G8/G20 Communiqué: Hunting the Black Bloc down like rabbits

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kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Red Trash wrote:

I am very irritated by people on the left who are deflecting attention - that should be focused on the police - onto the "Black Block".  Take another look at the youtube footage of that weekend.  Are we going to let that sort of paramilitary style police action go unchecked?  Sure, the Black Block is stupid.  But if we let the police enjoy the shade provided by all this fuss over the Black Block -- We're stupid!

Welcome.  Yes it has been almost over powering. 

jrootham

Pointing out the Black Bloc idiocy has nothing to do with letting the cops off the hook.  It would be much easier to nail the cops in the court of public opinion if the Black Bloc hadn't been so dumb.

 

writer writer's picture

Just finished a book about JJ Harper. Really, this stuff isn't new. As the case of a cop recently pushing a woman with disabilities on the DTES of Vancouver also illustrates. Like officer Cross in the case of shooting Harper, the cop in Vancouver apparently claimed he thought the woman was going for his gun.

The cops can always find excuses. The challenge is whether the populace is prepared to buy those excuses for the transitory notion that they gain increased safety for themselves in exchange.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Bullshit.

All you are doing is reasserting that paradigm that the police are using to cover their assess. A top ten wanted list, and a high profile weekly press conference, for "mischief". Ridiculous, are there no rapists, muggers and murderer's to investigate?

Of course, rather than attack this ovbious missuse of the public purse for a political end, you for some reason feel duty bound to keep going with the idea that you (and we) are somehow responsible for denouncing a relatively small group of people, as if it is incumbent on the Montreal Canadians Hockey organization to denounce the post game rioters who torched and damaged far more police cars back in April than were destroyed during the entire G20 weekend.

Have fun making the police case for them.

jrootham

Of course they can always find excuses.  The point is that the Black Bloc gift wrapped one for them.

Just because your arguments play well in the lefter than thou crowd that populates Babble doesn't mean the they work in the larger population where it really matters.

And yes, it really matters more what the larger population thinks.  It's called democracy.

Just because democracy is a pain doesn't mean you should ignore it.

Edit for minor language issue.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Are you sure the populace "buys" those excuses?

Flash polls after the event indicated that 30% of Canadians didn't support the police action. Clearly, despite distorted media coverage, a large number of people simply did not buy the police version of events. Indeed, in the wake of overt property damage and vandalism to police vehicles, one would expext the poll results to be 95% in support of the police actions. But that isn't the case.

Indeed if you had polled Canadians after the Montreal Hockey riot about whether or not Canadians supported the police actions, the response would almost certainly be in support of the police. What is surprising about the G20 polls, is that they did not reflect a nearly unanimous assent in favour of the police.

Now take into account that this Canada wide poll was taken immediatly after the events themselves, and based on very scant and inaccurate knowledge provided by the mainstream press. What people heard was "riot", "property damage", "protestors"... "arrests were made." Of course an majority is going to support the police action on those grounds.

This will no doubt change, once more information is available.

However, some of our friends here seem dead set on reiterating the police line at every opportunity. It is time that stopped, if one actually wants the real story to get out, despite the bias of the mainstream press.

It is called staying on "message". It isn't so hard.

jrootham

No, what some people are doing here is having a discussion in a semi public left space.  In the larger community the messaging from the left is overwhelming focused on the police.

Some of us think we can walk and chew gum at the same time, we also believe that the police reaction does not give the Black Bloc a free pass on being questioned on their approach.

They are not working in solidarity, they are not working to create a mass movement, they are not being effective.

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

Well, I will be looking forward to seeing your posts on the issue of the authorities attack on civil rights, in this "semi-public" left space. Oh! Right, you only intervene to condemn the black block, or did I miss a post somewhere?

There you are productively engaged in attacking the black block, and contributing to 9/11 threads.

Apparently you can't even imagine making a positive post about G20 activities other than those that were organized by the Sothern Ontario Anarchist Resistance and held in a place completely seperate from other G20 activities.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

jrootham wrote:
Pointing out the Black Bloc idiocy has nothing to do with letting the cops off the hook.  It would be much easier to nail the cops in the court of public opinion if the Black Bloc hadn't been so dumb.

