The Black Bloc and political shortcuts

May 15, 2017

We believe that the Weatherman action is anarchistic, opportunistic, individualistic. It's chauvinistic, it's Custeristic. And that's the bad part about it. It's Custeristic in that its leaders take people into situations where the people can be massacred--and they call that a revolution. It's nothing but child's play, it's folly. We think these people may be sincere but they're misguided. They're muddle heads and they're scatterbrains."
-- Fred Hampton of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense

THE FIRST virtue every revolutionary must learn is patience. With patience comes the wisdom to understand that there are no shortcuts. No bomb tossed. No senseless confrontation with the armed state. No shop window broken.

None of these can substitute for the hundreds of thousands of trained cadre ready to dedicate their lives to revolutionary change. None of these can substitute for the tens of millions of women and men ready to bring about fundamental change. The raw material needed for a revolution that could overthrow the constraints of capitalism will be found in unexpected places and with unexceptional people.

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They will be found among suburban "soccer moms" ready to dedicate their time and energy to single-payer health care. They will come from high schools where African American students decide to join the fight Black Lives Matter.

Iraq War veterans who have learned the truth about the military's Big Lie will be needed. The work crew at the local McDonald's, fed up with poverty wages, will be an essential component. Women frustrated by the attack on reproductive rights will join the ranks. Anything that discourages or derails this process is a distraction and a detriment to the revolution.

This past May Day, thousands of undocumented workers took part in marches and demonstrations across the country. In Chicago, the Black Bloc was also present. In a coordinated action, they broke from the ranks of the march and spray-painted a Citibank branch.

Now the police had the excuse to wade into the crowd and arrest whoever they felt like. The immigrants without papers would have been subject to deportation, broken lives and shattered families. The Black Bloc adventurists would have been subject to a small fine.

Readers’ Views welcomes our readers' contributions to discussion and debate about articles we've published and questions facing the left. Opinions expressed in these contributions don't necessarily reflect those of SW.

To my way of thinking, the trade-off between the safety of undocumented immigrants and the self-aggrandizement of the would-be anarchists is a no brainer: The former is part of the solution, the latter is part of the problem.
Guy Miller, Chicago

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