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(en) G8 in Lausanne - With love from a Black Block* activist...

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Wed, 4 Jun 2003 21:35:35 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E

In support of the solidarity messages from the blockaders in
Lausanne because solidarity is our strength, and my thoughts
about chosing to run with the Black Blockade on Sunday.

I participated in the Black Blockade in Lausanne on Sunday and in
the non-violent resistance to the invasion of the Bourdenette camp.
I have just read the messages of Solidarity posted by members of
Pink and Silver (P&S) Blockade on Indymedia UK and was moved
to tears. Solidarity is our strength. In the face of the massive
repression going on now in Geneve, you make me feel strong again.
I wanted to express my support for your views and to explain some
of my personal reasons for chosing to run with the Black Blockade
on Sunday.

I have, in my lifetime, participated in many different kinds of action.
My experience has shown police repression and state violence is
not a response to violent demonstrationse, but to effective ones.
We have the right to ineffective protest, outside the "yellow zones"
which protect the powerful and enable them to ignore us.

I took part along with millions of people world wide in the largely
peaceful demonstrations on 15th February 2003. I watched as they
ignored us, and went to war in the name of democracy. It made me
sick and angry. It showed that the biggest demonstration in history
will not change things if it just voices dissent. Direct action of all
colours is the only way to make change.

All the blockades on Sunday took place in this spirit. They were
NOT about expressing an opinion. The people's "opinion" of the
fucked up system we live in has been voiced load and clear, time
and time again. The blockades were about direct disruption of a
high profile meeting of heads of state - to actively make the G8 face

Personally I felt that because our actions might be effective, we
would certainly be attacked. I wanted to be able to defend myself
and those around me. This was confirmed to me when the first
police charges took place in Laussanne. The first charges were
against the P&S carnival, not the Black Block. The two Blocks were
clearly seperate, acting in different areas. The police fired gas into
the peaceful carnival because it got too close to the delegates
route: i.e. because it was effective.

Many of the P&S Block ran to behind the Black Block who were
more prepared to defend against the attack. If it wasn't for the
active resistance slowing the police advance the space we held
would have been cleared much more quickly. If it wasn't for the
music and energy of the P&S Block it would have been a very dark
place to be. When the two blocks merged under police attack it gave
the space life and refused to give it up without a fight.

Being attacked by heavily armed riot police is terrifying. It has
happened to me many times now and I think you never get over the
fear. But I have come to feel more and more like fighting back and I
have come to understand more the value of the Black Block.

A "Black Block" is not the same as a riot. In the looting and street
fighting I saw in Geneve the people were mostly local kids, some
didn't even cover their faces. They broke any windows for the rush
of it and threw anything at the police, in anger (launching plastic
bottles at armoured riot police will not have much impact...) For me
this popular anger is a response the result of alienation and the
crushing of people's lives and spirits by wage slavery, media
propaganda and consumerism. It is beatiful in its way but it is not
the same as a Black Block.

A well organised Black Block (like we were on Sunday) is made of
autonomous groups of friends who are well prepared and take the
streets with some common tactical understanding of what we are
there for. To take spacea and defend it with barricades and
projectiles, to use the fleeting moment in which we control the
space to destroy the property and symbols of the disgusting system
we are all forced to live under. This property damage is NOT
"random vandalism" it is highly political and usually carefully
targetted. On Sunday I saw debates between different groups (and
languages!) about the politics of different targets, stones in hand.
Some targets were attacked, others left intact as a result of these

The smashing and burning created by the Black Block is as
important as the music and colour created by the carnival. If we just
fight and destroy we will create a very bleak new world, and
Anti-capitalist movements are strong beacuse they are imaginative
and diverse, but some messages are crystal clear:

Capitalism Kills. People suffer and die because of Capitalist
exploitation and wars. The planet is being consumed by pollution
and destruction. Millions are made refugees by economic,
ecological and military abuses. They are persecuted, detained and
deported. The way of life in the G8 countries is based on this
suffering and persecution...

If we really mean this then to just go into the streets and party is an
entirely inadequate response. It is right to respond to overwhelming
injustice with anger and entirely appropriate to leave Lausanne and
Geneve looking like a war zone for a short while. If these sumits
take place to the sound of helicopter blades amid burning
barricades and tear gas it unmasks the real violence hidden by the
slick corporate show. And it makes people sit up and take notice in
a way that marching peacefully cannot achieve. It gets noticed and
opens political space for ideas to break through and grow.

George Orwell once commented that a society in which it is a crime
to kill one person but not to drop 10,000 tonnes of high explosive on
a residential area sometimes made him feel that this planet is an
insane asylum made use of by other planets. I feel the same way
when I see the scandal raised in the media about a few broken
windows when our western way of life is so dependent on abuse,
terror, poverty and exploitation. The hysterical condemnation of
Black Block "violence" is, to me, slightly insane.

I think this view may have been shared by the genuinely surprising
number of residents of Lausanne who came out into the street and
onto their balconies to wave at the masked up black block and
accept the free food and cigarettes, liberated from the looted shops,
with a little smile. Those people were not threatened by the black
block's clearly targetted attacks. The parents and children were
caught in the indescriminate police gas attacks in the park were
terrified, but not of the masked up Black Block activists who helped
them to safety. One small girl gave me a kiss in thanks. Everone I
know who was in the Black Block on Sunday really cares, that is
why they are there.

This is just a stream of my thoughts and it is getting late so I stop
now. There should also space for criticism of many of the ways we
worked this weekend, but right now the battle is still going on and
there is so much to do. I just wanted to add a Black Block voice to
the celebrations of the co-operation and diversity of our movement
posted here.

with love and solidarity

* [Ed. Note: The organized Black Blocks are usually consisted
of anarchists and other anti-authoritarian revolutionaries of the left]

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