Dear RN, This line from Starhawk's message below speaks to me most strongly: "I would do almost anything to assure that no one, especially no young person, ever suffers such brutality again. Almost anything. Anything except backing away from the struggle." Let's not give up, but let's work to prevent violence as well. For me personally, this effort has largely taken the form recently of carrying on dialogue, largely within the Canadian peace movement, but also with people sympathetic to or involved in "rock chucking", police, the military. We must find ways to get beyond the stereo-typing of police as "pigs" and protesters as "hooligans". Those in uniform are potential allies; as our struggle succeeds we can expect them (and others) to join us. all the best, Jan **************************************************************** Date: Tue, 21 Aug 2001 12:38:39 -0300 From: Aaron Koleszar <•••@••.•••> Subject: After Genoa: Behind Debate on Street Tactics [snipped by Jan]/ Why We Need to Stay in the Streets / on the road to Washington ... <snip> ================================================ After Genoa: Why We Need to Stay in the Streets By Starhawk Since Genoa, there has been lots of healthy debate about where the movement needs to go. The large scale protests are becoming more dangerous and difficult. The summits are moving to inaccessible locations. The IMF and the World Bank and the G8 and the WTO continue to do their business. Are we being effective enough to justify the risks we're taking? Should we be focusing more on local work, building our day-to-day networking and organizing? I was in Genoa. Because of what I experienced there, including the moments of real terror and horror, I am more convinced than ever that we need to stay in the streets. We need to continue mounting large actions, contesting summits, working on the global scale. Our large scale actions have been extraordinarily effective. I've heard despairing counsels that the protests have not affected the debates in the G8 or the WTO or the IMF/World Bank. In fact they have, they have significantly changed the agendas and the propaganda issuing forth. In any case, the actual policies of these institutions will be the last thing to change. But for most of us on the streets, changing the debate within these institutions is not our purpose. Our purpose is to undercut their legitimacy, to point a spotlight at their programs and policies, and to raise the social costs of their existence until they become insupportable. Contesting the summits has delegitimized these institutions in a way no local organizing possibly can. The big summit meetings are elaborate rituals, ostentatious shows of power that reinforce the entitlement and authority of the bodies they represent. When those bodies are forced to meet behind walls, to fight a pitched battle over every conference, to retreat to isolated locations, the ritual is interrupted and their legitimacy is undercut. The agreements that were being negotiated in secret are brought out into the spotlight of public scrutiny. The lie that globalization means democracy is exposed; and the mask of benevolence is ripped off. Local organizing simply can't do this as effectively as the big demonstrations. Local organizing is vital, and there are other things it does do: outreach, education, movement building, the creation of viable alternatives, the amelioration of some of the immediate effects of global policy. We can't and won't abandon the local, and in fact never have: many of us work on both scales. No one can go to every summit: we all need to root ourselves in work in our own communities. But many of us have come to the larger, global actions because we understand that the trade agreements and institutions we contest are designed to undo all of our local work and override the decisions and aspirations of local communities. We can make it a conscious goal of every large scale action to strengthen local networks and support local organizing. Aside from Washington DC, Brussels, or Geneva, which have no choice, no city is ever going to host one of these international meetings twice. Even now, we hear rumors that Washington is considering relocating or limiting the upcoming IMF/World Bank meeting. But if we find ways to organize mass actions that leave resources and functioning coalitions behind, then each grand action can strengthen and support the local work that continues on a daily basis. Summits won't remain the nice, juicy, targets that they are for long. Over the last two years, we've reaped an agenda of meetings that were set and contracted for before Seattle. Now that they are locating the meetings in ever more obscure and isolated venues, we need a strategy that can allow us to continue building momentum. As an example, some of us have been talking about linked, large-scale regional actions targeting stock exchanges and financial institutions when the WTO meets in Qatar in November. The message we'll be sending is: "If you move the summits