Last winter, in the midst of excitement over the Occupy movement and rapid expansion of global protest movements, Chris Hedges wrote a very nasty and poorly researched article about “black bloc anarchists”, calling us “The Cancer Within Occupy”. The controversy it evoked played no small role in the fissures which eventually tore the young movement apart. Fiery responses were written and debate raged for months, bringing responses from most of the “big names” of anarchism today, Gelderloos, Graeber and Zerzan.

Class War is a Force which Gives Us Meaning (My original response)
The Hedge-Row Continues (Some collected responses)

Well, tonight, it’s all going down. After simmering for seven months, the matter is set for a public debate. Tonight at CUNY, a little after 6:30, Hedges will debate B. Traven of Crimethinc in front of a sure-to-be-packed hall, Livestreamed for the rest of us (link will become active around 6:30). Events are scheduled in cities across the continent (including Steeltown) to publicly or privately screen it at infoshops or punk houses. For protesters, this might as well be the UFC, perhaps the biggest brawl since Chomsky had it out with Foucault all those years ago.

Whatever happens in the debate, that it’s happening at all is a success in itself. For far too long, the subject has been utterly taboo, and that in itself is dangerous. Tactical decisions should never be based on assumptions or dogma, and always need to be questioned. Whatever your views on the matter, we need to be able to have constructive conversations about heated tactical matters if any “movement” is to move forward. Will tonight be constructive? We’ll see. But at the very least, it should be a good fight.