SF Bay Area Indymedia indymedia
About Contact Subscribe Calendar Publish Print Donate

East Bay | Police State and Prisons

Yet another anarchist commentary on the Black Bloc
by Another Commentator
Friday Nov 4th, 2011 11:36 PM
Yet another anarchist commentary on the Black Bloc
The Black Bloc was originally formed in Germany to preserve the anonymity and reduce the risk of arrest of those who decided to fight back against neo-nazis and cops. The tactic and the organizational form were not primarily or exclusively anarchist; indeed the majority were the dreaded Autonomen: anti-party anti-fascists. The Black Bloc is a show of strength in numbers (rarely fewer than 500, and sometimes as many as a couple thousand), and is a defensive formation. They fight the cops and the fashos in self-defense, and they protect larger numbers of demonstrators from these bullies. After the demonstration ends, and if the cops were messing with them, then the Black Bloc goes on the offensive, targeting the symbols of power and alienation: banks, cops, gas stations, luxury vehicles. They do not do this to provoke the cops; they do it after being provoked by the cops. They fight the cops to show they aren't afraid of cops, they break windows to show they aren't hypnotized by bourgeois morality. Perhaps more importantly, they do not run away.

The Black Bloc of Wednesday Nov 2 that was active before and after the shutdown of the Port of Oakland was a Black Bloc in name only.

That Bloc did nothing but act out their spectacular and ritualized window-breaking. Precisely because it has become a ritual it has no meaning, no strategic purpose. Precisely because it is a predictable spectacle it has no tranvaluative value. We need to say clearly that we are not like those cretins who lament the destruction of a few windows and the lighting of a bonfire by immediately labeling it the work of “provocateurs” or “infiltrators”; we know that the grinding alienation of post-industrial capitalism breeds authentic opposition. But we are also savvy enough to understand that making vandalism acceptable is like improvisational comedy: a question of timing and the ability to read a crowd.

The mood and tone of the anti-capitalist march and the buildup to shut down the Port was joyous, inclusive, even festive. The mood and tone of the Black Bloc was aggressive, exclusive, and alienating. The reaction of the Peace Police was as predictable as the reaction of the proper police. Even if OO were the proper context to incite a rupture with the capitalist and statist foundation of modern American society, it certainly wouldn't come at the behest of a self-selected vanguard of a hundred skinny masked white kids who disappear when a phalanx of riot cops shows up.