Partisan Defense Committee Statement

28 June 2010

Toronto: Protest Mass Arrests of G20 Protesters!

The Partisan Defense Committee—the legal and social defense organization associated with the Trotskyist League/Ligue trotskyste—denounces in the strongest terms the brutal police violence unleashed on protesters against the G20 summit in Toronto on June 26-27. Over 900 have been arrested, including many protest organizers. We demand the immediate release of all protesters. Drop all the charges now!

Toronto became a virtual police state as 20,000 cops descended on the city. Following a 15,000-strong demonstration against the G20 on June 26, riot police began rounding up protesters and passers-by in indiscriminate sweeps throughout the city core. The cops have employed deadly force, using tear gas, muzzle blast [of tear gas], rubber bullets and pepper spray, and serious injuries have been reported. Journalists have been arrested in a clear effort to prevent exposure of the cop violence.

Those held at the huge temporary detention centre report being denied access to lawyers, water and medical attention. An arrested CTV television producer called the facilities “Guantánamo Bay-style cages.” He told of a man denied medical care despite a serious head injury. An activist told Spartacist Canada that he was taken to a separate prison, denied access to a lawyer, beaten, strip-searched and forced to kneel with his underwear crammed into his face and mouth. As protesters rallied at the detention centre on Sunday, they too were arrested and force-marched into the prison. A young woman was shot in the face with a rubber bullet. Hundreds of cops raided the offices of the University of Toronto Graduate Students Union and the Toronto Community Mobilization Network [one of the main protest organizers], making many arrests. Meanwhile, anyone wearing black on downtown streets was deemed an anarchist by the cops and subjected to random searches and arrests.

The bosses’ media and politicians claim that a few smashed windows and burned-out cop cars justify the brutal crackdown. Reflecting the labour tops’ loyalty to the rule of capital, Canadian Labour Congress president Ken Georgetti echoed this, declaring, “We condemn these actions.” Jack Layton, leader of the social-democratic New Democratic Party, railed, “The vandalism is criminal and totally unacceptable.”

From the standpoint of the working class such actions are no crime! What is a smashed bank window compared to an imperialist system that condemns millions to death by starvation, disease and war? Yet successful struggle against capitalist rule must seek to mobilize the social power of the working class. Rejecting this Marxist perspective, the “direct action” activists with their “black bloc” tactics offer only the sideshow of ineffectual rage, bringing them into isolated conflict with the bloody fist of the bosses’ state. It is this racist state apparatus, centrally the cops, courts and army, that maintains the capitalist dictatorship over the working class and oppressed.

Neither pleas for the ruling class to “do right” by the oppressed nor symbolic individual acts will change the system of capitalist exploitation. Only a class-conscious proletariat can put an end to this brutal social system through a socialist revolution that will open the road to an egalitarian communist future. An injury to one is an injury to all! Free all the protesters—Drop the charges!