What if the black bloc have the right idea?

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NDPP

Black Blocs for Dummies

http://www.infoshop.org/Black-Blocs-for-Dummies

"This series of web pages attempts to explain what black blocs are, who does them, their history and how to organize one. There are also many misconceptions out there about blac blocks which we will try to address..."

this info may be helpful to the discussion.

6079_Smith_W

@ onlinediscountanvils

No. It's a great idea. I'm sure that's exactly why the British mafia used the cover of last summer's riots to clean out much of downtown Manchester. And why a lot of not-so-oppressed people used the same opportunity to replace their skunky old iPods.

But I'm not so sure how one translates that into the tactic that is going to succeed where everything else has presumably failed - to the floor of the House of Commons or the Supreme Court, or, for that matter, even something as simple as improving services at local schools or hospitals.

(edit)

I remember one time I was hitchiking in southern france (1981) and came to a rural intersection where a big vegetable truck was overturned and burning, produce all over the place. There was one cop there, looking very bored. I asked him if there had been an accident. Turns out it was local farmers attacking a Spanish import truck. "They do it all the time," he said, and asked me if I wanted to take some of the veggies home with me.

That's the benign side of violence becoming the norm. The not-so-benign side is seeing friends of mine terrified that they might be recognized by neo-Nazis and targetted later, or houses being burned down, or any number of other violent acts which are far more common in places where street violence has become more commonplace.

 

 

 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:
The black bloc has always had the worst possible idea

 

I'm sure if you gave it a bit more thought you could probably think of at least a few ideas that would be worse than a group of folks agreeing to dress in similar looking clothing in order to make it harder for cops, bosses, landlords, etc to identify and target specific individuals... to collectivize the risks associated with public protest... for those with more privilege acting in solidarity with other individuals in the demo with less privilege.

I wish that were the worst idea I had ever heard.

I'll amend it to "the worst possible idea in terms of organizing for social transformation".  and specifically, I was speaking of the idea of randomly trashing stuff, not the matching clothes thing.

Obviously, Naziism and the airing of "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" were far worse ideas overall.

onlinediscountanvils

6079_Smith_W wrote:
I'm not so sure how one translates that into the tactic that is going to succeed where everything else has presumably failed

Well, I'm not so sure that it does translate, but nor do I think that black blocs are the reason for those failures either. I realize they're a popular scapegoat for the failures of the left, but I think if we're honest and self-critical there's plenty of blame and responsibilty to go around.

Gabor Maté wrote:
"When we're not in integrity, that's when we're most judgmental of other people. Because we can't stand seeing in others what we don't like about ourselves."

onlinediscountanvils

Ken Burch wrote:
I was speaking of the idea of randomly trashing stuff, not the matching clothes thing.

Well, it's the matching clothes that's the defining feature of a black bloc - not the "randomly trashing stuff". There are plenty of actions that have a black bloc presence that don't result in any property destruction - targetted or random. And even though we all know that some black blocs do engage in property destruction, they certain don't have a monopoly on that.

6079_Smith_W

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

6079_Smith_W wrote:
I'm not so sure how one translates that into the tactic that is going to succeed where everything else has presumably failed

Well, I'm not so sure that it does translate, but nor do I think that black blocs are the reason for those failures either. I realize they're a popular scapegoat for the failures of the left, but I think if we're honest and self-critical there's plenty of blame and responsibilty to go around.

I said "presumably" to give the benefit of the doubt to the idea on the table (well, to poke fun at it actually) . I don't think that all other options - or the rule of law - should be abandoned at all.  And I'm still waiting for any sort of argument to the contrary.

I'm not blaming anybody  for presumed failures of the left, I'm blaming people who have no better answer than a calculated plan to wreak havok because it is an ineffective and extremely counter-productive strategy.

But speaking of the tactic of making hard to be identified and pinned down, it is kind of funny how this conversation is turning into a moving target

Nothing else works so we should resort to violence, but that's not actually the most important thing that the Black Bloc do, and besides, other people are doing it as well.

 

onlinediscountanvils

6079_Smith_W wrote:
it is kind of funny how this conversation is turning into a moving target

Nothing else works so we should resort to violence, but that's not actually the most important thing that the Black Bloc do, and besides, other people are doing it as well.

 

Your summary above is both a combination and/or distortion (parody?) of what at least a few posters have said, so it shouldn't come as a surprise if your comments are missing their mark.

Slumberjack

6079_Smith_W wrote:
Yeah. Pacifism as Pathology.

