Black Blocs for Dummies

Black blocs have been in the news often in recent years as militant protests grow against capitalism, the state, and war. This series of web pages attempts to explain what black blocs are, who does them, their history, and how to do organize one. There are also many misconceptions out there about black blocs, which we will try to address.

A black bloc is a collection of anarchists and anarchist affinity groups that organize together for a particular protest action.The flavor of the blackbloc changes from action to action, but the main goals are to provide solidarity in the face of a repressive police state and to convey an anarchist critique of whatever is being protested that day.

Black Block FAQ

What is a black bloc? Is the black bloc an organization? Why black blocs? Are black blocs just for anarchists? How did black blocs originate? Does the black bloc promote violence? Why do black blocs attack the police? What is "unarresting?" Why does everybody wear black? Do you have to wear black?

Black Bloc Papers

The second edition of the Black Bloc Papers is now available as a free PDF book. We are asking people to make a donation to help cover costs including the future publication of the book in paper form. We suggest that folks donate $10. If you donate $10 or more, you'll be able to get the paper version of the book at less than half the cover price.

The volume which you are holding is a compilation of communiques from people who stood with and were participants in Black Blocs (be they specifically referred to as “Anti-Capitalist Blocs,” “Red Blocs,” etc.). Each piece contains a different tone, and one hears, in these tones, differences in age, sex, and political maturity.The importance of these texts lies in exhibiting the range of types participating within the Black Bloc. The chapters, except for the first and the last, are dedicated to different protests throughout North America over the years. Reading about the Black Bloc by looking at what participants have had to say is the only way to gain a legitimate insight into this aspect of the movement, short of actively being there.

Black Bloc Calls and Texts

N30 Black Bloc Communique (Seattle 1999)

Do you have more pictures?

Yes, click here.

What are some common anarchist criticisms of the black bloc?

For starters, check out Jim Bray's (Working)Start of Critique of Black Bloc Technique.

Further reading?

"The Subversion of Politics: European Autonomous Social Movements and the Decolonization of Everyday Life" by George Katsiaficas (Humanities International Press).

A few notes about the RACB
Anarchist Black Bloc Press Release
Anarchist! Get Organized!
Jim Bray replies to Chuck0

Further listening?

A16 - Interview with Black Bloc member Flint Jones
A16 - Interview with anarchist organizer Chuck0

Pictures from past blocs

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Black Block at DNC Protests in Los Angeles (2000)

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Black Block at DNC Protests in Los Angeles (2000)

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May Day 2000 Black Block March in Chicago

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May Day 2000 Black Block March in Chicago

A16 Black Bloc Washington DC
A16 Black Bloc Washington DC

A16 Black Bloc Washington DC

1999 - Scene from Black Bloc at Millions for Mumia (Philadelphia)

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Anarchists during A16