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In defense of the black bloc: A communique from Olympic resisters

A communiqué

by anonymous Cooperatives, →2010 Olympics

In defense of the black bloc:  A communique from Olympic resisters

Also posted by :

February 14th, 2010 – Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories

On February 12th and 13th, 2010, thousands of courageous individuals came
together to resist the 2010 Olympic police state and to attack the
corporations plundering the land and deepening poverty.  We write this
communique as participants in and organizers of the black bloc presence at
these demonstrations, known as “Take Back Our City” and “2010 Heart
Attack.”

On February 12th, the Vancouver Police Department pacified us with a force
of mounted police.  The next day during 2010 Heart Attack, they deployed
riot police armed with M4 carbine assault rifles.  They claim this was
necessary in order to stop the march from “jeopardizing public safety” – yet the
only threats to public safety were in their own hands. Participants in the
demonstration only undertook strategic attacks against corporations
sponsoring the Olympics and did not harm or attack bystanders.

The media are now busy denouncing the political violence of property
destruction, such as the smashing of a Hudson's Bay Company window, as
though it were the only act of violence happening in this city.  They
forget that economic violence goes on daily in Vancouver.  People are
suffering and dying from preventable causes because welfare doesn't give
enough to afford rent, food or medicine, and because authorities routinely
ignore the medical emergencies of poor or houseless individuals.  This
economic violence has gotten worse as we lose housing and social services
because of the Olympic Games.  In response to this assault, thousands took
to the streets, hundreds joining what is known as a black bloc.

The black bloc is not a formal organization; it has no leadership,
membership, or headquarters.  Instead, the black bloc is a tactic: it is
something people *do* in order to accomplish a specific purpose.  By
wearing black clothing and masking our faces, the black bloc allows for
greater protection to those who choose active self-defense.  The majority
of people involved in the black bloc do not participate in property
destruction.  However, in masking up they express their solidarity with
those who choose to take autonomous direct action against the
corporations, authorities and politicians who wage war on our communities.

Participation in the black bloc is an act of courage.  With only the
shirts on our backs and the masks on our faces, we took to the streets
against Canada's largest ever “peacetime” police force.  Protected only by
black fabric and the support of our comrades, we stood in front of
antiriot cops armed with assault rifles, pistols and batons.  We proved that $1
billion of “security” couldn't prevent us from clogging the heart of
downtown Vancouver and crashing a party of 100 000 people -- and getting
away with it.

You won't ever know who was in the black bloc this weekend, but you *do*
know us.  We are the people who organize community potlucks, who dance
during street festivals, who make art, defend the land, build co-ops,
bicycles and community gardens.  When we put on our black clothing, we are
not a threat to you, but to the elites.

Whoever you are, one day you will join us.  As long as government and
corporations attack our communities, we're going defend – and that means
attack.

Signed,

Two organizers and participants in the anarchist presence of the “Take
back our city” demonstration and “2010 Heart Attack” street march,
February 2010, Coast Salish Territories

//Read a response to this post here//

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Comments

Ridiculous

This isn't the proper way to get your point across and I sit fully against this type of action. Whether you agree or disagree with the Olympics, they are here now. If you wanted to protest, you should have done it when the bidding was being done back in 2002-2003. In matter of fact, housing was a problem before the Olympics, and the problems downtown Vancouver suffers from are not due to the Olympic presence.

This action of smashing windows is illegal--it's destruction of property and thus whether my own person was threatened did not matter. My tax dollars pay for police protection of people and of property, upholding the laws that we have created as a society. If you feel it was over the top than so be it, don't get in the way and you won't be hurt.

And as was stated, most of these black-clothed individuals were known to the police as criminals and so the average person will give no credence to what they do.

I state again, this is not the way to get your point across. The people you are trying to affect with this nonsense only turn away further because they believe you should all spend your time contributing to the economy rather than wasting our tax dollars by forcing us to police due to your presence.

 

Sickening.

Wake up to reality,

D

Anyone who thinks there is a

Anyone who thinks there is a 'proper' way to do revolt is delusional. These actions have been announced months in advanced, and all stated a respect for a diversity of tactics. The folks who wanted to hold signs and march had space for that, the people who wanted to block roads had space for that, and the people who took more militant actions had space for that. Diversity makes movements stronger, and to insist that there is only one way to resist is foolish and misguided.

i think you might be mistaken.

sorry, who stated the individuals were known criminals?

i think when the mainstream media named any of the activists as known criminals, what they actually meant was known voices of dissent. activists targeted for repeatedly standing up with righteous anger.

i am sad that there has been the common misconception that participants in the black bloc only use that tactic. what most naysayers have failed to notice is indeed that these are the same folks building community gardens, offering their time in community spaces, working their butts off to offer support to their community every minute of every day. it gets tiring when no one listens to respectful requests for social justice and support, so every now and again a bay window needs to get taken out.

until change actually happens, we need to continually and actively challenge the status quo. i am "being that change" every day, and yet i look all around me and people are still suffering, while most of the city sits in apathetic glory, condemning valuable tactics. i challenge all of you to also take to the streets. show me how it works, if you know the way.  ive been yelling so much my voice is coarse and worn. at this point, all the strength that remains is in my fist.  and i intend to use it.

