Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Vancouver Hockey Riot of 2011

The riot pointed out, one more time, the incompetence and stupidity of both our leaders and the media. Oh, such moaning! “The riot was totally unexpected.” What dolts, you put a hundred thousand adrenaline charged, boozed up people in one spot and at least some of them will think it funny to flip over a car or toss a bottle through a window. And that's how it starts. The riot was virtually inevitable, and the civic leaders don't want to take responsibility for it.

The CBC hit a new low. They tried to smear the Black Bloc as somehow initiating the riot, since a number of the rioters wisely hid their faces from the cameras. But blockers smash windows to make a political statement and not for the thrill of doing so. Videos show rioters as ordinary suburban working class youth and not counter culturals or the “goons and thugs” so beloved of the media as rationalizations. (I am pleased that a number of commentators in the CBC comments section noted how mildly the cops treated the rioters compared with the G20 brutality against non-violent demonstrators.)

Nor did the rioters seem a “tiny minority”. Though the active smashers may well have been, they were surrounded by a crowd of laughing, smiling youth egging them on, posing for pictures against the flames, sharing looted goods, more of a carnival atmosphere than a war zone.

The riot was not in the least political in terms of the consciousness of the participants. None of them had a political idea in their heads. Yet in one sense it was political. These youth have no future and somehow know that. Future means working in Walmart. Future means never being able to afford a dwelling in the Vancouver area even if they scored a half-way decent job. .Even if they go to university, they end up $50,000 in debt and the right to work part-time at Starbucks. Those with the slightest grain of consciousness know we are about to be royally screwed by climate change and the corporatist policies of the government.

These kids come from the suburbs, that ultimate anti-community. They belong to no community and have nothing to defend, so they feel detached enough to smash up what does exist.

They hate the police. This is understandable as youth are targeted by them, due to the fact that the majority of crimes are committed by males under age 30 and the police are used to enforce a morality that youth constantly challenge. Part of being young is loud music, beer and pot all of which brings the heat.

Now as they go about smashing and looting, they are not thinking these thoughts, seeing themselves as just having some wild fun. But their alienation lies beneath the surface as a hidden impetus. People who are happy with their lot in life do not smash things up.

One point cannot be stressed enough. Don't be surprised that given an opportunity to riot, youth will take it. What ought to surprise you is they don't riot all the time.

This riot should be a lesson for the criminals who rule over us. Working class youth have done vastly more damage than conscious militant activists. If the inchoate anger of the masses becomes conscious and politicized the bosses are in deep trouble.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now there's a perspective on the whole sad mess that I can relate to.
It wasn't the Black Bloc nor the "anarchists" - what they do has purpose.
This was done by children without meaning, destruction without purpose.
Thanks for saying it so well!

2:18 PM  
Blogger Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

On the other hand the anger and pointlessness we saw on our televisions could be put to work, politically, in other, far more evil ways if it were focused into war or downright fascism.

8:12 PM  
Blogger mollymew said...

The post game riot in Vancouver was, of course, not political in the usual sense of actually having a coherant point of view to promote, but to be fair the average Black Block mini-riot is rarely a coherant act itself.

It takes very little viewing of the footage from the event to see how conspicuous the stereotypical "anarchists" were in their abscence. Very few skinny anemic vegans dressed head to foot in black.The crowd actually looked quite well fed.

What struck me on viewing were four things;
1)The crowd was almost 100% young - of course.
2)The crowd was overwhelmingly male. Once again of course.
3)The crowd was also overwhelmingly white. Hardly representative of the actual demographics of Vancouver.
4)The crowd was incredibly happy to be in this non-planned carnival. The powers that be have to invoke "anarchists" or some other conspiracy because it is completely beyond them that people can be frustrated by being controlled every day and that situations that are not "planned" can actually happen.

What all this means I don't know. They are just observations.