I sort of agree with you, but I'd have written that we already know about the cops, the BB many of us - myself included - are learning about for almost the first time. There was a post written not long ago - this week I think - that described the BB in Quebec and contrasted them with the BB of Toronto - two very different animals.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Black Block isn't a group. It is a demonstration tactic.

It has been current in anti-globalization tactics since the late 1990's in North America. In fact it is an extension of civil disobedience tactics first taken up by the peace movement, which included acts such as blocking roads, sit in's and so on. In fact, many peace activists in the 80's claimed that it was their "moral right" to directly damage the property of the military industrial complex, since they were doing nothing more than attacking the aparatus that commits murder on a daily basis.

It is called "direct action".

By extension. some activists today believe likewise that the whole corporate complex is part of the same destructive force that is daily murdering people and destroying the planet on a huge scale, and in that light, feel that they have the moral right to vandalize corporate property.

Quote:
As anarchists and anti-authoritarians, we see that it is necessary to publicly confront the misinformation that has been spread by the media and some prominent individuals on the left regarding anarchism, black blocs, and the struggle we bring to the street. We have been dismissed as thugs and hooligans, which, from the perspective of defenders of capital and exploitation, may not be far from the truth.

[SNIP]

As anarchists and anti-authoritarians, we see that it is necessary to publicly confront the misinformation that has been spread by the media and some prominent individuals on the left regarding anarchism, black blocs, and the struggle we bring to the street. We have been dismissed as thugs and hooligans, which, from the perspective of defenders of capital and exploitation, may not be far from the truth.In opposing the climate of repression in Toronto and afterward, it is important to remember why we went there in the first place. We were not there as 'concerned citizens' or 'defenders of civil liberties.' We intended to attack the state and capital, to humiliate the G20 security apparatus, and to be uncontrollable. This necessarily brought us into conflict with the forces of law and order. Though the scale of the repression was greater than most of us are accustomed to, it was completely in keeping with the enraging methods of control that police and other state lackeys use every day. Toronto was only one moment in a much longer struggle, and we intend on winning.

Unapologetic Anarchist Bloc in Montreal

I guess the question for people on the "left" is which they are more interested in condemning, the police, or these type of activists who assert their right to make this moral case against the state, the military industrial complex and corporate rule.

Honestly Boom Boom, I don't see how you are making this distinction between Toronto anarchists and Montreal anarchist activists. But it is good to see that you want to know what is up.

Red Trash

We need to keep the heat on Harper. Complaining about a few kids is ridiculous. It is ridiculous. What I saw on youtube and on the news could have been footage from Central America. Seriously. We cannot let the Police or Harper for that matter, get away with this. Harper went too far. And I don't care about a 100 or so rowdy kids. If 20 000 police officers can't fend them off with a $1.2 Billion security budget well, then maybe they shouldn't be getting paid so well. Obviously the cops didn't think they were a threat, or they wouldn't have taken 6 hours to show up. Please.

Home raids. Check-points. Random detentions. Family members wondering where their loved ones are. We should be outraged about this. Not worried about kids smashing windows.

Put the heat on Harper. Not the kids.

 

 

 

jrootham

The reason I don't post about the cops is that I have nothing useful to add to the discussion.  I am right pissed about what happened.

Note, the response that I am disqualified from commenting on the tactics of protesters because I am not also pounding on the cops is part of the lefter than thou dynamic that is prevalent on Babble.

Pointing out that it would be easier to put heat on the cops (and their bosses) in the absence of useless window smashing is not taking the heat off the cops.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I think in the future G8/G20 protest organisers are going to include strategies for containing the Black Bloc because they're fed up with their message of protest being distracted or hijacked. This could include specific training of protest volunteers in making citizen's arrests of BB members who destroy property during a protest. I doubt G8/G20 protest organisers want any BB involvement, unless I'm missing something.

Cueball Cueball's picture

And how do you precisely propose such a containement to be achieved?

List and photographs of anarchists?

Banning certain clothes?

Marshalls being required to remove suspects?

Above I noted that the thread title is a direct reference to Trotsky's declaration on the occassion of the Kronsdadt rebellion in the Soviet Union, when he said that the anarchist strikers would be "hunted down like rabbits."