 

This is what is wrong with

This is what is wrong with our society. What ever happened to hippies? They were ignorant, angry and had a poor grasp of reality but at least they were harmless.

I'm sorry but masked rioters

I'm sorry but masked rioters carrying out coordinated violent and destructive attacks is NOT courageous; it's complete and utter cowardice. The only thing more disgusting than Saturday's actions is this author's defence of them.

Nice work, all of you. You just set the anti-poverty movement in this city back 20 years and destroyed the credibility of every "activism" group around.

You may say you were not a threat, but to the hundreds of bystanders who had the misfortune of witnessing this act, it was damn scary.

Olympic protest

I agree with you. I was at this protest and I was upset that the black clad/masked group did vandalism. The only thing that served to do was to descredit the whole lot of us protesters.  So the small group of vandals made the choice to disrupt the protest and stop the message that we were trying to convey to the media and public. It was reported that when the Saturday protest started there were 1500 to 2000 people.  After the violence of the broken window at the Bay, the majority of protesters dropped out of the protest/march.

back 20 years?

my initial response was similar, untili realised without the events of saturday the fight would not have got the conitinued covereage all over the world with al jazeera, the guardian, the telegraph, etc.. etc.. etc... taking a much more critical eye to vancouver. Mark Leier Put it well in his phone interview with the Georgia Straight:

“I have a strong suspicion that the kinds of protests that we’re talking about—the smashing of windows—may have created more space for the so-called respectable protest movements,” Leier said in a phone interview. “What I mean by that is the media coverage that I’ve heard so far over the last couple of weeks has been, ‘The Olympics are coming. This is going to be great. Oh, yeah, there’s going to be some protests.’ Then what we’ve heard was…‘Oh, my gosh! Some of these protesters broke things. But look, there’s always respectable protesters. Let’s talk to them and see what they want to talk about.’ ”

 

do what you gotta do... back against the wall with no democratic outlets...  besides, if the hudsons bay company can head and participate in the genocide of a people, i think they should be prepared for a little backlash.

Thank You

What happened to the hippies?
They turned into yuppies.

I think it's important to make a distiction between property destruction and violence against human beings,
and to not turn your back on your comrades even though they may engage in more extreem tactics than you choose. I support the black bloc and I understand their rage. Lets remember the history of the Hudsons Bay Company and the genocide that took place in this country. My thought have been with you, hoping you all stay safe.

hippies

Give it a rest and wake up..The Hippies are the parents who gave you birth brought you up within the country that nurtured supported and educated you . This country allowed you the rights and freedoms that you now enjoy...You aspire to bring down the system of the elites. SHOW me a better way to govern and I will  evaluate , participate and support it BUT so far all i hear is WORDS WORDS WORDS....no substancial alternatives but violence, rhetoric and air...

Thank you!

for your courage and defiance!

Thanks Black Bloc

 Well done. Keep it up. I may join you. Or maybe I already have. :) 

Take back from what? to what?

'Take back our city' eh? Take it back from what? the Olympics? but the problems that plague our society have existed since long before the Olympics. Why is it suddenly an issue? Was your time too valuable until now?

Take it back… to what? Vancouver has never belonged to disillusioned anarchic kids, you can't 'take it back'. You never had it.

If your opinions and motives were so important, why haven't we seen you before Saturday? Why aren't you out every day? Or even every weekend? Or once every three months?

If you only targeted businesses supporting the olympics, why did the TD Bank get attacked? TD Bank isn't a supporter, RBC is.

Why were bystanders attacked?

More importantly, what's with this 'Coast Salish' jazz? Everyone I know of native descent thinks it's ridiculous that a bunch of white kids are running around shouting 'No olympics on stolen native land!'. You don't seem to have a problem LIVING on stolen native land. Maybe you should move somewhere else instead, and give the natives their land back?

The fact is, these are all just excuses, reasons that you find to get yourself riled up and go smash things up. You're protesting the Olympics because it's something to protest, you're waving the flag of Coast Salish occupation because you imagine it lends credibility to your cause.

