HOW TO DESTROY THE OWS MOVEMENT ~~ A GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED

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Since day one of the Occupy Wall Street initiatives, the right-wing media was set on destroying them, Fox News in particular. The right-wing media have engaged in a relentless smear campaign against the Occupy Wall Street movement, including calling the protesters socialists and Marxists, saying they represent the “fringe of the fringe of the fringe,” and claiming they “sound like the Unabomber,” among other attacks.
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A Website called MediaMatters recently published a list which they call A Guide To The Smear Campaign Against Occupy Wall Street. It includes the following…. (clicking on the headings will direct you to the reports)
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The Protesters Are “The Fringe” And “Lunatics”

OWS Website Reads Like “The Ravings Of … The Unabomber”

They’re Only “Little Rascals” And “Petulant Little Children” …

… Who Don’t Know What They Want …

… But We Know They’re Socialists, Marxists, And Anarchists Bent On “Destroy[ing] Capitalism” …

… And They Don’t Even Pay Taxes!

They’re Not Diverse Enough (Maybe) …

… But They Sure Are Anti-Semitic

Their Protests Are Astroturfed

Iran And Chavez Support The Protests …

… And So Do Nazis!

The Protesters Don’t Shower Enough

So Don’t Support The 99% — Support The 53%

It was expected of the commercial media to attempt the destruction of the Movement, after all, the advertisers and corporate sponsors of these outlets represent the very 1% that the 99% have been going after.*

It’s a completely different ‘game’ when the attempt to destroy seemingly comes from within the Movement itself. Those involved are definitely ‘plants’ of the enemy and must be isolated and stopped from participating (destroying) in what is left of the Movement. The following is yet the best piece written on this subject, it is definitely worth reading…

*The Cancer in Occupy

By Chris Hedges

he Black Bloc anarchists, who have been active on the streets in Oakland and other cities, are the cancer of the Occupy movement. The presence of Black Bloc anarchists – so named because they dress in black, obscure their faces, move as a unified mass, seek physical confrontations with police and destroy property – is a gift from heaven to the security and surveillance state. The Occupy encampments in various cities were shut down precisely because they were nonviolent. They were shut down because the state realized the potential of their broad appeal even to those within the systems of power. They were shut down because they articulated a truth about our economic and political system that cut across political and cultural lines. And they were shut down because they were places mothers and fathers with strollers felt safe.

Black Bloc adherents detest those of us on the organized left and seek, quite consciously, to take away our tools of empowerment. They confuse acts of petty vandalism and a repellent cynicism with revolution. The real enemies, they argue, are not the corporate capitalists, but their collaborators among the unions, workers’ movements, radical intellectuals, environmental activists and populist movements such as theZapatistas. Any group that seeks to rebuild social structures, especially through nonviolent acts of civil disobedience, rather than physically destroy, becomes, in the eyes of Black Bloc anarchists, the enemy. Black Bloc anarchists spend most of their fury not on the architects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or globalism, but on those, such as the Zapatistas, who respond to the problem. It is a grotesque inversion of value systems.

Because Black Bloc anarchists do not believe in organization, indeed oppose all organized movements, they ensure their own powerlessness. They can only be obstructionist. And they are primarily obstructionist to those who resist. John Zerzan, one of the principal ideologues of the Black Bloc movement in the United States, defended “Industrial Society and Its Future,” the rambling manifesto by Theodore Kaczynski, known as the Unabomber, although he did not endorse Kaczynski’s bombings. Zerzan is a fierce critic of a long list of supposed sellouts starting with Noam Chomsky. Black Bloc anarchists are an example of what Theodore Roszak in “The Making of a Counter Culture” called the “progressive adolescentization” of the American left.

In Zerzan’s now defunct magazine Green Anarchy (which survives as a website) he published an article by someone named “Venomous Butterfly” that excoriated the Zapatista Army for National Liberation (EZLN). The essay declared that “not only are those [the Zapatistas’] aims not anarchist; they are not even revolutionary.” It also denounced the indigenous movement for “nationalist language,” for asserting the right of people to “alter or modify their form of government” and for having the goals of “work, land, housing, health care, education, independence, freedom, democracy, justice and peace.” The movement, the article stated, was not worthy of support because it called for “nothing concrete that could not be provided by capitalism.”

“Of course,” the article went on, “the social struggles of exploited and oppressed people cannot be expected to conform to some abstract anarchist ideal. These struggles arise in particular situations, sparked by specific events. The question of revolutionary solidarity in these struggles is, therefore, the question of how to intervene in a way that is fitting with one’s aims, in a way that moves one’s revolutionary anarchist project forward.”

Solidarity becomes the hijacking or destruction of competing movements, which is exactly what the Black Bloc contingents are attempting to do with the Occupy movement.

“The Black Bloc can say they are attacking cops, but what they are really doing is destroying the Occupy movement,” the writer and environmental activist Derrick Jensen told me when I reached him by phone in California. “If their real target actually was the cops and not the Occupy movement, the Black Bloc would make their actions completely separate from Occupy, instead of effectively using these others as a human shield. Their attacks on cops are simply a means to an end, which is to destroy a movement that doesn’t fit their ideological standard.”

