A Debate on Protest Tactics. What works, what doesn't

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Doug

kropotkin1951 wrote:

The reason this whole debate makes me livid is that anyone who has protested for decades knows that marching peacefully with a sign will never change Harpers mind.  Unionist knows it and so does everyone else who follows the global reach of this police state.

It isn't about changing Stephen Harper's mind. It would be nice, but it's an unlikely outcome. It's about changing the mind of John and Jane Q Public. If public opinion shifts, Stephen Harper has to shift with it if he wants to keep his job. When activists are viewed as criminals, even by association, it prevents that change of opinion from happening. 

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So in our frustration we blame the youth who don't have pensions and benefits to protect and are frustrated and angry that they live in a police state and no one is ever fucking polite to them.  Yeah lets have an endless debate about how they ruined it all for everyone.

That anger's justified but channeling it into actions that don't accomplish much is surely a waste of effort.

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Its bad enough that the police can say the "devil" made me do it. What makes it over the top is people here saying; "yeah stop making the police violent." 

 

Why not let the police be violent of their own accord? Why give them an excuse?

 

Unionist

Other than a couple of individuals on this board, it is virtually impossible to find anyone - in the street, in the workplace, on progressive websites - saying anything positive (or even "neutral") about the vandals and assholes whose actions were conveniently used as a pretext by the authorities for their fascist attacks.

It would be wonderful if the movement has turned this corner once and for all, as a result of this cathartic weekend. No more rejoicing over torching of banks and cars, over smashing of windows. Dare we hope that organizations will meet in advance and discuss all aspects of mobilization - including how to neutralize the assholes without the "help" of the police?

Cytizen H

Unionist wrote:

Other than a couple of individuals on this board, it is virtually impossible to find anyone - in the street, in the workplace, on progressive websites - saying anything positive (or even "neutral") about the vandals and assholes whose actions were conveniently used as a pretext by the authorities for their fascist attacks.

Bullshit. At the rally last night, one of the speakers said something about not letting the media trick us into to talking about "good protesters vs. bad protesters". 2500 people clapped and cheered. People who are actually here and actually give a shit get it. Why the fuck don't you. Let's please focus all energy on holding the police accountable. I'm so sick of this shit.

Unionist

What was the name of that speaker, Cytizen? Were their remarks quoted on any site (progressive or otherwise)? I'd love to take your word for this, but give me a little more evidence to work with.

There are no "good protesters vs. bad protesters". There are only protesters. Then, there are police agents, provocateurs, and common vandals - very very few of them - who must be isolated and controlled so that our struggle can succeed. Either we crush the provocations, or the provocations will be used as a pretext to crush us. If you don't condemn the assholes, masses of people will (correctly) conclude that they speak and act for you.

This isn't rocket science.

And I strongly suggest that everyone call them "assholes" or similar terms of abuse. That way, the few real people tempted to join in the "fun" will be discouraged by peer pressure.

 

Sineed

Recall how Morgentaler fought for women's right to choose: by opening illegal abortion clinics.  For me, that's real diversity of tactics.  When the anti-choicers blew up the abortion clinic on Harbord St in Toronto, they lost the argument and established themselves in the firmament of the lunatic fringe.  

Smashing storefronts and tossing feces inside only convinces people you're full of shit, and blaming the media is what politicians do when they get on the wrong side of public opinion.

People going to work, seeing the smashed storefronts, will think, "Imagine how much damage there would have been if the police hadn't arrested 900 folks."  It's that much harder holding the police accountable.

Slumberjack

Yeah, the divide and conquer stratagem that you employ by using terms such as ‘assholes' and ‘vandals' is wearing a little thin Unionist.

When confronting power on its own terms, one has to expect that an array of deceptive tactics will be bought to bear to serve as the thin justification for brutality against citizens. Justification is still useful to power as a cover story for its corporate media propaganda. It isn't surprising then to witness ‘black block' agents setting to work among the crowds in parasitic fashion.

As much as I consider useless the act of directly and peacefully confronting the elite and their body guards through mass demonstrations, I also can't ignore the profound sense of solidarity that is felt with those who do so, and who feel there is meaning in it, despite the fact that I disagree with the tactic. I suppose there is a minute utility on some level with the docile voicing of objections in the vicinity of the deciding class, but when a moment's thought is given, it doesn't appear all that far removed from a metaphor, where the imagery is suggestive of livestock being funneled through openings in the corral fencing before the rendering house.

