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(en) Ireland, WSM, Red and Black Revolution #8 After the Dust Settles - Lessons from the Summit Protests

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sun, 19 Dec 2004 07:37:30 +0100 (CET)


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In recent years anarchism has had a re-emergence in the popular
consciousness. For many people what was a piece of social history, a
slogan used by cartoon terrorists or a word associated with punk rock is
now a form of political struggle no matter how hazily understood. One of
the reasons for this has been the role anarchists have played in the
anti-globalisation movements and especially in the large anti-globalisation
demonstrations in the recent years.
Despite the very real problems associated with the idea of 'summit
hopping' and spectacular protest these manifestations have provided a
public face of anarchism and at least as importantly have given anarchists
an opportunity to work together and with likeminded groups in relatively
large numbers. The impact of these demonstrations has been global,
showing many that despite the end of the Cold War and the subsequent
much heralded 'end of history' that there is resistance to the neo-liberal
project and that social struggle has not gone away. The rise in radical
activity in Ireland, amongst other places, shows that events in far off lands
can also influence and promote resistance at home.

What is often overlooked is the impact these events have in the country
they take place in. Each manifestation has been different and each has
affected the 'host' grouping differently. This article is not supposed to be a
definitive account or survey on what happens to anarchists when the face
of global capitalism comes to their town rather it is a sample, a necessarily
brief study of some of what certain groups went through during the
organisation, participation in and fallout from these events.

The main sources for this article are interviews carried out over email with
Alice Dvorska of the Czech Slovak Anarchist Federation (www.csaf.cz),
Nicholas Phebus from Groupe Anarchist Emile Henry, a local affiliate of
the North Eastern Federation of Anarchist Communists (NEFAC
www.nefac.net) and Fabrizio and Stefano of the Genovese Federazione dei
Comunisti Anarchici (www.fdca.it)1. Unfortunately due to space
restrictions I have had to edit their responses in places and paraphrase
them in others.

Local anarchist movements

I first asked about the anarchist movments in the three cities. While the
movement was relatively young and small in Prague and Montreal, in
Genoa there was a longer legacy of anarchist struggle.

Prague

Historically there was an active anarchist movement in the Czech part of
the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Originally individualistic, it was later connected with anarcho-syndicalism
and mining strikes. The movement's foci were anti-militarism and
anti-clericalism. It also had an important cultural dimension with several
well-known poets and writers claiming to be anarchists.

Anarchist organisations and magazines were prohibited at the beginning of
World War I. Some struggled for the establishment of a Czech state
independent from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Czechoslovakia was
founded in 1918 and many of the anarchists joined the Czech Socialist
Party and later the Communist Party. Failed assassinations of government
Ministers led to repression of the remainder and signified the end of the
traditional anarchist movement. After that it was not possible to speak
about the anarchist movement until the end of the Bolshevik totalitarian
regime.

The first anarchist organisation, the Czechoslovak Anarchist Association,
was founded in October 1989 in Prague, a month before the fall of the
Communist regime. The first anarchist squats appeared between
1991-1993. The main issues of the movement were anti-fascism, animal
rights, environmental issues and the alternative culture connected with
squatting. In the second half of the 90s the movement became more
organised and raised new issues - e. g. class war and workers' struggles. It
was also in this period that the first attempts at anarchist organising began
in Slovakia. In 1995 the Czechoslovak Anarchist Federation (CSAF) was
established with a more specific theoretical and organisational structure.
Between 1996 and 1997 there were two breakaway anarchist groups, first
the Organisation of Revolutionary Anarchists - Solidarity (ORA-S) and
then the Federation of Social Anarchists (FSA). Both of them had a
considerable impact on the development of theory and on turning the
movement towards social problems and social anarchism.

An important impulse for Czech anarchism was the first street party which
took place in Prague in 1998 as part of a worldwide day of protest.
Anarchists' reclaiming of the street turned into a radical demonstration of
around three thousand people, struggles with the police, and an attack on
McDonald's. This massive protest and subsequent police repression
shocked the Czech public as this was the biggest protest after the Velvet
Revolution in 1989. It also addressed the issue of globalisation in the
Czech Republic for the first time and brought anarchists attention to the
issues involved.

The public perception of anarchists never was really positive in either of
the republics, with the general media image being mostly of violent
radicals and extremists.

