Occupy Philadelphia: Black Flag Anarchists

Occupy Philadelphia: Black Flag Anarchists

During the November 17, 2011 Occupy Philadelphia Dilworth Plaza protests, this small group of anarchists showed up to support the movement. Black Flags and generally the color black have long been associated with Anarchism. Where the white flag usually symbolizes surrender or ceasefire, the black flag is a symbol of defiance and opposition to surrender.

Black Flag Anarchism is a broad and often vague political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or, opposes authority and hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations. There are many types of anarchism and anarchist schools of thought. While most anarchists oppose all forms of aggression, some support the use of coercive measures. The photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, linguist, philosopher and activist Noam Chomsky, and, prominent American labor and community organizer, "the grandmother of all agitators", Mother Jones, are among renown anarchists. In the U.S., until the 1950's, the term anarchism was used as a synonym for libertarianism. It has since become an ambiguous and misused term.

Occupy is a nonviolent movement, open to anyone who is interested in participating or discussing issues. However, some have attempted to infiltrate the movement to push their specific agendas; Some black bloc anarchists have perpetuated vandalism during several Occupy demonstrations. The movement distances itself from black bloc tactics, for these tactics only serve to undermine the message and supply the mainstream media, unsympathetic politicians and law enforcement with ammunition. Chris Hedges has written a must-read piece about black bloc anarchists: "The Cancer in Occupy". As long as Occupy denounces violence, remains leaderless and continues to advocate a message of inclusiveness, it will grow. If it does not adhere to these principles, it shall fade into irrelevance, and lose the support of its millions of tacit sympathizers all over the world.

2012-01-11 Update: Chris Hedges' article has received a strong reaction in the blogosphere. Some have praised it while others, some anarchists, have been angered by it. Personally I do not see the point of vandalizing stores, breaking windows and spray painting walls. It only angers store owners and residents, turning people away from Occupy. As a tacit supporter myself, if Occupy allows or resorts to black bloc tactics, my sympathy for the movement will end.

More Occupy photos.

Song of the Day: Redemption Song - Bob Marley (1980)
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