What About the "Black Bloc"?
The disruption at the Repub convention has brought up a re-occurring tactical question for anti-capitalists, namely, what up with "anarchists"? I put it in quotation marks because it is my experience (from more than one encounter) that these young, black garbed, bandanaed outliers may have more to do with Mick Jagger than Bakunnin. The more I read about the time of American anarchisms "surge"at the turn of the century (check out the trial of Big Bill Haywood, defended by Clarence Darrow, or the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti) and relate it to the mythos surrounding this rebel lifestyle, the more I have to wonder about what it means for a meaningful politics and for the emancipation of workers in general. Didn't the bombs just consolidate capitals hegemony?
Drawing on rock, punk and Black "bad boy" imagery, the swaggering Zapatista-wanna-be is not without a certain outlaw charm, especially when confronting the Darth Vaderesque "Security" forces marshalled by the State to maintain "order and control". Totally "out numered and outgunned", a heroic sheen envelopes those who would set out nobly on their Quixotic mission to "Smash the State". Unfortunately, windows are not the State and people with less poetic, if more realistic goals end up caught in the crossfire. When do these cultural, individual anarchists become the FARC of the global justice movement? What does it say to the real struggle on the ground in Colombia, Bolivia or Peru?
We live in a Spectacular world of image power and the State has a monopoly on coercive power. The helicopters and personel carriers are both symbols and efficient killing machines plus, there are cameras literally everywhere. How do we turn this logic on itself? What contradictions create points for attack? How to keep the "street fighting man" from becoming a cartoon caricature?