April 2nd, 2009
01:10 PM GMT
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LONDON, England - The protesters at the G-20 summit have been getting a lot of attention by the media. So in that sense, they've accomplished what they wanted. And there seems to be two threads of coverage.

Do those intent on the destruction of banks serve any purpose at all?
Do those intent on the destruction of banks serve any purpose at all?

One British tabloid ran a headline "BLOOD ON THE STREETS" with a picture of a protester with streams of blood coming down the side of his head.

Another tabloid showed a policeman pushing back a protestor in a large crowd, and it read "ANARCHY DOES NOT RULE UK."

Which headline more accurately reflects the reality on the ground? I would say the latter one.

The police by and large kept the anarchists, as some are called, at bay.

Yes, they did manage to break a few windows at a Royal Bank of Scotland branch - the disgraced bank which has now been nationalized.

Its former head, Fred Goodwin is a much-hated figure for the £700,000-a-year pension he is receiving, despite billions of dollar being spent to bail out the mess he put the bank and taxpayers in.

Some of those who came bent on destruction, no doubt went home grumpy.

One protester, an artist who gave his name as "Morganic" was quoted as saying: "I'd have liked to have seen more smashed windows. I remember the poll tax riots - that was much more fun."

Fun? Perhaps Morganic should rename himself Moronic. Not fun for the taxpayer who's shelling out an additional £7 million or more because of the extra police security.

And not fun for the many small business owners in the area who lost trade as a result of the demonstrations.

Axa, the insurer, estimates the losses could be between £300 million and £500 million - that's upwards of $720 million.

I think one of the ironies lost on these anti-capitalists protesters is the huge benefit that free enterprise brings and the innovation that goes along with it.

All their methods of communicating, be it on their computers, or mobile phones ahead of the protests, would not be possible without technology - technology brought to the masses through venture capitalists or shareholders willing to risk their money to invest in companies.

Those protesting against greedy bankers, or the war in Iraq, or on behalf of climate change, all have legitimate reasons to demonstrate. It's part of a strong democracy.

But for those intent on destruction, for those who didn't have as much fun as hoped, I say good riddance.

Do you think some of the demonstrators went too far?

Do those intent on the destruction of banks serve any purpose at all?

soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Martin

    For many, things just didn't change the way they hoped

    April 2, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  2. James Walker

    Yes Todd, I do think some of those demonstrators went too far and I agree with you that the ones causing damage have nothing to do with the G20 summit, they are just criminals.

    I was a bit annoyed that they got so much news coverage but they were doing exactly what the press wanted -violent acts (albeit a few smashed windows) so the editors can have the dramatic pictures to sell the papers etc. The media is partly to blame for those violent acts and the police should be praised for managing it and not letting it get out of hand.


    April 2, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  3. aletea

    What the demos achieved might not be immediately obvious to "Financial Analyst, Todd Benjamin. I think one thing they achieved is they showed the world once again how no expense is ever spared on bringing the full violent force of "the law" down on a country's citizens while exercising their democratic rights! What fuels a protest like this is a sense of outrage at greed and inequality Todd. Those outside the G20 meeting just do not swallow the line that they should be "grateful" to the "venture capitalists" and financial cowboys who have cost them decent wages, secure jobs and affordable homes! And while we are at it Todd, if I'm grateful to anyone for my access to technology such as a mobile phone, I'll choose the WORKER who sweated making it, probably in a Chinese factory on less than my minimum wage!
    In Solidarity with Protesters!
    Aletea = truth
    Gold Coast, Australia

    April 2, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  4. David Gaskill

    Of course the many and varied objectives of the majority of the demonstrators are unachievable. Abolish banks, dismantle multinationals and, for all I know, release all hamsters immediately.

    However there is one objective they almost invariably achieve – to spout their deranged or psychotic ideas on international television news channels such as CNN...