Quebec

The anarchist movement in Quebec is mostly a new movement emerging
from a series of struggles fought around issues of neo-liberalism from the
mid-1990's on. No more than a few hundred largely unorganised
individuals were involved, mainly in anti-poverty, anti-police brutality and
student activist issues. There were two regular tabloid newspapers with
readerships in the hundreds, one a relatively new radical/insurrectionalist
paper called Le Trouble and the other an older libertarian socialist paper
bordering on reformist called Rebelles.

There was an old anarchist bookshop in Montreal and two groups who
distributed literature. There were also a number of anarchist influenced
small single issue 'mass' organisations. There were 2 (or maybe 3)
specifically anarchist groups, both of which were in NEFAC and had 6 to
10 members each. Anarchism was largely unknown to the general public,
even if there was a number of public exposures and even if a book on
anarchism became a bestseller around that time. Anarchists, however,
were known and generally respected in leftist, youth and community
activism circles.

Genoa

The anarchist movement in Genoa and in Liguria in general has always
been fairly active. Between the wars anarchists controlled the local Labour
Chamber in Sestri Ponente, which had 12,000 members. During the
fascist dictatorship they organised strikes in the factories and shipyards and
were involved in the Resistance, in the Garibaldi and Matteotti brigades
and also in autonomous groups like the SAP 2 Pisacane and SAP
Malatesta.

After the 2nd World War, the Genoese anarchist movement entered a long
period of crisis (as did the Italian movement in general) which continued
right up to the late '60s. In that period the anarchist centres filled up with
young people eager to become activists.

Throughout the years the libertarian communist wing set up groups such
as the Libertarian Communist Organisation (OCL), the Revolutionary
Anarchist Organisation (ORA), the Ligurian Libertarian Communist
Federation (FCLL) and, finally, the Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici
(FdCA).

Before the G8 protests the anarchist movement in Genoa was similar to
the rest of the country. There are two organisations, the Federazione
Anarchica Italiana (FAI) and the FdCA which represent a minority, both in
anarchism and on the local political scene. Fabrizio: In Genoa, the FAI
group is made up of a few individuals who come together on specific social
campaigns or for certain historical or cultural initiatives, while the FdCA
aims to rebuild an anarchist communist presence in Genoa and tries to act
as an organised political force. There are also a few informal groups of
comrades who usually meet in the Biblioteca Libertaria Francisco Ferrer
where they organise debates, book presentations and film evenings. Then
there is the Pinelli Social Centre, which is strongly libertarian and which
engages in a lot of political activity in its locality.

Q. What type of coalitions were organising the demonstrations in your
city?

Prague

Alice reported that in Prague the idea of organising against the meeting of
the IMF and WB was first floated at a meeting of the CSAF. She said that
the idea was vague at first since no-one knew exactly what the IMF wasor
had any idea of what big international protests looked like or how they
should be organised. After gathering information a plan and schedule were
developed which took until January 2000, when more structured and
concrete meetings started to take place and more people got involved. This
was when the idea of a loose group where people could take part on an
individual base without having ideological or other problems between their
particular organisations was accepted. This was called the Iniciativa Proti
Ekonomick╚ Globalizaci (INPEG, Initiative against economic
globalization) and involved individuals from CSAF, Solidarity (ORA-S),
Socialisticka Solidarita 3, Deti Zeme (environmental NGO), Amnesty
International and other groups as well as non-organised individuals.

Alice: The majority of the people were anarchists however. There were
some problems between the anarchists and Marxists from Socialisticka
Solidarita before, but we decided to work together because the whole thing
was so big, that we felt we need to unify our efforts. However we refused
to collaborate with other Marxist or Trotskyist organisations, that were
more strict and dogmatic.

The Czech movement (even if it got help from Slovak comrades) was, and
still is, quite small compared to other countries. After some time we
realised that it was simply too much work for the more or less 30 Czechs
who directly participated in INPEG so we asked internationals for help.
Our first volunteers came in spring and were from Britain and Norway. It
was also important to show the Czech public that we are organising
ourselves on an international level - there was never a protest joined by
internationals before in our country.

