Video: Anonymous vs. Black Bloc?

Here’s a video, posted a couple of weeks ago under the banner of “Anonymous,” which takes to task the notorious “Black Bloc” that has engaged in confrontational tactics with police and destroyed property during the Occupy Oakland protests.

Anonymous, you may recall, is an extremely loose-knit group of computer hackers and activists that gained a good measure of local fame last summer when individuals, more or less self-affiliating with the movement, took several high-profile actions against BART. Those measures included hacking into the BART police union’s web site and releasing the personal information of officers, and posting racy personal photos of then BART-spokesman Linton Johnson. The actions were taken in retaliation for BART’s shutting off cellphone service as a means of disrupting a planned protest over the shooting death of Charles Hill, a homeless man, by BART police.

Below is the text of the message delivered in the Anonymous video — in an electronically altered voice, naturally. Take it for whatever you think it’s worth; anyone can post any video at any time, of course, so extrapolating a deeper meaning or trend can be dicey. Thus, the message here may or may not be interesting as another indication that various activist communities are split over the issue of the use of violence. (On Tuesday, Anonymous released the personal info of Oakland officials in an Occupy-related protest.)

Those tensions do seem to have come to the surface. Oakland Local‘s Susan Mernit, a longtime observer of Oakland’s activist community, put it this way last week in an interview with KQED’s Tara Siler:

(M)any people, because of the violence and because of the transient nature of some of the people who have gotten involved in Occupy Oakland, have taken steps to distance themselves from the movement.

And with [the latest incident, in which hundreds of protesters were arrested], especially the vandalism of city hall, a number of people who were involved through Saturday have published things on their Facebook page and published essays saying, ‘that’s it, I’m done.’

Here’s one such essay, by a former Occupy Oakland member who quit the movement after the latest battle with police. One quote:

What happened in the streets of Oakland yesterday and into last night was stupid, and I no longer want to have my name associated with a “movement” that is so driven by anger at the expense of strategy…and speaks against many of my core values and principles.

Occupy Oakland, for its part, has defended the actions of protesters while acknowledging tensions within the movement. From a Feb 6 statement from the group :

We recognize that there are communities who were affected in the neighborhoods where the conflicts with the police took place. We did outreach all over Oakland before the action and will continue to offer support and solidarity to those who might have been negatively effected or traumatized by the OPD’s inexcusable actions. What we saw in the streets of Oakland on the 28th was overwhelming support, whether it was bystanders bringing us water to wash off tear gas, waving and cheering us on, honking from their cars, or coming down from their apartments to join us. We experienced solidarity first hand rather than percentage points in a poll.

The OPD and the city claim that we are outsiders and that we are not from Oakland (even as 93% of OPD officers live outside Oakland). These lies are transparent to anyone who comes to our marches and assemblies and sees their friends and neighbors next to them. And those who came in solidarity last Saturday, from across all over the bay, from Dallas to Los Angeles, they are us and we are them. They are our comrades and no city press release can come between us. Our heart goes out to them and all the Occupies (over 26 at last count) who organized solidarity protests within 24 hours of the mass arrests on the 28th. We love you in the deepest meaning of the word. From its inception, Occupy Oakland has been about taking direct action and defending ourselves and what we reclaim to the best of our abilities. It has always been about people providing for each other and working to build radical alternatives to the patriarchal capitalist system, and it is in this spirit that we move forward together. No one comes from some ‘outside’ in order to mess with our Oakland, other than the suburbanite riot police. We come from here and everywhere, and in our movement those who join us are all insiders, agitating together towards a better Oakland, a better world.

To be sure, many of us are frustrated about the tactical mistakes made throughout the day, and we have to learn from these as we advance. There are many questions and criticisms coming from our broader community, and we welcome your help in transforming these into better strategies for future actions. We have to learn how to takeover buildings in an effective and intelligent manner. We have to learn how to move cohesively through the streets, to take offensive and defensive initiatives, to improve communication in highly charged situations. Critiques are important but we want everyone to understand the difficulty in undertaking such an initiative in the face of such forceful police response. The state fears that one successful building takeover will lead to another. It has nightmares of whole blocks of vacant buildings put to use as social centers and nodes of resistance, inspiring those in other cities to do the same. Despite the knee-deep shit that the OPD is in right now, when it comes to challenging property relations all bets are off and the leashes are cut. Full message here

Here’s that text from the Anonymous video:

The response from fellow anons to Black Bloc has been overwhelming. Peacefully shutting down banks and locations has had a far greater economic impact than Black Bloc’s pitiful acts of vandalism could ever dream of. If you truly want to protest in such a manner you should take it to the homes and websites of those you protest against. Replacing a window is nothing to them, you are not even a nuisance.

