The 2010 G-20 resulted in mass arrests, illegal detentions, gratuitous police violence, an illegal raid on a Graduate Student’s facility and temporary closure of the University of Toronto campus. Hundreds of police workers were video-recorded committing gross abuses of public power. A mere handful has faced meaningful charges. Instead the entire establishment circled its wagons and worked night and day to hide and ignore the political crimes of the state.
The question is this: at what point is a state engaging in an undeclared war against its citizens?
When nighttime raids are conducted prior to any protest, when protesters are then trampled by police horses, shot and bludgeoned, when a major, world city [Toronto] downtown area is effectively placed under martial law, when journalists reporting events are arrested and beaten, and when those arrested are strip searched, placed in primitive detention cages and denied any access to legal council, how is this not a fascist state? How is this not an undeclared war on an overwhelmingly peaceable protest by a government that masquerades as its own?
A year after what Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin called “the most massive” violations of “civil liberties in Canadian history,” Canadistan has yet to host the full inquiry which these crimes demand. Not one politician, not one supervisory police official has been held to account. Indeed, it seems now that publication of dissenting opinions is to be criminalized. This, after a police debacle that made more criminals than the Winnipeg 1919 general strike, more arrests than the FLQ crisis.
Heinous as are the crimes by our fascistic neighbor to the North, they may pale before what is about to unfold if, as Paul Stuart reports, some 30,000 arrests are planned for neighborhoods around London. Whereas the Toronto protest was overwhelmingly peaceable, the situation in the United Kingdom was anything else. However interpreted, the riotous behavior is notorious.
We have seen the fallout of the Mark Duggan murder already. As would be expected, the state circled the wagons, telling stupid lies to extricate itself from censure for its malfeasance. Here another question begs to be asked:
How many more murders will result from this scheme to mass arrest 30,000 people?
The Duggan uprising leads one to wonder what will result from additional, associated murders. Indeed, such actions and mass arrests call the population to weigh carefully the relationship of the citizenry to the state, with an eye especially to the legitimacy of the state, to the degree that the state is regarded as a legitimate political entity.
Perhaps it asks too much for the state to see the irony that, by attacking population centers, the state undermines its OWN claim to be a legitimate political entity. And this is only the beginning. When states turn against their own populations, workers are forced to redefine their relationship to the state accordingly. These actions force the recognition that the state regards the public as an enemy. The necessary conclusion is that the public must regard itself as an oppressed and sometimes hunted people. Such actions as occurred in Toronto and as are now reported to be in the works for London neighborhoods call for the development of a new narrative separate from that told by the state.
This means that honesty demands that we explain to our children and grandchildren that in our society, a potentially life-threatening encounter arises anytime civilians meet military personnel or police. They must be told that the state exists not to guard their freedom, but to ensure that they are not free. They must be told that wars are fought not to extend freedom, but to extend tyranny. They must be told that they do not really have a state of their own, but that they are essentially a people without a country.
Every time there is a ‘Toronto,’ this will be regarded as the state proving it to be what the new narrative represents it to be. State and events will become things that ‘decent people’ don’t attend. Institutions and processes of state will be regarded as something that isn’t us or for us; it will be seen as the greater cause of what is wrong in the land and world. Patriotism will be an act of disloyalty. Duty will be an act of treason. Any act of reprisal against the state will be seen as tending to establish justice and the law of the people.
In time – and it may not be long time – people may begin to see that the very crimes cited as grounds for war over Afghanistan, Syria and Libya are equally true and applicable at home. Toronto – London – who is next? New York? If it is difficult to understand why the state would actively create the circumstances in which exactly that narrative can take root. One recalls the Pogo’s line: ‘we have seen the enemy, and they is us.’
The state cannot long stand in such contexts. That is why nations are quite able to liberate themselves without our intervention. But the state also understands that this dictum is equally true in our own state. How odd that the state would regard as enemies whose who point out the state’s very follies that will ensure its own collapse.