as much as i dislike naomi klein, i do think that the events that transpired during the g-20 summit in toronto will inaugurate a new era of the removal of certain fundamental liberties and freedoms we have for too long taken for granted in canada. essentially, such an event allows the state to institutionalize new policies while at the same time bypassing all democratic process that would normally be necessary before such drastic systematic changes could take effect.
sometimes the mere threat of a disaster is enough for the state to implement new rules such as when, in the UK, suspected terrorists were plotting to bring explosives onto a plane in the form of liquids and gels. the result: immediate changes to domestic and international flying praxis, i.e. the restriction of what is allowed on a flight: the banning of liquids and gels. these changes took effect nearly immediately.
the theory of the “shock doctrine” goes a little something like this: the state uses “traumatic” events to impose limitations of the rights of its citizens and expand its own power. it does so in the name of whatever abstract ideal it is negating, for example, to take away freedom they say it is for freedom; to take away prosperity they say it is for prosperity. such events, however, are not limited to the artificial, man-made spectacles we witnessed at the g-20; they can take the form of “natural disasters,” like the earthquake in haiti in which case the state uses that event as a screen to cover its own “[ideological] maneuvers in the dark.” other examples of the “shock doctrine” in action were the floods in new orleans, 9/11, the cultural revolution, etc., etc.
all the money spent on the g-8 and g-20 and the budget will not be made public. all we know is that somebody got rich off of it. the police were allowed to arrest anybody they felt like and allowed to use an indiscriminate-if-short-of-lethal amount of force to subdue the “protesters.”
demonstrators are marching demanding an inquiry into the events of that weekend. they would do better to organize themselves into a militant unit and express their discontent in the form of rage: occupy a police station or city hall, take queen’s park hostage. non-violence is not a tactic the state has ever used or endorsed; why is violence abhorred by those who say they want social change? every advance in the field of freedom, liberty, and rights is won with and through struggle and paid for in blood. the logic of the “shock doctrine” could be opposed with the logic from badiou’s being and event: to see and commit to the event, to bring about the change that the event promises even if we know we will be betrayed … by our own militancy, our own fidelity …
then again, this is north america. if we haven’t completely lost the “will to rage,” its return is far from immanent. who knows what kind of violations our canadian culture of secrecy will perpetrate against us in the wake of the oh-so banal display of pseudo-violence that were the g-20 “protests.” violence can be divine, according to the angel of history; a genocide of the political class would be worth attempting, if hopelessly utopian. this would mean destroying anyone who holds a public position, who benefits personally at the expense of the public, even if “democratically elected” because, let’s face it, liberal-democracy has failed; communism fell and is taking capital-as-we-know-it and its politics with it. other forms of capital (not all bad) are, to use frederic jameson’s term “emergent.” a new notion of “the commons” is being constructed and BP will be tried for crimes against humanity. islamo-fascism is anti-capital only to a point, the point at which it is anti-enlightenment.
i call the “violence” tame, but north americans in general have forgotten what violence is: the destruction of things is an index of their collusion with material culture, of their disillusion with actually existing materialism. it is nearly unimaginable that a person should be killed – they are more concerned with property than with persons (the marxist “relations between people are become relations between things).
“the problem is not that we are a material culture, its just that we suck at being materialist” (zizek).