Submission and Transparency Versus Rebellion and Darkness

Inside Anarchy and the Black Bloc

by Amadon DellErba


Submission and Transparency Versus Rebellion and Darkness

Much of the concepts within this article are inspired by the writings by Gabriel of Urantia.

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I am not an anarchist; I am a change agent. I have dedicated my life to the best of my ability to bring about change for the betterment of humankind. I live a purpose-driven life, and my daily actions are planned and calculated to inject change at some level—big or small, local or global. I try to live the philosophy: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” This is the basis of my spiritual, moral, political, and material ideals. Change starts within, and I have discovered that at times it is hard to change myself.

I am a believer in “radical unity”1—when we step away from the labels, isms, dogma, doctrines, and ideologies of religions and political groups that divide humanity. We are no longer a Muslim or a Jew or a Christian; we are ascending sons and daughters of the Creator. We are no longer a Democrat or a Republican or a Libertarian or a Socialist; we are all one planetary family. This is radical unity. It is radical because it has never happened globally. It is a departure from tradition and is innovative and progressive. In order to adopt this mindset and live it, we must question every established doctrine and system known and created by humans and test their validity as being beneficial for humans and the environment.

Since autumn of 2011, I and my Global Change Media collegues traveled to several states to cover and participate in demonstrations within the 99% movement. We were given that opportunity because we strongly believe in the Spiritualution℠ movement—Justice to the People—which is a spiritual revolution movement that calls for a rising of consciousness globally. It is the expansion of our minds that allows us to grasp a broader understanding of the world and gives birth to the desire for justice to be manifested for all people of all nations and cultures. This broadened cognizance allows for more tolerance of and selfless service to our fellow humans. I believe this is how world change can happen—one person at a time, one unified group at a time, one movement at a time, one nation at a time.

Traveling the country, east coast to west coast, I shared the concept of a Spiritualution movement with many Occupiers and activists from all walks of life and experiences. I shared thoughts, philosophy, and concepts with many great and ambitious minds—minds that have risen out of the apathy that this country vaccinates its people with that is meant to retard the beneficial but highly contagious bacteria of caring, of being aware, and of being willing to change. This beneficial bacteria is what the Spiritualution movement as well as the Occupy movement is. Corporate-owned media is the means of vaccinating people with narrow knowledge, complacency, apathy, and even ignorance.

I bore witness to the spread of an idea, from mind to mind across the country and world that started a spark in the oppressed and awakened the hearts of those who were sleeping. I am excited that people of all ages, races, religions, and backgrounds are taking part in the Occupy movement. I think that this could be the beginning of a global Spiritualution consciousness that needs to take place.

One group that I encountered was the Black Bloc that has been present at the demonstrations all across the country. I begin to learn more about what separated me from the schools of thought they subscribe to. It is the intangible intellectual and spiritual beliefs that separate us. It is my ideology, principals, and faith that distinguish me from those who proclaim themselves anarchists, and it is understood by most other protestors and demonstrators that those of the Black Bloc are anarchists in their philosophy and strategies.

I do not believe in acts of violence or screaming insults at police who are just peacefully standing by and feel that such things are adolescent and non-effective. However, I do believe in taking a stand and putting your butt on the line for what you believe in, or in many cases, don’t believe in, and this is where I found some commonality with some of the individuals of the Black Bloc.

In my encounters with a few individuals of the Black Bloc, I was afforded the opportunity to practice what I believe in—radical unity. How could I work with and identify with those who challenged my beliefs and way of life? I learned much by realizing that I at first made mistakes in some of my assumptions and categorizing. But I also found common ground and was able to have good interaction with Black Bloc individuals in several states.

What is an Anarchist?

There is no precise answer to the question of what an anarchist is. In fact, there are many different answers and ideas. What I found most interesting is that I asked a self-proclaimed anarchist in D.C. if he could describe what anarchy is. What he said was dramatically different then what the man I met in New York said, which was different from the guy in Los Angeles, which was different from the woman in Phoenix. They all had very different personal understandings of what anarchy is, as well as different ideas of adherence to the many and contradicting principals of anarchy, but they all labeled themselves anarchists.

I understand anarchism to be a political philosophy that holds any form of governance to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful. Thus anarchism opposes any type of authority or hierarchal organization in the conduct of human relations. Anarchists advocate a stateless society based on non-hierarchal voluntary associations. The term anarchism derives from the Greek word anarchos, meaning “without rulers.”

