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(en) Daybreak #3 - The Barcelona anti-EU Manifestation! by Snufkin Moomintroll

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>(http://free.freespeech.org/mn/daybreak!/article19.html)
Date Mon, 25 Nov 2002 10:04:02 -0500 (EST)


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It´s difficult to sum up in one statement all the stuff that´s been
happening in Barcelona during the last week of mobilizations that
led to Sundays manifestation of 500,000 people, the largest
anti-globalization march in our movements history. The
momentum has been noticably building for a month; posters and
graffiti spontaneously appearing, newspapers buzzing of police
plans and presence, media threats that dangerous foreign agitators
are coming to Barcelona (that´s us!), and much more. In the last
week before the summit the police presence of 8,500 smothered
the city, and later in the week shut down major streets,
transportation, and neighborhoods in order to safeguard the
summit (yes, again they had to meet in an occupied zone).
Homeless people were cleared out of sight, young people were
cleaned from the streets and plazas, and some parts of inner
barcelona became a surreal playground of militarized police and
tourists in bad shirts. Yes, the name Franco was mentioned more
then once.

The activist side was also mobilizing. Independent newspapers
popped up helpfully informing us of the myraid of event taking
place during the week. Convergence and work space was set up at
the university, housing was arranged for thousands, and a
constant stream of people poured into the city.

The week of mobilizations started with a Reclaim the Streets
dance party on Saturday the 9th, wound through a week of forums
and movies, into the Friday Day of Decentralized actions, and then
the conference on alternatives and giant march of Saturday the
16th.

===========
THE ACTIONS Here we go!
===========

The reclaim the streets went well. 2000 people danced, spray
painted, andpostered from Placa Universidad to La Rambla and all
the way around to Colom. We left a wonderful trail of funny
graffiti even though the police presence was quite stifling as they
marched alongside us the entire route. The only real confrontation
was when a couple of us turned down a side street and the van
followed. Police tripped over themselves trying to block us and
some little scuffles broke out. It looked like a standoff so I was
happily eyeing the well placed dumpster of toys (bricks, ladders,
wire, fence. Yes the garbage-people in Barcelona must be
anarchists!)but our sound truck reversed and we continued down
the main street. The party broke up at the end of La Rambla, the
sound van starting to move, hauling in the speakers, ripping off
the signs covering the license plates, and zooming out of sight.
We milled around for an hour in an intersection while police
figured out what to do. I think everyone left of their own volition.

Sunday a tranquil 300,000 person manifestation against the
governments new water plan took place. The plan calls for
privitazation of water and building of all these new reservoirs as
well as a whole bunch of other shit that is bad for the environment
and people (and good for golf courses).

The forums during the weekdays dealt with a variety of things;
from women and anti-globalization, to the new economic order, to
the all-important precedent of Genoa the film of which kinda
sucked because of all the pacifist rhetoric and because it included
that infuriating obligatory sequence of hippies gving flowers to
police. C´mon, anarchists need flowers too!)

==========
March 15th DAY OF DECENTRALIZED ACTION
==========

The Friday Day of Decentralized Action started out with an
anti-lobby action too early in the morning for me to wake up. It
was attended by 3000 people, had a couple arrests, and I´m sure,
struck fear into the hearts of lobbyist slime all across the
continent. Also not attended by me but to give you an idea how
much was happening was; a Zapatista mural painting, action for
release of Basque political prisoners, a blockade on the border to
protest the refusal of entry to 5,000 radicals (for money borders
come down, for us they get tighter), a manifesation of 2000 in
solidarity with Latin America, some sabotage against deserving
targets, and some boring marxist and catalan nationalist stuff.

My first action of the day was at the reasonable hour of 1pm,
however, it didn´t get going until 2 hours later. It was the
anti-capitalist demo, organized by anarchists, ok, not really
organized, called for. It was named ¨The Rich also Cry¨. When I
first walked by the meeting place the police were searching people
on La Rambla so I scooted around until the crowd thickened and I
was able to dive safely into the middle. Cops were lined up all
down the street sorrounding the growing crowd of 1000. For 2
hour nothing happened but suddenly the crowd swayed in one
direction, smashes were heard, and it stampeded back in the other
direction. I was doing the usual thing of ¨don´t run¨ etc when
some handily placed steel chairs were placed through the windows
of nearby police vans and at the riot cops next to me. Now the
crowd really panics, the police near me leap into their vans and try
to escape only to find them sorrounded by manifestantes fleeing
the narrow street. I find myself sorrounded by evil looking cops on
all sides and decide to get to safety, I cross in front of a van half
expecting to get run down just as the cops exit clubs a-swinging,
one of them sees me at the last moment and grabs me but I shake
loose, then I run. I get into a street with about 50 other people, we
lose track of the rest of the action as cops are quickly spreading
throughout Barrio Gotic. I de-mask and getting into tourist
disguise slip past lines of cops and eventually back to La Rambla
where I see the telltale smoke signs and am greeted by the warm
welcome of burning barricades. I follow a trail of firey barricades
through El Raval but can´t find the manifestation so I hope back
to La Rambla to find a couple hundred people back at the meeting
point. We´re dispersed with only a couple arrests I think. Police
actually closed all of La Rambla for the afternoon which made the
march a victory against the capitalist domination that reigns on
that street.

My next action that day was against bio-engineering, and was
quite uneventful and routine except for a couple confrontations
with police that the organizers kept trying to deflect. Though I did
learn the kickass chant ¨Police tools of the system¨ and they
actually looked ashamed. That march winded down to the plaza
where the Imperio Circus would be taking place. It was organized
by squatters and was really kickass including jugglers, acrobats,
clowns, plays, and chair lifters with their teeth. And all against
capitalism, the type of really great that we should do more of.