    April 2, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  5. Brandi

    Aletea, I am not sure you get it. Todd agrees, as do I, that everyone has a right to protest. "the law" was brought in because of the threat of violence from the so called Anarchist. The police have a responsibility to protect the rest of the public. I work for a bank- yet I had absolutely nothing to do with the financial crisis. I don't make a million dollars, have a yacht nor do I have a massive pension pay-out- yet, I was supposed to be intimated by protesters who thought it was ok to shop around propaganda all over the internet with images of "burn a banker", "eat a banker", "hang a banker"? I was told to not come to work and if I did, not to come in a suit to protect myself from potential violence. With that- you think there shouldn't have been police presence? Come on. I witnessed a "demonstration" today where protesters broke into an empty building next to my office, slept there AND vandalized it- yet somehow didn't think it was wrong to do so and make a huge scene when the police came to remove them. THAT isn't peaceful protesting, that is breaking and entering. Same with smashing the windows of an RBS branch (not even RBS headquarters- how stupid). What's the point? If I were a legit protester with a worthy concern, I would be embarrassed at how pathetic the attempt to make a credible point throughout this whole demonstration was. I wonder who pays for the broken windows, the extra security, the disruption of small businesses etc...you guessed it. The tax payer. And to think this is what I thought people were outraged about- their tax dollars.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  6. Will

    I think it was a ridiculous waste of time. For all the anarchists and protesters spending all day shouting "burn the banks" and "revolution" when they finally did break the windows of a bank, only about 10 people actually went inside to do any real damage.

    While I'm glad that no real damaged was caused, I think it shows that the majority of those out there had no real agenda and were just out there for kicks rather than because they actually believed in the anarchist garbage they'd been chanting all morning.

    It's also ironic to me that the protesters were some of the ones complaining the loudest about the costs of the G20 for London. If none of them had come out, we could have run the whole thing for less than a quarter of the cost. The unruly protesters were the ones who drove the cost up. As tax payers, we should be angrier at them for costing the city so much money, forcing legitimate businesses to shut down for the day, and slowing down transport for the rest of us.

    What did they achieve except costing us a few million pounds so about 300 hoodies could kick it off with the coppers for a few hours?

    April 2, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  7. Brandi

    Aletea, I am not sure you get it. Todd agrees, as do I, that everyone has a right to protest. “the law” was brought in because of the threat of violence from the so called Anarchist. The police have a responsibility to protect the rest of the public. I work for a bank- yet I had absolutely nothing to do with the financial crisis. I don’t make a million dollars, have a yacht nor do I have a massive pension pay-out- yet, I was supposed to be intimated by protesters who thought it was ok to shop around propaganda all over the internet with images of “burn a banker”, “eat a banker”, “hang a banker”? I was told to not come to work and if I did, not to come in a suit to protect myself from potential violence. With that- you think there shouldn’t have been police presence? Come on. I witnessed a “demonstration” today where protesters broke into an empty building next to my office, slept there AND vandalized it- yet somehow didn’t think it was wrong to do so and make a huge scene when the police came to remove them. THAT isn’t peaceful protesting, that is breaking and entering. Same with smashing the windows of an RBS branch (not even RBS headquarters- how stupid). What’s the point? If I were a legit protester with a worthy concern, I would be embarrassed at how pathetic the attempt to make a credible point throughout this whole demonstration was. I wonder who pays for the broken windows, the extra security, the disruption of small businesses etc…you guessed it. The tax payer. And to think this is what I thought people were outraged about- their tax dollars.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  8. Manuel Vilhena

    Yes, I do believe that the protestors went too far. Police and windows have nothing to do with the G20 summit.

    As Todd Benjamin told yesterday at the Quest Means Business it is a bit strange that President Obama, while praying for climate change policies, moves in the huge "beast car". This can create hunger in many people.

    Coventry, UK

    April 2, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  9. H. B.

    The telling aspect of these demonstrators is that all of them know what they hate, what they don't like, what they want to tear down, but only a few (like those touting oil-free energy development and environmental responsibility) have even a clue what they DO want.

    They only want to break things.

    Their points are valid about capitalism having run amok, but their "solution" is to end capitalism altogether. They don't know what they'd replace it with, and even when they do, the replacement has already shown itself to be less beneficial. All of this crisis has merely shown us capitalism's weak spots. Those can be reduced considerably with better regulation.