Instead, I imagine these occasions with legions of riot police standing around behind barricades, sweltering in the heat with their thumbs up their asses, doing nothing, no one bothering to add to the sense of power that they appropriate for themselves by confronting them on their terms, being provided with what they and their masters so richly deserve, which is the utter rejection of a society that turns its back on them once and for all in disgust. Meanwhile, a more tangible act of protest to mark the occasions might involve tens of thousands of protestors fanning out in large groups at multiple points around the metropolis, quickly emptying the big box retail outlets, organized smash and grabs if you will, and distributing the contents among the communities. That would frighten power far more than tens of thousands of sloganeers holding signs.

Unionist

Slumberjack wrote:

Yeah, the divide and conquer stratagem that you employ by using terms such as ‘assholes' and ‘vandals' is wearing a little thin Unionist.

I think that's an appropriate metaphor, SJ. The millions who are gathering strength to change this unjust world must divide off the adventurists and the provocateurs in order to conquer the real enemy.

Your disagreement with the "tactic" of mass demonstrations appears somewhat ahistorical to me. Not one momentous change - from the French Revolution to the defeat of U.S. aggression in South-East Asia to the overthrow of the Soviet-bloc regimes - has ever taken place in the absence of such mobilizations.

Conversely, never once have assholes and vandals triggered any positive social change. We dumb working people don't need cowardly arsonists and window-smashers and (ultimately) assassins to "wake us up". We know whose interests they serve. The only sad part about the assholes is that some of them don't even collect a cheque from those whose interests they serve.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Sineed wrote:
 People going to work, seeing the smashed storefronts, will think, "Imagine how much damage there would have been if the police hadn't arrested 900 folks."  It's that much harder holding the police accountable.

Sineed, this is exactly what's being said in mainstream news sites. Fucking hell.

.................

Slumberjack, while sloganeers (thanks a lot) may not be effective, I don't think looting insured big-box stores is either. 

If "effective" means "leads to social change" it can be very easy to slip into a sense of the problem is too big, etc.

I think what would be the better and rather impossible challenge is to have the protestors armed in an equivalent way to the police. It's not going to happen, but it would sure change the police's tactics. In the absence of that, we have our voices, our streets, and the way those of us with privilege use it on an every day basis to fuck shit up.

Slumberjack

Unionist wrote:
Conversely, never once have assholes and vandals triggered any positive social change.

Well I don't know about that. I think if you were to ask among people who marched with the peaceful side of civil rights movement; you might be surprised to find a few who would give a nod to the Black Panther tactics as being useful to the overall endeavor.

The concept I've been trying to get across to you without much success it seems, involves an exercise in self-awareness to some extent, one which realizes that it isn't necessary to do the work of the power elite apparatus by seamlessly aligning with it in condemning measures that others feel is justified, last resort self defense.

The conditioning required to engage in collaboration without the slightest acknowledgement of what it is, forms part of the relentless multi-faceted campaign of control which is employed so effectively, involving direct police action, propaganda, beatings, arrests, planetary destruction, genocide, apathy, and last but certainly not least, pacifism in the face of it all to name a few. It's a comfortable arrangement of interests to be sure.

Slumberjack

Maysie wrote:
Slumberjack, while sloganeers (thanks a lot) may not be effective, I don't think looting insured big-box stores is either. 

Fear is a useful tactic though Maysie.  Right now they fear nothing and no one.  Creativity is key no? ;)

Unionist

Slumberjack wrote:

Unionist wrote:
Conversely, never once have assholes and vandals triggered any positive social change.

Well I don't know about that. I think if you were to ask among people who marched with the peaceful side of civil rights movement; you might be surprised to find a few who would give a nod to the Black Panther tactics as being useful to the overall endeavor.

The Panthers were "useful" for far more than their tactics. They were a proud, public, militant, and mass-embedded movement, organizing self-defence of African American communities against the racist suppression by the police. They were no cowardly concealed vandals or assassins. They were, in fact, notoriously the targeted victims of such attacks by police.

Your example is an excellent one to distinguish mass struggle from police provocateurs and individual heroic adventurers. You have quite obviously missed my argument. I am no pacifist, nor do I espouse nonviolence except as a tactic (and maybe as a lofty distant goal in human evolution). When militant action is taken, it must be taken by masses of people, deciding and acting together. If individuals do so on their own, the same masses of people must suppress them - or, if that's not feasible, then clearly condemn and dissociate from them.

 

Sineed

Maysie wrote:

Sineed wrote:
 People going to work, seeing the smashed storefronts, will think, "Imagine how much damage there would have been if the police hadn't arrested 900 folks."  It's that much harder holding the police accountable.

Sineed, this is exactly what's being said in mainstream news sites. Fucking hell.

Precisely my point.  As I said before this past wkend, activists will lose the moral high ground if they support violent tactics.  What happened is exactly what us pacifists said was going to happen.

