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Black Bloc, White Riot: Antiglobalization and the Genealogy of Dissent [Paperback]

A. K. Thompson

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Book Description

Oct. 12 2010

Are you taking over, or are you taking orders?
Are you going backwards, or are you going forwards?

White riot—I wanna riot.
White riot—a riot of my own.

—The Clash, "White Riot"

Ten years after the battle in Seattle sparked an historic struggle against the forces of multinational conglomeration and American imperialism, the anti-globalization generation is ready to reflect on a decade of organizing that changed the face of mass action around the globe.

Scholar and activist AK Thompson revisits the struggles against globalization in Canada and the United States at the turn of the century, and he explores the connection between political violence and the white middle class. Equal parts sociological study and activist handbook, Black Bloc, White Riot engages with the key debates that arose in the anti-globalization movement over the course of the past decade: direct or mass action? Summit-hopping or local organizing? Pacifism or diversity of tactics?

Drawing on movement literature, contemporary and critical theory, and practical investigations, Thompson outlines the effect of the anti-globalization movement on the white, middle-class kids who were swept up in it, and he considers how and why violence must once again become a central category of activist politics.

AK Thompson is a writer and activist living and working in Toronto, Canada. Currently completing his PhD in sociology at York University, Thompson teaches social theory and serves on the editorial committee of Upping the Anti: A Journal of Theory and Action. His publications include Sociology for Changing the World: Social Movements/Social Research (Fernwood Publishing, 2006).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: AK Press (Oct. 12 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849350140
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849350143
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 13.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 281 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #470,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"An intriguing exploration of the legacy and potential of the anti-globalization movement."—Matt Wasserman for The Indypendent

About the Author

A.K. Thompson is a writer and activist living and working in Toronto. He is the author of Changing the World: Social Movements/Social Research (Fernwood, 2006), and The Resonance of Romanticism: Activist Art and the Bourgeois Horizon (forthoming), and serves on the editorial committee of the journal Upping the Anti. He is currently completing a PhD in Sociology at York University.

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Amazon.com: 2.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars What a joke! Sept. 12 2013
By O. Mikse - Published on Amazon.com
Black Bloc White Riot is supposed to be an analysis of why activists are mostly white and middle class. Sounds appropriate and interesting, right? Yes. Then, why is this such a painfully boring book?

Several reasons come to mind. Some of which is what appears to be Thompson's insistence on using every word in the dictionary, which which makes Black Bloc White Riot so dense and difficult to read it's hard to follow what Thompson is getting at most of the time.

Another reason is that when Thompson does write in a way that is understandable to the laymen she (?) seems to take the intellectual and theoretical approach and quotes authors (who have nothing to do with activist in the first place) to explain. In other words, this book doesn't really answer any questions and doesn't make analysis worth considering. It just takes an existential "what does it all mean" approach and uses writers of the past to answer her questions. Why are people prone to violence? Walter Benjamin would know. Is it appropriate to have protesters be mostly men (she doesn't really make a compelling case for this in the first place)? Feminists have argued that we need to strip the world o female and female. Maybe Thoreau can answer the question for us. What a joke!

Honestly, this kind of an analysis gets us nowhere and is a complete waste of time. We need a book that asks hard questions and isn't afraid to actually do the work to answer them. Did anyone bother asking non-white people why they don't protest as much? Does education have anything to do with it? Income? Allegiance to political parties? Aren't these questions more worthwhile?

Black Bloc White Riot reads like someone's long boring thesis. Want to know why the protest movement is mostly white and educated? Because the self-indulgent books about it can only be understood by the white and educated.
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Jan. 28 2013
By Jillissa Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was required for my Social Movement course, but it is a fun read. This book is a bit hard core due to the black bloc protestors are against the social class they were raised in. The methods used by the protestors seemed effective, but sometimes interfered with other protest groups, such as the Occupy Wall Street protestors. This book is a interesting read and will leave you wanting more.

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