Capitalist "anti-capitalism"? Whatever next?

by Anarcho

Dear Guardian

George Monbiot (Guardian, "Raising the Temperature", 24/7/01) differentiates between Hamoq and Hamas forms of protest, and lumps the "Black Block" into the former. Hamas, he informs us, explains itself. Sadly for his account, this is not the case with the Black Block tactic (and it is a tactic, not some kind of international secret group). If those using it target property (and they often do not), they make a point of targeting only corporate property and explain why (as per Monbiot's own example of McDonald's, I must stress). As such, the Black Block is clearly "Hamas." In the words of a white overall (which Monbiot holds up as an example of "Hamas"):

"We should not criminalize the Black Bloc or accuse anarchists, for what happened in Genoa has very little to do with their tactics, and there is ever more evidence that the top trashers were cops in disguise. I was in Genoa . . . and I say: do not go hunting anarchists, do not criminalize the international Black Bloc. It is our duty to draw distinctions between the Black Bloc and what happened in Genoa."

It is a shame that Monbiot does not do this, particularly given the mounting evidence of a fake "Black Block" operating in Genoa on that day. As a statement by members of the (real) Black Block makes clear:

"Smashed windows of banks and multinational companies are symbolic actions. Nevertheless we do not agree with the destruction and looting of small shops and cars. This is not our policy. . . If windows rattle then you cry, but you are silent when people die."

Funnily enough, the Guardian did not find this comment worth mentioning when it quoted from this statement on Monday. Monbiot claims that the "the black block ran amok." Did they? No, although many justifiably very angry protesters did in reply to police violence. Watching the news on TV, I saw the term "anarchist" and "Black Block" applied to all "violent" protestors, even when the evidence that they were not was staring me in the face (how many anarchists carry red flags, for example?).

Similarly, the steady stream of evidence of a state organised fake "Black Block" is ignored by him and instead he states that the police, although they knew where the "Black Block were," attacked the non-violent Genoa Social Forum. Perhaps because this venue also held the indy media site, with evidence of state violence and the fake Black Block's links with the police? Perhaps this explains why "the police stood by and watched as the black block [sic!] rampaged around"? They were simply watching a successful infiltration and discrediting operation pay off. It is a shame that Monbiot is helping them with their work.

The events in Genoa remind me of George Orwell's account of the Communist/Republican state's attack against the anarchist workers during the May Days of 1937 in Barcelona. He noted that, originally, the English papers (incorrectly) put "the blame first on the anarchists" for the "fairly obvious reason" that "every English-speaking person shudders at the name 'Anarchist.' Let it be known that 'Anarchists' are implicated, and the right atmosphere of prejudice is established." A similar process is clearly at work here (how many anarchists have been interviewed to present their side of the events, for example?).

Given that no newspaper has bothered to explain either what a Black Block is or what anarchism actually entails, I would suggest the following webpage -- It contains both a detailed FAQ on anarchism and an introduction to the Black Block tactic. This webpage will clearly show that anarchism is "Hamas" (radical), and not "Hamoq" (reactionary) as Monbiot seems to imply. It will also show that neither anarchism nor the Black Block tactic is mindless destruction, as portrayed in the media, and that neither is responsible for the Genoa events. As the white overall I quoted above stresses:

"what went on Saturday had very little to do with the BB's modus operandi: the BB has a method. One may disagree with them, and yet they have a method . . . This has nothing to do with the praxis of the Black Bloc."

I am sorry, although not totally surprised, to see Monbiot's demonisation of the Black Block (and, by implication, anarchists in general, although most do not apply that tactic). Hopefully, he and your readers will visit to read the various eye- witness accounts and evidence on the existence of a fake "Black Block" which as been used to smear both anarchists and the Genoa protests. I would have expected Monbiot, as a journalist, to have done this but, as the Genoa reporting has sadly shown, such objectively is the exception rather than the rule.

I. MacKay

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