By the time I left the demo, about 1:30, there were around 750-1000 people there and people were still coming in significant numbers from the subways at the south end of Queens Park. It wouldn't surprise me if the numbers hit about 1,500. That's less than the protest in the days following the G20 clampdown - particularly the very impressive Canada Day protest - but, hell, it's summertime and a weekend. But more important than the timing, I think, is the fact that there have now been several investigations launched into G20 security, the legal maneuverings of McGuinty, and the overall preparations and decision-making process of the Harper Tories - these are from the Toronto Police Services Board, the Ontario Ombudsman, and (likely) through the federal Committee on Security and Public Safety, respectively.
That sense of having forced the government at various levels to act may well have given a significant number of people a reason to stay at home, with a feeling that showing up was now less urgent. Notwithstanding this partial victory, it was important for people to come out today and keep the issue in the public eye. From Harper on down, the government and security apparatus has gotten a black eye in the last two weeks in a multi-pronged exposé including mobilizations, institutional opposition and the much-discussed social media of twitter, facebook and youtube. They have definitely scored an own goal here, turning what might have been a weekend of mobilizations - primarily the Saturday - after which everyone would have returned home, into a sustained level of anger and politicization.
This awakening, mobilization and victory could serve us well in the coming struggles. There is no doubt that a deeper and more vicious austerity awaits working people in Canada (and around the world) in the coming months. That was a key affirmation of the communique. What remains in doubt is the effectiveness of the response from our side. The last two weeks have increased the likelihood that there will be more sparks, more pools of resistance. And every act of resistance to austerity is a threat to them - thus the need for such a harsh crackdown. Lots of working people feel resentment that it is us who is having to shoulder the global crisis, which was caused by bankers playing a fancy game of Russian Roulette. A spark can turn that resentment into the confidence needed to fight. And fight we must. Or we'll be screwed.
Judy Rebick introduces the rally