A few commenters and correspondents have accused me of supporting or at least giving aid and comfort to the Black Bloc Anarchist protesters who grabbed so much attention in Toronto during the G20 summit. Such accusations are, to use the mot juste "crap." My parents raised me much better than that.
I am most certainly NOT defending the brain-dead attention whores in the so-called Black Bloc, I think they are childish tantrum-throwing clowns. I am criticizing the ham-fisted police response to them, which is not the same thing.
As far as I can see the police played right into the hands of this tiny group of dingbats in Toronto by letting them run wild on Saturday smashing windows and giving them patrol cars to burn and then turned around let the frustrated riot cops off the leash to arrest and even beat innocent peaceful protesters. Entire blocks were surrounded by the police in a strategy called "kettling" in which they seal off an area and arrest everyone in it, protesters, reporters, residents - anyone and everyone on the street. This is a violation of the constitution. Add to that the Ontario government passing last minute laws of dubious constitutionality, in secret no less, and the Toronto police chief adding his own illegal addendums and lying about what the law allowed his officers to do and you a have the results of the G20 on Canada. Previous use of agent provocateurs by the police, such at the Montebello summit two summers ago, have lead to a situation where anytime the there is violence of this nature at a major event, there will always be some question of whether the police were involved. Public trust in the police has been drastically eroded, and not without cause. And THAT is what the anarchists really want.
In that sense, the Black Bloc were very successful. The police - who bragged they had infiltrated the group prior to the summit - did nothing to stop them, but fueled their antics by giving them free rein on Saturday and then used the damage they could have and should have stopped to justify an unconstitutional, heavy-handed response the rest of the weekend and as an object lesson to defend the ridiculous amount of money spent on security.
For the most part the television media lapped it up--pictures of burning police cars were all over the news and no one initially questioned any statement the police made.
One of your favorite journalists, Christie Blatchford, has been pushing this emotional story from Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair about how the black bloc protesters disrupted the repatriation ceremony in Toronto for a Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan. Except that video taken at the event shows absolutely no indication of any kind of disruption occurring. This further erodes the credibilty of both the police and the mainstream press -- another win for the forces of stupid black bloc anarchist wannabe revolutionaries.
I am not a fan of the black bloc hooligans by any means at all. I think they are dangerous, have no agenda except breaking the system and offer no alternatives. Mostly, I think they are bunch of self-important grandstanding assholes and petty vandals. They consider themselves revolutionaries and the job of a revolutionary is to provoke a response by the state, to get them to crack down on the population and thereby provoke antigovernment sentiment and expand support for the revolution. This only works if the state panics and gives the revolutionaries what the want by cracking down and pissing people off -- and that is what happened in Toronto this weekend.
If the cops had just done their job instead of playing PR and political games to serve their own ends, there would be about 50 of the Black Bloc in jail for variations on the charge of aggravated jackassery, most of them with scrapes and bruises, the rest of the weekend would have gone smoothly and we'd be talking about how badly the government overspent on the summits. Instead, the police and government have sowed the seeds of increasing public distrust in authority and undermined the foundations of civil society--which is just what the Block Bloc wants.