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Debunking veteran activist Judy Rebick's G20 Toronto police car conspiracy theory

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.
Vancouver anti-G20 solidarity photo by Stephen Hui
Vancouver anti-G20 solidarity photo by Stephen Hui

Debunking veteran activist Judy Rebick's G20 Toronto police car conspiracy theory

By Oshipeya

Coast Salish Territory, Vancouver, Canada

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Veteran Toronto activist Judy Rebick claimed she was shocked by images of police cars burning and corporate windows being smashed at the G20 protests in Toronto on Saturday. In her Rabble.ca article entitled “Toronto is burning! Or is it?”, she even went so far as to state that, “none of us had ever seen Toronto like this”.

Exactly how “veteran” of an activist is Rebick then? Has she really not even heard of the Queen's Park riot of June 2000 or the Rodney King solidarity riot along Yonge Street in 1992? Surely, that can't be the case. Then it must be the supposed extremity of the burning police cars, more so than the broken windows or attacks on cops.

1992 Toronto riot:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WZtRw9II2s

But Rebick wouldn't even need to be an activist, let alone a veteran one, to have at least heard about or seen images of many more burning police cars in not-so-far-away Montreal a few years ago after a first round hockey playoff win, or the rioting and looting in that city after this year's second round victory, or the rioting after the Montreal police killing of the young Fredy Villanueva.

Judy Rebick's conspiracy theory article at Rabble.ca:

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/judes/2010/06/toronto-burning-or-it

Rebick is trying to convince us that the Toronto cops allowed the black bloc to run wild, that the cops purposely left their cars to be trashed and that they could have arrested the black bloc earlier on when their wasn't such a big crowd for them to mesh with. She's tried this not only with her Rabble.ca article but with her appearance on a CP24 news program.

CP24 interviews Judy Rebick:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iaG1H0pDxY

The problem being that she doesn't know what she's talking about and is contradicted by numerous sources of photographic, video and verbal evidence which show the scene on Queen near Spadina, where a police officer still inside his vehicle is under attack from all sides by black blocers, with other police scrambling in and one even tripping in her attempt to save her co-worker. Objects are still being thrown at the police and the officer who was inside later tells the Toronto Star that he was hit in the back of the head with a pole.

Black bloc attacks cop car with cop inside it at 0:42 seconds:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOjGdvju-po

Toronto Star article:

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/torontog20summit/article/829587--the-fir...

The car was not burned until later, when the black bloc was gone and ordinary and not-so-ordinary citizens were having fun playing with the police equipment.

Citizens having fun with trashed police car:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDf8u5NATDY

Another video shows a single cop running in to attack the black bloc as they smash police cars that would also be burned in the financial district.

Big-time-hero cop attacks black bloc by himself at 3:12 seconds:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKIeDpqZdFI

There is also video and photo of a line of riot police blocking the black bloc and other demonstrators from continuing at one intersection.

One of the police raids on houses prior to the riot was described by police as having busted a black bloc affinity group before they had a chance to join the demonstration and do their dirty deeds. Of course, we shouldn't take the cops' or the media's word for it, but at least this, and the many police visits and instances of harassment leading up to the summit, shows that the cops were trying to intimidate and limit the black bloc as much as they could.

The bloc was part of the large crowd at the start of the demonstration, and the bloc, unlike peaceful protesters, is known to fight back, so if the cops had tried to arrest them all at the beginning it could have provoked more serious fights and rioting.

In addition, the black bloc tactic is not illegal in itself, so it would have appeared undemocratic for the cops to mass arrest them before they had committed any crimes. It's far better for the police and their bosses' democratic image to try to intimidate anyone from taking part in the black bloc beforehand, out of the public spotlight, and then use cameras and plain-clothes or black-bloc-dressed infiltrators to do surveillance of the black bloc during the demonstration and to use that to do snatch-squad arrests during or after the demo.

Although the cops are known liars, we can see that there may be some truth to their claim that they had committed much in the way of resources to defending the fence and the summit site.

They may not have expected the route of the bloc, since it was thought to have been trying to ultimately go to the fence. They also committed many resources to Queen's Park, a site where they could anticipate making arrests more easily. The various groups of protesters and their different and sometimes chaotic movements might have presented some difficulty. And, as mentioned, the black bloc may have fought back at any point, creating even more chaos and more violent imagery.

A mass arrest attempt that didn't manage to net most of the black bloc could have left the majority of the bloc outside the net to go on about their dastardly business.

Rebick apparently would rather the black bloc didn't exist and that everyone just protested peacefully. But don't the police allow for peaceful protest, at least until the black bloc has done its thing? So wouldn't that make the peaceful protests the first conspiracy and the black bloc the secondary one? And if the cops are going to use black bloc tactics to crush peaceful protests they normally couldn't because of societal democratic values, wouldn't that mean that a black bloc or some kind of force like it is needed to fight back against the police and their state, since they won't allow us to even protest peacefully?

To bolster her Toronto conspiracy theory, Rebick bring up the Montebello incident where masked cop infiltrators were exposed and the cops admitted the infiltration. She neglects to mention that it was the real black blocers who exposed the cops, not the union leader who couldn't understand the word “police” in French. She also, of course, doesn't bring up this year's March 15th anti-police demonstration in Montreal, where masked police attempting to infiltrate the demo were physically attacked and driven out.

Rebick uses the term “agent provocateur”, as others have. But do the cops really need to “provoke” the black bloc or others into burning cop cars or smashing corporate windows? You can't provoke a group to do what it is already doing and wants to be doing. You can only provoke people into doing what they wouldn't otherwise do. This is what the cops are concerned with most of all about the black bloc. That the bloc will inspire others who would like to riot but who feel isolated and unable to. That the black bloc will “provoke” others into doing what they already want to, joining in the fun.

And we couldn't expect Rebick to mention how peaceful or non-black-bloc activist groups have been proven to have been infiltrated by cops as well, even more easily than the black bloc.

But the police are not all-powerful, as Rebick implies. They couldn't completely control the G20 protests, just as they couldn't totally control the Queen's Park riot or the 1992 Yonge Street riot or the black bloc at the Vancouver Olympics in February of this year. This is neither shocking nor a surprise. They must and did allow many peaceful protests against the G20 prior to the rioting, because they are paid to uphold a democratic state that allows for peaceful protest so long as it does not interfere too much with business as usual. They also work hard to prevent black bloc activity and to crush it wherever possible.

