Archive for G20 Toronto

The Question Remains

Posted in Corporations, Direct Action & Civil Disobedience, Environment, Government, Immigration & Borders, Indigenous, Police State, Revolution with tags , , , on November 9, 2010 by Ⓐb Irato

Lost amid the violence and sensationalism of this year’s G20 summit in Toronto was an issue few wanted to confront: what if the black bloc protesters had a point?

By Pasha Malla, The Walrus

In December 2009, I moved back to Toronto after two years away. So I was here in June as the security fences went up, the protesters assembled in Allan Gardens, and the caretakers of the planet’s twenty most “systemically important” economies hunkered down in their harbourfront fortress. Though I situate myself ideologically on the socialist left, my relationship with street-level protest is pretty capricious. I’d like to see the G20 reconsider its mandate, or at least be held accountable for its policies, yet I remain dubious that marching down the streets wagging Magic Markered placards is the best way to wield political influence. But with the big show in my backyard, I felt compelled to get involved, if only as a witness.

In the end, I meandered around the fringes of protests, retreating every few hours to bars showing World Cup soccer; at home, I guiltily — and, as things degenerated, obsessively — followed the events through various mainstream and alternative media. While surveillance helicopters made regular, thrumming loops over my house, what was transpiring on the city’s streets (and in its parks and private residences) remained distant. On Saturday evening, as riot police stormed the crowd at Queen’s Park, a friend and I stood by, goggle-eyed and powerless, watching people be tackled and handcuffed and hauled into unmarked minivans.

That dismayed, helpless voyeurism captured how I’ve been feeling lately about the world. As someone who enjoys a life of relative comfort and privilege, I benefit directly from many of the policies endorsed at summits like the G20. This inspires much guilt and a need to act, or at least atone, which in turn results in the sensation that I’m floundering against an immensity of problems, not to mention my own complicity in those problems. I believe in that old axiom “Think globally, act locally,” but my local actions feel limited and often hypocritical: cycling, for example, engenders environmental righteousness, but the mining practices that provide the aluminum for my bike have destroyed entire ecosystems — and human lives — in bauxite-rich places like Orissa, India.

This narrative seems to me inescapably violent, and I feel sickened, as an avowed pacifist, at my helplessness not only to oppose it, but to avoid supporting it. And despite my peacenik leanings, I was a willing member of the huge audience that couldn’t look away from the violence-dominated G20 coverage. That weekend, Toronto’s CP24 news station claimed a record 4.6 million viewers, while increased its readership by 169 percent. Sites like quickly popped up as an antidote to the paucity of attention to the “real issues.” But even so, it was the flaming cruiser, not the peaceful rally for indigenous rights, that became emblematic of the weekend’s events.

Months later, Toronto bears no evidence of smashed windows along Queen Street, nor any trace of the rubber bullets fired on protesters outside the makeshift detention centre on Eastern Avenue. Still, although I want, rationally, to focus on the “real issues,” the images of violence are what linger for me. Toronto feels like a house in which someone has died under mysterious circumstances: something sinister happened here, and, despite the veneer of order, it still lurks — creepily, spectrally persistent. And while the powers that be and the people who oppose them seek justice in trials and public inquiries, I’m left feeling confused; all I have are questions.

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Toronto: SOAR Statement on Mainstream Media and Why We Resist

Posted in Corporations, Direct Action & Civil Disobedience, Environment, Police State, Revolution with tags on May 25, 2010 by Ⓐb Irato

The G20 summit in Toronto is still more than a month away, and yet already the newspapers are excitedly setting the stage for a showdown.

“Cops versus Protestors” they write, as if the people gathering together to demonstrate is somehow on par with the largest security deployment by the canadian state since the Second World War. ‘Who are these scary violent protestors,’ the newspapers ask, ‘and why won’t they answer my emails?’

But they never manage to ask the important questions, like why do we accept 15 000 cops invading our streets, while being scared when a few of our neighbours gather to protest? In this statement, we seek to answer some of the questions that the mainstream media should be asking, if their work was to be at all worthwhile.

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Callout for the Toronto G20

Posted in Corporations, Direct Action & Civil Disobedience, Environment, Police State, Revolution with tags on May 14, 2010 by Ⓐb Irato

From S.O.A.R. (Southern Ontario Anarchist Resistance)

The G20 is meeting in Toronto this June! But, if that’s interesting to you, then you probably already knew that, and perhaps you’ve moved on to asking yourselves — What is to be done?

We are calling ourselves Southern Ontario Anarchist Resistance (SOAR), and this June, we want you to hop to Toronto. In the last decade, our movements have spent a lot of time arguing about summit hopping. This conversation has often been interesting and productive, but we feel that the time has come to stop talking, and to start causing some shit! SOAR is calling for three actions, between the afternoon of Saturday, June 26th and the evening of the 27th.

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Notes on the Upcoming G20 Summit (and Countersummit) in Toronto

Posted in Corporations, Direct Action & Civil Disobedience, Environment, Immigration & Borders, Indigenous, Police State, Revolution with tags , , on February 25, 2010 by Ⓐb Irato



The leaders of the G20 major economies are meeting in Toronto on June 26 and 27. Since the global financial crisis of late 2008, the people who rule the world have already met three times to discuss means by which they can, together, make it through the social storm that’s just over the horizon for neoliberal capitalism. The Toronto summit marks the fourth such occasion. Presidents, prime ministers, and the King of Saudi Arabia will relax, hang out, and decide how the working class is going to pay for bourgeois fuckups.

In Washington (November 2008), there wasn’t really any significant protest activity to speak of.

In London (April 2009), the marches and demonstrations that paralyzed the City recalled the pre-9/11 heydey of the antiglobalization movement, particularly as social democrats, reformers, and left-liberals remember it: big, colourful, and about “speaking truth to power”. There was some militant resistance, and the cops even killed a person, but London ’09 did not become the new Seattle ’99, as some had cheerfully predicted ahead of time. The reason that Seattle was so thoroughly co-opted by the impotent left was because it struck a chord around the world, and the actions of the black bloc were an essential part of that.

In Pittsburgh (September 2009), a relatively small number of anarchists took on an enormous security force that was supposedly ready and waiting, and despite the odds of an epic beatdown happening, the few and the brave managed to wreak havoc for hours while the police were powerless to stop them. With particular respect paid to the Bash Back! action on Thursday the 24th, the events in Pittsburgh constituted one of the largest instances of countersummit rioting that the United States had seen in ten years. People felt empowered, as is natural when you are finally able to attack the structures that systematically oppress you and your comrades. This wasn’t a new Seattle, either. First, there was no pretense of “speaking truth to power”, at least among the militants; the only thing they sought from power was its swift destruction. Second, there was no existential quandary about the issue of “violence”, because some people whined about it and those who took direct action didn’t give a fuck – they did what they came to do. Third, Pittsburgh has thus far failed to work its way into the North American anarchist consciousness, because the fact that there was very little riot porn available meant that many (if not most) anarchists who weren’t present decided that it was a total failure (as one participant said, “if a police substation gets trashed and no one takes a picture, did it really happen?”).

So what will Toronto be like? It’s an open question at this point, but:


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