We're working to be free from oppression, free from the state, free from a society and culture of fear. We cannot do so without each other, without the love and frindship that has banded us together. It has been said that flaws are the welds of perfection, and on the macro level I'd say that disagreement is the bond of democracy.
Consensus is achieved not through an easy process of getting everyone on the same page, but through the difficult acknoledgement that we will sometimes fundamentally disagree. And we must also acknoledge the need for dissent and dissensus as a decision making tool.
Given this, I'd like to talk about the BlackBloc, which until recently I was very opposed to. Not everyone agrees on tactics, or strategies or goals or visions, but that's alright. The fact that the Black Bloc contingent has survived and even managed to gain popularity in Chicago means they're doing something right. I didn't see any property damage in person in Chicago.
What I did see was leaderless horizontal charismatic organizing with a purpose, protecting the protest. And that's where blackbloc succeeds, in sticking with the movement, protecting it, and sometimes diverting attention. Given the events in Chicago, I'd say that we have to acknowledge that the Blackbloc element lends our demonstrations an ominous feel and can make some uncomfortable, but when push comes to shove, they empower us. The Blackbloc is the organic underbelly of this rising peaceful movement, and we need each other because our goals are the same.
The Blackbloc element scares the powerful, because average citizens are collectively organizing to express not just a mild dissatisfaction but sometimes rage, soemtimes love, sometimes a desire to protect each other. Bloc culture varies from demonstration to demonstration, but it's that very elusiveness that makes it invaluable.
When I think Blackbloc from here on out, I'll always remember Woodie Guthrie's quote: This Machine Kills Fascists.
Blackbloc does just that, it undermines authoritarian control of the occupy movement's demonstrations and brings a spontaneity that we need. Many of us have become drawn together in solidarity and while that's a good thing, some of us fall into roles predetermined by social stature etc. whereas the Blackbloc undoes this by bringing an element of the unknown into our street demonstrations. I personally am grateful to all the BlackBloc protesters who joined us in Chicago to protect us from police who weilded batons and clubs against mostly women.
BlackBloc allows us the room to question ourselves and interact with our own movement in a way that creates a sense of otherness from within, allowing voices from both sides to shape a new discussion and a new way forward that isn't colonized or appropriated by one ideology or another.
Black Bloc Kills ideological, physical and organizational fascism when done correctly, because it's a tactic. And it's working.
In any case, back to the big picture:
We've lit a match under complacency and are now waiting for the revolt to combust into a new democratic freedom.
We have every reason to keep fighting rather than back down, but in terms of organizing, we cannot rely on cultural spontaneity as we did before. We cannot count on encampment as a tactic. We must now rely on entrenched and visionary organzing that works to empower the people and unite them in the struggle. All over the world, people are working towards a society that is sustainable, that respects human rights, that privileges human decency, towars a society where inequality is a thing of the past and rights are granted to all. Our planet can sustain us, if we stop competing and work together.
Competition may be good to drive up profit margins, but it's not what's best for society. Our current models of social structure serve and benefit very few people, and at the same time remove from them slowly the tools and resources they currently benefit from. They may not feel the pinch immediately, but as the poorest and the least suffer, eventually, so go the rich.
We are all in this together, from anarchists, to #blackblock to #Antifa, to first time activists we're all fighting the #IronHeel of austerity and surveillance. We cannot oppose fascism, racism, class inequality, war, violence, greed, corruption and all the other evils in the world alone.
In fact, we cannot combat them all together either, but we must try, and work to expand the consciousness of our brothers and sisters, so that we may all one day come together and fight for what is right. I do not currently speak of an easy struggle, one where we might get out alive and enjoy the fruits of our labor. If there is anything we can learn from our past history since September, it is that we are tragic heroines and heroes. We are not the accepted and lauded saviours, we are the marginalized whistleblowers.
We are those who dare to have a conscience when bravery has become inconvenient, and truth has become laughable. We live in a world where people desire plausible deniability and uninvolved detached spectating more than they dare to rise to the occasion.
We, the black bloc, the occupiers, the anarchists, the activists, the anti-eviction campaigns, the anti-racist action people, the humans, more than any other label one may choose are those who dare to stand with humanity against machine hearts, and machine minds, the endless churning of the war machine, these machine people who operate wars without consequence, and terrorize without answer.
We have risen to decolonize not just a country, but the planet, we're calling for an end to the banker occupation, and the military occupations, we're calling for an end to government authority against the sovereignty of individual ctizens. As the police mobilize against us, we should be bold in our courage. Our concerted efforts are making a difference. The powerful mention us in profit losses, the weak look to each other for strength, and across the world, there are cries of Solidarty. Amsterdam, New York City, Chicago, Athens, Sydney, Perth, Berlin, Rome, Taipei, Los Angeles, Tulsa, St. Louis, Rio De Janeiro, Mexico City, Montreal, and many other cities have one thing in common: The courage to imagine a better world.
To my American readers: Changing the national dialogue is indeed important, and we've done that, but so much more: We've changed interpersonal dynamics of solidarity in this country. Before the populist surge known as Occupy Wall Street, Americans were crushed under a class war not of their choosing. Before Occupy, this country had a very disorganized and innocuous Left, but since September, we've organized across agendas to come together.
Americans had no activist networks on this level, and to be sure much of it is a fad, there will be losses, already we have seen and experienced losses in our numbers. However, we've created a real culture that values ideas above the insular nature of the nuclear family, and we've begun to mobilize a cuture that values and empowers the poor. From Anti-Eviction to Anti-Racist Action, to Occupy Our Homes to Saving Clinics and Schools, our occupations nationwide are putting up a fight, and even winning.
We are currently rewriting the American dream to include neighbors, comrades, and those we disagree with, and that's far more important than whether people talk a bit differently in mainstream media. To build the strong interpersonal connections we can continue from is far more essential than whether we have changed the focus for a few minutes on national news.
Changing the dialogue is important, but changing the way we practice real physical acts of solidarity is the largest benefit of Occupy Wall Street. Occupy has changed my world and made me consicious of my need to stand with others, to stand together against the powerful. I am an amateur activist and writer, no one pays me to do what I do, I just do it, and I feel obligated because I believe in our planet, and our species, because I want a better world for our children, and their children. Occupy has reimagined American activism into a real threat to power, and that my friends is essential to any revolutionary activity.
Do not live in fear, and do not forget each other, the state would create a narrative of isolation, the best response is to band together, and Occupy did that for us, it brought us together, out of our individualized depressions and despairs and into a collective fight against the class war. We are strong individually, each of us has merit as a sovereign individual human with mind, heart, memories, emotions, etc. but we are stronger when we share our experiences, stories and histories. We are working to create a multi-generational mutual culture that embraces all, and it will take work and time.
We can recreate a society that serves the people, but we will have to be strong & not forget that revolution is not an armed struggle; in this society, revolution is a series of bold changes that allow us to resist the state together, oppose intimidation and work for a future we can share. We must create a culture of self-sovereignty, of resistance to anything but myself and my neighbors as the final arbiters. Re-localize your purchases, your affairs, your disputes, and globalize your learning, your interactions, your culture.
They can bring their drones, and their DHS v&'s and their surveillance, but we have each other, and that's the most important. Fear not, be bold, and serve your neighbors, move into your communities, occupy a new friendship, build solidarity, listen with the heart. Through the heart, compassion is born, solidarity made manifest, and change made actual. As we join hands & masks & hearts, remember, solidarity means the enemy of your brothers and sisters fear your waking.