Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Okay, the G20's Over. It Didn't Matter.

I really don't give a dam about the G20 fiasco. If anything it was boring street theatre and pretty lame at that. It was a mix of pedestrian protests, a smattering of pointless property damage, the predictable police over-reaction, and a gaggle of politicians who blissfully were untouched by the whole thing.

So what was the point? As far as I can tell, nothing. What was achieved? As far as I can tell, ditto, squat, SFA.

I would rather there had been no protests, no mini-riots, no vandalism. That would have had an effect. It would have transformed Harper's billion-dollar security party into an inarguable farce. Now, at least, he can - and will - claim the security was necessary to protect the G20 leaders from the angry mob.

So fixate on it as much as you like but you've achieved fuck all. You haven't bolstered your credibility, you've undermined it. You haven't advanced your cause, your agenda, one iota. When the public thinks of the protesters it'll be black clad thugs that will come to mind.

I'm no stranger to protests. I experienced the Students for a Democratic Society, the Weather Underground, the Panthers while I studied in the states. On my campus, the Weathermen blew up/burned down the ROTC building. Protesters trashed the main library a week before exam time. People did any manner of things and they made a difference.

But showing up to howl at the moon at a G20 summit is little more than a circle jerk. Here today, gone tomorrow, who cares?


Marissa said...

Who exactly is this addressed to? You think the legitimate protesters aren't disappointed, that they don't know that their message was obscured? Or that the anarchists had an agenda besides creating chaos and conflict with the state?

And it's good to know that you find police threatening and sexually assaulting detainees boring.

The Mound of Sound said...

Oopsie Marissa. Sorry but there are real problems today, bucket loads of them, that render this whole farce meaningless.

Why would the "legitimate protesters" be disappointed at what was entirely predictable before they pointlessly showed up?

Fools, the lot of them, and - since you pointed it out - it really is boring.

Anonymous said...

I rarely disagree with you...but...

Since you say this was pointless (and yes it truly was), I have no qualms about those that caused damages at least they got the attention of the media.

Harper and the coterie of G8/G20 leaders don't give a fuck about the plebs.. and if the soft radicals that showed up stole some of their thunder, well good for them. At least some were engaged.

I agree that no matter what, these protests are useless so it's about time that some became a little more radical to get attention.

Marissa said...

Why would the "legitimate protesters" be disappointed at what was entirely predictable before they pointlessly showed up?

Because they're idealistic, as can be seen from the fact that they showed up to protest. You can question their wisdom, but they don't need to be told that the whole thing was a spectacle.

I was not a protester, but here is a post from someone who is, and hence can speak to the matter better than I can.

Anonymous said...

I love how the police justify their abuses with a "just kidding" excuse:

When those supposed to be upholding the law mock it so much, well I can excuse a few hooligans.

The Mound of Sound said...

CWTF, I guess the point I was trying to make was that it's beyond futile to get dressed up and march, waving banners and then line up Monday morning for the latte. These laughable protests are tied to - make that measured to - the event, not the grievance. That casts a measure of insincerity to the whole business, real or perceived. If you're not going to move the politicans and you're not going to move the public, all you're left with is a hollow, meaningless gesture and a gaggle of idiots patting each other on the back afterward to celebrate surviving the "ordeal." Makes me want to puke.

Anonymous said...

What protest have ever lead to real change? The redshirts in Thailand have accomplished nothing if not a little publicity.And they have put more on the line.

Real change will come when people change the system from within. If the G20 will help "radicalize" a few "weekend protesters" into full fledged advocates (for whatever cause they espouse) then I applaud that.

Of course the public with demonize the protesters as it is easier than actually looking at the massive police abuses. We had the RCMP murder a man in an airport and still the public is mostly apathetic.

The politicians I have met are hardly geniuses, some mean well but lack analytical skills. They are moved more by "friends' and lobby groups with big names than the public unless they feel a critical mass.

Marches, like charity is mostly for making someone feel good about themselves than change.

But that "gaggle of idiots patting each other" is still needed and important.

Anonymous said...

@ Marissa
I read that post but blaming "pampered Western-world guys trash stuff and erase women’s voices. Again." is a real easy copout.

Harper made it clear that he was not listening to women when he played with maternal health to fit his ideology.
Marching one weekend miles from the eyes of any leader would have done squat.

I lose much sympathy for women who blame all on men. She sounds so whiny and condescending that I don't care about her message. Blame that on males, right? If you are looking to blame someone, try the politicians who decided to have this in TO at a cost of over one billion.

Marissa said...

Just to be clear, I linked it as an example of a protester who doesn't need to be told that the protests accomplished jack squat. Because I found this post to be somewhat patronizing in that regard.

Part of protesting is about taking a stand and asserting the fact of opposition. If Harper listened to women, then the protest wouldn't have been necessary. Whether Harper listened or not, the protesters still would have "been on record" as it were.

She's not blaming "men". She's upset at men whose sense of privilege leads to them obscuring the voices of women. I'm sure she blames politicians as well. But a lot of women activists have experiences where events or discussions that were meant to be about certain issues were crashed by male activists who insist on making it about something else. It's a very common experience, a pattern in which gender plays a role.

Marissa said...

In case you're interested, this addresses the idea of women "just blaming men". And this talks about being "whiny".

Anonymous said...

Marissa, I've read both and one of them was actually excremental. It reminded me of Patrick Ross arguing... rather self-delusional and facile...

Harper did not listen to women, progressives or common sense. I had no objections to the protests or the violence that ensued. The whole G8/G20 was a colossal waste of resources.

None of the voices there have been heard. What it has done is expose how facile it is for some to lie and abuse power. Were any of the voices heard in Montebello or Quebec? No.
Sure it was insignificant but important that activist be there - but it will not change anything.

Gender relations are difficult enough without a sort of extremism that is counter-productive. There is a kind of zealot undercurrent that runs deep in some of those sites (akin to what I see on the Blogging Tories at times) that replaces common sense with ideology. Too often we will hear memes such as it's "patriarchal" society that blanket blame on men.

Reading "powers that be (male, of course)" is counterproductive in it's arrogance more so than having one blogger point out that showing up at the G20 is a circle jerk.

Gender equality, without regards for biological and/or individual choices in the mix, feels counterproductive. I find that some feminist view men as the enemy.

I was appalled at the lack of humanity the way police treated female "detainees". The stories of abuse and intimidation have no place in Canada.

Marissa said...

I don't think this is the venue to get into a discussion about whether patriarchy is a device used to blame men and whether any significant number of feminists view men as the enemy. (I would answer no and no) I would like you to know that remarks like like "male of course" tend to come from a place of frustration after repeated similar experiences, not ideology.

LMA said...

My idea of the power of protest is the "Hands Across the Sand" demonstrations held today in Washington and Florida (see climateprogress.org). Very positive, constructive message conveyed in a nonviolent way. Hundreds of people standing up together to say enough is enough, no more offshore drilling, move forward with clean energy. We need more of these types of rallies.