Anarchy. Anarchist. – Violence. Thugs. – The first step in the oppressors act of oppression is to dehumanize those they desire to oppress and those who challenge their authority. The response to the “violence” of anarchists during the G20 protests has been a monolithic monologue of condemnation by all media, pundits and political figures. It is said that this “violence” doesn’t have a message and is “senseless”. I am reminded of Paulo Freire who wrote, “The dominant elites consider the remedy to be more domination and repression, carried out in the name of freedom, order, and social peace (that is, the peace of the elites). Thus they can condemn – logically, from their point of view – ‘the violence of a strike by workers and [can] call upon the state in the same breath to use violence in putting down the strike’”.
Ultimately, the categorical condemnation of the so called “violence” in Toronto is reminiscent of all dominant social constructions oppressing the seeds of change. Where ever the Capitalist Aristocracy is challenged they construct a morality which suits their hegemonic purposes. This morality is the permeated and diffused throughout society in what Foucault called Panopticism. Foucault writes, “it is not that the beautiful totality of the individual has be amputated, repressed, altered by our social order, it is rather that the individual is carefully fabricated in it, according to a whole technique of forces and bodies.” In other words, the Capitalist Machine has created a social situation in which those who are oppressed become complicit in the oppressive apparatus. Foucault writes, “The growth of a capitalist economy gave rise to the specific modality of disciplinary power, whose general formulas, techniques of submitting forces and bodies, in short, ‘political anatomy’, could be operated in the most diverse political regimes, apparatuses or institutions.”
I think the most telling statement is that by Toronto’s chief of police. He stated that his number one priority is the security of the “Red Zone”, or the fenced in area of the G20 summit. In other words, the rest of Toronto, and Canada, could burn as long as we keep the Capitalist Aristocracy safe. Put in other words, the police are not here to protect and serve you, but a bunch of rich pricks who are enslaving the masses so that they can horde excessive amounts of “capital”. While the planet is being destroyed, the few elite fence themselves in to discuss how to maintain their oppression. Currently, in our ever expanding capitalist economy, this oppression is maintained by the monopolizing multi-national corporations. They do so by the manufacturing and standardizing of our reality through a perpetual bombardment of language, image and media. This reality only benefits the Capitalist Aristocracy by creating an irrational dopamine/serotonin injection amongst the consuming populace through the construction of a pseudo-happiness tied to endless consumption; and in a true Foucauldian panoptic nightmare, we are all complicit in our oppression.
Which brings me back to the so called “violence” of the anarchists. “Violence” against “Things” is not violence but vandalism which disrupts two distinct illusions. Firstly, these vandalizing Anarchists disrupt the illusion of power and authority that the corporate aristocracy manufactures through fences and a police state. Secondly, by vandalizing Things these Anarchists disrupt the illusion that Things/or Property/or Capital are more important than Humanity, Community and Society. Many, although not all, Anarchists would argue that Things need to be destroyed so that we can realize our humanity again.
“Stop right there”, you say, “but what about the rights of property owners or the right to safety?” Many Anarchists do not believe in the concept of “private property”. Moreover, they also believe that their rights to safety, and humanity, are continually violated everyday by the capitalist’s social construction of hyper-individuality and incessant enslavement to a mechanistic “productivity”, “expansion” and “profitability”. Furthermore, the civilians safety was never at risk, other than from the neurotic police department and their Gestapo tactics. It was the police who first started the violence against The People after which the Anarchists started the vandalism against The Things. Of course our fine “defenders” of “liberty” and “freedom” would argue otherwise.
The bottom line is that many Anarchists do not believe in a top down authority, but in bottom up authority. In other words, a radical decentralization of authority and a hyper-localization of society and economy. A complete inversion of power within contemporary, and historical, society. As such they do not accept the legitimacy of authority perpetuated by social structures of our society. Thus they cease to act within the panoptic construction and feel completely within their rights to disrupt and vandalize what they see as a violation of the rights of humanity. Its not that all Anarchists don’t believe in laws, they just believe in a bottom up approach to power relations. The G20 and G8 summits represent the antithesis of this concept. If I was the CEO of a big bank, or a billionaire, I am sure I could get into that conference. However, since I am no more than a pathetic plebeian my rights to democratic engagement are completely subverted for the rights of the Capitalist Aristocracy. In other words, power is top down and democracy is an illusion. Corporate interests run the world, not people. Put another way, Things, or Capital, runs the world, not people. Thus, to some, it would seem logical to destroy the Capital/Things/Corporations which have more value and democratic rights than people.
All this being said I will accept that some of the vandalism was opportunistic and thrill seeking. Yet despite this we should not condemn the vandalism with a distinct message. These Anarchists give us the social space in which to discombobulate the illusion of a centralized authority or power. To transcend the Panopticism and realize that the ecocidal Capitalist Aristocracy only has the power because we, The People, give it to them. So to my Anarchist brethren I say: Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, ou la mort!