I am writing this here in a response to black bloc tactics and the accusations thrown on them during G20 protests. I am not an Anarchist, I identify myself as what western media calls is “Socialist” (although they are more of Islamic values for me). I whole heartedly support black bloc movement/tactic.
One of the criticisms that black bloc tactics have that it is under taken by pre-dominantley white males and that it is oppressive to women of color and indigenous women. I, a woman of color facing multiple systemic barriers of status, access to name a few and I being a person is just speaking for herself but I would like to say that black bloc tactics doesn’t oppress me or makes me vulnerable. Thus I would like others to keep such assumptions to themselves and decide what keeps me protected.
People forget the point that black bloc ain’t just an offensive tactic but it is a defensive tactic too. Many folks forget the fact that it is a strategy like many others and it cannot be judged like any other strategy. Sometimes strategies work at other times they don’t . We also forget the fact that the work on the principle of “no comrade left behind” which is admirable. It shows the courage, the high level of organization and unifying factor of the tactic which is simple amazing and which has been one of the main cause of de-arresting comrades.
To say that it is a tactic which is adrenaline driven is to delegitimize it. The fact that there are people who put themselves in the front of the line to save others is extremely courageous.
Its problematic to say that black bloc is just about breaking windows and this brings us to the point to see if window breaking is effective or not. Well its not about window breaking and it is about window breaking at the same point.
Another point where people say that black bloc members are anonymous. I don’t think if they are anonymous, and anonymity is not cowardice, its a way of protection against state surveillance and policing. Other than that black bloc comrades are not the only one who wear masks, there are several others who have done that in other parts of the world and its a part of tactic that makes it unique.
Another accusation that if black bloc engages in violence. I think its useless for me to go into that debate as we are questions from the wrong side. If we want to engage in a debate over violence, we need to look into security measures taken, threats issued to protesters, random house checks and surveillance, invasion of privacy through different social networking outlets. We need to talk about the police who threw tear gas at comrades and trampled them with their horses. We need to talk about how our tax money of over a billion dollars was paid to keep these head of states safe so that they can carry out decisions. So what is hurt over here through black bloc tactics are lifeless windows and cars. No life was hurt.
As far as effectiveness goes, I think we need to give a same merit to all tactics, it shouldn’t be “I am better than you, because I say so?” So next time we have a rally outside City Hall, lets talk about its effectiveness.
Black bloc tactic is not just “young hooded white men” who just go around and smash windows. Its more than that and its a part of a movement. So you can’t generalise it, it can be great and it can be useless but there is nothing inherent about it.
The idea that “black bloc” doesn’t have credibility in main stream media (well, we never had any to begin with), is like harping on the bandwagon of what main stream media considers good or not, or what State considers good or not. Its like creating a divide of good protesters and bad protesters when in the end you are just a protester and your goal is the same.
Direct action happens because there is a need for it, it happens because people fight back and it just demonstrates that people are not just waiting for the revolution to take place.
Ayesha A. Hussain