Montreal

Nicolas: CLAC started to organise, in Montreal, almost two years before
the Summit while CASA started maybe a year and a half before hand.
Radical reformists started to organise at the same time but it was way
longer to get the mainstream left to start to do something about it. There
was a large coalition called OQP-2001, which was made of local mass
organisations and political groups. We started by working with them but
we left early as we felt they where not democratic and they where
dogmatically non-violent. We did however continue to have people there,
delegated by their mass organisation, like me. I don't think OQP-2001 was
dominated by anyone but the Trotskyites did indeed have a strong
influence in it (but they were red-baited a number of time), at the end of
the day, however, it was the bigger and richer mass organisations (unions
mainly) that determined what was acceptable and what was not. While we
were not that big (never more then 50) we ended up having as many
skilled activists as OQP-2001 so they where forced to deal with us on an
equal footing. CASA was anarchist initiated. The NEFAC local proposed it
to another anarchist group. We met a number of times to write an appeal
and a proposed Aims and Principles (modeled on CLAC A&P). We then
held a large public meeting and proposed it there. It was not supposed to
be an anarchist group, it was 'just' anti-capitalist, anti-authoritarian and in
favour of a 'diversity of tactics' 4 We got 75 members right away (but many
of the reds left early to concentrate on OQP-2001). Unlike CLAC,
however, we did not use consensus and we were a little bit more formally
organised (Was this due to a platformist influence, or experience gained in
mass movements? Probably both).

Although it was not officially like that, the only group we really
collaborated with was CLAC. We organised everything together and held
numerous joint general assemblies. The rest of the crowd was just
following the plan we had set up or finding a way to fit in. We did indeed
try to be super-democratic by holding two large 'consulta' conferences. But
how are you supposed to organise with hundreds of people from all over
the place, some of them there on an individual basis, other than with
delegates? We ended up basically proposing/imposing a framework and
everyone just used it, adding a special touch here and there. It was really
chaotic!

Genoa

Fabrizio: For the anti-G8 protests in Genoa, the anarchists here started
preparing well in advance. There were initiatives in many parts of Italy.
Here, we could mention two: the national demonstration organised by the
Anarchici contro il G8 5 network and the 1st National Festival of
Alternativa Libertaria (the FdCA's newspaper). These were two
particularly visible events for a movement which was, for once, united and
which left inter-group rivalries aside. But they were above all two
occasions when the anarchist movement was able to address the people,
far from the militaristic situation on the streets of Genoa during the G8.
The vast majority of anarchists, those who were not organised and those
who were part of the FAI or FdCA, showed great political maturity on
those occasions.

Stefano: The Genoa Social Forum was made up of quite a mixed bunch:
political parties (Rifondazione Comunista), trade unions (FIOM, COBAS,
etc.), various sorts of associations (ATTAC, environmentalists, etc.) and
other sections of the movement (such as the Disobbedienti, then known as
the Tute Bianche). After the G8, some of the local structures remained
active, such as the Genoa, Ponente and Val Polcevera Social Forums.
These were mostly led by elements from Rifondazione Comunista or
Catholic groups. The Social Forums, however, have basically been a
failure as they haven't been able to remain independent of institutional
politics and in fact are more often than not used as a springboard for
aspiring politicians.

Fabrizio: A majority of anarchists viewed the counter summit as a circus
which would feature the same old comedy acts we have all too often seen,
and not as a real political match. The criticisms which came out of the
Anarchici contro il G8 network were of course directed at the summit
meeting, but also at the usual itinerant opposition rituals. For months, the
debate, with people like Casarini and Caruso 6 at the heart of it, was
centered on how to break into the Red Zone! Not only was that ever likely
to happen realistically, it could never have represented a real political
objective. The most hardcore elements, such as the so-called Black Bloc
or the class autonomists, found themselves more or less in agreement with
the Disobbedienti7 on this point, whereas anarchists, on the other hand,
believed that the counter summit should have become a political
opportunity to focus on the big questions of the day, such as social
injustice, exploitation and war. To challenge the State on the streets in
military fashion was pointless, especially since the battle had already been
lost, given the amount of repression which was unleashed in those days. It
should have been a chance to come together to develop a class-struggle,
social opposition to neo-liberalism. This is why Anarchici contro il G8
decided to take part officially in the demonstration organised by the
grassroots unions which took place in Sampierdarena, quite some way
from the infamous Red Zone. I believe that the anarchists' position on that
occasion was serious, responsible and represented an authentic
revolutionary force.

Q. In Ireland we experienced a certain level of police harrassement
when organising protests on May Day. What was your experience?

