This past weekend has seen remarkable protests against the g20 in Toronto, Canada.
The government has reportedly spent an astounding $900 million on keeping the world leaders and their meeting safe from the protesters. Which really, quite simply, points to exactly the problem with the priorities of our system: our system has, since the beginning, been more concerned with self-perpetuation and holding on to power than it is with, say, dealing with the issues of the world.
The media, of course, is trying to split us into “good protester” and “bad protester.” The Huffington Post has a posted a shamefully poor AP article ostensibly about how the police have now arrested hundreds of activists who weren’t even in the act of protesting, but it quickly devolves into a ridiculous effort to justify these actions. I feel like I’ve read this exact article a hundred times. Start by talking about how the cops did something sketchy, like raid a university center for mass arrests, but justify their action in the first sentence:
Police raided a university building and rounded up hundreds of protesters Sunday in an effort to quell further violence near the G-20 global economic summit site a day after black-clad youths rampaged through the city, smashing windows and torching police cars.
next move on to quoting the government:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper deplored the actions of a “few thugs” and suggested the violence justified the controversial cost. “I think it goes a long way to explaining why we have the kind of security costs around these summits that we do,” he said.
(note that this quote also serves the purpose of somehow justifying the $900 million spent defending the summit)
Follow this by finding a protest group willing to try to make a plea for “legitimacy” by embracing their purported enemies (the summit itself) who will never, ever give a shit about them, and turning against their would-be allies:
An anti-poverty group called The Global Call to Action Against Poverty criticized the protesters who committed violence.
“A bunch of pimply faced teenagers trashing shops and burning cars does not help anyone,” said Rajesh Latchman of GCAP South Africa. “These hooligans obscure the real issues.”
and finally, put it in historical context by justifying police brutality of the past:
Previous global summit protests have turned violent. In 1999, 50,000 protesters shut down World Trade Organization sessions in Seattle as police fired tear gas and rubber bullets. There were some 600 arrests and $3 million in property damage. One man died after clashes with police at a G-20 meeting held in London in April 2009.
First of all… $3 million in property damage versus $900 million in defense expenditure? But most important here is that a man “died after clashes with police” in london, which is an outright lie. A man, unrelated to the protests, was killed by the police. That isn’t a “clash.” A war is when at least two armies are fighting.
My response might be simplest summed up by someone over at Infoshop News: If you’re angry about people dressed in black burning cars, you should probably know about the people in suits burning countries.
So, yes, I support the “black clad hooligans” in Toronto. Because they believe, for uncountable reasons, that the unelected world leaders of the g20 are in the direct process of destroying the natural earth, looting the developing world, and generally perpetuating the whole “rich get rich the poor get dead” thing. And no, the protesters aren’t willing to be polite about it.
Think about it. If you believed that the earth and most everyone in it was being absolutely tormented, tortured, and murdered by some rich people wearing suits, would you go hold a sign somewhere and hope that these bastards look at you and change their minds? Or would you go try to stop them?
The black clad anarchists might alienate some people, but almost no one is inspired by a bunch of spineless people saying “nurr… the g20 is bad but we should be cute and cuddly towards them.”
I have no idea if summit protests are useful, but I do know that the people who are out there fighting are incredibly brave, knowing that the most powerful countries in the world are spending nearly a billion dollars to crush dissent. Knowing that the state has the power to call summit protest organizers terrorists. And by continuing to be a thorn in the g20’s side, no matter how hard it tries to remove us, we can show the world, and show ourselves, that money doesn’t have the power to silence us. That no, a bunch of evil bastards can’t meet in public without hiding behind legions of armored minions.