Trump Expands Empire's War on Protests in US

At Trump's inauguration, around 200 protesters and journalists were mass arrested and now face up to 70 years in prison on baseless charges. Many other legal assaults on civil liberties are in the works around the country, from treating anti-fascists as "domestic terrorists", to legislation protecting drivers who run over peaceful marchers.

To explore what this means for U.S. activists today, Abby Martin (♥) sits down with constitutional rights lawyer Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, head of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (, a premiere legal organization defending protest rights.

So, basically, every time a smashy enters a protest, be it a legit blac blocer or an agent provocateur and smashes a window mass arrests can take place and people can be charged up to 70 years… Isn't it time to say goodbye to blac bloc tactics for good?

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Blac bloc and smashing windows/cars is for Anarcho-Liberal children anyhow

Regardless of the pros and cons of black bloc tactics, your logic here is unsound. If anything, more people should be doing it. It's never a viable option to beg the government to be less authoritarian by falling in line. They already had agencies spying on Quaker pacifist groups during the Iraq invasion - if they're upping the penalty to mass arrests for protest, there's no reason to believe they can't simply justify their action with your beliefs. If you aren't doing anything wrong, they shouldn't be arresting you. And if they're arresting you anyway, then they're doing something wrong.

Why? Let's say we have another OWS situation in the US. Building a mass movement then would require to oust blac blocers to warn against them. There's nothing 'more' anti-authoritarian or 'more' radical in smashing shit, especially since it seems to be the preferred method of the state to frame people.

Blac bloc was an unsound tactic before, but now this is in the open.

You're ceding to a notion of guilt by association, and expecting those who benefit from this notion to yield in kind. They can just send some plants out there and sabotage you, and you won't be able to say oh look these were plants - even in theory, I can't imagine it taking less than a year to convince the general public of such a thing and if they build a legal apparatus to arrest you by association anyway then you'll hardly even have recourse to tell the public. By the time all of this has happened, they'll be making more moves and you'll still be stuck trying to purge your movement of a few gung-ho idiots who aren't even necessarily part of your movement. Back before all this, these kinds of people agitated at football riots.

In all this, you legitimize their claim - you should counter, instead. You may not be a smashie, but anyone who wants to expand state powers to arrest you for being within 100 feet of one is clearly a powermad wannabe despot. Who put the law in their hands? What about their crimes? Why should they be trusted when they continue to grab for more and more power? If they're above the law, there ought to be new ones.

C'mon, communist comrades! Let's not let our guard down! We need to attack shopwindows and rubbish bins, like, right now!

We can't do that, vandalism is wrong fellow Marxreaders! It will make us look bad! What we need to do is hold lots of peaceful protests like in the 2000s so we can have 10/10 optics when we are spied on and arrested! It worked then, it'll work even better now!


Oh, yes they can. Especially with the blac bloc uniform (black dress, covered face). It's like you are asking for infiltration.
Except there are dozens of examples of agent provocateurs having been detected, ousted. Specific kinds of organizational forms (hint:party) are better at monitoring membership than others (hint:horizontalism).
You don't have the means to 'tell the public' (we don't have MSNBCs and FOXs under our sleeves) and that's not the point. You need to organize rallies knowing that this is a threat. You can very easily lay down tactics at a mass protest.
There's a long history of agent provocateurs and feds infiltrating left movements. With the lady in the interview: if you have a successful movement you are idiotic to think they are not already among your ranks.

No, I'm actually understanding these facts as facts and consider planning against them common sense and brushing off these facts as playing into the hands of the powers that be.

You can't counter them using a failed and inherently faulty tactic (blac bloc). You counter them by adopting new tactics, new structures.

This has nothing to do with the topic, and ofc for a communist the powers that be are per definitionem dictatorial. You are attempting to escape the tactical question by appealing to moral tropes. A very idiotic move and shows that you are deeply drenched in ideology.


adult logic!

How the fuck could you possibly get prison for life simply for showing up at a demo…?

No it’s to fun.

t. lumpen

That's what I just said.
Opposing black bloc tactics does not protect you from being framed if the state participates in these mass arrests.