I mean, look at it: either it's "agents provocateurs" or the mainstream media.  People like me and unionist and adharden who have been consistently critical of violent tactics are being smeared with accusations of being divisive, or, like you just did, "mainstream."  We are offering constructive criticism, so who is being divisive, REALLY?

Truth is, violence is an unsupportable position, so those who support it must necessarily resort to criticizing those who are against it because that's all they got.

Bottom line: violent tactics are a disastrously bad idea.  This weekend proved it.  People still in favour of it need to take their heads out of their asses already.

Slumberjack

Sineed wrote:
 As I said before this past wkend, activists will lose the moral high ground if they support violent tactics.  What happened is exactly what us pacifists said was going to happen.

Here's another metaphor...army background and all you know.  When the battle is in the trenches, to insist on occupying the moral high ground leaves one standing around in no persons land, trying to advance against hopeless odds.

theboxman

Maysie wrote:

I think what would be the better and rather impossible challenge is to have the protestors armed in an equivalent way to the police. It's not going to happen, but it would sure change the police's tactics. In the absence of that, we have our voices, our streets, and the way those of us with privilege use it on an every day basis to fuck shit up.

While it would certainly require much more organizational discipline than is currently practiced, I'm not sure it's necessarily impossible to have equivalently armed protesters. This was certainly the practice in the 1969 anti US-Japan Security Treaty/Anti-Vietnam War protests in Tokyo when universities were occupied and shut down for a year. I believe labor organizers in South Korea also to some extent practice these tactics. 

Whether it would be an effective or productive tactic though is a wholly different question.

 

Caissa

Now I understand Vimy Ridge.Wink

Maysie Maysie's picture

Sineed this isn't about the moral high ground. Report after report indicates that the police left the 2 cop cars, strategically. Yeah, they should have been left alone, but when do cops do this, ever? And the police were simply vanished when the vandalism on Yonge Street began and allowed it to continue for 30+ minutes. Separate from agents provocateurs, the violent protesters walked right into the police's plans. And it worked. It's actually pushing it to even call what they did, "tactics". IMO.

$1 billion dollars is now justified. Orchestrated completely by the PTB. And people are believing it. That's what angers me.

I'm not in favour of violence such as what happened in my city on the weekend. Neither the state-condoned violence, bought and paid for, nor the (perhaps) less-organized sort. Interesting that we've all been distracted from the violence of the cops though. But I get that this thread is about the tactics on "our" side. Nobody who throws bricks is someone I would consider an ally.

SJ, is fear a tactic? Or is it a way to enforce compliance? If that's true, there are many more ways to strike fear into the hearts of corporations than smashing their stores and stealing. Cutting up one's credit card is one way. Tongue out Watch how fast change will happen if only 10% of the population does that. 

Slumberjack

theboxman wrote:
Whether it would be an effective or productive tactic though is a wholly different question. 

It might work the first time around, if each protester had a rifle and bandolier slung across their shoulder, in convincing the police to adopt a more polite demeanor with the general public. The next time though, the army would be manning the barricades.

It wouldn't happen here of course, because we tend to leave that sort of thing to the 'third' world. We're quite willing to cheer them on in their struggles though, while simultaneously counseling the less intense, apparently more civilized bended knee approach for ourselves.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Slumberjack wrote:
 We're quite willing to cheer them on in their struggles though, while simultaneously counseling the less intense, apparently more civilized bended knee approach for ourselves.

SJ, when I saw the video of protesters turning their backs on the riot police and sitting down, I thought, who the hell does that, except someone secure in their privilege of the sanctity of their physical dignity? Or, ingrained with "trust" that the police won't hurt them. The results weren't pretty.

theboxman

Slumberjack wrote:

It might work the first time around, if each protester had a rifle and bandolier slung across their shoulder, in convincing the police to adopt a more polite demeanor with the general public. The next time though, the army would be manning the barricades.

The image in my head was more construction hard hats and steel trash bin shields. Nonetheless, you're probably right about what the likely state response would be. 

There's a scene in one of Ogawa Shinsuke's documentary series about the farmers' protests against the building of Narita International Airport outside of Tokyo from the 1970s when the farmers and their student allies debate whether to arm themselves for the next days picket lines. It's certainly an interesting glimpse into the thinking that went behind their protest actions at the time. 

Unionist

Sineed - violence in self-defence - violence supported by the masses - is not only justified, it is inevitable. Hence, WWII. Hence, Vietnam. Hence, Afghanistan.

