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Forum Post: ⚑ Has OWS changed their stance in regards to the BlackBloc's use of violence? ⚑

Posted 8 years ago on Jan. 23, 2012, 5:41 a.m. EST by Cephalus (146)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Does anyone know if OWS is no longer strongly and clearly distancing itself from the BlackBloc's violent destructive actions? Has there been a decision on this issue passed in a recent general assembly?

We know the Egyptian protesters sent a message to OWS protesters on October 25th expressing their solidarity and their openness to use violence if necessary. This, of course, is in line with Bhagat Singh's strategy (Bharat Singh was in turn influenced by French anarchists) and not the non-violence of Ghandi. I find this interesting since the Egyptian protest is such an important influence and inspiration for OWS.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/25/occupy-movement-tahrir-square-cairo

excerpt - "It is not our desire to participate in violence, but it is even less our desire to lose. If we do not resist, actively, when they come to take what we have won back, then we will surely lose. Do not confuse the tactics that we used when we shouted "peaceful" with fetishising nonviolence; if the state had given up immediately we would have been overjoyed, but as they sought to abuse us, beat us, kill us, we knew that there was no other option than to fight back. Had we laid down and allowed ourselves to be arrested, tortured and martyred to "make a point", we would be no less bloodied, beaten and dead. Be prepared to defend these things you have occupied, that you are building, because, after everything else has been taken from us, these reclaimed spaces are so very precious."

We also know that anarcho-primitivists such as Derrick Jensen who promote the use of property destruction are a very important influence on OWS. And, that most anarchists are inspired more by Bhagat Singh than by Gandhi.

A Derrick Jensen video explaining why violence is a must: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e75I4ysssoA

Wikipedia entry on Bhagat Singh:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhagat_Singh

We also know that in their last two news articles, OWS has seemingly supported the actions of the BlackBloc.

In this article, the BlackBloc "ring the bell of revolution": http://occupywallst.org/article/occupysf-boa-peoples-food/#comments

In the article against the police, there is a linked video which promotes the actions of the BlackBloc.

It's also important to note the smoke bomb that was thrown on the White House, and the recent bricks and Bibles that were thrown off a rooftop by OWS protesters in San-Fransisco:

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/occupy-sf-protesters-throw-bibles-bricks-at-cops/


Honestly, I don't know what's going on, and that's why I'm asking. If you have information concerning a possible change of heart in terms of OWS vis-à-vis the BlackBloc, please let me know.

Thank you.

27 Comments

27 Comments


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[-] 2 points by ShubeLMorgan2 (1088) from New York, NY 8 years ago

"excerpt - "It is not our desire to participate in violence, but it is even less our desire to lose. If we do not resist, actively, when they come to take what we have won back, then we will surely lose. Do not confuse the tactics that we used when we shouted "peaceful" with fetishising nonviolence; if the state had given up immediately we would have been overjoyed, but as they sought to abuse us, beat us, kill us, we knew that there was no other option than to fight back. Had we laid down and allowed ourselves to be arrested, tortured and martyred to "make a point", we would be no less bloodied, beaten and dead. Be prepared to defend these things you have occupied, that you are building, because, after everything else has been taken from us, these reclaimed spaces are so very precious.""

Nothing terrible about this. Of course we know and it's not OWS' fault, that we are not in a position to defend spaces like Liberty Plaza the way the Egyptian revolutionaries have been able to defend Tahrir Square. They are ahead of us for objective reasons. This is in no way to belittle OWS, which is terrific.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 8 years ago

OWS has always been opposed to violence

NO WAR

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 8 years ago

I don't know who BlackBox is

is this in reference to Texan Police block view of protesters with tarps before arresting?

[-] 1 points by EricBlair (447) 8 years ago

The direct action working group of OWS operates (and has always) under the principle of "diversity of tactics" and accepts the use of force in defense against state violence as well as property destruction as a political act. Disinformation has been floating around in the form of a list of "principles of solidarity" that purports to represent the OWS movment. One of the items on the lists is a commitment to the use of non-violence. This list does NOT reflect the consensus of OWS. OWS may use non-violent tactics (such as civil disobedience) and we have even called for a protocol of non-violence during specific marches/actions. However, we have never committed to being an exclusively non-violent movement.

[-] 0 points by CephaIus (34) 8 years ago

Are you one of the founding members? How do you know this information? I'm honestly curious.

[-] 2 points by EricBlair (447) 8 years ago

IDK if I am a "founding member" but I was among the very first people who occupied liberty plaza on Sept 17th.