beyond our reach, and continue the policies of power consolidation and wealth concentration, then social unrest will spread beyond these specific institutions to challenge the whole structure of global corporate capitalism itself." Marches, teach-ins, countersummits, programs of positive alternatives alone can't pose this level of threat to the power structure, but combined with direct action on the scale we've now reached, they can. Of course, the more successful we are, the meaner they get. But when they use force against us, we still win, even though the victory comes at a high cost. Systems of power maintain themselves through our fear of the force they can command, but force is costly. They cannot sustain themselves if they have to actually use force in order to accomplish every normal function. Genoa was a victory won at a terrible price. I hope never to undergo another night like I spent when they raided the IMC and the Diaz school, knowing that atrocities were being done just across the way and not being able to stop them. I ache and grieve and rage over the price. I would do almost anything to assure that no one, especially no young person, ever suffers such brutality again. Almost anything. Anything except backing away from the struggle. Because that level of violence and brutality is being enacted, daily, all over the world. It's the shooting of four students in New Guinea, the closing of a school in Senegal, the work quota in a maquiladora on the Mexican border, the clearcutting of a forest in Oregon, the price of privatized water in Cochabamba. It's the violence being perpetrated on the bodies of youth, especially youth of color, in prisons all over the United States, and the brutality and murder going on in Colombia, Palestine, VenezuelaŠ And it's the utter disregard for the integrity of the ecosystems that sustain us all. I don't see the choice as being between the danger of a large action and safety. I no longer see any place of safety. Or rather, I see that in the long run our safest course is to act strongly now. The choice is about when and how we contest the powers that are attempting to close all political space for true dissent. Genoa made clear that they will fight ruthlessly to defend the consolidation of their power, but we still have a broad space in which to organize and mount large actions. We need to defend that space by using it, filling and broadening it. Either we continue to fight them together now when we can mount large-scale, effective actions, or we fight them later in small, isolated groups, or alone when they break down the doors of our homes in the middle of the night. Either we wage this struggle when there are still living forests, running rivers, and resilience left in the life support systems of the planet, or we fight when the damage is even deeper and the hope of healing slim. We have many choices about how to wage the struggle. We can be more strategic, more creative, more skillful in what we do. We can learn to better prepare people for what they might face, and to better support people afterwards. We have deep questions to consider about violence and nonviolence, about our tactics and our long range vision, which I hope to address in a later posting. But those choices remain only so long as we keep open the space in which to make them. We need to grow, not shrink. We need to explore and claim new political territory. We need the actions of this autumn to be bigger, wilder, more creatively outrageous and inspiring than ever, from the IMF/World Bank actions in Washington DC at the end of September to the many local and regional actions in November when the WTO meets in Qatar. We need to stay in the streets. Starhawk www.starhawk.org -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- After Genoa: Behind Debate on Street Tactics Via Workers World News Service Reprinted from the Aug. 16, 2001 issue of Workers World newspaper By Brian Becker <snip> BILLIONAIRES FEAR NEW RADICALIZATION The corporate and banking establishment fears that the anti- globalization movement sweeping the world will get bigger, stronger and more militant unless it is diverted or crushed. Working-class people are suffering from more layoffs, poverty and hunger worldwide. The IMF and the bankers represent a tiny stratum of the population that has enriched itself while the people who do the work are living in misery. Four hundred billionaires now possess wealth equal to that of the 3 billion poorest people on the planet. The anti-globalization movement could rapidly evolve into a revolutionary movement capable of threatening the stranglehold over the political and economic system the capitalists now exercise. If the current worldwide capitalist recession develops into a full-blown depression in the United States and other major capitalist countries, tens of millions of angry workers could fill the ranks of a movement now led primarily by youths and students. The lords of high finance in the United States have a supreme