    Capitalism HAS failed us in one regard: putting the buck ahead of their human values. So, now that they have so eloquently proven this to us, we now know that capitalism can't be relied upon to hold itself to any standards at all. Therefore, it needs to be externally regulated. For its own good (particularly those who DO follow some basic rules of fair play), though few who used capitalism to gouge the public would acknowledge it. But mostly for the good of the entire population. Practiced responsibly, nothing can beat capitalism.

    I particularly like enterprises wherein the employees are, taken together, the major stockholders, where part of their pay can be opted to go into shares of the company, and where they can be GIVEN stock as a bonus for work that has helped the company grow and thrive. This gives each worker an ownership interest in the success of the enterprise, plus the possibility of sharing in the profits it makes. They're wearing two hats: management and labor – and this gives the workers a better sense of proportion, sympathy for BOTH sides of that fence. It's a wonderful concept, and I wonder why it isn't done more often. Well, it is, but most of the time it is only available to the top echelons. The workers on the factory floor are usually exempted from stock options. It should be the other way around.

    We've known for years that capitalism was pretty sick. It was a game of "gouge for all you're worth" to many, especially those who have become the most wealthy, like CEOs of large corporations. Those are people who are only good at serving themselves.

    So the problem is to fix that, rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    When practiced responsibility, and with a healthy dose of concern for public well-being, nothing yet has surpassed capitalism's capability for working wonders in our world. Most capitalists DO exercise it with a modicum of maturity and responsibility. Every store in every town, right down to street vendors, is run by a capitalist, who will keep improving his offerings in order to remain competitive – this always benefits the public, but it makes the capitalist enterprises stronger, too.

    Many of the anarchists don't even really know what the word "anarchy" means. It means zero laws, zero constraints. And THAT is a recipe for total collapse of any civilization. Most of these protesters say they are anarchists, but don't even know what it is they are espousing. As has been mentioned, they've grabbed on to it only to be acceptable in the mob. They have nothing constructive to offer in place of capitalism. They only know what they hate, like banks, and don't know anything about the good things that these institutions did.

    The anarchists also ignore one simple fact: the behavior of top echelons in big banks and corporations has shown us point-blank what "anarchy" (the lack of regulation) can – and will – surely do. It was anarchy that CAUSED this meltdown. So how can more anarchy fix it?

    It's the "black-and-white," "on-off switch" mentality, of which there is far too much in this world. It is a progeny of ignorance. "A little knowledge can be dangerous," and they don't even recognize how little they really know. Nor do they seem inclined to learn. Their leaders, though, usually know a whole LOT more, but their aims aren't precisely the same as those of the followers; they know what they are doing – it's a simple power grab. No matter what the cost may be to others, or even to the world.

    What I'd demonstrate for is to repair capitalism. Since it has shown us too clearly that it can't be expected to be responsible (particularly the larger enterprises, where there's a lot of money involved), the only alternative is to MAKE them be responsible, the way the bulk of our smaller enterprises are. We should amend the antitrust laws to include a prohibition on any company ever again becoming "too big to fail." Whether monopolies or not, the results from them are the same. No enterprise should EVER hold a nation's economy by the short hairs.

    Most of these demonstrators are immature, ignorant minds, who are reveling in having found acceptance in a large crowd of people – it doesn't matter much what they had to do to get it, even if it means "bending" their own values out of shape and closing their minds to anything that might unbend them.

    We need more education. And I personally advocate free education for every human on the planet, of any age, even all the way through to graduate degrees. Humanity has a vested interest in reducing this and other forms of flat ignorance. The cost of education is an investment, in many ways, in the future course of humanity and all of our civilizations.

    Making education costly to get is counterproductive. How many people will put themselves in debt, almost into retirement age, to get a good college degree or two? The way things are is shameful, but also portends very bad times ahead if we don't mend the situation.

    Education is the cornerstone upon which ALL societies depend utterly for any kind of growth. There can never be too much of it.

