If you’ve been following Occupy, you have probably heard about the recent debate over Black Bloc tactics. I don’t know if I’d ever engage in the more militant tactics of Black Bloc, but I also don’t think there’s anything “violent” about protecting fellow protesters and defending yourself. It’s also absurd to view the tactics as a menace to the movement or anything like that, to me at least. That said, you should do some reading if you’re interested in forming your own opinion.
Chris Hedges started the debate by calling the Black Bloc “the cancer of Occupy” and denouncing the tactic outright. David Graeber, one of the architects of Occupy Wall Street, responded with this open letter that provided both a history of the tactic and an analysis of Hedges’ argument. Additional reading should definitely include Susie Cagle’s on-the-ground analysis and this historical perspective at PhD Octopus.
Update: There is also good reading to do on the Black Freedom Movement and Chris Hedges’ misuse of history and on a look at Hedges’ Hypocrisies: Surgeons of Occupy. There’s a moderate “intervention” on the debate at Dissent Magazine and another at American Leftist.