The cops certainly use the black bloc as an excuse to do mass arrests and quell peaceful protests, but they also are trying to disperse crowds and take away any cover for possible black bloc activities, as well as give the appearance that they are back in control of things.

Again, if the cops can use unfounded excuses to round up the peaceful, that means not-so-peaceful methods are needed to fight back and overcome the repression rather than concede to it or say that we should never fight back so that we can always protest. Protest is useful if it supports social movements and direct action. It is useless if it cowers at ever going beyond voicing dissent to making concrete changes because the police won't allow it.

The video evidence of the cop car attacks in Toronto clearly shows that Rebick is either ignorant of the circumstances she speaks of or is lying. Either way, it appears that the reality of many people, black bloc and otherwise, finding joy in the trashing, burning and mocking of police vehicles is an inconvenient truth for her.

Rarely has a conspiracy theory been so quickly and incontrovertibly debunked.

It could be considered quite ridiculous to think that the cops and the corporations wanted their property trashed and that the city and Canada preferred the image of rebellion in the streets, of a city out-of-control. One of the main purposes, if not the main purpose of the G20, is mere propaganda, an image of control, of the best of all possible worlds. Most of the important decisions are already made elsewhere.

We all know that the G20 was an inside job. And maybe the black bloc really are shape-shifting alien lizards from a secret civilization on the moon. But maybe we should use the time-honoured principle of sticking with the simplest answer rather than the most complicated and outlandish one. Cops harass, hurt and murder lots of people daily. So lots of people would like to see their cars go up in smoke. Cops aren't all-knowing, all-powerful and all-controlling and aren't used to people challenging their authority.

Not so shocking now is it?


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1720 words

Comments

non-debunked your opinion is

non-debunked

your opinion is not any more valid than Judy's, and you "video evidence" isn't conclusive at all.

Billion with a B

The argument is solid. If you want to poke holes in it, give some specifics. The black bloc are not cops. The very suggestion is absurd. Cops would never smash corporate property like that. The companies would go crazy and raise hell. They're trying to *PROTECT* these companies' property.

Did the Toronto police take a hands off approach compared to most cities? Yeah, I think we can all see that they did. At least, in some regard. But that means nothing. Their goal was to arrest as many members of the black bloc as possible. And they did a fairly good job of that.

What I would be asking if I were a Canadian is what happened to that 1.2 billion dollars. Seriously, there is NO WAY that what the city of Toronto did in preparation for the G20 cost $1,200,000,000. The whole situation seems fishy to me.

Absurd?

The abserd thing is your trying to use an opinion as fact.

Are you saying the police have more of a duty to protect corporate property or citizen rights and safety?

Seems like our peace officers got stuck with a very difficult decision. But frankly, a decision they forced upon themselves by 'biting off more than they could chew'.

They could have followed the rule of law, honoured their oaths and Charter, and shut the G20 down if nessesary.

Or

They could try some new equipment, ignore their oaths and Charter and make sure the G20 stayed open.

Seems they f'd up.

It's true, and you're denying it doesn't change that fact.

I know it's hard to believe. That is why it is such an outrage. But it IS true. Cops were used as agent provocatuers in this case. Cops did dress up like the Black Block and were inciting riot. If you want proof, there is tons of video evidence. In this video (at about the 3:40 mark) you can clearly see a cop, dressed up as Black Block, holding a brick and inciting a riot, being questioned by citizens and reporters. Juxtaposed to that footage is more footage of the same Cop among other cops and officials. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5G7aCgXtWg&feature=player_embedded

Who Knows Who is In The Black Block?

The black bloc are not cops. The very suggestion is absurd. Cops would never smash corporate property like that. The companies would go crazy and raise hell. They're trying to *PROTECT* these companies' property.

 It's not that absurd. Spy agencies live to infiltrate and they are not above smashing property, even corporate property, to achieve the long term goal of de-legitimizing dissent. (Donut stores, however, are off limits.)

Besides, how would the corporations know it was the cops? They're all wearing masks!

Definitely not debunked

This article is just an opinion. Calling the cops heroic? Disgusting. The cops acted like a bunch of fascists. If you talk to someone not living in Toronto who only learned about the G20 through the media, all they saw was destruction. I've been told by non-political family members that although they thought 1.2Billion was excessive, they believe that the protesters were the bad guys. They have forgotten about the peaceful protests and have no idea about what happened to those arrested. People who don't understand why people were protesting are ignorant. You can logically argue against protests, but you cannot argue against the plights of protesters. There is a lot of injustices in this world to be pissed off about.

Undercover cops were going to organizers meetings. They knew what the Black Bloc was planning. How do I know? One of my friends, who was involved (to what extent, I don't know) with the Black Bloc, had a warrent out for her arrest, was arrested during the G20, and is still in prison. The police knew who was involved, and what was being planned. It is pretty suspicious when the police move away from the cars, leave them in front of rioters, rioters come up and know EXACTLY what to do, and the police do nothing. Yet, the police violently attack innocent people. I have another friend involved in the Black Bloc (who wasn't allowed to go to Toronto because of legal reasons). He had a  "friend" who was really an undercover police and who was participating in small protests in Ottawa. I know that the police infiltrated both Toronto and Ottawa's Black Bloc. It is entirely possible that they were doing so elsewhere as well. It is not below the police to contribute to destruction if it helps their cause.

The police don't care about a local shop owner's property! They simply follow instructions. The government doesn't care about a local shop owner's property or a cop car. It's our money that purchases a new one anyway. They care about their investors and money. The vandalism in Toronto has no effect on anyone in charge, it only hurts local franchise owners, taxpayers, and those whose property was vandalised. I don't think it's an effective tactic for change, and neither does the police. So why wouldn't they let it happen in order to justify their agenda?

I'm not saying that the police were involved in the vandalism. I don't know. All I'm saying, is that it's quite possible, and to say that it isn't is pure ignorance.

 

 

I see a lot of speculation

I see a lot of speculation and conjecture, but not much proof.

pathetic

I can't believe the toronto media coop would publish this.  The media coop had a real opportunity to grow from this protest but instead it is sticking to this narrow dogmatic defending the childish and anti-democratic black bloc bullshit.  what a shame. 

Did you ever take a moment to pause and think about why you were defending the polices' version of events.

As far as I am concerned - every black bloc person is a cop. 

