When the gods dance...

Monday, January 30, 2012

Black Bloc Fashion: Ya Basta!

Black Bloc Fashion: Ya Basta!

The Uptown Black Block Demonstrator 

Basic Black Block all-purpose outfits.  Accessorize with backpacks, boots and baseball bats.  For women the ever-popular Spandex tights.  Black of course.

This week I’ve been watching the continuing Oakland anarchist Occupy drama.  While their mindless, directionless tenacity truly amazes me,   I haven’t been terribly impressed at the mens' fashion I’ve seen.  It brings up a serious discussion about anarchist fashion, and one that I will try to pose to my readership as a question rather than a solution, though honestly I’ve had it up to here with the fucking 99′er black hoodie, so I will probably be a little biased.
To me, one facet of anarchism is the discussion of ends versus means, and never getting into a situation where the ends justify horrible means that will ultimately sacrifice the ends anyway, (read: fuck communism).  I think that is essentially what is happening with the black bloc though: we’ve taken that particular fashion direction for granted and allowed it to dictate all our other fashion choices.

May 68: a successful riot without a black bloc:

I mentioned before that mainstream men’s fashion was forged in the military and then foisted on the male populace as a nation building technique.  In anarchist circles, the black bloc has the same result.  Obviously, no anarchist has orchestrated this, but the results are the same. Many anarchist men I meet are afraid to wear color, to be non utilitarian, to be sensual or outwardly express their sexuality. Anarchist men’s fashion seems permanently mired in street fighter and militia man, and with it comes the same vulgar credo as the army, “be prepared”.  Is it worth it? Are the victories we’ve won with this tactic enough to justify the effect on our mansies?

Pictures from the Stonewall Riot, note the absence of a black bloc:

Paris 2005, again without a black bloc:

I’m not convinced that the black bloc is that effective of a tactic anyway. Most insurrectionists I read or talk to admit serious, serious faults with the tactic in general, so much so it's remarkable it keeps getting used!  The only reasons that I’ve found supporting the black bloc is being disguised from the police and building team unity; however, neither seem that successful or at all guaranteed.

I also think it was a huge misstep in general that anarchists have chosen the color black for our “national color” and the black flag as our “national flag”.  Anarchism is the only philosophy which rejects the very foundation of the nation and all it’s bullshit, so why are we engaged in the same hierarchical nation building rituals?

Flags, team building rituals, uniforms.  Count me out.

Mansy fashion icon: Mattilda in a pink bloc:


Now everyone knows that black is a fashionable color for garments -- it makes the wearer look slender and allows for a myriad of palette options. But there is such a thing as too much black, and baby that time is now!

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