By Francis Dupuis-Déri, Lazer Lederhendler
Faces masked, wearing black, and forcefully attacking the symbols of capitalism, Black Blocs were remodeled into an antiglobalization media spectacle. however the renowned photo of the window-smashing thug hides a posh fact. Francis Dupuis-Déri outlines the beginning of this overseas phenomenon, its dynamics, and its ambitions, arguing that using violence continuously happens in a moral and strategic context. this article has been translated into English for the 1st time and is totally revised and up to date to incorporate the latest Black Bloc activities at protests in Greece, Germany, Canada, and England, and its position within the Occupy flow and the Quebec pupil strike. It lays out a complete view of the Black Bloc tactic and locates it in the anarchist culture of direct motion.
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Additional info for Who's Afraid of the Black Blocs?: Anarchy in Action around the World
During the G20 meeting in Toronto, a comment on the website of Canada’s left-of-centre political party, the New Democratic Party (NDP), called on progressives to denounce “the Black Bloc thugs. ”43 Such criticism sometimes emanates from the upper echelons of the state. ”46 Already in the early 2000s, politicians were depicting Black Bloc actions as completely lacking in political significance. “I exclude the vandals,” said Guy Verhofstadt, the Prime Minister of Belgium and President of the EU, with reference to the G8 Summit in Genoa in July 2001.
Yet in 2010, during the meetings held to prepare for mobilizations against the G20 Summit in Toronto, anti-capitalist militants in Montreal suggested that the Black Bloc belonged to history and that it was time to move on. 15 Within barely an hour, the Black Bloc struck banks and financial services outlets (CIBC, Scotiabank, Western Union), multinational telecommunications conglomerates (Rogers, Bell), fast food chains (McDonald’s, Starbucks, Tim Hortons), clothing companies (Foot Locker, Urban Outfitters, American Apparel), and an entertainment corporation (HMV),16 not to mention media vehicles (including those of the CBC) and police property (the Police Museum and four police cars were set on fire, though not all of them by the Black Bloc17).
The action unfolds against a backdrop of banks and multinational retail shops smeared with anarchist and anti-capitalist graffiti, their windows shattered. Since the epic “Battle of Seattle,” fought on November 30, 1999, during the meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the media have enthusiastically captured such scenes. According to a widespread myth, there is only one Black Bloc, which is thought to be a single permanent organization with numerous branches throughout the world. In fact, the term Black Bloc represents a shifting, ephemeral reality.
Who's Afraid of the Black Blocs?: Anarchy in Action around the World by Francis Dupuis-Déri, Lazer Lederhendler