Open publishing

The media co-op is a place where people can post their reporting, opinions and analysis. If it's not a personal attack, spam, an attack on a group, or an attempt to silence someone else, it will not be deleted... until posts become disruptive in some other way, and then the relevant editorial committee will make a decision.

Thank You!

This was much needed, those who still think agent provacotuers set this up, or the state set this all up may as well go find good paying agent jobs working for the state.
Been sick of hearing about this conspiracy for the last 2 days.
Thanks for keeping it real!

Black Bloc

Most of the "arguments" made are more akin to "Im going to state the opposite opinion".  Im not saying that the police were definitively involved but at the same time - would a public and open inquiry hurt?  If there was no involvement on the part of the police then why are all levels of government so resistant to a public inquiry (I recognize the type of argument I have just made however what's another couple of million compared to the 1.2 billion spent?).  I think when all is said and done the conclusion will be "we did some bad policing".  Since no officer spoke out against enforcing a law which didnt exist (and they enforced it right up until the end of the summit) they are all complicit in at least a conspiracy of silence.  I am ashamed that we give such uneducated bullies the power of arrest in our country.

This is why an inquiry is necessary

 I appreciate your opinion and evidence, but there is also evidence that contradicts yours. My family was at queen and peter and saw cops stand by while a handful of "black bloc" trashed things. 

There was also a contractor who saw police leave their cars for black bloc to torch. I have more video on my blog (http://ladythatlunches.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/police-state/).

I am not saying my evidence is more conclusive than yours, but this is why we need an inquiry to answer these questions. 

This guy's a clown.

Judy was there screaming outside the Charlottetown Accord meetings fighting for women's rights before you were born. Can't you kids leave protesting for real protesters? Go fly a kite. Have sex with your significant other. Learn about Buddhism: it might do you some good, since you appear to be suffering from mental health issues, which is perfectly fine as long as you get some help.

 

I'm really shocked to find this sort of gabage on the TMC website. At least put something coherent up there.

FACT CHECK!

 

"Rebick uses the term “agent provocateur”, as others have. But do the cops really need to “provoke” the black bloc or others into burning cop cars or smashing corporate windows? You can't provoke a group to do what it is already doing and wants to be doing."

Yes, they do need to because 95% of protesters were peaceful and this is just a small group that could have easily been contained. In fact, protesters did a better job of containing them than the police, who were nowhere to be found during the riots, except taking photos and passively watching. 

I don't see very much logic in your article.

Too True

"In fact, protesters did a better job of containing them than the police"

If the police don't do their job the pacifists and assorted hippies will be pleased to step up and do the policing for them!!!!!!

Proof?

I believe it is Rebick who needs to provide proof of her theory, not the other way around! At any rate, the videos here clearly contradict her claims, which in the end amount to a conspiracy theory she's concocted, probably just to give her something to talk to the CBC about. They're the only one's who listen anymore...

The unions and the activists are not in control of the struggle anymore.

And neither are the police.

nailed beautifully

the evidence is totally conclusive. i was willing to believe the theory if all the cars were deliberately abandoned prior to the march, but the last thing those beat cops in the video wanted was to lose that car. correction: the last thing they wanted was to face that crowd, and they left the vehicle behind accordingly.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOjGdvju-po

conclusive it was the p attacking the p

look at the fellow kicking the window clearly a d, known to lye p. it has been proven time and tiem again p always DO NOT TELL THE TRUTH> A PARTIAL TRUTH IS A LYe SUPreme Kourt of undemocratic Kanada

"Rebick apparently would

"Rebick apparently would rather the black bloc didn't exist and that everyone just protested peacefully. But don't the police allow for peaceful protest, at least until the black bloc has done its thing? So wouldn't that make the peaceful protests the first conspiracy and the black bloc the secondary one? And if the cops are going to use black bloc tactics to crush peaceful protests they normally couldn't because of societal democratic values, wouldn't that mean that a black bloc or some kind of force like it is needed to fight back against the police and their state, since they won't allow us to even protest peacefully?"

That part is laughable. Are you so self-important to think that you are actually fighting the cops? Watch the South Koreans fight cops, thats fighting the cops. Not this kiddie stuff we see in Montreal. Bashing a cop car with one guy inside is like what... some sort of protection for the peaceful protesters? hahahaha

"Rebick uses the term “agent provocateur”, as others have. But do the cops really need to “provoke” the black bloc or others into burning cop cars or smashing corporate windows? You can't provoke a group to do what it is already doing and wants to be doing. You can only provoke people into doing what they wouldn't otherwise do. This is what the cops are concerned with most of all about the black bloc. That the bloc will inspire others who would like to riot but who feel isolated and unable to. That the black bloc will “provoke” others into doing what they already want to, joining in the fun."

Its the cops they are provoking. The planted cops "provokes" the other cops into moving into repression mode.

At first i was still undecided about this diversity of tactics thing but after 10 years, i just think its dumb immature bravado. The other activists should split from those who break stuff as soon as it happens, like run away from them and leave them alone. Im sympathetic to alot of anarchist ideas, but this isnt anarchism, its just... stupid.

Yawn

Another summit protest, another argument over the "black bloc".

 

Frankly, I'm tired of both "sides". Worrying about who may be a cop or unintentionally helping the cops in some sort of propaganda/crowd control secret plan, or whatever doesn't really matter.

 

"Black bloc" defenders try to paint the acts as some sort of romantic inspirational acts that will draw in the masses. Well, we've been doing this for over 10 years now, and even longer including those Europe, and it's not quite that simple. People are capable of rising up, rioting, etc. but seeing people they cannot relate to commit these acts is not what is needed to spark such an uprising. A direct connection is missing with the communities. We can't peacefully protest nor riot our way to a new world and a revolution. Protests are just part of the journey. 

 

Not saying those involved in the black bloc or those strongly opposing it are not involved in other projects outside of protests, but really this is what we should be discussing post-protest as opposed to the same ol' shit about whose protest "tactics" are better or harmful. 

More comments

"It could be considered quite ridiculous to think that the cops and the corporations wanted their property trashed and that the city and Canada preferred the image of rebellion in the streets, of a city out-of-control. One of the main purposes, if not the main purpose of the G20, is mere propaganda, an image of control, of the best of all possible worlds. Most of the important decisions are already made elsewhere."

This article is so ridiculous, it would be humourous if the consequences werent so serious. Its still funny though, cant help it.