    April 2, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  10. John Karanja

    Movement to STOP AID to Africa rubbishes the G – 20 Deal. African needs trade and can no longer be dependent on AID which is subduing our people into even more poverty.

    Help us stop AID to africa. http://www.stopaid.org

    April 2, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  11. Sidiki Trawally

    To demonstrate is part of a strong democracy, but to destroy, that's something else. The bad apples always affect the good ones, so I am not sure whether these destroying folks have realize the enormous hardship they have just brought upon themselves.

    More money would be spent to repair the damages – and that is going to cost some millions of dollars. So instead of that money being used to create jobs, it would be used to fix the tracks of these hooligans.

    What a wasted effort by these criminals calling themselves demonstrators!

    April 2, 2009 at 8:21 pm |
  12. Brian

    A cynic might say that the 'anarchists' should have been congratulating the bankers for their part in bringing the establishment and world order closer to the brink.

    April 2, 2009 at 8:30 pm |
  13. Fallopium

    I won't be surprised if this is not posted.
    The truth here is that most violent protesting is not done by protestors but by provocaturs as previoulsy reported by other media sorces. For those who dont know provocaturs are police officers possing as protestors and commiting illegal and violent acts to give armed police a reason to attack and arrest the real protestors. The is many many examples of this happening all over the world. The peoples freedom to protest has been taken away from them, that is why they spent so much on police force and set up "no protest" zones. This in itself is a direct violation of the peoples rights to freedom. The police are not to blame for these acts. No, if u want to know who is to blame its the men and women of the G-20. They know that an informed and free public have the power to stop their criminal acts against humanity and put them in jail where they belong. Its time to figure out what most of these protestors already know or suspect. Educated yourselves.

    April 2, 2009 at 8:41 pm |
  14. Pearl

    ALETEA – You really don't have to tell us what the name stands for – unless you feel convinced that you're the sole intelligent human on this planet. We all understand verity.

    Obviously you're free to choose a side (any side) you desire in this debacle we call our current economy. Most of us do understand though, that it takes a lot more than an underpaid worker on a production line to put a mobile communication device in your hot little hand. Your act of buying the thing in the first place is Exactly what contributes to the proliferation of those production lines.

    The current crises is far more complex than merely drawing a line in the sand or pointing fingers. We must strive to work together and embrace ideas which could instead become a part of the solution.

    April 2, 2009 at 8:56 pm |
  15. Don

    Hey I think Obama is the man and he will bring a lot of changes on the way.
    But what he is doing so far is quite good He is trying to wake the country up and tell the people that we should not take life easy and we should work for our living but not in the wrong way which some of us are doing! I know Obama will do the country some good! I support Obama , he is a leader but I need his help ! So if he can hear me can he stretch out a helping hand to me , I am a Nigerian Asian!

    April 2, 2009 at 8:57 pm |
  16. alex o

    Well, the government doesn't spend money on these people in the first place. So what did they accomplish? Taking money away from a system that has repeatedly stepped on them, and would have spent that money somewhere else either way. Coming back around....

    April 2, 2009 at 9:23 pm |
  17. Dan

    I completely agree with this opinion piece, and I am not an out and out free marketeer. I really believe many of these people are just 'rent a mob' and watching the BBC just now all the 'anarchists' interviewed had very middle class accents – I daresay they have had the financial resources and family background to give them the time and ability to 'protest' in this way and are unaware of their privilege. They have cost British tax payers a lot of money at a time when the state is pressed for cash and will start cutting back on healthcare and education. The protests also give justification to those who do want to stamp out free speech – which is a great shame. Protest should be done through our lifestyles and the ballot box. There are times when other means are necessary, but I don't think the G20 meeting was that moment.

    April 2, 2009 at 9:58 pm |
  18. Muthyavan

    G20 meeting is a world historic meeting of rich nations coming together for the first time, public has many grievances to high light for discussion by leaders. It is a democratic way for demonstrating, and majority of the demonsters believes in peaceful ways. There will be some violent agitators aiming to create troubles in the midst of every major peaceful demonstrators. Law enforcing authorities duty was to protect all public and private property as well as the peaceful demonstrations too.

