We’ve seen a deluge of burning cars, ravaged streets, and smashed corporate storefronts this past week as world media turns with a opportunistic ‘harumph’ to focus on the G20 riots in Toronto. Actually, I ‘harrumph’ along with them, because the whole anarchist movement - mainly white, affluent kids in their twenties, ranging from the ideologically zealous to the mindlessly destructive - has really dicked genuine discussion and protest around a conference that makes decisions everyone should be anxious about.
Forming a seething, apolitical, inarticulate opposition like this ignores the countless groups from labour, environmental and indigenous movements who came to Toronto to offer debate, statistics and alternatives. Long-time Canadian activist Fred Wilson reflects sadly on this at Rabble, and if I’m not putting words in his mouth, he appeared to be pointing out how much the young toughs who torched police cars were playing into the hands of the multinational media they demonise. TV cameras didn’t have to dwell on considered soundbites at peaceful gatherings. There was ratings gold, decked out in ‘McShit’ shirts and contextually-orphaned keffiyehs .
On the other hand, some of the pictures that came out of it were blogging gold.