As for how I know this, you can consult anyone from the direct action working group and they will confirm it. http://www.nycga.net/groups/direct-action/

[-] 0 points by CephaIus (34) 8 years ago

Thanks for your information. That's very appreciated.

[-] 0 points by richardkentgates (3269) 8 years ago

The link he provided has no statement from any GA about a working draft. The info for a working draft is HERE and non-violence is part of the initial draft and I imagine it will be part of the living document as well. I have talked to a lot of people who think they have some extra cred for just showing up or other lofty claim, but the GA makes the calls. Though we disagree on much, we have always been in agreement that there is leadership in OWS. According to said leadership thus far, non-violence is a standing principle even for the NYCGA. Mr Blair did not hit this forum until November. Everyone I have spoken with on the phone or web that has a leadership position has a join date of June:2011-Oct:2011, so I'm not sure what credibility I see in Mr Blair with or without the proof provided in the aforementioned link.

[-] 2 points by EricBlair (447) 8 years ago

1) I made no attempt at claiming "extra cred" because I was one of the first occupiers. I responded to the direct question "Are you one of the founding members?"

2) We have not "always been in agreement that there is leadership in OWS". Those demanding that we form established leaders have always been in a small minority. Those attempting to establish themselves as leaders have always been met with resistance and resentment. OWS has frequently billed itself as a "leaderless resistance movement"

3) Including a commitment to non-violence in the "principles of solidarity" has NEVER gained consensus. Claims to the contrary are disinformation.

4) The Direct Action working group itself (the most relevant working group to the question of violent tactics) has as stated policy of Diversity of Tactics.

[-] -2 points by CephaIus (34) 8 years ago

Non-violence is not part of the points in the draft. It's mentioned in passing in one of the first paragraphs as "non-violent civil disobedience" and many anarchists like Derrick Jensen do not consider breaking windows as violence. Usually, when anarchists refer to "non-violent civil disobedience" they mean no physical violence. If you look at passed "non-violent civil disobedience" protests like the May 68 protests in France, you'll notice they used property destruction as one of their tactics.

In any case, this is just a draft and is already a few months old. It doesn't mean much.

The credibility of Mr. Blair is irrelevant. I never trust one source anyhow. What's important is that he provided a link to the direct action group. We can now email them directly and get an answer from them. That's the best way to know. It beats looking at 3 month old drafts and trying to interpret them ourselves. I sent an email to the direct action group. The best way to know is to get the information directly from the source. Why make assumptions when we can just ask?

You'll also notice that in one of their points they mention transparency. I think we can both agree Occupy is not very transparent. We don't even know who are the moderators on this site except one, and have no idea who are the authors of the news articles. Are they many, or only one? Who knows? Don't take that draft too seriously. After all, it is but a draft, and an old one at that.

[-] 1 points by MonetizingDiscontent (1257) 8 years ago

( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( P o w e r to the P e a c e f u l ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) )

[Removed]

[-] 0 points by April (3196) 8 years ago

No. The nonviolence stance was just a short term tactic. This was necessary to gain supporters first. Because who's going to sign up for an actual bloody revolution.

The fact that they start tacitly approving violence now is kind of strange though. And would seem counter-productive, as money and support is declining. It would seem a better strategy to bring on the more violence when support is at a higher level. Spring time maybe.

But it may just be a matter of circumstances that are beyond control, and it's hard to say how much control OWS ptb has or wants to have. Let chaos run its own course to some degree.

It's a good question about what the GA is approving or not approving. And I see two issues - the action by the Blackbloc and the tone of the News Article. From what I can tell, the Working Groups go in endless circles over the most miniscule issues, many of which drag on for weeks, days, months. Yet, the News Releases, being published on a regular basis, certainly have some built in bias and opinions. I have to wonder if there is any oversight on the writing of these articles at the GA level. Did the GA approve the wording "ring the bell of revolution", which has a really disturbing tone to it that implies the condoning of the BlackBlok activity. These articles serve to represent OWS, so these should be front and center at the GA for approval of the wording and tone I would think. But I haven't seen evidence of that.

Is this just another example of the concept of "we are all leaders". There is one person or leader, writing these articles, that represent OWS, that has no accountability. Because lack of leadership means lack of accountability. If these things are being approved democratically at a GA ( even though I think that is a farce in itself), I would love to know.

[+] -4 points by Cephalus (146) 8 years ago

I was wondering the same thing. These articles are not signed, so it's anybody's guess as to who is writing them. Personally, I would prefer that the author clearly states his name since these are official press releases. I say official in the sense that they are published on this site which is owned by OWS. It seems to me that this whole anonymity thing isn't really good in the end.