“I don’t have a problem with escalating tactics to some sort of militant resistance if it is appropriate morally, strategically and tactically,” Jensen continued. “This is true if one is going to pick up a sign, a rock or a gun. But you need to have thought it through. The Black Bloc spends more time attempting to destroy movements than they do attacking those in power. They hate the left more than they hate capitalists.”

“Their thinking is not only nonstrategic, but actively opposed to strategy,” said Jensen, author of several books, including “The Culture of Make Believe.” “They are unwilling to think critically about whether one is acting appropriately in the moment. I have no problem with someone violating boundaries [when] that violation is the smart, appropriate thing to do. I have a huge problem with people violating boundaries for the sake of violating boundaries. It is a lot easier to pick up a rock and throw it through the nearest window than it is to organize, or at least figure out which window you should throw a rock through if you are going to throw a rock. A lot of it is laziness.”

Groups of Black Bloc protesters, for example, smashed the windows of a locally owned coffee shop in November in Oakland and looted it. It was not, as Jensen points out, a strategic, moral or tactical act. It was done for its own sake. Random acts of violence, looting and vandalism are justified, in the jargon of the movement, as components of “feral” or “spontaneous insurrection.” These acts, the movement argues, can never be organized. Organization, in the thinking of the movement, implies hierarchy, which must always be opposed. There can be no restraints on “feral” or “spontaneous” acts of insurrection. Whoever gets hurt gets hurt. Whatever gets destroyed gets destroyed.

There is a word for this – “criminal.”

The Black Bloc movement is infected with a deeply disturbing hypermasculinity. This hypermasculinity, I expect, is its primary appeal. It taps into the lust that lurks within us to destroy, not only things but human beings. It offers the godlike power that comes with mob violence. Marching as a uniformed mass, all dressed in black to become part of an anonymous bloc, faces covered, temporarily overcomes alienation, feelings of inadequacy, powerlessness and loneliness. It imparts to those in the mob a sense of comradeship. It permits an inchoate rage to be unleashed on any target. Pity, compassion and tenderness are banished for the intoxication of power. It is the same sickness that fuels the swarms of police who pepper-spray and beat peaceful demonstrators. It is the sickness of soldiers in war. It turns human beings into beasts.

“We run on,” Erich Maria Remarque wrote in “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “overwhelmed by this wave that bears us along, that fills us with ferocity, turns us into thugs, into murderers, into God only knows what devils: this wave that multiplies our strength with fear and madness and greed of life, seeking and fighting for nothing but our deliverance.”

The corporate state understands and welcomes the language of force. It can use the Black Bloc’s confrontational tactics and destruction of property to justify draconian forms of control and frighten the wider population away from supporting the Occupy movement. Once the Occupy movement is painted as a flag-burning, rock-throwing, angry mob we are finished. If we become isolated we can be crushed. The arrests last weekend in Oakland of more than 400 protesters, some of whom had thrown rocks, carried homemade shields and rolled barricades, are an indication of the scale of escalating repression and a failure to remain a unified, nonviolent opposition. Police pumped tear gas, flash-bang grenades and “less lethal” rounds into the crowds. Once protesters were in jail they were denied crucial medications, kept in overcrowded cells and pushed around. A march in New York called in solidarity with the Oakland protesters saw a few demonstrators imitate the Black Bloc tactics in Oakland, including throwing bottles at police and dumping garbage on the street. They chanted “Fuck the police” and “Racist, sexist, anti-gay / NYPD go away.”

This is a struggle to win the hearts and minds of the wider public and those within the structures of power (including the police) who are possessed of a conscience. It is not a war. Nonviolent movements, on some level, embrace police brutality. The continuing attempt by the state to crush peaceful protesters who call for simple acts of justice delegitimizes the power elite. It prompts a passive population to respond. It brings some within the structures of power to our side and creates internal divisions that will lead to paralysis within the network of authority. Martin Luther King kept holding marches in Birmingham because he knew Public Safety Commissioner “Bull” Connor was a thug who would overreact.

The Black Bloc’s thought-terminating cliché of “diversity of tactics” in the end opens the way for hundreds or thousands of peaceful marchers to be discredited by a handful of hooligans. The state could not be happier. It is a safe bet that among Black Bloc groups in cities such as Oakland are agents provocateurs spurring them on to more mayhem. But with or without police infiltration the Black Bloc is serving the interests of the 1 percent. These anarchists represent no one but themselves. Those in Oakland, although most are white and many are not from the city, arrogantly dismiss Oakland’s African-American leaders, who, along with other local community organizers, should be determining the forms of resistance.

The explosive rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement came when a few women, trapped behind orange mesh netting, were pepper-sprayed by NYPD Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna. The violence and cruelty of the state were exposed. And the Occupy movement, through its steadfast refusal to respond to police provocation, resonated across the country. Losing this moral authority, this ability to show through nonviolent protest the corruption and decadence of the corporate state, would be crippling to the movement. It would reduce us to the moral degradation of our oppressors. And that is what our oppressors want.