You don't need mainstream news organizations. I'm saying that in jail they won't even let you talk to anyone. The jail you went to for being associated with black bloc, because someone sent fake black bloc-ers to the event.

You keep saying this, but I also already said it.
And the statement about football riots is actually pertinent to this. The government isn't cracking down on black bloc, black bloc tactics have shown up in random fucking places for years and never not been a nuisance. It's cracking down on lawful protest and using black bloc as an excuse - the same way it used terrorism as an excuse to spy on pacifists in the 2000s. The only winning move is not to play their game.

Good thing this has nothing to do with what my suggestions to "counter" were. Here, let me quote myself:

Except it doesn't matter if you're "a shit."
In these mass arrests, they largely do not care what you're doing and if it's legal. There is no pure, virginal pacifist answer to that.
Maybe 40 years later after the anti-capitalist part of your group is dead, you can look back and say "see, we were nice and we did everything legal and because we were such martyrs we got some new pro-tranny laws or something lol it was great" but by then the state will have even more bogeymen to use to rationalize disappearing anyone who so much as looks at the flag funny.

Black bloc (bb) gives the police the perfect alibi and you have to be willfully ignorant not to see this. That single teacher who just got arrested for voicing her opposition to the superintendent's raise did more to the American left in a single day than bb did over two decades (which, I'd argue is actually negative).

The popular image that "the left has no program, they resort to vandalism" is reinforced by deeply flawed and ideological tactics as bb, but even worse, the participants of bb think of themselves as brave radicals while in fact they are just performing meaningless acting outs and nihilistic fanaticism against… against what? Advocates of bb would say "against the state," but infrastructure is actually the thing we need regardless who provided it, smashing shop windows is the private sector not the state (and hardly an attack on capitalism as such), while playing cat and mouse games with the police is completely normalized by now: riot porn is pure spectacle, not an inch more than live car chases on TV.

This all boils down to the idiotic conceptions of what radicals should do like propaganda of the deed and other similarly babby-tier theories. You burning down a street has no inherent (let alone radical) message, your acts don't speak for themselves, they are interpreted, in fact, you opt for meaningless violence exactly because you can't speak for yourself.

But this is their game, you moron. Your shit (a)politics is the norm, spectacular/aesthetic activism is the mainstream, meaningless violence is the language shared by ISIS, bb, random outbursts of shooters. The old ideas about the liberatory potential of terrorism lost their edge long ago – and bb isn't even proper terrorism, ffs, it's just a carnival for kids who have no theory or proper tactics.

BB was the final nail in the coffin of OWS. First the horizontalist principles of OWS denied forming a cohesive front, program, media appearance, while establishing a group of "totally not leader" leaders, then the movement crapped its pants over the beautiful meaninglessness of the multiplicities of opinions, so finally bb could end it all in flames much to the dislike of many participants.

To think that those who oppose bb are pacifist is fucking laughable. I'd go as far as to say that it is bb which is pacifist, its pseudo-activism ensures that the things can go on as they do. Nothing is more relaxing for a politician to see that his opposition consists of kids crashing store windows, the point at which the politician starts to shit his pants in fear when he sees a growing mass movement of hundreds of thousands unified under a revolutionary program with competent and dedicated leadership and disciplined manner.


Read Left-Wing Communism: an Infantile Disorder
Lenin has valuable insights into how communists in "democratic" countries must be prepared to deal with state repression. We could be heading into a new Red Scare in the next decade or so, so we should not make the same mistakes of getting complacent.

The sentences are too harsh I believe though, haven't looked into them but 70 years sounds ridiculous unless there is proof of murder or the like.

The moment politicians and security agencies are shitting their pants if a proper group would coordinate through private channels and would carry out targeted assassinations against politicians and their families. But that of course is terrorism, and terrorism + blackmail + enough money on your side (to manipulate things in your favor if it's better than the above two) work splendid. Probably not in the west but if you look at what Al Qaida achieved in Afghanistan it's super effective.

The only time in modern history when this was on the table was in the cold war. You simply can't muster the resources to do a systemic job without the backing of a super-power and even then it's dubious whether it's the right tactic or not.

