Who’s Afraid of the Black Blocs?: Anarchy in Action around the World

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Francis Dupuis-Déri • Translated by Lazer Lederhendler

This is a comprehensive view of the tactic and locates it within the anarchist tradition of direct action and includes recent actions at protests around the world.


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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 international 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, Who’s Afraid of the Black Blocs? lays out a comprehensive view of the Black Bloc tactic and locates it within the anarchist tradition of direct action.


  • “A level-headed, carefully researched inquiry into a subject that reduces most pundits to foaming at the mouth.”
    —CrimethInc. Writers’ Bloc
  • “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!
  • 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

About the Contributors:

Francis Dupuis-Déri is a professor of political science and a member of the Institut de recherches et d’études féministes at the Université du Québec à Montréal. He has been active in anarchist-leaning collectives in Quebec, France, and the United States. He is the author of several books on social movements, feminism, and anarchism.

Lazer Lederhendler is a Canadian literary translator and academic. A four-time nominee for the Governor General’s Award for French to English translation, he won the award in 2008.

Product Details:

Author: Francis Dupuis-Déri • Translated by Lazer Lederhendler
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 978-1-60486-949-1
Published: 09/01/2014
Format: Paperback
Size: 8×6
Page count: 224
Subjects: Politics-Anarchism/Politics-Activism

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Weight 227 g
Dimensions 20.3 × 15.3 × 1.6 cm