These window smashers who show up at every big international gathering certainly are annoying! They dominate the news coverage, obscuring any legitimate messages from activist groups. Furthermore, they act to justify the expense and intrusion of the heavy-handed security that now accompanies these events.
Incoherent rage against miscellaneous organizations (G8, G20, WTO, etc) doesn’t advance any sort of political agenda. It just distracts from serious discussions. Arguably, it also helps prevent the various legitimate organizations that attend these protests from engaging meaningfully with one another. After all, their priorities and agendas certainly do not align perfectly, and they clash on many issues. When protests are mostly angry pageants, it isn’t necessary to consider such substantive matters. The closer you get to actual policy-making, however, the more important it becomes to address contradictions so that something can actually be done.
Is there any way to eliminate the bandana-wearers as a constant feature of these gatherings? Obviously, massive security spending doesn’t achieve that aim. Perhaps a more energetic rejection of such individuals and tactics within the activist community could. Given how effectively the violent minority drowns out important messages, finding some way to keep a lid on them would probably benefit a lot of people.