Indeed, what you fail to realize is that G20 organizers did take steps "contain" black block tactics from being part of peacful demonstrations. That is what "diversity of tactics" is all about. This is a mutually agreed upon strategy that ensures that Black Block tactics do not take place in the context of other demonstration.

As you see, the BB activists, removed themselves from other demonstrators before engaging in any direct action.

What else do you propose that is possible without becoming the police and imposing authoritarian measures, and starting street fights inside demonstration: pointing out here that street fights between protestors would be an excelent pretext for the police to supress a demonstration.

 

jrootham

That was not an accurate description of the events.  The Black Blocers left an existing demo (rather than launch their own) and then rejoined the demo at Queen's Park, which is when the police started their attacks.

jrootham

I defer to Unionist on those questions, he's better at it than I am.

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

Oh really? Is that what happened JR? You have evidence to provide to the police that conclusively shows that people who engaged in vandalism returned to Queens Park?

Furthermore, had you actually read the Southern Ontario Anarchist Resistance call out for the action they organized on Queens Street, the specifically called to meet at a separate location, and also were very clear that no actions were to take place in any of the peaceful "child friendly" (sic) demos.

Southern Ontario Anarchist Resistance call out for the G20

Quote:
All SOAR events celebrate a diversity of tactics, meaning that we support all the many different ways that people choose to resist our common enemies. We will not condemn or attempt to prevent or control actions being taken by others, and will vigorously resist state repression against anyone. That said, respect for diversity of tactics also means not smashing things while we're part of the labour child-friendly march, and remembering that although we might think certain tactics are pointless/annoying, we should not needlessly antagonize those people. Not that y'all would ever do that.

In anycase, care to take a stab at how organizers are supposed to prevent "specific" people, or people of specific ideological points of view from attending events... I mean within a democratic process?

Cueball Cueball's picture

You mean you personally don't really have a clue. That is what I thought.

It's amazing how many of these ritual denouciations go on about this thing, from people who can't even manage to articulate any simple solutions.

What is your idea, get a bunch of Teamsters to go around forcefully ejecting anyone one who meets a certain description? Perhaps marshalls will prevent people from leaving the march? I am thinking hard here. Any help at all from you JR?

To my mind the only thing that can be done is to prevent persons from engaging in unlawful and obnoxious activity within the context of labour organized events, not unless you want to hunt the anarchists down "like rabbits", Leon Trotsky style.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Sorry to be so snarky, but this is an organizational challenge that needs to be really thought out.

The whole point of "diversity of tactics" is to seperate peaceful activities from the not so peaceful ones. We do this to prevent disorganized pell-mell confusion everywhere that might infringe on the rights of those that choose peacful protest. That is the point of it.

It was the police who chose to view the attempt to make a clear distinction as an indication that peaceful protestors were complicit in the black block tactics, even though the whole purpose was to make a clearly defined seperation between the two.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

The idea I suggested might happen in future demos was citizen's arrests of  BB if they were in the act of destroying property during demostrations. I can't be clearer than that.

It also occurs to me that the law enforcement industry probably loves  Black Bloc tactics, because to them the presence of the BB  during protest demos justifies lavish law enforcement spending, including generous overtime. Has anyone looked into whether the BB is being driven by law enforcement in the first place - to justify their extreme budgets?Laughing

 

ps: LaughingLaughing

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Haven't seen this posted yet from Dave Coles in thestar:
 
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/839199--security-operation-or-political-theatre
 

Quote:

In another graphic scene in Toronto, police undercover operatives, wearing all manner of disguise, converge on their rallying point. They have obviously been ordered to disband. While several of their number, waving nightsticks and screaming, "Get back! Get back!" threaten a video journalist taping the scene, their comrades dash for the police line. The police line opens and a uniformed officer, scanning their clothes for some sort of ID, waves them through. At least one is dressed in the Black Bloc uniform. The police line, using bicycles as a fence, closes up and the undercover officers make good their escape.
It was not widely reported, but the RCMP confirmed to the Star's Tonda McCharles that it would be employing "crowd infiltrators." Was the car-smasher one of those "infiltrators"?