The distinction is not whether people get hurt or not, either. It is what stage the struggle is at, and whether the tactics are decided and accepted by the movement. Maysie's comment about having the "protestors armed in an equivalent way to the police" is so far from the point, I just shook my head. The people of Vietnam (for just one of countless examples) were never "armed in an equivalent way". They prevailed. The insurgency in Afghanistan is armed with some pathetic firearms and home-made explosive devices. But, as in the countless other cases, they enjoy vast popular support. That's why they will prevail.

Turning the other cheek in the face of systemic violence is no virtue. It can be, at best, a conjunctural tactic. Even if, by some turn of fate, the people remove their enemies from their thrones by nonviolent means, they will need to prepare to defend that victory against violent reprisals. That's why I disagree, philosophically, with adharden. But today, I disagree even more immediately and urgently with Slumberjack. The individual arsonists and vandals must be condemned - suppressed - as a small parenthesis to our larger struggle. And we must be the ones to do it, if they don't get the message themselves through their rather dense skulls.

st_zed

Hi babblers, although u may not know me- i feel like i kno most of you (in that anonymous online way anyways) i have read the forums the last 3 years- but after what happened in the tdot this weekend and closely following the board i feel i need to post in response to a long-time babbler.

Unionist- there are actually a lot of people in support of the activists in black: several in the mainstream. Naomi Klein was on democracynow.org yesterday defending their actions, and providing a context in which this sort of actvism exists.

as many of u may or may not kno (as i did not)canada has had (roll eyes) substantial hockey riots in the past where more cop cars were destroyed/burnt/flipped.

I personally feel ill that the left would not be in solidarity with ALL of the protesters not just those working within the social justice mainstream.  My sympathies are anarchist(indigenist/post left/ communist), and i have difficulty with a parliamentary system led by social democrats; however when social democrats, socialists, communists, marxists, social justice people speak and march i tend to listen and realise how rich and diverse the left is- rather be divisive in the face of mainstream media.

If we dont have solidarity for eachother- how can we expect to change the public perception?

Just as an Add- i have also heard many people discuss how the police implemented their "baiting" tactics- so to blame the activists  for causing destruction on police "property" when it is clear to anyone paying attention that this was clearly what "they" wanted... The left to divide and the "black bloc' to become the new terrorists...

 

st_zed

oh i just wanted to add another little blip- While i am in solidarity with a diversity of tactics- i do not condone the destruction of the police cars, they were a PERFECT camera op if u read the star or the globe and mail u will see what i mean, you couldn't have "planned' photojournalism that great (lol).

However, i do believe that breaking windows adjoining corporate property is non-violen;t particularly in context to the destruction and violence corporations do in the world to all persons but particularly those vunerable to abuse and exploitation. We are all exploited and oppressed- some just choose to acknowledge that fact. and some choose to take it a step further.

We cannot forgot that the only people that were hurt in the protest were protesters, there were no fatalities no police casualties. The vids i saw of the sat arrests sickened me. I was @ the solidarity march outside of don jail were many more arrested in a brutal fashion. 

Compare this to any day in afghanistan and iraq where state and corporate mechanisms are at work, causing death AND property destruction every single day.

Unionist

Hi, st_zed - warm welcome to babble (that is, to a speaking role)! If you've been reading for 3 years, you may have noticed that I occasionally exaggerate in order to make my point. It's my working-class upbringing, I'm afraid... Smile

st_zed wrote:

Unionist- there are actually a lot of people in support of the activists in black: several in the mainstream.

I'm a big believer in precision. I have absolutely nothing against anarchists nor against people who dress in black. My comments are directed against the assholes that torch banks and cop cars and smash windows of businesses, then run away and hide. Are those the ones you say "a lot of people" support? I guess we'll have to agree to disagree, because I haven't met one single solitary non-cyber-person that has said, "Good for them!"

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Naomi Klein was on democracynow.org yesterday defending their actions, and providing a context in which this sort of actvism exists.

Not that I don't believe you, but having just met you, I'll need a quote and/or a link so that I can judge your rather astonishing statement for myself.

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as many of u may or may not kno (as i did not)canada has had (roll eyes) substantial hockey riots in the past where more cop cars were destroyed/burnt/flipped.

Yeah, and I have more respect for crowds that do that than masked heroes. Not much more, mind you - but more. The crowds usually aren't trying to invite repression.

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I personally feel ill that the left would not be in solidarity with ALL of the protesters not just those working within the social justice mainstream.

What if some of the "protesters" pulled out guns and started shooting cops? Would the absence of solidarity still make you ill? Or do you get to draw the line as to what forms of individual heroics are acceptable? Just askin'.

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My sympathies are anarchist(indigenist/post left/ communist), and i have difficulty with a parliamentary system led by social democrats; however when social democrats, socialists, communists, marxists, social justice people speak and march i tend to listen and realise how rich and diverse the left is- rather be divisive in the face of mainstream media.

