it's anti-fascist, not anti-fashion
December 7, 2017 10:48 PM   Subscribe

The New York Times Style section has latched onto the most recent of trendiest trends, and present a guide to anarchist fashion: What To Wear To Smash The State, Rick Paulas


The Femme’s Guide to Riot Fashion - "This Season's Hottest Looks for the Discerning Anarchist Femme"
As far as makeup is concerned, you should avoid putting anything oil-based onto your skin: in the event of chemical weapons deployment, oils cause contaminants to stick to your skin, making them harder to remove. When preparing for a demonstration, it is best to forgo your moisturizer and consider applying an oil-free sunblock instead.
Barneys selling Antifa-inspired jackets for $375

The Meaning Behind Neo-Nazi And Antifa Uniforms - "White supremacist and anti-fascist groups see clothing as a way to make political statements."

The Blac Block Which Was Not

From the streets to the runway: How To Dress For A Revolution

A Taxonomy Of Protest Clothing

Staying Safe In the Streets

Black Block Fashion: Do’s and Don’t’s

Field Notes on Fashion and Occupy (Part Two)
Field Notes on Fashion and Occupy (Part One)

Fashion Tips For The Brave

Blocs, Black and Otherwise

from Breitbart: The Definitive Field Guide To The Black Bloc Terrorists

From Police Magazine: Understanding the Black Bloc - "Typically, criminal anarchists employ a common mode of dress which is part of a tactic frequently called "Black Bloc." In the "Black Bloc" stratagem, throngs of criminal anarchists all dress in black clothing in an effort to appear as a unified assemblage, giving the appearance of solidarity for the particular cause at hand. This tactic is particularly troubling for law enforcement security forces, as no anarchist rioter can be distinguished from another, allowing virtual anonymity while conducting criminal acts as a group."

The Black Bloc as Fashion: “If Cops Are Looking for Kids in Black, then Anarchists Should Not Dress in Black.” - "As anarchists, we need to have a clear sense of collective responsibility and accountability, to us this means accepting that being in a Black Bloc necessarily carries with it certain responsibilities and duties, and that if you choose to ignore them, you are putting comrades at risk.

This being said, we feel it is important to clear up a nuts and bolts aspect of this discussion. There is a very good reason to stick to the black outfit. Simply put, it makes it next to impossible for police to single out and snatch people for particular actions which they may have committed, unless the police are amongst the bloc and can follow at a close distance (this should also not be occurring)."
posted by the man of twists and turns (37 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
Very obviously, this is where one drops the killer hit by Vancouver's hitmakers Fashionism, "Smash The State (With Your Face)"
posted by mwhybark at 11:15 PM on December 7, 2017

I always made a point of wearing my made to measure tweed suits to protests to deflect loony, lazy leftist comments (Note to the guy who screamed at me to get a job, It was Saturday and I'm wearing like vintage liberty ties, the hell?) I also tried to always wear my red white and blue gingham shirts and red rose pocket square cause symbolism is important and boy that gets you talked to by literally all the media.

after that I always tried to bring red bandannas to public direct action events so like, if you're with us but you're not wearing red, well we can fix that.

optics, everyone! The revolutionary outfit for today, mix and match and presto, it's a fashion manifesto - the long black velvet glove hides the fist.
posted by The Whelk at 11:35 PM on December 7, 2017 [41 favorites]

but, as someone always into fashion , the links are great for "Well okay, how do you dress when you anticipate getting arrested?" And you want to appear part of a group.

Whats the best kind of clothes for a protest pose?
posted by The Whelk at 11:41 PM on December 7, 2017

How can people that worship the power of the State possibly smash the State?

Have they suddenly discovered Ludwig von Mises?

Socialism is anathema to anarchy.
posted by NeoRothbardian at 11:58 PM on December 7, 2017

I was present for day one of Occupy Wall Street... I made a point of donning a three piece suit to make it crystal clear to the cops and other folks engaging in surveillance that I wasn't 'with the protesters'.

