The Bloc

It was June, 1980, that german police forcefully evicted a squat in Gorleben, that over 5000 peaceful protesters called home. This lead to a demonstration in Berlin, later known as “Black Friday”, one of the first successful examples, and the namesake of the now world famous “Black Bloc Tactic”. This involves protestors dressing all in black, covering their faces with a diverse mix of scarves, hoods and sunglasses. Therefore allowing them to act directly and anonymously without facing prosecution from oppressive state regimes or far right agitators weeks later, when other comrades are out of sight.

What it seems, is too often forgotten by both the mainstream Media, who are far to quick to label any protest malicious the moment a hood is pulled, and protestors, who are often far to eager to pull their hood without cause, is this; Black Bloc is a protest tactic and should be treated as such. It is not a default dress code for Anarchists or AntiFascists at every event. Unless engaging in an action where your identity could incriminate you, do not bloc up.

Now don’t get me wrong, Black Bloc has its time and place, but your local family friendly “more cycle-paths” protest probably isn’t it, (not to take away from the very real and pressing issue of a lack of cycle-paths in inner cities).

Black Bloc can be extremely intimidating to locals of the community where you are protesting, while also giving Law enforcement an excuse to break up otherwise peaceful protests, and the state an excuse to ban face coverings all together. These are not positive outcomes for anyone, and do more damage to the Anti Authoritarians and Antifascists than they do good, only adding to the stigma already attached with the radical left movement.

In fact covering your face often leads to police identifying you as a trouble maker early on in protests, leaving you very little freedom for direct action, throughout a demonstration, and more likely to be arrested in group formations.

Black Bloc is also not an excuse to act irresponsibly or unnecessarily violently. Violence is always a last resort, a necessary evil when all else fails, not the go-to behaviour when the mask comes on. Now while theres nothing wrong with the occasional airborne pepsi can, theres little to be gained from the mindless carnage of city centres, especially in communities you are not a part of. Violent black blocs have a distinct purpose. They should not be glorified or fetishised, and to do so would be disrespectful to generations of Anti-Authoritarian and Anti-Fascist struggle.

Now more than ever, Antifascist must challenge the unfair prosecution-without-trial the Media has handed them, showing they are not the violent thugs of far right movements, but members of all communities, genders, ethnicities and nationalities, a radical voice of the people, fighting back against an unfair and oppressive system.

When used correctly the Black Bloc is an extremely effective tactic, allowing masses of protestors to engage in direct action, without fear of the far right or law enforcers identifying them.

No doubt Black Bloc is sometimes necessary, but more important than ever, is to know when its not.






By Any Means Necessary

The name “Antifa” has a lot of stigmas that surround it. For many people, or at least the people who don’t support it, it conjures the thought of masked thugs violently attacking anyone they view as an “enemy” or target. People associate many negative things with Antifa and Antifa groups, some of the general public and most of the far right even view Anti-Fascists as terrorists, likened to that of Daiesh (So called Islamic state) and the Taliban.

However, this is only the face of Anti-Fascism, one that most people don’t even promote themselves but one that many inexperienced Antifa’s or people new to the scene seem to romanticise and unfortunately, their voices are the loudest. While violent acts do play a major role in Anti-Fascism it is not the only tool that we, as a movement, have and nor is it the only one that we should use.

Around a month ago (February 2017) An article began recircling again, originally from around late 2016, about an African-American male who joined the Ku Klux Klan chapter in his state. Instead of violently attacking the members or reporting them to other violent Anti-Fascists groups – He spoke to them. He befriended them, he listened to them and even visited some of their houses for dinner, becoming very close to a lot of their families. In doing so he managed to reach out to over 200 members of the KKK chapter and convince them to hang up their white robes and hoods.

This article, while incredibly positive and damaging to the far-right, was used against the cause of Anti-Fascism as a way to condemn our violent acts and was also rejected by members of the Antifa community as being too soft of Nazism and Fascism. This is not something that we should reject or belittle or allow to be used against us but something that we should utilise. Of course, there is a time and a place for acts of physical force, especially when defending minority groups, as many Antifa groups pride themselves on, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t attempt to implement some form of diplomacy into our tactics.

Something a lot of Antifa’s seem to forget is that people of the far right are actually people. While to us, their views are disgusting, hateful and twisted, they are still human beings and helping them change their minds should always be the first course of action, if possible. It’s better to have a former fascist fighting for the far-left than an unconscious fascist, lying in the hospital bed with a few broken ribs and a refuelled hatred for Antifa and all this it stands for. As well as this,  engaging with the general public will always help the cause – As previously stated, there is a lot of stigmas that surround Antifa and a lot of the public who know of the community view it as hateful and violent – while at times this can be the case, for us that are apart of it, we know it’s not the truth and by talking to people, we can help show them the true meaning of our cause and help them learn to support it.

Even if we couldn’t change the mind of a Nazi or help recruit a member of the public, we could at least take away some of the negative connotations that come with the Antifa name and put the movement as a whole, in a better light, which will definitely benefit us all.

But remember – “If you cannot convince a fascist, acquaint his head with the pavement”Leon Trotsky