Quote:

O Canada, this is a dangerous moment in the history of our democracy. If just a fragment of this is true, then a full-throated public investigation into the police and the politicians is desperately needed. It is important to note that prime minister Pierre Trudeau took full responsibility for the arrests under the War Measures Act. He ensured that a commission was established to compensate those unfairly detained. Almost all received financial compensation. It would show some leadership for Harper to take a page from that history.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Boom Boom wrote:

The idea I suggested might happen in future demos was citizen's arrests of  BB if they were in the act of destroying property during demostrations. I can't be clearer than that.

Marshalls already are instructed to dissuade and even control protestors who step out of line, within the ranks of peaceful demos, and indeed, are usually instructed to have the police remove them if possible. Dave Coles showed how this was done at Montabello, backed up by a group of black clad and masked Anarchists.

But perhaps you mean something more: when people doing BB activities sneak away from the main crowd, we should send out our Teamster guys to "hunt them down like rabbits", and arrest them, and hand them over to the police?

All because they believe they have the moral right to attack corporate society by attacking its property?

Boom Boom wrote:

It also occurs to me that the law enforcement industry probably loves Black Bloc tactics, because to them the presence of the BB during protest demos justifies lavish law enforcement spending, including generous overtime. Has anyone looked into whether the BB is being driven by law enforcement in the first place - to justify their extreme budgets?Laughing

I am 100% sure that there is some long term deep penetration of some Anarchist cells. Particularly in the USA. If there were such provocateurs at the G20 demonstration, I would not be at all surprised if there were some "unknowns" from the USA, who simply crept back across the border after the event.

Another good reason to have clearly defined zones of activity. Since, as Dave Coles shows above. Everyone has agreed to a specific tactic for the peaceful demonstration, it is then relatively easy to detect and expose obnoxious elements, since the terms of the event are clear.

jrootham

Dave Coles's actions at Montebello were exactly the kind of thing I will support wholeheartedly.

I don't care how people dress at a demo, I absolutely support everyones right to hold whatever beliefs they have.  What I care about is people being visibly associated with demos running around breaking things to no purpose.

Oh, I forgot, I'm a white male.  I'm supposed to pontificate on everything under the sun and get annoyed when I am told I am hogging the conversation.  I am obviously not holding up my end of the bargain by deferring to people who are good at what they do.

 

Freedom 55

Boom Boom wrote:

I doubt G8/G20 protest organisers want any BB involvement, unless I'm missing something.

 

I'm sure there are many who welcomed a black bloc presence. In all likelihood, some black blockers were G8/G20 protest organizers.

writer writer's picture

As the clip Cueball links to illustrates, black-clad quebec anarchists confirmed, supported and actively, physically backed Dave Coles' actions. So it could just as easily be phrased, "The masked anarchists' actions at Montebello were exactly the kind of thing I will support wholeheartedly."

Through what happened here in Toronto, I am mostly alarmed by the exercise of paramilitary actions – backed by the state through three levels of government – justified by notions of collective guilt / punishment and thought crimes – where people were arrested before doing anything the police believed they were going to do in future.

This is not the kind of justice I can support. Simply, this is not justice of any kind.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Freedom 55 wrote:
I'm sure there are many who welcomed a black bloc presence. In all likelihood, some black blockers were G8/G20 protest organizers.

That sounds like a smear of the protest organisers to me.

j.m.

Cueball wrote:

Boom Boom wrote:

The idea I suggested might happen in future demos was citizen's arrests of  BB if they were in the act of destroying property during demostrations. I can't be clearer than that.

Marshalls already are instructed to dissuade and even control protestors who step out of line, within the ranks of peaceful demos, and indeed, are usually instructed to have the police remove them if possible. Dave Coles showed how this was done at Montabello, backed up by a group of black clad and masked Anarchists.

But perhaps you mean something more: when people doing BB activities sneak away from the main crowd, we should send out our Teamster guys to "hunt them down like rabbits", and arrest them, and hand them over to the police?

All because they believe they have the moral right to attack corporate society by attacking its property?

This is the very type of citizenship we DON'T need : protestors defending property rights and acting on behalf of the state. If capitalist social relations are indefensible ideologically then why would we even dare reproduce them?

There needs to be a very clear distinction between our mediation of our image to the non-protesting public and engaging in the fascism of the state. Can we honestly defend an unjust system through citizens arrest while we chant different messages ? Is this not the right "tactic" to use to impress the wrong people (an uncritical public that naturalizes the "goodness" of property rights that are part of capitalist social relations)?  

