The Black Square Manifesto

An anarchist manifesto published on Wednesday, 16th March at the beginning of the 2012 Quebec student general strike.

Submitted by wojtek on May 12, 2012

On co-option and infiltration

We are students. We are workers. We are the unemployed. We are angry. We are not co-opting a strike. We have been part of the movement from the beginning. We are one of the forms this movement has taken, a form as valid as any of the others. We are not extremists, we have a radical critique of this society of which we are a part. We do not infiltrate demonstrations, we help organize them, we bring them alive. We are not sabotaging the strike, we are one with it, we are helping organize it, we keep its heartbeat alive.

We are organized to fight against this violent and oppressive system. We believe that the violence of the system that attacks social classes and entire populations justifies violence that targets objects and the political agents that the cops are. We shroud ourselves in black to try to escape the repression of a system that has proven its intolerance of dissent (Toronto 2010, Montebello 2007, Québec 2001, every March 15th, March 7, 2012, etc.). Our black flags are a rejection of that fleur-de-lys adorned flag whose symbols—the king and the church—horrify us. The black bloc is not a group. It’s a tactic, a tactic that contrasts the docile obeying of laws and norms with civil disobedience and direct action.

On public opinion and the myth of unity

Radicals reject the “imagists” in this strike who demand pacifism. The public opinion that so influences the behaviour of these imagists is imaginary. Our battlefield is in the streets, in General Assemblies, in occupied offices, in liberated spaces, and not in the media. We denounce the illusion that things can be changed without disruption.

We reject the myth of unity that dominates the imaginations of our contemporaries and instead believe in solidarity—the interests of Quebecois are divergent and non-homogenous. Is the unity of any movement really something to strive for? Isn’t part of its strength that it is so diverse, that some are willing to take more risks than others as well as take the precautions necessary to do so?

On violence and non-violence

We believe there is a huge difference between the nature of violence that targets objects and that which targets human beings. At the risk of repeating ourselves, we attack objects. This is a political, symbolic action. In doing so, we expose ourselves to a much greater violence: getting beaten with batons, gassed, criminalized, and profiled by GAMMA—and now, facing internal repression. We believe that a person wearing armour, who is ready to violently attack others simply to follow an order, has temporarily become the exception to our principle on the use of violence against human beings.

When we look a little deeper into the pages of history, the importance vandalism has always had as a legitimate weapon used by social movements, suffragettes, unions, racialized minorities, indigenous peoples, etc. becomes evident. No social gain has ever been made without disruption. Although the real economy plays an ever-smaller role in the total “money made,” private property remains the foundation of the house of cards made of capitalism and neoliberalism, systems which are currently attacking both the accessibility of our education and our everyday lives. It’s this very foundation we attack through our actions.

March 16, 2012, Montréal.


Original source (French): CMAQ