There are many types and traditions of anarchism. Some of the schools of anarchism are: mutualism, individualist anarchism, social anarchism, collectivist, Anarcho-communism, Anarcho-syndicalism, and the list goes on. Anarchist school of thoughts can differ fundamentally, supporting anything from extreme individualism to complete collectivism. And though these schools of thought have different ideals that can contradict each other, there is one unifying concept among them all, and that is to abolish authority. I often heard at the demonstrations anarchists scream, “ F—k authority!”

Beyond the specific factions of anarchist thought is “philosophical anarchism,” which embodies the theoretical stance that the state lacks moral legitimacy without accepting the imperative of revolution to eliminate it. In abandoning the hyphenated anarchisms (i.e. collectivist-, communist-, mutualist- and individualist-anarchism), it seeks to emphasize the anti-authoritarian common to all anarchist schools of thought.2

As I participated in various Occupy events around the country, person to person and state to state I began to see among the anarchists the lack of unity and organization in the absence of a unifying consciousness and planned-out strategy. I began to see that the many Occupiers (and even some of the anarchists) did not want to be labeled “anarchists” by the media. The direct actions and diverse tactics used by the Black Bloc, which was the most prominent group of anarchists visible at these 99% protests, as well as other anarchists were often violent and non-effective acts of aggression towards police officers. This caused the general protester in the street to divorce himself or herself from that group.

I discovered that most Occupiers desire more commonality with the majority of citizens because they recognize that the 99% movement is about the issues of the majority. So, Occupiers want the majority of citizens to identify with them, at least on some issues they are protesting, and not be as exclusive as the Black Bloc and other anarchist groups are.

Protesting With the Black Bloc at the ALEC Convention

In November 2011, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) had its yearly convention in Scottsdale, AZ. ALEC is a non-profit organization with members consisting of legislators and corporations. Corporations like Exxon, Wal-Mart, and Monsanto get together with governors, mayors, congressman, lobbyists, etc. and talk about how they can pass bills and change policies so that they can all make more money together. It is basically a cess pool of the power elite scheming about how they can gain more power and profit-making abilities through legislation, which too often oppresses and exploits 99% of the people in the almighty U.S.A., as well as in other countries.

My friends and I figured this would be a great place to meet new activists and talk about the Spiritualution movement. We also decided it would be a great time to live stream the protests online so that we could spread truth globally, educate people about ALEC, and advocate civil disobedience and fighting for justice.

Upon arriving we struck up a conversation with a street medic. As we conversed, he shared with me the code to text message so that I could receive the mass texts of alerts and updates from the protest organizers. I entered this into my phone not thinking much of it. (Later that day an address would be texted to me that directed us to a meeting place, but more on that later.)

This was my first time live streaming on the internet. As I filmed what was happening before me, I excitedly narrated the arrests, pepper spraying, signs, and chanting of the crowd around me. The Black Bloc was at the frontline of the crowd of about 300 people and had flags and large black sheets with the red anarchist ‘A’ symbol on them. Seeing this, and assuming that they identified themselves as such, I narrated to about 400 people watching the live stream what the “anarchists” were doing. Things like, “the anarchists have stormed the police line and have created a non-peaceful situation while other protesters are chanting, ‘Keep it peaceful’.” I reported on what I saw happening, delineating the anarchists from the rest of the protesters in my vernacular. I later learned this was a mistake.

About an hour into streaming, three of the Black Bloc protestors started walking briskly and aggressively towards me. Needless to say, I felt endangered and took a defensive stance. Two of them had masks on and one man did not. The maskless one shouted as he walked towards me, “HEY! Are you the a--hole who is live streaming? I just got a call from a friend who said you are talking shit about the anarchists.” I responded, “I am the one live streaming.” He then reached and grabbed my right arm and tried to yank the phone out of my hand. In defense, I responded by cupping my left hand and striking out at him, which disoriented him and he backed off. I made a few statements, making it clear that I would defend myself if he tried to physically attack me again.

I tried very hard to diffuse the conflict with words rather than fists, and it worked. We had a ten-minute argument about my rights to live stream. They did not want their faces filmed and did not want to be publicly labeled “anarchists” but as the “Black Bloc.” I agreed to no longer refer to them as anarchists and let them know that I had not been filming their faces and did not intend to. I also let them know that I had been unaware of their not wishing to be called anarchists, even though that is what they were. This type of agreement was enough for them to back away…..for the time being.

