CrimethInc. to Debate Chris Hedges in NYC


Immediately before the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, we will meet Chris Hedges in New York City for a public debate about diversity of tactics. This debate will be free and open to the public, and livestreamed for those who can’t attend.

Occupy Tactics

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

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 and N+1, Associate Editor at Dissent magazine, and a co-editor of Occupied!: Scenes from Occupied America

Download posters and handbills promoting the event:
Poster: Color : B&W
Handbill: Color : B&W

Co-sponsored by: CUNY Graduate Center, CrimethInc. Ex-Workers Collective, Aid & Abet, The Sparrow Project, Occupied Media, The Indypendent, PM Press, Bluestockings Bookstore

For more information:

10 thoughts on “CrimethInc. to Debate Chris Hedges in NYC

  1. Everyone should show up and wave black foam fingers with the Crimethinc bullet on them :)

  2. Ive been cornered with this very question before by journalists and passersby… My response is usually the same… the cops employ violence, we employ vandalism… At some point you have defend yourself from violence with violence.

  3. “At some point you have defend yourself from violence with violence.”

    Well sure. But throwing a brick through a storefront window isn’t defending yourself from violence; it’s just vandalism.

  4. All you have to do is hold up the poster from Adbusters, the raison d’être of Occupy, the one with the ballerina and the FUCKING BLACK BLOC.

  5. To answer Donna’s objection that breaking windows isn’t self-defense against violence…

    We live in a society in which some people have millions or billions of dollars, while others starve or sicken because they are poor. These inequalities are maintained by violence–if anyone attempts to correct the injustices imposed by property rights, the police immediately respond.

    Shop windows display all the things that are off-limits to poor people, some of which they need–taunting them as they suffer. Were it not for the incredible violence of the state (2.3 million in prison, etc.) you can be sure this situation would be resolved immediately.

    Sometimes breaking windows is an immediate response to this violence: they are broken so people can take the things they need, commodities that were produced by the labor of the poor but that are reserved for the rich.

    Other times, breaking windows could be seen as a material protest against these injustices, which will go on forever unless we create enough blowback that things have to change.

    One can also understand breaking windows as a physical rejection of property rights, demonstrating that at least some people believe those rights are not as important as human needs.

    Maybe you think we can fix everything without breaking anything. THAT’S WORKED GREAT SO FAR.

  6. I admire Chris Hedges for participating in this forum on Sept. 12.

    As an Iranian-American peace and human rights activist, I really care about this issue, because people from my part of the world ultimately pay the price for such “first world” debates; so I am NOT a fence-sitter in this –I am clearly for non-violence, as the ONLY way.

    In my view, “diversity of tactics” is a populist somewhat deceptive slogan for not abandoning the use of violence in the struggle; and the age old justification, of course, is that the other side, the 1%, uses violence, so the 99% violence is “defensive.”

    What I know from decades of experience is that, the “1%” has all the guns and would LOVE the “99%” to resort to violence–in fact it encourages it–so who do the “anarchists” serve by “keeping all the options on the table?”

  7. Mojiagha–

    1. How do you define “violence”? The police–and many liberals–will define it in practice as anything that interrupts the maintenance of order in this society. If you accept their terminology, you equip them to delegitimize anything you–yes, you–do that goes beyond ineffectually expressing your discontent.

    2. It’s not that the so-called 1% want the proponents of social change to “resort to violence” for its own sake–rather, they want us to pick fights we can’t win. There’s an important distinction there. They also want us to engage in purely legal, pacifist protest–for the same reason!

    Let me repeat this: neither clandestine armed struggle nor legalistic pacifism can achieve meaningful social change. That’s why those who don’t want real change (the police, liberals, and also Maoists for that matter) try to confine us to one of those two approaches–which are bound to either strengthen the existing system, or at most replace it with an identical one.

    What we need instead is a broad-based social movement that acts on its own terms to break out of the controls imposed by those who benefit from inequality. Such a movement will surely be branded “violent” by those in power. You are aiding and abetting their narrative by adopting their framework. They will use whatever you say to justify the force they use against protesters and other targets of government repression.

  8. I think in many ways, this debate was solved my MLK and Malcolm X at their historic summit. In fact, one could say Malcolm X created the first Black Block. As some may know, the agreement was that those who are militant should outline the outside of the marches, protecting pacifist protestors and children from the police. By ignoring Historic Precedent, and refusing to acknowledge the work of previous generation, the Black Block debate has taken us back to the early 1950’s politically, not an advance. Those who wish to instigate violence or property destruction for the sake of it, or worst, they think they need to “teach” others the system is screwed, are acting just like vanguardists, or worst, agent provocateurs.

  9. being pro-resistance is a much more defensible position than being pro-violence. Many liberals and pacifists operate under the assumption reinforced by popular culture, media, and conventional history that peaceful tactics alone are effective and conscionable. While this is untrue, too often I see anarchist comrades crudely negate an untruth with hasty conclusion so as to appear risque. When we so predictably react to public discourse it makes us extremely easy to manipulate by those that want to discredit us. What matters is solidarity and the the ability to pop the subjectivity bubbles of well-intentioned but misguided people whose hearts are in the right place, not to create our own. Lastly we should we take violence serious and not glibbly engage in it. It should be considered a last option. I want nothing to do with anyone that does this for fun because nothing about the world we live in and the task at hand is fun.

  10. Pingback: Occupy Wall Street and the Black Bloc Anarchists: Debating Tactics - NewsCream

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