I deplore trade unionists that deradicalize themselves and become good docile subjects for the state and capitalist mentalities, and further facilitate the state's interests while driving a wedge into the protesting body.  This is not the type of solidarity we need in an increasingly polarized and more authoritarian world.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

So, you don't agree property destruction by the BB detracts from a peaceful demonstration? That's the only point I'm making.

j.m.

Boom Boom wrote:

So, you don't agree property destruction by the BB detracts from a peaceful demonstration? That's the only point I'm making.

I disagree with the optics of property destruction, but the violence of property rights as a social relations commits even worse atrocities on an everyday basis that is accepted by the very people who will find window smashing deplorable. And yes, property destruction legitimizes violence against peaceful protestors, even if it is after the fact (i.e., the police attack and THEN property damage occurs).

If peaceful protestors want to "belong" by engaging in citizens arrest activities then that is their decision. I think it is highly contradictory and further demonstrates a willingness to internalize the fascism of state rationalities.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

j.m. wrote:
If peaceful protestors want to "belong" by engaging in citizens arrest activities then that is their decision. I think it is highly contradictory and further demonstrates a willingness to internalize the fascism of state rationalities.

You totally miss what I am saying. I'm saying that I think organisers might want to keep their protest peaceful and clear of BB thuggery by training some of their volunteers to make citizen's arrests when BB step out of line into vandalism and violence. The alternative - it seems to me -  is do nothing and watch in dismay as the BB hijack their protest.

j.m.

Boom Boom wrote:

j.m. wrote:
If peaceful protestors want to "belong" by engaging in citizens arrest activities then that is their decision. I think it is highly contradictory and further demonstrates a willingness to internalize the fascism of state rationalities.

You totally miss what I am saying. I'm saying that I think organisers might want to keep their protest peaceful and clear of BB thuggery by training some of their volunteers to make citizen's arrests when BB step out of line into vandalism and violence. The alternative - it seems to me -  is do nothing and watch in dismay as the BB hijack their protest.

 

I get what you are saying. This is why I stated before that we should separate the way we 'appear' to the public from the issue of engaging in the fascism of the state. Because if you want to mix the two in the name of peaceful protest, you are just reproducing state repression and the legitimacy of capitalist social relations (property rights) that produce everyday violence.

j.m.

So, maybe we should have a conversation about the tactics of trade unionists too? Black Bloc tactics aren't the only ones that should be under scrutiny.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

jrootham wrote:

The reason I don't post about the cops is that I have nothing useful to add to the discussion. 

And what of use have you added by posting about the BB?

Who gave you the right to tell other citizens when and how they should protest the violence of the state?  They did as asked and did not involve the main march.  Obviously that was not enough for you so what is it you want?  

If you have something useful to say tell us how you would prevent people from marching with your parade and then leaving to do something different?   I am still not convinced that the people who are actually affiliated with the BB had anything to do with the police car incident.  At most the tapes show a person dressed like a BB jumping on the car but they show a lot more people who look like they were just out celebrating a hockey game.  How do you intend to differentiate a proper protester from a hockey rioter if they don't wear black?  

Almost a thousand people are arrested and from all accounts they all had their Charter rights breached and the only thing USEFUL you can do is attack people for breaking Starbucks windows.  I'd laugh if it didn't make me want to cry.

Polunatic2

If the public is so supportive, why have the Toronto police received thousands of photos and videos? At least that's what they claim. I don't know if it's really true. It could be a lie to cover-up the fact that most of the public is now ready to mask up next time around. 

Quote:
Marshalls already are instructed to dissuade and even control protestors who step out of line, within the ranks of peaceful demos, and indeed, are usually instructed to have the police remove them if possible. 

Usually instructed? I've been attending demos in Toronto for a long time and I have marshalled many of them. I have not once - ever - received those instructions, even when some protestors have gone beyond the "approved" tactics. Another red herring.

Quote:
But if we let the police enjoy the shade provided by all this fuss over the Black Block -- We're stupid!

Babble is a discussion forum. If people want to discuss tactics, that is their right. To infer anything from that about people's opinion's about the police abuses presents a straw person - a false dichotomy. It's another bully tactic to prevent debate and allow distorted views of reality to stand unchecked. It's an attempt at imposing self-censorship. 

