Armored police officers, riots, mass hysteria, rampant vandalism and burning police cars. This may sound like a scene out of an apocalyptic movie, but sadly it is a fairly accurate description of the streets of Toronto during the G20 Summit.
The chaos that the G20 protests caused in Toronto and have caused at previous summits often make people ask, “What are they even protesting?” This website, which served to organize the mass amounts of protesters at the Summit, highlights the major issues that they are protesting.
The protesters claim that the G20 Summit is about trying to fix the unfixable system of capitalism, creating unsustainable trading solutions to ecological catastrophe, ensuring continued exploitation of people of color and celebrating war as a means to maintain imperialist power. These are issues worth protesting, but is this really what the G20 Summit is about?
According to this article written by the Halifax Initiative, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper identified four broad issues for the G20 agenda: global economy, climate change, development and democratic governance.
One of the recommendations in the Halifax Initiative’s article was increased transparency pertaining to discussions at the Summit. The G20 Toronto Summit Declaration posted on the Canaian government's Web site accommodates this request. The document reveals that many of the issues discussed by G20 leaders and the solutions that they proposed address the very things that the protestors were claiming the Summit ignores.
Sustainable and balanced growth; financial sector reform; international financial institutions and development; debt relief for Haiti; further supporting the needs of the most vulnerable (seeking to lift 90 million people out of poverty); addressing the issue of corruption; protecting the environment; these issues and more were discussed and plans of action were developed by the G20 leaders to address them.
The G20 Web site says that the summit was about “international economic development that promotes open and constructive discussion between industrial and emerging-market countries on key issues related to global economic stability”. Protestors claim that the G20 is about unsustainable trading solutions, continued exploitation of the poor and the celebration of war. These are all unfounded assumptions bought into by uninformed people.
The accusation that the G20 is about fixing the unfixable system of capitalism is informed by a highly subjective view of capitalism. Perhaps these protesters have a better system in mind like, say, anarchy.
Anarchism is a political philosophy that advocates the absence of a governing authority, arguing that common sense would allow people to form a functional society where the participants can freely develop their own sense of morality and ethics. In this YouTube video, we see the paradoxical hypocrisy of the anarchists (beware of coarse language).
Anarchists must have a twisted sense of logic if they think vandalizing businesses, burning police cars and attacking innocent civilians demonstrates that society does not need a governing authority. The anarchists in Toronto are living evidence against the case for anarchism. The only thing they have proven is their own foolishness.
In Luke 20: 20-26, Jesus commands that we submit to governing authorities. Situations exist where resistance to authority is right and just such as instances of state enforced genocide. However, when the authorities are addressing the very issues that protestors are indecently calling attention to, it is the protestors who are in the wrong. Paul prudently warns that “he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves” (Romans 13: 2).