Here's a tip: it doesn't. You're still just kids, and you still need to grow up and face reality. Want to change the world? You won't do it by dressing up in black like some emo ninja and throwing a brick through a window. Go do some good in the world first. Volunteer at a homeless shelter, give half your paycheque to a soup kitchen. Give back to a community that you seem to take for granted, and then you'll have the right to have your voice heard.

Dan, just because you've

Dan, just because you've given up on life, don't require everyone else to follow you. All you demonstrate is your obvious ignorance. You need to have less assumptions about what you think you know and a more open mind to what you clearly don't know. Otherwise you're just another hopless cause.

 

You know that saying, sometimes it's better to keep quiet and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and prove it? Congrats.

Well put, Dan!

Absolutely perfectly put, Dan... I appreciate your thoughts.

 

I'm all about free speech.  I'm absolutely against anarchy.  You fools would have been heard and probably even gained respect if you'd marched and shared your view, instead of breaking private property and scaring the living crap out of people.

 

And, what's with hiding your face?  Are you "that proud" of what you have to say that you feel the need to hide behind anonymity?

 

Useless.

duh

they hide their face because they don't want to get thrown in jail for smashing a window, so that they can go back to their lives of planting community gardens or whatever they do when their not smaching windows. they also hide their face because they want to stand in solidarity with those breaking windows, because the anonymity protects them. If they are proud, they will do it again.. a lack of pride has nothing to do with hiding their face, it is just a bit less risky.

and Dan... yes! I wish that they had smashed the windows of RBC too. They deserve it so much more than TD Bank right now for bankrolling the Tar Sands.

from Polaris Institute: Total financed carbon dioxide as percentage of Canada's total energy emissions: RBC 34 per cent; TD 21 per cent; Scotiabank 15 per cent; BMO 17 per cent; CIBC 17 per cent; Desjardins three per cent; Vancity less than 0.1 per cent. So, TD is bad, but they have singed an agreement to respect Free and Prior Informed Consent of Indigenous People, which is waay more than RBC is willing to do... so, yeah... RBC would have been a much better target. Ah well, maybe next time :P

Keep up the good work!!!

  I had the honor of  marching behind the  black clothed " terrorists " during the heart attack event saturday morning. Unfortunately I had to make the difficult decision to leave the demonstration due to obvious reasons. 

   Although Im still uncertain as to whether destruction of private property is the answer. The actions you took have managed to create a stir amongst my family, friends, co workers, participating athletes, tourists, and even our beloved premier.  Exposure of the Olympic truth has risen dramatically, and for that I thank you.

 

In Solidarity,

 

B.  

 

 

 I think that this communique

 I think that this communique brings a very important perspective into the public eye. The media has been condemning protesters for not speaking with them (a refusal which seems perfectly rational with the knowledge that any interviews done with the media will be spun to facilitate pro-olympic, anti-protest agendas) and this communique speaks for the entirety of the protest without bias, and with respect to both those who choose direct action and those who do not. I stand in solidarity with the Black Bloc, because I was witness to both the property damage and the police brutality. There is no discussion of the very real, physical violence used upon protesters in response to the breaking of windows. How can we live in a society that believes humans being beaten with bats, fists, and shields is justified because of a few broken windows? An eye for an eye? More like an eye for a shoe, or maybe an eye for a word. To think that that the public supports the beating of individuals as punishment for purely non-violent (no harming or endangering of people) actions is sickening. 

Sorry, breaking windows *is*

Sorry, breaking windows *is* an act of violence. First off, how was any bystander or police officer supposed to know that all you crazed masked loonies weren't going to start turning on people? Secondly, what if an innocent bystander were to happen to be in the way of one of your projectile newspaper boxes, ladders, hammers, etc.? While you may not have intended to harm people, your mob mentality had the potential to have done so, inadvertently or intentionally.

Not so much

 Interesting point, except that people WERE attacked. The CBC has aired video of protesters attacking individuals, for no reason that I can see. Take a look for yourself, if you like.

The thing that people don't seem to understand is that the protesters didn't suffer physical violence; only the rioters did. The people running around with bike chains wrapped around their hands, throwing mailboxes through windows, and attacking businesses and bystanders. That's dangerous, and it's unacceptable.

