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For the spread of the riots: Manifesto in favour of violent direct action
by La Haine (Spain)
16 Feb 2002
Report prepared by social activists from Madrid (Spain), Basque Country and Argentina.
From relevant groups within the Anti-globalisation movement, the usage of violent direct action on behalf of diverse collectives, which take part in these actions, has been ruled out, and even condemned. By means of these lines, we mind to supply simple issues as part of a debate, which might help to respect political tendencies combining both pacific and self-defence strategies. We do not intend to place violent direct action neither ahead of union labour, neighbourhood or faculty work. The previous issue is main, fundamental; this lays the foundations of every struggle ever meant to be for the people's sake. But there are several questions to be studied fearlessly, avoiding the pressure inherent to the ruling class' deceptive speech. ¿Is direct clash against anti-riots police and capitalist symbols positive? ¿Is the usage of violent direct action advisable?
Around Seattle, Prague or Gothenburg events, world leaders seemed rather agitated, something never seen since the disappearance of the USSR: Standstill summits, delegations being moved out and leaders being evacuated through the backdoor.
This came to pass because riots were to be performed not by hundreds, but thousands of people. The spread of the riots went beyond the police ability to suppress them. Therefore, it is a fact that actions carrying an outstanding load of violence play a special role within the resurgence of social clash lately.
But, ¿why comes up the need for violent direct action?
This need turns up in those cases in which means and procedures for protesting -which social movements have came to impose within the so-called parliamentary democracies- are exhausted. In these cases the system shows crystal clear its vision of these means as items with no other aim besides the maintenance of social balance and stability, avoiding the achievement of real successes.
Popular movement struggle, when extending and deepening its protesting actions, comes to confront the repressing system, and to infer that no partial solutions are worth -as ever, provisional-, but the destruction of capitalism and its replacement for social relations based upon equality and solidarity themselves.
In such a way, if by facing the lack of real solutions people take the streets by thousands in order to stop physically the wild policy developed by the FMI, the system will not consider this as "democratic" or "in order", since it is about a direct confrontation against the system itself. Therefore, repression is taken up.
Genoa was a clear example on this. Such was the denial in practice of the right to demonstrate during the G-8 summit, that even thousands of pacific demonstrators were forced to raise barricades and throw all kind of items in order not to be run over by the police.
Several left-wing groups argue that violent direct action can contribute to an increase in overall repression towards social movement. But we must not be confused about this matter: What in fact sparks off repression is the heightening of the clash, as a result of the organized struggle questioning the very basis of the system: the governments' ability to decide how to rule economy. And therefore, any kind of clash, though it may be pacific or even legal, will be crushed no matter what. Not because of direct violent action, since the main issue for the system here is to take political advantage of this state of disadvantage, launching an attack against the entire movement on the theoretical speech of "confronting the extremism of certain groups".
Violence is not being called forth by any particular organisation within the anti-globalisation movement. Violence belongs to the capitalist system's perpetuation process as a natural part, since it is continuous (being implemented upon people beyond any reason or justice: through over-exploitation or labour insecurity, housing shortage or social services denationalising) and able to be brought directly at any time, in order to keep action in check. The latter turns out to be the most common type, but should not outshine the daily violence held up by the ruling class.
Domination or control violence comes to fruition whenever the system intends to put a social group back into its previous state of passiveness. And whenever conscious commitment increases along with demand for solutions, violence is also to be increased in order to stop them.
In Genoa, while activists were arranging demonstrations pro peace and against economic genocide, the government was fixing up torture rooms within its police departments. While the former called up and coordinated people by thousands, the latter mobilised and organised armed policemen by hundreds.
The right to dissent in being surrounded by the rules of the so-called state of democracy. That is why the need for a spread of the riots and sabotage comes up. Because the system is not planning to dismantle itself, and because it does not leave any other chance to protest besides.
Next will be outlined how violent direct action is not only valuable, but also necessary, as a complement to pacific struggle, because of its connection to expression, disobedience and justice.
1. Stands for a way of expression.
Whatever we will not be allowed to express through their newspapers or networks, will be expressed by attacking their symbolic dominance. Our nonconformity and basic opposition to the neo liberal policy is expressed whenever we fight those repressive elements attending to protect that policy. Obviously, there is a clash.
In exchange, the media attached to neo liberal policies obtain a piece of news not only suitable for the information show biz context, but also desirable in order to criminalise social movements. But we ought to bear in mind that violent direct action and sabotage are also means to break the media blockage. The piece of news, still distorted, comes out in the media and, while we struggle daily in order to produce our own spreading channels (and to achieve self-management district by district, faculty by faculty), direct action stands out not only by making possible the expression of our discontent, but also by constituting the means for us to break the silence argued by the media towards our work.
It is not our responsibility to avoid facts from being twisted and commercialised by the official media, for that is its raison d'être. Our duty, in this case, is to denounce the purpose of banks and repression forces within society. Therefore, political actions against both previous become legitimate and essential, for it is about a will -physically asserted- to set up dissent, and to boost anti capitalist conscience by pointing at those responsible in fact for neo liberal policy.
2. Stands for a way of reversing the establishment.
It is a disobedience procedure facing law, a way of doing "what you are not supposed to do" pervading actions with a full political sense.
But we must bear in mind that specific riots may be easily taken up by the establishment, for being understood as collateral damages, that is, the unavoidable results for neo liberalism policy: The same formula put into practice when is about the so-called delinquency, drug trafficking or raping. They all make up inherent issues to a society fueled by inequality, oppression and patriarchy.
With regard to anti globalisation movement, the Spanish government has often stated that "we are ready to hold talks with anti globalisation groups, but strictly with those which may condemn the usage of violence along with riots caused by radicals".
In spite of the establishment being able to absorb riots (whenever they come on small scale), it is fact that these collateral damages do mean harm to establishment's both harmony and stability. And that is why they attempt to condemn and isolate this practice.
And for this particular reason we ought to consider those "scratches" as potential means for destabilising, and to call forth an area for people's power out of this concept, that is to say, a right and a weapon achieved by struggling movements in order to fight injustice.
Even if it is not allowed to break, we break. But not just anything: we break the representation or samples of capitalist domination, which may be anti-riot police, bank branches, private operators phone-boxes, McDonalds joints, etc...
3. It stands for a way of doing justice.
It is fair to provide direct responses against the violent imposition of the establishment, its labour scarcity, criminalisation of dissent, pressure from the media and its propaganda, etc...
It is fair and legitimate to rebel against the unquestionable fact of violence monopoly held up by the system.
It is fair and essential to draw by ourselves an area for politics labour of our own, outside the law limits; limits which are nothing but a self-defence instrument developed by the system, which defines levels of confrontation in order to control it, and justifies repression inside this context.
Small successes have been achieved already within the complex and wide front against neo liberal globalisation on account of a method which, even though it might not be as fundamental as base work, is working out as a crucial supplement: sticks and stones.