Prague

Alice: There were different levels of police harassment/repression:

- Harassment of internationals at the borders - a few people were denied
entry into CZ (Italians, US Americans and others)

- Policemen appearing at meetings (in uniform or secretly)

- Using the media to create an atmosphere of fear, the police did this
together with the Interior Ministry and minister.

Montreal

Nicolas: The harassment was on many levels. Many people where
followed and harassed. Some where fined, others arrested on bogus
charges. That was the municipal police. The Canadian secret services tried
to scare activists by visiting radicals at home (they went to several CASA
people's places, including mine). The federal police tried to foment
division within the broad movement, meeting with mass organisations and
warning them against us and inviting them to spy on us for them. The
provincial police went even further and infiltrated everyone, including
NEFAC (yeah, a police officer even attended our congress). This led to
more serious repression as a whole affinity group from Montreal was
arrested en route to Quebec City. They got heavy convictions and spent
months in prison. Several NEFAC members where arrested just prior to
the action or in the middle of it and there was evidence of long-term police
surveillance (one Boston comrade was told his whole travel route from
Boston to Quebec City). One of our members in Quebec City did some
prison time and was on house arrest and then probation for a long time
after his conviction.

Genoa

In Italy, after the disruption caused by protesters in Seattle, Prague and
Gothenburg the state embarked upon a series of previously unforeseen
security measures. The centre of town (the Red Zone) was completely
sealed off and a further 'yellow zone' was established where people were
subject to random searches. Warships were stationed in the bay and
missile arrays were erected. As if in response to these measures the Italian
media began to report various bomb and letter bomb scares as well as arms
and explosives finds.

Stefano: Italy has a long history of State terrorism (what is known here as
the strategy of tension8) and anarchists have always been at the centre of
this repression. Most people are aware of this, and certainly all those who
remember the events of the '70s. In my own experience, I have to say that
most of these stories are not taken too seriously.

Fabrizio: But I suppose we shouldn't be too surprised, after all, at the start
of the last century a Japanese anarchist was accused by the government
there of causing an earthquake! I don't think people really believe these
stories any more.

Q. What did you decide to do on the day and what influenced your
decision?

Prague

Alice: We agreed on the basic plan in one of the international meetings
before S26 9 and it was a result of a discussion that took about 11 hours,
horrible. We agreed on a carnival-like meeting on Namesti Miru (a square
in the center of Prague) that would later spread into 4 marches (yellow
with Ya Basta!, pink with socialists, silver-pink with people in pink and
silver carnival costumes and blue with anarchists) that would surround the
Congress center and block it so that the delegates inside wouldn't be able
to leave it - we justified this with the argument that we will keep them
inside until they decide to shut down the IMF/WB.

I think we were influenced by earlier events a lot, as this was the first
protest of this kind we ever had in CZ and we relied a lot on the help and
experience of internationals. On the other side we wanted to keep it
understandable for the Czech public, so this was one of the reasons why
we refused to do any violent actions in the name of INPEG. We got
inspired by some tactics of earlier events (e.g. blocking the delegates in
their hotels in the morning), the carnival-like way of doing protest actions
and we agreed with Ya Basta! that they would block the Nusle bridge in
front of the Congress center.

Quebec

Nicolas: The idea was to have a colour code for the protests and
geographical areas so people knew what to expect. Green was absolute
pacifism and no resistance.

Yellow was non-violent but with direct actions and resistance. Red was,
well, none of the above (I think we called it 'offensive direct action' but it
was a code word for Black Bloc). There were a number of 'green' protests
leading to the Summit. Our day of actions was on April 20. This was for 2
reasons. It was the day where most of the officials where arriving but it was
also because the union had planned a huge peaceful march the day after
and we wanted to respect that. For the 20th, the idea was to have a march
starting on the University campus (in the suburbs) going down town. The
march was Yellow because there was no way to guarantee a green march
thanks to the cops. At one point it was supposed to split in 3 directions
toward green, yellow and red zones.

The way the whole thing was organised was highly influenced by other
anti-globalisation protest (mainly Seattle and Prague). We wanted to find a
way where everyone could be comfortable, peacenik and black blockers
alike.