My normal street wear is a black hoodie.
posted by el io at 1:12 AM on December 8, 2017

"I always made a point of wearing my made to measure tweed suits to protests"

I knew exactly who wrote this comment even before I scrolled down on my phone.
posted by Jacqueline at 1:47 AM on December 8, 2017 [39 favorites]

That means it's working, Jacqueline.
posted by rokusan at 2:50 AM on December 8, 2017 [4 favorites]

I've seen that Barney's jacket before, and I have to wonder if this is what it was like to see the counterculture getting coopted in the 60s. It's a funny mix of hilarious, infuriating, disappointing, and hilarious again. I mean, this statement, apparently delivered without irony, refers to a mass-produced luxury item priced beyond the reach of the 99% of the country:
“Alpha developed the Barneys M65 anarchy jacket to encompass the artistic and graphic expressions of individuality. Self expression often inspires fashion, and fashion inspires self expression. Alpha Industries recognizes that the M65 field jacket has and will remain a canvas for all manner of self expression,”
I was going to look up where it was made, but it looks like Barney's has stopped selling it. Sold out already, huh?
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 4:47 AM on December 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

Socialism is anathema to anarchy.

eh- I'm pretty sure the Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism that most people here on Metafilter subscribe to precludes the need for the state as a fundamental organizing structure.

So, come on! Hop on board the Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism train!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:24 AM on December 8, 2017 [17 favorites]

All made by children and disenfranchised women the world over! This spring put some real fascism on your back before you peacefully demonstrate in a democratic republic.

It's all about authenticity.
posted by French Fry at 5:31 AM on December 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

moar like fast fascism amirite?
Marshalls law?
TJ Max von Gruber?

I'll show myself out
posted by French Fry at 5:40 AM on December 8, 2017 [6 favorites]

How can people that worship the power of the State possibly smash the State?

Maybe you should get your information about anarchism (and socialism, for that matter) from someplace other than right-wing Cold War propaganda.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:02 AM on December 8, 2017 [27 favorites]

hello fellow kids do you like my dank pair of wackslacks
posted by entropicamericana at 6:06 AM on December 8, 2017 [10 favorites]

There's something that bothers me about corporations selling you revolution accessories, but I can't quite put my finger on what.
posted by FakeFreyja at 6:44 AM on December 8, 2017 [4 favorites]

I always made a point of wearing my made to measure tweed suits to protests

Tweed is nice (the guy who lent all those old 70s pamphlets and posters to the Interference Archive for the Finally Got the News exhibit has been tagging his Instagram selfies #thetweedleft) but I think you'll find that for sleeping on the floor in central booking you'll want something a little more impervious to filth (waxed cotton is an option) and/or more wash-and-wear.
posted by enn at 6:53 AM on December 8, 2017 [3 favorites]

I am going to a protest tomorrow. I anticipate wearing a very warm coat - a dark navy Crombie - a scarf, a wool beret, a sweater and heavy pants, plus boots. The CND basically had the right of it.

I have been to many protests, often side by side with black bloc, and generally not been arrested. Most of the time people are not arrested - the idea that going to a protest means going to jail (and that this would just be normal, not a gross abuse by the state) is this weird American-authoritarian thing. "Of course you ought to be ready to be imprisoned for marching down the street - that's just the price we pay for freedom!"
posted by Frowner at 7:14 AM on December 8, 2017 [9 favorites]

I certainly didn't mean to imply that it's not an abuse. But I don't think I've ever been to a protest where no one was arrested (except the women's march—a unique case on several axes). These patterns vary greatly between cities. And of course there are other types of actions than protests where arrest is more likely.
posted by enn at 7:21 AM on December 8, 2017 [4 favorites]

That NY Times fashion section piece was pretty good. They actually did interviews and took the topic seriously. But what's up with mentioning The North Face? Does the fashion section do embedded advertising?
posted by latkes at 7:36 AM on December 8, 2017

Lots of articles about “black bloc” (including one that calls them “terrorists”) and anarchists but not many on the neo-Nazis and KKK members, whose people literally assaulted a black guy in a parking garage and then committed a literal terrorist attack. Jfc 🙄 At least that Fast Company article is somewhat helpful in that respect.

