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keenerweiner said on June 28th, 2010 at 5:32 pm

That last column was fantastic, as was your entire coverage of the weekend. Get well soon! I am wanting more Flapjacks conversations!

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How long has Macy’s sponsored a “Fourth of July” deal?

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scarecrowprophet said on June 28th, 2010 at 6:54 pm

That last piece is brilliant, MGK: the sad thing about it is that it’s a much more eloquent and well-written version of my exact thoughts at the London protests last year, and that goes for the Black Bloccers just wanting to break stuff, the rest of the crowd not wanting to stop them or anything else in particular, and the Police wanting to stop everything and being shit-scared into the bargain, largely because the media whipped up fear for weeks before.

Which is to say, this isn’t a Canadian problem, it’s a problem with the way police and protesters all over the world are separated by some totally unbridgeable gulf. Gulp.

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Garfield said on June 28th, 2010 at 11:54 pm

I’m almost entirely with your sentiments. The weekend wasn’t the end of the world — interesting how little the foreign media cared about it all — but I can’t imagine how the ugly spectacle could have been more thorough in damaging everyone involved. See the violent protesters, demanding an airing of their vague, incomplete and incoherent agenda! See the peaceful protesters, agreeably providing cover for them! And see the cops, ready to crack down on everybody except the actual troublemakers.
In a curious way I think all of that will make this something that the mainstream media won’t dwell upon for long: there really isn’t anybody to root for. No narrative.

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Your last piece is maybe the best coverage of the protesters/cops axis I’ve read all weekend, Chris, and if you had posted NOTHING else from the G20 it would have, by itself, justified sending you there. And it came from the same fellow who hosts a space that has 100-comment threads about the Star Wars prequels.

Sexiest blog in western civilization indeed, Sir! You’ve earned a couple days. Get some vapo-rub.

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Polychrome said on June 29th, 2010 at 2:59 am

Yeah, that was some damn fine reporting. I salute you, sir. Your rest is well deserved.

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Greg Morrow said on June 29th, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Regarding that last piece — I think you’re wrong about option two. Because I don’t think the level of violence has anything at all to do with whether a violent protest succeeds. I think violent protests fail as long as the cops/army are willing to shoot protesters. The October Revolution in Russia succeeded because the army stopped shooting. The protests in Iran failed because the Tehrani security forces kept shooting.

It’s a race — whether you run out of protesters willing to risk their lives before the cops run out of will to shoot.

And, in the last century (since WWI), governments have learned a tremendous amount about how to keep the troops shooting.

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BlackBloc said on June 29th, 2010 at 7:24 pm

>>Which is to say, this isn’t a Canadian problem, it’s a problem with the way police and protesters all over the world are separated by some totally unbridgeable gulf.

Gee, imagine that. It’s almost as though there were two antagonist classes with different economic interests that can never ever be reconciled through political means, and the cops’ social purpose was in protecting the interests of the one class that’s currently in power. Almost like there was some sort of war. Between classes. Strange nobody ever thought to write about that concept.

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@ Greg Morrow
“And, in the last century (since WWI), governments have learned a tremendous amount about how to keep the troops shooting.”

Would you like to learn more? [Y]/N

That’s actually a little vague, so let me be more direct: any books or other media you would suggest about the subject?

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@Greg,

True dat. A friend of mine once put it more succinctly; basically, Yeltsin has to be able to climb the tank. If he can do that without the tank crew turning him into a pink mist, the government is likely not long for this world. If not, then not.

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scarecrowprophet said on June 30th, 2010 at 12:37 pm

@BlackBloc; you inserted the claim that political means are useless, you demonized the cops, and you used the term “war”, which I went nowhere near. Just like your namesake.

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Excellent work, MGK. I got a nice Hunter Thompson vibe off the last one.

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BlackBloc said on June 30th, 2010 at 10:21 pm

You said unbridgeable gap. This unbridgeable gap is what actual socialists (i.e. Marxists and anarchists) call ‘class war’, which is what has always driven historical change.

