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News :: Globalization
The Battle of Georgetown
25 Oct 2007
IMF/World Bank Protestors Bring the Fight to DC’s Richest Neighborhood
By Jake Carman
Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement, BAAM
On Friday, October 19th, 300 anarchists and IMF/World Bank opponents marched on Georgetown, home to many of DC’s most wealthy and powerful. Protesters chose Georgetown to remind the ruling elite that in the global struggle between rich and poor, the rich will be held responsible for their greed, even in their safe, upscale neighborhoods. According to Fox TV News, “A small group of protesters for [sic] the IMF/World Bank, outnumbered 3 to 4 times by police, are causing an awful lot of trouble down town.” Long before the protesters gathered at 9pm, the large corporate chains of Georgetown’s shopping district began boarding up their windows. As protester Cody Keegan said, “Three quarters of businesses had boarded their windows, and they were still putting up plywood as we walked into Georgetown.” Bystanders crowded the sidewalks, taking pictures and curiously observing.
The anti-authoritarian marchers—who spent the last 2 days in comprehensive protest workshops—organized themselves into small “affinity groups” and deployed the “black bloc” tactic of marching tightly and dressing similarly to defend themselves from identification and arrest. Wearing all black, covering their faces with bandanas and leading the un-permitted procession with improvised garbage-barrel shields, the anarchists held the streets from curb to curb. They broke about 10 windows at corporate shops, including Abercrombie and Fitch, and dropped a banner off of Urban Outfitters that read: “Get Free. Smash Capitalism.”
When Fox News’ cameras were stuck in their faces, the protesters smashed those as well. “The police were in a state of chaos, because they did not hold the initiative,” says Jeff X, one of the marchers, “there were constant conflicts with police motorcycles who were driving into the march, hitting and running over people.” According to Keegan, “the motorcycles surrounding the march were actually scraping the paint off of parked cars lining the streets.” Two protesters were arrested after one scuffle when a cop fell off his bike. There were four people arrested that night on charges such as “Felony assault on an officer,” though two of the people were released without charges on Saturday.
A young woman was accidentally struck in the face with a rock meant for a window when police suddenly charged and attacked protesters. Anarchist street medics rushed to her aid, though it is unclear whether or not police allowed the medics to treat her wounds. Police say she was later taken to the hospital, and she was released that night with no serious injuries. On Saturday members of the October Rebellion commented on the injury in a public statement, calling it “an unfortunate accident.”
Later, protesters marched to the Four Seasons Hotel, where IMF/World Bank delegates were boarding. There, the police surrounded the march but were too worried about the crowd’s volatile nature to make arrests, and they decided to evacuate the hotel. Then they forced the protesters to disperse in small groups.
The demonstrators hold the IMF/World Bank responsible for the suffering of what Pro-Corporate Globalization proponents call “Third World,” or “Developing” nations and accuse them of ensnaring these impoverished countries in debt traps to hijack their economies and resources.
Countries such as Kenya, Indonesia, Mozambique, El Salvador, Argentina, Mexico, Jamaica, and Nicaragua, among others, have suffered greatly from their interactions with the IMF/World Bank. The October Rebellion received statements of support and solidarity from various movements in Argentina, El Salvador, Indonesia and elsewhere. According to an October Rebellion public statement on Saturday, “The World Bank and IMF continue to force poverty on millions around the world, all the while continuing to not pay a penny in taxes to DC.” Indeed, as Jeff X pointed out, “Much of DC is incredibly poor, and ridden by crime, drugs, and homelessness. Georgetown is the polar opposite of that. Many of D.C.’s judges and politicians live there, and it is the seat of the economic authority.”
Anarchists who participated in the Georgetown action, which appeared globally in the media, are calling it a victory. “There were mistakes made, but many more things were done right,” said Jeff X. “This action should be viewed as an overwhelming success because Georgetown was disrupted for the first time ever and was in a state of utter irrational panic all day.” No longer will the rich of D.C. think of global poverty as a distant problem (that they happen to be responsible for).
“Georgetown is practically shut down for the rest of the weekend, complete with a 24-hour ID curfew,” says Keegan. Though the cops have cleared the streets and the protesters have moved on to protest the meetings themselves, Georgetown will never be the same.

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