So, where are the apologists now that anarchists have decided to target a hipster neighbourhood in Hamilton?
Ever since anarchists started showing up and disrupting international conferences, I have been mystified at the number of academics and other thought leaders willing to make excuses for what is little more than criminal behavior with no discernable motive other than to destroy property.
I first noticed stories about the anarchists back during the violent Seattle WTO talks in 1999, where they pioneered new tactics to avoid being arrested. Peaceful protestors “wittingly or unwittingly” shielded hundreds of Black Bloc vandals as they coordinated with cell phones and smashed everything in sight, but especially targeted multinational companies like the Gap, Starbucks, Old Navy and other large retailers.
Ever since, we’ve seen these black-dressed balaclava ninja wannabes turn up at world forums, smashing stuff – ostensibly, to protest the power of multinational companies in influencing governments.
More recently, under the guise of Antifa they have wreaked similar property-destroying havoc in the name of taking up arms against fascism and right-wing speakers at universities.
But, it’s funny how no one ever seems to get arrested, unmasked and forced to serve serious time for the crimes they commit.
I believe part of the reason must be because they have aligned themselves with causes supported by the academic elites. These extreme groups get described as militantly anti-fascist, radical pan-leftists fighting the far right; communists, socialists and anarchists who are directly trying to halt the advance of white supremecy.
Well, as long as they are fighting multinationals, capitalism and racism – what’s the problem?
Hamilton, Ont. residents have become the first to see the problem, and they may not be the last.
LISTEN: Jon Wells with the Hamilton Spectator explains the disturbance on Locke Street
Locke Street sounds like it’s a community neighbourhood no different than Inglewood, Kensington or 17 Avenue in Calgary; full of young people, pubs, coffee shops and small mom and pop retail stores catering to a young, hip crowd of university students and young professionals.
I would imagine if you asked the patrons of the shops on Locke Street what their political views were, they would probably tell you that they lean left, drink fair trade coffee and buy local. They are probably the same kind of folks that “wittingly or unwittingly” shielded the troublemakers in Seattle.
WATCH BELOW: Hamilton police provide update on vandalism on Locke Street businesses
The enemy of my enemy is my friend, right? Except when they decide to target you instead.
This crowd of 30 masked troublemakers calling themselves the “Ungovernables” took to Locke Street at 10 p.m. on a Saturday night, shooting off fireworks, smashing windows, damaging vehicles, terrorizing patrons and behaving like hooligans. What’s the excuse now? Fighting capitalism? Fighting multinationals? Fighting facists?
Or is it just that they have now become so emboldened because they have gotten away with it for so long that they don’t believe anyone is going to catch them?
Much attention has been paid to the extreme fringe on the right, with good reason. But it’s time to stop making excuses for the loonies on the left.
Danielle Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org