by Robin Ryan
Aren’t buzz words really what we’re talking about here?
Anarchy, black bloc, cancer, democracy, empire, fascism: These are labels. And while labels might be necessary to bring a sense of compartmentalized order for our brains to store and correlate information, how terms are defined play a fluid role in the sorting. Whether it be via negative or positive association–further filtered by perception–how we size up an issue becomes as distinctive and unique as handwriting. It’s a process akin to the combination of soil, sun and water that interact to compose the flower of opinion. As one rooted in pacifistic beliefs which were echoed by a learned voice I respect and trust, I realize I’ve rushed to premature assessment without due consideration.
Until recently, I had yet to lay claim to any fully formed opinions regarding the controversial Black Bloc. Hearing Chris Hedges refer to this strand of occupier as a cancer reinforced my own instinctive notions that the kind of tactics the unit is rumored to employ are contrary to occupy’s process, not its goal. My hopes for the future lie in what I call a bloodless coup, a reassertion of the people’s power through the EQUAL application and enforcement of the rule of law. The image of the term revolution is justifiably scary to most, but I see it more as ‘revolutionary’, as in new–a term I believe more palatable and full of potential. Obtaining change from a position of purity (clean hands upon which to move forward, so to speak), is important to me. I had not wanted to see a need for soldiers within the occupation, but now concede such a need does exist.
This conversion occurred in a two part process. A couple of weeks back there was an online conversation about anarchists and, though I didn’t pipe in, I checked my College Webster’s for the definition of the root word, and was surprised to learn that, with or without this wondrous shift we are attempting to facilitate, I’d contend that anarchy is where we already stand: “A state of society without government or law”. As both state and society now operate outside any level of obligation of service to the citizenry–acting instead as conduits to interests too confined to be of mass appeal or public benefit–the question becomes one of validity. State and society may still exist, but I find their current mutated expressions to be neither valid nor legitimate. Anarchy is a state we’ve no need to fear in the future–it’s on deck now. Fascism has been described as commerce and government merged, and I think the evidence pertaining to that dynamic heir apparent, pardon the pun.
Then came F29 and the defining applicable revelation: A pretty tense moment getting diffused near day’s end because the black bloc assembled themselves as a buffer between police and protesters, three to four bodies deep, a boulevard wide. Choosing to be at the front of a line drawn in orchestrated conflict earned these folks my respect, my gratitude and my apologies. It breaks my heart to say, as I sniffle back the tears, that, despite my desire to see the dawning of fresher and fairer eras without devastation, I now believe the occupation does have a need for some kinds of soldiering. It’s not us who insisted it be this way–look to the machine for reconciling that unjust anomaly. I think I’ve said what I came to say, save this: I stand corrected, and I thank you.