(or: “Armchairs GTFO”)
The ostensible premise of the article is that the black bloc and its attendant anarchists are the cancer that is destroying Occupy from the inside. Now, while I would disagree with this point, I could see a case being made for it. But this is not actually Hedge’s point. Instead, he throws together an astounding amount of misinformation.
Like the idea that the black bloc hates the Zapatistas. That primitivist author John Zerzan (who has not been in vogue among anarchists for a decade) is the primary ideologue of the black bloc. That the black bloc is made up of people who oppose all organization. Or that those who are in the black bloc cease to become human beings but instead become beasts.
I don’t know whether Chris Hedges is doing it on purpose or not, but this is basically a hit piece written by Derrick Jensen against John Zerzan and the anarchists who have spurned him. It is a transparent attempt to sway people over to Derrick Jensen’s cult of personality revolutionary movement “Deep Green Resistance.” (which has as one its other public leaders Lierre Keith, someone who makes public statements that are rabidly and blindly transphobic)
The actual premise of the article is that anarchists, who have rejected Derrick Jensen for being authoritarian, are bad. If this article were genuinely about the black bloc and Occupy, there is no reason to talk to Jensen at all. There is probably no shortage of public intellectuals who hate the black bloc who actually have anything at all to do with Occupy with whom he could have spoken. Using Zerzan as the purported ideologue of the black bloc though is where this subtext becomes completely transparent: Zerzan and Jensen are the two most important “anti-civilization” theorists and they are at odds with one another. Zerzan argues for an anarchist, non-authoritarian way of dismantling civilization. Derrick Jensen has open and widely-published aspirations of being the figurehead of a hierarchical anti-civilization group. Green Maoists, as it were.
Also, for some “not-in-my-backyard” fun, why not compare this new “don’t break any windows” rhetoric to Hedges’s article happily endorsing the greek riots? That’s always a laugh.
I want to go ahead and publicly apologize for including Derrick Jensen in my book Mythmakers & Lawbreakers: Anarchist Writers on Fiction. I realize now that Derrick Jensen chose to be included in that because, at the time, the anarchists were the ones buying and promoting his books.
I do not blindly support the black bloc or any other tactic. All tactics (within ethical bounds) have their time and place. But I’m not on the ground at Occupy Oakland and therefore it is not my place to sit around tell people what tactics are and are not strategic in their struggles. I’m not going to tell the Greeks not to burn things and I’m not going to tell the Zapatistas not to carry (or shoot) guns. I’m also not going to tell local farmers not to organize call-in days against natural gas pipeline developers.