Corporations WANTS the public to see protesters as a threat, you think theyre gonna care about a window with the kind of money theyre making? LOL

Of course they prefer the image of rebellion ready to take over the city, to justify their spending in security. So that this minuscule threat to police (the few people breaking stuff, not ever attacking cops unless they can fall back on the other protesters, never really taking them on their own, again like say south koreans do) can be amplified and glorified to inspire fear in the population. Seriously, what the fuck. Let these deluded man-childs break stuff on their own at the next big protests, just stay as far away from them as you can.

Again, ive been struggling with this "diversity of tactics" for quite a while, ive taken over abandoned buildings so that poor people could stay in them and as a symbol, but this is just bullshit. This is fucking serious, were edging close to a totalitarian state, we cant let these knuckleheads help the cops and politicians and economic elites screw the last turns on democracy.

You want a conspiracy theory? The guy who wrote this article could be a cop.

I agree 100%

 The guy who wrote this article is most certainly a cop, a CSIS agent or a right-wing politician. It is a perfect example of targeted propaganda. The mass media propaganda is effective on the sheeple of Canada, but they need semi-clever agents to target alternative media sources, etc. in order to try to twist the truth for those who should know better.

I agree 100%

The guy who wrote "The guy who wrote this article is most certainly a cop, a CSIS agent or a right-wing politician. It is a perfect example of targeted propaganda. The mass media propaganda is effective on the sheeple of Canada, but they need semi-clever agents to target alternative media sources, etc. in order to try to twist the truth for those who should know better." is most certainly a cop, a CSIS agent or a right-wing politician. It is a perfect example of targeted propaganda.

the cops tried to step in,

the cops tried to step in, but as the civilian shot youtube videos show, the black bloc simply outmaneuvered them. maybe the cops just let it happen because they agree with a good rampage against the absurd capitalist state. or maybe they really hate harper... the cops that were planted volunteered, and joined the black bloc in solidarity! 

with friends like these...

judy needs to stop doing the work of the state. 

she may have been an activist, but now she seems to only be interested in incremental change while enjoying the benefits of capitalism.

... who the fuck needs cointelpro.

Complex reality

Of course, both Rebick's original argument and this putative debunking seem to treat the police forces (the $1.2 billion security tag) as in some ways monolithic. But with an event like this, it would not be surprising for there to be a lot of disconnection between different forces and controls, and not every front-line riot cop bused in from St. Catherines or Saskatoon is going to know all of the tactics that are going to be employed by covert agents from the RCMP or the OPP or other services. Thus, it is not impossible that there were provocateurs and that nevertheless there were "hero cops" trying to stop them, and thus the video evidence presented here of police trying to effectively stop vandalism is not conclusive proof that there were other covert police elements who had  the authority to provoke a riot. 

Also - Judy Rebick's been at it for a long time; if she's not always right the sneer at her being called a "veteran activist" at the top of this article is lame as hell.

Sneering

Rebick is putting people's lives at risk by siding with the state's good/bad protestor routine and cheering on the cops to arrest the bad. If anything this article is too polite, not anywhere sneering enough.

Time for some movement honesty

 The BB are a bunch of elitist, anti-democratic kids who are parasites on other people's hard work and activism. They have no respect for the hard work that goes into building movements and day-to-day struggles, but are happy to turn up and provide the state with a golden excuse to repress those who are actually doing the grassroots organising.

In the past, I've heard the stupid argument that the 'BB helps to provide space for other less 'radical' tactics'. Surely after the fiasco over the last week no-one can take this argument seriously any longer? The state WANT the BB to exist and to act in the way that they do - because it legitimates state violence towards activists who are really doing the effective organizing. That's precisely why they use agents-provocateurs.

I am not arguing that the cops arrested people *because* of what the BB did.  I am also not arguing that the BB as a whole (or even any of the BB on this particular day) are cops. Those of us with any organizing experience know that the cops will arrest and target activists all the time (as they did by arresting and raiding houses before the demos). BUT, the actions of the BB provide a legitimating rationale for the state's violence. The logic of the BB acts to reinforce the logic of the state.These actions are utilized by the state to enable it to implement repression more easily and legitimate it to those outside our movements. Surely that's the crystal clear lesson of the G20 demos?

I have no problem with violence directed against the state - and of course the actions of the state are much more violent than any action of any demonstrator - but this is besides the point. The question is how do you assess when and where particular tactics are appropriate? Do these tactics push the struggle forward or backwards? Do they help us build our movements or make them harder to build? Do they help to change mass consciousness or reinforce existing bourgeois consciousness? Do they help us reach out to new people and draw them into struggle or make this more difficult?

A movement that is serious about long-term change needs to take the responsibility to answer these questions honestly and openly - and not hide behind the liberal smokescreen of 'diversity of tactics'.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

i think you make a lot of

i think you make a lot of good points. i feel this way too, but i really resent hearing the cops imply that it's my job to physically try to stop bbers myself when things are getting smashed. i am not armed or covered in padding or being paid to defend the streets. i am fine with saying "so and so did something dumb and fucked a lot of things up" but i am not fine with throwing myself in front of a window that's to be smashed.

i also feel weird pushing people out of an entire movement when sometimes valid critiques surface from them. my feeling is that the way people in the bb acted on saturday was shitty and not really typical -- i heard there were multiple opportunities to keep going south but they retreated and left non-bb protestors to face huge lines of cops. why? that is not what bb is supposed to do, am i wrong? i also heard and saw most cops standing back not stopping people from committing vandalism/arresting people who were seen to be committing vandalism, and have thus far not been given any convincing reason as to why they stood back.

just like protesters should not all be painted with the same brush, neither should bbers. in the past the tactic has worked, but it depends on those using it.

Another interesting video

 I found another video that raises some more questions regarding how complacent the cops were in the violence (http://ladythatlunches.wordpress.com/2010/06/30/more-things-to-think-about/)

Rebick

Judy Rebick should be shamed from the Left for her commentary, written immediately after the protests.

In that commentary, she implies that the cops should have arrested the black bloc, and she begins the process of dividing good and bad protesters.

Her argument meshes with a lot of liberal and NGO bullshit now emerging -- that the militant protest "clouded the message," "excluded people," and so on.

There were multiple days of family friendly protest. There was clear and widely known organizing for civil disobedience and direct action after the main march on Saturday. No message was lost but militant mass resistance. No one was excluded.

If Judy wants to start a comradely conversation about how black bloc tactics may in some cases bring down repression on others, that's fine -- but even then there is a time and place for that conversation.