The Black Bloc movement bears the rigidity and dogmatism of all absolutism sects. Its adherents alone possess the truth. They alone understand. They alone arrogate the right, because they are enlightened and we are not, to dismiss and ignore competing points of view as infantile and irrelevant. They hear only their own voices. They heed only their own thoughts. They believe only their own clichés. And this makes them not only deeply intolerant but stupid.

“Once you are hostile to organization and strategic thinking the only thing that remains is lifestyle purity,” Jensen said. ” ‘Lifestylism’ has supplanted organization in terms of a lot of mainstream environmental thinking. Instead of opposing the corporate state, [lifestylism maintains] we should use less toilet paper and should compost. This attitude is ineffective. Once you give up on organizing or are hostile to it, all you are left with is this hyperpurity that becomes rigid dogma. You attack people who, for example, use a telephone. This is true with vegans and questions of diet. It is true with anti-car activists toward those who drive cars. It is the same with the anarchists. When I called the police after I received death threats I became to Black Bloc anarchists ‘a pig lover.’ “

“If you live on Ogoni land and you see that Ken Saro-Wiwa is murdered for acts of nonviolent resistance,” Jensen said, “if you see that the land is still being trashed, then you might think about escalating. I don’t have a problem with that. But we have to go through the process of trying to work with the system and getting screwed. It is only then that we get to move beyond it. We can’t short-circuit the process. There is a maturation process we have to go through, as individuals and as a movement. We can’t say, ‘Hey, I’m going to throw a flowerpot at a cop because it is fun.’ “

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8 Comments

  1. February 7, 2012 at 09:27

    do they still suffer from ”reds under the bed syndrome ”many people support you in the States and around the World,we suffer it all the time here and only the ignorant believe the media..

  2. desertpeace said,

    February 7, 2012 at 11:04

    hence the attempt to destroy the Movement from within….

  3. Jim Nelson said,

    February 7, 2012 at 17:20

    Marxists and socialists? The neocons need look no farther than their own people for them. Irving Kristol and his neocon movement were followers of Trotsky, a Marxist Russian Revolutionary. That is fact.

  4. February 7, 2012 at 17:35

    […] HOW TO DESTROY THE OWS MOVEMENT ~~ A GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED […]

  5. February 7, 2012 at 17:52

    I’m sorry,but I sense a disconnect of sorts here,most anarchists I’ve met
    have absolutely no desire to vandalize or harm anyone(cop or civilian).
    In fact, most of them are horrified that they are being held responsible for the actions of a violent few.
    Granted there are some’ less than stable’ individuals within their ranks,(the concept of a truly classless society attracts many ‘types’)not to mention young & naive “shoplifting anarchists” who misuse the anarchist ideology to justify their own nonsense.
    But most of them seem to believe that the vandalism,antagonism,etc. is actually being done by infiltrators (the fact that the police hardly ever arrest them & even seem strangely somewhat friendly toward them should be a clue).
    Anyway,I guess what I’m trying to say is if the “anarchists” were to leave the OWS movement, who are you going to blame when the vandalism,etc continues to plague it?

  6. James said,

    February 7, 2012 at 18:07

    Another brilliant, somewhat timely article from Mr. Hedges. I wish this had come out right after the General strike in Oakland, where the thugs trashed the coffee shop, (described above) amongst others; for at that point, the oakland Police had been in some retreat, (after the near fatal shooting of the marine).
    Soon after the blac bloc did their thing, the police moved in and brutally cleared Occupy Oakland away, setting off a whole wave of clearances; thus, it could be argued that the above act was the lynchpin of our movements demise, (as it was).
    That said, I think Mr. Hedges views are somewhat askew; in that, he paints too rigid and crude a picture of the “blac bloc” “anarchist” community; for while there are indeed a good number of hot-heads with too much testosterone to burn; there’s also a goodly number of highly-intelligent, dedicated activists who are simply supremely-frustrated by the scope of the problems facing us, and the snails-pace of change.
    They’re mostly quite young, and prone to impetuous acts; but I think the best way for us to deal with them is to first acknowledge their dedication and insight; for if we just repress them, then they’ll continue to win sympathy amongst our own ranks.
    Instead, I think we need to approach them with an offer: be the militant guardians of the peaceful protesters, the old folks and toddlers, by giving the cops a warning, i.e. “if the peaceful protesters are mistreated, expect property damage on another day of our choosing.”
    That way, the young militants are given a place of honor and the movements high moral is preserved in the eyes of the public.

  7. nakedwayne said,

    February 7, 2012 at 21:41

    I’ve met many anarchists, most are open minded, pleasant, and willing to take action when required and appropriate.

    I’ve also met black bloc types that believe utter chaos will be the thing to bring humanity to a new light. They can’t grasp the concept that violence begets violence. They seem to be in it more for the fight than the cause. Organization and demos aren’t satisfactory. They all want to be Guy Fawlks. I agree with this article, they are a cancer

    And yes I know my sentence structure leaves alot to be desired

  8. February 7, 2012 at 23:18

    […] HOW TO DESTROY THE OWS MOVEMENT ~~ A GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED […]


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