Note that all the other protests I've seen were fine; people marched en masse down West Georgia street, blocking off large amounts of traffic, and the police watched to make sure nothing happened. It was only the violent, dangerous, and destructive individuals that were restrained, the ones who pick a cause to support their actions, rather than taking actions to support their cause.

people attacked?

the only people who were attacked were cops and people who acted like cops and tried to physically attack marchers. Obviously you didn't see why these people were being roughed up, you were watching fucking mainstream CTV, who by the way had dozens of their own reporters carry the torch throughout the relay. They're totally trustworthy to give an unbiased report on resistance, right?

those were probably undercover cops, they've been caught before.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=St1-WTc1kow

SPP a few years ago. Police caught dressing up like black blocers (they later admited to it) and pushing other protesters around. Obviously a tactic to spilt the movements because the last thing that the establishment wants is for us to take justice into our own hands and make public attacks on these corporations for their role in destroying the planet. Keep the pressure on the corporations! That is what this action was about that this is what we all should be talking about. The police use fucked up tactics to divide us, but we agree on the critique... so let's all move that forward. The Black Bloc has generated so much discussion, let's thank them and use this opportunity! Olympics was a $7 billion waste of public funds that could have irradiacted poverty in Vancouver! HBC was responsible for the genocide of FN people by deliberately spreading small pox and acting as a oppressive colonial government! RBC should have been targeted as well!!! They are the biggest financier of the Tar Sands, which has killing people and the planet! It is the most inefficient use of energy and water, to create the dirtiest oil that will harm not only those near the mining, but also near the refining and burning of this oil!

and hell! Just because I care about this issue too... Open pit gold mining generates 70 tonnes of waste for every ounce of gold, the vast majority of which is used for jewelry! 50 per cent of gold is mined on Native lands, and it turns mountains and lake beds into heaps of leaching toxins (and sulfides) that drain for hundreds of years, polluting air and water! This industry shouldn't even exist because most of the gold in the world has already ben dug up and is being horded by governments and banks for no good reason! Black Bloc, please target these companies as well... there is nothing redeming about the whole industry! It is pure pure evil and proof that we have a mechanistic system that procedes without consciousness. It is market determinism wherein profits create corruption and militarization which push through projects despite resistance (there has even been a ton of targeted assasinations of mining activists lately)! thanks :)

Re: Dan Udey's comment

+1

 

Kurt

Listen

No one who knows the history of Hudson's Bay Company and its ties with Imperial Britain and the Canadian State can deny the colonization, dispossession and genocide of First Nations brothers and sisters. Let's just recall that the Bay is there 365 days a year at the corner of Richard and Georgia. If its the Bay you are protesting you don't need the Olympics as an excuse to smash their windows. These windows were smashed in protest of the Bays support for the Olympics and of the Olympics in general. It should be noted that First Nations peeps are also down with the games so I am highly skeptical about the ability of a 17 year old white girl from Brandon Manitoba to speak to all the aspirations those people have. Are they somehow "less-native" because they chose a strategy of participating in the games so they could tell their own story and speak for themselves about who they are??? It should be recognized that they are standing up for the truth of their history but in a different way.  

Personally, I am not even against vandalism as a form of disobedience. However, this kind of thing should be used strategically and with reservation. Anyone could have foreseen what little effect the hasty actions of these pseudo-anarchist kids would have on advancing the cause of the anti-Olympic movement. Its clear from their statement that they can hardly even articulate their politics in a consistent and persuasive way. It's clear they are angry and I agree they bloody-well should be. However, what they have failed to recognize is that they have chosen vandalism as a form of therapy for their rage rather than as a tool to be used strategically at a time that will be most effective. Unfortunately they have played directly into the desires of VISU which is to find an excuse to bring out the guns on the street and set a precedent. We can now expect to see this at all the next mega-events in Vancouver thanks to these kids. These kids are typical young idealists who have not yet recognized that they are living in a bubble. Within 6 or 7 years they will be lonely and miserable because they cannot connect with their fellow humans in a meaningful way. They will fill the void so strongly that they will do what is currently unthinkable to them, "sell out." Enjoy the romanticism while you can kids because that hangover is going to last way longer than the Olympics.

Dan Udey

Couldn't have said it better myself. Bravo!

MLK

Remember the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his strict policy of non-violence in any form.  A great man, a great movement, and tremendous results were accomplished.  We would do well to follow his/their example. 

Protesting the Olympics is not enough.  If you all care so much about poverty, homelessness and the rights of the First Nations - do something every day to bring about the necessary changes, and do something concrete and practical. 

"it's complete and utter

"it's complete and utter cowardice. The only thing more disgusting than Saturday's actions is this author's defence of them."

Nice work deploying the well worn tropes of "cowardice" and "setting back the movement".  The fact is that when participating in this type of action, one of the most effective tactics is anonymity.  The point is action, not the martyrdom that results from being arrested.  Quite likely many participants in this action are aware of the ineffectiveness of the "justice" system and therefore will not so easily submit to shackles as do the hippies.

I find the criticism of these actions amusing, who was really hurt?  Did the black bloc hurt any bystanders?  I'm sure some people were scared, but is that the worst thing in the world?  I've been scared many times in my life, and many times the situation was a catalyst for action.  Perhaps some who were affected by this protest will try to learn what was going on and why.  

