Monday Jun 27

NORTHERN LIGHT - Breaker 1-9, It’s a Convoy

In case you had the pleasure of not noticing, the Canadian Freedom Convoy took hold of Canada for in early 2022, supposedly fighting COVID mandates that they loudly and frequently likened to communist North Korea and Nazi Germany.  

They occupied downtown Ottawa for three weeks, shutting down Parliament for a short period of time and causing havoc for local residents.  They blockaded border crossings, including the much-used Ambassador Bridge that spans the Detroit River to Windsor, Ontario. And they lived rent free in the minds of all Canadians for a sustained period of time, making us all question if we were going to be taken over by the moronic fake trucker fascists. 

There were actual truckers involved, and certainly big rig trucks on the streets of Ottawa blazing horns and burning diesel, but this wasn’t a trucker movement. It was organized by the far right and after brief examination had little to do with Canada’s COVID mandates at all - which for the record resulted in 65% less COVID deaths than experience by our American neighbors. 

Hot takes abounded about all sorts of different aspects of this - the rise of the far right, how the Conservative Party risks being swallowed up by lunatics more so than they already are, and how the left has something to learn from them about populist organizing of the working class. 

Less tired takes were more a matter of fact about the policing, and lead to what I think is the largest reason for the protests' success.  

The second the cops started to take any form of action against the trucker convoy, the protests and blockades ended quickly. 

For all of us who have been to protests - whether the anti-globalization demonstrations of my youth, the civil rights battles of yesteryear, or more recent Black Lives Matter movements - we know the police crack our heads, and quickly.  

It was different for the trucker convoy. 

On the first day the Ottawa police escorted the convoy organizers into the city and gave them access to a city-owned site just out of downtown to stage the protest. Each weekend when the protest ballooned into a full-fledged street party (stages for concerts, fireworks, hot-tubs) the city had signs on the Queensway giving directions to protesters on how to get downtown. This after the police declared that there was ‘no policing solution’ to the occupation, and after it was widely believed that some of the protesters were armed and dangerous.  Now it comes out that the provincially appointed member of the Ottawa Police Service Board, who was arguing against strong police intervention, was himself active in the protests.  

In Coutts, Alberta, a small town where protesters blockaded the border crossing for a couple weeks, a massive cache of heavy artillery was found with direct plans to kill police if they dared to move in.  Organizers, who are very rightwing, but short of the cop-killer variety, ended the protest after the armory was found and quickly distanced themselves.  It wasn’t them but the far-right group Diagolon that had infiltrated their protest, they claimed. The RCMP in Alberta certainly agreed.  So much so that as each of the protesters left the border crossing, they were hugged by the cops. A stunning, and perhaps first actual, example of hug-a-thug. 

There are many lessons to learn and truths still emerging about the madness of the Trucker Convoy and the rise of the moronic right in Canada.  One thing is for certain: this protest movement was made possible by the police. Inaction is one thing, seemingly being involved with the organizing committee meetings is another.  

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