July 5, 2005
G8 spectacle, today’s Sturmabteilung, etc.
[editor’s note: this post was “pasted” in — it appeared originally at the old Dawson’s Danube site, which is archived here.]
The sad thing is that the spectacle of recent G8 summits, World Bank meetings, etc., seems to be somewhat acceptable. I feel nothing but pity for the police officers who are on the front lines of Edinburgh facing off against real thugs who, in my mind (which is tainted towards German history), are modeled after the SA of the late Weimar years. Reporters like to say that today’s thugs wish to “disrupt” the summits. That’s a nice and benign way of putting it. And it reminds me of how the SA tried to “disrupt” public events — such as concerts and theater plays that they found objectionable — by doing things like closing off building entrances, throwing stink bombs and simply assaulting the people who attended the events.
The uniformed thugs of today (I speak of those such as Ya Basta) are themselves a bit like the Sturmabteilung members of yesterday: relatively young people who not accept the political and cultural societies in which they live and are willing to employ force to bring about change. And, just like in the case of Weimar, they are acting against democratically elected governments.
In the specific case of this week, the G8 countries are the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Japan, Italy, Germany, Russia and France. Excepting Russia, we can safely say that these countries’ governments are “legitimate” in the sense that we who believe in pluralistic democracies think of that term. So our legitimately elected leaders attend (admittedly, largely useless) gatherings and are met by uniformed thugs representing no kind of legitimate entity whatsoever. These thugs employ force and violence to try to “disrupt” this meeting of legitimately elected leaders.
At what point did we decide that this was not really such a big deal? And note that I excepted Russia — perhaps Putin is not so legitimate. Yet ask yourself: if the leaders could be offered up for sacrifice to today’s SA in Edinburgh, would the least legitimate of the lot (Putin) be the first one torn to pieces? Of course not.
Now, imagine if these thugs really were (explicitly) a new “SA”, meaning a far-right league of uniformed German youths sporting swastikas. I think then it would be a big deal and they wouldn’t be treated with kid gloves by the media and other “elites.”
Speaking of kid gloves, here is a free CNN video of protesters arriving (the link is to the Windows Media version). The correspondent decides that humor is the best approach to reporting this. I mean, they’re just a bunch of funny kids after all!
That video appears to have been rather early in the day. Later, the Scotsman reported a city “under siege”.
Bottles and plants were used as missiles as the violence spilled over into Princes Street Gardens.
Officers were punched and kicked as they lined the road to prevent the hoards of protesters pushing on towards the Capital’s financial quarter.
The anarchists responded by trying to pull benches onto the road before the police advance forced them to flee.
As I said, I pity the police. In this age of kid gloves for thugs, today’s SA certainly has the political upper hand against the police.