"Nice work, all of you. You just set the anti-poverty movement in this city back 20 years and destroyed the credibility of every "activism" group around."

People have been saying this about violent protest since such tactics were first used.  It's simply a cliche.  Please define "setting back" a movement.  What does the setting back of a movement entail for said movement?  Please show me some examples of when this has happened.  Despite the non-violent aspects getting the most media play, the civil rights movement (to cite one example) was marked by many clashes between the oppressed and authority.  Did these clashes "set back the movement"?  For that matter, who is thick enough to look at the black bloc's actions and say "well I can't respect anti-poverty activists now".  Indeed looking at the turnout for Sunday's march, the bloc's actions discouraged very few from participating in an event that has much to do with anti-poverty action.

"Maybe you should move somewhere else instead, and give the natives their land back?"

Perhaps if any participating in the bloc had the power to decide on such things, aboriginal peoples would have their land back, however how would moving "somewhere else" help such a cause now?  It might surprise you to know that most activists (militant or not) that I know do not own land and are not in a position to influence its distribution.  One of the many facets of olympics resistance is that it provides a context in which to bring issues such as aboriginal title to the forefront of public discussion.

"You don't seem to have a problem LIVING on stolen native land."
Last time I checked that's a pretty tough thing for many to avoid in BC.

"Want to change the world? You won't do it by dressing up in black like some emo ninja and throwing a brick through a window. Go do some good in the world first. Volunteer at a homeless shelter, give half your paycheque to a soup kitchen. Give back to a community that you seem to take for granted, and then you'll have the right to have your voice heard."

Why do you assume none of those involved have done any of these things?  Speaking from personal experience many activists live on very limited means, yet they do what they can and sacrifice much for what they believe.  I know personally that giving half my paycheque away would put me on the street.  Time is perhaps easier to donate and many do donate time and effort to a myriad of causes.  Also, why is sacrifice required to earn "the right to have your voice heard"?  I think every person has such a right, whether or not they can afford to donate time and money to a given cause.
 

good job

 only the anarchy will save us from this chaos

Protests

I was on Robson that day when the masked individuals were walking down the street making asses of themselves.  I have no problem with peaceful protest, but when the protests become violent or the protesters start to destroy property, then it's a problem.  I saw a mother pushing a stroller with a baby in it stop briefly to kick down a metal newspaper container, all the while laughing with her and her friends -- she wasn't making a political statement, she was out for a joy ride.   These actions completely demean the cause, and are an embarrassment to the city.

The police that day, at least during the time period I was watching, stayed completely to the rear, and let everything happen.  It was regular individuals following along from behind, picking up property that the protesters had tried to damage, that were the real heroes that day, especially since they often received verbal abuse for their efforts.

 

 I have to say this disgusts

 I have to say this disgusts me to no end. Stop your crying and complaining. If it is not one thing it is another. It seems like your all protest for the sake of not having jobs or a life to fill your time.

To try and cause the olympics to fail only causes more finacial stress on the systems out there for the public that need them. The olympics is already here how about just embracing our Canadian atheletes and assisting our city in making this a success to try and recoupe some of the money spent. Because if it fails you will be to blame as well.

Misguided Fools

I am not a supporter of the Olympics and I applaud peaceful protest however The destruction of private property regardless of your justification is simply wrong.

While revolution is sometimes a necesary method for change in this instance you simply give more weight to the powers that be to justify their position and actions. For many, including myself, your organization as loose as it may be is now viewed much like a spoilt brat having a temper tantrum over not being able to get what they want.

Violence only begets more violence. Respect through fear never works. Sit in the streets, march until your heart is content, voice opinions in a mature fashion and attract people to the cause becuase it is right. Don't alienate supporters or potential supporters by actions that showcase an inability to rise above.

 

Clarity of Intention and Good Tactics

Disagreeing with a specific tactic in a specific context does not require attacking the people who carried out the action. After all, anyone who does a lot of stuff makes a lot of mistakes, the only way to avoid mistakes is to do nothing. Apathy and inaction is the main threat to our society.

I hear that some of the 'good' protestors just discovered that windows can get broken by accident as well as intentionally, and that accidentally broken windows are more dangerous.

I don't think that the 'trashing' was a good tactic in this case. It just looked random to me, and chased people away who would have participated in blocking intersections (the stated intention of the action). In fact, it was the kind of trashing I imagine that agents provacateurs would choose to initiate. The action could have been more effective without any property destruction, or with much more focused action. For example, if someone really really needed to break a window, it could have been the one at the Bay with the made in China fake Cowichan sweater behind it. (I hate the symbolism of breaking windows - but at least with that one window some of the meaning would have been clear).

