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A Diversity of Tactics: A Diversity of Opinions

Cooperatives, →Video, →2010 Olympics

A panel discussion co-hosted by and working TV, Saturday February 20, 2010 at W2 Media Arts Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Moderator: Charlie Smith, Georgia Straight

Harsha Walia, No One Is Illegal activist and
Derrick O'Keefe, author and activist

Part 1

A Diversity of Tactics - A Diversity of Opinions -1 from working TV on Vimeo.

Part 2

A Diversity of Tactics - 2 - Derrick O'Keefe from working TV on Vimeo.

Part 3

Diversity of Tactics - 3 - Harsha Walia from working TV on Vimeo.

Part 4

A Diversity of Tactics - 4 - Rebuttal / Questions from working TV on Vimeo.

Part 5

Diversity of Tactics - 5 - Audience questions, comments from working TV on Vimeo.

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Nice Shoes

Love the Nike Shox.

Black Bloc = Success

Protest is defined as an expression of opposition through action or words.

Therefore debating the success of a particular tactic (when simply the fact a tactic was employed equals success by stated definition), is seemingly a waste of time.

Good point. Harsha seemed to

Good point. Harsha seemed to think that breaking windows was a success simply because they got broken, and that critique of this action must be gaged against other tacts from the same starting point. Fine. What is the starting point? She never says.
There is so much gibberish and doublespeak in the left, and nothing ever gets explained clearly. "Diversity of Tactics' is a euphemism for property damage. But instead of coming out and saying what it actually is, weasel words are invented.
Similarly, whatever the message is supposed to be gets obliterated by too many different messages at one protest. And the messages are largely symbolic anyway. If someone has to explain to a shocked observer why HBC windows were broken, then obviously the tactic has failed. This did not, incidently, happen with the property damage in Seattle at the WTO. Everyone knew why bank and corporate windows got broken. It was a completely different context. The Latino woman in the video made an excellent point. Tactics need to be customized for each protest. Breaking windows has become a predictable, ritualized caricature of itself.

Time to move on and fight the Olympic price tag.

The anti-Olympic activists were very successful in creating and sustaining popular doubt and skepticism about the positive effects of the Games on BC and Canada, right up to Feb 12th. I will never forget how well that worked. However, the vandalism and public harassment associated with Heart  Attack on Feb 13 was ineffective and counterproductive in continuing to connect to mainstream Canada. By the end of the games, the games were embraced by Canadian public opinion.

Our side lost an opportunity to do more than make connections betweeen small groups. There does not seem to have been an incandescent moment that inspired the world to take on resistance beyond Vancouver. Claiming success for adverse media attention and physical confrontation through property damage and assault is confusing. Physically attacking and harassing allies for questioning tactics--not organizations or their politics--is sectarian and demoralizing.

The Olympics are over, and now Gordon Campbell and Steven Harper have delivered budgets that could be described as Olympic mortgages. We need to throw ourselves into the struggles by communities to defend their schools, hospitals, arts, sports, eldercare, and whatever people are trying to save. Let's take whatever positive organizing experience we have drawn from the Olympic resistance and give it to a friendly neighbourhood campaign. And let's put forward any tactics to our neighbours and allies for honest consideration so that the most effective methods can be considered and built upon.

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