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News ::
Don't Let Them Reverse Our Momentum
23 Jul 2001
We must attract and sustain ever wider and more lasting support. Our demonstrations must include so many people, with so many backgrounds, from so many parts of society and so many societies, that the effect of elites utilizing wild and intimidating repression will not be to diminish our size and capacity, but to enlarge both. We must make Bush and Berlusconi's favored tactics benefit us, not them. That is the road to victory.
Hello…

As most recipients of ZNet Updates likely know, July 20 began a series of demonstrations in Genoa Italy against the G8 (major industrialized nations) meetings. As with demonstrations in Seattle, Prague, and Quebec, activists seek to explain and reveal global institutions like the IMF, World Bank, and WTO and to reverse worsening rules of international cultural and economic exchange, as well as address domestic sexist, racist, statist, and capitalist injustice. And, indeed, our steadily growing opposition to "globalization" has brought world leaders and corporate heads to fear for their most revered agendas. Bush, Berlusconi, and cohorts know that if a huge mass of humanity gains sufficient knowledge, hope, and confidence, we will force new and more participatory relations against the tide of their preferred elitist globalization. Bush, Berlusconi, et. al. have therefore decided to try their usual recourse, violence.

In Genoa they sought to send a message. Oppose us and you will pay a high price. And the simple fact is that we need to recognize that if the context of our actions leaves world rulers the option to do so, they most certainly have the military means to make good their threats. In Genoa they set loose their police, aroused beyond even normal levels of violence by grotesque fascist imagery, to brutalize dissent via torture and shooting. They seek to intimidate not solely the dissenters on the scene from even conceiving of disobeying further, but also the broader public. Bush, Berlusconi, et. al., are trying to ensure, for example, that in the next go around in Washington DC, from September 28 to October 4, there will be a small showing of manageable proportions rather than the feared immense outpouring of dissent and resistance they fear. Corporate elites want to reverse our momentum, pure and simple.

So what is our response to their violence?

Fear will exist. It is human. To read about what the police have done in Genoa can't help but arouse concerns about safety. And it ought to. We should not be ostriches about their vile capacities. But trembling should also not exist. Passivity should not exist. And we should not do their work for them, dwelling so insistently on our physical pains as to disrupt our mental focus and interfere with our broader messages. Nor should we react in a kind of dance of danger, thinking we must escalate our actions in the same terms they think about escalating theirs. The compelling and powerful answer to addressing state violence rarely varies from a simple logic. Given our resources and means, we must educate about the issues at stake more widely. We must attract and sustain ever wider and more lasting support. Our demonstrations must include so many people, with so many backgrounds, from so many parts of society and so many societies, that the effect of elites utilizing wild and intimidating repression will not be to diminish our size and capacity, but to enlarge both. We must make Bush and Berlusconi's favored tactics benefit us, not them. That is the road to victory.

If the state can enter our organizational centers, like the Italian Indymedia and organizing offices, and can beat to physical submission our members, if the state can assault our marches and rallies, and if it can do all this with impunity and without a cry of outrage not only from us but from much wider circles threatening to join us, then the state will do so.

In coming days and weeks, our discussion about tactics at our demonstrations needs to keep forefront a simple logic. What choices on our part will best widen our base of support and thereby grow our size and deepen our commitment and knowledge, entrenching our dissent and even threatening its percolation into other dimensions of social life? And what choices, at the same time, will best restrain the military capacities of the state by creating conditions under which for them to unleash their dogs of war costs them more in lost public support then it costs us in harshly broken bodies?

This is not a pretty nor even a humane calculus, but it is the logic of dissent against monstrous violaters of human civility. We need to make known the state's violence against our dissent, of course. But we need to retain our priority focus on globalization and capitalism, and on the vastly more widespread and deeper violence of these ubiquitous systems. We have to achieve growing popular support, growing movement commitment and insight, and to simultaneously saddle the state's preferred repressive options.

Michael Albert
Z Magazine / ZNet
sysop (at) zmag.org
www.zmag.org
See also:
http://www.zmag.org/ZNetgenoa%20update.htm
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