This issue has been discussed many times during the past several months, and there appears to be a popular consensus that your tactics of chilling and intimidating the citizen press, breaking the windows of small businesses, terrorizing innocent employees and bystanders, and sometimes outright assaulting occupy protesters are unacceptable. You are at best misguided, harmful, and idiotic in your actions. But more than anything it is your cowardice in hiding behind the banner of the Occupy movement, using Occupy protesters as shields, and attempting to pin your actions on Anonymous that will not be forgiven.

We suspect that many of you are agent provocateurs, as for the rest who behave in such a manner, your tactics demonize us in the eyes of the general public, robbing Occupy of much needed support, both in finances and approval. And worse, your activities provide the illusion of justified police brutality, robbing Occupy of the moral high ground and providing ammunition to the media.

Consider this an act of diplomacy before we start doxing your asses all over the internet and paying special attention to personally ruining your lives. You have a choice, abandon your pathetic ineffective and counter productive tactics and join us, or step aside, or risk the wrath of legion. As of now we are asking all citizen journalists to expose any Black Bloc using Occupy or Anonymous as a shield. If they attempt to chill your freedom as press, get up in their faces, call protesters around you for support. But do not respect the Anonymity of any Black Bloc who hide behind Occupy and Anonymous, they are not Anonymous, they are cancer and must be devoured for the good of the legion.

To any Black Bloc to whom this does not apply, we advise you to stay well away from citizen journalist and choose your targets wisely. If you harm Occupy or attempt to pin your thuggish crimes on Anonymous, we will not forgive. If you travel like a gang and attempt to intimidate Occupy we will get all up in your base finding all your secrets and wiping out your dudes. We are everywhere, we are hidden in plain sight, we will follow in the shadows, we will circle you like wolves, and if you slip, we will devour you without mercy. You will not know friend from foe, and once injected into the hate machine, we will periodically reintroduce you to it. You will not know peace again for a very long time.

Related

  • Anon

    Why confrontation, why not cooperation ?

    • Anon

      Because wrecking your own city is what morons do.

      • Gazebo the Hutt

         because the government’s only response to the will of the people is to send in undercover agents to stir up the worst (most like teabaggers) of the occupy movement in an attempt to discredit the message. It is a very old tactic that the government has used successfully for many decades. Cooperation??? How does the paramecium cooperate with the moon? We, the majority, are so far removed from having a say in our own governance it is truly pitiful. What is sadder for you is that if you think you are free you have no chance of escape. If you think the elite will allow you to tag along because you have been a ‘good boy’ get ready for it, because you will be in bad stead with the rest of us for your collusion when the shit hits the fan. Yes, obsess over moronic sport entertainment because that is what it is for – to distract you from the man behind the curtain

  • Baba Booey

    Hey, why not go occupy a shower for once?

    • Anon

      How’d those Patriots do, Booey?

      • Baba Booey

        A lot better than the occupiers. 

  • Anonymous

    Lessons learned. Full blown demonstrations today, are like newborn babies, in that in order to walk, they crawl first. That said, with most any popular, wide spread gatherings, there will be an element just like the masked ones who are bent for causing trouble, be it because they are trouble makers or because they are paid to do so, by the very people being demonstrated against. It’s telling, how many people don’t see this for what it is, instead offer remarks of ridicule. This tactic is one that is used by both sides in struggles that we see in other countries, not here in this country. So, only short sighted or halfhearted committed people will give up, the true believers will still carry on, as they should.

