Friday, July 09, 2010


A couple of friends have remarked that, noise-peddling in Manchester aside, I've been mute on the G20 riots that recently blighted my onetime domicile. Well, late to the punditry party, it hardly bares rephrasing & rehashing what more incisive commentators like Dennis Perrin have already said: charred police cars & smashed storefronts make great headlines, but so what? Nothing was accomplished. Protesters polite enough to play by the state's rules were treated like Perdue chickens; what little transgressive potential they possessed was deftly redirected from world leaders at local police, whilst the mayor et al. congratulated the protesters on courteously exercising their freedom of expression.

Meanwhile, the Black Bloc reconvened for their annual bar-b-q and private-property-piñata party, accomplishing little beyond offering Hipster Runoff another chance to bite the hand that feeds it. But I'm sure the cops were thrilled that they got to use tear gas for the first time in Toronto's history! Hell, had a streetcar been burned, they might have even gotten to roll out one o' them newfangled LRADs. Cheer up, lads, Caribana is just around the corner!

Assuming the Black Bloc isn't by now comprised entirely of agents provocateur, they need to come to grips with how flaccid & ineffectual their tactics are. It might be a fun form of anti-capital primal scream therapy, but not only does it give the authorities a chance to hone their containment techniques, it provides blowhard reactionaries with demonstrable evidence that suppression of protest ought to be even more draconian - all while effectively failing to challenge the status quo. If the self-identified avant-garde of anti-globalism can't even muster half the imagination of fictional Hollywood anarchists, why shouldn't the "protest movement" be carrot-and-sticked into the margins like the intemperate children they are?

The Black Bloc is an adolescent shadow of Ye Olde Leftist Militants (e.g. the Weather Underground) who function solely as a bullet-point on why local police departments deserve bigger budgets. Enough of this cutesy Baader-Meinhof roleplay. If we can't yet devise protest techniques that destabilize as opposed to counterbalance & buttress global power, then let's at least act as if we can.

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