black bloc

by Arran James

the institute for experimental freedom hosts a series of short pieces by members of the much maligned (and not just in recent times) ‘black bloc’ anarchist phenomena.

Read them here.

An extract:

We accept our conditions and get organized accordingly. Compared to the fatal and fatalistic strategy employed by school shooters, terrorists, and isolated individuals marked as insane, the black bloc, rioting, and flashmobs are collective and vital forms of struggle. The Left is obsolete—rightfully so, as it still clings to this collapsing society at war with its population. Society is decomposing and nothing will or should bring back the the good ol’ days—the days of slavery, hyper-exploitation of women, apartheid, homophobic violence, Jim Crow. We wager that organizing our antagonisms collectively and attacking this society where we are positioned, without anything mediating our force, is our best chance for a life worth living.

If I still believe in any vision of politics this is it. I have written that we live in an age of Exhaustion and what is required is a vitality…a vital poltics… and this is one that is necessarily one of rage, joy (although a perfectly good human passion) is still to easily captured by capital to be a political force. A rage motivated by a despair and a need, with knowledge that utopia is a child’s dream, to do something to alleviate the sufferings that can be alleviated.

And another extract. Perhaps the most important aspect of the black bloc is summed up in the following quote. Time and again liberalism captures the discourse of difference that post-structuralism celebrated and tried to mobilise as a political force. Time and again that narrative was absorbed, because it forgot one thing: generic humanity. Or, and I would say even better, the Generic of the Living:

Allow me to elaborate from our side of the barricades.

The black bloc is an anonymous way of being together. Anonymity allows me to shed the mask I have to wear at school, at work, in your parents’ house, in casual conversations at the bar. The black bloc enables us to interrupt the processes that make us into subjects according to race, gender, mental health, physiological health. Here, we can cease worrying about how power will extract the truth from us, and we can reveal truth to each other.

I have written before about opacity being one of the only tools left in a hyper-surveilled society, and here the author even invokes the beautiful image that Foucault had of the Iranian revolution, what he called ‘doubling’…except that here there is an aesthetic of genericity. The different mobilising itself as the Same. A negative image of the same, draped in deindividualising black…just as the anarchist flag unfurls in favour of no particular colour (red, pink, green).

While remembering the lessons of various anti-essentialists it is time that we returned to a minimalist sense of human nature; it is also time we drew on the biological and emotional commons that psychiatry believes it has the legitimate mode of organising.

Perhaps the black bloc is the only partisan left.