Transparency should be one of Occupy's goals in my opinion, especially since they are mostly anarchists and communists. This would be a good way to show that they don't want to create another totalitarian regime like so many communists have in the past.

I don't know if you've noticed, but many users only post comments in the news articles. Read some of the news articles, and you'll see many names that you never see in the forum. My guess is that these articles are also being published on other sites and that users can comment on them from there. Or, that the serious anarchists only post in news articles and spend to rest of their time using the chat and other forums.

[-] 2 points by ShubeLMorgan2 (1088) from New York, NY 8 years ago

Read the rules:

"Red baiting will be moderated, as this is not 1952 and we are able to debate ideas without insulting anyone even slightly to the left as though they were Stalin reborn. Similarly, people on the right are not necessarily nazis."

[-] -2 points by Cephalus (146) 8 years ago

If you think this is red baiting, you should report my comment to the moderators. I do not think it is. What I published are statements and opinions. You are more than welcome to offer counter-arguments or counter-statements pointing my errors.

If you read the comments on this forum, you'll see that I am the one being insulted and not the other way around.

[-] 1 points by fiftyfourforty (1077) from New York, NY 8 years ago

OWS is not responsible for either government agent provocateurs or for what is understandable rage and impatience felt by many, especially young people.

[-] 0 points by ShubeLMorgan2 (1088) from New York, NY 8 years ago

You set yourself up for insults by your own insulting behavior. I try not to personally insult you or anyone else. This amounts to a grand waste of time.

[-] 1 points by ShubeLMorgan2 (1088) from New York, NY 8 years ago

I thought this website is owned by what's his name in Vancouver B.C. If he has handed it over to the movement that's a good and commendable thing.

[-] -1 points by CephaIus (34) 8 years ago

He used to own the domain name, I don't know about the server. However, the ownership is now registered to a company in CA. Does he own that company, I don't know.

The website itself has always been programmed by jart who is an anarchist from New-York. Most of the moderators and early users are from around Montréal, Canada.

[-] 0 points by April (3196) 8 years ago

How come there aren't more anarchists like on those News Articles posting on the forum here like they used to all the time. Now would be the perfect time because the forum is kind of slow.

I'm bored. My mind is wandering all of the place. : )

[-] -1 points by Cephalus (146) 8 years ago

I don't know. They probably got bored of the forum long ago. In any case, I don't think they want to divulge their plans to the rest of OWS. Jart writes once in a while, but very rarely. They want to act, not discuss. They already know what they want, they don't have to discuss it. And, they can't discuss anyhow. The only time they write is to make clear statements about this or that. They never discuss issues in the sense of wanting to learn. It's already all cooked up in their brain. I think non-anarchists really annoy anarchists. They know they need us, but they hate that fact.

[-] 0 points by April (3196) 8 years ago

If they don't like us, how are we ever going to achieve their direct democracy utopian dream of how we all work together so peacefully, in anarcho-syndicalism/communism where it's all flowers and sunshine? I think there's a flaw in that plan. I guess it's all flowers and sunshine only when we agree with them. Like tyranny?

At least a few of them try to persuade us nicely about anarchy. Instead of planning to spring it on us after the revolution? If they really had a great plan it should be able to stand on its own, rather than hiding it. Like you said, they should be more tranparent.

[-] 0 points by April (3196) 8 years ago

It must be the people behind the scenes that are running the movement that are writing these News Articles.

You're right. Many posters on those articles were unfamiliar. Also, it seemed that many of them were users whose profiles were set up the same date as the news article. I guess they don't have much to say except to provide "official" "unofficial" commentary on the News Articles. And they like to high-five one another alot too. Sock puppets even. The funny thing is, since you mention transparency, the replies to the News Articles are pretty transparent, in an unintentional way.

[-] -1 points by ronniepaul2012 (214) 8 years ago

Good thing Plato's Republic has a boatload of characters. You keep posting this kind of stuff and you will be looking for a new book with a boatload of characters to get screen names from :-)

[-] 0 points by Adeimantus (23) 8 years ago

Aren't you the guy who keeps talking about the old right wing fart they call Ron Paul?

[-] 1 points by ronniepaul2012 (214) 8 years ago

Actually, I have posted very little about the good Dr. I thought you'd appreciate my attempt at humor above.

[-] 0 points by Adeimantus (23) 8 years ago

I thought you would appreciate my attempt at humor.