Instead, when protesters were dealing with mass arrests and corporate-police-government political attacks, she joined sides with the later. She barfed their line at the same time.

 

 No she is dividing real

 No she is dividing real protestors from the petty chickens who think its cool to dress in black and commit petty vandalism.  

Anyone dressing in black and hiding their faces may as well be paid by the state and have every right to be arrested en-masse for aiding and abetting vandalism.  

Real activists don't hide their faces and don't kick in windows at coffee shops and clothing stores. 

Rebick

Judy Rebick should be shamed from the Left for her commentary, written immediately after the protests.

In that commentary, she implies that the cops should have arrested the black bloc, and she begins the process of dividing good and bad protesters.

Her argument meshes with a lot of liberal and NGO bullshit now emerging -- that the militant protest "clouded the message," "excluded people," and so on.

There were multiple days of family friendly protest. There was clear and widely known organizing for civil disobedience and direct action after the main march on Saturday. No message was lost but militant mass resistance. No one was excluded.

If Judy wants to start a comradely conversation about how black bloc tactics may in some cases bring down repression on others, that's fine -- but even then there is a time and place for that conversation.

Instead, when protesters were dealing with mass arrests and corporate-police-government political attacks, she joined sides with the later. She barfed their line at the same time.

Proof of Black Bloc Cops

 See it for yourself folks. Stop being brainwashed by the media. This sort of thing happens all the time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szQK4sMN4pw

Haha, I am so disappointed

Haha, I am so disappointed that this website would publish this. Way to stick with the mainstream media on a grand possibility..

The facts are that ANYONE could wear black, facial coverings or any other clothing and represent the Black Bloc. Even agent provocateurs.. people are still so trusting of our Police when the events from this weekend alone prove that they are only out to protect our government and themselves. Not the innocent bystanders, tourists and other protesters..

Leaving a cop car in the middle of an intersection (King & Yonge) that was supposed to be protected and had been protected all week except Saturday? Please.. they wouldn't even let protesters get as far as Queen during the week. This was a set up by the Police to encourage the supposed vandals to damage property so they would have a 'valid' reason to keep the public on their side and take away from the protestor's messages.

Look at the videos and some of the shoes that the supposed cruiser vandals were wearing.. the physique... crew cut haircuts... if you think the people responsible for the cruiser damage are not police officers or agents working on their behalf, I have little hope in the planet's future. People need to start thinking for themselves.

*<SOLIDARITY< NOT< DENUNCIATION

"The facts are that ANYONE could wear black, facial coverings or any other clothing and represent the Black Bloc. Even agent provocateurs."*

*correction:< the fact is ANYONE could dress up as ANY kind of activist <(keffiyeh,< beard,< hippie <scarf,< megaphone,< anticapitalist< t-shirt) and infiltrate our (?) movements. The fact is,< due< to< their< extreme< distrust <of< the< state, anarchists are more vigilant< than< most< kinds< of< activists in recognizing and confronting police< infiltrators, as the article points out was the case in montebello and montreal. this commentor has never been in a black bloc< and< has< no< understanding< of< the< relationships< of< trust< and< networks< of< affinity< that< constitute< it.

*

*the< article< is< intelligent, makes good points, of course there is no conclusive proof, <however< what'S< NEEDED< IS< a narrative that is empowering< rather< than< one< that supports< the< state'S< MONOPOLY< ON< VIOLENCE'

*<SOLIDARITY< NOT< DENUNCIATION

*(the< bizarre<  <punctuation <is< due< to< a< water <damaged< keyboard< not< a< strange< aesthetic< sensibility)

Police allowed the car to be burnt for a media photo op

Read this guys account of what it was really like there!

 

http://kroaky108.blogspot.com/2010/06/how-i-got-arrested-and-abused-at-g...

I love the conspiracy theories

 People are just so used to the monopoly of violence that the State and corporations have that when they see some people OTHER than those two entities smashing shit and being violent, they automatically assume it's just the State and corporations smashing shit. 

The brain sees much easier what it wants and expects to see. The debate is useless, but the reason for the debate is interesting - to me it implies that most protestors and leftists are still under the complete mental hegemony of the ruling elite. 

Not saying I'm much better, but at least i'm not Completely blinded by their propaganda.

the comments to this article are telling

telling of how ignorant people are. you obvioulsy know nothing about organizing (or perhaps think that your union membership is activism).

yes, cops infiltrate the movement. nobody is questioning that. but to say that ALL people who engage in black bloc tactics are cops is probably the stupidest thing i have ever heard. why would they do that? it's a simple question. what would be the point?

yes, some of the people trashing cars were probably cops. but not everyone was.

and there were definitly way more plain clothes cops infiltrating the "peaceful protests" than the bloc. here is a video to show it. just look at the number of plain clothed cops that end up behing the police line.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XgEI5dCrE&feature=youtu.be

out of maybe 25-30 plainclothes undercover infiltrator cops. only 1 is MAYBE in blac bloc.

so, maybe people need to stop talking about things they know nothing about. and maybe people need to trust the people who are actually involved in organizing when we tell you that people who engage in blac bloc tactics are real activists who are tired of endless rallys that don't accomplish anything and therefore are taking action that directly confronts and damages the oppresive state.

helpful

i've been wanting to see evidence that the cop cars were not mere plants to help make sense of why/how they could have been there unprotected, considering the number of police in the city and the armed packs they seemed to always be travelling in. this certainly helps, though i still find the whole thing peculiar. and i'm still surprised at the seeming lack of understanding of the events that would transpire at this summit considering what has occured at every other summit around the world.

and i'm still a little surprised that they allowed these cars to be set on fire one after the other over what seemed to be a long period of time before they simply chased the crowd (mostly of onlookers) . . . that would have been protecting the public at least.

good piece . . . and thanks for all the hard work you guys have been doing!

we're on a downward spiral as far as sources go

Ladythatlunches: Alex Jones?! This junk is being propagated by that anti-immigrant, explosives-at-WTC wingnut? I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

kroaky108: "The Free Speech Zone was awesome" 'Nuff said.

"so, maybe people need to

"so, maybe people need to stop talking about things they know nothing about. and maybe people need to trust the people who are actually involved in organizing when we tell you that people who engage in blac bloc tactics are real activists who are tired of endless rallys that don't accomplish anything and therefore are taking action that directly confronts and damages the oppressive state."

Exactly.