Well, pacifism is a pathology in many respects. It's the very same condition the state relinquishes to the masses as their right, when it graciously allows people the freedom to say almost anything they want, individually or in groups, so long as none of the projects of the corporate state are seriously interrupted.  It's the equivalent of the corporate state telling protesters to 'knock yourselves out,' and in return pacifism agrees to perform the ritual of democratic dissent to assist in maintaining the general facade; to be conducted from approved assembly areas and along agreed upon routes, with the requisite papers in order.  There's still no guarantee that the police wouldn't use the opportunity to exercise and enhance certain skills.

Quote:
I agree with Left Turn that there are certain times when people are going to resort to violence or tactics I disagree with, right or wrong, and there are degrees of justification and effectiveness. That is not the same as a group whose sole purpose is the calculated use of force and shock.

I could disagree as well regarding the effectiveness of violent, localized tactics, except that where it concerns acts of self defence against corporatism, or acts of self-defence against the violence of the police, I see no particular reason to complain about it.  At the same time most of us would likely prefer not to see black shirts congregating in the streets, anymore than we'd like to see brown shirts and riot police uniforms. In situations where bank windows are broken or police cars set on fire, however; there should be a mutual understanding as well that the violence didn't originate there.

The distinction I've been trying to relate is in respect to, on the one hand; the high level of interconnectedness of the opposing side, the vast resources at its disposal; that the 7-11, investment banking, the social services office, the tactical squads of the police, conservative and social democratic politicians alike, etc; are today all separated from one another in spirit and intent by a small matter of degrees; and on the other hand, we often see little more than individualized, self righteous fractures emerge along the entire spectrum of the left, being fully indicative of power struggle in and of itself.  Its actually not much of a distinction at all when you think about it.  In any event, arbitrary violence tends to erase the distinctions even further.

But when we talk about irresponsibility, it seems that we omit from the conversation the irresponsibility of organizing mass peaceful dissent these days, when by now everyone should know full well that in many situations, no matter how benign, some people are going to come away from it beaten and bruised, or in jail, and that it could happen at any protest and at any time because of the arbitrary nature of reaction. Irresponsible or naive, either way they shouldn't be placed in charge of anything.  Even there the propaganda value for both sides is unmistakable, at the cost of a few heads.

In terms of introducing clarity to the current of confusion, the assistance of peaceful or violent acts of opposition ultimately appears to be of little consequence. The best we can try to do here is to analyze and situate both forms of expression for overall effectiveness, in order to see if it is necessary to invent new derives, or to formulate 'brighter criteria' as someone once wrote, even if it necessarily avoids laying down specifics.

6079_Smith_W

Slumberjack wrote:

Well, pacifism is a pathology in many respects. It's the very same condition the state relinquishes to the masses as their right, when it graciously allows people the freedom to say almost anything they want, individually or in groups, so long as none of the projects of the corporate state are seriously interrupted.

That sounds very much like breaking windows and burning cars to me - way more catharic than the slow, hard work of holding a line for months on end while resisting violence.

Face it, it's very rare that violence does anything at all; and in virtually all cases it is only effective as a cry for help; the actual response and work comes later. If you want to hurt the powers that be, you have to get them in the pocketbook, or somewhere they are actually vulnerable.

Slumberjack wrote:

The distinction I've been trying to relate is in respect to, on the one hand; the high level of interconnectedness of the opposing side, the vast resources at its disposal; that the 7-11, investment banking, the social services office, the tactical squads of the police, conservative and social democratic politicians alike, etc; are today all separated from one another in spirit and intent by a small matter of degrees; and on the other hand, we often see little more than individualized, self righteous fractures emerge along the entire spectrum of the left, being fully indicative of power struggle in and of itself.  Its actually not much of a distinction at all when you think about it.  In any event, arbitrary violence tends to erase the distinctions even further.

I wouldn't say the right is as unified as you think (look at the state of the GOP as one example), nor that self-righteousness stretches across the entire spectrum of the left. And you can't pretend there is unity over an issue - say, the effectiveness of voting - where there is clear disagreement.

But we're talking about violence and the rule of law here, which is pretty fundamental, concerns tactics, and cuts across ideology. And most importantly, it has the potential to harm and damage in a way that a debate about anarchism over coffee does not.

And I'd say the first question is whether it is just and whether it is effective. As I said, I can think of some cases, like breaking up roads in opposition to nuclear transports, or blockades, or in showing that people are crisis,  where it was effective. I can't say the same for violent street theatre.

Slumberjack wrote:

But when we talk about irresponsibility, it seems that we omit from the conversation the irresponsibility of organizing mass peaceful dissent these days, when by now everyone should know full well that in many situations, no matter how benign, some people are going to come away from it beaten and bruised, or in jail, and that it could happen at any protest and at any time because of the arbitrary nature of reaction. Irresponsible or naive, either way they shouldn't be placed in charge of anything.

