Thursday, July 1, 2010

Signs that this has not been all for naught

On TVO Allan Gregg Interviews James Laxer about his new book "Beyond the Bubble". Laxer presents his analysis of the global political economy, "dead politic" of the current Canadian political landscape - and a way forward.

Laxer's vision is a re-statement of Obama's super high efficient - post oil - economy, that starts with an end to the long commute suburbs, higher population density in the cities and a new transportation infrastructure based on high efficiency rail that will replace the truck and highway model.

In the last 1/5th of the piece Allan Gregg asks James Laxer if he sees a new electoral constituency that would support the economic vision he laid out in the first part of the interview. Laxer says he thinks it's going to take further economic collapse and related social crisis to kick us out of our rut.

I take issue with that in comments...

"At (permalink)4:18 PM, Michael Holloway said...

Allies in this vision.

I hope you are wrong that it will take crisis upon crisis to bring forth allies to your vision.

Many of them I believe are active now, but through different channels than those trapped in the current, irrelevant political circus. Channels the past epochs leaders can't/won't/don't acknowledge or even see.

I think they are the *everyone* who voted for Obama, and supported the movement world wide. I think they see the vision you outline - yet Obama is unable to even start the great infrastructure re-build that is key to the it. Congress is completely controlled still, through K-Street and the fine congressional art of positioning ones self at the centre the money stream.

But I was happy beyond words at the many scenes of young people on the streets this past Summit weekend here in Toronto, who showed a level of enlightened social wisdom I could not have imagined was out there.

A great example of this happened on Queen Street West across form Steve's Music store…

(Queen & Spadina Protest (original file/unedited) from Meghann Millard on Vimeo.

..where a group of Sunday sight-seers (seeing what the hell was going on in their neighborhood) found themselves in the sights of the riot squad.

Under the video in comments:

Freedom Bloc 13 hours ago

Hey guys I was here, this was not the Queen and Spadina protesters who were blocked in and shown on tv. this was another one that turned into a protest because the police attacked first. Here is my account of it, PLEASE read it.

(I reprint the entire eye-witness account below,)

Cornered and surrounded through a methodically executed exercise run by the integrated task force command - this enlightened group at one point choose to sing the national anthem and began sitting down on the street with their backs to the police line! [faith beyond reason - that's what we like to see! :) ]

This is the constituency I think will rise to it's feet when the ideals they take for granted are kicked to the ground. These are the ones who don't bother to vote in this current dysfunctional circus you describe - for they see it all too clearly and choose not to infect their young intellects with it's cancerous metrics. - imho -

Michael Holloway"

This is the eye witness count of the above incident. I think it was written on an iphone or a Blackberry, it's full typos and incomplete ideas, but it's the notes of what happened from the point of view of someone in the crowd - so it's worth reading.

"I was there, it was not the queen and spadina protest. It was near Queen and Soho. Why is this important? Because the major news media were paying attention at Queen and spadina. Here at Queen and soho, it was just normal folk who were just watching the protesters at QandS being taken one by one. Many of the people here at QandSoho were pro-police and were cheering "toronto, toronto, toronto!" when in the distance people were being arrested. Some of us would yell out "SHAME!" when we seen people being detained. The rest of the crowd told us to shut up and that the police are protecting us. But what happened next....

The riot squad line in front of us suddenly charged US, people panicked, old women, children, people who came out of the stores and bars. They all panicked and went into flight mode, trampling people. I was caught under there, but a person helped me. He lifted me up before the police with the batons swung and tried to get me. And i escaped with a bloody elbow.

Everyone was shocked. The few of us who knew that this is reality, police do this to people, were getting ready for the next push from the riot squads. They rushed again, grabbing some people and moved the front line up. Me and a few others, who are apart of the affinity groups of street medics, slowly but surely tamed the crowd after each rush by the police, by yelling "WALK... WALK... WALK!"... Slowly people started to hear us through their adrenaline and the environment of panic. They joined in, "WALK... WALK...WALK...!!". Now 10 people joined in. After the next push, 20 people joined in.Next 30... People calmed, and more started to walk. They had time to comprehend what just happened. They, who were pro-police, were just attacked and beaten by the police who in their minds were there to protect them. They realized the truth. And a patriotic resistance of human beings emerged.

What happened next brings tears to me, people gathered in front of the riot police. And started to sing the national anthem, they/we are canadians, this is not supposed to happen in CANADA. Why? Because we the people said so.

