So do you know any of these Black Bloc Anarchists?
Yesterday I suggested we identify them, here is some good footage that can help. If I was organized I would put up a Flickr page with stills so people could crowdsource. I think you should note all the people who didn’t agree with them and tried to get them to stop. I especially liked the swearing by the black guy from East Oakland who said, “It’s occupy not destroy you dumb m—–f—ers.”
My piece Time to Identify the Vandals about the #occupy movement got a lot of comments. I updated it, but people often don’t go back. Today my friend Sara Robinson wrote an excellent piece on dealing with people with over-the-top behavior. I think this will be useful context for thinking about dealing with outliers. The full piece is at my blog Spocko’s Brain.
Here is an excerpt.
1. Let’s be clear: It is absolutely OK to insist on behavior norms. #Occupy may be a DIY movement — but it also stands for very specific ideas and principles. Central among these is: We are here to reassert the common good. And we have a LOT of work to do. Being open and accepting does not mean that we’re obligated to accept behavior that damages our ability to achieve our goals. It also means that we have a perfect right to insist that people sharing our spaces either act in ways that further those goals, or go somewhere else until they’re able to meet that standard.
2. It is OK to draw boundaries between those who are clearly working toward our goals, and those who are clearly not. Or, as an earlier generation of change agents put it: “You’re either on the bus, or off the bus.” Are you here to change the way this country operates, and willing to sacrifice some of your almighty personal freedom to do that? Great. You’re with us, and you’re welcome here. Are you here on your own trip and expecting the rest of us to put up with you? In that case, you are emphatically NOT on our side, and you are not welcome in our space.
Anybody who feels the need to put their own personal crap ahead of the health and future of the movement is (at least for that moment) an asshole, and does not belong in Occupied space. Period. This can be a very hard idea for people in an inclusive movement to accept — we really want to have all voices heard. But the principles #Occupy stands for must always take precedence over any individual’s divine right to be an asshole, or the assholes will take over. Which brings me to….