Tuesday, June 29, 2010

On The Point Of Black Bloc Tactics

Many have expressed puzzlement at the motivations of that small group of Toronto protesters employing "black bloc" tactics. Dan Dolderman, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto who got caught up in and arrested during Sunday's demonstrations, puts it as follows:

The third thing I learned is that pretty much nobody seems to really understand what the protesters using “black bloc” tactics are ultimately trying to accomplish. Nobody seems to believe that they have any sort of real objective or philosophy. Instead, people unanimously believe (literally, every single person I talked to today, and I asked pretty much everyone I talked to for any length of time, including many police), that the violent protesters are simply society’s disenfranchised, with no agenda except to feel powerful and simply cause chaos and vent their anger at “the system” that they feel is responsible for their shitty lives.

Well, I have a theory about that. What the "anarchists" are trying to accomplish is illustrated here:

They are in the noise making business, in other words. Now, you may hear it argued that what they are drowning out is the voices of the legitimate protesters and that's true, but not really relevant. Their intent, what they are trying to do, is squelch the official message of the G8/G20 leaders, so that all the summit appears to amount to is their own violence and the police crackdown that inevitably follows.

And in T.O. they did a pretty good job, aided by the fact that this particular meeting was so content-free as to be positively Seinfeldian. What was in that final statement? Something vague about deficits? Something about banks? Ah but here's a picture of a burning police car, and here's a clip of cops charging a line of peaceful demonstrators. Checkmate, mateys! G8/20 leaders (esp. Mr. Harper) are made to appear impotent; the police look like thugs.

As to police behavior over the weekend, well, I would feel better about it if something useful had actually been accomplished, but we seem be to witnessing just another episode of the same show that gets put on whenever these summits are held. Given that the anarchists communicate with each other the same way everyone else does these days--facebook, twitter feeds, text messages--all of which are easily monitored, I don't see why something can't be done between summits to put a dent in these guys' activities.

...something to break a cycle that is now well into its second decade and is, frankly, getting old.

16 comments:

Mark Francis said...

The Black Bloc intimidated police, causing the police to overreact the next day. The anarchist message is that our rights are merely permissions which can be altered at will be authority regardless of our written guarantees.

Given the crap I went though, and others around me, I am more appalled at the police than the perps. Sad, that.

Fred from BC said...

Mark Francis said...

The Black Bloc intimidated police, causing the police to overreact the next day.


Oh, please. The police were in no way 'intimidated' by these clowns, and in fact were just dying to wade into them. They just weren't allowed to...they follow orders, not their own whims. Yes, those orders were stupid on the first day and not much better on the second, but that's not the police. It's the person in charge who need to be held accountable.


The anarchist message is that our rights are merely permissions which can be altered at will be authority regardless of our written guarantees.


Those weren't 'anarchists' and they had no message.


Given the crap I went though, and others around me, I am more appalled at the police than the perps. Sad, that.


I'll tell you what's really sad. When those clowns tried that crap in Vancouver for the Olympics, they were booed and the regular people *moved away from them*. They quickly thought better of it and disappeared. Contrast that to what just happened in Toronto...were you one of the ones cheering them on, laughing and taking pictures?

Disgusting.

bigcitylib said...

Curious as to what "moving away" would have accomplished when there were no cops around willing to do anything about these guys. Also, taking and posting pictures probably helped get a few of them arrested.

ridenrain said...

I agree Fred. The Vancouver Olympics were also designated as a target for these thugs but the people of BC didn't tolerate that crap. The folks they marched with in Toronto obviously tolerated their presence.

kirbycairo said...

It still amazes me that people don't see what is going on here. The G20 is an organization which pursues pro-Western policies that are killing the environment, promoting war, pursuing food policies that cause undernourishment and death all over the world, and people are obsessed with a small amount of violence by a group of youths that amounts to nothing.

What 'philosophy' do they have? What an unbelievably silly and absurd question. What 'philosophy' were those that stormed the Bastille following???? Do you think they had all read Voltaire and Rousseau and were following the ideas presented in their works? No, they saw terrible injustice and oppression and they reacted to it the way people have always done throughout history.

