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.