In the videos i saw alot of people in regular clothes jumping onto and messing with the cop cars, as well as throwing things at the police. How about we quit being divisive?

"In the videos i saw alot of

"In the videos i saw alot of people in regular clothes jumping onto and messing with the cop cars, as well as throwing things at the police. How about we quit being divisive?"

Because breaking windows accomplishes nothing. If you want to take over an abandoned building to house people living in the streets, ill be there or support the action. If you make workshops educating people, ill be there or support. If you wanna set up camera squads so we can bust the cops doing what they do, ill be there or support. If you wanna keep doing the same shit we now know accomplishes nothing but help police drive through the point that activists are the enemy, i wont be there, or support. Yes, they will do that anyway, we dont need you to help them.

Who the hell takes this shit seriously:

"maybe people need to trust the people who are actually involved in organizing when we tell you that people who engage in blac bloc tactics are real activists who are tired of endless rallys that don't accomplish anything and therefore are taking action that directly confronts and damages the oppressive state."

Yeah, a couple of windows and spraypainted cars is really gonna dent their BILLION dollar weekend bonanza.  I would respect black bloc activists in Canada if they would be like the people i see protesting in South Korea. People who are tired of police brutality  and face them head on. But you dont get no respect from me when all you do is jump a few windows and then jump back into a crowd that didnt choose the tactics you did. Diversity of tactics is all well and fine, so why dont you do your tactic, and not force them unto others. People like Judy Rebick dont force you to write on rabble.ca so how about not hanging around people that didnt choose yours when there are protests? You chose this form of protest, fine. Man up to it (sorry i cant think of a gender friendly term right now) and dont hide in a crowd that didnt choose your form of protest.

And if they try that fascist/cop shit on me, trying to break my camera or take it away from me, trying to intimidate me into not filming, well, ill go out of my way to follow them around. Then they can beat me up like a cop would or whatever it is that they do. Seriously, fuck this shit.

Failed reasoning.

 "And if the cops are going to use black bloc tactics to crush peaceful protests they normally couldn't because of societal democratic values, wouldn't that mean that a black bloc or some kind of force like it is needed to fight back against the police and their state, since they won't allow us to even protest peacefully?"

 

This is the worst piece of reasoning I've seen in days. 

"Rebick is trying to convince

"Rebick is trying to convince us that the Toronto cops allowed the black bloc to run wild"

 

Well, as someone who was down there. I believe this is 100% true.

 

My example is this. I live in the Yonge & College area. Sometime after 4pm I left my place to meet up with a friend. Police were already stationed on the corner. The black bloc had just come through. As I walked down College I ended up catching up with them smashing businesses and things like bus shelters along the way. Meanwhile they strolled right past police HQ on College where around 100 cops were stationed out front in full riot gear. The CIBC on the corner or College & Bay is not even half a block away from police HQ and they smashed the place up big time. The police never did a single thing. I don't understand it really.

If you can explain to me how that isn't letting the bloc to "run wild" I'd be amazed...

I agree that some people,

I agree that some people, Judy Rebick included, want to push this conspiracy theory because for their little liberal brains, as you put so well, "finding joy in the trashing, burning and mocking of police vehicles is an inconvenient truth."

However I'm not one of those people and I think that despite your video evidence, everything - including your videos - still points towards a photo-op. (Note that i don't use 'conspiracy' because staging such a thing is really not all that hard).

This is the first time I see the video of the cop still being in the car as windows were trashed. Until now I was ready to assert that the car was purposefully abandoned. I was there and when I saw that car, it was already empty. I only found out later that night that a car was set on fire at Queen and Spadina and it genuinely surprised me because I had stayed close to the black bloc and by the time we had all turned off of Queen, I still saw no smoke behind us.

There's your problem.

That car shown being attacked in the video never burned. All media images of Queen and Spadina show a second cop car burning. This second cop car burnt exactly where the cameraman is standing in your video. Judging from the way the reinforcements position themselves when they arrive, there is no police cruiser behind the camaraman at the time.

So are you telling me that they drove a second car into the protest and into the same place where they were sent running? And that it was set on fire by a second black bloc that was just waiting for the second cruiser to arrive?

Look, I'm happy that people got to vent their rage by smashing a few cop car windows and damaging the property of corporate criminals, but i'm not ready to assert proudly as you are that we should be applauding the way this turned out. Why? Because no intelligent black bloc would have set those fires there and then.

We were trying to make it to the fence. Why start a fire so early and so far away? Especially that second fire a bit further south-east (i'm not from Toronto so I don't know the street names), which was in the middle of the fucking crowd and made us run for our lives dangerously close to flames while riot cops appeared from behind

All that second fire accomplished was that it forced the Black Bloc to prematurely start ditching their clothes for fear of an immediate crackdown... which never came. By the time we were halfway up Yonge street, the only people still wearing black were huge beefcake dudes (like those we all know to recognise as undercovers) and teenagers who were obviously just happy to vent and throw some rocks.

Later that day, a crowd of about 300 had encircled about 50 cops in riot gear. I waited for the black block to arrive to lead the push against the cops. They never came because they were effectively dispersed by the actions of the idiot/agent provocateur who set those cars on fire.

If it was a photo-op, let's own up to the fact that we've been had but since they used unsavoury methods, let's nail them for it. If it was indeed a black bloc that set the cars on fire, then it was just extremely poor tactical judgement, and we need to own up to that too.

I think anger is an important motivating force in the struggle for social justice but I don't see how your article - which glorifyies an act that amounts to nothing more than a counterproductive cathartic outburst - contributes to that struggle.

The suffragettes fucked shit up too.

Here's a gem from a review of "Ten Thousand Roses" a book by Judy Rebick

"In Ten Thousand Roses, Rebick pays brief homage to the first wave feminists the suffragettes"

But the suffragettes fucked shit up back in the day by:

"chaining themselves to railings, setting fire to mailbox contents, smashing windows and on occasions setting off bombs."

Now, what's the definition of hypocrisy?

black bloc was run by the

black bloc was run by the police..

Hmmm... this article smells

Hmmm... this article smells fishy to me... the arguments are not very cohesive... most folks I know who promote a diversity of tactics are very intelligent about their rationale... while this article has some logic to it, there are many points where it stops making sense. I wonder who exactly wrote this article and what their motivations are?