I personally never give a damn what someone's "sympathies" are. I judge them by their words and deeds, and whether they act with the movement or not. If you think the "movement" only consists of "the left", then we will never win. We will need people marching and acting together who would never dream of attaching all those little sectarian labels to themselves that you have just listed. Come check out my fellow workers sometime. When action happens, they're all together. Ask them how they vote or what they thing of socialism and revolution and anarchism. You will be rudely surprised.

I'll take my "right-wing" workers over the asshole arsonists any day of the week, month, or year - because they will change this world.

 

SparkyOne

Unionist wrote:

What was the name of that speaker, Cytizen? Were their remarks quoted on any site (progressive or otherwise)? I'd love to take your word for this, but give me a little more evidence to work with.

 

I'd like to know this too.

 

 

I'm hearing it a lot. Imagine how much damage would have happened if the police wasn't here?!

Word is store owners have to pay for the damage themselves. The federal government MIGHT step in (But now that the big spending spree is over probably not).

Some people here have made comments like big deal, it's just some broken windows. Okay so how about you drop a cheque for a thousand bucks to get someones windows put back in. It wasn't just "evil big name corporate symbolic stores" that were smashed. 

Slumberjack

Unionist wrote:
But today, I disagree even more immediately and urgently with Slumberjack. The individual arsonists and vandals must be condemned - suppressed - as a small parenthesis to our larger struggle. And we must be the ones to do it, if they don't get the message themselves through their rather dense skulls.

We're of the opinion that we have time on our side, and that our immediate circumstances [I mean ‘our' in the sense that we enjoy, no matter what occurs around us, a measure of safety and security that is denied to others on a daily basis] are such as to not warrant a more aggressive posture.

We consider ourselves in solidarity with the oppressed around the world and domestically, yet we define the respective variations of self defense through our own methodology. What is well and good enough for ‘others' as they determine is to be avoided by us.

Solidarity exists so long as the complacency and normalcy that we've come to depend upon for ourselves remains undisturbed. Somehow, everyone must sign on to what we define as legitimate in order to be considered, even in circumstances of knowing full well the level of mainstream conditioning that exists in this society, to an extend where we witness the occasional outburst in protest, followed by an equally rapid return to the accustomed state of lethargy that has been prepared for us. And if somehow the oppressed gain a measure of victory through the very means we look down upon, we stand ready to reap the benefit after stepping past their bodies.

We do not fully realize of course the similarities that should unite us all against a common global system that inflicts its misery everywhere, because after all, we're among the privileged few, which lends toward the notion of feeling that we have the time to be patient, while others are being crushed, poisoned, and suffocated.

Unionist

Cytizen H wrote:
At the rally last night, one of the speakers said something about not letting the media trick us into to talking about "good protesters vs. bad protesters". 2500 people clapped and cheered.

I have no intention of letting this go until you either substantiate it - or withdraw it. Who said this, and what did they say? Why should we allow throwaway comments like yours to become urban legend?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I believe violence begets violence. Violent tactics by the BB goons will just bring more police repression.

Slumberjack

More for us indeed Boom Boom.  We're not used to that.

Cytizen H

Unionist wrote:

Cytizen H wrote:
At the rally last night, one of the speakers said something about not letting the media trick us into to talking about "good protesters vs. bad protesters". 2500 people clapped and cheered.

I have no intention of letting this go until you either substantiate it - or withdraw it. Who said this, and what did they say? Why should we allow throwaway comments like yours to become urban legend?

FUCK YOU UNIONIST YOU FUCK!!!! WHy don't you spend 20 hours in a fucking cage, get beat up by cops and listen to the media and supposed fucking allies trash your friends and family and then go fucking search out the name of someone who spoke in front of 2500 people. Fuck you. Look at the speakers list. it was one of those people.

Unionist

st_zed wrote:

Unionist- there are actually a lot of people in support of the activists in black: several in the mainstream. Naomi Klein was on democracynow.org yesterday defending their actions, and providing a context in which this sort of actvism exists.

So, st_zed, just for everyone's information, [url=http://www.democracynow.org/2010/6/28/naomi_klein_the_real_crime_scene]here is the video clip[/url]. The interview with Naomi Klein begins at 23:00. There is also a few seconds at the very end where she returns to the same issue.

NOT ONCE does she mention the "activists in black". NOT ONCE does she "defend their actions".

