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Who’s Afraid of the Black Blocs?

Anarchy in Action Around the World

By Francis Dupuis-Déri  

Who’s Afraid of the Black Blocs?
  • Paperback / softback
    $22.95 $17.21

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Faces masked, dressed in black, and forcefully attacking the symbols of capitalism, Black Blocs have been transformed into an anti-globalization media spectacle. But the popular image of the window-smashing thug hides a complex reality.

Francis Dupuis-Déri outlines the origin of this phenomenon, its dynamics, and its goals, arguing that the use of violence always takes place in an ethical and strategic context.

Translated into English for the first time and completely revised and updated to include the most recent Black Bloc actions at protests in Greece, Germany, Canada, and England, and the Bloc’s role in the Occupy movement and the Quebec student strike, Black Blocs lays out a comprehensive view of the Black Bloc tactic and locates it within the anarchist tradition of direct action.

We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the National Translation Program for Book Publishing, an initiative of the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013-2018: Education, Immigration, Communities, for our translation activities.

  • Paperback / softback, 224 pages
  • ISBN 9781771130370
  • Published November 2013
  • EPUB
  • ISBN 9781771130387
  • Published November 2013


A level-headed, carefully researched inquiry into a subject that reduces most pundits to foaming at the mouth.

– CrimethInc. Writers’ Bloc

… highly informative and provocative throughout.

Interface: a journal for and about social movements

Francis Dupuis-Déri’s discussion of Black Blocs is intimately well-informed, truly international in scope, and up-to-the-minute. He treats the complex issues surrounding the tactic with an admirable balance of sympathy and sobriety. This book is the ideal antidote to the misinformation spread by the establishment, its defenders, and its false critics.

– Uri Gordon, author of Anarchy Alive

Wearing black to mask their identities, the Black Bloc fights injustice globally. Although little is known about these modern Zorros, this book critically reveals their origins and prospects. I heartily recommend it.

– George Katsiaficas, activist and author of The Subversion of Politics

Dupuis-Déri cuts through the crap, taking the Black Bloc tactic seriously as both a political tool and a manifestation of the rage and joy that are part of the struggle for a better world.

– Lesley J. Wood, Professor of Sociology, York University, and author of Direct Action, Deliberation, and Diffusion

The richness, imaginativeness, and sheer learning of Francis Dupui-Déri’s work is stimulating and impressive. The whole book turns on a fascinating blend of the rigorously analytical and the generously imaginative. It was high time that it should be translated into English, as this well-established anarchist classic will both delight and inform.

– Andrej Grubacic, Professor of Anthropology and Social Change, California Institute of Integral Studies, and co-author of Wobblies & Zapatistas

Who’s Afraid of the Black Blocs? is a measured, critical, and persuasive defence of global protest actions. Against critics who dismiss these as purposeless or who treat illegalism as a distraction to the mainstream event, Dupuis-Déri highlights the effectiveness of the Black Blocs decision-making processes and the considered politics of its participants.

– Ruth Kinna, Professor of Politics, History and International Relations, Loughborough University, UK and author of Anarchism: A Beginner’s Guide

Francis Dupuis-Déri provides the most sustained, energetic, and exciting discussion of the Black Blocs yet. No other work brings together the voices of participants and supporters, critics (from inside and outside of the movements), academics, and public commentators in such thorough analysis. His approach takes Black Blocs seriously but is in no way uncritical. This is essential reading for anyone concerned with contemporary political strategies and tactics. It will be urgently read by anyone seeking a glimpse of politics beyond the bland and rote repetition of conventional and familiar protest politics. Read it before your next demo.

– Jeff Shantz, author of Commonist Tendencies

At last, a thorough historical and political explanation of property destruction as social protest.

– Amory Starr, author of Naming the Enemy, Global Revolt, and Shutting down the Street

Francis Dupuis-Déri is one of the most important radical thinkers of his generation. This noteworthy translation of his groundbreaking analysis of the Black Blocs is a most welcome addition to scholarship. It is exemplary of his unwavering commitment to the serious study of emancipatory politics.

– Martin Breaugh, Associate Professor of Political Science, York University and author of The Plebeian Experience

Chosen as one of the “Top Reads of 2015”

3am magazine

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Where Do the Black Blocs Come From?
Chapter 2 Political Violence
Chapter 3 The Roots of Rage Against the System
Chapter 4 Criticism of the Black Bloc
Conclusion Police Repression and Political Profiling


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