See, that touches on Ward Churchill's argument: essentially that many who claimed to be pacifist are just scared of getting hurt, and so do the work of the police for them. It's nonsense. Do you think non-violent protesters aren't aware that in some cases they face violence, arrest, and in some cases death? Should people not protest because of the risk of violence? Is it really irresponsible? The point is to resist that violence, and demonstrate that it will not defeat one's cause. Never mind that there are plenty of mass-demonstrations which do not end in violence; in fact it seems to be only specific kinds where provocateurs show up to put on their show. Perpetrating and feeding violence does nothing but strengthen the hand of those in power.

Really, unless we think the only option on the table is war - real war - I think we are dreaming to think that anything can be accomplished by fighting authority with their own violent tactics.

And there are enough examples of war which ended only when people got tired of killing each other and opted to find negotiated solutions.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Well Canada is safe from the black bloc.  Our rule of law says that you get 13 months for counseling people to break a window and planning to "unarrest" protestors by playing games with the police.  The rule of law dealt firmly with the black bloc types by arresting them before the demonstration even started.  The security forces are continuing to infiltrate left wing groups as they have for a century in this country. They have done the same to unions and anti-war groups forever.  Those tactics emasculated the trade unions by driving all the reds out of the unions.  That's the way we do it in our democratic state, a preemptive strike based on the duty to protect.  The same strategy NATO employs internationally and that is supported by the same "social democrats" on this board. The spooks and agent provocateurs are the peaceful protestors first line of defense from having their right to protest usurped by yahoos who want to break windows instead of begging with bowed heads and uncovered faces. 

Let's not forget that it is every citizens duty to ensure that the security forces know who they are when they want to protest government action.  That is how real citizens act.  They never hide their identity because they understand that they have nothing to fear from the state.  They cooperate with authority to ensure that anyone who would break a window is arrested and held for the police so they can be jailed. They also cheer on the murder of civilians in the name freeing them from the tyranny of governments that are not aligned with the West.  However to their credit they are working to make sure that banks charge less fees.

Here are some friends explaining what happens when you drive the left out of unions. That was the start of the slippery slope that workers have been on for thirty years in this country.  After WWII there was a concerted effort to drive communists our of our labour movement.  Agent provocateurs and infiltrators were used just like against the anarchists now.  That effort culminated with the old CIO unions like the Mine Mill and Smelter Union being raided by the Steelworkers.  After they tamed the unions within a decade we got wage and price controls and then the beginning of our long Ayn Rand nightmare.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QN7-8BPp6Y

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

dp

contrarianna

In similar situations, similar tactics reap similar political effects, whether motivated by a police plan or the ideological rationalizations of testosterone-fueled activists.

The niceties of interior states of mind are irrelevant to the result.
You might as well ask the rock through the window if it is a "good" rock or a "bad" rock--as if the gleeful media cares about parsinng the interiority of the perps violence and sorting out motivation.
The media and the public they manipulate are only too ready to "collectivize" malign intent to the valid larger protest base.

It is irrelevant what the stated objective of the perpetrators are (though I have yet to hear a coherent argument). The only effective solidarity the black block has is with police agent provocateurs and the media disinformation system.

6079_Smith_W

@ k

I'm not sure how opposition to pointless violence translates into support for police infiltration, or anti-communism, or support for imperialism.

As for stringent laws, there are plenty enough examples of those being brought in in reaction to violence.

And again, if these staged violent tactics produced results - any results - then we'd at least have something we could evaluate.

But I'd say a more fundamental question is whether calculated, offensive violence is a legitimate tactic. As in, if it is okay for us to use force as a means of solving disputes, that must also mean that it was legitimate for those who opposed desegregation in the 60s, or for those who are currently intimidating, attacking and killing those who want to provide safe access to abortion.

After all, we can't say it's okay for us on the one hand, and then hide behind the law when someone uses it against us.

(edit)

And to be clear, thoguh I have said it already, I don't think challenging or breaking the law is is something that should never be done. But like violence, it should never be standard practice, or something that is taken lightly.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

The fact is the basic disagreement we seem to be having is you think that peaceful protests are effective while I think that is not the case except in rare cases of one-off specific issues.  So the students in Quebec will not be paying higher tuition this fall.  Great win but lets revisit this in 5 years from now and see whether the win was lasting or merely transitory.

I remember the great uplifting feeling when myself and millions of other people took to the streets in every liberal democracy in the world as well as many other countries.  The message was clear, No War in Iraq.  The black bloc did not ruin it with any violence and the message was clear and the numbers record breaking.  The result!!!  Tens of thousands of Iraqis dead, millions displaced and a country that is still in the grip of chaos.  

