Violence & Legitimacy in the Occupy Movement & Beyond: A Debate between Chris Hedges & the CrimethInc. Ex-Workers Collective

Violence & Legitimacy in the Occupy Movement & Beyond: A Debate between Chris Hedges & the CrimethInc. Ex-Workers Collective

[NEW YORK, NY] On February 6th, 2012 Chris Hedges published “Black Bloc: The Cancer in Occupy” on his syndicated Truthdig column, since that day the internet has been ablaze with passion on both sides of an argument that at it’s very least is attempting to draw a line between perceived “legitimate” tactics and “illegitimate” tactics used in-and-by social struggles.  On Wednesday, September 12th, immediately before the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, we will meet Chris Hedges at the CUNY Grad Center in New York City for a public debate about diversity of tactics. This debate is free and open to the public & will be livestreamed for those who can’t attend.

Violence and Legitimacy in the Occupy Movement and Beyond:
A Debate between Chris Hedges and CrimethInc. on Tactics & Strategy, Reform & Revolution

Wednesday, September 12, 2012, 7:00 pm
Proshansky Auditorium
Lower level, CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue (@ 34th street)
New York City, NY 10016

Not in NYC? A free livestream of the event will be available online.

Why a debate?
Since Occupy Wall Street took Zuccotti Park in September 2011, there has been a resurgence of social movement activity in the United States. As momentum has increased, age-old questions over tactics, strategy, and goals have returned to the fore.

What is violence? Who gets to define it? Do illegal actions have a place in our movements? This discussion never takes place in a vacuum or on a level playing field; rather, it occurs within the context of a struggle that is already in progress, where every statement has immediate ramifications for the participants. Differing tactical approaches often reflect fundamental differences in strategy and goals.  At the core of these issues is the question: What are we fighting for and how do we get there?

This moderated debate will feature:

Chris Hedges, Journalist

Chris Hedges is an American journalist, author, and war correspondent, specializing in American and Middle Eastern politics and societies. He will speak to the perspectives behind his controversial article “The Cancer in Occupy”regarding black bloc tactics and anarchist participation in the Occupy movement.

B. Traven, CrimethInc. Ex-Workers Collective
B. Traven will support the case for a diversity of tactics in the Occupy movement and in broader anti-capitalist struggles worldwide, illustrating an anarchist critique of the status quo and a vision of social transformation. CrimethInc. has produced many books and articles, including  “The Illegitimacy of Violence, the Violence of Legitimacy,” composed in part as a response to Hedges’ “The Cancer in Occupy.”

Moderated by Sujatha Fernandes, CUNY Graduate Center

Sujatha Fernandes is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Queens College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She is the author of several books on urban politics and culture; the latest is “Close to the Edge: In Search of the Global Hip Hop Generation” (Verso). She has written about the Occupy movement and recent global uprisings for The New York Times and The Huffington Post.

Opening remarks by Sarah Leonard, Dissent Magazine

Sarah Leonard is an editor and writer living in Brooklyn, with particular interest in Left politics and the cultural effects of technology. She is an editor of The New Inquiry, Associate Editor at Dissent magazine, and a co-editor of Occupied!: Scenes from Occupied America.

You can download posters & handbills to promote the event HERE

Poster: Color : B&W
Handbill: Color : B&W

Co-sponsored by
CUNY Graduate Center, CrimethInc. Ex-Workers CollectiveAid & AbetThe Sparrow ProjectOccupied MediaThe IndypendentPM PressBluestockings Bookstore




  1. Is this gonne be a liberalist/libertarian/anarchist type debate? Or is it strictly about protest tactics? Either way, should be a good step forward in the process.

    • *Is this gonna be a

    • Hi Rick,

      There will be opening comments from Sarah.

      …then a 15 minute case made by Hedges, 10 minute response from B and lastly a 5 minute retort by Hedges.

      …then a 15 minute case made by B, 10 minute response from Hedges and lastly a 5 minute retort by B.

      …then each side will be allowed closing remarks.

      …Lastly we will take 5 questions from the crowd, questions will be collected on notecards as to avoid outbursts or arguments, each of the debaters will have the same allotted time to respond to the question cards.

  2. The title of this article is fucking hilarious.

    I love things that make the implication that “the Black Bloc” exists as an organization or political tendency, rather than its reality as an ad-hoc group of people who show up to a protest wearing all-black and willing to commit militant actions.

    • The title of the article is exactly what is happening nothing in the copy is exaggerated.

      No one is claiming that BlacBloc is anything more than a tactic, the tactic is what is being debated.

  3. OCCUPY, I’m proud to be even peripherally involved, It feeds my soul. It’s a process that I am committed to, through stop evictions.

  4. Where can the livestream be located?

  5. Ugh. Oh well, it’s worth trotting out the meme again:

    The Many Moods of Chris Hedges:

  6. I hope CrimethInc. will not only ask why Hedges thinks burning down police stations in Egypt is nonviolent where tipping over candy machines in Oakland is violent, but also why it was more important to denounce that “violence” while ignoring the greater purveyors of violence who committed a war crime by mass arresting 400 people, gassed prisoners, and taunted an elderly black man racially while denying him use of a bathroom until he shat himself. Oh yes, and then the bus of people he was incarcerated with were collectively punished for his “crime.”

  7. was this recorded, and is it archived anywhere?

    • There was a fantastic video team present. They will be posting a high-res archive hopefully by Sunday, we will embed it here for you to share.