    There is a wealthy groups of demonstrators in many countries travelling to places where great matches are held or world gatherings of leaders meetings to have fun by stage violent attacks and create troubles in big cities. It is becoming an expensive difficult task for all law enforcing authorities and they are forced to use water canons, tear gas, and rubber bullets to disperse violent crowds.

    April 2, 2009 at 10:00 pm |
  19. aRtFuL

    I have no doubt the protestors went too far. What does destroying anythign has to do with protesting anyways?

    In addition, what is the point of even protesting against G20 summit? What are they even protesting against? Globalization? Global financial system? Isn't it a bit too late? What do they want, wind the clock back to the dark ages where there is hardly any trade between any countries but conquer, loot and pillage?

    Society has progressed and changed. Whining cannot change the fact. The only thing that people can do is hopefully to guide the change in a good way.

    If anarchy works, it would not have been a dead system since stone age. Government and law & order was introduced for a reason. People and society evolves, that's just the way it is.

    I think the people who wish to burn and destroy things probably have nothing to do with the actual protests. They are probably the same football hooligans that goes on a rampage everytime England lose a game in World Cup. They just want destruction for the sake of mayhem, not for any cause in particular.

    April 2, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  20. sdfdsfgdfg

    This article by Todd Benjamin is a joke.

    First off he says "All their methods of communicating, be it on their computers, or mobile phones ahead of the protests, would not be possible without technology — technology brought to the masses through venture capitalists or shareholders willing to risk their money to invest in companies."

    Then as a extension of your brilliant reasoning should anti-capitalist not be able to use toilets or bed-sheets? Because they were made by venture capitalists. And should capitalists not be able to use satellites because they were invented by non-capitalists?

    Then Ben quoted some stupid protester who obviously was there just for violence, which is what you get at every large demonstration. Where is a quote from a reasonable person?

    Then Ben tried to argue that its the demonstrators fault that the government has to pay a ton of money for security, when its the governments decision to wastefully spend taxpayer money on so much security when only a fraction of what was there was needed.

    Then he complains about the damage to small business's. But who was the one who called the G20 summit? Every big meeting, especially one of this sort is going to have demonstrations, and so it is the governments fault, not the protesters for any damage to small businesses because the government hosted the G20 and picked the spot for it. The summit could have been held out in the countryside, then there wouldn't have been any small business damage, but the government didn't decide to do so.

    Then Ben applauds free enterprise and innovation. Sorry to break it to you Ben, but free enterprise is what got us into this mess. And yes, innovation is great, but people are always going to innovate whether under a capitalist system or not.

    Lastly, your article fails to explain the reason why Anarchist oppose capitalism and what their proposed alternatives are. You must of forgotten to explain what these "window-smashers" think in all of that "anarchy on the street".

    Overall, shoddy article, bad jokes, decent writing, and very biased.

    April 2, 2009 at 10:57 pm |
  21. liza nunsio

    I agree people should be allowed to protest peacefully, but it always
    draws the moronics and the criminals and its a shame the press
    gives them such latitude and glory for the damages they create. Manuel and Aletea need to wake up and smell the coffee. I prefer
    Obama travel in a beast car than a junkie car. I want him well protected because next to JFK he is the best president the US has.. Besides
    its part of his job.to be safe. Look what happened to Pope Paul for not protecting himself. I am glad it was not Prez Bush at the G20. Anyway
    all our countries are doing what they can, hopefully you manuel are
    doing what u can .

    Nuevo Laredo, Mexico

    April 2, 2009 at 11:25 pm |
  22. Kate

    I was there, and if I was a little more brave I'd have smashed some windows too. The police kept us penned in at the Bank, even the peaceful protesters, who you can definitiely tell from the anarchists, for hours, without water or any way to get to a toilet. They cannot expect a demonstration to remain peaceful while using tactics like that. You report is just what I've come to expect from a biased media.
    Vive la revolucion.

