Black Bloc 201

Courstey Wiki Commons: Steve KaiserFor folks who have not been present at non-violent demonstrations it may be helpful to understand that the original black block is the riot police who come out and assault non-violent demonstrators in a wholesale fashion.

Some pretty peaceful and peace-loving folks have been assaulted by the police.

Some of you may know Dorli Rainey from Seattle who was pepper sprayed during Occupy events.

Dorli Rainey courtesy

Dorli was 82 years old when she got pepper sprayed. She is spry and spunky, but I think it’s a hard sell to convince a reasonable person that Dorli could look dangerous to a heavily armored police officer.

So this is the backdrop for the tactic known as the black bloc. There are a lot of reasonable critiques of the black bloc. The most persuasive to me is the potential for police infiltration, for agent provocateurs to join the black bloc and to then commit an act of property destruction that will trigger a violent police riot. There is also the opportunity for a genuine black bloc participant to choose unnecessary violence and/or property destruction that will trigger a violent street riot.

I will be facilitating a round table discussion regarding the Occupy movement and the domestic armies at the Olympia Occupy Social Forum this coming weekend. Maybe I will see you there?

Anyway that I look at this situation, I see it as a complicated scenario. But I am reluctant to speak about either black bloc or the riot police and use the term nazis. I think that’s not a useful term to throw in the mix.

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