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(en) Australia, Melbourne, A Space Outside* #1 - Direct action: corporate engagement day

Date Sat, 14 Oct 2006 07:20:24 +0200


On Friday 17th November, let's give new meaning to the term "Corporate
Engagement" On Wednesday 31st August 2005, affinity groups of between
ten and forty people descended on different corporate targets in Sydney's
CBD as part of the Forbes mobilisation that protested against the
meeting of 300 of the world's richest CEOs.
Due to the unexpected nature of these corporate visits, business as usual was
successfully disrupted at ANZ Bank branches, coal exporter Xstrada and other
corporate offices. When affinity groups simultaneously visited four ANZ
branches over the course of the afternoon, we shut down all branches in the
Sydney CBD for three days. These office occupations drew attention to ANZ's
financial relationship to the Iraq Trade Bank who
are profiting from reconstruction and de-
velopment in Iraq and assisting the pro-
cess of privatising Iraq's oil. The triumph
of this day can be partly attributed to the
spontaneity and degree of focus of these
decentralised direct actions.
A Space Outside will build on lessons
learned at the Forbes mobilisation. On
Friday 17th November when the G-20 hit
town, affinity groups will seek to directly
disrupt the flow of capital.
At the crux of the G-20 is their Accord
for Sustained Growth (subtitled: Stability,
Competition and Empowerment: Mobil-
ising Economic Forces for Satisfactory
Long-Term Growth. Yippee!). This is the
big G-20 gun, its where the bullshit stops
and they start firing. Let's take a snap at
the dreamy merry-go-round of happy
capital ideologues:
Competition is the driving force of eco-
nomic growth because it fosters efficiency
and stimulates innovation. It is also essen-
tial for strong investment activity. Care-
fully designed policies of deregulation,
privatisation, and liberalisation of inter-
national transactions are important means
of strengthening competition. However,
ensuring competition and the function-
ing of markets requires setting the right
incentives through efficient institutional
arrangements. In particular, policy makers
should aim at strengthening and enforc-
ing intellectual and other property rights,
contract law, bankruptcy procedures and
anti-trust regulations. Also, efforts will
be required to promote good governance
and combat corruption.
We of A Space Outside think its time to
bite the bullet and spit it right back! In
the past twenty years the central banks
of the world have exploded the specu-
lative investment market to the point
where it has become the largest element
of international investment. This is part
of the same system that seeks to deregu-
late, privatise and liberalise international
markets and basic services such as pub-
lic infrastructure i.e. water and educa-
tion. The high flight of fancy fashion of
speculative capital leaves it to the whim
of these banks: who will have a job one
day and not the next? Who will have a
house today and not tomorrow? These
are the same banks that have left coun-
tries such as South Africa with huge levels
of odious debt after investing millions
in the Apartheid government. They are
the reason why the government there has
privatised much of its infrastructure that
few can afford, while paying back the
Apartheid debt to maintain investment.
In this regard we have to say "well we
can't really combat corruption when the
market encourages instability to people's
livelihood through unchecked corporate
action that is corrupt anyway!"
Of their talk of innovation we can see
that they encourage competition as stimu-
lating knowledge and then shut it down
enforcing intellectual property rights.
How can the systemic monopolisation of
medicine and agriculture by business cre-
ate incentives for the sharing of innova-
tion and ideas?
It can't! It's not about sharing; it's about
selling.
So in one way we agree with the G-20, it
is true: efforts will be required to
promote good governance and combat
corruption.
On behalf of the G-20 we dedicate
Friday the 17th to this.
Let Friday now be known as CORPO-
RATE ENGAGEMENT DAY! Are
you cranky at ANZ for investing in the
Iraq war, or Kellogg Brown and Root as
another business profiting from the war?
Australian Federal Treasurer Peter
Costello has personally put Energy and
Mineral Resources on the G-20 Mel-
bourne agenda with the explicit purpose
of discussing ways to preserve Australia's
massive energy consumption per head of
population that seems to be part of "the
Australian way of life". As the govern-
ment seeks to expand the uranium indus-
try, shall we engage with nuclear compa-
nies? It might be time to pay them a visit
and tell what we think.
Let's face it, a market run rampant is a
market run rampant with ethically ques-
tionable profit oriented business. It is
time to make the world aware. The day is
dedicated to small groups targeting busi-
nesses, street theatrics, manic ranting and
crazy enjoyment. Get together with your
mates around one of the many dodgy
businesses in the CBD and give them
a piece of your mind! Hope to see you
there.
==========================
*Anti-authoritarian collective.
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