Effective, I guess like everything else, is a matter of degree.  No amount of peaceful protest will stop the military security complex from doing what they want and things like the G8 are places where the 1% get to strut their military might by imposing what amounts to  martial law on the citizens of countries they deem worthy of hosting them.  They then stick us with the cheque for the whole shebang including paying for fancy meals and hotels for people who are rich beyond most peoples wildest dreams.

6079_Smith_W

kropotkin1951 wrote:

The fact is the basic disagreement we seem to be having is you think that peaceful protests are effective while I think that is not the case except in rare cases of one-off specific issues.

Not exactly. I'm not just talking about protests because really, protest is itself an action we resort to when other measures have failed. I am talking about all non-violent measures. And sorry, but there are a few progressive changes that have been made without breaking Starbucks windows.

I'm not even ruling out all lawbreaking, nor am I condemning all instances in which people resort to violence. The problem I have is when one assumes it is the only card we have to play. That certainly is the approach some groups have, and it is also the idea put on the table in the OP - that nothing else works, therefore we must resort to the use of force.

It is simply not true.

 

 

Unionist

kropotkin1951 wrote:

 So the students in Quebec will not be paying higher tuition this fall.  Great win but lets revisit this in 5 years from now and see whether the win was lasting or merely transitory.

Is that a serious statement, kropotkin? You want to throw cold water unless the victory is "forever"? The students' victory over tuition hikes was just the latest episode in over 40 years of such victories. Is that "lasting" enough for you?

Perhaps if they had burned a couple more cop cars and smashed a few more windows, the bourgeoisie would have conceded defeat forever. We'll never know, will we? And here the poor misguided fools think they won.

Oh, and the students stayed out of the election campaign with two exceptions. They quietly said, "don't vote Liberal", and they did a special mobilization in Sherbrooke to defeat Charest in his own riding.

Ah, but are Charest and the Liberals gone "forever"?

The problem with black blocs et al is not violence. It is putting their arrogant little peacock selves apart from and above the ordinary folk that make up the mass of the movement. Committing acts of vandalism, sabotage, etc. that the people don't consent to. It helps the enemy. Always has, always will. That's why the enemy sponsors that kind of stuff when not enough peacocks come forward voluntarily in time.

 

onlinediscountanvils

contrarianna wrote:
The only effective solidarity the black block has is with police agent provocateurs and the media disinformation system.

People tend to give short shrift to the fact that the agent provocateur, whose role is to convince people to act in ways that are strategically counterproductive, has a counterpart; the pacifying agent, whose role is to prevent people from taking action when it does make sense strategically. Both are active in our organizing and communities. Both serve the interests of our capitalist, imperialist state. Black blockers as cops or dupes has become a well-worn trope. I think it's just as important to question the motives of those who would have us limit ourselves to only those forms of protest that the state is comfortable with.

onlinediscountanvils

kropotkin1951 wrote:
So the students in Quebec will not be paying higher tuition this fall.

 

Which is not to say that the Quebec students' struggle did not include property destruction, sabotage, de-arrests, and self-defence. Many tactics contributed to the students' victory.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Good grief, Unionist. Really? Reeaallyy...(re:your last paragraph)

6079_Smith_W

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

I think it's just as important to question the motives of those who would have us limit ourselves to only those forms of protest that the state is comfortable with.

Yes, because the Harper government was sooooo pleased that activists took the conventional, easy approach and went to the Supreme Court with the question of keeping Insite open. What a relief they didn't go out and trash the Granville Mall.

And as for Quebec, that must have been it. I can't imagine anything as conservative as casting a ballot in our broken first-past-the-post electoral system had anything at all to do with getting the hike rolled back.

 

onlinediscountanvils

6079_Smith_W wrote:

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

I think it's just as important to question the motives of those who would have us limit ourselves to only those forms of protest that the state is comfortable with.

Yes, because the Harper government was sooooo pleased that activists took the conventional, easy approach and went to the Supreme Court with the question of keeping Insite open. What a relief they didn't go out and trash the Granville Mall.

And as for Quebec, that must have been it. I can't imagine anything as conservative as casting a ballot in our broken first-past-the-post electoral system had anything at all to do with getting the hike rolled back.

 

LOL! Ok, Smith, I'll leave you alone to play with your straw.

6079_Smith_W

@ onlinediscountanvils

Look, I'm not saying the protests in Montreal had no effect, but if the vote had come down a little different there would likely not have been the victory everyone is enjoying.

