save a little outrage for the real criminals, part two

I just came home from the G20 protests, and all anyone can talk about is "the violence". The media, the mayor, the politicians, the "person on the street" interviews - all agog over "the violence".

Newsflash. People smashing windows or setting a cop car on fire is a minor inconvenience.

People appointing themselves spokespeople for the planet in closed-door meetings, destroying social safety nets, commodifying and privatizing every earthly resource, making war, making poverty, destroying oceans, air and water: this is the Bad Thing.

A billion dollars of our tax money wasted, secret laws passed, pre-dawn raids on citizens' homes, pre-emptive arrests, criminalizing dissent, turning a city into a ghost town: this is the Bad Thing.

But all anyone can talk about is "the violence".

Ten thousand - I've just heard it was 25,000 - people were upset and angry enough to spend the day marching in the rain - peacefully, I may add - but all anyone can talk about is "the violence".

Why doesn't someone ask us why we are marching with a giant coat hanger? Ask us why we don't recognize the G8 or G20 as legitimate, why we oppose their very existence, why we call them liars and criminals and murderers.

Ask us why 2,000 people filled Massey Hall last night, ask us what our problem is: we can list them all.

But no, just show endless footage of the burning cop car and a skirmish with police. There, you've covered the protest.

Back in February, I said, save a little outrage for the real criminals. I was frustrated and appalled that Canadians appeared more horrified by a little vandalism in Vancouver than in the larger vandalism of the Olympics themselves. Today, it's even worse. I'm not surprised, but I sure am disgusted.

When people are not heard, when democratic channels are thwarted and ignored, frustration boils over. Some people express that frustration by smashing things. Big fucking deal. The only thing that bothers me about that expression is how the response to it overshadows everything else.

Save your outrage for the G20 itself.

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