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Black Bloc: The Activist’s Militia

Above photo: Black bloc at September 24 protest in DC. By Colin Ashe. Wikimedia.

Seattle, Washington (TFC) – A Black Bloc is not a group or organization; in fact, it is a tactic that has greatly evolved since its beginnings in Germany, 1980. Many view the participants as hooligans and violent Anarchists. Some are there only to agitate and be destructive. Some are there to express their anger towards the buildings that signify our addictions and act as a reminder to the ruling class. But, most are there to show solidarity and provide security for the peaceful protesters. They are prepared to fight back against law enforcement when they decide to attack peaceful demonstrators. The dress code is black head to toe for many reasons. To show solidarity and to allow anonymity for those who choose to take certain actions. This allows the Bloc to prevent arrests and “unarrest” those who have been detained. Behind the black uniform and mask are people just like you and I. During the 2001 G8 summit, Mary Black was quoted saying, “some have day jobs working for nonprofits. Some are school teachers, labor organizers, or students. Some don’t have full-time jobs, but instead spend most of their time working for change in their communities. These are thinking folks who, if they did not have radical political and social agendas, would be compared with nuns, monks and others who live their lives in service”.

Image source: Karney Hatch, Flickr, Creative Commons

In Germany, 1980, police attacked five thousand peaceful protesters occupying social spaces. The people preferred to create their own social institutions based on communal living and alternative community centers. German police forcefully evicted an anti-nuclear protest camp that was living in the social space. These actions led former pacifists to become willing to use violence to protect themselves and their loved ones. In June, 1987, Ronald Reagan visited Berlin and was met with fifty thousand demonstrators; three thousand formed the Black Bloc, protesting Cold War policies. Later that year in November, Residents of a social space were joined by thousands of protesters assisting in saving their homes and preserve their freedom. They fortified the building, built barricades in the streets and held strong against vicious assaults by the police for nearly twenty four hours. After the long brutal battle of aggression, passion, and will; city officials legalized the squatters to live in the spaces. A victory providing proof that a unified people have power over the laws and enforcers that so many allow to bind them.

May 1st 1988, Mayday, German police were face to face with a Black Bloc, again. This time they were met with steel balls flying from sling shots, rocks, fireworks and the very effective Molotov Cocktails. Later that same year, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund met in Berlin. Though the police banned all demonstrations and public assemblies during the meeting, the eighty thousand protesters pushed on with Black Bloc support despite brutal attacks by police. Many from the U.S. do not understand why so many people attend such protests in Germany. That is very easy to address and explain. Europe refuses to allow another Nazi regime to occupy and control their countries. Rebellion and action is in their blood. They understand oppression like no U.S. citizen has ever known. They understand what and who the bankers are. They understand what they are doing and refuse to allow it to happen without a fight.

In 1999, the U.S. media gave Black Bloc the spotlight highlighting their actions in Seattle. They destroyed corporate chain stores including GAP, Starbucks and Old Navy during the Anti-WTO demonstrations. Canada’s police have had to deal Black Bloc and the solidarity is brings. In 2010, the G20 summit held in Toronto. The Bloc fought the police, burned cars and damaged many major retail stores. Banks were not kept safe from the movement. If you haven’t noticed yet they do not target privately owned businesses, only major corporations who control and monopolize the markets driving cost up in competition. The Black Bloc has been employed throughout the world by those who understand what oppression is and those who choose to stand up against it. A Brazilian protester was quoted saying, “the mask-wearers were welcomed by the protesters… Indeed, this sense of solidarity amidst the demonstrations inspires common determination to fight against the fear of repression”.

Black Bloc can be looked at as the Activists’ Militia. It is employed when a message is needed to be heard by all. The smashing of windows and burning of Banks is a tactic to annoy the major corporations and banks that capitalize on the people’s self-esteem that they damage with their commands and the banks that rule everyone including governments and militaries. Many families are struggling financially and it’s due to the banker and corporations. In 2015, JP Morgan, Bank of America and Wells Fargo raked in more than $1.1 Billion just in overdraft fees during the first three months of the year. If we use those numbers we can expect them to make $4.4 Billion, this year, off of people who are already struggling to pay their bills and feed their families. The system is designed to for us to all be debt slaves and to stay obedient sheep buying, spending and accruing more debt, every day. The Black Bloc approach is specifically designed to bring unity and safety to the people who have had enough. People who have realized petitions, voting, phone calls, emails, letters and peaceful protests are doing nothing to better our situation as a people. They are the few. We are the many.

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