Genoa

Fabrizio: The feeling that a lot of comrades had was that both the summit
and the counter summit were imposed on us. We wanted to protest against
the G8 but we also wanted to avoid simply being a part of the no-global
cauldron and getting caught up in pointless rebelling in simulated and/or
real clashes. We weren't interested in any of that. The anarchists placed
themselves on the field of play as a revolutionary force with our own
analyses and programme. There were rumours that there would be
clashes, it was a sort of open secret. The State was ready to come down on
us, but was clearly in a much stronger position, militarily speaking. After
Gothenburg, there was also a realisation that someone could die. So, yes,
anarchists preferred to join the union demonstration (and not only
anarchists) and we announced our intention to do so. Anarchism was born
from the workers' struggles in the countryside and in the factories - and
that is where its place lies. And three years after Genoa I still stand by that
choice.

Q. Now that the dust has settled, what do you think were the successes
and failures of your action?

Prague

Alice: I think the biggest success of the actions was that the Summit of
IMF and WB was brought to an end one and a half days earlier that it
should have and the protests were one of the reasons. We also got a lot of
media attention and despite of the negative image we got we were able to
transmit one basic information to the Czech public - there is something
like the IMF and WB and a lot of people here and in the world don't agree
with their activities or the whole present economical system. Unfortunately
the majority of mainstream media and journalists weren't interested in the
reasons why we are against IMF/WB policies so we tried to transmit this
information with the help of our own media. S26 was also the biggest
protest action of this type ever in CZ and the number of 12,000 people is
really high for our conditions.

We also had some problems of course. I think that the two biggest were:

A) The fucking socialists from Socialisticka Solidarita didn't keep their
promise and did not act according to the plan of the four marches and
instead of joining the pink one they joined the yellow march which resulted
into a very strong yellow (maybe 6,000 people) and weak pink one (maybe
some hundreds of people) and this lead into an incomplete blockade of the
Congress center.

B) We knew that the most radical people will join the blue march/block,
but we didn't expect this level of violence. The other thing is also that the
violence in Lumirova street was completely useless and didn't make any
sense from a strategic point of view. Later it was just a good excuse for the
police brutality that followed. I also got the feeling that those people who
were violent (mostly internationals, but also some Czechs) later just went
home and left the Czech INPEG people on their own with the problems
that resulted from the violence (bad image, police and Nazi harassment,
verbal and sometimes even physical attacks on streets which continued for
at least for half a year).

Quebec

Nicolas: It went pretty well as planed but there were two marches from the
start. I think there was between 8 and 10,000 people (and that's for a
march called for by explicit anti-capitalists and pro-diversity of tactics
organisations). As soon as the march hit the wall, the black bloc tore it
down. That was cool. I was in the Green zone and it was marvelous with
literally thousands of people from the neighborhood out there to 'occupy it'
(we - the Comite Populaire- said that the best way to protect the hood was
to occupy it with a Street Party and not leave it to the cops).

On the 21st, however, things did not go as planned. First, we had several
organisers arrested. Second, most radicals did not answer our call to do an
anti-capitalist bloc in the union march; many just went directly to the wall
to besiege the summit and police. Third, there was a sea of people
(between 40,000 and 50,000) and we where completely lost in it, unable to
regroup more then a few hundred people.

Many, many, many unionists (a third of the march, half?) however did
come with us to the conflict zone and participate in the fun (the union
leadership led the rest to a parking lot miles away for the conflict zone!).
On the 22nd, we organised some 'clean up teams' in the community. That
too went well.

Genoa

Stefano: The Genoa demos made it very clear to a wide audience that there
was strong opposition to the neo-liberalist programme. In particular, many
young people were drawn for the first time to the world of politics as a
result of what the movement was saying. On the other hand, the
powers-that-be were able to shift media attention onto the problems of
public order, thereby hiding the message that the movement was trying to
project. In the days and weeks that followed, the only thing being talked
about was the Black Bloc, the devastation, the repression, and so on.

Fabrizio: The counter summits have provided publicity for the summits,
that much seems clear. If the big guys can't meet in Paris, then they'll
meet in Alaska, or they won't bother meeting and just talk to each other by
phone. Whatever else they may do, they won't stop the oppression and
exploitation just because a bunch of boy scouts and Tibetan monks hang
off the railings of the Red Zone, or because the Black Block set fire to a
few cars and smash a few shop windows.

It is difficult to say what anarchists in general thought of the Black Block.
Obviously anyone who declares themselves to be anarchist is free to do
what he or she feels is best regarding action. We simply thought it was
better not to get dragged into a military-style confrontation, something
which the government was clearly hoping for.