  • http://www.pharmqd.com/ Kimberly

    This is great

  • Norma Harrison

    since Occupy has been moved to other actions besides occupying, it does begin to seem that the breaking windows kind of action is not relevant.  However, that comes into question when Occupy attempts to take over unoccupied buildings or other actions that are anti-capitalist.  Keeping someone in their home that the banks have contrived to be authorized to throw out is definitely Occupy’s venue, where the police(government) will act violently and Occupy might attack back in defense – of themselves as well as of the people being helped.

  • Rwolf

     

    It is foreseeable U.S. activists in the future that occupy
    government and other property (and) violate State for Federal laws could be
    charged by U.S. Government with supporting International and or
    Domestic Terrorism; incarcerated in Indefinite Detention—charged
    under United States Code 18 Sec. 2331 (appear intended (i)“to intimidate or
    coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by
    intimidation or coercion…” Whether naturally occurring or caused by agent
    provocateurs, violent-occupations potentially play into the hands of
    individuals and corporations that may want America turned into a Police State.

    It is
    foreseeable U.S. activists in the future that occupy government and other
    property (and) violate State or Federal law will be charged by U.S. Government
    with supporting International and or Domestic Terrorism; incarcerated in
    Indefinite Detention and or prosecuted 
    under United States Code 18 Sec. 2331 (appear intended (i)“to intimidate
    or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government
    by intimidation or coercion…”  Any
    Violent-Occupation or Protest even if caused by agent provocateurs, can
    potentially play into the hands of individuals, law enforcement and
    corporations that may want America turned into a Police State. Note below the
    United States Code Definitions of Terrorism: Almost any criminal or physical
    act can be used by U.S. Government or Police to charge a person or group with
    advocating, supporting or committing terrorism. Considering these laws—only
    idiots or provocateurs would advocate violence or destruction of property.

     

    The terrorist laws below are broad and vague and can be
    used by Government an Police against anyone which makes it easy for government,
    police and provocateurs to set up or frame anyone for being involved in or
    connected to terrorism—perhaps for no other reason a Citizen or group dared
    challenge or question government policy.  

     

    Where
    U.S. Government appears headed with the Patriot Act, The National Authorization
    Act of 2012 and introduced “Enemy Expatriation Act” that would let Government
    Strip Your Citizenship without evidence or a conviction—to have Congress grant
    U.S. Government (The Executive Branch) Power to arbitrarily arrest, charge and
    or Indefinitely Detain Americans that participate in 1st Amendment activities
    as supporting terrorism or being combatants; provoking, supporting or being
    Belligerents; or threatening National Security.  

    18 U.S.C. § 2331:
    US Code – Section 2331: Definitions of Terrorism                                                                                                
    As used in this chapter -

    (1) the term “international terrorism” means activities that -
    (A) involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State;
    (B) appear to be intended -
    (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
    (ii) to influence the policy of a government by
    intimidation or coercion; or
    (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass
    destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
    (C) occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of
    the United States, or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum;
    (2) the term “national of the United States” has the meaning given such term in section 101(a)(22) of the Immigration and Nationality Act;
    (3) the term “person” means any individual or entity capable of holding a legal or beneficial interest in property;
    (4) the term “act of war” means any act occurring in the course
    of -
    (A) declared war;
    (B) armed conflict, whether or not war has been declared,
    between two or more nations; or
    (C) armed conflict between military forces of any origin; and
    (5) the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that -
    (A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
    (B) appear to be intended -
    (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
    (ii) to influence the policy of a government by
    intimidation or coercion; or
    (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass
    destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
    (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of
    the United States.

  • Beagif

     Oh dang, guess what. It was a fake video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nAKcWZST1M

    Anonymous tactics and black bloc tactics are essentially the same, and both tactics are employed against the same enemies. Think about it. How could Anonymous come out against “criminal” activity under disguise?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chase-Catalano/100000002226055 Chase Catalano

      Because the criminal activity they are committing is violent, and gives the Occupy movement a bad image. It makes the police actions against the Occupy movement appear justified. The crimes being committed by anonymous are directly targeted at those who deserve it, they do not hide behind the Occupy movement, and their actions have actually been productive (in the sense that it has had a positive effect).   

Author

Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks writes mostly on film for KQED Arts. He is also an online editor and writer for KQED's daily news blog, News Fix. Jon is a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S.

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