In light of petty property destruction, such as the Vancouver Stanley Cup riot of 2011, the Black Bloc (or rather the acts of Property Destruction associated with it) have been affiliated with perpetuating white male privilege through displays of petty aggression and property damage. While similarities can be drawn and found conclusive, there is historical evidence which illuminates a different history of those involved with property damage.
In America, the Detroit Race Riot of 1863, the Civil Rights Riots of 1964, the Watts Riots, and the L.A. Riots of 92 show that violence, aggression, and property destruction are not an inherently indicative of the White Middle Class or Youth, but a reality of Human and Class Struggle. Most recently we can look to the 2011 Riots in Tottenham which saw primarily people of color loot businesses and burn buildings.
Women have historically played a leading role in acts of Property Destruction or “Violence”. For example, during The Women’s March on Versailles in October 1789 a police inspector, referring to the event a few years earlier said, ‘It is mainly the women who are stirred up, women who in turn communicate all their frenzy to the men, heating them up with their seditious propositions and stimulating the most violent effervescence.” The Suffragette Movement during World War 1 in England also saw violence as armed groups of women committed acts of Property Destruction, particularly in breaking windows. Not to mention women leading looting, or the so called “Food Riots” all over the world, throughout the history of Capitalism.
Emma Goldman, an American Anarchist would say “resistance against force is a natural phenomenon. Like the wild beast who is cornered by his enemy, man, being a part of nature, fights back when he is pressed. Individuals do not choose to engage in violent conduct but are forced into it by the injustice and oppression of the organized political order.”
Liberals would like to paint a dismissive picture that property damage is only the work of privileged white males; however, this viewpoint erases the agency of both women and people of color who have historically used violence and property damage as tactics within their own movements.