We did not think it was in any way productive to launch an assault on the
Red Zone (like the Disobbedienti and friends) or to indulge in petty acts of
rebellion, like setting fire to cars and smashing windows. From day one, it
was our intention to communicate with the people of Genoa and of the
world. The problem is not to be seen, it is to be a real opposition. And we
can only be that if we work within the real movements which are
developing in society, in the world of labour, 365 days of the year. We are
not interested in appearing to be an opposition; we want to BE the
opposition.

Q. What was the effect of the protests on the public perception of
anarchism in your country?

Prague

Alice: I think that it (public opinion of anarchists) got worse than it was
before. I mean the media would talk about us in a bad way even if there
wasn't any violence, but this gave them a brilliant excuse.

On the other hand it is very difficult to say what the public was thinking
about anarchists or the protesters in general. If I can speak for my own
person - the only real arguments I had afterwards were the ones with my
mother. My friends, students and teachers from university or people I met
on the streets/in the pubs that recognized me were more curious than
hostile and were asking questions about how it was and what I think about
the whole thing. So one thing was the media hysteria which was huge and
the other thing was the people I met and most of them were OK. But of
course I met also some hostile people and heard about problems other
INPEG activists had afterwards e.g. in university.

Quebec

Nicolas: Hard to tell. We discovered that we could have a mass appeal and
that we were not forced to spread our message in the hundreds but that it
could be done in the thousands and tens of thousands. We won a lot of
sympathy in the public - we won the battle of ideas against everyone - but
we did not have the critical mass to capitalise on this. We were
overstretched by the Summit and a lot of comrades literally collapsed after
it (there were a few real burnout and some depressions leading to
hospitalisation). It was intense. No anarchist institutions in Quebec City
survived the Summit; everything was shaken to the foundation. It was a
cataclysmic event. It took us close to a year before we started to have a
stable and effective NEFAC local again (and it was no stronger then
before, just not exactly the same people).

In retrospect, I think we were strengthened by it. There is now a bigger
scene than before and I would say the number of anarchists activists has
doubled if not more. We are now strong enough as a movement to sustain
an infoshop which never happened before.

It did, however, have a catastrophic effect on our relation with the other
left groups. Before that, we had cordial relations with them and we used to
do a lot of stuff in coalition with all the revolutionary forces. Now we do
everything on our own (and both sides have generally better results then
we did together). We don't even go to each others' events. The division is
there, deep.

Genoa

Stefano: There was a demo shortly after the summit (to mark the death of
Carlo Guiliani) - a vigil in Piazza de Ferrari in the heart of the Red Zone,
right beside Palazzo Ducale where the summit took place. The square was
jammed with people, many from outside the movement. On the first
anniversary in July 2002, there was a huge march in Genoa - huge not
only in numbers, but also in the strength it expressed - for many, me
included, it was a sort of liberating rite. That march was also noticeable for
the size of the anarchist sector, though a part of the movement (including
the class autonomists) chose to march separately on more radical
positions.

Fabrizio: I think the anarchist movement is seen with new interest today.
Anarchist communist positions in particular are viewed with greater
sympathy, above all by those who have been disappointed by the
neo-social democratic policies of Rifondazione Comunista. There has been
a great deal of repression against all sectors of the anarchist movement,
particularly against the Pinelli Social Centre which has been the target of
several police searches and fascist attacks.

The FdCA's website has witnessed increased traffic in recent years and we
are making new contacts all over Italy. In fact, our federation has grown,
both in quantity and in quality. There is a great deal of authentic respect
for our political positions, positions which we bring with us into whatever
area we feel is willing to listen.

Despite our growth the FdCA remains a small organisation in a big city
like Genoa and in the Ligurian region and we are still unable to make a big
impact in politics in the area. The people who joined our federation after
the G8 did so, not only because of what we did during the summit, but
also, and mainly, because of our political initiatives after the G8. I honestly
don't know if the same can be said for the FAI in Genoa or for the rest of
the anarchist movement in the city, because once again, I'm afraid,
relations with these groups are few and far between.

Q. Hindsight is 20:20. If you were going to do it all over again what
would you do differently?

Prague

Alice: Apart from some details I would change three things and I think that
also the other INPEG people would change this:

1. To deal with the violence question before the protests more carefully,
this means to be more careful in what we are going to tell the media. Now
there also appears the idea of media boycott during protests - simply to
refuse any contact with them (this is not my personal opinion, but some
people like it).

