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Today: Chris Hedges to debate Diversity of Tactics advocate from OccupyOakland

Chris Hedges to debate Diversity of Tactics advocate from OccupyOakland, Wednesday, February 8, 2011, 10:00-11:00am PST. NOTE: This site is EST, so time is adjusted.

KPFA 94.1FM, www.kpfa.org (listen live).

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okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

Christophe Lapore(sp?) self-describes as a "militant" and says he is not "black bloc". Meanwhile Hedges says his article was specifically about Black Bloc, and not OO, and not miltancy per se.

Describing this as a debate between Hedges and a "Diversity of Tactics advocate" is probably the best way to put it, but I'm not sure what exact "tactics" the other guest advocates.

That is actually the frustration with the term, as a strategy to maintain "plausible deniability"* nobody who advocates for it will define it.

* Nixonian!

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

otherwise there would not be an article responding to Hedges.

I really hate conversations about violence, it is like conversations about torture, once you have fine print discussions about definitions, you have already lost your moral compass.

And I HATE the Diversity of Tactics euphemism for violence. Mostly I just can't stand that people don't get that violence is wrong, it is just plain wrong.

Submitted by MontanaMaven on

More profound that Hedges in that his thinking is not stale and definitely of this moment. Before listening to this discussion which I strongly recommend, my parting with Hedges was on his use of the word "anarchism" with the tactic of black bloc. He referred to "black bloc anarchism". Having recently rediscovered anarchism and am currently plowing through a book on British anarchist thought from the 19th century to the present"Anarchist Seeds Beneath the Snow" by David Goodway , I find the material very rich and thought provoking philosophically. Also reading about the actual realities of putting those ideas into practice in the struggles by the anarchists against both the fascists and the communists in Spain was both uplifting and disheartening. To even b e able to talk about alternative systems such anarchism is one of Occupy's greatest gifts. So I was puzzled by Hedges rather haphazard use of the word "anarchism". Or was it intentional? That is what I was asking after I read his piece yesterday.

Now having listened to this discussion I am amazed at there being a whiff of weasel about a man, Hedges, who I have admired and whose books and articles I fervently have read. Hedges counters Kristof Lopauer's eloquent and moving explanation of Occupy Oakland with the statement "I wasn't talking about militancy. I was talking about black bloc...Writing about militancy has to be more nuanced."

So why did you do it Chris? Why let Occupy Oakland be confused with black bloc? Why let militancy (like taking over an abandoned building that he approves of) be confused with vandalism? Why again use the term "anarchic chaos" to be used as in "If they continue to permit anarchic chaos and violence by these black bloc groups...they will be effectively isolated" from the movement.

Who is Hedges to dictate this? Why does he feel he speaks for OWS which he believes is a nice middle class "main stream" movement where middle class folks can bring their babies in their strollers to participate? Really? Is it the same old same old carrying of signs and petitioning our betters for some gruel and then going home and waiting for an election?

I agree with Lopauer that this smells like weak reforms that the liberal class participates in that serve as "a safety valve" and "useful component for the power elite" that Hedges himself warns against.

My head is whiplashing back and forth; sister...mother...sister...mother....

Yes, the real danger is co-option by the liberal media and liberal elites who want control and do not want real democracy because real democracy is messy.

ChePasa's picture
Submitted by ChePasa on

It's all Chinatown after a while

I kinda wish Kristof had gone after Hedges with a little more punch, but I got the distinct impression he really didn't want to, which was very mature on his part.

Kristof made his points very calmly and let Hedges babble and backfill all he wanted. Honestly, in all the times I've seen and heard Hedges talk, I've never heard him struggle like that. He knows he did a naughty, and he's been called on it -- abundantly -- and I don't think the mark of it will go away any time soon. In the past, I have heard him get very huffy when challenged, his demeanor was much more contrite today.

When he was called on his false characterizations of OO, he assured the listeners he "wasn't writing about Occupy Oakland" only about Black Bloc, and when he was informed there had only been one Black Bloc... last November... and it's never been repeated... He wanted to talk about something else. "OWS." Note the sleight of hand?

His polemic is titled "The Cancer in Occupy," but he's only concerned with "OWS" (which is one part of "Occupy") and its branding as a safe, middle class, and as Kristof says, "liberal" and nonviolent activist outfit. Did he even say the word "anarchist" during the show? I don't think so, unless it was in reference to Jensen. As I recall, he did not use the "Black Bloc anarchist" label that is so prominent in print.

At any rate, he almost came close to an apology for smearing Occupy Oakland the way he did, but then he backed off -- showing real cowardice I think -- by insisting that "OWS" shouldn't be confronting the police. Sure. Right. Convince them of that!

As for Occupy Oakland's militancy... well, I guess he thinks it might be appropriate there. He was only writing about Black Bloc!

I've praised him many times in the past, and I probably will again; there's no point in making this a grudge match. But he really did a faceplant into the weeds with this one.

I don't know whether you've seen this; it's a reply from Occupy LA's "online Black Bloc."

http://ola-asm.tumblr.com/post/17189347129/colonizerchrishedges

Submitted by Alcuin on

Excellent analysis, ChePasa! I loved your choice of words when you wrote that Hedges "really did a faceplant into the weeds on this one." That was my reaction too. I've liked his writing in the past - now, I'll have to adopt a more critical stance when reading his pieces. I loved that link to OLA - have you read Gilderloos' book, How Nonviolence Protects the State? It's a free download - read the Counterpunch article for the link.

Submitted by lambert on

It's Black Block letting itself be confused with Oakland. Of course, considering the public relations and strategic disaster black block created for #oo, it's not surprising both they and their apologists would be minimizing and backtracking. Shooting the messenger (in this case Hedges) is part of that, of course.

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