And my point was that street violence is hardly top of the list when it comes to making the state uncomfortable. My guess is writing a letter for Amnesty International or supporting a boycott carries more weight than a brick any day.

 

contrarianna

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

 I think it's just as important to question the motives of those who would have us limit ourselves to only those forms of protest that the state is comfortable with.

The state is extremely confortable with the what the  black bloc is doing.
They don't even have to pay (most of) them.

onlinediscountanvils

contrarianna wrote:
The state is extremely confortable with the what the  black bloc is doing. 

They don't even have to pay (most of) them.

 

There is no "black bloc", but yes, the state always has an interest in an ineffective opposition, and will often directly intervene to make sure it remains ineffective. Sometimes that means encouraging militant tactics when they won't be effective. Other times that means ensuring that people limit themselves to a sybolic blowing off steam. I don't believe that most of the people who perform that function are paid for their services either.

Slumberjack

onlinediscountanvils wrote:
There is no "black bloc", 

There isn't, but at the same time it could be anyone.

NDPP

Canada's 'ineffective opposition' seems to be thriving even without the direct intervention by the state or the black bloc to make it so..

Slumberjack

Unionist wrote:
The problem with black blocs et al is not violence. It is putting their arrogant little peacock selves apart from and above the ordinary folk that make up the mass of the movement. 

Is that the same problem with atheists, that they're not with the program?  They're arrogant little peacocks?  Here's a novel thought...why don't the folks who organize these mass movement of people...who often enough only beguile them actually, put forward something worth believing in?

Slumberjack

NDPP wrote:
Canada's 'ineffective opposition' seems to be thriving even without the direct intervention by the state or the black bloc to make it so.

People should be getting tired by now of being ripped off.  They pay for opposition but wind up with accomplices.  It's like that Python skit where a guy walks in to an office thinking he's paid for abuse, but only gets argument, and then nothing at all if he hasn't paid in advance for another session of what he wasn't looking for in the first place.

Unionist

Slumberjack wrote:

Unionist wrote:
The problem with black blocs et al is not violence. It is putting their arrogant little peacock selves apart from and above the ordinary folk that make up the mass of the movement. 

Is that the same problem with atheists, that they're not with the program? 

No, you are seriously confusing beliefs (atheism) vs. actions (torching a cop car and running away with tail between legs, leaving the real demonstrators to be kettled, arrested, degraded, and demonized).

Let me give you a made-up example. Someone writes a book ridiculing Islam. Good for her. Muslims take to the streets to overthrow (the Shah, U.S. invaders, etc.). The same author joins the demo wearing a mask and smashes mosque windows. Bad for her. Very very bad.

Quote:
They're arrogant little peacocks?  Here's a novel thought...why don't the folks who organize these mass movement of people...who often enough only beguile them actually, put forward something worth believing in?

Ah, I get it. The "official" organizers are such misleaders and so useless that we real revolutionaries get really really really angry and frustrated, so we decide it's time to stop playing Mr. Nice Guy and just simply overthrow the state. Hmmm, how to do that when everyone hates us... hmmm.... put on masks and smash stuff, then run away. Booyah!

No. We take the hard road. We fight for collective decision-making. We oppose autocracy and collaboration with the enemy - from within the movement. We fight shoulder to shoulder with all those "less enlightened" people who - hey!!! - actually turn out to be wiser than us. Then, together, we overthrow our misleaders at the same time as we mark gains against the enemy.

I've seen in done over and over again, in the union, in anti-war organizations, and elsewhere. The debate is almost never over, "Should we be violent or not?" That's why "violent vs. non-violent" is a diversion in the context of this thread. The cowardly masked vandals have no monopoly on violence. They wouldn't know real violence if it hit them in the face. So to speak.

 

Slumberjack

Taking the hard road is a subjective statement, which should be logically indicated with a footnote that says, 'as perceived through a petit-bourgeoise lens.'  The fact that it's put out there like that could lead practically any observer along the actual hard road to suspect that autocracy and collaboration from within stands a pretty good chance of sailing straight over people's heads without being noticed.  I'm well aware that in being provocative to the discussion, one shouldn't complain too much about provocation in response, but it does lead me back to your first offering in this thread about who is coming down upon whom, especially in light of the type of language you've shown a preference for in describing ordinary people who are at their wits end with organization and control, in the midsts of disasters that are unfolding everywhere one cares to look.

6079_Smith_W

I'm still waiting for any examples of how this street theatre does anything other than let people blow off steam, feel big, and imagine that they have accomplished something when in fact, the glass they have broken will be in the landfill and replaced the next day.

