Apparently all one has to do in order to be part of this here Black Bloc thingamajig is to turn up at a demonstration or protest march dressed in black from head to foot, with a ski mask or bandanna covering your face and preferably carrying some sort of stick or truncheon. Oh, and it kinda helps if you have a strong desire to hit things. Or people.
Recently here in the UK we have had some demos of a peaceful nature being infiltrated by these asswipes, such as the blockade of Fortnum & Mason (where the Royals do their weekly shop and hampers cost £25k apiece) at the recent march by UK Uncut. UK Uncut were protesting against Fortnum & Mason over the tax dodge of over £40 million by its owners Whittington Investments which have a 54% stake in Associated British Foods who produce Ryvita, Kingsmill and others and own Primark.
These Black Bloc types swagger in, gatecrashing the party as it were, reduce the whole thing to a smash-n-grab and get entirely too much media exposure, and make everyone not involved in the protest think that all the participants are violent morons. Mayor of London and hair model Boris Johnson blamed UK Uncut for the violence, claiming that activists "stormed that building, terrified the staff, upset the customers and caused tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage".
|Seems every inch the well-informed type, don't he?|
Trouble is this kind of behaviour is somewhat tolerated by some factions of the left wing in the UK, in spite of the bad rep it gives to more peaceful forms of civil disobedience. And the longer they overlook it, the more it seems like they're almost encouraging it. It is ridiculous to tolerate violence just because those who commit it say they are on your side.
And you see, this is where the real problem lies. Because the techniques of Black Bloccers (sp?) are often imitated by undercover police infiltrators who are intent on criminalising legitimate forms of protest and in the process, destroying any sympathy towards the protesters that the general public might have. Since all members conceal their identities, it is harder to recognize infiltrators. Allegations first surfaced after several demonstrations. At the 2001 G8 summit in Genoa, amongst the many complaints about the police there was mention of video footage in which "men in black were seen getting out of police vans near protest marches." In August 2007, Quebec police admitted that "their officers disguised themselves as demonstrators." On these occasions, some were identified by genuine protesters because of their police-issue footwear.
|Yes, it's definitely a block of black.|
UK Uncut has been surprisingly silent on the whole Fortnum & Mason outrage. They should have swiftly silenced detractors to their cause by quickly speaking out against the Black Bloc, but they have yet to do so. Unfortunately that gives the government a brilliant excuse to curtail 'violent' protests and silence legitimate activists. Pretty soon the only way for an intelligent motivated supporter of social justice to express themselves will be to harrumph loudly or biff themselves or each other over the head with a copy of The Grauniad.
So in summary, if you want to be taken seriously as an activist group, do not tolerate the Black Bloc chaps and chappesses, because all they are out to do is have a bit of a punch-up and ruin your reputation in the process. And to all you wannabe anarchist Black bloccers out there -- go to a football match instead. And Boris - get a decent haircut for Chrissakes, you're enough of a joke as it is.