To throw stuff or not to throw stuff?

I’ve scanned the blogs, on-line news and watched the footage on TV of the Heart Attack protest on Saturday February 13th- Day 2. It was also referred to as a riot. The first riot of the riots that were announced 5 years ago, so we knew they were coming. I always thought it was kind of silly to announce a riot, since I naïvely thought they occurred spontaneously. It’s kind of like letting people know your going to break into their house. I don’t want to mock them, but they invite a bit of mockery. The black clad “anarchists” that apparently stole a ladder(news report) from London Drugs at Georgia and Granville. I don’t even think they have ladders at London Drugs. It might have been tucked inside somewhere, or maybe they let the London Drugs staff know about the riot, and being the accommodating sort that we are, one of the staff might have brought it up to the front to save time. Anyway, the blogs, the news, Facebook, the debate is heated, did they really set back the “cause” years in hard work, or is our sense of outrage misplaced? As it is being pointed out, they harmed buildings, mailboxes, and indeed, a few police officers. I don’t support harming people, and not sure about scaring the shit out of them either, but basically we are condemning the destruction of windows, mailboxes and signage. The crimes of all the corporations that are funding this party are in a whole other, much more sinister category. I am well programmed though, you don’t wreck other people’s stuff. It is engrained in our culture that the rights of property and property owners, outweigh the rights of people. Unfortunately, few people are going to get the message that we should be respecting people more than stuff. We rarely seem to get that one.

I have met some of the people who have been a part of the Anti-Poverty Committee over the years, and I was never sure that their tactics were anything more than the actions of a bunch of self-absorbed, middle-class kids who’ve read a lot of theory, romanticized the revolution and don’t give a shit about who gets hurt in the process. The Heart Attack protest was to demonstrate the injustices of the Olympics. Not sure if that was clear to the freaked out bystanders. From all the dialogue I have witnessed on-line, they seem to have done a good job of dividing people, or giving the illusion of division so their more peaceful counterparts look reasoned. I don’t know that they set back the cause though, or shattered the message. The cause will recover, they made everyone else look good, “legitimate protesters” as Police Chief Chu put it; and the message was already hard to hear because there are so many of them. Stolen Land, corporatization of our public space, environmental destruction, homelessness, free speech, businesses going bankrupt, school closures, health care facilities being shut down, and arts funding being decimated. It makes me feel like throwing things too.

I’m no expert at any of this, and I do think it’s important to protest, but I don’t always know that multiple-messaging is the way to go to promote further action by Governments and a public, that at the moment have their fingers in their ears so they can just watch ice skating, and downhill moguls in peace. For anyone that is paying attention, it is coming across loud and clear that all is not well in the “Best City on Earth.”


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