The Black Block Effect

We may be witnessing a sea change in the way many governments, and their countries’ social fabric, are controlled and shaped.

The 99 percent have realized that the other one percent has one very large part of the overall pie. These elite control access to their elite cliques, influence government, shift legislation, and pooh-pooh anything that challenges their cash flow and influence. (I am thinking of unfortunate truths such as global warming, or limits to population growth.)

The 99 percent should beware, and be very wary, of what I will herein call the Black Block Effect. This is where a small minority alter the direction of a movement or a demonstration. These few can influence police behaviour to the detriment of the many. They can redirect a crowd from civil disobedience to anger to vandalism. They can be better organized than the majority of demonstrators.

They seem to be, often, from out of town. The aftermath of the US bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Kosovo was a riot in front of the US Embassy in Beijing. The rioters were, purportedly, bussed in from out of town for the occasion.

The black block at the Toronto G20 demonstrations were also, at least in part, from out of town. There was at least one report that police were targeting Quebec license plates as the block was thought to be from that province.

My daughter was at a demonstration many years ago when students broke in to the legislature at Queens Park. Bag ladies on the subway asked for news, as in, have they broken in yet? The published demonstration plan was, demand an audience at Queens Park, get denied, march to Varsity Stadium where various speakers (and microphones, eh?) were lined up.

But a few, perhaps six or less, at the very front of the crowd got and kept them agitated while the doors were broken. Then the crowd surged inside.

I mention this because I have thus second-hand information about how surprising turns of events happen at demonstrations: a professional can sway a crowd. In addition, a professional can act inside a crowd, hide there, and change clothes and identity quickly. From the pile of clothes left behind by the Black Block in one G20 video, I estimate perhaps twenty individuals, maybe less.

Thus the warning at the start of this post: 99 per-centers, beware. Your demonstrations can be hijacked. Your intentions can be thwarted and even perverted. You do need common goals and common stated discipline, rules, that will keep you away from the trouble these professional demonstrators can bring.

One final thought. Invoking Lenin’s Law, who benefited from the Black Block in the Toronto G20 demonstrations? I submit that the police and the government did: harsh measures were approved, more and larger jails made less ludicrous. Caveat emptor. We were sold a bill of goods, again.

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