2. Not to work with any socialists/Marxists again (after September they
were kicked out of INPEG).

3. To think more about the strategy after the day of action - all our plans
and thoughts ended with S26 and we didn't think about how to deal with
the consequences.

Quebec

Nicolas: I would not put all my eggs in the same basket (but did we have
the choice?) and I would try to defend the integrity of the organisation
(NEFAC) so that we have continuity. But then, I am not sure that would
have been possible at the time.

Genoa

Fabrizio: As far as we are concerned, very little, if anything. If it were
possible, we would have tried to succeed in convincing our comrades of
the uselessness of getting involved in what proved to be a trap - the
demonstrations where it was known there would be trouble, and which
eventually led to the death of Carlo Giuliani. The various police forces and
the government were simply waiting for it to happen. What we have to do
is forget all that, ignore the provocation and above all, patiently work
towards the building of a class-struggle anti-capitalist movement, rather
than a free-for-all anti-globalization movement with everything but the
kitchen sink.

by Jack White

BOX with article

Where? When? What? - The Protests

Seattle (1999): Meeting of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)

Prague (2000): Meeting of the International Monetary Fund (the IMF) and
the World Bank (WB) on September 26th (also known as S26)

Gottenberg (2001): Meeting of EU heads of state and anti-Bush protest in
June.

Quebec (2001): Meeting of 34 heads of state at the Summit of the
Americas in April.

Genoa (2001): Meeting of the leaders of the G8 countries in July.

Dublin (2004): Meeting of EU heads of state.

Alpahabet Soup - The Protestors

Czech Republic

Anarchist groups
Czech Slovak Anarchist Federation (CSAF)
Organisation of Revolutionary Anarchists - Solidarity (ORA-S)
Federation of Social Anarchists (FSA).

Umbrella group organising protests;
Iniciativa Proti Ekonomick╚ Globalizaci (INPEG, Initiative against
economic globalization)

Quebec

Anarchist groups
Groupe Anarchist Emile Henry, part of the North Eastern Anarchist
Federation (NEFAC)

Umbrella groups organising protests
Convergence of Anti-Capitalist Struggles (CLAC)
Summit of the Americas Welcoming Committee (CASA)
OQP-2001

Genoa

Anarchist groups
Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici (FdCA)
Federazione Anarchica Italiana (FAI)

Umbrella groups organising protests:
Genoa Social Forum
Anarchici contro il G8

Footnotes

1. All unreferenced quotes are taken from these interviews. I also used
previously published texts, see rest of footnotes for details.

2. SAP stands for "Squadre di Azione Partigiana" which could translate as
"Partisan Action Squads"

3. Czech sister organisation to our own Socialists Workers Party.

4. Diversity of tactics: respect for and pursuit of a wide variety of actions
from marching, through civil disobedience to property destruction and
beyond.

5. "Anarchici contro il G8" was made up of: 14 FAI groups, FdCA, FAS
(Sicilian Anarchist Federation), Circolo Durruti (anarchist group
connected to USI syndicalist union) and about 40 other "non-aligned"
anarchist groups from all over Italy. Its structure was the typically
libertarian horizontal form, with assemblies making decisions.
Interestingly enough it had one typically "platformist" feature - collective
responsibility. This feature strongly characterized the network throughout
its existence".

6. Casarini and Caruso: leading figures in the Disobbedienti.

7. The Disobbedienti are a group with ideological roots in 1970's Italian
autonomist politics and Zapatista solidarity. Heavily involved in social
centres and squatting they have also become a large part of the Italian
anti-capitalist movement and are into defensive and symbolic acts of
resistance.

8. The name "strategy of tension" usually indicates the period roughly
from 1969 to 1974, when Italy was hit by a series of terrorist bombings,
some of which caused large numbers of civilian deaths. The authors were
right-wing extremists maneuvered by intelligence and military structures
aiming at providing a pretext for reactionary elements to strengthen
themselves against an increasingly strong and effective working class
movement.

9. S26 stood for September 26th.
========================================
This article is from Red & Black Revolution (no 8, Winter 2008)
http://struggle.ws/wsm/rbr/rbr7/index.html
Read more articles from this issue
http://struggle.ws/wsm/rbr.html

Print out a PDF file of Issue 8
http://struggle.ws/wsm/pdf/rbr/rbr8.html
Back issues of Red and Black Revolution
http://struggle.ws/wsm/rbr.html#Back


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