Two things stand out from the street riots and subsequent police actions that swept downtown Toronto last weekend.
The first is the state blatantly abused its powers. Summits legitimately require security; but in this one, governments went over the top.
...The second is that most people don’t care. Polls show that more than 70 per cent of Torontonians approve of these abuses.
For that we can thank the small group of rioters who burned police cars and smashed store windows last Saturday. The logic behind those actions (and yes there is a logic) flows from the theory that capitalism is based on violence, albeit violence that is usually veiled. By provoking the state, this intrinsic violence will be revealed, thereby radicalizing the population against both capitalism and the state.
The problem with this theory, as the Red Brigades and other left-wing terrorists found in the 1970s, is that such provocations drive the general population to authoritarianism, not revolution.
Faced with a choice between order and civil liberties, people almost invariably choose order. Think the Nazis in 1930s Germany; think the PATRIOT Act in post 9/11 America.
Which is why most people figured out long ago that non-violent resistance is a far more effective way to provoke a response, expose the intrinsic violence of the state, and (most importantly) gain the support of the public.
Here endeth the lesson.