Tag Archives: black bloc

CrimethInc vs. Chris Hedges, a Debate on Tactics & Legitimacy in Occupy & Beyond

[NEW YORK, NY] The debate surrounding “diversity of tactics” has indeed become a polarizing one …perhaps we helped (in part) to change that last week as we attempted to bring the fervor of both sides to the CUNY Grad Center for a respectful debate surrounding tactical legitimacy in today’s contemporary social movements.

Chris Hedges made himself a self-described “lightning rod” for this tactical debate in February, 2012 when he published his now infamous “The Cancer in Occupy” article (an indictment of black-bloc tactics) on his syndicated TruthDig column.  The sometimes ugly debate that followed Hedges’ article continued to boil over on internet forums and comments feeds surrounding the Occupy movement.  Since there is little accountability on internet forums and similar venues we thought it would be prudent to bring both sides together for a respectful face-to-face debate.   Short of a handful of passionate outbursts the audience at last week’s debate at the CUNY Grad Center between the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges and B. Travern of The Crimethinc. Ex-Workers Collective was perhaps the most disciplined “real-world” assembly surrounding this polarizing argument.Both Travern and Hedges attempted during the debate to define where tactical legitimacy begins and ends.  While each had differing answers to the moderator’s questions, the audience was excited to see the intersections between the two.  Travern conceded that he found himself agreeing with ~80% of what Hedges said about revolution. Interestingly Hedges also conceded when he proclaimed that “he is not a pacifist” and announced during the debate that he too is an advocate for “a diversity of tactics” …yet the two drift apart when defining what “diversity of tactics” personally means to each of them.  Though some awkward gaffs were made, and some questions left unanswered, the event as a whole was an informative and encouraging experience that many could take a great deal away from.  We encourage you to watch the video above, share it with your friends, embed it on your own blogs, continue to build dialogue surrounding the issues therein, and most of all take action for a more just future in the most effective and sensible ways you see fit.

At times it makes sense for Sparrow to mute our “radical” opinions and instead provide substantive facts that mimetically lead the readers/viewers/listeners we engage with to reach their own radical conclusions.  This is why we felt a public debate, in the vacuum of a highly controlled venue, would be the best way to harness the vitriol of 7 months of internet bickering and turn it into something hopeful and constructive.  We hope we did just that…

This event would not have been possible without the help of the CUNY Grad Center, Sujatha Fernandes, Sarah Leonard, Mintwood Media, Jen Angel of Aid & Abet, and the volunteers that helped with everything from filming to de-escalation..

 

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
FREE ADMISSION
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