RevolutionTruth Panel – Occupying Beyond Divisions: Anarchy, Black Bloc, and Protests

Written on:February 19, 2012
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On February 15, 2012, RevolutionTruth hosted a live panel discussion with Chris Hedges, Kevin Zeese, Dr. Margaret Flowers, Lucas Vasquez, Georgia Sagri, and Cari Machet to discuss anarchist philosophy, Black Bloc, and Occupy.

Chris Hedges’ most recent Truthdig column was a searing condemnation of Black Bloc as part of the Occupy movement. This article comes at a time when Occupy is suffering from coordinated and vicious attacks from the outside, weariness, winter (in the Western hemisphere), and rifts on the inside, and a seeming disconnect between the larger public and the movement itself. The responses to Hedges’ article have been quite polarized. Some resonated with his obvious frustration and concern; others found the piece to be an offensive conflation of tactics and groups and a misguided attack on anarchists. The piece generated intense debate around the world, opening up discussions that are delving into the heart of the nature of Occupy and the profoundly diverse perspectives embodied in this movement.

Video is available on our YouTube channel or watch it below.


For more information about the panelists, visit the RevolutionTruth Panels page for this panel.

8 Comments add one

  1. Joel says:

    Good Lord. That’s a rough listen. So much arguing and talking over others. Giorgia can’t stop giving 5 minute sermons and Cari wants to spend the whole time belittling others and debating semantics.

    • Joel says:

      more specifically, I didn’t hear enough from the ones I wanted to hear from and the ones much too much yelling and overtalking from those whose views didn’t interest me as much.

      • Joel says:

        last note, I find it interesting that the two people who spoke the strongest and listened the poorest, the most emotionally-reactive, and the attackers of other panelists were also the only two who advocate for violent tactics.

        Tangerine, I’m sorry this session seemed to blow up. it’s a great forum and I will continue to listen if you put them out. perhaps in the future create a logarithm to distribute times of speakers where only one speaks at a time and speakers can save their time and use it when they feel pressed so that two people aren’t constantly interrupting and preaching at others for the duration of the “conversation”.

  2. Tangerine Bolen says:

    Hi Joel, yes, agreed on all of the above. It was a big learning experience for us. This was a “flash panel” (produced in days rather than weeks or months) and it was good for us in that we now know we use only people we know for certain can and will acquit themselves well. Everyone had agreed explicitly prior to this panel to engage civilly and respectfully. Obviously, those agreements were not adhered to by a couple of people.

    Not sure how to create a logarithm, but, if you have ideas on that, let us know. Thanks for listening!!

  3. You had CHRIS HEDGES on! The world’s expert on revolution. He got about 8 minutes out of one hour and 47 minutes. Does that make any sense to anybody anywhere???? He should have been on for one hour and 35 minutes. If you interview Obama, will he get at least 10 minutes?

    The show needs more enforcement of what was agreed to ahead of time, namely being civil. If you’re not going to enforce that rule, don’t attempt to get people to agree to it in the first place.

    I listened to the whole thing and now I’m going to be bummed all day.

    • Tangerine Bolen says:

      Jeff, totally agree with all you said. We did have requirements to be on this panel, and they included respectful discussion and never interrupting. We were VERY clear about that. While the discussion was occurring, we were getting DDOS’d, and I knew that. It was hectic and awful and yes, I failed to better moderate. Big lessons learned. I feel terrible for Chris. He was on a previous panel with us, and talked for much of that one, which was great. He is amazing. Please stay tuned for more, and visit our worldwide lawsuit against the US gov with Chris Hedges – we’ve amended it to include many, many plaintiffs. Please join us!

  4. Here’s Shen Tong, one of the organizers of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, from his book “Almost a Revolution.” This is just after one of the first student marches…

    “We have completely achieved our goal today… Being here is a victory in itself. We walked past five universities over a long distance and reached Tiananmen Square. What we wanted to do was to use nonviolent means to protest the beating of patriotic students in front of Xinhuamen this morning, and to ask the government to reevaluate Hu Yaobong’s ouster from the Party. We have not disrupted society, we have not halted traffic. We have done this in a very orderly way.” (p. 182)

    Here’s Wael Ghonim, one of the facebook organizers for the Egyptian revolution, in his book “Revolution 2.0:”
    This is rule Guideline #1 of 8 protesting guidelines:

    “The protests are peaceful. We are peace advocates and not advocates of violence. We are demanding our rights and must uphold the rights of others. We will not respond to any provocation from security forces and lose control. This is what they want us to do. One of the security forces’ main goals is to portray the protesters as thugs who want to destroy the country. We must discipline ourselves and refrain from foolishness or any violations of the law, and we must not endanger any person’s life or cause harm to any public or private property. If you see someone behaving violently, please circle around this person and take him out of the protests.” (p. 157-8)

  5. I am in agreement with Mr. Hedges. Black Bloc is not an effective tactic nor are the people behind the tactic’s deployment. As a ‘tactic’ as OWS claims it to be can be used by anyone, including some rouge FBI agents or local law enforcement officers which in turn will use the notoriety against Occupy as a whole. Not to mention the juvenile practices at damaging local property, if you are one to support the execution of the Black Bloc tactic, you are an amateur at best with strategy and tactics and should not be allowed to participate in the efforts of serious people representing Occupy.

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