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$1 Billion G20 Brutality - Canada's Shame

by Eric Doherty

Civil Society in $1b Squeeze
Civil Society in $1b Squeeze

Also posted by edoherty:

$1 Billion G20 Brutality - Canada's Shame

The G8/G20 farce is starting to unravel, and hopefully it will unravel Harper at the same time. Not only is this clique of the powerful and corrupt meeting as oil continues to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, as we wait for the first hurricane of the season. Not only is their main agenda stimulating increased consumption and production of consumer goods like cars, and infrastructure such as freeways, which is only possible with increased rates of oil and coal extraction. But once again, our police forces seem to have engineered incidents to justify imposing a police state to stifle dissent during a major international event.

As John Hillary of the prestigious UK newspaper the Guardian writes in a June 27 article titled May Toronto's G20 be the last:

Many Canadians have become suspicious of police tactics since the Quebec police force admitted that it had disguised three of its own officers as rock-wielding anarchists in an attempt to provoke violence at a peaceful protest in the town of Montebello two years ago. Somewhat farcically, the three were exposed as agents provocateurs when they were found to be wearing official issue police boots identical to those of the uniformed officers "arresting" them.

There are concerns that similar skulduggery may have played a part in Toronto this weekend, where the burning of three police cars quickly became the defining image of Saturday's otherwise peaceful demonstration. Questions are being asked as to why the police chose to drive the vehicles into the middle of a group of protesters and then abandon them, and why there was no attempt to put out the flames until the nation's media had been given time to record the scenes for broadcast around the world. . . .

As an invitation-only club whose membership was literally drawn up on the back of an envelope, the G20 never laid any claim to legitimacy. Now it is also in danger of losing any credibility as a forum for global economic governance. Its failure to address any of the structural problems that caused the financial and economic crises of the past three years has certainly not gone unnoticed in Toronto, let alone its complete refusal to deal with the challenge of climate change.


Maya Rolbin-Ghanie of the Toronto Media Cooperative notes the suspicious circumstances around the police cars:

A number of police cars which were set on fire. They were abandoned in the middle of intersections beforehand, and stripped of all their equipment by police--the cars were discovered to have been damaged previously, which led to reports that the police had purposefully left the cars there as bait, hoping to tempt protesters into set the cars on fire, in order to justify their own violent acts. Later accounts have led many to believe that the fires themselves were set by undercover police, or agents provocateurs.

The Harper-led G8 / G20 meetings have not just been about avoiding the subject of the climate crisis. They seem to be focused on finding ways to make it worse. What is going on behind the rows of robo cops and millions of dollars of fences is heinous climate crime.

Even if every bit of the photogenic destruction was just the result of justified rage at the crimes being committed inside the fence, a few dozen broken windows and three trashed cars does not justify police attacks on anyone who steps onto the street.

On the streets police are attacking and arresting anyone and everyone near protests, including journalists, seniors and young women. It does not seem to matter if they are protesting this crime scene, or just committed the crime of walking down the sidewalk in a Canadian city. People are even having police burst into their bedrooms at 4 am. They are raiding university dormitories and hauling away dozens of people of all ages away in buses. And this is what the world is seeing of Canada – climate (and other corporate) crime backed up with brute force.

Today is a day to be proud of the people who are still out on the streets of Toronto expressing their belief that Another World is Possible. It is also a day that makes it very clear that Another Canada is Necessary.

Two of the many videos of how much brutality $1 billion can buy:


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A peaceful revolution? Not

While others take up the cause and fight in earnest, you attempt to fight violence with words? Don't expect results anytime soon. I know of a reliable source who paints a completely different picture. The police orchestrated nothing, they were temporarily overwhelmed. By a small band of actual resistance fighters.

Don't forget the goal of the police is not to prevent crime but rather the spread of dissent. When innocent bystanders are victimized the police may succeed in scaring people away from future protests, especially if onlookers do not stand up to the police for fear of being assaulted themselves. This brutality should not be allowed to happen but it will not be ended by peaceful resistance. That is not something I rejoice in but it would be foolish to deny reality.

When you, Mr. Doherty, shy away from supporting the militant arm of the movement, you do more harm than good. That doesn't mean you must be physically fighting the police yourself, obviously that's not for everyone. Kudos for condemning the police brutality but nowhere in your article did you nod approval of the destructive resistance. We need both reasoned peaceful dialogue with the state and a willingness to back that up with force if necessary. It's a proven formula for success with any government including ours.

I hope you reconsider your moral position. By declaring your support for physical resistance you can choose to be part of the solution. Failure to do so indicates your preference for an inevitable police state and I think it improper for you to be critical of that in which you are partially complicit.

Vanguardism or caminando preguntando?

It seem from the comment above, that vanguardism is not dead.

But  there has always been great power in absolute certainty. And there are always people who are certain that they have all the answers, ideological and tactical, and all that is needed is to convince others of this great truth.

Sorry, I am done with this level of certainty. I prefer the Zapatista approach of “Caminando preguntando” (lit. Eng.: Walking the road asking questions - more practically work together and develop our ideas over time).

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