I suggest considering Starhawk's post-Quebec City suggestion that we start "with clarity of intention before we get around to diversity of tactics. That is, before we decide what tactics to adopt we need to know what we're trying to do"

http://www.starhawk.org/activism/activism-writings/quebeclessons.html

Also, for contrast, on the G8 in Calgary

http://www.starhawk.org/activism/activism-writings/tacticsright.html

And on agents provocateurs:

http://www.straight.com/article-241166/isu-wont-rule-out-agents-provocat...

You are now terrorists in my

You are now terrorists in my viewpoint.  There can be no excuse for the violence you unleashed for all to see.  Beating up that civilian was pointless and criminal.  Smashing the Bay's window did nothing to endear you to the public.  You are terrorists. 

You fail to realize that this is above all else an info war.  You have to win over public opinion to get the change you seek.  But your feeble minds can't come up with anything other than trashing and smashing the state of things.  I personally hope that the entire Black Bloc gets arrested and jailed for the duration of the games so that the real protest movement can emerge from the darkened shadow you have cast upon the social movement.  Each and everyone of you should be ashamed and go back to the drawing board.

I disagree with you, where do you live? I want to smash your...

 With your reasoning that means I should be able to smash your windows because I disagree with you.

And maybe smash you to....and then write about what happened but not write about me smashing you and if someone brings it up then it's self defence.

Mainly you all had a very valid point.. We're spending billions of dollars on a party but can't seem to get enough money to fix our homeless crisis. But then you all make yourselves look like asses but trying to justify the destruction of property and non-peaceful protests.

Most protesters and no-2010ers are now trying to distance themselves from your radical views the same way most peaceful Muslims would distance themselves from violent radical Muslims.

Canada is a great country. You protest about how we're losing our democracy and how terrible conditions are. Have you left this country to somewhere with human rights abuses? I think not....well I hope not, because if you have and you still think we're in such a bad shape then you're just blind.

The truth is that the people who smashed the windows provoked and wanted the police to attack them so they could be some sort of "martyr" If you continue with violence then yes you should get squashed in my opinion.

And no, you won't become a "Martyr" except in your little protestor community because the fact is yes most people care about poverty but not too many people take anything you say seriously. When you act like that people don't listen.....in fact they'll refuse to listen! 

 

 

 

 

 

black bloc agents provocateurs

Once more the masked agents of the establishment have managed to discredit legitimate protest. Petty property damage has been presented to the public as a violent rampage. Of course the police stayed to the rear and let it happen. It was, after all, their plan.

Think of the recent SPP demonstration, the Quebec riots, and other international events where the black clad "anarchists" defiled the legitimaticacy of protest, and in many cases were determined to be agents of the very establishment under attack.

This kind of bullshit is no way to make friends or win support, and your real motives are clearly open to question.

 

black bloc agents provocateurs

Petty damage by a buncha masked "heroes" hah! once more the minions of the establishment have managed to discredit legitimate protest, as they have tried at SPP, Quebec, and internationally for many years. Every once in a while someone gets some footage of them changing into or out of their real uniforms, and you know what i'm talking about.

I don't wonder why the police followed and didn't interfere. It was their plan, and if it wasn't it certainly could have been. For those of you who are legitimate, when are you gonna get it through your heads that violence, no matter how petty, is not the way to win friends and gain  support? DUH!!!

Cowards

The two organizers of the protest are such cowards they wouldn't even put their name on the article.  Cowards to cover their faces.  Let me remind you of two very courageous people who stood behind their cause with pride and willing to accept the consequences for their belief. Martin Luther King stood for what he believed and his movement changed history and ultimately it cost him his life.  Ghandi stood tall for his cause and brought attention to the world about his movement.  To cover your face and destroy property and terrorize people is a clear example of individuals who are nothing more than criminals and cowards.  You disgrace the people that forge ahead for their cause at any cost.

how can you complain about a few broken windows

without recognizing that it is so much worse to spend a billion dollars on security? these acts were obviously symbolic and more so because of the risk involved for those that toke part in them. breaking a window in a heavily surveiled environment is brave, it's risky, and it is definitely not dangerous to the public. those kids are doing something to signify what an appropriate response is to these corporate criminals, and I for one appreciate it when they hit a good target.

and dan.. to a certain degree you're right... I WISH that they had broken the windows of RBC too, they certainly deserve the attention for being the biggest Tar Sands funder! But your critique isn't one of tactics, but the application of those tactics. I know that I have been at protests where the Black Bloc chose inappropriate targets, and that made me sad (though I'm pretty damn sure that those who broke the inappropriate windows were cops, I saw them do it and they were sketchy as hell). So yeah... I can say that they definitely get attention (yours included) with their tactics, so I applaud their efforts. Anything that gets us talking about how/what we should be doing to stop this system is so necessary. You don't like their tactics? Do something better yourself!