About 11pm I climbed the big hill by my houses and attended a
memorial of about 200 people on Carrer Genova for Carlo
Giuliani. Candles, spray painted slogans, and an indescribably
beautiful mural painted onto the concrete. (Though I was a little
dismayed that no one mentioned the non first world people who
have died in anti-globalization demonstrations).

============
MARCH 16TH CONTRA LA EUROPA DE CAPITAL AND LA
GUERRA
============

The next day was a music festival and then the
big-everyone-march. There were 2 main groups organizing it from
what I´ve gathered, 1) the Platforma Catalana, catalan socialist
nationalists (ever heard that combination of words before). They
were definitely represented at the weeks actions even bringing
catalan flags to the memorial before being shouted down to put
them away. I understand it´s more about cultural determination
but it´s a bit strange for me to see people waving the same flags
that the cops attacking us have on their lapels. But from what I
heard they didn´t make a very big showing at the actions. And 2)
Contra la Europa de Capital that was the main organizer.

I got there to find a see of people later estimated to be 500,000, the
largest anti-capitalist-globalization manifestation yet. I spent 45
minutes wading through the crowd only to find a couple little
anarchist flags. However, by the time that march left we had
grown to 5,000 people (squatters, autonomists, CNT, dangerous
youth, just normal anarchists and a couple insurection-ationists in
disguise) of red and black flags, banners, masks, and my dream
chant of ¨¡Viva Anarquia!¨. At first the march was pretty tranquil
but within a half hour we heard smashing noises behind us and
the crowd (including anarchists decked out in all the latest style of
dangerous agitaters) trampled over each other trying to escape as a
handful of cops defending a jewlery store were rained with debri
and bottles. The manifestation marshalls came over and started
yelling and accusing and we began to move on. Our block was
becoming a bit more agressive, when we passed the police station
it was greeted with a larger hail of debri. Much of which exploded
among the ¨marshalls¨ lined in front of the station or came to
close to hitting those of us in the manifestation. Again, this was
accompanied by the mad panicked stampede of hardcore
revolutionaries trying to escape. Reckless and stupid, when my
friend was almost bludgeoned by a bottle we moved up a little past
the banner to the flock of more experienced looking flags. Within
a couple minutes the rest of the block had fallen a bit behind our
contingent. Just as we stopped to go back we heard more noise,
and a herd of media and marshalls come stampeding towards us.
Police are being attacked, and banks being vandalized, but the rest
of our people are being sorrounded. We hear the echo of rubber
bullets and take refuge behind an ice cream cart as smoke bombs
go off. Just as we make plans with other anarchists around us to
go squeeze out the police between us the block breaks free, and
with a vengeance sets to vandalizing every target in sight. Tearing
up the street to get rocks as police push from behind. We see tons
of cop vans forming at La Rambla and see ourselves being boxed
in, we´re herded down to the Port and eventually escape down the
dark port street, coming back up to Colom only to find the police
doing cleaning operations and the manifestantes dispersing.

==========
CLOSING THOUGHTS
==========

All in all it was a victory. A week of inspiring actions culminating
in our biggest mobilization ever. But it did have a few disturbing
trends but let me first say. KICKASS JOB! to all the anarchists, all
the organizers who worked so hard, all the dancers rioters and
singers! To everyone who participated and supported! Great and
inspiring action! It was beautiful to see that there really are so
many of us. As the Manu Chau concert that night was named,
´There are millions of us and the world is still not ours¨. ok my
concerns.

A lack of direct action with the big march. If our movement comes
to be defined by symbolic marches we lose the thing that makes
us dangerous and a threat. Even the media senses this, they
effectively glossed over any of the stuff I saw. Politicians
complimented us on our well behaved pacifistic march (while also
emphasizing that ¨this new Economy can not be reversed¨).
There´s the danger that we´ll be co-opted by the system, a
socialist politician actually gave his cautious endorsement to this
(and socialists ARE politicians, no doubt). We need to avoid at all
costs being connected to the sleazy loyal opposition, and our
tactics need to reflect that we´re not in any way buying into their
values. Direct action and direct democracy are the bugspray for
these political hacks.

To do this we need to, as anarchists, be more open to getting new
people involved who aren´t part of our scenes and cliques. I think
also, that we need start doing some damage control on what we´re
really about because it´s not all about property destruction or
attacking cops. Here in Europe the Black Block has much less
support among other radicals because it´s been so loose here and
easy to infiltrate by cops (unlike where we got tight marches in
North America). It might even be a good idea to do what we did in
A16 after Seattle and have a meeting beforehand to decide what
things we wanna do, and then play a role that compliments other
demonstraters while still displaying our ideals and beliefs (during
A16 it won us North American anarchists numerous supporters
who previously thought we were just thugs, and made anarchism
more appealing that we could carry out these kickass actions
organizing as anarchists and look damn fine doin it). It also
wouldn´t hurt for us to organize a god damn training on ¨how to
riot¨ just giving basic information on good strategies so people
don´t fucking hit each other with bottles or panic every time a cop
comes. These are just thoughts, of course, there´s more options.
The next action will be bigger, we will be more experienced.
Fanstastic! Until the final victory!
¡Viva La Crisis De La Autoridad! ¡Viva Anarquia!

Snufkin Moomintroll at snufkin9@excite.com

a member of Daybreak Anarchist Collective
www.freespeech.org/mn/daybreak
PO Box 14007 Minneapolis MN 55404
daybreak@tao.ca


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