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Excellent report of Pittsburgh Anti-G20 black bloc protests

Bb | 26.09.2009 22:16 | Repression | Social Struggles | World

This is on-the-spot reporting just in from the first day of the G20 summit in Pittsburgh, which has seen a great deal of spirited resistance and confrontation—perhaps as much as has occurred at any anarchist mobilization in North America in half a decade. This gushy, hastily composed account presents the context, attempts to convey the spirit of the day, and raises a few preliminary questions.

The basic narrative of the day runs thus: The protesters attempt to reach the summit site, but are brutally forced back by police. They eventually turn around and march through Pittsburgh neighborhoods and shopping districts, where the police pursue and attack them. Property destruction intensifies in response to these attacks, and the conflict culminates in a standoff between police and students during which a black bloc destroys a business district.

Red here:

Report linked to videos and pics

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Hide the following 7 comments

Achieving what?

26.09.2009 22:47

If I was the government and had a hand in organising protests, I'd do what black blocks do. Dress protestors in black and masks and get them to smash things creating the view of you're either with us or your hooligans. It maybe rock and roll and be a release for your anger but your smashing shit up is completely pointless and counterproductive.

Sens Ible

@Sens Ible

26.09.2009 23:18

Counterproductive to what exactly? Have you ever thought that loads of people who weren't on the black bloc in Pittsburgh on that one afternoon might also think that it was a good thing to defy the cops and smash things up like banks and chain stores?


hmm, wrong use of tactic

26.09.2009 23:22

the black bloc is a tactic. the problem we have is that it has become fashionable, to black up and "smash shit up" if used in the correct way, a black bloc can be very effective.

oi oi

black bloc = agents provocateurs

27.09.2009 02:07

I wouldn't go near a demo with the black bloc in it. They behave exactly like agents provocateurs.

Make of that what you will.


use of violence

27.09.2009 08:23

Black Block is a radical protest tactic, it responds with violence to the structural as well as physical violence of the system which is currently of a neoliberal capitalist character. Black Block may be infiltrated with agents provocateurs with an aim to discredit the civil society as mere vandals, having no interest in the 'real' problems that politicians deal with. Nonetheless, the use of violence addressed at the oppressive system has played a very important role in the struggle for civic liberties and social rights. It remains unclear if such victories would have been won had the civil society refused to use more violent tactics.

The struggle continues...



27.09.2009 11:34

It seems a bit odd to me that every time there is property damage on a political demonstration someone starts going on about agents provocateurs. Other forums contain explicit statements that black bloc were agents provocateurs.

Am I the only one wondering whether these comments / rumours / unchallenged assertions are designed specifically to undermine support for black bloc tactics among the protest movement?

You don't like to damage property, ok. But suggesting that those that do this as a tactic are deliberately or otherwise doing the bidding of the state is going too far.

Anyone who thinks 'peaceful protest' produces change must have been asleep all their lives. Black bloc has an impact few other protest forms can achieve. But those that support it (and there are very many) tend to keep their heads down and not post their 'criminal?' tendencies on public forums.


Climate Rush and property damage

27.09.2009 12:58

When do Climate Rush, who copy the Suffragettes, ascend to the tactic of property damage as many of the Suffragettes did - window breaking, burning pillar boxes, arson of country homes, sabotage of art works in galleries and so on? That would be an interesting and confusing dynamic for them and for people who comment, for and against Climate Rush on this site.

Maybe they'll be radicalised by the COP 15 in Copenhagen in December which is sure to be a little heavier than most Climate Rush activities.

See here for a small photographic example:

You can find this fantastic list of Suffragette actions, rather peversely, on the Climate Rush site:

Small example -

1911, November 21
Mrs Pethwick Lawrence attempts to lead a deputation to the House of Commons from the Caxton Hall but all ways are blocked by police. An organised stone-throwing raid on the windows of shops and Government offices follows involving 223 arrests.

1912, March 1
Mass window smashing in the West End. After persistent warnings which gain no response from the government, the Suffragettes announce that they intend to use ‘the argument of the stone’, and give notice of a demonstration on March 4. Unannounced, a manoeuvre led by Mrs Pankhurst is carried out on March 1. Mrs Pankhurst arrested.

1912, March 4
A further outbreak of window smashing takes place.

Etc etc.

Mary Leigh
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