The Economics of the Black Bloc

From C4SS by |
@BlackCatSociet1 |

August 12th, 2019

The black bloc, at least as I have experienced it, is a very extreme departure from everyday economic life.

No one buys or sells anything — in fact, you shouldn’t even bring your wallet to something like this. They’ll use it to ID you. Instead, everyone gives everyone else things — if you need anything in the bloc, you just ask around. Someone will get it for you. There are no laws, of course — within the bloc, all legalities are suspended. So far, so anarcho-communistic.

It would seem as though I should be quaking in my LWMA boots at this disproof of everything I’ve been saying!

But there is also a lack of other hallmarks of communism: there is no reputation, or at least no long-term reputation. We become nearly indistinguishable within the bloc — nearly fungible people. There are no commune-wide meetings. There isn’t even anything resembling a commune! There is no production within the bloc, or at least no production of physical objects. There is consumption of goods, certainly, but no production of them — just as there could be said to be production and consumption of services. If it is a sort of communism, it is a deeply post-left and insurrectionary sort — Crimethinc, not Kropotkin.

However, despite the absence of workers, there is a sort of quasi-hierarchy, based on –of all things– ownership. When I show up to the bloc in nothing but my simple blacks, I am treated as disposable and accorded no respect. When I show up with a helmet, a shield, armor, a visible weapon, goggles, a gas mask, and so on — why, when I do that, I’m treated far better. I am treated as someone to take seriously. My questions are answered, supplies are provided for me much more readily, I am allowed to tag along with even established groups, and so on. Further: the more gear I show up in, the more such respect and resources I am accorded. One who needs little is given much, and one who needs much is given little. Is this communism? One would likely think not.

How do I explain any of this? Through economics, of course.

When we all come together in the bloc, we form an impromptu firm. We all know that we have a common purpose, and the cost of trying to coordinate ourselves in a more sophisticated way than this sort of quasi-communism is very high, much higher than any benefit we might get from it, especially given that we engage in no production processes during the bloc. Without production processes, there is very little for any would-be market to optimize. We are become beasts of consumption and appropriation, only. These would-be costs of trying to coordinate ourselves are only made higher by our having no money or credit instruments at hand, and no way to track each other even if we did. Further lowering the benefits of any would-be market, and raising the costs of trying to engage in it, is the knowledge that anything we bring might very well be seized at the end, or have to be discarded in the final panicked flights with which we often conclude — there is no point in having any savings, in consuming or giving out any less than the absolute most that we could.

The reason why having better gear gets me better treatment is that it signals to others that I am someone serious. All other signals are obliterated by the bloc — I could be anyone, absolutely anyone, under the mask. My own mother couldn’t pick me out. No one can keep track of me. Literally the only info my fellow antifascists have on me is what gear I have brought with me — and so they must assume that, if I am willing to spend my money on that gear, I must know what to do with it. As such, of course, I can only be judged as an efficient use of the firm’s resources — after all, I have shown that I think that my resources are used efficiently on me. Who could find a basis by which to doubt me? No one, no one at all — there is too much noise, and that is the only signal anyone can receive.

The bloc is an expression of the dynamics of economics, just as all social activity ultimately is. We organize the way that we do, not because of particular insurrectionary ideas that we do or don’t have, but because (absent the centralized and organized coercion of the state) we naturally and inevitably find ourselves working together to accomplish our individual desires. Fueled by noise, by a common desire to kick nazi ass, by whatever we can spare, by our bodies, by everything we can find, we make these ramshackle economic machines and run them off the cliffs to joyous doom.

There are 12 Comments

Yeah, it's also an extreme departure from anything remotely relevant to a high ninety percent of the populace who will never take part in Black Bloc activities. Congratulations of a sort must be in order here.

I suppose paleo-black bloc would be the most logical form of activism, rocks and tree branches shaped into clubs. Any thoughts?

OK, I have to give you some credit, this is an extremely bold (and weird!) idea for an article, especially for a mutualist (?).

So let's give you some credit for your idea and think about it together a bit.

