize demonstrators as violent maniacs, but there are some other things to consider here. I'm going to leave aside the argument that this is the fault of the media rather than the protestors because it's already been made. Think about this though: there's been protests and mass movements aimed at putting control of people's lives back in the hands of individuals for the last 250 years or so, yet we still live in a world that's dominated by a very small percentage of the population, while most of the rest of us are too caught up in working and shopping and watching TV to do anything about it. The Black Bloc just arrived on the scene last year. Whose fault was it before they got here? Whose fault was it when Philledelphia didn't unite in a mass uprising to defend MOVE when it was bombed? Whose fault was it when the mass movement(s) of the sixties dwindled into obscurity instead of transforming our society into a psychedelic love fest with liberty and justice for all? Whose fault was it that the labor movement of the thirties lost it's momentum instead of redistributing the wealth and power so that workers rather than CEOs benefit from what they produce? The Black Bloc wasn't around then, so *maybe* there are actually some other, more important, obstacles. I'm not attacking or defending the Black Bloc, I just think you're giving them way way WAY too much credit if you think they're the reason our society hasn't seen the light and developed some kind of massive, multi-ethnic, unified movement towards Paradise.

Personally, I think one of the main reasons people can't get it together is the simple human tendancy to find an easily identifiable enemy, pin on their problems on that enemy and try to eliminate the enemy instead of solving the problems. Currently, in Seattle, there's been some hoopla over hip-hop causing violence in the areas where it's played. Of course, the violence existed before the hip-hop clubs, but it's so much easier to try to shut down the clubs than deal with the problems that cause violence. I saw the same thing in Minneapolis when city officials tried to shut down a collectively run cafe for causing such society-wide problems as drug addiction, gangs, panhandling, homelessness and violence. It's the Black Block. It's black people. It's the Jews. It's the Communists. It's the ethnic Albanians. It's those dirty people from across the tracks. Sure, it's always somebody, but that's the same game we've been playing for thousands and thousands of years and it just keeps us running around in circles, snarling at each other. If we could just get rid of THEM our problems would solve themselves. It's the same mentallity that's lead to extermination camps and wars anfd constant fighting between people throughout history.

If you really think dumping the Black Bloc, or anyone else, is the first step towards freedom, you might as well be saying that progress is impossible, because you'll never stop people from thinking differently from you, certainly not by telling them to fuck off. But look on the bright side. When society doesn't change overnight after the protest in your town, you now have an easy target to blame, that doesn't have any money or power or armies or riot gear. All because of the Black Block.
See also:
http://speakeasy.net/bigmouth
RC full of shit
12 Oct 2000
RC is obviously a well armored, authoritarian personality. He/she love leaders and cops and middle class respectablity. Indeed, methinks he/she would like to be cop so that he/she could beat Black Bockers, or anyone else who challenges his/her statist utopia.

Fuck the Black Bloc?
Fuck Nader, Gore, Bush, Buchanan and all politicians!
No Justice. No Peace!
response
03 Apr 2001
The U.S is actually much worse than Serbia. Think Colombia, Iraq, Central America, etc. and you'll find Milosevic is nowhere near the criminal that Clinton has been... and Bush will become! Your 'understanding' of history seems to be a perfect match for your understanding of the Blac Bloc... (assholes?) That hurts...
FTAA Black BLOK Photos
29 Apr 2001
After two solid days of relentless teargassing at the hands of the SQ riot squads, somehow I forgot to feel sorry for the cops when they were pelted back with their own missiles...
Perhaps it WAS laughing gas they used on us.
A Canadian Green


"The Quebec Summit: It was a Gas- Then a Disappearing Act"
http://www.iprimus.ca/~dawnone/greenday.htm

To the Barricades! It's a Gas! The Beat of the Black Blok...
See also:
http://www.iprimus.ca/~dawnone/blok.htm