as for attacking bystanders, let's not forget the SPP protests

the only people attacking/pushing bystanders in that action were the police, dressed up as black blocers! The Black Bloc definitely doesn't stand by attacking bystanders, it is not what the organizers "admit to" because it is not acceptable. When people talk about "diversity of tactics" what they mean is a diversity that includes property destruction, not attacking people!
for a refresher, here's the video that caught the cops dressed as black blocers, pushing around old people: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=St1-WTc1kow

Hey, i don't really see how

Hey,

i don't really see how this is somehow the wrong tactic and why it should alienate people. when i saw the footage i got a big grin on my face. D and others, don't you wanna join in? imagine walking though those horrible shopping streets, corporate window after window. and then out of nowehere comes a whirlwind of black and starts smashing the windows. to me this is great, very exiting, and the perfect cure to how i feel whenever i have to go on one of these kind of horrible shopping errands. it wasn't even a lot of destruction. just some tiny scratches if you think about it. i would have liked more.

 

the problem is that our imaginations are being destroyed. we don't see what's right infront of us and what could be there instead. either people are happy with normality, and consider some minor disturbances atrocious violence, or we only see the opportunity for something else in the moments when normality seizes, moments when something unusual and maybe destructive happens.

 

the black bloc is an old tactic and doesn't always make sense. but personally i love it when the normality of capitalist peace gets shattered. even if it's just a little scratch.

 

we need to get every last

we need to get every last charge dropped. where can we contribute to a legal fund for the protesters arrested on saturday? they need and deserve our support.

Actually we need the opposite

Actually we need the opposite of that.  We need full enforcement and punishment of the law in this case.  Idiotic violence and beating of innocent bystanders who just happen to disagree should not be tolerated.

Their parents should pay for the idiots they have raised.

Shut up.

What I find terrifying is not a broken window or some chaos in the streets.
It's people like you who can rationalize the police, the courts and their prisons.
Who can rationalize the provician prison system; overcrowded to capacity with people, two thirds of whome are awaiting trial... AND HAVE NOT BEEN CONVICTED OF A CRIME. In Toronto, the Don Jail just had 3 murders in 8 months... In a prison that holds people for up to two years minus a day on minor offenses. Three quarters of the prison population in the Don Jail are people awaiting their trial, for nothing like murder; but you coop too many people into small cages and violence will errupt. It's like stuffing rabbits in a tiny cage. The prison system destroys people's humanity... look at what happened to Ashley Smith at the Grand Valley Institution (GVI). They aren't correctional services, they create problems!

I think that the hysteric respect for private property is WAY scarier than 1000 broken windows, or a riotous situation that lasts weeks, like what we saw in Greece in December of 2009. If you zealots can rationalize the use (or even the existence) of prisons as we know them for some people who attacked private property, then can you rationalize the death of Ashley Smith? Or the murder of Harriet Nahanee? PRISONS are PRIVATE PROPERTY... financed by the government coffers which our tax burdens fill.

Well these prisons that torture people to the point of borderline insanity and suicide are not consecrated to me, they are not sacred. They don't get my respect and the people who can rationalize their use should not expect to recieve it either.

Terrorists! Vandals! Idiots! Some of you sound so crazed! Windows get broken from cold weather, natural disasters, etc. Big hail storms break way more windows way more often, but it isn't the windows that matter to you. It's the lifeless whorship and praise for the sacred private property of corporations and governments who have dirty, bloody hands. It's the will and determination of others to unsettle this sanctity that bothers you. Maybe it's because if these "terrorists" actually bring this system of property and it's dirty dealings into question, your compliance would need to be questionned and your actions and choices reconsidered...

The better to lock them up and throw away the key.

black bloc agents provocateurs

i'm really pissed off at the constant vandalism and destruction by the black bloc at virtually every venue where there is legitimate protest. You clowns make more enemies for, and turn more people against, causes than you have ever built support for causes.

Of course the police followed behind and let it all unfold. It was their plan, a plan to discredit legitimate protest AND justify the obscene amounts spent on security... how good of you to make their points... something you seem to do at virtually every protest from this Olympic thing to the various trade and security arrangements.

Remember the SPP protests, and the police in black? Good you all wear masks, eh? So easy to infiltrate, and on the rare occasion when none of you is stupid, or brave? enough to initiate violence, they'll start it up for you. And you've shown this everywhere, at every level...G8, FTAA, and it goes on, and sometimes a few of you're even caught changing into or out of your real uniforms (and you know what I mean, eh?) after you start the riot.

I think of you as agents provocateurs because the alternative is that you are so low functioning and violent as to be potentially very dangerous, at least in the wrong hands.

