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Archive for the ‘black bloc’ Category

THE SECOND STEP: FORGET THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on November 13, 2016

My alter-ego, “Lefty” Hooligan, would no doubt say “Fuck the Democratic Party!” I’m not so belligerent because I’m not at all sure whether the Democratic Party should be abolished, ignored, embraced, reformed, or rebuilt from the bottom up. Nor am I as certain as my ultraleft counterpart that bourgeois political parties or even revolutionary parties have no role to play in bringing about social change, let alone social revolution. The whole issue of electoral politics is highly problematic from a number of perspectives, so I think it best to put aside the Democratic Party in discussing what is to be done in the wake of Trump’s win and the Republican Party’s victories.

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What I am certain about is that an active and engaged mass social base is needed in order to take the next step, whether that is forming a progressive, labor or revolutionary party, building an extra-parliamentary opposition, or attempting radical reforms or even social revolution. The two necessary components to an effective, vibrant mass social base are lively autonomous social movements and independent street politics based on direct action. And crucial to any mass social base with agency in my estimation will be an organized and organizing working class committed to direct action in the streets. Combine these two components, and true social power begins. I can endlessly debate the need for extra-parliamentary politics; what is absolutely necessary are broad, non-parliamentary social movements in the streets.

Posted in black bloc, capitalism, Democratic Party, direct action, labor unions, life | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Near-Future Past

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on April 30, 2016

Black Bloc
California, 2007.

The storm black Hooligans took Van Ness, but never made the jog off to the park, Instead, they massed, some one hundred thousand strong, up to the hastily formed police blockade on Van Ness and Grove, then east back around on Market. They stopped in fact. March peace monitors, realizing what was happening, evaporated from around the autonomous columns to beat hasty retreats up Grove, Fell, Oak and Page with the march’s stragglers. People pulled on masks, bandanas, ski masks and balaklavas. Sunglasses hid eyes. Adrenaline once more raced through Greg, somewhere in the middle of that black mass, as he pulled up his own ‘kerchief. He watched a gauntly beautiful girl, a rare, anti-war Null, put her large black scarf over her gold electroplated cheek plates, before putting on shades in synch with hers…

Noble Eagle
It’s not just sex, drugs and rock’n’roll!

A wing of fighter jets, low over Nimitz Field, shrieked toward Oakland. Toward Jack London Square and the dual battle laser positions on Oakland’s inner harbor. People were running around the tower then, running away from the Harbor as fast as was humanly possible. A second roar, and surface-to-air missile batteries leapt into action to lay up a defensive curtain of heat seeking rockets. The jets broke into evasive action. Battle laser auroras danced up ultraviolet into the descending sun as the weapons primed. Two jets looped back tightly and managed to let loose their own rockets before having to dodge again. The harbor erupted under the jet strike, counterpointed quickly by one jet taking a direct hit and another spinning off, minus one wing. The battle laser fired. The precise x-ray beam could not be seen. But it produced a sharp fold in the air as it pierced across the bay and stripped the top off San Francisco’s Transamerica Pyramid…

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Armageddon’s been in effect!

For a brief moment Marcus witnessed a phantasm, bathed in the smoky light of its own making. The creature was humanoid, dressed in a form fitting, single-piece, eel-gray body suit. The hands were gloved, with thick seams running up the arms and shoulders. And the head was entirely, strangely helmeted. It was a type of skull-tight ski mask, fitted with shear goggles and headphones, and crested with a soft, gun-metal colored apparatus. The goggles pulsed with that on-edge-of-sight light Marcus had observed seconds before, from under the door.

“Freeze,” Joe yelled, crouched and aimed.

An invisible light, apprehendable by a sense more visceral than sight and tailored minutely to Joe’s shape,streaked with precision from the refractive goggles, cookie cutting Joe perfectly. Joe exploded backwards…

End Time: Notes on the Apocalypse can be purchased for download starting May 1, 2016 from Smashwords.

Posted in black bloc, California, class war, direct action, life, Oakland, police, punk, San Francisco, US military | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Medea’s response to being pied

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on July 2, 2007

Medea’s response to being pied can be read here.

I find some of her statement, in particular the pop psychological stuff about the people who pied her being resentful and angry and not having the love of family and friends, to be a bit disingenuous. It’s a common ploy for defenders of the status quo to reduce youthful rebelliousness to a matter of hating one’s parents. Revolutionary socialism is thus dismissed as problems with authority that stem from the revolutionary’s family of origin, a smug Freudian put down that could apply to Medea as well as to those who pied her.

In turn, this is part of a broader critique of psychology and psychiatry as mechanisms to help fucked-up people fit into an even more fucked-up society. That’s the subject for a book, not a post. For the moment, I want to note that Medea’s dichotomy between resentment and anger on the one hand, and love and empowerment on the other hand, is extremely simplistic, and not very useful.

Or, to quote Johnny Lydon from the PiL song “Rise:” “Anger is an energy.”

Posted in anarchism, anarchists, Bakers Without Borders, black bloc, Code Pink, Global Exchange, Medea Benjamin, politics, revolutionary, socialism, the Left | 1 Comment »

You’ll get pie in the sky…

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on July 1, 2007

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Medea Benjamin got pied yesterday at the United States Social Forum in Atlanta, Georgia by the Bakers Without Borders and Co-optation Watch.

From Global Exchange to Code Pink, Medea Benjamin impresses me as a grandstander who, as the Bakers correctly point, acts “as self-appointed spokesperson of the ‘American Left’.” Whether she should have been pied is a different matter.

The incident certainly brought something to my attention that has corrected a false impression I had of Medea. Her infamous quote from Seattle 1999 [“Here we are protecting Nike, McDonald’s, The Gap, and all the while I’m thinking, ‘Where are the police? These anarchists should have been arrested.’] left the impression that she wanted all the black bloc anarchists tossed into jail. Benjamin’s statement from Z Magazine, as quoted in the comments section to the pie throwing piece, is worth reprinting.

“There has been some controversy about a quote from me that appeared in the New York Times Dec. 2. The quotation implied that I was calling for the arrest of those people who destroyed property in downtown Seattle during the WTO protest. I want to make it clear that the quote was distorted, taken out of context, and not reflective my true feelings. I did not call for the arrest of anyone, though I did point out the irony that the police were attacking nonviolent protesters while ignoring those destroying property. Do I wish the people causing the damage had been arrested? No. Would I have helped to get them out of jail if they had been? Yes. And I certainly apologize if the statement attributed to me has caused any harm to the anarchist community in general. Do I approve of the tactics that this particular group of self-described anarchists used in Seattle Nov. 30? Definitely not. That, not the distorted quote, is the real issue here. There are certainly occasions in which the destruction of property furthers the cause of social justice and helps garner public support, but this was not one of them. The Boston Tea Party is an example of the destruction of property a shipment of tea. When the Zapatistas rose up in 1994, they destroyed army posts and other symbols of a repressive state. Members of the religious community in the United States have destroyed weapons of mass destruction to express their profound moral opposition to war. And forest activists have destroyed the engines of bulldozers to prevent the clear-cutting of old-growth forests. “The list of tactically thoughtful and politically principled property destruction goes on and on. What these acts have in common is that they were the result of a long process of working with and gaining the support of the affected community. This was not the case in Seattle.”

— Medea Benjamin, Z Magazine

Posted in anarchism, anarchists, Bakers Without Borders, black bloc, Code Pink, Global Exchange, Medea Benjamin, politics, Seattle 1999, United States Social Forum, USSF, Z Magazine | Leave a Comment »