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Two members of “black bloc” issue statement: we “only undertook strategic attacks against corporations”

February 16th, 2010 · 15 Comments

This statement, sent to the Georgia Straight, is rapidly making the rounds here and there.

In defense of the black bloc: A communique from Olympic resisters
February 14th, 2010 – Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories
 
On February 12th and 13th, 2010, thousands of courageous individuals came together to resist the 2010 Olympic police state and to attack the corporations plundering the land and deepening poverty. We write this communique as participants in and organizers of the black bloc presence at these demonstrations, known as “Take Back Our City” and “2010 Heart Attack.”
 
On February 12th, the Vancouver Police Department pacified us with a force of mounted police. The next day during 2010 Heart Attack, they deployed riot police armed with M4 carbine assault rifles. They claim this was necessary in order to stop the march from “jeopardizing public safety” – yet the only threats to public safety were in their own hands. Participants in the demonstration only undertook strategic attacks against corporations sponsoring the Olympics and did not harm or attack bystanders.
 
The media are now busy denouncing the political violence of property destruction, such as the smashing of a Hudson’s Bay Company window, as though it were the only act of violence happening in this city. They forget that economic violence goes on daily in Vancouver. People are suffering and dying from preventable causes because welfare doesn’t give enough to afford rent, food or medicine, and because authorities routinely ignore the medical emergencies of poor or houseless individuals. This economic violence has gotten worse as we lose housing and social services because of the Olympic Games. In response to this assault, thousands took to the streets, hundreds joining what is known as a black bloc.
 
The black bloc is not a formal organization; it has no leadership, membership, or headquarters. Instead, the black bloc is a tactic: it is something people *do* in order to accomplish a specific purpose. By wearing black clothing and masking our faces, the black bloc allows for greater protection to those who choose active self-defense. The majority of people involved in the black bloc do not participate in property destruction. However, in masking up they express their solidarity with those who choose to take autonomous direct action against the corporations, authorities and politicians who wage war on our communities.
 
Participation in the black bloc is an act of courage. With only the shirts on our backs and the masks on our faces, we took to the streets against Canada’s largest ever “peacetime” police force. Protected only by black fabric and the support of our comrades, we stood in front of antiriot cops armed with assault rifles, pistols and batons. We proved that $1 billion of “security” couldn’t prevent us from clogging the heart of downtown Vancouver and crashing a party of 100 000 people — and getting away with it.
 
You won’t ever know who was in the black bloc this weekend, but you *do* know us. We are the people who organize community potlucks, who dance during street festivals, who make art, defend the land, build co-ops, bicycles and community gardens. When we put on our black clothing, we are not a threat to you, but to the elites.
 
Whoever you are, one day you will join us. As long as government and corporations attack our communities, we’re going defend – and that means attack.
 
Signed,
 
Two organizers and participants in the anarchist presence of the “Take back our city” demonstration and “2010 Heart Attack” street march, February 2010, Coast Salish Territories

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  • Dan Cooper

    “You won’t ever know who was in the black bloc this weekend, but you *do* know us.””

    Those already arrested are certainly known, and I wouldn’t count on the rest keeping your anonymity.

    “We are the people who organize community potlucks, who dance during street festivals, who make art, defend the land, build co-ops, bicycles and community gardens.”

    No you are not “the” people who do these things. You may (or may not) be a few of the huge number who do, but only a few.

    “When we put on our black clothing, we are not a threat to you, but to the elites.”

    You are a threat to us, because you infiltrate rallies we attend and make your attacks from the middle and under the cover of others who do not want to participate, including children. You try to provoke the cops into attacking all of us, and God knows they often need little or no provocation. As near as I could tell, you people did not start showing up until after the huge use of anonymous ‘robocops’ in black armour, baton charges, and other arbitrary limits and attacks on peaceful protestors back in the late 1980s. Hopefully given enough time, and a continuation of the more rational policing approach seen recently, you will also find better tactics – or at least take your own risks instead of putting them onto others.

    “Whoever you are, one day you will join us.”

    Several varieties of Christian have told me the same thing. I seriously doubt that any of you are correct.

    “As long as government and corporations attack our communities, we’re going defend – and that means attack.”

    1984.

  • MB

    1,500 peaceful protestors downtown and a coterie of blackshirts armed with swinging hammers in 2010. Huge media presence.

    25,000 peaceful protestors downtown every year during the 80s and 90s and no blackshirts armed with hammers. Nominal media presence.

    Go figure.

  • Van Centre

    Hey MB:

    Why do you care so much about MSM coverage of your protests? I though y’all didn’t like the MSM–why do you crave their attention like a spurned lover?

    You have the right to speak and assemble (peacefully). You don’t have the right to make anyone else listen.

