(fwd) Beyond Genoa – where to now?

2001-08-09

Richard Moore

Greetings from sunny California...

Here's a guy who makes a lot of sense.

Toward the end, however, I'd prefer more of an invitation
to dialog and less of a pre-determined program.

ciao,
rkm


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From: "poll@" <•••@••.•••>
Delivered-To: mailing list •••@••.•••
Date: Wed, 8 Aug 2001 17:23:45 +0100
Subject: [global_irl] 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 awayŠ 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 industryŠ 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

-- 

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Richard K Moore
Wexford, Ireland
Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance 
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