How about listening to it again, and then get back to us. Urban legend is a dangerous thing. Facts are vital for those who wish to change the world.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

The BB goons are nothing but a sideshow, but unfortunately a sideshow that brings increased police repression.

st_zed

Hi Unionist, Thank you for your reply. I won't pretend that i wasn't slightly worried- as I know how heated babblers can get. But i do appreciate your welcome. Here is the link to democracynow =

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/6/28/naomi_klein_the_real_crime_scene

 

I do agree with you on many topics- I am not suggesting the "movement" or "change" will only come from the left- I believe many so-called right wing workers among many others- MUST be included in any and every discussion, I am about inclusion not division. I appreciate your feelings on labels or political identities- i felt it was nessacery to identify myself ( a product of my post-modern post- secondary education obviously) so babblers could have some context b/c i had never posted before. I adore ( get ready for it) noam chomsky- and his anarcho-syndicalist sensibilities have influenced me immensley. I will admit that my own understanding of labour history is not a level it should be - but of course i recognise (how could i not?) the immense contributions of labour and working peoples in democratic movements. Don't they form the majority of our society? I believe people who catagorise themselves on the right and are of a particular socio-economic background (whatever that means) do so in response to mainstream education and media. For me personally, the right is pro-business anti-labour. This is not to invalidate their talkior ng points or diminish their capacities - most people in my view are quite brainwashed by capitalist/neo-capitalist forces...may not be a marxist but I strongly concur with his his analysis- just not his outcome. I am not saying I condone the boys in black " " ; but i do not like it that progessives of any shade should attack people that they instead should hold solidarity with. I feel "SICKENED" by the g20- and all that entails- (i know so ambiguous...) but i am tired of BEING told we live in a democracy and never seeing these so-called liberal humanist democratic values enacted. i am pro-democracy and simply put - Democracy should governing principles decided for and OF the people in a consensus or grassroots way. It should bring all sorts of people to the table. I am disapointed i guess in general by the whole spectacle- and it adds to my feelings of unease of our current society I  I don't know if this was a even and/or adequate response to some of your points? but I hope we can continue the discssion soon.

Slumberjack

No wonder the level of anxiety being expressed though, there you go again with inconvenient facts and footage.

Bacchus

Unionist wrote:

Cytizen H wrote:
At the rally last night, one of the speakers said something about not letting the media trick us into to talking about "good protesters vs. bad protesters". 2500 people clapped and cheered.

I have no intention of letting this go until you either substantiate it - or withdraw it. Who said this, and what did they say? Why should we allow throwaway comments like yours to become urban legend?

Having been there, I wouldnt be able to tell you what anyone said with conviction, since the sound was crap and the only time I could for sure know what someone was saying was when they started a chant, since then I could hear everyone else repeating it.Laughing

writer writer's picture

Here's one heck of a tactic worth debating: [url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/toronto/police-admit-delibe... admit deliberately misleading public on expanded security fence law[/url]

Unionist

st_zed wrote:

Hi Unionist, Thank you for your reply. I won't pretend that i wasn't slightly worried- as I know how heated babblers can get. But i do appreciate your welcome. Here is the link to democracynow =

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/6/28/naomi_klein_the_real_crime_scene

St_zed, I've read your comments, and I think we are remarkably in agreement on the basic ills of our society and the tasks facing the movement.

I just want, though, to emphasize how important facts are. We must have crossposted, because I linked to Naomi's interview just before you did. I watched/listened to the whole thing. She never mentioned the people in black - not once, unless I was seriously mistaken - and she certainly never once defended any burning of cars or smashing of shop windows. Not once. So please listen again, think over what you said, and let me know if we're still in disagreement on this point.

Let me put it differently. I know Naomi Klein. I know her work. I cannot imagine her defending these characters or their actions. I can certainly imagine her saying that the "real crime" took place among the G-20 leaders. I share that conviction entirely. But no one defends the assholes - no one I've seen, anyway - except anonymously in cyberspace.

 

st_zed

Boom Boom wrote:

The BB goons are nothing but a sideshow, but unfortunately a sideshow that brings increased police repression.

 

I agree it was a spectacle and perhaps calculatedly so.

 

st_zed

Unionist- She didn't say "anarchists in black" she called them " young activists" and refers to them as very "angry" she in no way marginalises them or criminalises them- This is what i meant by "defend" i am sorry that i inarticulated my point. Her article in globe and mail yesterday antagonistically derided the "real crooks of the g20 nations" as the leaders. I felt this comparison amounted to defense. I do not condone what they did. I, along with NK, do not condemn them.

Unionist

writer wrote:

Here's one heck of a tactic worth debating: [url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/toronto/police-admit-delibe... admit deliberately misleading public on expanded security fence law[/url]

Here's what I posted on [url=http://rabble.ca/babble/activism/police-get-new-powers-g20-fence-unquest..., although I didn't get a very sympathetic reception:

Quote:

Um, folks, this is much ado about nothing. As the cops said, this law already existed - in fact, cops have had these powers for 20 years, at least, for anyone "entering or attempting to enter" "any provincial and any municipal public building"! All they did now was expand these powers to the G20 security fence.

