Doctor Hedges misdiagnoses the Decline of Occupy (Part 2)

Curiously, both Hedges and those who practice violent Bloc tactics want to impose their approach on everyone else. In this, they are reverse sides of the same coin.

Only through an emphasis upon the most rigorously inclusive, anti-authoritarian practice can the participants within Occupy induce the victims of the existing social order to collectively resist it. For leftists and progressives who come from privileged backgrounds, like Hedges, this is a disconcerting prospect, one that requires them to relinquish the exercise of hierarchical authority to which they have become accustomed if they are going to continue to remain a positive influence within the movement.



  1. Does a black bloc really impose its tactics on others? It seems like that’s more dependent upon the situation (eg, if a black bloc leads to increased police crackdown on peaceful protesters) than what Hedges is talking about.

    • Ross: As described by Hedges, the Black Bloc is really a partially mythical beast created by him as a lazy way of addressing the violence that has erupted at some occupations. I explain this in much more depth in my first post on this subject, cross posted here last Friday:

      That’s why I emphasize “those who engage in Black Bloc tactics”, to avoid characterizing the Bloc as a monolithic organzation as Hedges does.

      It is important to emphasize this in order to answer your question. Yes, in some situations, there are people consciously acting as Bloc, acting out violently towards the police during protests, putting many others at risk, people who are either completely unaware of what these Bloc inspired people are doing, or oppose it.

      In other situations, there are young people who get angry about being attacked by the police and respond with violently in turn. My post today addresses the former, Bloc inspired violence instead of more spontaneous street violence, but both are equally perilous for the movement. Furthermore, there appears to be a synergy between people with Bloc experience encountering other angry young people through Occupy.

      Emphasizing the Bloc dimension is unavoidable, even if it tends to obscure the larger problem of dealing with alienated, angry young people attracted to Occupy, as described in these comments by someone involved in Occupy Berkeley, Maxina Ventura (see comments 76-78):

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