After reviewing the evidence, I believe there was agent provocateurs and that the police knew exactly what the black bloc was going to do, when and how. As much as I do acknowledge that diversity of tactics is important and that sometimes, a violent response to a violent action is the only way that people can survive in certain situations, it doesn't make sense to me to promote this particular tactic.

What is the point of defending a black bloc that was completely infiltrated by the police and where, the police ended up using the black bloc for their own benefit? This action no longer becomes an action or a tactic because it has been appropriated by a billion dollar police force. The black bloc became a tool for the police to indiscriminately search and detail hundreds. How is this an anti-capitalist strategy? Again, I do believe that a diversity of tactics are necessary for socal change to happen, but in this particular case, the police need to be held accountable for their actions (before, during and after the 'black bloc' actions).

Beside the point

"I have no problem with violence directed against the state - and of course the actions of the state are much more violent than any action of any demonstrator - but this is besides the point. The question is how do you assess when and where particular tactics are appropriate? Do these tactics push the struggle forward or backwards? Do they help us build our movements or make them harder to build? Do they help to change mass consciousness or reinforce existing bourgeois consciousness? Do they help us reach out to new people and draw them into struggle or make this more difficult?

A movement that is serious about long-term change needs to take the responsibility to answer these questions honestly and openly - and not hide behind the liberal smokescreen of 'diversity of tactics'."

If some of these radicaler-than-thou "black blocers" wouldnt be so self-absorbed and rigid, this would be the kind of questions they would be asking themselves.

