Anarchy, hockey and the Vancouver riots
This thread is already a bit late, but I thought we could have a discussion not just about the macho, hypermasculine, booze-fuelled rioting in Vancouver post-game seven, but also about the state's attempt (through both the mayor's office and the police force) to link the violence to "anarchists," and the protests against G20 and the Olympics. Not to mention the subsequent enthusiasm for citizens to oust perpetrators on social media, essentially doing the state's surveillance and coercion work for them. Here are few articles to get the discussion started:\Understanding Vancouver's 'Hockey Riot'
One thing was made abundantly clear to me, please disregard the “analysis” of TSN’s Bob McKenzie a k a “The Hockey Insider” who blamed “left wing loons” for the rubble. Mackenzie tweeted that he was sure responsibility lay with “anarchists and some organized extremists…many of the same people and groups who orchestrated riots in Toronto last summer at the G8.” This is unsupported and profoundly irresponsible garbage with no basis in fact. Vancouver activist Harsha Walia said to me, “It’s ridiculous that even a hockey riot needs a scapegoat. A deliberately created media circus of sports fervor, millions of alcohol advertising dollars and City-sanctioned street party zones all over downtown will unsurprisingly lead to a massive street brawl."...
What happened after the game was neither in the spirit of people at the arena not the spirit of those who bravely protested the G8. As activist and hockey fan Derrick O’Keefe said to me, “Sometimes a riot is the ‘language of the unheard,’ in the words of Martin Luther King Jr. But sometimes a riot is just an expression of young male stupidity and violence— this was the case last night in Vancouver.”...
I did receive this incisive bit of analysis from Dru Oja Day, an editor at the Media Co-op. “If you ask people to pour all of their emotions and anger into a game, then a major event (Montrealers have rioted after first round game 7 wins!) is going to occasion some outbursts. Hockey commentators like Hockey Nights’ Don Cherry are constantly associating hockey with the troops overseas (he went to Afghanistan and fired a live shell, for chrissakes) and promote fighting and big open ice hits. We shouldn’t be surprised.”
John Ward-Leighton also pointed out on his blog the role that the liquor lobby placed in turned an entire area around the arena into a branded “Entertainment Zone” larded with bars and free-flowing liquor.
“It was clear that a lot of of the participants in last night’s riot and looting were at the very least impaired and looking for trouble,” said Ward-Leighton. “This ‘zone’ has nothing to do with entertainment and much to do with the almost criminal profit taking of the proprietors of the establishments who far from ‘serving it right’ pour drunken idiots into the streets nightly to brawl and drive drunk….The fault for last night's idiocy was not about losing a hockey game or the police response, the bomb had its fuse lit with the myth that the only way you can have fun is to get stinking drunk.”...
As one of those real heroes, Harsha Walia said to me, “There is a sense that people rioted over a ‘stupid apolitical hockey game.’ While I too wish people were motivated by social justice issues, the hockey game is not apolitical by any means. The riots were a fundamentalist defense of a type of nationalism, most evident in the beatings of Bruins fans in Vancouver last night. NHL hockey is not simply a game, it is representative of obedience to consumerism and is part of the state’s attempt to forge a false identity—despite vast differences and inequalities across race, class and gender, through the spectacle of sport.”
The state does reap what the state sows. We should remember that as the hand-wringing by police and government officials commences in the wake of Vancouver’s Great Hockey Riot.
Roving bands of anarchists and troublemakers bent on havoc set fires, broke windows and whipped up booze-fuelled mobs to create the worst riot in Vancouver’s history, Mayor Gregor Robertson said Thursday.
The mayor said there was no advance warning of the strategy, which caught police and city officials off guard, and may force them to take a different approach to security plans for large public gatherings in the future.
“There had been absolutely no signs of this coming,” Robertson said Thursday afternoon. “Both during the G-20 [leaders’ summit in Toronto] and the 2010 Olympics these thugs were well known to be organizing and preparing to take action and criminal activities on the streets. There were no indications of that leading into last night,” he said.
“Definitely there are citizens responsible for inflaming the situation. But there were purposeful vandals who instigated this and very cleverly whipped many others into a frenzy by attacking cars and storefronts and moving throughout the downtown to create more hot spots.”