Tag Archives: g20

Reportback from Toronto

CrimethInc. gives us the blow by blow account of the anti-g20 protests in Toronto from an anarchist perspective. Of particular note is the debunking of the myth that the police allowed for the trashing to happen, but rather shows evidence that we managed to overextend the security forces of the state, allowing for cracks in their armor to appear, which we then took advantage of.

Of course, burning cop cars and looting posh stores doesn’t actually present a world free of hierarchy, but it inspires the hell out of a lot of people fighting for that. And it shows that the state is not all-powerful, that it can be, from time to time at least, successfully challenged. And yeah, it points out that people are really, really fucking mad that there are closed-door meetings of world leaders in a society that pretends to be about “democracy,” the idea that people rule themselves.

We Support Our Troops

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.


I don’t actually really know what epistomology means (and I have no idea if I’m spelling it right, cause this computer is spellchecking thinking I’m writing in Dutch), but today I ran across anarchapistemology. It’s a rather interesting anarcha-feminist blog. They’ve got a really solid analysis… almost non-analysis, of what happened in Pittsburgh at the g-20 (parts two and three are worth reading as well.) From the last post:

I wanted to write about the street medics who had created a clinic with skilled medical volunteers, anarchist staff, massage, acupuncture, herbalists. The street medics who stayed behind in Schenley Park to treat college students while all the activists got the hell out, and who got arrested mid-treatments, prevented from helping, held chained on buses for hours and hours in the cold, came out with handcuff injuries and tears. The injuries and the emotional trauma. The fear, the helplessness felt by unprepared victims of completely arbitrary police violence. The helplessness felt by the medics and friends trying to support a crowd of people who they couldn’t get to. Medic work is hard and important, and shouldn’t ever be overlooked or thankless. It is one of the greatest contributions to the new world that we are actively building right there, right there within the act of destroying the old!

The thing I love about this is that it sidesteps a false dichotomy. There are people who say “protests are traumatic, therefore we shouldn’t go to protests, and anyone who says we should is practically responsible for causing the trauma themselves.” and this irritates the piss out of me. And there are people who say “who cares about sissy stuff like trauma? we’ve got cops to fight! er, I mean, summits to counter-demonstrate!” who, clearly from my sardonic tone, I have no time for either. Instead, the author goes about describing how we can learn to be powerful, how we can address the mental wounds we will be taking as we confront state power.

I just came from a memorial for an israeli anarchist friend of mine, Tal, who died this past winter of cancer. She was one of the most powerful and vibrant and stern people I’ve known. It’s always the case that when people die, we use hyperboles to describe them, but Tal really was one of the most bad-ass folks I’d met. I, of course, wish I’d known her better. But when I came back to Amsterdam the second time, in 2006, she let me stay at her place. I was worrying about this or that emotional thing. She looked at me sternly: “You american anarchists. You’re all too sensitive.” Sometimes, I think she’s right. I’m a bit fond of cold, emotionless cultures myself. But we can’t just “toughen up” all the time, not internally, not within our own discourse among people who should be our allies.

All charges against the pittsburgh twitterers have been dropped!

Thank… well, thank the PR nightmare that was summoned in defense of these two. But Professor Calamity and his comrade have had their charges dropped. (see our original post on the matter for background). But Tortuga House lost the injunction that was preventing the police from looking through all their crap, which is irritating, and there’s still weird vague grand jury threats floating around. From Friends of Tortuga:

In the face of a PR nightmare, Pennsylvania authorities have withdrawn all charges against two members of Tortuga accused of using Twitter to aid protesters at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh. At a hearing today, instead of oral arguments regarding a defense motion to unseal the secret 18-page affidavit authorizing the arrests of Elliott Madison and Michael Wallschlager at a motel just outside of Pittsburgh, the prosecution immediately moved to withdraw all charges against the two before the defense had a chance to argue its case. Although clear from the beginning that these charges were absurd based on the State’s very own laws, our housemates were incarcerated for 36 hours, had their van towed and belongings confiscated, and one house member was given $30,000 in straight bail.

The District Attorney and his spokesperson were at pains to explain why the State would drop all charges against these dangerous twitterists and of course, refused to admit that these charges were unconstitutional and a heavy-handed attempt to scare anarchists and others from protesting in ways unsanctioned by the government. Instead, the prosecution says they decided that pursuing the charges “would be unwise” after consulting other law enforcement agencies and because of other pending investigations. The secret affidavit authorizing the arrests in Pennsylvania is set to become public on Nov. 23rd. We imagine the Pennsylvania State Police will seek an extension to keep this document sealed—perhaps in order to hide the flimsiness of their secret evidence? However, no matter the reason, we will fight to unseal this document and we will not let the State hide behind sealed evidence, obscure innuendo, and other traditional tactics used by secret police.

Though it is a victory that all the charges against our two housemates were dropped in Pennsylvania, we cannot forget that there is still a mysterious grand jury and other “ongoing investigations” out there. While we may be free from criminal proceedings now, we are still under the threat of future charges/indictments. What these might be, when they might happen, and what cause the State has is, of course, secret. Although our only option is to wait and see, we refuse to let them go about their business ruining our lives in peace and quiet and will continue fighting them every step of the way.

For more information and updates, please go to friendsoftortuga.wordpress.com

Description and analysis of last friday in Pittsburgh

Last friday in Oakland (a neighborhood in Pittsburgh), the police were, well, insane. There was a full-fledged police state, complete with chasing down any suspects and beating and arresting them, tear gas, LRAD sound cannon, dispersal orders without permitting dispersal, etc. etc…. but no protest. There was a gathering of students, but there were no banners, no chants, no rioting, no nothing. Just a flyer that had circulated. Anyhow, I found myself without the mental energy to put it all together, all of what happened (but posted some pictures). Fortunately, we now have this crimethInc. report.

More Reading On The G20

Well, first of all, there are apparently 877 police in Pittsburgh, but they’re hoping to field 4000 for the event by calling in troops from all the hell over. Lots of talk about the national guard and the purchasing of less-lethals. Then there’s the Pittsburgh Organizing Group‘s [POG] first general update. This covers a few different consultas and lead-in workshops, as well as some of the organizing principles such as “please don’t show up and alienate everyone by wearing black masks and smashing everything in sight.” This is likely to be a contentious decision.

And here’s some random corporate articles about it (mostly culled from that POG report): a liberal tells us to fuck off and be obedient, another article (which is factually challenged, claiming that NYC held the last RNC for example) talks about how screwed pittsburgh is, since once bought all the less-lethals will stick around. Another editorial (less angry), talks about how all the rocks will be thrown by outsiders. A letter to the editor decries the accusations of us all being jackasses. More defending of us, saying yeah, some windows aren’t as big of a deal as global governance. And here are all the articles by Mike Boda, who appears to actually make some sense.

There is also an interesting article about where the leaders might be staying, which is the nemacolin woodlands resort, 35 miles out of town. Note that this place has private landing strips and helicopter pads.