Violent Protests: What You Should Know About Black Blocs

Joe Alton Contributor
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The United States is dedicated to the right of free speech. Peaceful demonstrations in the past have served as catalysts for social change, such as civil rights legislation. The nation, however, was shocked by the violence perpetrated in the protest against Milo Yiannopoulos’ scheduled speech at UC-Berkeley.

The violence was not inflicted by the majority of attendees, who were mostly peaceful despite strong (and misguided) feelings about the proposed speaker. Instead, a cadre of black-clad, masked guerillas worked in an organized fashion to cause as much mayhem as possible. They set fires, smashed windows, and assaulted those of opposing viewpoints. This paramilitary group is the black bloc.

What, exactly, is the black bloc? The black bloc is a collection of anarchists and agitators which first popped up in Germany in the 1980s. They appeared in the United States on the west coast in the 1990s, protesting capitalism and causing damage to corporate buildings and outlets.

In a 2001 article on the web site “A-Infos” (titled as “a multi-lingual news service by, for, and about anarchists”), Daniel Dylan Young stated that “the black bloc effectively empowered people to take action in collective solidarity against the violence of state and capitalism.” Action, as defined in this case, means violence.

Today, the black bloc in the U.S. directs its dark energy against conservatives in general and President Trump in particular. Famously, one of them punched alt-right luminary Richard Spencer (who coined the term) in the face on inauguration day.

In reality, the black bloc is a tactic more than an organization. The black clothing and masks makes it difficult for law enforcement to identify specific individuals, impeding their ability to make arrests. One inflicts violence, then melts away into a crowd of similarly dressed people; proof that anonymity is the Great Emboldener (ask any internet troll).

Black bloc members come equipped for a violent confrontation. Many wear motorcycle helmets, padding, and may even carry cudgels and staffs, mimicking the riot police that are deployed before them. They designate targets, whether it be corporate offices, stores, or people.

This tactic works. In 1986, a black bloc engaged in street fighting that put German police in full retreat. The next day, they set fires at 13 department stores in Hamburg, causing millions in damage.

The resurgence (and “success”) of black blocs in the Trump era means that you can depend on more violence from the Left when they protest. Peaceful demonstrations may be a thing of the past. Indeed, pro-Trump counter-demonstrating may be hazardous to your health, a likely reason why there is so little of it.

Yet, we cannot allow black blocs to achieve their modern goal of silencing conservative voices. If we do, the ranks of destructive Leftist ninjas will swell, causing a cascade of escalating violence that will make our country unrecognizable in short order.