  • david hadaway

    It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

    Legends in their own lunchtime.

  • Frank Murphy

    That’s so cute! Gawd I wish I was young again…

  • Story

    This communique reads like something Al- Qaeda would issue. Christ, is it any wonder we’re sliding toward a police state at unreal and distracting costs?

    These punks ass idiots should learn sooner rather than later that they are contributing far more to their problems by alienating the people who make the decisions on the issues they want to see improved, including from supportive local civil groups.

    In the sixties, some thought violence was the answer while savvier ones joined political parties to work on policies and to alter the course of local affairs from within.

    That led to positive decisions locally and provincially as a result. Real world results that these hoods take for granted yet offer no recognition, appreciation, or respect for, especially the processes through which they were arrived at.

    Three examples: 1) stopping the freeway expansion into downtown Vancouver in the late 60s, 2) achieving a de facto moratorium on oil drilling off the coast in the 70s, 3) keeping US nuclear warships out of the harbour in the 80s.

    If these people think their immature and destructive anti-corporate behavior is going to somehow contribute solutions to their grievances, which others share, than they are more emotionally and intellectually bereft than one can hope to address.

    And while I’m no fan of corporations or the enormous sway they hold over society, I know the antidote to that conundrum won’t be found by breaking their windows, nor by flaunting that outrageous behavior in the face of the city’s elected representatives and the citizenry’s police force.

    And no, they don’t tend a plot beside me at my community garden. Although now I suppose our community associations will be infiltrated by the authorities as they hunt these weasels down.

    Great. Just great. And at what cost!!??

    For a clue, look at what’s happen to our society in the wake of 9/11. And we wonder why the Games have a wasteful $1 billion security price tag with the RCMP overshooting their authority to quell violent dissent.

    It must be obvious by now these groups feed each other, where one’s actions justify the others response, like a ship of fools where each side has their own oars, only to steer themselves and us innocent bystanders onto the rocks.

  • Wayne

    A juvenile view of the world at best. If you don’t like the corporations don’t patronize them. The Bay is concerned with profits. No one at the Bay, except the person who had to clean up the broken glass, cares in the slightest about a broken window.

    The cops could have stopped these knobs, it’s to their credit that they didn’t take more drastic action.

    Decent people don’t support these tactics. At least 50% of Vancouverites object to the Olympics to one degree or other. Thousands have taken advantage of the international media presence to make a statement against the Games or in support of the many and varied issues in B.C. that need urgent remedies.

    Violence by mental midgets does nothing to improve anything for anybody. People capable of this mindless and violent vandalism in a protest are capable of it anywhere.

    I don’t like the cops carrying those automatic weapons but these hooded masked cowards actually rely on the fact that the cops would never use those weapons against them.

    It takes no courage whatever to do what they’re doing and all they’ve accomplished is to give Vancouver a black eye and offend the hundreds of thousands of Vancouverites who actually work for a living and make it possible for this handful of cretins to live here.

  • thx for posting

  • I find it amazing that these black hood cowards would smash the Georgia Straight news boxes and have the merve to send their communique to the Straight. So besides being cowards they are stupid!

  • spartikus

    The Black Bloc strategy isn’t violent enough to actually make [experienced] security forces nervous, yet is too violent to appeal to the general populace. It’s the worst of both worlds, as the historical scoreboard shows.

    Gandhi. Still right after all these years.

  • Bill Bargeman

    If there are not agents provocateurs among or even leading the black block, the cops are getting a bargain. The objective result of their tactics is to weaken the unity that is bringing thousands into the streets to demand housing and social spending instead of $6 billion parties for the corporations. They provide an easy target for the fear mongers to ramp up their call for ever greater military and police security.
    There are angry, impatient youths among them no doubt. Their analysis is not fundamentally wrong. Government policies that increase and then criminalize poverty are acts of violence against the most vulnerable. The question is what tactics are most likely to lead to changing those policies. No political or social movement can ever match the 21st century state’s capacity for violence. If the actions of the black block really threatened the corporations and state they so detest, they would be squashed like a bug. We cannot successfully force change through violence. And “active self-defence” is just a way to justify violence. It is also a question of what kind of society we want in place of one run to perpetuate the rights of capital over those of people. We cannot build a movement to end the violence of economic injustice with act of violence.

  • Sean

    Publishing this simply promotes their agenda.

  • MB

    @ Vanc Centre. You missed the point.

    The vast majority of protestors are not blackshirts armed with hammers. They are a very small coterie filled with rage and tempered by immaturity.

    The blackshirts designed their “protest” for maximum media exposure.

  • Bahahahahaha

    Could these punks be more pretentious?!
    Lots of people give to their communities without breaking sh*t.

  • Norman

    Right. And bullshit smells like roses.