Thursday, September 17, 2009

Still Thrilled to be Hosting the G-20, But...

.. it could be that the cynical sensationalist drive-by media is getting to me. I'm officially worried. I think that means I'm sane.

The group, calling itself the Pittsburgh G-20 Resistance Project, is declaring a "People's Uprising, a Sept. 24 mass march to disrupt the G-20 summit," according to a statement on its Web site. (P-G, Dennis B. Roddey)

Words like "resist" and "disrupt" have meaning. These are not used by groups like the Thomas Merton Center, the G-20 Climate Convergence, Code Pink, the G-Six Billion -- those which have been applying for permits and holding frequent press conferences.

One prominent anarchist collective, called CrimethInc, has previously praised the Pittsburgh Organizing Group, the core of the city's anarchist activism, for its performance during the 2008 Republican Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

In the months leading to the convention, POG said it would blockade an identified intersection in downtown St. Paul and, despite the prior publicity, managed to roll a car into the street disable it and close the intersection.

"They are technically exceptionally competent," said Sam Rosenfeld, a former British Army officer and chairman of the Densus Group, an international security consulting firm. Mr. Rosenfeld said his firm has monitored developments around the Pittsburgh G-20 protesters and believes they are capable of creating havoc. (ibid)

Do you remember when we elected a President named Barack Obama? Many opined that we did so because technology and social media reached a pervasive critical mass -- and that young, highly energized people long immersed in it proved surprisingly organized and sophisticated. My gut is telling me that the United States is ripe to experience just that kind of "I'll be darned!" moment with a more radical form of activism. This will be the first opportunity we will have had in a while for that capacity to be revealed.

I think we can ultimately replace stuff, material things, property -- remember most of the glass you'll see shattering will be insured -- but I worry that this targeting of property is designed to provoke a reaction which will spiral. Mob-mentality is not people-mentality. Even our friendly neighborhood pacifist protesters can turn wobbly if they see or sense the wrong thing going on around them.

And then there's this:

59. Greg Says:

I’ll be coming into town those 2 days, not to protest, but to WORK.

I pity the protester who pisses me off.

Nuff said. (That's Church)

I do not have infinite confidence in every single one of our public safety officers -- who were garnered somewhat hastily from all over -- to handle these pregnant situations ideally at all times. In fact I have confidence that at least some will be itching for confrontation every bit as much as the radicals.

As a thoroughly cowardly Pittsburgh bystander, my hope is that groups like the G20RP are already infiltrated up to their nostrils, that the dangerous elements will disappear days before the summit, and the remaining "leaders" will march the rest directly into waiting paddy wagons. But my suspicion is that these groups may have found ways to circumvent those old tricks.


  1. Yay! No camping in Schenley Park. Thanks Judge Lancaster!!

  2. I think that means I'm sane.

    There you go with the optimism again.

  3. That's Church is getting really, really irritating. I see that the blogs comment totals are way off. No surprise.

  4. What about the right wing conservative anti-globalization nuts? Don't they like to walk around brandishing loaded weapons at events that Obama attends? Why aren't we hearing any concerns about the other side of the political fence?

  5. Lipton!? Peggy? James? Ice-T?

    A pox on your house: those who deprive me of my franktuary next friday.

  6. n'at are you talking about hot dogs? It reminds me of the message on a t-shirt my son had a few years ago. There was a campfire and one of those long forks for roasting and the words "it's all fun and games until somebody loses his weiner."

    My fingers are crossed tightly that all will remember IT'S PITTSBURGH DAMMIT! And really what would most help as the G-20 goes on would be for all media to agree NOT to report until after it is over. Say "yeah, Pittsburgh is hosting the summit and yeah, there are protests and we will let everyone know how it all turns out after it is over."

  7. Should have said Tetley, as in teabag(ger). But yeah, I pictured Peggy Lipton as soon as I typed it.

  8. Greg sounds like a tough customer.

    I might be able to see his future.

    I also think his last name might be Marmalard.

  9. I admire your optimism Bram, but Pittsburgh and the White House are preparing for the worst for a reason.

    Although the protesters here in the city may be planning silent and peaceful protests, strumming guitars, walking around with polar bears on their heads, and making us laugh with their tactics to get permits, the reality is there are real threats. London was just this year and a man died.

    Anarchists don't mess around. They seek to disrupt at all costs, with or without permits, and break every last symbol of capitalism.

    I think your suspicion is right . . . they will be marching into tear gas and into . . . Paddy wagons? You Irish Hater.

    BTW, what's up with releasing 1,000non-violent inmates--minor parole violators, to make room for the G-20 protesters? The County Executive disputed the announcement, saying it would only be around 100. That's pretty far a part.

    The Mayor wouldn't comment.

    Why else would the judge be releasing all those prisoners.

  10. Uh, maybe to pick up all the trash?

    Probably not; I believe Dan-O makes decisions based on the value of real estate, as opposed to the value of labor.