level of class consciousness. They are well aware that the current political stability could give way to tempestuous revolutionary storms. To their chagrin, the destruction of the Soviet Union was not the end of history or the class struggle. The revolutionary anti-capitalist movement has been reborn. Now the capitalists are intent on using the police club and the puppet media to prevent this radical movement from maturing and moving forward. It is the duty of all progressive people to defend the young--and old--radicals whose vigor and self-sacrifice is awakening a spirit of struggle and resistance. ----------------------- Note from Jan: While I cannot support rock-throwing or other acts of violence, I think it is healthy for those of us who support nonviolence to see what others are saying (below). And if it is indeed true that supposedly non-violenct protesters used violence against "black bloc" protesters, this is certainly deplorable! all the best, Jan ************************************************ Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2001 22:46:06 -0400 From: rights action <•••@••.•••> Subject: pga-org: Beyond Genoa ... on the road to Washington ... Rights Action distributes this article with the interest of broadening debate about the 'different form of globalization' that we are working to create. If you want on (off) this e-list, contact: •••@••.•••. Rights Action encourages Canadian and US friends to go to Washington DC, for the late September "Annual Meetings" of the World Bank and the IMF. Please check www.abolishthebank.org and www.globalizethis.org websites for information related to: educational and advocacy activities; protest activities and marches; trainings; housing; transportation; media; etc. *** From: "poll@" <•••@••.•••> Date: Wed, 8 Aug 2001 Subject: "Beyond Genoa - where to now?" "WILL A DEATH IN THE FAMILY BREATHE LIFE INTO THE MOVEMENT?" Seattle may have been some sort of watershed, but Carlo's killing in Genoa is a turning point for the anti-capitalist movement (if we can call it that). How we play it from here will have repercussions far beyond the blood-stained streets of Northern Italy. It was no freak cub-cop overreaction that left one mother mourning and several others preparing to, as the sun hit the sea on Friday night, but a deliberate act of terror - in the most basic sense of the word. The snowball that's been gaining weight and speed as it rolled through Geneva, Prague and Gothenburg has become far too jagged a spike in the side of those steering the planetary carve up. So bullets meet brains - and young people are shot dead for daring to think there can be another way. The message from the world's authorities is clear: go back to your homes, do not meddle in what doesn't concern you, return to your televisions, to smoking dope and stealing traffic cones and leave the intricacies of global economics alone - because if you don't we will kill you. The same way we killed Carlo Giuliani. For decades, the poorest of the planet's families from Asia, Africa and Latin America have been burying the fathers, the sisters and the first born sons who have dared to confront the forces of global capitalism. But Carlo's death spells something different. For the first time the global elite has begun to kill the children of its own people. Dissent will no longer be tolerated. The whip of economic dictatorship is finally cracking at home. But where we go from here is still up for grabs. The globalisers would dearly love to see us run scared, or split our ranks with paranoid accusations of 'whose side are you on?'. Tactical difference should not be confused with police-collusion and counter-revolutionary activity... or vice-versa. True enough, there were cops in ski-masks leading the more excitable and naive among Genoa's young bloods on attacks on corner shops, bus stops and post offices. But the agitators can be addressed. If everyone who takes any action knows why they are taking it and what sort of action they think is necessary to achieve their goal, then the police will not be able to steer the crowds, the meetings, the discussion groups or 'the movement' as a whole. The problem is less one of infiltration, more one of focus. The more liberal elements of groups such as the Genoa Social Forum (GSF) or Prague's INPEG, need to understand, that just because they have the ear of the newspapers, it doesn't mean they speak with the voice of the people. The reformist agenda of these groups, who call for more legislation, more institutions and stronger government control over the runaway capitalist train, is an entire philosophy away from the genuine participatory democracy sought by many. Instead of calling for the deployment of "non-violent methods of restraining and defusing violent behaviour" for those who fail to adhere to "the political and ethical parameters of our mass actions" (Walden Bello, I expected so much more from you), perhaps the up-in-arms brigade should be questioning their own attempted