(Not meant to be an indictment on you, man of twists and turns, this is a good subject and is actually something mentioned when events for protests crop up!)
posted by gucci mane at 7:53 AM on December 8, 2017 [3 favorites]

Oh, good. Most of my black clothes are from my days of wearing military surplus stuff, so I was wary of putting it on at the risk of looking too militia-fashy. But if the fash really are adopting the polo-and-khaki look for good, then I guess that puts my black BDUs in the clear?
posted by tobascodagama at 8:21 AM on December 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

So it seems to me like these fashion articles actually leave out most of the people I know who go to protests, especially anyone who is not a student. And these articles leave out the vast majority of protests - the "protest the Muslim ban" ones, the "support SEIU janitor-organizing campaign" ones, the "pack City Hall over this new police policy" ones.

The vast majority of protests here in MPLS are attended by people in ordinary clothes - or whatever is ordinary for them, anyway. People come from work or school to the protest and they're just wearing a slightly adjusted version of what they wear anyway. The last protest I attended, there was a guy in a suit, a young woman in a casual dress and some people in casual clothes that I didn't really notice - it was a protest against one of the Muslim bans and there were small groups on street corners all around the city.

When there were a bunch of Black Lives Matter protests here, the only distinguishing thing about protest attire was that a lot of the attendees were young and culturally engaged, so the protests were a little chic-er than average and I got lots of outfit ideas.

Protest clothing varies a bit by the kind of protest - pre-DSA marxist-led protests tend to be casual working outfits, as do union protests, although union ones usually have t-shirts and union colors; DSA-era Marxist ones look more collegiate/middle class; anti-police-brutality, pro-immigrant and policy-wonkery ones tend to be "whatever people wear in their daily lives" and rather varied.

I think there's this weird fetishization of antifa/black bloc that has very little to do with who antifa/black bloc types actually tend to be and how those social formations work. (I mean, most of the ones I know are very good people and also enormous goofballs, not Mysterious Strangers or anything.)
posted by Frowner at 8:24 AM on December 8, 2017 [13 favorites]

posted by straight at 8:50 AM on December 8, 2017 [7 favorites]

(It's not a revolution if everyone still has to worry about what to wear.)
posted by straight at 8:52 AM on December 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

Yeah, here is a picture of a protest against the tax bill in Des Moines two weeks ago. Where I live, protest fashion involves middle-aged-to-elderly ladies with puffy coats and sensible haircuts.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:45 AM on December 8, 2017 [4 favorites]

How can people that worship the power of the State possibly smash the State?

Look Maaan, I'm just sayin', if you aren't dressed all in wool you knitted yourself from your commune's collectively owned alpacas, you should go nude. Or you're not a REAL anarchist.

Oh yeah, and only fake protestor's wear sunblock. SPF is a tool of corporate fascism.
posted by happyroach at 10:27 AM on December 8, 2017 [3 favorites]

Maybe you should get your information about anarchism (and socialism, for that matter) from someplace other than right-wing Cold War propaganda.

I mean, there’s legitimate critiques from the left about authoritarian structures on the left, and whether their hierarchical structure creates the problems they originally tried to solve. But this is all pretty far afield from “what do you wear to black bloc”.
posted by corb at 10:59 AM on December 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

ooooooooooh crimethinc. we really are back in the late 90s early 00s. i guess i'll go see if i have any ball chain necklaces from claire's with like, dragon claws clutching a shiny marble left over from then. exchange my carolina boots for british docs. pointedly listen to chumbawamba oh wait already doing that nvm

anyway .
yeah the obsession with ANTIFA / black clad anarchists as like, the face of the revolution i guess i get if mainly you interact with protests by looking at pictures of them? check it out, these people are easy to pick out and all look the same, must be important. but ime at every protest i've turned out to there's way more regular-ass people wearing whatever they happen to be wearing.