Unionist wrote:

That's why "violent vs. non-violent" is a diversion in the context of this thread. The cowardly masked vandals have no monopoly on violence. They wouldn't know real violence if it hit them in the face. So to speak.

Exactly. Not only are others (and not just the cops) far more comfortable with using violence, it also teaches young people that violent confrontation is in fact productive, and the only way to solve problems. And why not? It feels great to tear around in a big, powerful, anonymous mob and trash things. But if you look at history, there are enough cases of people resorting to far greater violence, and accomplishing nothing at all, other than learning that it doesn't solve problems.

And @ Slumberjack

Regarding "people who are at their wits end with control and organization", that's how I would describe people initially driven to riot in England last summer, and France the year before that.

There's a big difference between that, and organized groups which take the time to cordon off an area before they attack a position, or groups which teach seminars on paint, slingshots, cops on horses, and teargas in preparation for an event. Those who carefully plan violence, and have nothing in their toolkit other than physical confrontation are not at their wits end. They just have nothing else to say.

 

 

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Well if they were middle aged white guys they would be allies but given that they are mostly poor marginalized youth they should just shut the fuck up and go to their two tied job and support the NDP.  That is the democratic Canadian way.  Youth should be happy that their elders had a good live and understand that it couldn't last.  So please, please hold your anger it is so unbecoming and proves you don't deserve the top tier benefits in our society.

People like Unionist are in the top tier of our society and his responses in  this thread implies that he thinks that his privilege is shared by all.  Easy to say, be patient, when you can eat pork chops on any night that you want to.  So like the union members he represents he has only disdain for youth unless they buy into the paradigm where progressive people can claim 40 years of progress while selling out new members and denying them access to comparable wages, pension and benefits. 

Unionist I know you will answer with a cartoon image of people you don't know and don't care to listen to. You don't really need to spout your nasty personal insults to those PEOPLE  anymore, we get it that the worse thing in the world are young folks who don't have faith in the power of the Canadian union movement and are unwilling to thank people like you for abetting the employers in making them second class workers. 

Ingrates is all they are given all the things you and others have achieved for them in the last 15 years. Hell they have food banks even if they are almost universally barred from EI given the ridiculous number of weeks of work that are required of a new worker.  Also if you can't live on a two tier job how are you going to live on 55% of a two tier job. Not to mention the increase in the age to collect pensions that has been put in.  But don't worry those changes will not affect our generation.  It only hurts those peacocks who don't deserve anything because they are pissed off and won't take it anymore. 

Patience is a virtue most easily adopted by the well off.  You seem to have lots of it Unionist.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Here 6079 I have a picture of the black bloc you are describing.

6079_Smith_W

I'm sorry, but what's with resorting to these arguments about who is bourgeois and who is oppressed, and the assumption that those who don't sign off on smashing windows as a tactic are shilling for the unions and the NDP?

If there's an argument here, make it please. But don't just wave around some amorphous image of "the oppressed" as if everyone in that position supports these tactics.

It wouldn't wash if we were talking about people who are poor and have resorted to gangs, neo-Nazism, right-wing militias  or the Tea Party. And I'm sorry, but groups like this aren't above critical assessment either, just because their politics are a little closer to home for some people.

onlinediscountanvils

Slumberjack wrote:
Taking the hard road is a subjective statement, which should be logically indicated with a footnote that says, 'as perceived through a petit-bourgeoise lens.'  The fact that it's put out there like that could lead practically any observer along the actual hard road to suspect that autocracy and collaboration from within stands a pretty good chance of sailing straight over people's heads without being noticed.  I'm well aware that in being provocative to the discussion, one shouldn't complain too much about provocation in response, but it does lead me back to your first offering in this thread about who is coming down upon whom, especially in light of the type of language you've shown a preference for in describing ordinary people who are at their wits end with organization and control, in the midsts of disasters that are unfolding everywhere one cares to look.

Thank you!

 

kropotkin1951 wrote:
Patience is a virtue most easily adopted by the well off.

Exactly!

Slumberjack

6079_Smith_W wrote:
Those who carefully plan violence, and have nothing in their toolkit other than physical confrontation are not at their wits end. They just have nothing else to say. 

Or nothing more to say beyond summarizing their input as they're wont to do.  Correspondingly, I think that in terms of this and similar discussions, we've been debating from a critical impasse for some time.  While many here in the past have been correctly hesitant about condemning the manner by which people in other regions of the world confront their oppressors; in Canada, people who are otherwise quick to decide that its alright if violent confrontation occurs elsewhere, have this curious tendency toward not extending a similar courtesy when it involves matters closer to home.  Perhaps it’s because of a personal stake, or the result of an organizational agenda that favours maintaining public order as it exists and as it’s enforced.  Well, to my mind, and for all intents and purposes, they could just as readily be transplanted to any location around the world as stand-ins for an assortment of counter-revolutionary, counter-movement persuasions, some of whom we often associate as a beneficiary class within certain authoritarian structures.  In those types of situations the troublemakers are rarely afforded leniency, the result of a similar logic being employed, but far more efficiently by many accounts.