There are no new powers - only the addition of that area.

The law is extremely draconian - reverse onus, the whole nine yards - but it's already there. Come to think of it, who was in power in Ontario in 1990?

So, who "leaked" this big story and created a big ruckus? IMHO, it's the security forces themselves. On one hand, they can help stoke their crisis atmosphere. On the other hand, they can plead that they have done nothing which isn't already in the legislation.

And most importantly, they must be counting on the mere announcement (and the predictable reaction of some) to keep fence-sitters (sorry) away from the fence.

[url=http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_90p55_e...'s the 1990 Act[/url], for your reference.

Emphasis added.

 

st_zed

LOL to the continuous cross-posts.

 

 

skdadl

Slumberjack wrote:

We're of the opinion that we have time on our side, and that our immediate circumstances [I mean ‘our' in the sense that we enjoy, no matter what occurs around us, a measure of safety and security that is denied to others on a daily basis] are such as to not warrant a more aggressive posture.

Slumberjack, I won't put words in anyone else's mouth, but I don't think that's what people who argue in favour of organizing and solidarity believe about our current circumstances.

You can believe, as I do, that things here and now are really pretty awful for a lot of people and getting worse, and further that whatever comforts we have are bought at the expense of more seriously oppressed peoples elsewhere, and still recognize that some actions here and now have not been earned and are going to be counterproductive.

One way of knowing the tide had turned would be to see a million, two million Torontonians spontaneously assembled in Nathan Phillips Square -- but you and I both know that that is not going to happen soon, eh?

If Unionist is saying that we don't have a movement strong enough yet to pretend that we are starting a revolution, then I agree with him, and that's not because I'm flattering myself that we have time on our side. (I sure don't have time on my side.) Or that our comforts are too valuable to mess up if it were really possible to bring about fundamental change. It just means that I learned years ago that "Revolution if you want it!" doesn't work, isn't the way revolutions work, and is often more an expression of frustrated ego than serious commitment to change for everyone.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

The BB goons also lend themselves to easy infiltration and manipulation by the police - right? I think there were links posted last night showing possible (likely?) police officers disguised as BB goons and causing mayhem. It looks to me like the end result of BB goon involvement in the G20 protests was to bring some (not sure how much) sympathy for police action.

kropotkin1951

If the trade union movement had been willing to use its collective power anytime in the last fifteen years Canada would not be on the precipice of a police state.  Instead the mantra has been the same in every attempt at building grass roots unity.  The Union leadership rightly insists it only has a mandate from the people who pay union dues to protect their own contracts. That is the priority not social change and I have heard that from the mouths of the BC Fed Pres and various leaders of the largest unions in this province. 

Unionist your fucking train left the station in BC in the 1980's when the CLC and BC Fed sold out the Solidarity Coalition.  In BC while Campbell has been in full attack mode against the poor in this province for almost a decade the trade unions say just wait the government will defeat itself.  At the same time they insist that their members can't take on the fight shoulder to shoulder with other trade unionists becasue that would be a misuse of members funds.  HEU goes to the wall and they find themselves alone and they got beat up.  The Ferryworkers went to the wall against cutbacks to their agreements and the trade union leadership sold them down the river to a Ready made yellow dog contract.  

When unions don't even stand with other trade unionist under attack what doe that mean?  In Canada our unions have taken the old slogan "An Injury to One is An Injury to All" and changed it to read "An Injury to One is a Lesson to Be Learned From - Keep Your Head Down and Your Ass up"

Our once proud unions have abandoned our youth in favour of protecting the boomers pensions and benefits.  But go ahead tell those youth in the street that the unions make them strong.  There is business unionism in Canada not trade unionism and the union leadership is used to telling working people what is good for them. It seems that what is good for others is protecting the gains of the few from the global fire storm our cooperate leaders have unleashed on the population.  

Go ahead tell those young people that the unions are their salvation and that you only have the moral authority to decide how the power of the state should be confronted.  After all look at all the success in the last 15 years by unions in this country. 

st_zed

Unionist- I reread the transcript- you are right- I have her article and the broadcast all mixed up in my head- On the same hour amy goodman had a story submitted by Vcity- Media coop and I may be conflating the three things.... But i do stand by saying that she doesnt condemn or accuse them- in fact she rightly polarises the police and the g20 as the "bad guys." which i believe they are.