coup of the global resistance movement. Both INPEG and the GSF produced documents laying down "rules" for "participation" in what were illegal blockades of international meetings. The GSF tactical manifesto was insulting to the resistance history of many of it's signatory groups. The anarchists were perhaps the only people (police included) who took to the streets with honest intentions, both about their goals and what they were prepared to do to achieve them. The anarchists have long been aware that power (be it economic or governmental) is the problem - not who holds it - and needs, therefore, to be removed altogether. The Black Bloc do not "detract from 'the message'" - they have a different message. And unlike the liberals and the hierarchical groups of the organised left who would, at best, replace those in power with their own institutions manned by their own people, and at worst, settle for seat at the G-8 table, the anarchist's message is not a lunge for the throne shrouded in the smoke screen language of 'justice' and 'liberty'. The anarchists recognise that a power wielding state is no better than a power wielding corporation, and they are well aware that the police are the front-line defence for both. This is not to dispel organisation. Organisation is imperative. Co-operation and communication between the disparate groups involved in the resistance is key. But an insurrectionary pseudo-government (complete with pseudo-police, if Walden gets his way)? Hmmm... two legs good, four legs bad time already. The strength of this movement/loose-amalgamation-of-people-who-ain't-taking-any -more-shit, has always been its leaderless fluidity, its constantly changing strategy, its unpredictable tactics and targets. This is why the authorities (until now) have found it so hard to get a handle on what we were up to - we weren't following patterns or playing by any discernible rules. Now, as we witnessed in Genoa, the Man has caught up. Infiltration is the price of protesting-by-numbers. Though Italy was an ideal venue for us to mobilise an unprecedented number of insurrectionaries, it was also a touch for the global authorities who could mobilise one of the West's most corrupt, right wing and violent state security forces. Recent history has shown the Italian security services are prepared to stoop to anything in order to undermine subversive movements. Genoa proved they haven't lost their touch. James Anon made the point on Indymedia.org that if the non violent protesters came up with something that worked, maybe more people would adopt their tactics. (http://www.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=55463&group=webcast). However, non violence should not be confused with not rocking the boat - as often appears to be the case. Those who feel the 'violent anarchists' are curbing their successes should maybe look at how successful their own tactics are. It is no coincidence that Tony Blair "welcomes" peaceful calls for debt reform - the communiqués are duly issued, the lip service paid, and then..... nothing changes, and the global carve up getting mapped in the Oval office doesn't miss a step. Maybe time within the 'movement' would be better spent skipping the anarchist witch-hunt and focusing on our common enemies. One of the more eye opening moments in Genoa came when the non-violent protesters and the Black Bloc crossed paths. At around three o'clock on July 20th, an anarchist bloc had tried to cross the Piazza Manin en route to the red zone, the non-violent white handed pacifists in the square, refused to let them pass. Discussions between the two groups were interrupted by a vicious police attack during which the white hand protesters sat down hands aloft and took a severe beating without fighting back (as is their prerogative). However an hour later when three masked youths walked back through the square, the (understandably upset) pacifists threw first a stick, then a bottle, then a rock at them. They saw the Black Bloc as the cause for their pain. No violence had been directed at the police wielding the boots, the clubs and the teargas, but strict pacifist adherence could be suspended in order to attack anyone (without authority) who had not stuck to "their" tactical code. Perhaps this pacifist submission to authority says more about the the authoritarian nature of the society they seek, than about their abhorrence of the Black Bloc's tactics. The more reasoned voices of Italy's Ya Basta collective are already admitting the error of attacking the brick throwers (there is something twisted about an elite Tutte Bianchi hit squad in Subcommandante Marcos t-shirts beating people with crash helmets for wearing bandannas over their faces). However, the security services will no doubt be fuelling the fire of division and will embrace the peace-policers (as they did in the US during the anti-Vietnam protests of the 1960s) who, they hope in turn, will return the anti-capitalist front-line to the letters pages of the Washington