The police waited for us to reach the end of the anthem. They chose this time as the que for their next attack. Charging again. More people felt in their hearts, that to stand up to the riot squad now, is the right thing to do. Where was the major media?.... oh yea, watching queen and spadina. We were coming up to the actual intersection of Queen and Soho. There we can see behind us that now another riot squad line set up at the south side of soho in the intersection. But the crowd paid attention to the the west of queen. The police horses showed up as intimidation. TTC streetcars were in the middle of the road, and were told by te police to get the fuck out of there. They were gone in a matter of minutes.

We looked for injured people to care for, because we had our supplies in our bags. The only medical aid available to protesters, since the hospitals would not dispatch their units, for fear of "danger". While the crowd started to line up in front of the riot squad, showing resistance, fighting for their rights. A small unit of riot police came from behind from the south of soho and creeped on the side walk. I seen this and notified the crowd by yelling it out. Some people seen, and tried tot ell people to turn their cameras behind us. The small unit of about 8-10 "soldiers" threw a kid off his bike, pushed him against the wall, picked him up and quickly dissapeared behind their line. [I wish there were people who turned there cameras and got this, I hope they release it] This was a police tactic. Half the crowd in the back started to focus on us few who witnessed this quick and quiet snatch. And walked back away from the front lines to see what was going on. This police tactic worked. The front half looked back and seen people walkign away, and so they moved back. [im just writing this quick, skipping details.]

Now we are at Queen and Soho. The clouds started to get thicker, the smell of rain, of ions, of water started to fill the environment of oppression. thum, thum...thum,thum....thum,thum" somebody with a Djembe like this in the back, started to play, but slowly. People who were just watching got scared, and fled, grabbign their friends or children. This drumming, constant slow beat, thum....thum* calmed people's minds, but rallied their thoughts. Controlled the people's panic who were now confronting the police. The drumming stops. It was now quieter, and thick scent of tension was in the air. He would start again. Thunder cracked. This was a great psychological tool. The drumming, the sounds of the djembe. It was beautiful.

Slowly, people were showing up. The colour Black was becoming apparent. Black shirts, pants, shoes, bandanas. In all customizations, more showed up to support us, and to support the citizens who were suddenly attacked by police. The drumming stopped. Thunder cracked and it started to rain. It rained hard. Droplets the size of dimes. Drumming started again. thum, thum it picked up it's pace a bit. The police started to notice who the crowd morphed into. Many people did leave for the safety for themselves into the Bars and patios. Safety from the rain and from the intimidating police. People were crying, they did not know what to do. Why did the police do this?

We knew. We the protesters who marched for days, Lack of sleep, and strength. We knew. The police were protecting the people who are destroying this world. And with laws changed for the G20 with no civilian oversight, the police did what they wanted. The drumming kept going, people gathered in front of the police, who now faced a different crowd. A crowd they, the stormtroopers, created. Slowly the police were moving in, from the south of soho and the west side of the interseciotn of queen. We were all in the small parking lot in this location. The stormtroopers now taking a few metres at a time. They noticed this crowd now had a new mixed ingredient within them, people who came to the G20 meetings for change. The steady drumming was like a call out into the air, to people within earshot, to come, come. I really do not want to say the word anarchist right now. (because the word "anarchist" is and has been demonized by the media.)

But there was a stronger resistance now. The police started to point out to all of us, planning to snatch people dressed in black, or people who looked like they can have anytype of influence on the general crowd. They would then charge and grab some. But we just turned our backs, and everybody walked. Noone ran. We were all soaking wet. It was still raining, so much, that i thought it couldn't get any harder, but it kept getting harder. A CBC van came, but they weren't really set up.

I looked back, and on the north part of soho, i noticed a big white truck, and big fortified truck. No markings, with a radar dish coming out the top. Oh man, why didn't i notice this before. This was the police surveilance truck. I seen it before in a convoy heading to the location. They were wathching and listening to the crowd the whole time.

uggh wow i went on for so long, i wish i can go into detail. but i have to be up in a few hours. Eventually what happened was, a small group of people dressed in black went to another group and said outloud, to get out of the area, that it is a trap and they are coming. I will not go into detail. They were right, a line of riot police tried to box in the crowd from an alley way. ill just stop here. I will never forget this moment of witnessing people who did not want to have anything to do with the G20, realize the truth. You had to be there in the streets to experience this. Changed my life and strengthened my beliefs forever.

TL;DR : Do not believe what you hear and see on TV."

This is my old neighborhood, I lived in this area for 20 years; the apartment the video was shot from - I've probably been in. The streets around the area are 'mine' - I know every alley and every path.

To me it looks like the police 'managers' had no idea that they were confronting neighborhood people, people going about their normal Sunday routines. The police basically attacked a group of people in their own neighborhood and boxed them in, to practice their little 'incite to violence and arrest' tactic.

Shameful, absolutely shameful.


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