It's a silly debate - where

It's a silly debate - where they cops or not? The reality is what ever the intention of the black bloc they do the work of the state.
The events at the G20 demonstration on Saturday have provoked a series of responses already. This article is not meant to review the events of the day itself but to look at the questions raised by the demonstrations.
Suffice to say the reaction of the police in arresting, detaining, and brutalizing nearly 1,000 people in the largest mass arrests in Canadian history exposes the serious attacks on civil liberties we face.
On Friday before the demonstration I was having a beer with a comrade in Halifax and of course discussion turned to the G20, we both agreed that this would be the perfect demonstration to go off without any property damage. If at the end of the day tens of thousands marched, thousands did sit-ins by the fence but the tactic of smashing windows was not employed then the summit would be a defeat for Harper.
We drew this analysis based on the fact that every where you went there was anger at the billion dollar price tag for security. At a time when thousands are struggling to make ends meet and see the cost of the Summits as exorbitant. Many, consciously or not, recognize that this money is being spent to the architects of the crisis; protecting those who gave billions to the bank while leaving workers and the poor to pay for it. Furthermore, in the lead-up, there was a growing polarisation with many being angry or frustrated with Harper’s attacks on civil liberties, on women’s rights, on the climate, on the economy, and more.
To have had a day of mass demonstrations and militant but non- violent action would have left Harper with egg on his face and given more confidence to those want to find ways to challenge Harper and the market.
Instead, the day went just like clock work—much like other summits. There’s a mass demonstration. A layer of people do a split from that march and then some engage in expressing their rage against the system by smashing windows and other acts. Given the world we live in, it is surprising that more of this doesn’t happen more often.
In response, the police hold back until the main march disperses. They wait for some damage to be done, and then they go on the offensive. They round-up and brutalize everyone left on the streets, including passers-by, peaceful protesters and those engaged in property damage. In Seattle, Quebec, Genoa, etc. this script has played out over and over again. The police wait until the mass organisations leave, then go after the rest. This strategy suggests that the police and the state are keenly aware of who they want—and don’t want—to provoke.
Within this the “black bloc” and their supporters utilise the larger rally and split marches to launch attacks on property and the police. Usually the police wait long enough for damage to be created before they respond. In these situations it is one of the few times the police wait to crack down.
Then, when the cops attack, the “bloc” usually retreats and tries to merge with others. In Genoa, the black bloc ran through a group of nuns engaged in a sit-in which resulted in the police attacking the nuns. In New York City, at a demonstration against WEF, the black bloc ended up running from the police and trampling down women Steelworkers from Toronto, who were then attacked by the police as the black bloc hid behind the Steelworkers.
Then the media and police trot out the usual line “We are ok with protests, but a small minority of criminals can’t be tolerated”. Those innocents that were arrested were an unfortunate by-product of protecting the city and its inhabitants. The police and politicians then justify the violence against protestors as necessary to stop any further violence.
In the process, hundreds get arrested while the media spends the next several days reducing the estimated numbers of demonstrators, erasing on-site reports of police brutality, critiquing the police as being too passive. Then the police say they weren’t able to protect property at the start because they were committed to facilitating the peaceful protest. Afterward they “did everything possible to restore order”. Throughout all this, stories begin to emerge about undercover officers mingling with crowd, engaging in and trying to stir up “action”. Eventually a handful get charged with some serious offences and the majority arrested get released with few or no charges.
Despite the media hype there was nothing new about the events in Toronto. The question for militants is: what are the lessons? How do we interpret events and what do they mean for the left?
To answer, we need to look at what the mobilisations can achieve and why they are important. This is the critical starting point. Since the rise of the anti-globalisation movement, this has been a point of debate.
The mobilisations around summits are important because they provide an opportunity to mobilise people beyond the ranks of those already active. It is more possible because the media builds the events far beyond the reach of the left. The fact that the summits raise a broad set of issues, mean that they unite in opposition broad sets of movements. The demonstrations that result can often be greater than the sum of the parts of movements. They unite various movements – labour and environment for example. They provide an opportunity to bring wider layers into the.movement.
Some have argued that these demonstrations are pointless one-off events and that those who go to them are “summit-hoppers”. Strangely these critiques are often raised by people who themselves go to the events.
But this misses the point that while the mobilisations are one-off’s they are important in the sense that they pull struggles together and allow those not plugged into activism to find a space to join the movement. Secondly the protests show to millions of others that there is mass opposition to the system.
Of course the idea that the protests themselves will change the agenda of the rulers is mistaken and naive. But the more important point of the protests is to galvanise and mobilise opposition to the system. For the left, the demonstrations offer a crucial opportunity to grow and sink deeper roots in new areas. These mobilizations also help maintain momentum and break down barriers between struggles that often go on in their own silos. In short, these protests forge new bonds of solidarity.
So it is important to mobilise against these summits, not because we can change the agenda or that capitalism will grind to a halt if the summit is shut down. Some thought because of the collapse of the Doha round or the inability to get a deal at the FTAA Québec City round, that capitalism would be forced into a retreat. But the reality is that these summits are attempts to overcome divisions between various ruling classes in various nation states. What they can’t get through global agreements, they will try through regional agreements. What isn’t accomplished regionally is taken up bi-laterally. Basically, summits are where the world’s largest economies jockey with each other for a better deal for their own ruling classes.
This doesn’t mean we can’t wrestle reforms from these leaders, and without the demonstrations it would be even harder to win reforms or prevent even more damaging policies from being implemented. Even NGO’s who aren’t committed to the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism, understand that mobilising is vital to back their call for reforms.
In this context, the object of mobilising for the summits should be to try and take advantage of the moment presented to broaden and deepen the left and build the movements.
This is the objective from which our tactics flow. It is not the summit itself that matters but the ability to draw larger numbers onto the streets and into action. It offers the potential to increase people’s confidence and consciousness.
To establish tactics before determining the larger strategic objectives, raises tactics to a point of principle and robs the working class of the tactical flexibility that will maximize success. It is juvenile and creates the quixotic adventures we saw on June 26.
So what about “diversity of tactics” and the black bloc?
It should be clear that the actions of the black bloc reflect their politics. The actions in Toronto mirror those tactics used elsewhere. The tactics and politics regardless of their intent are inherently elitist and counter-productive. In fact they mirror the critique of reformism many on the left have. The NDP says vote for us and we’ll do it for you, the black bloc says in essence the same thing – we will make the revolution for you.
At best the tactics of the black bloc are based on a mistaken idea that the attacks on property and the police will create a spark to encourage others to resist capitalism, at worst they are based on a rampant individualistic sense of rage and entitlement to express that rage regardless of the consequences to others. The anti-authoritarian politic they follow is imposed on others. Very rarely will you see a black bloc call its own rally, instead the tactic is to play hide and seek with the police under the cover of larger mobilisations.
Further as has been noted in many cases, the tactics and politics of the black bloc and some anarchists and some others on the left, leave them prone to being manipulated by the state. In almost every summit protest, police and others (in Genoa it was also fascists), infiltrate or form their own blocs to engage in provocations. The politics of secrecy and unannounced plans and a quasi-military (amateur at best) approach to demonstrations leave the door open to this.
The tactics also open the door for the justification of further police repression. This has been debated before, with some arguing that the state doesn’t need justification for repression. The idea that the state doesn’t need justification for further repression exposes the total lack of understanding of both the state and the consciousness of ordinary people.
If the state didn’t need justification for repression, then we would all be in jail. Capitalism isn’t a democratic system, but needs the facade of political rights to maintain some buy-in about how free we all are. If the state didn’t need justification for repression, then we accept that people are just automatons who do what they are told.
But the reality is that most people oppose police brutality and most people believe we are living in a democracy. Therefore when the police go on a rampage, they have to have an excuse. It is highly naive to think that the police and the state won’t and don’t need a justification to repress people. If they didn’t we wouldn’t have a war on drugs – it would have just been a war on the poor.
Some argue that we have to support some of these tactics because they are “radical”. But what is indeed “radical”. Let us put aside the notion of “economic disruption” caused by a few burning cop cars and broken windows, as some use this to justify so called militant actions. The reality is the Tamil community created much more economic disruption with their non-violent occupation of the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto. Further the workers in Sudbury valiantly fighting Vale Inco are doing much more to disrupt the economy than a thousands black bloc actions ever could.
The tactics of the black bloc make it clear that for them, it is more important to smash windows than to try and march with thousands of workers and engage them in arguments about how to move struggles forward or that the problem is capitalism.
So how radical is it to trash a few windows? It depends on what one means by radical. Radical is about workers gaining confidence and consciousness to fight back, not just at work, but in solidarity with others. Radical is about developing a sense of mass power, organising based on moving others into struggle, winning others to challenge the power in their workplace or community collectively, beyond the individualisation of our society. Radical is about going to the roots of the system—not trashing its symbols.
So it is much more radical organising a Starbucks, or winning co-workers to fight homophobia, or defending women’s rights than it is smashing a window.
When the black bloc does its thing, does it move struggles forward or backward? Does it in the eyes of those questioning the system, or moving into struggle, or thinking that something is wrong, radicalise them and give them confidence?
The answer is that outside of a small minority, these actions at best can inspire passive support from those who do not like police. But the majority have no confidence to engage in these actions themselves or agree with them. Instead of giving confidence, the tactics generally produce confusion and play into the hands of the state that would prefer it if no one ever protested. They allow the state to justify its repression and expenditures. In essence outside of an already radicalised minority they don’t leave anyone with a deeper sense of confidence about the ability to fight capitalism. Instead at best they leave the impression that the fight against capitalism can only be carried out by a heroic minority at worst they leave people worrying about going to demonstrations. The tactic is far from radical because it does nothing to challenge capitalism in any way; it does nothing to instil confidence in others to resist.
The debate shouldn’t be about violence, per se, but about tactics and strategy. Of course we defend the right of workers and oppressed communities to self-defence. The response from the left to the riots in Toronto after Rodney King is a good example: many defended the justified outrage at both the racism of the justice system and the beating of Rodney King. It was a justifiable rage against a system of racism, but it also wasn’t a strategy to defeat racism.
The black bloc however, isn’t an oppressed community resisting oppression and defending itself.
Those on the left who see the problems with the black bloc and the cover given to them by those who elevate “diversity of tactics” to a principle need to organise coherent responses to this.
We need to join the battle for interpretation without getting distracted by blanket pronouncements of “pro” this or “anti” that. We need to focus on strategy and the tactics that flow from it. This will allow us to regroup those activists who see the centrality of the working class as the key to social change, who recognize that intended or not, “diversity of tactics” is not radical but a cover for self-aggrandisement by some sections who have no faith in the self-activity of the working class.
The need for a bigger stronger socialist movement in Toronto couldn’t be greater. But the role of socialists isn’t to gingerly tail those who support “diversity of tactics”, but to politically debate and expose the bankruptcy of those ideas for moving struggles forward. And it goes without saying that while we do that, we must also be defending those arrested, exposing the brutality of the police and patiently explaining to co-workers and neighbours what really happened and why people protested.
We need this clarity to avoid the sort of splits that occurred after Québec City and after 9/11. We need this clarity and upfront politics to win those pulled by the anger at the system and its barbarism to a more effective—if less sexy—strategy, based on building a mass struggle against capitalism that can pull the system up by its roots.


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