Also, our demands are not vague, incomplete or incoherent. We seek the eradication of all constitutional forms of government, as well as capitalist forms of production, and their replacement by decentralized forms of organization from below upward, and communal or worker ownership of the means of production.

Protesting, like the so-called moderate left is doing, is merely a form of petitioning government officials so they’ll take action you wish them to take. We do not seek to petition government officials, because we do not recognize the validity of their authority. We seek to disrupt their attempts at organizing, because the organizing of the international ruling class for their own interests is by necessity the organizing AGAINST the international working class’ interests (every cent of profit is a cent taken from a worker… profits vs wages is a zero-sum game). So we seek to disrupt their meetings. You can certainly criticize how efficient these street actions are at stopping the meetings (it succeeded in shortening the meetings in Seattle and Quebec, but I personally think the tactics are clearly outdated as no other such meeting was adjourned or disrupted since). But criticizing us on our message is just funny. We don’t have a message for our leaders, except maybe ‘drop dead’. We have a goal, which is the end of the Canadian federal government (as well as other states, but as Canadians our principal objective is to get rid of this one… comrades in other countries can take care of their own).

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Fred Davis said on June 30th, 2010 at 10:22 pm

I still don’t understand why the protesters always go along the “legal” route – shut down the bits of the city the G20’s security theatre didn’t manage to on its own, do it peacefully and you get the coverage generally associated with the black bloc pony fuckers (because it doesn’t actually matter if the politicians physically hear what you’re saying at the protest people – the media coverage is more important and has more impact and legal peaceful protests don’t get that – but note that you’ve got two adjectives that can be altered in the phrase “legal and peaceful protests”, and only one of them is “peaceful”) but without the negative press associated with the black bloc’s pissant violence-against-property shenanigans.

And as a nice side benefit you make the politicians who rely on the security theatre pleasing reactionary albertan voters look like wusses, you put the police who are not pony fucking head stompers in the unenviable position of enabling their pony fucking colleagues’ worst excesses while enforcing the silly “the state must pre-approve your protesting of the state” laws (even though technically the protesters would eventually be charged on regular public disturbance grounds), and if you can do it in enough cities for enough summits, cities will be less inclined to actually host the fucking things (saving those cities billions of $s).

Eventually a small town in the most racist and red neck area of arizona will end up hosting the summit by default and THEN, finally, you’ll be morally allowed to just torch every motherfucking thing in town.

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“We seek the eradication of all constitutional forms of government…”

Because the unconstitutional forms are such a blast.

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@BlackBloc-

I feel like I’ll regret asking, but I’ll bite on this.

Are you guys socialists or anarchists? Because you identify Marxists and anarchists as subsets of socialists, and I’m pretty sure anarchy and socialism are mutually exclusive, seeing as how you’d kind of need a government of some sort to enforce socialist norms, wouldn’t you?

I’m also unsure what you mean by constitutional forms of government. I mean… the UK doesn’t have a constitution, it just has a bunch of statutes. Heck, you Canadians don’t really have a constitution either. I mean, you have the Charter, but that’s like three-fourths of one at best. But somehow I get the feeling you don’t really approve of the brits either.

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Fred Davis said on July 1st, 2010 at 8:37 am

and I’m pretty sure anarchy and socialism are mutually exclusive

Anarchy and marxism are not mutually exclusive – black bloccers are in theory anarcho-syndicalists, which is anarchism matched to the trade-unionism bent of marxist socio-political-economics.

How closely the group, who’s closest interaction with unionised labour is during clashes with police, actually lives up to the principles of anarcho-syndicalism in practice… well I’ll leave that as an exercise I’ll leave up to others to work out.

We have a goal, which is the end of the Canadian federal government

Wait, you’re not anarchists, you’re TORIES! omg you have met the agent provocateurs, and they were youse all along!

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Heck, you Canadians don’t really have a constitution either. I mean, you have the Charter, but that’s like three-fourths of one at best.

