Friday, February 3, 2012

Blac Bloc vs Occupy at Large

Yesterday OccupyIcon content editor commented on to a post entitled, An Anonymous plea to BlackBloc. The comment is excerpted here:
February 2, 2012                            OccupyIcon says:          
I do not live in Oakland; however I grew up 20 minutes from Detroit. As a child I remember eating dinner while my Dad watched the news every night. I remember civil rights marches giving way to anti-war demonstrations and barking police dogs working point pushing the crowds back at the end of strained leashes. I remember police opening up high pressure fire hydrants and using them as water cannons, tear gas, beatings, shootings and mass arrests.
   [cut for brevity] . . . Now we see some of the same mistakes being made as were made back then. Our pleas for a different tactic seem to fall on deaf ears as a small contingent of Oaklanders put #OccupyOakland at risk for police brutality again and again. Not limited to Occupy Oakland, we have seen blac bloc tacticians in New York at key demonstrations.

If the blac block tacticians really want to play a meaningful role, then let them keep their shields and their high level of motivation; let them be the ones first into the fray when someone is being shot at. Let them stand between police and peaceful protesters and be shields around their colleagues. Let them be the ones who find or make escape routes from these heinous kettles which escalate panic and reduce thinking people to a frightened herd.

And finally, let these blac bloc tacticians demonstrate their bravery and righteousness of their cause by shielding independent journalist protecting them from harm by thieves of expensive equipment and the padded, helmeted, projectile wielding members of the 99%. Everything else is agent provocateur at best and hijacking attention away from the beneficial impact of Occupy at large, at worst. Then and only then will their tactics earn them the respect Occupy medics and media have earned.
Probably should have had morning coffee before writing; however upon reflection the comment contains the essence of what the editor tried to communicate to a local occupy at GA on more than one occasion. If we boil it down, the essential proactive points emerge;
  • The Occupy movement at large is still a peaceful protest
  • Confrontation with police using military and intimidation tactics requires a level of evasive and/or disbursal action to safeguard vulnerable protesters
  • When protesters are injured or incapacitated, defensive action is required to shield them and Medics from further harm
What are the roles which play into these observations?  
  • Route spotters a coordinated team to observe potential kettling choke points and communicate information regarding potential hazards
  • Medics an already honorable bunch well established and well trained
  • Witnesses observers who do not participate, physically or verbally; similar to the National Lawyers Guild role and working in concert with NLG
The last point this author would like to drive home is to restate the kernel thoughts in the last two paragraphs in the comment. So called "Blac Bloc, Black Block & Black Flag" is defined as a tactic, not an organization by their own definition; so be it. Let us then call them what they are, tacticians. If Blac Bloc tacticians insist on remaining as they are, a disruptive element, let them do so without the aid, comfort or financial resources of Occupy at large. This author condemns their actions and leaves them to the consequences thereof, including prosecution if apprehended.

If however, any or all of them wish to engage in a proactive, honorable effort, let them become the courageous protectors of Occupiers, including Medics and Media. As stated above;
Then, and only then will their tactics earn them the respect Occupy medics and media have earned.

Editors note: at no time does the author imply these roles are not employed on the local level by individual Occupations. 

Related Ted Morgan OccupyChicago in 2012 Not 1968

1 comment:

  1. As this was being written, OccupyMichigan retweeted Ted Morgan of article entitled "Chicago in 2012, Not 1968" Ted Morgan reiterates the points I was making regarding things I witnessed as a child. Props to Ted Morgan.


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