First critique:

-Uneven distribution of gear in the black bloc is a risk. It's a risk first of all for the individual, who may be singled out and targeted as the "most" dangerous; second of all for those not similarly equipped, who might be attacked first by police as the "weakest link"; and finally, for everyone, in that everything that differentiates the participants undermines the effectiveness of the tactic itself. Don't fool yourself that the police can't go through footage and try to work out who the only one with a hockey stick is.

so... anyone who wants to make a black bloc work brings and distributes as much identical gear as possible. Even if some people can't use it, it's *better* that it is in their hands as well, to create confusion for the authorities as to who is most dangerous.

Therefore, the bloc had better be anarcho-communist, and every individual participant in it has an interest in approaching it thus.

This is very simple and basic. And I'm an insurrecto, not some fucking syndicalist or whatever.

Keep on honoring your warrior code of Black Bloc fucking hell. Ressentiment can get ppl all worked up and crazy I guess, punching objects and fuming. Take all the shields and protective gear off, stretch out on some lawn or on a beach with the waves breaking and rippling over your head. Think about dolphins or seagulls fighting over french fries.
Hope this helps ;)

criticism is pointing out the shortcomings in an argument/position. it is also pointing out the shortcomings of the way(s) the argument/position is proffered. if i were criticising a work of museum art, for example, and i found the visual presentation lacking in a quality i usually associate with "good art", then i'd certainly say something. similarly, if i found the visual presentation lacking in texture or depth, then i'd certainly say something about the choice of medium. neither has anything to do with an opinion about whether or not the artist should stop making art, much less that s/he should fuck off and die.

writing and posing. Proof of this is the The Right (in all its guises) continues to dominate and, is,most probably, increasing its domination. The Right appears to be organised in ways the Left (anarchists etc) can only dream of. Nuff Said.

serious flaw in the argument (presuming that’s it's being offered in good faith): the right’s project is all about domination and exploitation. they have a few thousand years of class-based culture behind them, reinforcing the ideology that domination and exploitation is the best way to organize society. the “Left” (broadly speaking, for the sake of this particular argument) is opposed at least to the more exploitative aspects of class-based culture. the “Left” has always been in a defensive position, so why do you want to blame us for not being like our enemies?

Action is not going to save you. Ironically one of the things that gets you out of this is for leftism radicalism and other non right stuff to theorize its way out of this malaise. Study the pre-configurations of the alt-right and you see people like Nick Land, Moldbug, John Bowden ect and they talked and wrote a lot. The key is they created effective communicative discourse that was a fresh break and new take from the right wing reactionary stuff that came before(think some loser like Bill White to which contemporary antifa and now old left orthodox 1968 are the leftist equivalents)

What non right wing reactionary discourse needs right now are their answers to those above thinkers and this can only be done by breaking with 1968 orthodoxy and creating new refreshing effective communicative patterns of thought. We(said ironically) need our own dark enlightenment. Ironically I like the term intellectual dark web, it's a pity it's been taken up by centrist political hacks. Perhaps the term can be appropriated.

Certainly the likes of me and le way along with the post-left will make up the nicheier aspects of this new radical discourse and epoch as some of us can see a major discursive realignment coming on level of pre to post-WW2.

After seeing the riot dudes in Hong Kong torture an innocent bystander by mistake, THAT'S THE FLAW IN BLACK BLOC, it ends up just being the mob, emotionally unstable, with no tactics or plan, against a superior foe. Read The Art of War, learn that the greatest enemy is within ones own mind, that tantrums are non-creative and just for show.

To conclude, in case this isn't obvious, Sir E and I are Russian bots here to demoralize potential anarchists and distract you from the potential actions that you might take. I appreciate that this website gives us such a good platform for doing so! Excuses and obfuscation for the win!

I'm all about demoralizing being an amoralist. I'm certainly not demotivating, I'm simply holding up a mirror and showing you activist antifa idiots what isn't working right now. I'd love to see some action but there needs to be new and better theory for this to happen going forward my dear Le Way imposter.

You're old ossified actions are their own deflating force in an age of high speed internet memes and propaganda.

Yes dear SirE, if only THEY held up the critical analysis mirror to themselves, as we both have so diligently confronted it ourselves, and stripped away the old doctrines of torpidity, and freed ourselves forward into the 21st Century!
07:52 was a comment by me, I was too lazy to sign in at the time, but need I mention that 10:56 is an imposter? No!

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