(Not to go into a fruitless debate about fear-scales, but a revolution at the gates promises total annihilation of the elite – something even the most systemic and creative terrorism obviously can't hope to achieve. The most significant difference is that while still in power they can counteract it, double the budget of the CIA, or whatever.)

The law is shit and prosecutors are useless. So the fuck what?

It's already been established that black blocs can be caused by saboteurs, and they don't care if who they're arresting is part of it or whether or not there's any legitimate association whatsoever. Not only is the "perfect alibi" thing nonsense (everything that can be used to excuse them whether or not it's a total fabrication is a "perfect alibi"), but it's demonstrably not within our control to prevent them from having an alibi. We have no recourse in pretending that they have or need a solid alibi, or that their fabrications are valid.

I'm not going to argue with this, but yes - mostly because black bloc'ers are only vaguely associated with the left to begin with. Over the course of their history, they've mostly been perceived as "chaos anarchist" opportunists when they showed up - there's no reason to lump other demonstrators in with them on principle except as a justification for anti-leftist power grabs. We can't actually control when they show up. We can't actually prevent fake ones from coming. We can't actually argue that we're being set up - if we're arrested in mass like this, they can just shut communications off.

Use proper tactics, then.

Really? Was that before or after the drum circles?

And neither one is happening if you accept the false premise that it's your fault that some kids crashed windows in the vicinity.

eat a dick lol

yes, Bong, your system of pacifism certainly has yielded great results. On an unrealted note, tell me how many forms of identification are acceptable in your country for looking at internet porn (as long as it's not face-sitting, spanking or any other 'dangerouc practices' of course!) or buying plastic sporks?


I'm saying nonviolence doesn't prevent an increase in state repression. If the people running things need to make it happen, they'll come up with some fig leaf reason to make it happen. They've begun to realize nobody (or at least not enough people) has the balls or the time to care.


And I'm saying – I seriously don't know how to make this more explicit than it already is – that your kind of dichotomy of "violent" and "non-violent" is seriously flawed!

In my understanding we have to locate the exact level of these terms!

For me, destroying trash cans, shop windows, general prudish behavior (and vandalism is a variant of that), is by definition non-violent, since they regurgitate the very subtext of the currently hegemonic order.

For me, having a party that organizes mass events, that provides a sense of history to this events (through articles, coverage, party reinforcement, etc.), having an organizational form that is disciplinary, having a political program around which the masses can rally around, is violence par excellence!

For you, violence is burning trash cans. The masses will magically understand your "revolutionary language" and follow.

For me, this never, ever happened. For me your model is a fake, a failure. For me, radicalism begins by a mass movement.

You call me a "pacifist" and I laugh.
Me, and my ilk, will lay down the harshest post-revolutionary terror upon the status quo ante, while your ilk is still thinking about the ontological status of the shop window.

Seriously, how. old. are. you?

I remember like 6 years ago when 4/pol/ was full of conspiracies about "creeping fascism" where the U.S. government slowly implements more authoritarian stuff like this to eventually build up to throwing people in FEMA camps and droning citizens. Wonder why they never bring that stuff up anymore.



There is that anarchist movement in the early 1910's attempting to kill god emperors.

There was also that contemporary movement called RAF that failed on similar terms. Terrorism, "propaganda of the deed," etc. doesn't simply work. Lenin in his What is to be Done gives the reasons for this.


There ought to be a named law about how rightwing libertarians and assorted "freedom lovers" inevbitably slide towards fascism.

It is called states' rights, they only exist when the republicans are not in power.
And yes the irony is lost on them.

fuck what the ED reading 4chan autists say. Antifa is cool.

Yeah, it's called the fishhook theory.

what the fuck are you, 15?

such a vague term, just say US regime if you want to criticise it

I hope you get run over by the next Dodge Charger of peace.

Why would I?

You know, I think the fishhook theory has the potential to become a cultural staple, akin to Godwin's law. But the pic just by itself kind of says "only we in the left is any good", which rather offends normies. So we should kind of disassociate it from us and associate it with the freedom-lovers. Don't bring fishhook theory up unless there's an actual case of a "freedom-lover" letting the mask slip.

Here's a relic from lefty communities past.