11:09 PM  
Blogger Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

The lack of minorities present reflected how much they trust being around white folk when we are drinking. Either that or word had got around about just how many of the white likely to be in attendance were going to be coming from Surrey - where, it should be noted, there were few, if any, problems. Same goes for my town. Trouble always knows how to find friends.

4:11 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Good point about the potential for right-wing violence, Mr Beer and Hockey. I suspect that most of the parents of this kids, as good little suburbanites, voted for the Harpercrit and I bet their offspring aren't a good deal more progressive. In the UK the football hooligans, if they have any political leanings at all, went toward the National Front and it present off spring.

1:34 PM  
Blogger Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

My rioting experience is in football riots. It is not right, but there are few more exhilarating things to do when you are young. That is about as sympathetic as I can be with the Canuck Full Moon Losers.

I wonder if watching the remarkable recent street scenes in other countries primed our young hockey fans to fuck with authourity. I suspect this is so. It's a small world after all.

As a Godwinian I am a hopeless gradualist, but like the great Englishman, I appreciate that a little chaos sometimes precedes a better way. Godwin's thought was not tempered by modern reality like Fred Woodworth's: our present day Situation Hopeless. That is why I further appreciate how a little chaos sometimes precedes shit we do not even want to think about.

8:39 AM  
Anonymous william said...

Hi Larry,

Very interesting comments. Would you be available to chat by phone with CKNW morning news host Philip Till about them tomorrow morning?

Please let me know:


(show producer)

1:28 PM  
Blogger Frank Partisan said...

For the Black Bloc, a hockey riot, would be a step forward.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

I don't agree Ren, though I don't know what their take would be on it. I suspect, for it to have been a success from a BB perspective, the riot would have to have become overtly political as a conscious attack upon capital and the state rather than just a bunch of suburban yobbos having fun. I suspect the BB is pleased by the destruction of corporate property, the potential that lies with this riot, and the barely conscious anger that underlies it with suburban working class youth. If these youth were to get some left wing ideas, keeping in mind as Mr Beer And Hockey mentioned, the possibility to go the other way,it would be a big problem for the system.

6:20 PM  
Blogger klisper said...

Black bloc is an agressive form of protest. This was a hockeygame, nothing to protest. Black bloc is to a protester, anarchist or not; as sabotage is to the military. A technique, tactic, a method used, not a specific group.
Individuals of like minds came ready to do damage. 90% herd effect and MOB mentality, 10% misguided, claim they are apart of a black bloc group, not knowing its definition or function.
Oh yeah and alcohal. Many factors.

7:30 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Klisper, exactly and I don't mean to present it in my article as a kind of faction or ideology, but as a tactic.

9:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The crowd was not ovewrwhemingly white" It was others if one examines the photos. The others were the issue breaking from their culture which traps them from joining the greatyer society in any rational way.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The more that regular law-abiding citizens feel threatened by “irrational” forces of violence, the less likely they are to question the very institutions of unfreedom, until they eventually explode. The partiers, exorcising their chronic repression, simply provide the excuse for yet more repression still. To translate, it was a POlice led designer melee.

One car left per block to be overturned and burnt.
Much less police presence than other nights.
Ending of searching of bags.
No MASK on the first burning of the police car and Police right there and did not grab the fellow.
Led around downtown by BB which is Professional provocateurs of the state.
Over very quickly
No buildings being burnt.

Public duped into thinking it is not the state running it, fake media coverage of CHU and Robertson arguing.

It does not smell right.

I urge folks to revisit the photo analysis of the G in Toronto and the photos of alledged BB and police lines. SHAME on the State for harming business owners and ordinary working stiffs.

11:11 AM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Anonymous, other than the wretched Chief of police and the foolish and supposedly leftist mayor, no one takes the claim seriously that the BB had anything to do with it.
Furthermore, although agent provocateurs act as BB members - as we saw at Montebello, the group as a whole is not. One can go to far with conspiracies.

9:19 PM  

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