As I write this, there are “anti-capitalist" riots going on in Genoa at the G8 meeting. So here are a few open questions for all of you who are out there raiding Italian post offices, smashing shop windows and attacking journalists and camera crews: just how stupid are you? Do you not realize that any rational criticisms you may have of globalization, capitalism and world trade are completely negated by your wanton violence and destruction?
What are you hoping to gain by looting and vandalizing? I sure hope it’s not sympathy for your cause, because when the rest of the world - including, I’m sure, most of the peaceful protesters in Genoa - look at you, they do not see intelligent activists with reasonable arguments worth listening to. They see a bunch of pumped-up, wacked-out troublemakers. I really don’t think politicians and bankers are looking at you and thinking, “Gosh, those masked men throwing bricks through windows really do have a point! We’re going to change everything, starting now!” Instead, they’re looking at you and thinking, “We’ve been right all along - these people are cretins.”
You are casting a bad light on anyone who wants to voice serious arguments against the way in which the world is currently run. You are making it so that no reasonable dialogue can take place on issues that are really important. In short, you are ruining things for everyone.
I find your “tactics" crude and short-sighted, and it didn’t surprise me at all to hear that members of ETA were amongst those coordinating your efforts (or, as Radio 4 put it, “Members of ETA, who are experienced in this…" - said with such dry understatement that I just had to laugh). ETA - in my opinion, one of the most reprehensible organizations in Europe - tends to make people somewhat ill-disposed towards Basque separatists. The IRA makes people think Irish nationalists are all kneecap-shooting thugs. And you, O Rioters of Genoa - of Gothenburg - of Seattle - you do the same thing in regards to anti-globalization. If you’re the alternative, then I say, “Bring on the WTO! Bring on the IMF! Bring on the shady forces of global domination!”
That last sentence is meant sarcastically, of course. And when I hear George W. Bush criticizing the demonstrators (the demonstrators!!) for their “isolationism and protectionism,” then I kind of feel like picking up a few bricks myself.