Six hours and eighteen arrests later, the protest ended. Soon after, I received a text message from an anonymous sender about meeting at a particular address to discuss the next day’s actions. I figured this was from the main organizers and was excited to meet them and talk about our actions for day two of the three-day ALEC convention. My friends and I got in our car and entered the address into our GPS and the calm voice of “Robo Girl” led us there.

As we walked up to the location, there was a group of about eight people in a circle talking outside. I smiled and said, “Hey guys.” They all stared at us coldly and bewilderedly saying nothing. I then noticed that they were all dressed in black. I think I even recognized some of the eyes and foreheads from the morning’s protestors since the rest of their faces had been covered early that morning! I thought, “That is cool, some of the Black Bloc came to meet too.” My friends and I kept walking this narrow alley between two buildings, and when we turned the corner, our eyes grew large, our hearts started beating a little faster, and our adrenaline kicked in. Before us were about fifty people of the Black Bloc in this hidden junk-yard area—all dressed in black and all eyes on us. Until then, we had not known that this was the gathering place (of 22 years) for the radical underground of the Phoenix Black Bloc.

Instead of turning around and fleeing the place, we walked right on in. There have not been many situations in my life where I felt that I would have to physically defend myself, but this was one of them. My nerves were tight, and so were my three friends’. We started scanning the parameter for all exit routes and potential weapons we could use to protect ourselves against any attack. I have never been in a situation where I felt so much animosity from a collective group. My friends looked to me for the signal to leave. In spite of all of this, I pulled up a chair and sat down, even though I was very uncomfortable sitting, which was not the chair!

The physical environment was chaotic and dark, with minimal lighting. All around us was junk that had been arranged into some semblance of art. There was a fifteen-foot high tower of stacked shopping carts with a couch on top and the anarchist flag flying high. I felt like a squirrel surrounded by coyotes, all eyes glaring on me, and my friends felt just as vulnerable.

I sat there and systematically scanned the whole crowd, looking at anybody who looked me right in the eyes. I then saw my assailant from early that morning and looked at him and nodded, not sure what I was communicating with my body language other then, “I am here, and I am not afraid. Let’s talk.”

We were not attacked, and during the twenty minutes before the actual meeting began, my friends and I had a few conversations with some people from Occupy Phoenix who had happened to drop by for the meeting. Mostly I just observed and listened to the conversations around me. Finally a woman announced that the meeting would commence. About fifteen of the main people who represented their various working groups gathered in the inner circle for the meeting, with everybody else gathering around it. All decisions were concluded on consensus. A woman introduced the various things they needed to cover in the meeting. The first priority was a “security concern” that needed to be addressed. All agreed on the agenda of the meeting, and it started with a young woman who stood up from the inner circle, pointed her finger directly at us and said, “We want to know who you are and why are you here.” I then proceeded to briefly explain who my comrades and I were and why we were there. After minimal conversation between us, she offered that they take a vote if people wanted us to stay or not. Within five minutes they went around the circle and each person shared that we should leave, that there was nobody to vouch for us, and that we were likely undercover cops. We were asked to leave with a very intense energy, making it clear that we would be escorted out in any manner necessary if we did not comply.

On my way out the man who attacked me that morning came up to me and apologized in his own way. I did the same and spoke to him for a few minutes but had to hurry out as people started shouting, “Leave!” and “Get out!” I patted him on the shoulder and made peace with him and left. But the next day at the protest, he was at it again in a verbal attack on me with two others because they thought we were not who we said we were but were undercover FBI agents, which my friends and I thought was paranoid on their part.

Radical I Am

What divorces me from the general mindset of anarchy is my embrace of hierarchy and my submission to authority. This submission is not to any form of existing government or political and state authority, though I do obey all laws that are for the protection and overall welfare of people and the environment.3 This submission is not to any past or modern system created by man to further greedy control and exploitation over others. My submission is the recognition of those people in my life that I would consider spiritual elders and guides, counselors, teachers, and leaders who assist me to be a change agent in service to bettering our world. It is adolescent, and ultimately destructive, to reject all forms of leaders and organizational structure.

