If you watched the Canadian media yesterday, most notably the CBC, you got to watch the G20 protests in Toronto devolve during the day. What was originally a ‘family-friendly’ protest about the G20 was hijacked by groups of very aggressive protestors who decided that violence was their tool of choice.
Several store windows were smashed, stores trashed and a few police cruisers set on fire. So far, 480 arrests and likely a similar number of people injured, mostly with cracked heads from being on the wrong end of a police baton.
I’ll step up right now and condemn the use of violence in a protest. There is no need to trash private property and no need for the police to bust heads. End of sentence and no qualifiers attached either.
The difficulty becomes with the rationalizations that seem to get made by the anonymous, violent groups. Their argument seems to be that if they don’t get media coverage, they can’t bring the focus of the discussion to their gripes with the G20. The only way to get media coverage is to stand out from the crowds by dressing in black and throwing things through store windows in front of the cameras.
Where the argument falls over is the followup to the violence. They’ve got the media attention, but are not coming forward to explain the intellectual linkage between bashing in the windows of a Starbucks and the scourge of globalized corporations rapaciously stripping developing countries of their meager agricultural resources and pushing the innocent citizens into indentured servitude. (Not a bad off the cuff linkage eh?)
This tells me the violent protestors don’t actually give a crap about globalization, geo-politics, global economic reform, the environment and so on. That makes them poseurs of the most shallow kind. All they want to do is trash stuff and feel all ‘underground’ without the actual risk of being anything more than mindless thugs. We call “Bullshit”
There is a follow-on argument that by being ‘underground’ and having committed some illegal acts, the Black Bloc (one of the alleged groups) can’t come forward to make their points known, to which we also call “Bullshit”
During the ‘troubles’ in Northern Ireland, the IRA did the dirty work, but their political arm, the Sinn Fein under Gerry Adams, leveraged the media coverage to make their points against the military occupation of Northern Ireland. This resulted in some very convoluted press conferences with Gerry Adams condemning violence but rationalizing the behavior as essential for Sinn Fein to draw attention to their cause.
Put simply, if Gerry Adams can pull it off, why can’t the Black Bloc or any of the other ‘anarchist’ groups?
The answer is they haven’t got the intellectual ability, communication skills, historical perspective or simply the balls to take the very real risk of arrest and come forward to draw the linkage between violent actions and the need for (state name of issue here).
Which makes us call “Bullshit” a third time.
You’ve got our attention, now tell us your gripes and your solutions. Oh, that’s right, you don’t have discernable gripes, no workable solutions and no perspective beyond prancing around throwing rocks.
Poseurs who ninja-up their clothing, bust windows to feel all underground then run away without finishing the job should get back on the GO-train and go home to Mommy and Daddy in the suburbs.
Grow a set, or get off.