Monday, June 28, 2010

I was shocked by the events of last weekend

"Only a crisis—actual or perceived––produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. . . . Our basic function [is] to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible"—by which he meant enacting radical deregulation, privatization of national industries and public-sector programs, and deep cuts to the welfare state— "becomes the politically inevitable."
Milton Friedman

I was shocked by the events of last weekend. And so were you but not just in a "How outrageous!" sort of way. You were subjected to tactics straight out of The Shock Doctrine.
Lots of people are asking questions:
When they knew there was always going to be trouble (which they did, which is why they spent $1 billion on security), why did the Harper government continue to insist that the centre of Canada's largest city would be the preferred location for the summit – when it clearly could've, and should've, been held somewhere else?
2. Out of that billion dollars, couldn't a few bucks have been set aside to hire some police officers to prevent the violence and destruction taking place elsewhere in the city – as seen, to cite just one example, in this disturbing raw footage (click "Anarchist Tear Apart Yonge Street" in CTV News Video Player) showing not one cop (not one) intervening to stop mayhem on Canada's biggest and busiest street?

Were other actions by the police not somewhat suspicious?

To which I would like to add a few of my own. Did it not seem like they made sure that the over the top reaction would be heavily reported? Did it not seem like they were going out of their way to harass reporters and peaceful protesters? Isn't it odd that so many were from Conservative friendly outlets like the CTV, the National Post and the Sun? Why would they attack people singing the national anthem when Yonge Street is burning?

Had enough time to think? Of course it did. They wanted us to see what they would bring down on T.O. if they wanted to. They want us to see what they will do to bystanders and media types. Even friendly ones. As Ms. Klein lays out in the opening part of her excellent book, you don't have to intimidate many people. You just have to do it to a few and in such a way that everyone takes notice. Let us know that they will arrest as many as it takes to intimidate us. Then resistance crumbles.

This disaster may have been the result of extreme Conservative incompetence. Or it may be the outgrowth of extreme Conservative tactics. But they did get their point across. Stand up to us and you will be randomly brutalized.

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