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(en) Finland: the odyssey of uninvited guests 2001

From "Antti Rautiainen" <antti.rautiainen@kolumbus.fi>
Date Thu, 29 Nov 2001 03:49:51 -0500 (EST)


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THE ODYSSEY OF UNINVITED GUESTS 2001

The Declaration

Background

Uninvited guests 2001 is a demonstration for social justice. As such it is a
continuation of several previous manifestations, both on the Finnish and
on the European level. The demonstrations of the unemployed and of the
homeless, the large events against neoliberalism in Amsterdam, Köln,
Prague, Gothenburg and Genova, the celebrations of the uninvited guests
since 1996 and countless other smaller events have aimed to bring
forward the silenced features of the social reality and to appeal for social
justice.

Today at least the statistical facts about the condition of our society are
generally known. During the recent 10 years Finland has been a precursor
of neoliberal policies in Europe. The level of our social security has
dropped under the European average, the working hours are the second
longest among the countries of the European Union. Work exhaustion and
stress, constant insecurity and the enforcement to be flexible according to
the demands of the employer have placed their mark in the lives of the
most. Income disparities have increased in an enourmous speed and
public services have been reduced. The receiving of social benefits has
constantly been made more difficult, and more and more people have
been displaced out of its range. The inequality between different areas is
increasing and the "marginal" areas are becoming poorer.

All this has been realized simultaneously as politicians have been talking
about defending and maintaining the welfare state, and promised in their
election speeches to support the causes of the poor, the unemployed, the
pensioners and the workers. According to all researches the opinion
climate among the citizens has nearly completely been against the
increasing income disparities and the cuttings of services and social
security, but this has had no practical significance in the eyes of the
decision makers. As the political system has such completely failed to
represent the opinions of the citizens it is no wonder that especially
among those who have a low income, the belief in the political system
has collapsed and in effect voting has decreased in many areas even to
under 50%.

Our goals

We simply want general security and equal basic rights. We want an end
to the constant increasing of insecurity in our lives. We want a
guaranteed, unconditioned income, housing and functioning public
services for everyone. We want civil rights to everyone who wants to
participate in our society.

Our action

Every human being should have the right to make him/herself heard. In
the citizens' square of the odyssey of uninvited guests a chance to speak
is given to all those who can't get it otherwise: the unemployed, the poor,
the homeless, the diseased and the displaced. The social multitude can
be witnessed in the citizens' square. There is something to tell also in
other areas than the mainstream of public discussion, everyone has an
interesting story.

On the 6th of December the political decision makers of Finland and the
other successful people of our society will gather to their annual meeting
in the castle of the president. These celebrations and their spectacle most
largely represent inequality and the silencing of the multitude. This
celebration is the triumphant party of the elites celebrating their success.
Despite the speeches of independence those celebrating in the castle are
rather the executors of the global neoliberal strategy - just like we are
are
a part of the global resistance waked by neoliberalism - than
representatives of the citizens.

This year our intention is to occupy the streets around the castle of the
president. We will place our voices, music, creativity, demands and bodies
to stop those entering the party. We want to make visible and audible all
those who neoliberalism wants to make voiceless and invisible. We want
to stop the increasing inequality and injustice by stopping those who
constantly promote neoliberalism with their decisions. By stopping the
road from the celebration of inequality we want to open a road to the
discussion and action for a more just society.

Our challenge for the trade union movement

On the global level we have seen how e.g. the central trade union of the
United States, AFL-CIO, and the Italian union of metal workers, FIOM,
have made coalitions with the movements of the multitude in the streets
of Seattle and Genova, how the workers' organizations e.g. in South
Korea, Mexico and Bangladesh have talked about the same things with us
in the same events and struggles. Simultaneously we have been able to
observe the Finnish trade union movement isolating itself within work
places and its endless retreating in front of neoliberalism. We are inviting
the Finnish labor movement with us to the road on which millions of the
members of the trade unions around the world have already began to
travel. To take the supervision of interests on the streets, to attach the
struggles in the work places to common demands of guaranteeing basic
rights.

Our message to those invited in the castle

Over one thousand guests have been invited to the castle and there are
people from varying sectors in this group. We are not argumenting that
they are all supporters of neoliberalism or responsible for the current
direction of social progression. However, by participating in the
celebrations they are all part of the great spectacle of inequality. Is the
current condition and progression of Finland something that is worth
celebrating? Does it have such value that you are ready to walk over us in
order to enter the celebration? Do you maybe wish the police to clear
demonstators out of your way with a truncheon, on behalf of you? We
wish that all those invited who want to support equality and democracy to
not go to the celebration and to state this publicly.

Our message to the police

We are aware that troops of police will be sent against us, equipped with
varying armament and protection. Our methods of action will not be
violent. However, on the European level we have unfortunately seen and
experienced brutal violence realized by the police and this has taken away
our trust on the possibility that the police would act in a civilized and
lawful way and by minimizing violence. Nevertheless we hope that the
police who are confronting us in the indepedence day understand that it is
not the interest of either the demonstrators or the police to make the
conflict more critical. After our experiences in Gothenburg and in Genova
we are asking the police the following things:

1) Non-violent activity is not reacted with violent or otherwise unlawful
methods
2) Demonstrators are not attacked without a cause, and accommodation
and meeting places are not terrorized
3) The police who are confronting the demonstrators do not carry guns

We want to act non-violently, but if the police destroys the possibilities
for organized activity and uses as violent methods as in Gothenburg or
Genova, no one can really guarantee the non-violence of all the
demonstrators.

The uninvited guests 2001



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