 

Go Black Bloc Go

The individuals that engaged in the Black Bloc tactic are brave and courageous. Every last one arrested on Saturday should be freed and all charges dropped – there is no evidence. Go Black Bloc Go.

The anonymity we want to cultivate is the idea that anyone and all of us could be under the mask.

Don’t listen to all the naysayers. They don’t know what they’re talking about. They’re minds are colonized.

It was beautiful to see a province newspaper box jammed into the window of the bay – exactly the image required. That’s art.

Time to create a new tactic; got to stay one step ahead of the cops.

in support and solidarity

in support and solidarity

We need a mass movement not a black bloc

It's not a direct response to the above article, but I would encourage readers to read my recent blog post on linchpin.ca We need a mass movement not a black bloc

Corporations are not the problem

It's not the corporations that are the problem - it's the people who are buying from and supporting these companies that need to have their minds changed. If nobody buys their sweatshop products then the Hudson's Bay wouldn't exist. Even if the Black Bloc had brought down the entire building, our continual need to buy, buy, buy will result in 3 more shopping centres put up in its place. We are killing ourselves; it is not the fault of any politician or corporation.

A smashed window doesn't change anything; a new perspective does. Instead of scaring civilians, the Black Bloc should earn their trust and show them that a more local and compassionate lifestyle is the best way to instigate change. Vancouver is making so much progress already with community gardens and other local initiatives. Why isn't more attention being drawn to that? Let's continue the good work and show the world what we are really about.

some thoughts

hi!

i have been a part of the anarchist movement for a long time, and am following this discussion, and the protests in vancouver, with great interest.

first of all, i do not participate in most protests due to the lack of accessibilty they offer, so i generally look at these situations from the outside. i have experienced the violence of the state and of other individuals firsthand, and i respect those who do the "front line" activism that i cannot. i also have a deep appreciation for the many levels of participation in radical and anarchist social change that are possible and embodied on a daily basis.

when i observe the black bloc actions, i generally perceive it as folks letting off steam. it seems very personal to me. before i got sick there was no black bloc, but i used to do what i called "fucking shit up." this generally included spraypainting and other acts of public vandalism. it was very cathartic. i don't know if it was helpful to the movement(s) i was participating in, but it definitely gave me a public outlet for my anger. for me, it was a healthy alternative to picking fights and venting my anger at random individuals. for me, it was a less violent outlet for my anger at the system for the violence and abuse i had personally experienced. that anger was so powerful, and it has taken me many years to learn healthy ways of dealing with it.

i'm not saying that the black bloc is comprised of abuse survivors with anger management issues, like i was, but that is the lens with which i view these acts of vandalism and property destruction. and i feel empathy with folks who feel the need to express their frustration in a visceral way. 

i still feel the need to blow off steam, i still have deep-seated anger towards the violent, colonial overculture that threatens the very life of my community. sometimes i handle it by doing projects, sometimes by drinking, sometimes by going out and just screaming my head off. are any of these options superior to breaking windows at a protest? i don't know.

i do know that as a radical activist with multiple disabilities, i must fight equally hard in activist communities as in the mainstream to be recognized and respected. sometimes i have to fight harder! sometimes i want to break the windows of local activist spaces who refuse to do even the basic work to make their spaces accessible to folks with various disabilities. this fuels my anger and my feeling of distance between my radical disabled community and the radical left as a whole.

personally i see breaking windows as an act of anger and desperation. it communicates a lack of faith in nonviolent direct action. i do believe in nonviolence as a strategy and a life choice, and i feel sadness that most anarchists i know do not believe in nonviolence as a strategy. i also believe in harm reduction, and while i most likely will not be joining black bloc protesters in the future, i am concerned that judging them and blaming their actions for the violence of the police does not help movements for radical social change. they are making choices. the public and police are making choices about how to respond to the myriad of protest expressions that are being communicated in vancouver right now. as radicals, we are making choices in the ways we respond to these folks. i am trying to open my heart to them, even knowing they may not ever open their hearts to me and people like me.

take care,

billie rain

The "black bloc" is going off

The "black bloc" is going off a fantasy world of a small number of black hats and a large mass of people ready for change, if you can only set the example.

The icky reality is those corporations are generally doing what "consumers" want them to do. We need to get normal people to reality-check their own values. This is not the way to do that, it only lets them demonize the activist community in general.

You are not attracting attention to the cause, you're drawing it away from competent spokespeople who've done the legwork and homework to have something coherant to say.

This isn't activism, it's narcissistic posturing from within a self-indulgant fantasy world. It's making activism about yourself, your own self-image, rather than generating change.  The "black bloc" are moral cowards.

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