Because I grew up in a community that was founded on leadership—a board of directors and elders—and a definite hierarchical structure, I was afforded the rare and distinct privilege of witnessing true and balanced leadership. I was able to experience what so few on the planet have—guidance and direction from leaders who actually care about your well-being and the common good of all.

Because the good leaders in history, as well as currently, have often been overshadowed by the terrible and at times extremely inhumane leaders of the past and present, many people have a very skewed and limited perspective of a society based and built upon leadership. Many people have little point of reference and examples of what a truly just leader is, but this is not the case with me. And it is not the case with more than one-hundred other people who have been a part of one of the largest and longest-sustaining EcoVillages in this country. I grew up in this new paradigm and alternative culture. I prescribe to no doctrine of man and state. I believe in a society with proper leaders and authority because I know what a true administration is, of and for the people.

It is foolish to think that social evolution can take place without visionary leadership, strategic foresight, and decisive actions. It is the submission to a higher reality of co-operation and community living that will conquer the unjust oppression of the power elite. It is the fearless rejection of mediocrity and conformity to a sick society that will challenge the injustice of this world. It is the transparency of truth and righteousness that will crystalize change.

I don’t just rebel against the corrupt parts of a system, because by doing so is recognizing that the system has the power over you. No, I completely divorce myself from that corruptness. I completely reject parts of the system that have fallen to selfishness and greed. I am part of creating a new system, a system of cooperation and unity, radical unity. My consciousness is my radical action.

There is nothing radical about violence and destruction. How is that a departure from the norm? How is throwing rocks at police and breaking windows radical in the sense that it is new and innovative? It is not. People have been throwing rocks and destroying for thousands of years. It is time to create, to build, and to forgive so that the forgiven can begin anew in a new system.

I live a purpose-driven life. My purpose is to be a part of bringing change to this planet and to confront injustice before me and in me. It is in the acceptance that I must change myself to be a better change agent, that I can appreciate the elders in my life that help me do that. This is the only authority I come under. This is radical. It is radical to be a 21-year-old man and to come to someone who has gone long before you and say, “I need help in this situation. What can I do here?” It is radical to place my trust in another who I deem worthy and be willing to do what is asked of me and directed.

Perhaps some would argue that I am not strong enough to lead myself and that I am mentally weak and need others to make decisions for me. No, it is just the opposite. It is that I am whole enough and mature enough to know that there are other people who have more wisdom and knowledge then I do, that there are many people I can learn from. Many youth today never grow out of the mindset of, “F—k authority.” Into their thirties and beyond they engage in adolescent actions, often thinking that they have to be burned by the fire themselves in order to realize it’s hot and dangerous because they don’t trust anyone telling them that it is and thus preventing their own pain. In general, I think that American society teaches kids that they need to burn themselves in every metaphorical fire of life to understand that it is hot, that you cannot just trust somebody else to let you know that it is hot, and therefore not do it. This is foolish and detrimental to the maturation and growth of the mind, body, and soul.

We cannot build a new world without the consciousness of love and submission to goodness and beauty. I reject the darkness of fear, distrust, and destruction. I wear no mask, and I don’t consider myself a coward. I stand before you and proclaim what I believe in under no veil of fear. My heart beats in rhythm with my mind, making me a more unified and whole being.

I have been Occupying my entire life. I have been Occupying a lifestyle where equality, opportunity, and justice prevail over greed and power. I have been Occupying an intellectual and spiritual mindset that grants me true liberty and opportunity that our Founding Fathers wanted for the citizens of this country. I am Occupying ideals that lift me from the muck and mire of slavery to tradition and false dreams of opulence and selfishness. I am Occupying the pursuit of truth that is always evolving, creating, and demanding change. I am Occupying the fight for justice that gives me esteem and confidence to reach out and help another. I am Occupying my heart’s ideals without compromise, which grants me transparency to wear no mask, for I am proud of who I am and what I stand for.

I am Occupying Avalon Organic Gardens. I live in an adobe hut built in 1921, surrounded by a herd of goats, gardens with rows of vegetables, and a windmill of fresh well water. This is my freedom from the 1%.

1. The concept of radical unity that I am referring to in this article was coined by Gabriel of Urantia.
2. The Blackwell Dictionary of Modern Social Thought— Outhwaite, William & Tourain, Alain—(2nd Edition, p. 12).
3. In my short life of 21 years, to my knowledge, with the exception of driving over the speed limit and getting a ticket for that, I have not disobeyed any law—city, county, state, or federal.