Freedom 55

Boom Boom wrote:

Freedom 55 wrote:
I'm sure there are many who welcomed a black bloc presence. In all likelihood, some black blockers were G8/G20 protest organizers.

That sounds like a smear of the protest organisers to me.

 

Well, it's the truth. I think it's more of a smear to pretend that people who participate in black blocs don't do any organizing.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Freedom 55 wrote:
 I think it's more of a smear to pretend that people who participate in black blocs don't do any organizing.

Did I say that? I assume the BB do organise with a view to disrupt the protests. I'm suggesting those who do the organising for anti-G8/20 protest demonstrations should start taking counter-measures to prevent disruptions by the BB.

j.m.

F55 where do you want to go with your argument? If indeed people were organizing and also participating in black bloc tactics (which, by the way, have *many* variations), what does it matter? What exactly do you want to infer from your statement?

 

Boom Boom - Making dissent "safe" is a dangerous business. What is the difference between your language and that of the security organizers?

Boom Boom wrote:

"those who do the organising for [protests] should start taking counter-measures to prevent disruptions..."

I've got a great idea: why don't the protestors create a security perimeter so that they can assure no one can enter that is unwelcome! Or they could infiltrate the crowds of black! Or hire security forces! Or surveil the area with security cameras! 

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

where's the rolling eyes smiley when we need it?

Polunatic2

What would you do if you had a party and a bunch of uninvited people showed up to disrupt the festivities? Would you,

a) welcome them and ask them what kind of beer they like?

b) tell them that you support diversity of partying and that you won't criticize anything they do?

c) ask them nicely to leave?

d) throw them out?

Cueball Cueball's picture

In fact, no peaceful demonstrations were disrupted, except by the police.

j.m.

Polunatic2 wrote:

What would you do if you had a party and a bunch of uninvited people showed up to disrupt the festivities? Would you,

a) welcome them and ask them what kind of beer they like?

b) tell them that you support diversity of partying and that you won't criticize anything they do?

c) ask them nicely to leave?

d) throw them out?

Well Polunatic, you've answered your question. Apparently a protest can be compared with a party, both of which have to happen somewhere (do you usually start parties on propertyless spaces?). What is glaring me in the face in your question is the issue of "inviting people" and having "gatecrashers" as if protests happen in some sort of controlled space (like a party on private property!). The only way this discourse works is if you assume that certain protestors and organizers have permission to use space (where? likely on public thoroughfares owned by the state! so, who do they have to ask?) to thus control who can be at the party.

j.m.

Boom Boom wrote:

where's the rolling eyes smiley when we need it?

So, what is a counter-tactic for "disruption" then?

Freedom 55

Boom Boom wrote:

I'm suggesting those who do the organising for anti-G8/20 protest demonstrations should start taking counter-measures to prevent disruptions by the BB.

 

I'm suggesting that you're wrong to assume there's no crossover between the organizers of these demos and some of the people who march as a black bloc.

 

I know it's challenging for some to accept that point, because it doesn't fit the myths and assumptions that many people have about who participates in tactics, but that doesn't make it any less true.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Polunatic2 wrote:

Quote:
Marshalls already are instructed to dissuade and even control protestors who step out of line, within the ranks of peaceful demos, and indeed, are usually instructed to have the police remove them if possible. 

Usually instructed? I've been attending demos in Toronto for a long time and I have marshalled many of them. I have not once - ever - received those instructions, even when some protestors have gone beyond the "approved" tactics. Another red herring.

Actually the fact that marshalling was very amateur was pretty evident, I agree. All demonstrations that I have worked on have at least allowed head marshalls to act pro-actively in the case of disturbances. Dave Coles, an old school union activists, knows the score, as we can see.

Over the past weeks, I have clearly said that there should be more organized marshalling, because it was completely obvious that demonstrators were very badly organized overall, and without leadership. I did a pretty extensive survey of all the material on YouTube, covering all these demos (not just the exciting bits) and in particular the spontaneous march and demo that ended up at the Novotel hotel.

There were two serious problems, here, as far as I could tell,

1) No marshalls

2) No leadership

In fact, the real problem was not that there was not proper control of the crowd, and BB elements within, because there was no "direct action" evident in this footage, but the fact that the demonstrators were exposed to being picked off in ones and two and allowed themselves to be kettled.

