I am not familiar so much with the Black Bloc and do not therefore share the tendency to condemnation that comes from other sectors of the left. As far as I can tell their tactics are not especially effective but are not as such refuted by the apostles of non-violence. The recent calamity of mass arrest at the women’s march in washington leaves the direct question of what these tactics can really achieve: I was left puzzled that such unrealistic ‘charge of the light brigade’ tactics could have been so naively implemented.
It is time to suggest a new approach to this group: we are at a time of crisis, respond to that crisis with a more organized revolutionary initiative. If revolution is not an illusion then it must start with more stealth than the open confrontation with massive militarized police forces on city streets. This group really aspires to being a guerilla movement. Then find leadership that can assist in realizing this possibility.
We can easily suggest a host of better ways to effect a revolutionary starting point, even perhaps a version of our ‘virtual revolution’ poised on the brink of realization as a warning to the powers that be.
Take up our manifestos and start from that…
Let us note that guerillas don’t walk into police traps with innocent muddle and poor leadership. It is perhaps an anarchist fallacy: a real black bloc needs to graduate from anarchist to genuinely communist/socialist assumptions.
The demonstration in washington could have been far more effectively stage managed without the calamitous arrest on felony charges of so many. Real revolutionaries don’t act this way.
There are far better ways to execute revolutionary programs than this curious holdover from the ’68 era. But in general the black bloc has a sense of the crisis at hand, and should fall back to regroup around something more intelligent that lemming like demonstrations against police forces now overwhelming armed and dangerous.
Here’s a fascinating article on why this outfit that was deep into black bloc tactics decided to dump them. It was written by David Van Deusen, the co-author of a 375 page book in support of black bloc tactics: “To recognize that a small insular collective, alone, is incapable of throwing off the chains of social/cultural and economic oppression is to come to one of three conclusions; 1. Revolution is in fact impossible, 2. A uniquely new mass movement must be built from the ground up, or 3. Revolutionaries must work with those mass organizations already in existence in order to influence a left turn in their direction. The Green Mountain Anarchist Collective rejected the first of these conclusions out of hand, finding history to tell a different story. GMAC then sought to synthesize the second and third of these conclusions into concerted series of actions. In short, GMAC worked with existing organizations, where possible, to build new expressions of class struggle which would be more grounded in anarchist principles than its parent groups; ie the support for the Dairy Farmers of Vermont and Montpelier Downtown Workers Union [although it could be argued that the Vermont Workers Center, excluding the question of Black Blocs, was as far left as GMAC]. And finally, GMAC saw no compelling reason not to work with existing mass organizations in a defensive capacity aimed at overcoming further attacks of capitalist and reactionary interest against working people; ie its collaboration with the ISO and SVR in opposition to the Minutemen, and organized labor against acute attacks of the boss against workers (and in favor of a withdrawal of U.S. troops from foreign occupations).” http://anarchistnews.org/content/rise-and-fall-green-mountain-anarchist-collective