Ironically. the so-called 'black-bloc' people are largely well informed and inspired by some real and important goals but they see an oppressive state structure, a media owned almost entirely by the rich and powerful, a dying democracy, and international organizations that are looking out to promote the capitalist bottom line. In light of this they often see no other opportunity than to beat drums and break windows.

Many people now see those who stormed the Bastille as heroes and two hundred years from now these people will also be seen as heroes for resisting an corrupt international system that no only watches but promotes terrible injustice all over the world.

bigcitylib said...

Actually, if you look at footage from the Vancouver thing what you see is very similar to what happened here. The notion that Vancouverites bravely shooed them away is silly:


http://www.straight.com/article-289543/vancouver/olympic-protest-brings-violence-vandalism-down-vancouver

ridenrain said...

It was nowhere near the same scale as this event.

I got sidetracked here. I wanted to mention that even the worst of these idiots were still free until they did something illegal. Had the bus load been turned away or searched before the event, the police would have been hounded into the ground by lawyers and the press. Such is the price of a free society but maybe they can identify the worst of them and place a restriction, preventing them from attending rallies in the future.

Jerome Bastien said...

what? nobody's going to respond to kirbycairo's insane self-righteous bullshit?

i wonder how much acid you need to take before you start believing the black bloc are heroes who are protecting the third world.

Paul S said...

Next you'll be putting a positive spin on the actions of the Toronto 18 BCL.

The general public has no puzzlement at all about the black bloc. Only the hard left could be so confused as to believe there was actually a message in their violent actions.

Mark Francis said...

The police were intimidated by the Black Bloc, otherwise they would not have clamped down on innocents in a show of force. The police were not intimidated by their violence, they were intimidated by the criticism the Black Bloc created by demonstrating that the police were useless. Get it? No?

Whatever.

Lenny said...

Intimidated by the criticism? They were welcoming the inevitable criticism when they didn't lift a finger to stop the vandalism.
It provided them with a little cover to then beat, harrass, arrest, and fire plastic bullets and tear gas at peaceful protesters and protesters, and thereby stop all protest.
Do you really think they were unprepaired for the actions of the "Black Bloc" or hadn't considered the public reaction to letting them go unmolested?
How do abandoned police cruisers end up in the Bloc's path when police lines never came close to being breached?
And finally, how many of the masked protesters were police themselves?

ridenrain said...

how many of the masked protesters were police themselves?

That's exactly what the tri-lateral comission wants you to think.. Get ou the tinfoil because the new world order is comming.

Lenny said...

It's "comming" is it, ridofbrain?
It sure is crazy to imagine that the police would dress up like protesters to incite violence.

sharonapple88 said...

Many people now see those who stormed the Bastille as heroes and two hundred years from now these people will also be seen as heroes for resisting an corrupt international system that no only watches but promotes terrible injustice all over the world.

You know, Bastille had just seven prisoners when it was stormed -- four were forgers and one of the prisoners was the Marquis de Sade. The attack on the fortress was largely symbolic since most of the horrible things that happened inside was largely symbolic, or acts from the past. (I suppose the less said of the Reign of Terror that followed the French Revolution, the better.)

The folks they marched with in Toronto obviously tolerated their presence.

One witness said that one person who tried to stop the window breakers was swarmed. Nasty guys these anarchists. (The video of that guy taking down that looter is pretty cool.)

Fred from BC said...

bigcitylib said...

Curious as to what "moving away" would have accomplished when there were no cops around willing to do anything about these guys.


The vandals didn't know that at the time, though. All they would know if that they had suddenly lost their 'cover' and the police could easily have separated and contained them without risking any of the legitimate protesters.


Also, taking and posting pictures probably helped get a few of them arrested.


It may have, but the news media was taking more than enough and probably undercover police were as well. The laughing and cheering was inexcusable, though.

Fred from BC said...

Blogger Mark Francis said...

The police were intimidated by the Black Bloc, otherwise they would not have clamped down on innocents in a show of force. The police were not intimidated by their violence, they were intimidated by the criticism the Black Bloc created by demonstrating that the police were useless. Get it? No?


The police were doing what they always do in those situations: following their orders. Two people are directly responsible for this fiasco: Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair and the man who gives him his orders, David Miller.