I’ve seen a lot of scary shit in my time as a protester – I’ve seen governments go after people’s homes for trying to block highways, I’ve seen the cops charge nonviolent crowds with excessive force, and I’ve even met an undercover cop who did everything he could to convince us to “just fucking kill these [cops]”. So understand me when I say this, as I don’t use these words lightly.

What’s going on in Toronto right now is fucking terrifying. In the past week I’ve had friends arrested for not giving their ID while walking up side-streets well away from the security area, before the “special laws” were in place. Last night, a very good friend of mine, who had many others staying with her, had her door kicked in and everyone handcuffed by cops who refused to give badge numbers. Crowds have been told what they can and can’t chant. And a whole pile of my medic friends got arrested as a protest breaking up. Now they’re trying to charge a pile of organizers who they illegally arrested (before anything happened today) with some very serious shit. Much like with the Haymarket Affair over a century ago, if you are an Anarchist organizer, you are apparantly guilty of everything bad done at, in, or near a protest while it’s going on.

The hypocrisy here is sickening. If I hear one more person go on about how “violent protestsers discredit their cause” I am going to throw up. Cops who abuse citizens (and the amount of repression of ordinary people in Toronto have had to live under in the past week is telling) are simply “bad apples”, but large groups of protesters who’ve likely never seen eacho ther before are somehow responsible for each other’s behavior?

Which of these groups has the strict, military power structure? And which of these groups is PAID TO KEEP THE PEACE? If you can’t deal with harsh words from protesters, don’t work as a cop. And if you can’t deal with kids throwing stones (or elderly fat Polish men at airport) without excessive force and high-tech waeaponry, then why are we bothering to pay to train these people AT ALL?

Nobody asked for the G8 or the G20. Our leaders HAVE a place to meet and talk about their issues, it’s called the UN. It has rules and protocols, and requires giving a voice to poor countries as well as rich ones. There is no popular mandate to form an effective world government of rich and powerful nations to rule the rest. The track record of the G8 is no secret, and it isn’t pleasant.

Yes, there was violence. Grow the fuck up. Big protests about serious issues aren’t always just like a walk in the park. They never have been and they never will be. The white middle class liberal adherance to “nonviolence” in the west today is a sick and twisted joke. Where the hell is our “nonviolence” when millions of people are being thrown in prison? When thousand are being gunned down by police? And when tens of thousands or more are being killed in foreign wars by troops paid with our tax dollars? Nope. Nonviolence only applies to hippies. States and corporations can kill whom they please.

And of course, those who came and fought are called “thugs”. Violence out of context is always thuggery. The schoolyard bully persona of cops proves that pretty well. But while it’s hard to utter anything negative about cops in public without hords of people rushing to their defense, talking about all the “good work they do”. Yet, when protesters break a Starbucks window, even mentioning the real issues is treated like making some sort of off-colour joke. How many more countries like Iraq do extra-legal coalitions of rich nations have to destroy before their arguments aren’t taken seriously?

Breaking windows isn’t violent. Burning police cars isn’t violent (and is pretty much what’s expected when you brutally attack crowds then leave empty vehicals around). That’s property destruction. Throwing rocks or kicking heavily armored cops barely qualifies as fisticuffs. The really scary kinds of violence are systemic – wars, genocides, sanctions, bombings, funding terrorist armies and developing weapons of mass destruction (and real peace activists and scholars will tell you this), and have a lot more to do with the monsters attending those meetings than any “thugs” outside.