Rioting in Toronto involving anarchists resisting the G-20 Summit has been condemned by many. The real problem is that there aren’t currently enough anarchists to run the G-20 out of business for good.
Some have said that the actions taken by black bloc protestors — donning masks and black clothing to smash windows and burn police vehicles — will be used by the state to justify the massive security apparatus surrounding the summit. But the state will always find a reason to act as they do — whether it is assaulting peaceful protesters or filling streets with poison gas to deter those who fight back. Whenever a non-resistant individual is attacked with a mobile torture device called a Taser, whenever a paramilitary raid on someone suspected of selling drugs results in death, whenever a city block is destroyed by government bombs, there will be people saying it was the right thing to do.
To move forward, those who value freedom shouldn’t encourage state-apologism.
Still, action should be strategically calculated. The message sent by destruction needs to be kept in mind, and by message I don’t mean a communiqué imitating poorly-translated foreign works. Deeds will always be contextualized by words, so if anarchists do well at both, that will reduce the effectiveness of authoritarians’ efforts to categorize actions as evil.
It shouldn’t be surprising that the image of masked, black-clad figures smashing things scares and angers people who do not believe in the reasons behind the destruction. To encourage a productive response to anarchist action, anarchist ideas need to be made familiar. Broken glass (even if some belongs to people who didn’t deserve it) and burning symbols of authority should not be scarier than fighter jets and assemblies of the most successful criminal gangs in the world. It is the latter that destroys countless irreplaceable individual lives to further the interests of the powerful.
In Toronto, representatives of the world’s most powerful governments met to discuss how they would dominate world economic affairs, and political dominance always means deprivation and death for those who get in the way. Increasing the costs of such bloody business with some broken glass and burning police cars is simply a response to the crimes of politics.