6079_Smith_W

Slumberjack wrote:

While many here in the past have been correctly hesitant about condemning the manner by which people in other regions of the world confront their oppressors; in Canada, people who are otherwise quick to decide that its alright if violent confrontation occurs elsewhere, have this curious tendency toward not extending a similar courtesy when it involves matters closer to home.  Perhaps it’s because of a personal stake, or the result of an organizational agenda

Bourgeois AND counterrevolutionary, eh?

I'm not sure which peoples' opinions you are basing that on, but it's not a distinction I make.

I take the same dim view of violence for its own sake, or to shock people or whip up support when it is in other countries. Not only that, so do many of the people there, if the follow up to the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi is any indication.

By contrast, we had a riot here in Saskatchewan last year, in which a cop car was burned, and the hospital attacked.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/story/2011/09/30/sk-rcmp-la-l...

Somehow I think their motivation was a little different than those who decided to smash things in Seattle this past May Day. And I don't think they had quite the same degree of pre-planning. I'm quite sure they didn't design protest signs that could double as weapons.

Slumberjack

I think the difference of opinion here is centered around the fact that when people decide to go out and smash things in protest, or get into defensive battles with the police, for some of us it appears that what anger we may feel about the overall situation is not so much directed against the smashers, as it is with the many lamentable organizations that deserve far more credit for such outcomes.  My personal belief is that the days of mass open confrontation, peaceful or otherwise, should now be considered as part of the folklore of the past, relics in other words, of an age that has already been moved on from but which some people still consider relevant.  In the meantime, as Unionist and others would have it, people like Alex Hundert, Leah Henderson, and Mandy Hiscocks are getting their comeuppance as we speak.

6079_Smith_W

Slumberjack wrote:

I think the difference of opinion here is centered around the fact that when people decide to go out and smash things in protest, or get into defensive battles with the police, for some of us it appears that what anger we may feel about the overall situation is not so much directed against the smashers, as it is with the many lamentable organizations that deserve far more credit for such outcomes.

I agree; that is the difference. And on the other hand, some of us can walk and chew gum at the same time and realize that both those parties are making things worse, and we see that in some respect they have the same objectives.

 

Slumberjack

6079_Smith_W wrote:
I agree; that is the difference. And on the other hand, some of us can walk and chew gum at the same time and realize that both those parties are making things worse, and we see that in some respect they have the same objectives. 

At least we've cleared away a few things and have pretty much arrived at a similar conclusion, albeit with a slight difference in terms of emphasis I suspect.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Being able to walk and chew gum is not how I would describe your posting style.  You are a fence sitter who thinks that if you are on the fence then you have  abetter view of the world.  Personally it just makes my balls sore when I straddle fences for too long.

In matters that count I prefer to believe in this message.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Arrogant Little Peacock wrote:

Part of what is sadly ironic about the contrasting levels of support is that those who were most directly targeted by the intelligence/security operation against activists in the lead up to the G20 were those whose primary organising work includes building linkages and relationships with the strong network of Indigenous Sovereigntists and their allies, migrant justice organisers, and anarchists. The policing operation was largely designed to disrupt those relationships and that movement building. These are standard tactics used against the resistance movements that arise from Indigenous and other racialized or otherwise targeted communities.

I would like to propose that we now strengthen those linkages by turning the massive capacity for support that we have developed over the past two years towards supporting front line land defenders from Six Nations.

Since 2006 there has been a particularly insidious wave of criminalisation and demonisation aimed at Haudenosaunee people who are asserting the sovereignty of the Six Nations Confederacy and defending the land. The tactics used in everyday policing operations against Six Nations, like with other Indigenous nations, are exactly the type of oppressive state security that the rest of the southern Ontario "activist community" got a taste of around the G20.

I would strongly encourage you to consider formally supporting the new Six Nations Land Defenders Legal Defence Fund.

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/krystalline-kraus/2012/06/activist-commu...

 

6079_Smith_W

@ SJ #91

Yes, I know. And there is also the parallel in that you see opposing anything other than peaceful protest as collaborationist. So yes, you can walk and chew gum too, but you like spearmint rather than juicy fruit.

In the other hand, there is also the question of whether the use of force is just (and if that is so, then others are justified in using it too), and whether it is effective, and of course the question of whether anything other than force is ineffective. And those things are not just a simple matter of opinion. 

