Thursday, June 16, 2011

No, Vancouver, You Can't Blame This One on the Black Bloc

Anarchist terrorists couldn't have planned this any better themselves

No sooner had it become clear that the Vancouver Canucks had lost the Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins, it became equally clear that some Canucks fans weren't going to let it go quietly.

Frankly, all too many.

But as violence swept through Vancouver, some people -- such as TSN's Bob McKenzie and CTV's Rob Brown -- blamed the violence on the famed Black Bloc.

A pack of black-clad anarchist thugs who take any international conference as ane excuse to show up and terrorize the local population, the Black Bloc very likely had absolutely no hand whatsoever in the violence following the Canucks game.

First, there's the obvious: a professional hockey championship reeks of too much consumerism for such individuals to be there for their intrinsic pleasure. Then there's the looting. The Black Bloc smashed store windows in Toronto, but few people can recall them actually stealing anything. At least in that meagre sense, they're comparatively honest.

And, quite frankly, hockey fans are far too likely to respond to a Black Bloc rioter by simply beating the shit out of them than a peaceful protester is.

So one can assure themselves that cowards like Alex Hundert would shy away from hockey fans and gravitate toward peaceful left-wing protesters: the latter he can take advantage of. The former he cannot.

Even so, the Vancouver 2011 riot couldn't have gone down any better for the Black Bloc if they had planned and orchestrated it themselves.

Now, the Black Bloc and their water-carriers on the left -- such as No One is Illegal's Harsha Walia -- have a violent incident to point to and declare that the Black Bloc's political violence isn't nearly as repugnant as many would consider it. They'll declare that ordinary citizens, fueled by alcohol and their own frustrated sense of entitlement, can be just as violent as they are.

And who is anyone to say that they aren't right about that?

It doesn't make what the Black Bloc does OK. Nothing accomplishes that particular rhetorical feat.

But Vancouver cannot blame this riot on the Black Bloc. The task of assigning blame will be much more difficult for them than that. They have to look into the eyes of their fellow Canucks fans and wonder if this was a honourable and peaceful fan -- as this author believes the majority of them were -- or if it was another one of these thugs ruining the experience for everyone else.

It should even lead to some soul-searching for the city of Vancouver, just as the 2006 riots led to soul-searching among Edmontonians.

The Black Bloc wasn't to blame for the Edmonton riots. We were. In some way, we all were. The same sad reality applies to Vancouver as well.

Hopefully, next year -- when the Canucks contend for the Stanley Cup again, and hopefully win -- Vancouver will be able to do it better. Then there will be no blame to worry about, and they'll all be able to share the credit.


  1. The Black Bloc are not exactly some exclusive and distinct organization having no relation to the common anarchist in downtown riots. The simple ugly truth is that some 'hardcore riot instigators' are just the very same people.

    It's interesting to me that friends in Vancouver a full 3 days before the riots were telling me how they saw these kinds of people (they describe as those faux-hippie/anarchist/idiot types) wandering around the arena seemingly 'scoping out' the place and we said, not jokingly, they were, undoubtedly, trying to get their post-game riot plan in place.

    But look, all that aside, I have to correct something in this article: Edmonton did not have anything that qualifies as 'riots' and absolutely not even CLOSE to anything in Vancouver.
    Realistically, Edmonton was excellent and I'm still amazed at the awesome community spirit post-game on Whyte Ave. Considering 10,000 drinkers and what a great friendly 'united' feeling!
    At one time in one place a group of drunk idiots tried to start a bonfire and police quickly shut it down. For that matter the bonfire was a 'party' scene not a violence scene.
    In fact, the vast majority of people on Whyte Ave that night never even saw that happen or even knew it happened until the next day news.
    It was reported that somewhere off Whyte some stabbings happened. This was not 'riot stabbings'.
    Unfortunately, like any big city, there are some seedy back alleys where, on any given weekend, some nasty people commit crimes. Sadly that happens every weekend in a big city and I'd argue there were LESS CRIMES on Whyte Ave that night with 10,000 fans than there would be otherwise on a typical night.
    No comparison at all. And Edmonton did no 'soul searching' at all. In fact, the city was very well brought together and all things considered and given the fact 20 drunk idiots always do stupid shit - Edmonton was an amazing city with a wonderful community spirit and almost nothing went wrong.
    *btw - the same party-hardy 20 or 30 Uni student morons try and light a bonfire every Summmer somewhere around UofA. They don't 'riot' but they do get promptly shut-down.

  2. To claim there was no riot on Whyte Ave during the 2006 Stanley Cup run is entirely incorrect.

    It was pretty big in the news, everyone knows about it, so I don't know who you're trying to fool.


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