Yes, And: Results from the North American Contagious Antagonisms Inquiry


One of the best texts to emerge from the Occupy cycle of struggle, “Yes, And…” re-reads the street conflicts of the preceding five years, in an attempt to draw lessons concerning what works and what doesn’t. It first appeared online in April 2012, attributed only to the “North American Society for the Advancement of Criminal Science”.

In each case the primary operation must be endowed with a force of seduction. This is not to say erotic or pleasurable even, but decisive in how it approaches its environment. The operation must pose a question that is irresistible to answer. An experimental composer once said “the hidden secret that makes this thing function is that the audience wants to be a part of the […] plot”This originary operation, the gesture that repeats itself even as it grows in complexity, must solicit the response “Yes, and.” This is how we can measure the success of the black bloc. In the experimental symphony, this is how each musician adds their own layers of emotion and aesthetics to the structure, even by altering the initial rhythm. In the improvisation drama, this is how the narrative grows essentially from nothing, then departs and returns to different plot elements. “Yes, and” must be the answer to rhythmic question “We need this, do you?” How this question is posed defines the particular meaning of the black bloc.

This text is also collected in our anthology, War in the Streets, Vol. 1.