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The May Day demonstrations, organized by OWS, erupted into destructive violence in Seattle yesterday, with skirmishes reported in other cities around the country such as Oakland and New York.
Peaceful demonstrators tried to stop the black clad, masked usurpers from destroying property, usually that of multinational corporations.
This from today’s Seattle Times
On Tuesday, a bloc of about 75 black-clad protesters used long poles, hammers and other objects to smash windows on vehicles and at some downtown Seattle businesses, including NikeTown, then shed the black clothes to merge back into the crowd of nonviolent protesters. As a result, few of those captured on camera vandalizing storefronts were arrested.
The practice was employed during Seattle’s 1999 World Trade Organization (WTO) protests, in which bands of black-clad vandals smashed windows, set Dumpster fires, tossed garbage cans and flattened tires of police cars.
Black-bloc tactics in Oakland, Calif., last fall included window smashing, prompting some to say their actions were undermining the Occupy movement protests.
The video shows Occupy Oakland supporters trying to stop a ‘black bloc’ mob from destroying property on November 2, 2011.
A black bloc is a tactic for protests and marches whereby individuals wear black clothing, scarves, ski masks, motorcycle helmets with padding, or other face-concealing items. The clothing is used to conceal marchers’ identities, appear theoretically as one large unified mass, and promote solidarity.
The tactic was developed in 1980s Germany by autonomists protesting squatter evictions, nuclear power and restrictions on abortion among other things. Black blocs gained broader media attention outside Europe during the 1999 anti-WTO demonstrations, when a black bloc damaged property of GAP, Starbucks, Old Navy, and other multinational retail locations in downtown Seattle.
In Oakland the Occupy movement seems to be made up of Labor Unions and immigrant organizations, generally the people that are feeling the strain of an overbearing corporate world. They are dressed in bright colors, build floats and will gladly tell you their name, they post pictures on Facebook and have nothing to hide. Can OWS survive the ‘black bloc’ mobs hi-jacking peaceful demonstrations to spread a more violent message? I think they can, after all, thousands of people died during Gandhi’s peaceful protests as he pressed the British for Indian independence. Gandhi’s victory, despite the violence, is still regarded as a victory for peace.
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