G20 Saturday: A Standoff in Toronto

Personally, I’ve refused to attend the protests in person. Anarchism as a strategy is unappealing, and while I certainly support the causes and goals of, say, trade unions and Tamils, the so-called Black Bloc (known for their attire on such occasions) is ridiculous on its face for instigating violence such as we’re seeing here today. “Oooh, let’s throw rocks through Starbuck’s windows for their five-dollar frappucinos and their complicity in suffrage—” Now, look—I have lots of reasons not to patronize that particular chain, but I tend to vote with my back pocket rather than throwing literal stones.

Lesson One, Black Bloc: Stones don’t work because shop owners can always replace broken glass. Don’t like Starbuck’s? Don’t go there for your coffee (and I’d be willing to bet that some of you still do….). Try a mom-&-pop shop instead. Oh, that’s right. You broke their windows too. Those costs hurt small operations, but for a Starbuck’s franchisee the price tag isn’t nearly the same thing. But then, you didn’t think about that, did you?

The police presence is astonishing. Thousands of them, plus the military, cordoning off downtown areas, but to be honest even with the burned-out police cruisers, etc., for the most part the cops have held back. So far. There’s still daylight left.

Black Bloc: You’re pussies for changing clothes in the middle of the protest. You learned from the Taliban and al-Qaeda in that regard, haven’t you?  You should be willing to be arrested for what you believe, people, but now we can see you lack the courage of your convictions. Oh, yeah—and those masks make you look even more like common terrorist fuckholes. I know there are some among you who don’t condone what’s happened here, and for my part I appreciate that. Just wanted to make that distinction. But all the CP24 video speaks for itself. We’ll wait to see how far the police will go, but as far as I can see from the TV coverage they’ve behaved responsibly to this point, and so violence cannot possibly be justified.

I’m heartbroken right now in ways that go far past words. Toronto’s justly been proud of its reputation for peaceful protest, for upholding the right to dissent; now that’s been ruined. Watching video of the Black Bloc as David Miller speaks at a press conference, they’ve gone far beyond any sensible notion of effective protest. Since they clearly don’t give a fuck about what happens as a result of what they do, it occurs to me that I don’t have to care what happens to them, whether they’re arrested and jailed as they ought to be.

No, wait. I do care. I want them jailed. Let jail wise them up to the real world.

Who else do I blame? Harper, for the simple reason that the goddamned conference is here in the first place.

CP24’s coverage, however, has been excellent.

More from this box as events develop.


About johnwylam1957

I'm a poet and teacher now living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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