Any decent legal scholar would tell you this argument is bunk; the Canadians have a constitution, it’s just divided into two parts: the British North America Act and the Charter, which also now both each have a second name: the Constitution Act. The BNA Act is the Constitution Act 1867, which deals in division of powers and proper management of government; the Charter is the Constitution Act 1982, which deals in personal rights against the state.

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Fair enough, MGK. I like to think I know a lot more about how you guys govern yourselves than most Americans (trivia: I live in upstate New York, near the lake, about an hour from the border, so I thought it was sort of incumbent on me to learn about the neighbors) but obviously you’d know a hell of a lot more than I do. I happily stand corrected.

@Fred,

I’d never heard of anarcho-syndicalism before, but under that system wouldn’t the federation of trade unions posited by it effectively BECOME a government?

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BlackBloc said on July 2nd, 2010 at 11:15 pm

@Murc: All anarchists are socialists. Not all socialists are anarchists. Libertarians and so-called anarcho-capitalists aren’t anarchists, they’re minarchists. They oppose the welfare state because they wish to bring back the state to its minimal purpose, which is to defend capitalist privilege (i.e. provide a defense of property rights). We oppose that, so we’re actually anti-state, not libertarians. The welfare state we see as good arising from bad, mostly due to worker struggle. The state’s natural purpose is to defend the wealthy, and only because of unions and other organs of popular uprising was the state forced eventually to provide relief in the form of welfare (in the US, FDR’s New Deal was drafted by business interests in an attempt to buy the loyalty of the middle class in the face of growing strenght of socialist parties).

Here’s a basic manifesto from one of the ‘founding fathers’ of the modern anarchist movement.

http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/anarchist_archives/bakunin/stateless.html

As for whether the anarchist commune is a government, it depends on what you mean by government. We oppose the state, which is an instrument of class domination. It is structured in a hierarchical way, from top to bottom, and that form of organisation can only serve to empower a minority of the majority, which is what in effect has happened in the West (the minority of the rich capital owners rules over the majority). We seek to organize from below upward, by mean of federation.

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BlackBloc said on July 2nd, 2010 at 11:19 pm

Also, the established anarchist groups in America are all mostly anarcho-communists, not anarcho-syndicalists. The only anarcho-syndicalist group I know is the IWW. Even the primitivist and insurrectionist tendencies have communist economics, even if they don’t want to call it that because of emotional baggage due to their attempts at isolating themselves off completly from the Left (but if everyone holds the means of production in common, it’s communism, even if you don’t want to call it that).

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BlackBloc said on July 2nd, 2010 at 11:39 pm

>>How closely the group, who’s closest interaction with unionised labour is during clashes with police

When I was an active member of NEFAC at least half of our local collective was unionized. All of those who were unionized were directly active in their union local. We also routinely showed up at local strikes to picket in solidarity (as long as we were not turned back… which we never were… and no, we did not break stuff in those actions.)

So, yeah, whatever.

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That Guy said on July 3rd, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Mr Bloc, there is a state that exists pretty much as you would wish, right now! Go! Go! For the sake of Somalia!

Seriously. Kids running through the streets doing minor demolition serves nothing. It gets no message across, does not win hearts and minds, becomes meaningless outside an insular little subculture. It does however create an environment where average people Joe and Mary both agree with CEO Hasthebucks that Mr Bloc and company are a dangerous subversive lot, and they should be dealt with accordingly.

As MGK mentioned in his coverage “What’s really depressing about all this is simple: the radical protest movement is never going to bring about any real change. Change comes in one of two ways: either by long-term peaceful demonstration or by a lot of really violent action. The protest movement isn’t disciplined enough to manage option one, and our violent protesters still aren’t violent enough for option two.”

What’s more, if the radical protest movement *did* organise in said fashion; well, without having won over the majority of the general population, it would be doomed to fail anyway. So preach as you like, Mr Bloc, but until you stand up and own your actions as a group and individually, you’re full of sound and fury, and signify nothing. Take of the mask, stop trying to put a hole in the boat we all live in, and start showing a better way to do it. Burning cop cars and smashing windows? That ain’t it.

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