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The Cancer in Occupy - Chris Hedges' Columns

The Cancer in Occupy - Chris Hedges' Columns
The Cancer in Occupy Posted on Feb 6, 2012 By Chris Hedges The Black Bloc anarchists, who have been active on the streets in Oakland and other cities, are the cancer of the Occupy movement. Black Bloc adherents detest those of us on the organized left and seek, quite consciously, to take away our tools of empowerment. Because Black Bloc anarchists do not believe in organization, indeed oppose all organized movements, they ensure their own powerlessness. In Zerzan’s now defunct magazine Green Anarchy (which survives as a website) he published an article by someone named “Venomous Butterfly” that excoriated the Zapatista Army for National Liberation (EZLN). “Of course,” the article went on, “the social struggles of exploited and oppressed people cannot be expected to conform to some abstract anarchist ideal. Solidarity becomes the hijacking or destruction of competing movements, which is exactly what the Black Bloc contingents are attempting to do with the Occupy movement.

How not to block the black bloc The headline in the Philadelphia Inquirer told us last week that, on the other side of the country, a brick hit a police officer in Oakland and sent him to the hospital. Civil Rights organizer Jim Bevel predicted headlines like this in the ’60s when arguing about the then-current version of “diversity of tactics.” He said something like: “We want people to talk about our issues, about the suffering of our people from racism and poverty. The question for all those, whether using black bloc tactics or not, who consider adding to the Occupy movement tactics of either property destruction or violence: Do you want the issues of injustice to be talked about, or your bricks? I don’t, however, recommend Chris Hedges’ recent essay, “The Cancer in Occupy,” as a model for how to respond to the black blocs. We have such good models in the tradition of nonviolence. Dr. This story was made possible by our members.

Open Letter to the Occupy Movement: Why We Need Agreements @ Alliance of Community Trainers From the Alliance of Community Trainers, ACT The Occupy movement has had enormous successes in the short time since September when activists took over a square near Wall Street. It has attracted hundreds of thousands of active participants, spawned occupations in cities and towns all over North America, changed the national dialogue and garnered enormous public support. It’s even, on occasion, gotten good press! Now we are wrestling with the question that arises again and again in movements for social justice—how to struggle. Do we embrace nonviolence, or a ‘diversity of tactics?’ We write as a trainers’ collective with decades of experience, from the anti-Vietnam protests of the sixties through the strictly nonviolent antinuclear blockades of the seventies, in feminist, environmental and anti-intervention movements and the global justice mobilizations of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. Just as we call for accountability and transparency, we ourselves must be accountable and transparent.

Real and Fake Anarchism Exclusive to STR September 24, 2007 People arguing for the stateless society, i.e. the abolishment of the state along with whatever coercive hierarchies in society, sometimes find themselves in a position where they hesitate to use the word best describing their position: anarchism. The reason, and this is often explicitly stated, is that anarchism often makes people think of violence, terror, and destruction. Hence, using the word makes it unnecessarily difficult to argue for the ideal. The general public has been taught the false idea of anarchism being chaos, that is true. It can't. The other, which is the definition most people are aware of (and the "definition" used by the aforementioned fascists) is the statist interpretation of any non-system--a conclusion of what a free society would be like based on a Hobbesian view of man. These people enjoying destruction and violence sometimes do call themselves anarchists, but they certainly know nothing about it.

Paint the Other Cheek Members of the Occupy Wall Street movement use a ladder to scale a chain link fence around a vacant lot owned by an Episcopal church in New York, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011. (AP Photo/Stephanie Keith) At a semi-secret meeting in the basement of a Greenwich Village church one Saturday night in February, a couple-dozen of the busiest Occupy Wall Street organizers sat in a circle of folding chairs. Calling the group to order was Yates Mckee, an art critic with aviator glasses and hair down past his shoulders, which seemed especially appropriate considering his choice to open the proceedings by reading from the Book of Matthew: turn the other cheek, love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you. About the Author Nathan Schneider Nathan Schneider’s ’s book Thank You, Anarchy: Notes From the Occupy Apocalypse was recently published by... Also by the Author On its second anniversary, a sense of failure pervades the Occupy movement, as many core activists have moved on with their lives.