 

Just read what skdadl wrote- and in the spirit of that I agree- That the greatest solidarity movement would be to see MILLIONS (if not hundreds of thousands) kanadians / indigenous persons/ union members/ students / poor/ working people/ women/ glbtq/ basically everyone who hopes for democracy have a sit in on yonge street.

Green Grouch

Freedom 55, spare me the arrogance. If you disagree, fine, but spare me the cute little rant about my presumed privilege. You know dick about me, so quit commenting on me. " And I have to tell you, this whole unmasking idea reeks of privilege. You can make all the assumptions you want about why someone would choose to mask up, and your assumptions may even be correct most of the time. But the fact is, you don't know why that person wants to conceal her/his identity. You don't need to wear a mask because you have nothing to hide? Well, bully for you! You can take your privilege and shove it!"

I have met enough extremely marginalised people, unmasked, in deeply dangerous situation, that I have come to believe there is absolutely zero moral or practical justification for covering your face in the midst of a peaceful protest. None. Zip. I have marched at numerous Canadian protests with people from the global South, people who receive death threats as part of their day to day work. They look around at what our protests have become, point to the people with the masks, and say "why are they doing that? What are they trying to achieve?" If you don't want to listen to me, try listening to people who are well and truly marginalised, to the point of death threats, rape, and more, and hear what they have to say.

 

Cytizen H

Green Grouch. Check out my earlier sentiment towards Unionist. Apply to yourself. Police have been raiding houses and arresting innocents all week. They profile and harass and intimidate. They have threatened people's status. Of course there are reasons to hide from the fascist pigfuckers we had out on our streets this week. WHy not fucking think about what you're saying before you say it.

Slumberjack

kropotkin1951 wrote:
Instead the mantra has been the same in every attempt at building grass roots unity. 

This is the same type of mantra which for decades has been channeling leftist activism as we've come to know it into the dead end zones, where a few crumbs from the establishment is enough to be heralded as an occasion to whitewash slightly adjusted deck chairs. I mean, just take a good look in this and the firebombing threads to see the affliction and resignation. Apparently nothing is supposed to move until the green light committee makes up its mind at its leisure.

No matter though, once the misplaced responsibility is understood as a futile assumption involving a critique of this society, with the view of tweaking a few of its malfunctioning elements, in order to rescue what should be left for dead before we are as a species.

Green Grouch

As for the people in this discussion who seem able to engage in a conversation without name calling, calling down, and personalising: thank you. It's the only way we'll ever be able to have this debate. And we sure as hell need to have it in the worst way.

I'd love to hear some comments on messaging. Our messages are key parts of our tactics and it's one element we can own on our own terms, without reacting to the security apparatus.Bluntly, I feel we have been failing miserably at that, whether in street protests or through the big NGOs.

I struggled this past weekend because I felt the illegimate, beyond disgusting spectacle of these barricaded G20 meetings needed to take a global view, not just a local one--- important as the latter is, we also are conencted globally and our nation is one of the worst offenders on the global scene. I felt we needed to protest because-- for example-- of the millions of sisters and brothers dying of AIDS without basic sanitation and without basic, increasingly cheap AR meds that have been repeatedly promised by the wealthy, thieving nations and their corporations,  only to have that funding dry up and blow away as soon as the cameras are turned off. The G20 was here, imposed by a nasty and vindictive little "leader", so the least i could do was show up and try to use my body and voice to ask questions for those prevented from being here with us. I didn't feel any of us managed to do that well, beyond a few cleverly-worded homemade signs that succeeded where all the big NGOs and all the non profit $$ failed.

Perhaps I am still just too mad and sad to take a good view on this, so I would like to hear others' thoughts if you feel messaging is a relevant tactic to discuss.

Green Grouch

Any reason you can't control your anger, Cytizen H? Some people on this board seem to have a steaming hissy fit and go on a personal rant as soon as someone dares disagree with them. And we wonder why we can't get anywhere.

Yes, darling, I did read the posts. And I am disagreeing. Shocking! You and I seem to know different individuals who have "illegal" status or are otherwise marginalised or at-risk, and those individuals are coming to opposite conclusions. I am expressing my view and you are expressing yours. End of story.

Buddy Kat

The black bloc tactic has had it's day I'm afraid. When it started it worked but now that the tactic is being used against them by infiltration and of which we have seen the results of , it should be considered dead.

The solution is too demask and possibly sling shot the heads of masked people with marbles. At least the infiltarator will be identified by the big bump on their head. There is no question that violence wins all the time for news coverage.

What we have here is a government that has allowed constitutional rights to be trampled on...so unless people get serious and start kicking out the conservative/ liberal and getting off there butts and voting them out and the young people get their heads out of the bongs everything will stay the same

 

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