[Marxism] Fwd: G20 and black block

Joseph Catron jncatron at gmail.com
Mon Jul 5 11:00:57 MDT 2010

I'll cede my least word to Ritch Whyman, whose comment on Louis' blog
sparked this exchange. In case he happens to read this, I apologize again
for having misunderstood and misrepresented his original, valid point, but
am grateful to have his verification that my memory has not gone wobbly just

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: <ritch09 at gmail.com>
Date: Sun, Jul 4, 2010 at 3:48 PM
Subject: re: G20 and black block
To: jncatron at gmail.com

Hi, I got your email from the marxism list, and was the author of the
short note on tactics. I can't be bothered signing up for another list
as i rarely read anything i get from lists.

I thought it would be worth to note that you are generally correct
about the details of the Quebec City protests. I was actually heavily
involved in the Toronto end of mobilising for that, including helping
run c-d training for union activists anothers. You are generally
correct that at that time the plans of many, including many sections
of people form unions, included having a go at the fence. Although it
was mainly unionists form ontario that were up for that - perhaps
because of the amount of work some activists did to sink roots and
build connections with trade unionists coming out of Seattle. The
quebec unions in general did not have organised contingents break away
from the large labour demo. Also the day before, the first day there
actions at the fence there were two marches - one lead by CLAC - a
more direct action diversity of tactics group, and another call GOMM -
a more student based anti globalisation group that encompassed some of
the quebec student unions - of note they held what was probably one of
the best meetings of over 800 students the day before the first
actions were held and in a mass assembly voted to march down to the
peoples summitt to meet up with a union march. That march did end up
going to the fence, but with CAW, CUPE, CUPW, USWA and even the odd
CLC flag at the front. this was the product of several left wing
militants in both the quebec student movemet, the labour movemnet and
the toronto anti-globalisation movemnt trying to bring the various
forces together.

This was far from the case this time around, the labour movement was
divided, and it took an awful lot of effort from union activists to
push for the demo and get what did out. Secondly there was very little
union work done by those advocating DOT.

Anyway, the details are the details, but the reality is that in all
these mobilisation the general scenario i mentioned has played out. In
seattle while there was a battle with the cops at the original sit
down - which was joined by some trade unionists, teh cops really drove
into the crowd after the labour march had ended and the union buses
left and the stadium where the rally was held was empty.

In Quebec the cops never came out from behind the fence until after
the mass union march had left and the buses took off. Some of us at
the fence were calling to see if there was any sentiment form larger
numbers, hopefully from the quebec unions, to come to the fence. There
wasn't much. So when those buses left we got a call from people at the
area where the labour march had ended saying it was emptying out,
within 30 minutes of that the police opened fence and began to do the
sweeps of the streets.

The point i was trying to make was that the state knows who it doesn't
want to get into a pissing match with in those situations, it is one
thing to beat up a few youth another to pound the skull of your local
or national union president.

Hope that clarifies my point. that in general of course parts of the
story differ, butonly in degrees not in the actual plot.

Ritch Whyman
Teamsters 879, member International Socialists

"Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen

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