What ‘diversity of tactics’ really means for Occupy Wall Street Occupy Wall Street marchers watch from the pedestrian walkway as hundreds of their comrades take to the roadway of the Brooklyn Bridge on October 1. Even as Occupy Wall Street shapes the public conversation about high finance, political corruption, and the distribution of wealth, it has also raised anew questions about how resistance movements in general should operate. I want to consider one of the matters that I’ve thought about a lot over the past month while watching the occupation and its means of making its presence felt on the streets of New York and in the media. “Diversity of tactics,” in the context of political protests, is often treated as essentially a byword for condoning acts of violence. The phrase comes by this honestly; it emerged about a decade ago at the height of the global justice movement, especially between the 1999 demonstrations that shut down a WTO meeting in Seattle and those two years later in Quebec. Consider this characterization by George Lakey:

Diversity of tactics or unity in action? Protesters march outside a meeting of the IMF and World Bank in Washington, D.C. (Matthew Bradley) ONE CONCEPT that people active in the Occupy movement will have encountered is "diversity of tactics." What does the phrase mean? The "diversity of tactics" idea emerged in the global justice movement after the 1999 Battle of Seattle against the meeting of the World Trade Organization. The idea was that everyone would "respect" each other's tactics and keep their actions separate from those of the other "wings" of the movement. As a communiqué of the Anti-Capitalist Bloc, a grouping of anarchists and libertarian socialists organizing for the April 16, 2000, protest against the IMF and World Bank meetings in Washington, D.C., wrote: We believe that the most effective protest is each group autonomously taking action and using tactics that they feel work best for their situation. TACTICS HAVE no meaning outside their relationship to strategy. By any standard, this is pretty poor propaganda.

Statement of Diversity of Tactics Tonight the Direct Action group, in charge of planning marches and other protest actions, presented the following “Statement of Diversity of Tactics” as a proposal to the General Assembly (GA). The following statement was passed to ensure the autonomy of working groups and the cohesion of the entire community. Our solidarity will be based on respect for diversity of tactics and plans of other groups. As individuals and groups we are committed to treating each other as allies in the struggle. The actions and tactics used will be organized to maintain a separation of time or space to protect the autonomy and safety of the movement. We realize that our detractors will work to divide us by inflaming and magnifying our tactical, strategic, personal and political disagreements. We oppose any state repression of dissent, including surveillance, infiltration, disruption and violence. In Solidarity, The undersigned

Divisiveness, diversity of tactics, and ideology in Occupy Oakland: facing the "a$$hole problem" The O.E.D. explains that the adjective "divisive" means the following: 1. Having the quality or function of dividing; causing or expressing division or distribution; making or perceiving distinctions, analytical. 2. Producing or tending to division, disunion, dissension, or discord. As one can readily see, the general nature of any divisive thing is that it results in some sort of functional division wherein there is a lack of unity or wholeness. It has often been argued that with the Occupy Movement, and more particularly with Occupy Oakland, a "diversity of tactics" are requisite. The O.E.D. defines "diversity" as: a. There is obviously a fine line between "difference"/diversity or and "divided"/divisive for surely that which is different is unlike another thing. Whether Occupiers wish to blame the Media for divisions sown and spin is their right and is partially correct to do. Occupiers may also blame the Police, which again is quite right to do. It's remarkable, and it is honorable.

Draft proposal to be submitted re: Diversity of Tactics (feedback welcome!) After attending the GA this evening and watching Friday’s on the livestream, following and contributing to the various discussions on the question of whether this is (or should remain) a nonviolent movement, and seeing a lot of strong feelings being voiced but not anything being done about it in a formal way, I decided to draft this proposal. It’s largely a rip-off of a really excellent Greenpeace blog post at which contains a lot of great additional information for those who are interested. What I think is important is getting a GA vote on the record ASAP so that (a) we all know whether future #OO events are someplace we feel safe being or not, and (b) what role #OO is going to play going forward vis-a-vis the broader Occupy movement….basically, are we going to rise to the occasion here, or aren’t we? I realize this is long for the typical GA proposal. 1. 2. 3.

'Slacktivism' that works: 'Small changes' matter In 2013, an online petition persuaded a national organization representing high school coaches to develop materials to educate coaches about sexual assault and how they could help reduce assaults by their athletes. Online petitions have changed decisions by major corporations (ask Bank of America about its debit card fees) and affected decisions on policies as diverse as those related to survivors of sexual assault and local photography permitting requirements. Organizing and participating in these campaigns has also been personally meaningful to many. But, a nostalgia for 1960s activism leads many to assume that “real” protest only happens on the street. Critics assume that classic social movement tactics such as rallies and demonstrations represent the only effective model for collectively pressing for change. Putting your body on the line and doing that collectively for decades is viewed as the only way “people power” works. This amounts to a debate over the “right way” to protest.