i also think the obsession among certain subcultures with gearing up for these interactions like we're all going to be getting in a huge beef with the riot cops every time and you need to hide your fucking ear lobes from the surveillance of the state is just the tiniest bit gross and grandstanding , and i feel like squares obsessing over antifa just feeds this particular dumb slice of anarchy people protest notions

more people should come protest as it is mainly hella boring and it's nice to have people to talk to as we mill about outside. this would also solve the problem of amSQUAREica (see what i did there???????) having this weird media inflected perception of a protest being like some kind of weird west side story rumble

idk man
posted by nixon's meatloaf at 11:24 AM on December 8, 2017 [7 favorites]

Ultimately, it's the police who decide if a protest gets violent or not. If the decisions to escalate is gonna be out of my hands, I'm gonna wear something comfortable and durable.

Certainly it's better for everyone when the crowd is so big that the police can't escalate, but not every protest is going to be like that.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:38 AM on December 8, 2017 [6 favorites]

dude i have been at protests of particular kinds for a while and do not begrudge anybody dressing for their outing. but the weirdo little articles about 'dressing for battle' are some overwrought shit that plays to a particular kind of ego
posted by nixon's meatloaf at 12:53 PM on December 8, 2017

I unsubscribed from the New York Times last weekend because I was getting so hot under the collar after their latest DISPATCH FROM OHIO WHERE WE WENT TO SOME RANDOM BAR AND FOUND A GRUMPY OLD WHITE GUY. And like, I can't totally quit it as hard as I try. And since then there have been at least 3 or 4 articles that just 100% confirm my decision to unsubscribe was exactly the right one. This might take the cake.
posted by mostly vowels at 4:00 PM on December 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

The $375 Barney's "Antifa" jacket is particularly ironic because it's made by Alpha Industries, a US military contractor that got its start making uniforms during the Vietnam War, and then stayed alive during the Cold War selling to US allies via the buy-American provisions of defense cooperation deals, before offshoring production to China and concentrating on selling knockoffs. They've almost certainly sold stuff to actual fascists (well, Peronists, anyway).

posted by Kadin2048 at 5:03 PM on December 8, 2017 [3 favorites]

posted by indubitable at 6:18 PM on December 8, 2017

The CND basically had the right of it.
Yup, plenty of Crombies there. Surprised to see only one duffel coat, the cheap army-surplus reclaimed wool coat of the 1950 university set. The pics were too early for the donkey jacket set, and the Gannex crowd were the folk that the Aldermaston marchers were marching against. Thank goodness every Gannex has perished into latex crumbs and old wool.

Scary thing is, I think I recognize the young bloke with the Glasgow sign in the second picture.
posted by scruss at 6:44 PM on December 8, 2017

Socialism is anathema to anarchy.
posted by NeoRothbardian

Honestly not sure whether this a gimmick account?

Not to imply that (left) anarchists have always gotten along with certain varieties of socialist.
posted by atoxyl at 9:28 PM on December 8, 2017

I've been to a few protests, and Ive found it important to bring a few essentials.
First is a navigation system, to get you to and from the protest. Next is a sun protection system: hat, shatterproof sunglasses, maybe a bandana. Then, insulation system - never know when you might get a change of weather, and always good to be able to layer up/layer down. Also, an illumination system, as you may be -

oh, I seem to have mixed up my notes.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:23 PM on December 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

Man of twists and turns - I should really add that this is a neat post, even though I complained about the content of some of the articles. I am glad to have seen them and this line of writing. Thanks for putting it together!
posted by Frowner at 5:17 AM on December 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

How can the Black Block come up without someone mentioning the person who coined the term? (P.S. I LOVE that Barney's jacket! Takes me right back to the idiocy of high school when everybody fell over the boys and girls who dared to wear them to class!)
posted by artof.mulata at 7:12 PM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

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