That, ultimately, is what I base my position on.

 

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Yes we should all be good Xian's and turn the other cheek to violence.  That is the only true path anything else would be heresy. You are right 6079 that is not a matter of opinion it is a matter of theology.

6079_Smith_W

@ k

You might be right. I have always seen it as a practical and ethical question.

But now that you mention there is more than a little bad religion in the methods of a group of people who wear ceremonial attire, do nothing other than repeat symbolic rituals and chants  on specific occasions, imagine that their actions have a real result even though there is no physical evidence, and don't really care whether or not their actions have a negative effect on others.

But anti-materialism through ritual transformation? It's magic 101

I mean, I've never fallen for the specific brand they are prosletyzing, but I can see how many do.

 

onlinediscountanvils

Hey hey, ho ho.

Slumberjack

It's part of the low intensity civil war that is being waged, with no apparent fixed beginning or end in sight, between the self declared owners of everything and the population.  Unfortunately for the current generation of foot soldiers, France's generalship from the class of 1940 appears to have been reincarnated as today's social democratic tacticians.

Slumberjack

6079_Smith_W wrote:
See, that touches on Ward Churchill's argument: essentially that many who claimed to be pacifist are just scared of getting hurt, and so do the work of the police for them. It's nonsense. Do you think non-violent protesters aren't aware that in some cases they face violence, arrest, and in some cases death? Should people not protest because of the risk of violence? Is it really irresponsible? The point is to resist that violence, and demonstrate that it will not defeat one's cause. Never mind that there are plenty of mass-demonstrations which do not end in violence; in fact it seems to be only specific kinds where provocateurs show up to put on their show. Perpetrating and feeding violence does nothing but strengthen the hand of those in power.

The first highlighted portion above is based on a complete misreading.  The second highlight ignores the history of mass demonstration, even more recently if we start from the APEC incidents in BC. 

Quote:
I think we are dreaming to think that anything can be accomplished by fighting authority with their own violent tactics.

By now you'd think the Americans, the French, and the Russians would understand that better than anyone.

Quote:
And there are enough examples of war which ended only when people got tired of killing each other and opted to find negotiated solutions.

In the western context it appears to have mostly involved an acknowledgement that at some point, the massive debts racked up from war must be paid back by someone.  It is in the interest of repayment and profit, after all is said and done in war, that it becomes important to salvage from the ruins of war a workforce of producers and consumers.

6079_Smith_W

@ SJ

Sure, Churchill uses a number of other inaccurate and insulting arguments, but that is precisely the argument he uses when he compares pacifists to those in Germany who did not want to rock the boat when the Nazis came to power (it's on page 33 and in a few other places in the book as well). - that most pacifists aren't really interested in non-violence. They just don't want to get hurt.

He also refers to their "sublime arrogance" in assuming they can dictate the terms of conflict with the state. He's so right; they have been ruining things for everyone in Northern Ireland for years. But you'll excuse me it I don't print his entire book here.

And speaking of Ireland, look what happened in the Republic yesterday:  http://www.herald.ie/news/10000-farmers-in-march-on-city-for-mass-protes...

10,000 people, and not a mention of any broken windows. And if we want to go back a bit, the On To Ottawa trekkers didn't show up in Regina and start smashing things; they were attacked. Same thing for the WInnipeg General Strike. Nor did anyone march to Selma to wreck their coffeeshops.

But I think you're missing my point, which is that the vast majority of positive changes are accomplished without any violence at all. And unless we are seriously considering settling school board budget through urban warfare, I'd say that all other avenues of decision making and protest have NOT outlived their usefulness.

In other words, the end of any escalation of violence is war. So unless that is how we are proposing to solve all our problems,  street violence makes no sense at all . As for your last point, it's not usually financial attrition; it's people seeing their kids come home in boxes, and running out of people to kill.

And since you mention APEC, I'm still waiting for any examples of how the symbolic smashing up of banks and stores has accomplished ANYTHING in terms of change. Anything at all.

 

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

 

Thanks for this image Boom Boom.  This is not the 1960's the APEC summit was the start of the normalization of brutal police assaults on peaceful protestors.  People trying to block traffic being assaulted by Sergeant Pepper is the image that comes to mind. Some of the people involved in that peaceful protest went on to found more radical groups because clearly they were not turn the other cheek Xian's.

I actually agree that breaking windows is pretty ineffective but then so are 99.99% of demonstrations.  Like I said the ant-Iraq war saw the largest peaceful demonstrations in our history and to what effect?  No amount of peaceful demonstrations will stop the military security complex and their goons pictured above.

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