Daily Archives: June 28, 2010

Quote of the Day


“Prime Minister Stephen Harper has hailed an agreement among G20 leaders at the close of their Toronto summit on a Canadian-led plan for industrialized nations to slash their deficits in half within three years.”  CBC News

Paul Krugmam, on the other hand, warns that the lack of stimulus spending may mean a Third Depression.

There’s a very notable precedent from 1937-38: President Roosevelt was convinced by conservatives to rein in New Deal spending before the economy had fully recovered, which caused a second serious recessionary dip.

Meanwhile, if Harper is boasting about this, then he owns it.  But be aware that the Americans explicitly warned of the likelihood of a double-dip recession by this route.

However, you may take comfort knowing that the wealthiest percentile of the population — including the masters of the universe responsible for the collapse of the financial markets two years ago — will be just fine.  No penalties.  No new taxes.  No, the cost of their folly is being fully loaded off onto the millions upon millions of innocent bystanders who’ve already been looted.  Now, thanks to deficit-slashing, we can expect extensive cutbacks in social spending — health care, education, unemployment benefits — as further punishment for our woes.

And it’s a Canadian initiative, as Harper goes out of his way to remind us.

Was the “Miami Model” Used in Toronto?


Police surround and then attack peaceful protesters in Toronto.  In just about every video like this I’ve seen, they very quickly target people filming the event.

Catherine Porter of the Toronto Star explains.

Frye on police power:

But in an atmosphere of real fear and real suspicion the police must become both more efficient and more tolerant if they are to be of any use in defending democracy. Otherwise, they will be not only unjust to individuals, but dangerous to their own community. (Canadian Forum 29, no. 346 [November 1949]: 170)

Were the Violence and/or the Arrests Staged? [Updated Again]


June 26, 2010 A protester is overcome by the smoke after attempting to put out a fire in a police car at Queen Street West near Spadina during a protest of  G20 Summit are held in Toronto.  TORONTO STAR/STEVE RUSSELL

Eyewitness reports are circulating that, first, riot police allowed about 50 to 100 Black Bloc protesters to run amok in downtown Toronto for two full hours, even leaving three police cruisers abandoned at different locations to be torched; and, second, they then used the violence as a pretext to arrest hundreds of peaceful protesters and to deny them access to legal counsel.  In other words, vandals were left to smash windows and torch police cars and the violence was then associated with those who had been peacefully protesting.

Judy Rebick’s roundup of eyewitness accounts here.

Video of riot police charging a peaceful crowd singing the national anthem here.

New York Times story here.

Village Voice story here.

Steve Paikin of TVO was witness to some of this and will apparently talk about it on his show tonight at 8, according to a recent tweet from him.

A collection of Paikin’s tweets on police brutality upon peaceful protesters and a journalist from The Guardian here.

Given that police provocateurs have been caught out before disguised as “anarchists,” it raises the question: Did anything like this happen here?

Stories providing a history of police agents passing themselves off as Black Bloc here, here and here.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau


Today is Jean-Jacques Rousseau‘s birthday (1712-1778).

Frye on Rousseau:

It was largely Rousseau, who had brought into European consciousness the discovery that the continuity of subject life, which is dependent on memory and conscious thought, is very largely an illusion, and that a violent alternation of irrational moods keeps exalting and dethroning one consciousness after another.  The result was the growth of a literature of self-revelation, which is a very different thing from self-consciousness.  In self-revelation, a writer takes takes himself for his theme, but, with insight and control granted, can treat himself as objectively as any other subject. (“Recontre: The General Editor’s Introduction,” CW 10, 64)

This is the conception of “natural society,” which, largely through the influence of Rousseau, became central to the development of revolutionary thought in France.  Central to it is the identity of the natural and the reasonable: whatever in society seems logically absurd will sooner or later be found to be unnatural as well.  In England a similar issue was raised by Lord Bolingbroke, a friend of Pope and an influence on his Essay on Man.  The conservative views of Swift and Johnson, to be understood in depth, have to be seen as vigorous repudiations of the conception of natural society and defences of the opposed and more traditional view, that civilization, including law, class ascendancy, and the restraints of society, is what is really natural to man.  (ibid., 87)