(Note: This entry was begun Friday evening, but was not finished or posted until Saturday to give me time to re-sync my gallery to include relevant photos as well as time to rest - odd references to "now" might not have been massaged into anything temporally coherent. Photos are still landing on my media webserver, so a followup post will include an URL once they're there and spidereyeballed)
I decided to go to the G20 protest afterall, even given my nuanced stance towards the protested subject overall (I oppose global capitalism, particularly the closer-to-lassiez-faire sort, and strongly dislike the IMF and World Bank, but think the G20 itself is possibly benign or at least not ill-intentioned (not that we will ever know, given the lack of published agendas/minutes)). I brought my camera, and took a number of nice photos. Overview of today that includes the protest and other things:
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For the whole event, I've been listening to police radio online - I wasn't aware it was legal to listen to it, but it's simple enough that maybe nobody enforces the prohibition anymore (if there was one).
I apparently missed the big, interesting nastiness in Oakland after the main protest - there was another march that went outside where the police wanted it to go, and they used pepper and tear gas and a new sonic weapon to disperse the crowd. Is this appropriate? First, we should examine the issue of permits and plans for marches - Is the state ability to require this in the public interest? I think the core reasons they might be able to argue that it is in a society that defaults to being libertine are:
- Traffic - requiring registration allows for effective rerouting of traffic around affected areas
- Police presence and neighbourhood knowledge - allowing police and residents to take appropriate precautions to prevent property damage (moving cars, getting stuff out of the way
- Litter - ensuring adequate cleanup is done after an event
- Liability - If an event gets way out of hand, those who registered it would act at least as a point of contact, possibly more
Obama commented on the protests suggesting that we might've been pleased at the results of the G20 meeting if we had bothered to pay attention. Perhaps that would be easier if the G20 were more of an open event - I may be tooting my own horn a bit in saying that I am both very liberal and pretty open-and-independent minded about these kinds of things, but it is hard not to be suspicious when a number of bankers and government types have a big summit with private agendas, private meetings, and it includes organisations like the IMF and World Bank for which we have legitimate loathing. If the G20 is not in fact an instrument promoting and protecting a lassiez-faire corporate capitalism, it is not easy for us to know and trust that. I am willing to assume that Obama believes he's serving the people, but consider him to be only moderately better than Tony Blair - leagues better than BushJr but still committed to a kinder version of an economic system that we hold to be ultimately bad for humanity. Obama's failure, in our eyes, is that he is not a socialist, even if he is full of good will and intelligence.