So, at least as far as this goes, the real problem as far as I was concerned was not issues relating to the demonstrators, but in the fact that marshalling and leadership was not organized properly to confront and negotiate with the police.

There should have been some kind of "flying squad" marshall group created to properly co-ordinated off the cuff demonstrations, like that. Simillar problems occured at Queens Park when the police attacked the crowd, and the one "instigation" from the crowd was, as is to be expected, handled by the demonstrators themselves. But, no co-ordinated marshalling apparent, or leadership, as far as I could see, just demonstrators getting picked off one by one, and police being allowed to muscle the disorganized demonstrators.

The best marshalling I have seen in Toronto, was organized by Palestine House. These guys know how to run a demonstration and command the respect both of their supporters but also the police.

Freedom 55

j.m. wrote:

F55 where do you want to go with your argument? If indeed people were organizing and also participating in black bloc tactics (which, by the way, have *many* variations), what does it matter? What exactly do you want to infer from your statement?

It matters because if there's any point in discussing these tensions within the left, it's better that we deal with reality. That's my main point.

It would be naïve to assume (as many obviously do) that those who participated in black blocs at the G20 demonstrations had no involvement in organizing those same demos - that they were all cops, or outsiders with no real connections to the mobilizations against the G8/G20.

If you still want to expel these people, or keep them at arms-length from any future demonstrations, that's fine. But recognize; first, it's going to be hard to accomplish; and second, you will be losing some of the very people who make these mobilizations possible. Now they might be easily replaced - I don't know - but that's part of the reality that you'll have to deal with.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Cueball wrote:
The best marshalling I have seen in Toronto, was organized by Palestine House. These guys know how to run a demonstration and command the respect both of their supporters but also the police.

That's the type of thing I'd like to see more of.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Well, part of the reason that the police respect them is that it's pretty evident that if their leadership told them to riot. It would be a real riot. Not this black block civil disobedience stuff. Not that the Palestine House people would ever order such a thing.

I think it is very important to have organized marshalling that is not intimidated by the police.

To my mind the real issue here is developing strategies to diffuse, and otherwise thwart police repression, not deal with fringe groups, which are actually quite easily dealt with on a one to one level. Particularly BB activists, because as we see, they pretty much are committed to acting apart from other demonstrators, based on the principles of "diversity of tactics".

Diversity of tactics ensured that no instigations or attacks against property happened in peaceful protests.

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Good post, Cue. Cool

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jrootham

There are so many issues with this post that I have a hard time figuring out whare to start.

First:  What do you mean what right do I have?  Are you really trying to say that some people have rights to speech and others do not?  Do you really want to go there?

Second:  Have you been reading the posts on Babble domination by men?  Like the issues with men repeating stuff that's already been said just so they can be heard?  I am trying to take that advice to heart and not just going me too in the threads.

This post is a classic of the bullying attempts from that professional leftists on Babble.

Given the political isolationism of the lefter than thou Babble posters I think pushing back against the foolishness is a useful thing to do.

This discussion is largely centered on the perception results of political theatre amongst the large majority of the population.  What the actual affiliation of people burning police cars is doesn't matter so much as what people think it is.  By being in the march, leaving, and then returning most people think that there is an association with the marchers.  Given the state of the discussion here I think articulating that perception is very useful thing to do.

kropotkin1951 wrote:

jrootham wrote:

The reason I don't post about the cops is that I have nothing useful to add to the discussion. 

And what of use have you added by posting about the BB?

Who gave you the right to tell other citizens when and how they should protest the violence of the state?  They did as asked and did not involve the main march.  Obviously that was not enough for you so what is it you want?  

If you have something useful to say tell us how you would prevent people from marching with your parade and then leaving to do something different?   I am still not convinced that the people who are actually affiliated with the BB had anything to do with the police car incident.  At most the tapes show a person dressed like a BB jumping on the car but they show a lot more people who look like they were just out celebrating a hockey game.  How do you intend to differentiate a proper protester from a hockey rioter if they don't wear black?  

Almost a thousand people are arrested and from all accounts they all had their Charter rights breached and the only thing USEFUL you can do is attack people for breaking Starbucks windows.  I'd laugh if it didn't make me want to cry.

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