Being TV-free (but wifi-capable) in the wilds of northeast Vermont, Facebook has become my main news source about the G20 protests in Toronto.

I’m taking the liberty of posting a snippet of (anonymous) conversation involving a friend who is there and a handful of interlocutors watching from a distance:

- I agree with you that the people making the decisions behind the fence need to listen to the protesters and anger is certainly justified but — I’m still not convinced that black block tactics are working well for the cause. Perhaps it is my Buddhist nature that feels such tactics are more conterproductive than productive. I am however, very proud of you for showing your face and marching openly for the sake of the poor and disenfranchised. [...]

- The Black Bloc tactics are DEFINITELY NOT working well for the cause – they are a stain, for sure. But by the same token – there is evidence of police provocateurs as well … go figure – bottom line is the vast majority of tens of thousands of peaceful protesters assembled to deliver their messages – capitalism is not working, poverty has not been addressed, maternal health includes access to abortion, environmental degradation is real and needs action …. but those few elite rich leaders from rich countries believe they can make decisions for billions of people on earth – when their motivation is kissing shareholders asses, kissing big oil and big banks and corporations asses, and paying lip service to the rest of us, and in their ineptitude, killing the poorest of the poor as we speak.

- Regardless, vandalism is *not* violence. What some protesters did today pales in comparison to sweatshop labour, racist immigration policies, daily criminal actions of corporations, and the absolutely disgusting power of the banks and global capitalism generally. That is the real violence. A few cop cars set ablaze and some smashed windows are truly minor offenses, if they can be called offenses at all. When the gov and mainstream media make it impossible for people to get their voices heard, people are justifiably pissed and understandably attack symbols of the system that represents/embody (as one protester spray-painted) a “culture of death.” That was my sense, from a Buddhist perspective today, from the streets.

- It all makes me so sad — 1 billion dollars could have done so much good in the world! Instead it is used to repress Canadians and build a fake lake. Unbelievable to me… As someone who works in health care and keeps seeing innocent Canadian suffering from experiencing health care cuts I just don’t get it… :(

- time to up the ante! smash.

Advance, retreat. (The rhythm of war, the rhythm of glaciers.)

What can one say about the billion dollars shelled out for security at this event? (This is where the black bloc’s actions play into the Conservative government’s heavihandedness, providing media clips as if on cue to support the argument that Canadians have to be protected from themselves.)

Assignment: Define security. Define violence. Define the state. Define democracy. Define oligarchy. Define anarchy. Define love, compassion, and justice.

The news at my end is not so different: The murder of crows cawing on about some shocking discovery. The dancing lines of water from wind patterns on the lake. The gentle shimmer of leaves all around. The soft insistence of the hermit thrush.

Thanks to Lauren, Kim, Jen, Velcrow, Frank, Anne, Michael at Archive Fire, Amy Goodman and Democracy Now for their ongoing reporting, and everyone else posting about it.

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