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Forum Post: an open letter to hedges

Posted 2 years ago on April 10, 2012, 5:41 p.m. EST by idontexist (24)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

6 Comments

6 Comments


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[-] 0 points by EricBlair (447) 2 years ago

This is a very good article. Chris hedges is such an asshole for not printing a retraction after his misinformed nonsense has been pointed out to him.

Hedges may as well be Cop.

[-] 0 points by ARod1993 (2420) 2 years ago

That's a rather disturbing conclusion you're choosing to draw here; if you're not pro-black bloc then you might as well be the asshat with the nightstick laying into everyone he can get his hands on. I can't say I agree with that, mostly because the black bloc is so far from the mainstream that if we concentrate on accommodating them and espousing their actions even when those actions scare away and/or piss off large groups of other people then you've pretty much guaranteed that OWS is going to fizzle out on the fringe of the political sphere and we're going to ruin any chance this has of regrouping and regaining the hearts and minds of enough people to play a serious role in the upcoming Congressional election cycles.

[-] 0 points by EricBlair (447) 2 years ago

<<<That's a rather disturbing conclusion you're choosing to draw here; if you're not pro-black bloc then you might as well be the asshat with the nightstick laying into everyone he can get his hands on.>>>

It would be a disturbing conclusion if I were drawing it---rather than it simply being a straw-man you are choosing to construct.

Hedges wrote an incredibly ignorant misinformed rant where he attacked many people who are very dedicated to building this movement. He's a douche-bag for having done so.

<<<I can't say I agree with that, mostly because the black bloc is so far from the mainstream that if we concentrate on accommodating them and espousing their actions>>>

The fact that you use phrases like "the black bloc" and refer to it as a "them" indicates that you (like Hedges) don't even have a basic understanding of what it is that you think you are criticizing.

<<<play a serious role in the upcoming Congressional election cycles.>>>

The fact that you think it's our goal to participate in electoral/party politics pretty much demonstrates that you don't understand what OWS is or what its about either. And the fact that you think that there is anything "serious" about the meaningless political theater of the fake elections is telling as well:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYIC0eZYEtI

[-] 1 points by ARod1993 (2420) 2 years ago

1- "Hedges may as well be Cop[sic]" That's a direct quote from you, and the associated connotation is obvious. Maybe you were serious, maybe that was just your mouth opening before your brain engaged, but those were still your words and I will hold you accountable for what you say.

2- I'm fully aware that the black bloc is by definition a tremendous pain in the ass to actually pin down and define, and I'm deliberately using it as shorthand for a particular subset of people who choose to engage in property damage and/or physical violence as a matter of course while proudly declaring themselves members of the black bloc. I have no problem with people in black hoodies sticking together to make a point, and in some ways a little quiet intimidation isn't always a bad idea.

That said, the group that decides to break things and/or hit people in the name of the black bloc and/or Occupy has to go; there is no reason for those of us who choose not to participate in those behaviors (which as far as I'm concerned are quite counterproductive anyway) to be marching alongside those who do until and unless things get a lot worse than they are now. Ideally, those who identify as black bloc will enforce this separation; if they won't we will.

3-What else do you expect us to do? Street protests are only good for very much when you have people by the tens of thousands alongside you (which you don't right now). Otherwise, all you're doing is providing the police an excuse to split your head open and (thanks to the new Supreme Court ruling) bend you over in jail. If you can get coverage of Granny getting maced or beaten and disseminate it over a wide range, that's great, but otherwise all you're doing is getting the crap kicked out of you for no reason.

Fake or not, elections are how power is apportioned under our current system. Flawed and halfway bought they may be, but they're still the means by which the state whose taxes we pay and whose laws we live under parcels out control over the various parts of the apparatus. If you want to argue about the relative effectiveness (or lack thereof) of either party, then that's fine; I'd be glad to have that discussion with you, but deciding that elections aren't worth bothering with is just plain stupid.

[-] 0 points by EricBlair (447) 2 years ago

<<<1- "Hedges may as well be Cop[sic]" That's a direct quote from you, and the associated connotation is obvious. Maybe you were serious, maybe that was just your mouth opening before your brain engaged, but those were still your words and I will hold you accountable for what you say.>>>

And nothing about that statement even implies the conclusion you attempted to attribute to me. You don't need to be an advocate of block bloc tactics to see that Hedges made reprehensible attacks against people and concepts that he doesn't have the foggiest understanding of. He very truly serves about the same purpose as a LE infiltrator or a common riot police pig.