Post. The rats inside the global red zone want us to crawl back to our workplaces, to the fear of unemployment and to the gratitude for an irregular playtime. But we can say no. We can say: we do not care how well protected you are with your armies, your police, your banks or your brands, because we have had enough and we will not run from your guns. Theses would-be leaders can scuttle off to Qatar or cruise ships or Rocky Mountain retreats, but we know their meetings have little impact on the real decisions made elsewhere. Perhaps we in the West should follow the example of India's farmers who removed Monsanto's headquarters brick by brick and took it away. If we don't like Bush's missile defence plans, we could go to Flyingdales and take it away, brick by brick, bullet by bullet. We have the ability to take capitalism out piece by piece, pound by pound. We could pick a company, say Balfour Beatty, and put them out of business. A thousand actions at a thousand sites dismantling every facet of their insidious business. Would their shareholders bail them out? Unlikely. Then we could move on and up When we can co-ordinate our actions as millions of people, then maybe we can dismantle the oil industry, the arms industry, the jail industry, the government industry? The mass street actions we have been able to mount and the dedication, planning and application of those on the streets has shown us that we have the wherewithal to make decisions and carry them out regardless of what the state may think or threaten. If we put this dynamic to work away from the mega-summits we can become a threat again. But we need to be imaginative and we need to stay ahead of the beast. Where we choose to go from here is crucial to whether we are in the process of sparking serious global change or whether we are merely in the death throes of another cycle of resistance. If we don't want corporate activity in our neighbourhoods, lets chuck the corporations out. If we don't want the police or the government flexing their muscle in our neighbourhoods, lets stop recognising their bogus authority and encourage others to do the same. Lets link our communities together - not through state or business initiatives - but through people who share a common struggle. If we believe in making changes and creating something better, and if we are prepared to take the risks and put in the time, then lets do it. Lets not let Carlo's death be in vain. Because when one of us catches a bullet, a club or jail sentence, a little bit of all of us dies. But together we are alive and together we can, and we will, win. === See also The Case for Confrontation, by the same author: http://uk.indymedia.org/display.php3?article_id=673 *** Rights Action raises funds for 50 grassroots human rights, community development and environmental projects in Chiapas, Guatemala, Honduras and - most recently - Peru and El Salvador. If you would like to find out more about our work, contact: [Canada] Rights Action, 509 St. Clair Av, W., Box 73527, Toronto ON, M6C-1C0; [USA] Rights Action, 1830 Connecticut Av, NW, Washington DC 20009.; [Guatemala] t: 011-502-251-9803. To make a tax-deductible donation to the work of the 50 grassroots groups that we support, make checks payable to "Rights Action" and mail to the Canadian or US address, above. General information: T: 416-654-2074 E: •••@••.••• W: www.rightsaction.org ********************************************************************* Aaron Koleszar <•••@••.•••> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------------------- "Por todos nuestros muertos, ni un minuto de silencio. Toda una vida de lucha." [To honor our dead, not a minute of silence. A whole life of struggle.] - In memory of Carlo Giuliani who was murdered by a soldier at the G8 meeting in Genoa, Italy. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------------------- "Find out just what people will quietly submit to, and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress." -Frederick Douglass [and by the inaction of witnesses] =============================================================================== Evil flourishes when good people do nothing. =============================================================================== "If you assume that there's no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, that there are opportunities to change things, there's a chance you may contribute to making a better world. That's your choice." - Noam Chomsky ===================================================================== FOR INDEPENDENT NEWS ON PROTESTS AND DIRECT ACTION http://www.indymedia.org - The Independent Media Center (IMC) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------------------- The Biotic Baking Brigade.....coming soon to a pie-o-region near you. •••@••.••• http://www.asis.com/~bbb/ FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS !!! FROM PIE THROWERS TO MUMIA ABU JAMAL !!! FROM FTAA DEMONSTRATORS TO LEONARD PELTIER !!! STOP POLICE REPRESSION !!!