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

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writer writer's picture

jrootham, I want to thank you for taking that discussion to heart.

It would be great if we could discuss amongst each other, rather than putting so much energy into cooking up yummy insults to hurl at each other, to put each other in place.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

jrootham wrote:

 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.


Facts matter and spreading innuendo and lies about allies is not helpful. You keep repeating this same fantasy of the BB running back into the crowd after they trashed windows kilometers away from the main protest.  Where are the pictures, where are the videos?  Because to me it is central to your believe that some protesters rights should be curtailed by other protesters.

I was not trying to silence you I am asking you why you think you have the right to set the parameters of other peoples right to protest as they see fit. Why do you think you can determine someone else's reaction to our emerging police state?  That is the part I don't understand. Where is your perceived authority to rule over others actions in opposing the every day brutality that is the reality for many of the residents of Canada.

writer writer's picture

South of Queen's Park (please note crowd response): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e05T85GFKJc

"black bloc" demonstrator runs into peaceful police line at Queen's Park: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XgEI5dCrE

"While they're deblocing, let's give them cover." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zo6JYTGObsw (doesn't look like an organized demo is happening at this time, but it is south of Queen's Park.)

For a whole series from Queen's Park from this point of view, check out: http://www.youtube.com/user/DeviousLeasha#p/u/7/z-j5FGwyDwQ. This series is incredibly informative. Shows the trashing of the van, the movement of the crowd after this, the deblocing, the protests as police move in, and the *police* pressure to move the demonstrators north *towards Queen's Park* from College and University.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I am still not sure what actually happened on the ground.  I saw the photos of one of the BB groups breaking the mirrors on a police van and trying to break the windows.  After that it looked like they were being herded by the police back to the park.  I have no idea and would really like to understand whether this is the same affinity group as was seen trashing windows and if so what is the time frame. Are these two different groups one of which was not successful in eluding the police although a sacrificial vehicle was left for them?  I would love to understand what happened and when.

But for the record the point is that broken mirrors on a police car probably happens every day somewhere in this country.  I don't understand this desire for a supposed mass movement to want to turn inward and somehow try to prevent anyone from destroying the sacrificial offerings left by the police.  I did not see anything that would require the arrest of a thousand people.  

I find the idea of looking to the boomer union leadership to lead us to salvation a troubling proposition.  Being a boomer trade unionist my view of the ability of Canadian union's to lead any parade is non existent.  However my believe in the power of the real union activists in all our unions is what keeps me going.  Over the years I have worn an Orange vest many a time at marches along with many of my sisters and brothers from other unions. I find it disturbing to be talking about doing the police's job for them and thus my "assertive" postings. The idea that it would be normal to hand people to the police is ludicrous and highlights for me how dangerous this debate is.

This opinion piece was posted in a thread on anarchy and it highlights far more articulately that I the dynamic that we are discussing.  What is the role of protest and is playing for the right media coverage worth striving for even if it that was achievable.  





The Public Does Not Exist

Another strength of the anarchists in Spain and Greece is that in general, they do not talk to the media. They understand that the media are not an ally but a part of the democratic system of control. The problem is not just “corporate media,” when the same corporation that makes the bombs also makes the news explaining how and why the bombs were used, and makes the movie glorifying the people who used the bombs, although this is clearly an intensification of the problem. It goes much deeper, to the structure of a society in which news is created by specialized producers, and circulated in specific spaces through flows which are regulated and non-reciprocal. In other words, the structure of media creates producers and consumers of fact and culture. In a truly free society, everyone would be making the news and shaping their culture, and sharing it reciprocally.

In specific cases, media coverage can be influenced to make a concrete difference, but the media will never communicate the ideas we need to communicate in order to achieve lasting social change. Instead, the anarchists in Greece and Spain focus on counterinformation--communicating directly with society through posters, flyers, graffiti, demos, protest marches, and face to face conversations in order to counter the lies spread by the media.



Actions Come Before Popularity

The public is not the same as society, but it is more accessible. Under capitalism, society is largely invisible, whereas the public is highly visible, even though the latter is real and the former is imaginary. It is absolutely vital to communicate with society, but no one actually knows what society thinks, least of all society itself.

What we do know is that society is full of people who silently applaud every time someone shoots back at the police, people who one day snap and hijack a bulldozer to demolish city hall, people so disgusted with the sanitized, controlled facade of urban space that they cover it with graffiti, people who think they are alone in their hatred of the system. The signs of rebellion are everywhere.

We need to have confidence in our own analysis, and take action against the system even without a popular mandate. Capitalism is based on cognitive dissonance, on trained self-betrayal, and to attack it, people must attack their own chains, their own life-support system. In Greece, for years it was only the anarchists practicing the unpopular and unpragmatic tactics of holding open assemblies, organizing indefinite occupations, smashing banks, and attacking police stations. But in the massive social uprising in December
2008 and since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been using those tactics, including people who previously criticized them.

People will never support a struggle on a massive scale until that struggle is real, because only a struggle that has already begun to create power can sustain people along the difficult path of fighting back against the systems that are exploiting them. In the meantime, struggles can only be initiated by those who dare.

Direct attacks against capitalism, the state, and the structures of white supremacy and patriarchy will win sympathy. This sympathy will never register in the media and in the conversations of professional activists, but it will be audible in the streets, on the buses, in the high schools. In the beginning it will necessarily be a minority position, as only those whose rejection of the current order is most visceral and uncompromising join in, but as this struggle becomes less apologetic and asserts itself as a real force in all the social movements and along all the fault lines of social conflict, more and more people will admit that in fact it does make sense to fight back against a system that constitutes exploitation, humiliation, and warfare against all of us.




writer writer's picture

Allen Gardens. This is an amazing slice of the debate.

"Dude, you are being a stupid hippie about this."

"... I feel my energy is more powerful than any motherfucker that would cover their face up."


writer writer's picture

Here's the clip with the police forcing protesters north: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uo4PSyzKp4o

The clampdown, a grassy median south of Queen's Park: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaYbq484abs

writer writer's picture

"G20 Toronto 2010; New Police tactics used against old protest methods. The result is a great practice day for Police and a circular route for protesters who never get within a kilometre of target."


This video shows the kind of presence I saw on downtown streets from the beginning of the week. The cops practiced these manouvres, these mass formations, over and over again. They grew bigger by the day, as new officers arrived from out of town. One day, I saw a section practicing on foot, followed by another on bikes, followed by mounteds. Then I saw a whole bunch of excited officers joshing and bonding in front of a hotel. Meanwhile, the fence was built, and lies were spread through official channels about new laws.

I really wish we'd have at least as much energy to talk about the state / police strategies, and how to respond. So much of what happened in Toronto was *outside* the "official" demonstrations.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Closing for length.


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