By: Bruce Bialosky
As a regular reader, you would know that after the election I spent some time investigating the Alt-Right which was supposedly a major force in the Trump election. My column put a damper on the relevance of this group despite all the hoopla. Since the election, the Black Bloc has become a major disrupter in our country yet it is barely written or spoken about.
A friend asked me if I was aware of the group which in itself speaks volumes. The group traces its roots back to Europe during the 1980s. It had its most pronounced debut in the United States during the 1999 Seattle riots during the World Trade Organization meeting, but really traces back to 1991 protests at the World Bank building during the Persian War.
To be fair, while doing research I did find that the MSM has written about the Black Bloc. But in their inimitable style, the publications write one or two columns to cover their butts and say they have addressed the issue – only to drop the subject. Reading accounts in the beacons of the MSM – the New York Times and the Washington Post — did not really address the lawlessness of the group and tended to romanticize the group because of their anti-Trump strains.
It is fascinating how, when covering Republican activities, the MSM almost always injects colorful adjectives or adverbs to characterize the subject. When addressing the Black Bloc, they seem to revert to being reporters. A February 2nd NYT article gave the Black Bloc a platform to define and defend their actions. They quoted the following about their actions in Berkeley, CA, on February 1: “Yes, what the black bloc did last night was destructive to property” wrote Eric Laursen, a writer in Massachusetts who has helped publicize anarchist protests, using another name for the black-clad demonstrators. “But do you just let someone like Milo go wherever he wants and spread his hate? That kind of argument can devolve into ‘just sit on your hands and wait for it to pass.’ And it doesn’t.”
The group is characterized by showing up to events dressed head-to-toe in black. The only thing you might see are their eyes. The idea is that the players retain anonymity. They typically meet near a planned protest like the one that occurred in Berkeley to protest Milo Yiannopoulos’ speech. They were the ones responsible for the violence there and the violence at the Trump Inauguration. Though the police were near useless in stopping the violence in Berkeley, over 200 people were arrested in D.C.
A recurrent theme that the press repeats is that the group is not an organization, but kind of an ad hoc spontaneous activity. An article in The Nation by Natasha Lennard who participated in the January 20th violent protests amplifies this idea. She starts her column by heralding the beauty of actual Alt-Right leader Richard Spencer being sucker punched in the face. She goes on to state “The black bloc is not a group but an anarchist tactic—marching as a confrontational united force, uniformed in black and anonymized for security. Once deployed, the tactic has an alchemic quality, turning into a temporary object—the black bloc.” This theme was repeated throughout multiple articles in the MSM as if it were fact. Notice elements of the MSM who abhor violence throughout the pages of their publications accept violence against Trump supporters, Republicans and in general white men.
If we may, let us go over some concepts regarding the Black Bloc:
It is not a tactic; it is an organized group. Ask yourself, how did all those people meet up for the protests, in Berkeley, Seattle, Middlebury and D.C.? Someone is getting the news out regarding where and when to meet. Those people are called ring leaders.
There is no justification for the violence they perpetrate. As despicable as you may think Richard Spencer is, we do not solve our issues in our civilized society by sucker punching people in the face. They also were responsible for Professor Allison Stanger ending up in a neck brace after Charles Murray’s March 2nd speech was cancelled at Middlebury College.
The group purports to fight against fascism. That is a recurring theme in their activities. Somehow, they miss the irony of the comparison to the Nazi Black Shirts.
The fact that they hide their faces is reminiscent of another group on the scene today – ISIS. The fact that they do not have the guts to show themselves in public would allow some of their antagonists to call them cowards. This is how the KKK operated, but hidden behind white garb as opposed to black. The Black Bloc has not raised itself to the violent level of the other two groups, however.
The police need to get serious about apprehending and imprisoning these criminals. If there is a protest planned, they can count on the fact that the Black Bloc will piggyback onto that protest and the police need to plan accordingly. The FBI should also be tracking the activities of the ring leaders. If some of these anonymous people are tried and imprisoned, it could deter the others from diverting their lives into this organized hooliganism. Also, the peaceful protesters have an obligation to either help the police or disband once these criminals show up.
The police and the MSM need to start some hysteria about these people before the violence escalates even further. That is what we do in a civilized society.