    April 3, 2009 at 12:06 am |
  23. Alexander Ewering

    I wish that such a comment would once in a lifetime appear on a GERMAN media outlet. But we are so politically correct and minority-"conscious" that the author would immediately be fired.

    April 3, 2009 at 12:16 am |

    the protesters are all the loosers.
    Here is what the got!!!
    2. £7 billion because of the extra police security.
    the demonstrators went too far.
    And many moore.

    people nerver learn!!

    this money could be justed to save poor countrys.

    well done G-20

    April 3, 2009 at 12:20 am |
  25. hkluther

    Well said Mr. Benjamin. In this tumultuous times, we all must be reasonable enough not to waste resources, time or money, on such ridiculous protests just to make a point or lack of it...

    April 3, 2009 at 4:56 am |
  26. Dr. Virginia Lubell

    Free enterprise and permitting mega-corporations to merge and merge to produce bigger and bigger corporations that stretch out into many areas of our lives is not the same thing.

    Free enterprise maintains and supports diversity and competition. Not only that but free enterprise should support employees and the environment. The mega-corporations that exist under the Free Trade agreements do the opposite. They take advantage of cheap labour and destroy the environment.

    International trade is NOT the issue. It is how free trade has been and still is constructed. In New Zealand there are only two supermarket mega-corps that control the 12 supermarket chains. There is only one manufacturer of pharmaceuticals.

    We need to not only relook at the financial sector but what we've done to create only six seed or media companies. Let's get more serious about what we have created.

    April 3, 2009 at 5:04 am |
  27. Shane Boyle

    Do I think some of the demonstrators went too far? Of course. But what you fail to attend to is the possible role that the media who in devoting unapologetic and inordinate attention to a few broken windows actually encourage such counterproductive violence. Why in covering protests such as those against the G-8 or the G-20, do news outlets such as CNN feel the need to find and distribute images of a few broken windows or burnt cars? Such violent actions serve little purpose in the current stage of the movement to resist neoliberalism. The truth is that such violence actually only constitutes a very small percentage of the tactics used by activists. Why not give more attention to the more colorful and peaceful actions of demonstrators or actually focus on the arguments made by them instead of fetishizing broken windows?

    April 3, 2009 at 5:56 am |
  28. Jonah

    Aletea, you obviously don't get it. Democracy gives you the right to protest and voice your opinion, it does NOT give you the right to be violent and threatening. All that these G20 protests achieved was to cost the law abiding tax payer more money. One can tell from the arrests that have already taken place that these people who caused this violence were not protesting against capitalism or anything worthwhile, they are merely people looking for an excuse to cause trouble. These protests have cost the UK millions and at a time when we cannot afford it, you would think that people would pull together and try to find a solution rather than cause anarchy. This is not the way that a civilised nation should behave and unless you have an answer to the current economic crisis, then you shouldn't be condeming what others are trying to do. The crisis is not the result of any single person or nation. Each of us in some small way have contributed to it by either using too much credit or not saving enough or just simply ignoring what is going on around us. This is a time for people to be sensible and work together rather than cause violence and make the current situation worse. These G-20 protests have achieved nothing, they will not reduce unemployment, insolvencies or anything else, so let those in power get on with it in trying to find a solution for this mess we're ALL in!

    April 3, 2009 at 6:23 am |
  29. Nelly

    The lack of agenda showed a waste of space and money to all protesters. Different opinions we no credibility. Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, environment, banks and paradise heaven, but the summit had been achieved in a great fashion. I wish those protesters be in post what would they bring in new, anarchism with Bakounine methods. so who's the winner at the end of the day, Gordon and Obama of course, who will pay the cops, of course a tax payer always a looser, protesting there's nothing wrong about it but doing it with no plan at all just bring anger because sure londoners did not want it in that way. They got it wrong this time, if they are willing to learn how to do it next time, ask the French but it does not work in the UK.
    To Manuel Vilhena, what if something happens to the US president in the UK, can you measure the consequences or any President or official who attended the summit?

