CLC and Canadian Peace Movement must put new special emphasis on developing Gandhi-esque philosophy & tactics - schools and cadre in response to reactionary 'Black Bloc' movement & the military style security tactics employed at the "G Summits" - or abandon the movement, and an increasingly motivated generation of under employed activists
Global labor's anti-globalization movement which in the past has produced extraordinarily large demonstrations, may have experienced it's first set back at the G8/G20 Peoples First march in Toronto.
Only 30,000 (maximum estimate I've seen) people showed up. When the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) wants to do a big demo they can bring out 300,000. I don't know how mobilized the CLC and the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) were, what kind of budget they had to work with, but this is truly disappointing.
It's hard to tell with these thing though, the low turn out may have been a result of intense pouring rain the morning of the demonstration. But the over the top security preparations which are a direct reaction to Black Bloc style tactics - and those tactic themselves coming from tiny groups which attach themselves to the main march may have kept families at home.
Wikipedia has a good article on the "anti-globalization movement". The movement began, and has continued to focus on disrupting regular meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank - now G8 and G20 - summits of the leaders of the leading economic powers. Follow the link above to a overview of the 9 previous demonstrations with some nice analysis.
- Washington A16
- Washington G-7 IMF
- Law enforcement reaction
- International social forums
The last bullet point, "International social forums" refers to a movement that instead of reacting to the timing of G8 meetings, sets it's own timetable - but focuses on the same agenda points as the Anti-Summit protests. It combines people's summits which then hit the streets for peaceful mass demonstrations.
Eleven years ago this fall the Seattle march (dubbed N30) where a peaceful sit down protest canceled the summits opening ceremonies - the first to actually accomplish some part of it's stated aim. The Seattle protest also saw some of the Black Bloc tactics we're seeing here in Toronto. Then as now images of violence have became icons of the protest.
This usurpation of the movement by the anarchist tactics, that media focus on (because it's easy and cheap to produce - writes itself story telling), are obscuring the issues the movement is trying to high-light.
The financial collapse of 2007 and the subsequent reduction in people's standards of living has brought all kinds of examples of how this "McEmpire" global strategy is hurting the middle class. We no longer need the images of broken Starbucks windows to focus peoples attention.
And - importantly - there is an increasingly motivated core of unemployed and under employed citizens, especially in the G20 counties who for a generation now have first hand experience of the neo-liberal economic vision. The CLC must put new special emphasis on developing Gandhi-esque philosophy & tactics - schools and cadre in response to reactionary 'Black Bloc' movement & the military style security tactics employed at the "G Summits" - or abandon the movement, and an increasingly motivated generation of activists.
CLC affiliated groups are doing peaceful civil disobedience - where the core idea is standing in the way of evil or those charged to prosecute that evil, but offering no resistance to the consequences of that stand.
A good example from CBC's Street Level Blog, one block north of the fence and at the core of the financial district, "Sit-in protest at King and Bay".
The fellow in the video below, at an Allen Gardens rally part of the week of summit protests is truly a hero in my opinion. This video could be an icon of the protests - instead of burning Toronto Police cars.
In new media we have more control of what becomes the icon. Share this, post this, spread it around.
I also like the Sargent of the bike corp. who tried her best to get him to see, with out saying it out loud, that it wasn't the officers job to interpret law (that done through precedent created in the court), but rather do what they're ordered to do by their commanding officer. Nice raconteur between two obviously pretty smart people as she says.
This case should go to court, buddy should have been writing down badge numbers towards that end, I hope there's enough film that his lawyers can file the complaint that will begin the process.
Here's a great montage I found ("Joy of Sox" ---> "wmtc" blog) of the People First, we deserve better" rally. This is what every demonstration I've ever been to looked like - a little too happy cool-aide for my taste but, fun for the kids. :)
(I prefer the Berrigan Brothers, CALCAV approach.)
Link to 'we move to canada' (wmtc) blog post, "what the media ignored: 25,000 peacefully demonstrate against g20 policies in toronto".
Image of burning Toronto Police car: BlogTO/Ryan Remiorz.