In the case of Oakland, it has to be recognized that what is manifest there is a more generic case of multi-tendential ultraleftism, rather than simply that of the Black Bloc. In that case Hedges can be successfully wrong footed by his critics.
It has to be remembered that in Oakland there was already a militant milieu in response to police violence by the OPD and Bart with roots in the Black community in Oakland, dating especially back to the murder of Oscar Grant, but of course with roots earlier that that. This movement against police repression was multi-tendential, and are always to be defended against police repression as a matter of principle. That does not mean we have to accept constant confrontations with the police as a “strategy”, as symbolized by the sloganeering directed primarily at the police.
With OO, the preexisting movement has to some extent overlapped with the much “whiter” Occupy movement, and ultra-leftist approaches are always tempting to the young and inexperienced (although to be honest, isn’t it a temptation to us all? , especially in the absence of a sustained mass movement. The result has been a convergence of ultra-lefts, and I think that would have occurred with or without BB involvement.
The bottom line is that, foolish and counterproductive though they are, these are not our enemies. Sadly, if they continue on their “strategic” course, they’ll all end up badly battered and bruised, physically and morally – that is if they survive at all.
Comment by Matt — February 9, 2012 @ 9:38 pm
Matt’s assessment is a pretty fair one, and forms the basis on my posts about OO and even Hedges today. But I am not so sure that they will come to a bad end, because while OO has been confrontational with the police, it has also successfully performed outreach to the community in regard to the general strike, the port shutdown and support for the American Licorice workers. Perhaps, it is too late, but it is that aspect of OO that still justifies some hope for the future. Unlike most of the rest of Occupy, OO has overtly expressed a class conscious politics, and, again, unlike other occupations, it attracts substantial numbers of people of color. The question is, can that be built upon? Or is it already too riven with internal dissension?
Comment by Richard Estes — February 9, 2012 @ 11:15 pm
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