    April 3, 2009 at 7:24 am |
  30. John Johnson

    All protestors are heroes in my eyes......if I had my way...I'd shoot every politician and banker......and anyone involved in the stealing of money from the people...Stop work....stop paying taxes......start fighting for a better life.....start fighting for a happier life ...because this one sucks and it is only going to get so much worse....Time to change.....change our attitudes to each other and the planet we all live on. Change our way of life...change our way of thinking.

    April 3, 2009 at 8:23 am |
  31. Bjørn Pedersen

    Regardless if one is anti- or pro-capitalist, one should take a stand against such mindless violence.

    You do not persuade people that you are right, that "truth" is on your side, by charging police officers, smashing property and generally by screaming for the blood of whomever you consider the "evil people".

    Violent protesters are a loud minority, and everyone regardless of ideology or views, should take a stand against them. There are far better ways of persuading the world that your particular cause is just.

    April 3, 2009 at 9:13 am |
  32. dfvjahsdfjbs


    April 3, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  33. Bjørn Pedersen

    John Johnson: So you believe a happier life should come about by mass murdering politicians and bankers and never working for a living anymore?

    You believe that if someone is "in the way" of YOUR happiness, which is a tax-free, work-free life, you have the RIGHT to butcher them?

    I agree about one thing you say: We *should* change our attitudes to each other. Attitudes like yours.

    April 3, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  34. frans

    I was also hoping for more destruction and violence from the protestors – they were too calm to achieve anything.

    Whatever they could break down would need to be rebuilt – obviously stimulating the economy by providing jobs etc. Have not they learnt anything from the USA..?

    What is becoming of the world..?

    April 3, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  35. aletea

    By the many posts here complaining about how the protests cost the taxpayer money, you would think there were no taxpayers among the protesters themselves, when of course there were. To all those who have responded to my post by saying that "I don't get it". Yeah, I do, I just don't agree with the substance of the article or with you. H.B has the most eloquent comment rich in the tradition of liberal thought and so well intentioned. I don't agree with him/her either. The reason that capitalism will always fail to meet people's needs is because it is fundamentally driven by the motive to profit and not by those needs.

    April 3, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  36. pete

    What this protest showed me is what may have been prophesied by nostradamus and others. I think we are coming to the end of the period 2012.....the world is going crazy because of money....

    April 3, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  37. john johnson

    Dear Bjorn, thank you for your comments.....the preposed world strike...would signal the end of the old world order...it would last only a few weeks...that'sall it would take...money will be eliminated from society..there will be public monuments to the old way of exchange......first things first though ...every person living on this planet requires a safe home to live...clean water to drink.....and food......IT IS INSANE THAT WE LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE 1/3 of the people on this planet are starving...while a 1/3 are obese..THIS GREED NEEDS TO STOP...NOW...Oh and Bjorn....demostrations can be very carthatic for all concerned....personally..I admire Gandhi's approach....but we are living in a very very angry and scared world at the moment, a world of our own making...as an artist...I believe that we are livng in the most exciting time in history...I see one world ..one people...united....safe...secure...peaceful and happy...Do you remember happy ?

    April 4, 2009 at 1:22 am |
  38. Eric

    Utter ridicule.

    April 4, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  39. Kay

    The cost of the security for this G 20 is in the millions and they intend to repeat it all in the Fall in New York. Why not hold the next one on Edwards Island and save New York from the cost and damage.

    April 4, 2009 at 11:04 pm |
  40. Bishkek

    Anarchism is not a form of government: it is an attitude against any kind of democratic governments. In democracy of capitalism kinds, anarchists can express themselves, they are mostly from upper middles background. In socialist "democracies" that are currently existing or were existing there is/was no anarchists,no protests but a good deal of "democratic" reeducation camps. It is historical facts.
    Capitalism bring greedy persons and also anarchists, both types can be managed or recycled. But socialist democracies bring NOTHING that look like human beings. Just monotony and blank brains and nothing that can have a value.
    So having anarchist government would be fun for these kids coming out from the upper middle class! Not for long before the common respectable persons would roll up their sleeves for a good energetic S..
    To conclude our democracy model will always have these young tugs that will have tantrums on the streets and this make a delight for the medias to report to; instead to produce well documented NEWS that can explain what happened to reach this crisis and what explanations could be given about these government heads worldwide agitation to address it.
    These anarchists are instead welcome to proof to everyone we are in democratic times. Don't expect these tugs can repair what they have damaged, they are not able to used their hands and brains to produce anything concrete, let them time to grow up (parents provide anyway).

