Sunday, October 9, 2011

Anarchists!! Wobblies!!! Run!!!

Here are a number of videos from a Canadian source,, a leftist publication in Vancouver, BC. In Canada, they still have an activist left.

I'm posting them because it has come to my attention that there are Anarchists among the rabble gathered in Occupations now underway in 85 cities in the United States, and dozens abroad, with more than a thousand additional Occupations still in the pipeline. In fact, there have been a number of posts on OccupySacramento's Facebook page complaining about a couple of signs at the Occupation with that dreaded A In A Circle symbol on it, and how very scary it was, and how it would alienate everyone under the sun. "Please, would you get rid of them? No one will join you if you don't."

Well. Just as I'm not a Che Revolutionary, I'm not much of an Anarchist, either, but the model of direct and participatory democracy being used by most of the Occupations is actually based on trial and error efforts of Anarchist groups primarily in Europe, but also in North Africa over many months, and if I'm hearing right -- I may not be -- model originated in Eastern Europe during the twilight of the Soviet Empire. It's a difficult model to work, it's even harder for the authoritarian-minded to fathom, but it is remarkably effective in providing a socio-political context for the establishment and successful functioning of intentional communities bringing together disparate strangers such as the Occupations.

Consequently, just as Marx has been rehabilitated by the mainstream ("Marx was right about Capitalism. It's obvious."), I've found a greater appreciation for Anarchists. So often our beliefs about Anarchists and Anarchism are based on propaganda that is rooted in certain aspects of Anarchist protest demonstrations, such as the activities of the Black Bloc -- which truthfully, I've always thought was made up mostly of police and other provocateurs.

The videos record a panel discussion on the topic of a Diversity of Tactics in protest actions, including the actions of the Black Bloc. The explanation of the dynamics of protest demonstrations which include Anarchists and the Black Bloc is intriguing.

A Diversity of Tactics - A Diversity of Opinions -1 from working TV on Vimeo.

A Diversity of Tactics - 2 - Derrick O'Keefe from working TV on Vimeo.

Diversity of Tactics - 3 - Harsha Walia from working TV on Vimeo.

A Diversity of Tactics - 4 - Rebuttal / Questions from working TV on Vimeo.

Diversity of Tactics - 5 - Audience questions, comments from working TV on Vimeo.

I usually don't have the patience for this sort of thing, but I've watched all of these videos today. I don't agree with the arguments made on behalf of the Black Bloc and their vandalism, but I don't think I've ever heard them put the way they are in the third video in the series, either. Clearly, this sort of argument gets people very upset, even in this largely sympathetic crowd.

The videos were posted by this site:
Worth a look. It was also the original referring site for the Chris Hedges video below.

[Note: There is absolutely no sign of Black Bloc participation in any of the Occupation marches and demonstrations I've seen; there are, however, many reports of infiltrators -- generally assumed to be police gathering intel -- and occasional reports of suspected provocateurs, who are almost immediately asked to leave if they advocate any kind of violence and/or try to recruit people to perform violent acts. This has been an iron law, perhaps the only one: No Violence. The tonic for infiltration is generally seen to be transparency: as long as everyone who wants to knows everything that's going on, there is nothing to fear from the police gathering intelligence as well. As long as there are no secrets, and no leadership cliques, there is nothing to fear from the police "knowing" something that everybody knows.]

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