<<<<2- I'm fully aware that the black bloc is by definition a tremendous pain in the ass to actually pin down and define, and I'm deliberately using it as shorthand for a particular subset of people who choose to engage in property damage and/or physical violence as a matter of course while proudly declaring themselves members of the black bloc. I have no problem with people in black hoodies sticking together to make a point, and in some ways a little quiet intimidation isn't always a bad idea.>>>>

You are further illustrating your fundamental misunderstanding of the topic. That you would even produce a phrase like "members of the black bloc" makes it clear. If you are going to rant against something (or defend someone for calling other people "cancer") you should at least gain a rudimentary understanding of what it is you think you are arguing against.

<<<<That said, the group that decides to break things and/or hit people in the name of the black bloc and/or Occupy has to go; there is no reason for those of us who choose not to participate in those behaviors (which as far as I'm concerned are quite counterproductive anyway) to be marching alongside those who do until and unless things get a lot worse than they are now. Ideally, those who identify as black bloc will enforce this separation; if they won't we will.>>>>>

If anyone needs to be cut-out or separated from the movement for "counterproductive" "behaviors" it's the people trying to hijack the movement for their silly lobbying ideas or to get people to vote for the corporatist democratic party. Probably the most counterproductive behavior is to call anarchists or other radicals (who have always made-up the core occupiers who stayed over-night and did the cooking, cleaning, constructing communities etc) divisive names like "cancer".

<<<<3-What else do you expect us to do? Street protests are only good for very much when you have people by the tens of thousands alongside you (which you don't right now). Otherwise, all you're doing is providing the police an excuse to split your head open and (thanks to the new Supreme Court ruling) bend you over in jail. If you can get coverage of Granny getting maced or beaten and disseminate it over a wide range, that's great, but otherwise all you're doing is getting the crap kicked out of you for no reason.>>>>

Strikes, direct action, civil disobedience, riot. Whatever. Do you even read the schedule on the site?

<<<Fake or not, elections are how power is apportioned under our current system.>>>

I think you're confused. In a Plutocracy like ours, power is apportioned according wealth and social clout.

<<<Flawed and halfway bought they may be, but they're still the means by which the state whose taxes we pay and whose laws we live under parcels out control over the various parts of the apparatus. If you want to argue about the relative effectiveness (or lack thereof) of either party, then that's fine; I'd be glad to have that discussion with you, but deciding that elections aren't worth bothering with is just plain stupid.>>>>

It's not that elections aren't worth bothering with. Participation with them is actively harmful. You are reinforcing the notion to people that the corporate controlled regime is democratic and legitimate. Elections serve to pacify people into engaging in mass rituals instead of actual serious work to change society.

[-] 1 points by ARod1993 (2420) 2 years ago

I'll give you that Hedges' words were probably somewhat strong, but the fact remains that people who choose to break things and/or engage in physical violence often cause far more harm to the movement than the benefit they provide by participating. I will give you that it was unfair of him to label all such people as "black bloc" when the composition and tactics of individual black blocs often vary quite widely and in many cases individual black blocs have chosen to eschew the tactics in question. However, I do firmly agree with him that the people who do choose to take part in that sort of thing need to be reined in and/or expelled from the movement because the time is not right for that sort of thing to do anything but make us all look worse.

Your comments on elections vs. direct action are also incorrect. This site has been advertising for different actions both big and small since mid-October, but the last ones that I remember succeeding in doing anything or even attracting much attention were the port shutdowns three to four months ago. Direct action relies on a critical mass of people to get anywhere, and it doesn't seem like OWS still has that critical mass. May 1st is coming up, and I hope this movement will prove my last statement wrong on that day, but until I see evidence that says otherwise you don't have the people to make direct action work.

Elections, on the other hand, require a dedicated staff and (at least until we get Citizens United overturned) large quantities of money raised, but assuming you have the first you can probably obtain the second given enough time and effort if you choose to enter your candidate in the primaries. It still takes a great deal of effort to succeed in using elections to change things, because it's going to take much more than one man's worth of new blood to change a culture and an institution, but there's a far clearer roadmap to power with far more straightforward metrics and objectives if you choose to work via elections than via direct action.