Somebody help me out here

Anyone reading about Toronto and the G8/G20 summits?

Take a look here.

Now, I’m suspicious I would find myself in agreement with most of the peaceful protester’s concerns and arguments.  But can someone please tell me how this is helpful?  I’m not against non-violent protests by any means…but it seems like we’re not at the point where this could possibly be effective or beneficial.  As soon as someone starts breaking windows and burning cars, doesn’t everyone lose?  Anyone have insight into how Civil Rights leaders responded to violence in their midst?

It just seems like we need to find a better way.  Somebody help me out here.

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~ by Joe Paparone on June 27, 2010.

5 Responses to “Somebody help me out here”

  1. I agree. These weren’t protesters. They were kids who were playing a game called protesting, where they would shout the words and chant the mantras, but whose real purpose there was to be instigators. They were angry, and they used that anger to incite violence.

    I feel sorry for those people who were there with honest concerns and who were looking for their voice to be heard. When your fellow protesters start lap-dancing the riot police, breaking store windows, lighting police cars on fire and otherwise being jerks, nobody wins.

    Today was a general failure for everyone.

  2. I actually have friends who were there protesting and under Ontario Regulation many of the public areas including areas deemed as “free speech” platforms were amended as “Public Areas” where basically authorities could use whatever “force necessary” to prevent any persons from entering. This specific area is right in the downtown core…so basically, how does one protest if not allowed to even come near the specified “free speech area”? Check this out – http://www.slaw.ca/2010/06/25/the-secret-g20-law-nobody-heard-about/

    Now, I wasn’t there, but I had friends who were. There were 900 arrests made which is the largest mass arrest in Canadian history. Now, I don’t agree with the use of violence by those zealous protesters, but I have also been told of numerous stories of the abuse of power from the authorities.

    My friends have now packed up and have gone camping due to the inaccessible area for protesting and for fear of rising violence within Metro Toronto.

    Peace,

    April

  3. I heard about the abuses of power on DemocracyNow! War and Peace Report.

    It just seems to me that, despite abuses of power and massive connectivity, the protester’s message isn’t being communicated in a helpful way. The only people who are concerned about the abuses of power are those participating in the protests or with immediate connections (like you). It doesn’t seem like the injustices are being exposed in a meaningful way (as they seemed to be during civil rights marches).

    Let’s imagine a scenario where there were no violent protestors and no abuses of police power. Peaceful protesters were able to march and sit-in and maybe even non-violently attempt to disrupt the meetings.

    I know it’s just speculation…but how would that be more effective? Are we just dealing with apathy on the part of the greater populace? Or is our discourse so polarized that the protesters were written off before the events even started?

    Assuming best case scenario, how are these protests making a difference? It’s happened so many times at so many different meetings…I just think a different approach might be called for.

    Thoughts?

  4. You are asking critical questions. I ask myself the same ones when I talk to people in my sphere who are vocal or “active” when it comes to protesting for change.

    I think it’s tough to decide whether or not the masses can “make a difference”, but we need to start somewhere right? Now I do not advocate for violence, but I think that maybe when people step out in peaceful protest, the collective consciousness of the community realizes “something is wrong and things need to change”. The type of demographic doing the protesting might even affect the current political parties’ tactics (ex: a swing vote) Also, MLK’s Southern campaigns for civil rights held nightly marches and sit-ins. I’m sure this increased solidarity and unity for the oppressed.

    Personally, I feel that there is a distancing of issues when people email their petitions or sign a piece of paper. There is something about the human experience of gathering together that creates some sort of communal excitement (hopefully positive). There are other ways such as meeting with your local MP where you cannot be ignored because it is face-to-face. Also, blogs, writing to Editors, and trying to find ways of dialoguing with those in “power” are alternatives to walking around with a sign. But let’s face it, it’s free advertising from the media…and if you want collective awareness then it seems like the most viable option.

    That being said, Christians need to be the forerunners of creative dialogue and creative solutions…it sounds like you are asking the right questions.

  5. Sorry to take so long to get back about this.

    I’m with you completely, April. Here’s where I see the disparity between what you’re saying and what happens at G20/G8 meetings: Those are yearly events. I think the (in)frequency of these kinds of protests might be part of my feelings as to their ineffectiveness. Maybe things would look different if churches were staging far more frequent anti-sweatshop, or anti-slavery protests. In addition to protesting within the bounds of our everyday choices, the church could be leading the way in organizing more public actions that call out the injustices of the world on a more frequent basis. Some churches are, but in a lot of places, these kinds of discussions are not welcomed.

    This is where creativity and imagination come in, as well. The same thing all the time will simply mar the effectiveness of the protest and turn the conversation into background noise (like the handful of people I occasionally see protesting abortion, who are there faithfully on street corners and near hospitals, but who have blended into the background).

    I think this might be my frustration with the G20/G8 stuff. It seems like the same thing every time, always marred by violence, always failing to communicate a message. I’m not trying to be critical of your friends here (other than constructively) but that’s how these protests come across year after year.

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