Anti-Hero: Memories of a Black Bloc Anarchist
By: A.J. Lozier - Zer0 Books, $24.95
Description: Anti-Hero: Memories of a Black Bloc Anarchist is the memoir of one manís journey into, and out of, the movement that foreshadowed the modern-day Antifa.
Verdict: Between 1999-2005, as the nation convulsed with uncertainty over a contested election and the Sept. 11 attacks, A.J. Lozier attended and helped organize protests across the United States, as an active participant in the anarchist Black Bloc, predecessor to the modern-day Antifa.
He was charged, tackled, swung at, shot at with rubber bullets, punched and, once, arrested. He did his fair of shoving too, all in the name of Anarchy, which he believed to be the only hope for a more peaceful and equitable society, in which capitalism was a thing of the past.
This is no behind the mask exposť, but nor is it a work of unselfconscious propaganda. It is first and foremost a story, but one that charts how a pure-intentioned desire for peace and justice morphed into a mechanism for justifying any behavior.
Moreover, it is a story that foreshadows the Antifa we see today and told through the eyes of a man centralized within the fracas, as only he himself could have hoped to have ever been, Anti-Hero: Memories of a Black Bloc Anarchist is a forceful, yet thoroughly engrossing biography from A.J. Lozier.
Told from first-hand experience, and with a mix of human passion and politics (politically passionate, and fervently charged, you might say), Lozier ensures that we are more than fully aware that Black Bloc/Antifa activists (and others on the radical Left) are most assuredly not as one-dimensional as the media has portrayed them to be.
For via the media, Black Bloc/Antifa is shown as a highly decentralized array of autonomous groups, using both nonviolent and violent direct action to achieve its aims.
In fact, and with direct lineage to Black Bloc, their protesters would wear black clothing, ski masks, scarves, sunglasses, motorcycle helmets with padding, or other face-concealing and face-protecting items.
The clothing was used to conceal wearersí identities and hinder criminal prosecution by making it difficult to distinguish between participants. It was also used to protect their faces and eyes from pepper spray, which is used by police during protests or civil unrest.
Furthermore, the tactic allowed the group to appear as one large unified mass with Black Bloc participants often associated with anarchism, anarcho-communism, communism, libertarian socialism and the anti-globalization movement.
But as Lozier astutely outlines throughout his new book, much of Black Bloc/Antifa political activism is nonviolent, involving poster and flyer campaigns, mutual aid, speeches, protest marches, and community organizing; much as Lozier himself did.
In what is told via a compelling narrative from start to finish, Anti-Hero: Memories of a Black Bloc Anarchist is a book for the ages; a refreshing take, an exposed side of a raging argument of a distorted viewpoint that now gets its day in the sun through Lozier.
About the Author - A. J. Lozier is a 41-year-old software engineer and rock climber living in Boulder, Colorado. He has led an interesting life, particularly in his 20ís, when he traveled the world and participated in risky activities that nearly got him killed or arrested on multiple occasions.
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