Black bloc contextualized in political action
An attempt at placing Black Bloc in the greater theater of protest and political action.
A continuing goal of this blog is to take a look at all sides of political discourse from legislation to protest action. In this article I hope to explore the use of black bloc as a tactic. As well as (hopefully) provide context for where it sits in the greater scheme of protest and political action.
By extension, with a lack of a specific "person" to point the finger at; the use of black bloc has been largely portrayed by the media with an eye on the resulting destruction. With good cause, the persisting "May Day protests" that occur in Germany, and across Europe on May 1st, have shown an almost sinusoidal fluctuation in violence over the past 30 years. Another example of violence among the "blocs" was in 2007 with the June riots during the G8 Summit held in Rostock, Germany.
Occupied Media on Diversity of Tactics
Socialist Worker on Diversity of Tactics
Waging Non-Violence on Diversity of Tactics
Diversity of tactics includes; heckling, "arrestables", de-arresting, blockading, direct action, property damage, rear-acceleration (herding protesters from behind), front acceleration (providing a path through city streets by stopping traffic etc), and misdirection to name a few. These actions happen regardless of whether black bloc is there or not. The "passive protest" model is in many cases is carried out in clear communication with activists willing to participate in black bloc and diversity of tactics.
My observation has been that by refusing to incorporate or at least acknowledge the black bloc, "the movement" may be collectively shooting themselves in the foot. The black bloc seems to provide a "vent" to the tension that comes part and parcel with jamming a bunch of folks into one spot. However tenuously they may be connected by similar political/ ideological views. Black bloc has the potential to be quite literally the largest tactical arm of political action, by the nature of being able to simply cover your face and participate regardless of rhetoric.