    April 6, 2009 at 4:25 am |
  41. yves salama

    Todd, You have missed the point. I wonder if you have children, will they have children? Well the system you defend today will see them short of clean drinking water, money to keep themselves warm or cool etc. etc. when they are your age.

    April 6, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  42. Joe

    Aletea, you should change your name to "Iken", which means "opinion" in Japanese. Uneducated opinion at that. The truth is that capitalism meets people's needs, while at the same time making a profit for the company or person doing the work. Why else would a man spend years of his life inventing the camera, unless he thought it would benefit him to spend so much time? Why would pharmacy companies invest any money to research new cures unless they believed they might make a profit for it? I have a friend who lived in Poland during Soviet times, and he told me how amazed he was when he traveled to West Germany once and saw the supermarkets. He couldn't believe how much food was available. In socialist Russia, the stores had just bread and a few basic things. Why did the stores have so much variety of food in West Germany? Because companies invested money to produce them and distribute them. The made a profit, yes, but the consumers profit as well. Uneducated anarchists and people claiming that capitalism is so bad don't understand what it's accomplished. It's not perfect, mainly because people are not perfect and people run the businesses. Which is why more outside regulation is needed. But to say that businesses are bad only because they want profit is ridiculous. Everybody wants profit! If this was the dark ages, and you had a field to take care, under which circumstance would you work harder: 1. If you knew that you could keep what you produced, or 2. If you knew that what you grow will be redistributed to everyone else in the village? It's so blindly obvious, yet there are enough uninformed and dare I say stupid people in the world today to keep destructive protests such as this one going. Without banks, how many people would be able to buy a house? People like you wish for a system that you have no comprehension of, and no understanding of what it would really do. It's just disgusting, and everyone has a right to their "opinion", some opinions really are better than others. And NO opinion should be forced into our faces with violence.

    April 6, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  43. kimmy

    I've always been sadly "fascinated" by anarchists who protest wars by spreading violence around!

    April 6, 2009 at 8:08 pm |
  44. d

    what a bunch of idiots that have nothing to do with there time.

    April 7, 2009 at 4:47 am |
  45. Alex

    Ever notice how these European protest are always the "thing" to do among the demonstration crowd? It's basically a giant party where you meet people and once some energy starts to grow you break stuff and maybe, if you are "lucky," get some tear-gas. As the writer put it the protest didn't actually achieve anything and only ended up costing the tax-payer more money.

    All for protesting something that holds all their money, gives them their money AND in a place where they spend their money. Idiocy.

    April 8, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  46. Alain Seghir

    I see no point in the article. It basically asks whether we condemn senseless destruction and violence. 95% people do. The remaining 5% don't read articles and even if they do, they aren't moved by your article.

    What we can do about it is the real question. For the moment, you're building yourself a moral justification by getting the Joneses scandalized. Easy game.

    It's you – the media – that add fuel to the fire by giving the wrong guys coverage. They're glad you picture them, mention them, fill columns with their deeds. They don't give a damn whether you call them names or vilify them – they only want coverage. Moving the fear to the general public is they trade, you're the instrument.

    April 8, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  47. Curt

    One thing is very strange. Why hasn't their been any news of the protesters that caused the violence being arrested. London has more cc camars then any city on the plant, plus every news agency in the world was there. Not to mention hundres of cops. WHERE ARE THE ARRESTS !! Come on CNN get to the bottom of it.

    April 8, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  48. Vicki S. Nikolaidis

    It is the ability of Todd Benjamin to think globally and explain different perspecitives in such a fair way that makes him so totally important to the CNN team.

    July 17, 2012 at 8:56 am |

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