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(en) G20: Call out for solidarity and support for Australian anarchist

Date Wed, 26 Dec 2007 15:02:36 +0200



In a time of International repression against activists all over the globe, we
are calling out for letters of support and solidarity for anarchists arrested
and facing severe repression after the G20 economic forum protests of November
2006 in Melbourne, Australia. ---- On the weekend of November 18 and 19, 2006,
the G-20 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors was held at the
Grand Hyatt Hotel in Melbourne, Australia. The G20 meeting happens annually and
is attended by finance ministers from 20 nations, including the USA, the
European Union and China amongst others. ---- The G20 of 2006 was attended by
Paul Wolfowitz, former World Bank leader and well known mastermind of the 'War
on Terror', and the Energy and Minerals Business Council (comprised of BHP
Billiton, Rio Tinto and other powerful mining and oil companies) which lobbied
G20 delegates over a business lunch.

It was a meeting of neo-liberals pushing its economic/societal
philosophy on the rest of the world, enriching its member nations at
the expense of the rest of the world, and effecting global politics
for the benefit of powerful corporations. Unsurprisingly, anarchists
and anti-capitalists set out to disrupt the smooth-running of this
meeting.

+++

Prior to the anti-G20 protests, the following call out was sent out to
form an 'Arterial Bloc':

"This is what we want: lives worth living, lives of dignity and
autonomy and we want to work together against capitalism and the state
to achieve this. And we want to do it now. The only power we have is
each other, and this is more than enough. To this end we want to work
together in a bloc. To come together and form an active, living
community of struggle based on autonomy, solidarity and democracy. We
want a community that confronts and overcomes all forms of social
oppression. We want to develop collective power and collective
communication. Not to follow, not to lead, but to work out how we can
organise ourselves.

This is what we want: To confront the G20 more directly as it meets -
maybe taking our protest right to their meeting; or maybe confronting
capital another way. We want our disobedience and our creation of
other ways of living to be effective as we can make it. We know that
capitalism will deploy numerous forms of repression and discipline to
contain us, and we have no wish to be, or see others, beaten and
imprisoned. We have no time for violent macho fantasy or delusions
about Ghandi. Our bodies, our lives, our desires are too precious to
fuck with. We want to be smart, joyful and defiant, not martyrs.

We believe that an effective bloc is made up of many people who have
many different skills and capacities. Sometimes the most crucial
skills (such as the ability to care) can get forgotten when the focus
is on more "exciting" things. But we all have something to offer, and
we are equals. None of us are heroes; together we can help each other
to be brave, happy and rebellious."

+++

A counter summit was held the week before at a recently squatted
social centre 'A Space Outside', in which activists met for workshops
and discussion on many different topics as well as to plan for the
coming anti-capitalist protests and 'Arterial Bloc' logistics. Within
the two days prior to the G20 protests, both the 'A Space Outside'
squat and another squatted Anarchist social centre 'The Wake' were
evicted by a special G20 police task force 'Salver', and footage taken
by the police was later used to arrest activists involved in the
protests.

Despite this setback, on the Friday, small autonomous groups of
activists invaded several offices around Melbourne, including those of
arms companies, energy corporations and army recruiting centres. All
branches of the ANZ bank in the Melbourne CBD were closed due to
attacks by protesters against the ANZ investment in military
industries.

The main anti-globalisation protest was organised by a coalition
planning a 'carnival against capitalism' and also other reformist
'Make Poverty History' concerts were held. While the carnival protest
was just warming up, the 'Arterial Bloc' of anarchists in white
chemical suits and masks broke through security barriors and destoyed
road-blocks. In confrontations with both plain uniform and riot
police, the bloc collected industrial bins and dumpsters and used tram
tracks to slide them against barricades and into police.

Various projectiles were thrown resulting in minor injuries to the
police, the most serious being a broken wrist. The bloc moved around
the streets in an attempt to gain entrance to the blocked off hotel,
at one stage a police arrestation truck was attacked, being pelted
with bottles and having its windows completely smashed. By 15:00 that
day the city centre had gone into lock down.

Later that night, clashes occurred outside the parliament building
between police and protesters who were having a festive celebration
around a car 'dragon' in which some activists were locked-on to. The
police were especially vicious and protesters were beaten, including
one who had his arm broken.

The following morning a small group of anti-g20 protesters were
brutally attacked outside the Melbourne Museum, where delegates were
meeting, hospitalising one woman.

During the weekend a small number of people were arrested, all of
which were later released. One young tourist, mistakenly identified as
a G20 protester, was bailed into a van by un-uniformed police,
interrogated, assaulted and abused, before later being released from
custody.

The state's police chief declared she never wanted another such
economic forum held in Melbourne again.

Of course, it wasn't until after this that the real repression started
against activists. Commercial media fabricated lies about the actions
of protesters, claiming that the 'arterial bloc' was a contingent of
black bloc anarchists from Europe who traveled the world in search of
anti-capitalist summits to start trouble.

The protesters were called violent thugs, and tabloid newspapers
filled up their pages with photographs of rioter's faces with a phone
number to call if you knew someone to dob into the police. Included in
the newspapers were stories of injured police and their families, how
the poor police were in plain uniform and not riot gear, and were just
doing their job when they were attacked.

A special police task force 'Salver' (the meaning of which is quite
ironic...) was set up to arrest those involved in the protest, and
with their own footage, and that which they forced people to give
them, they made a list of 28 'persons of interest' whose photographs
were published in a mainstream newspaper, despite this breaking
numerous codes of conduct.

Unfortunately the general public dobbed in the majority of these
'persons of interest' to the police, and a number gave themselves in
under the pressure on themselves and their communities. The remaining
few mostly went into hiding and have disappeared from the activist
scene, as with many arterial bloc members who were lucky enough to
escape being a 'person of interest'.

In march this year, a special anti-terrorism unit performed dawn raids
on houses throughout Sydney, arresting activists as they slept in
their beds. On top of all this, as to be expected, there has been a
major backlash from leftist 'non violent' groups, mainly from
privileged white backgrounds, publicly speaking out against the
'violent protesters' and how they ruined the 'peaceful demonstration'.
One major socialist figure threatened to inform the police of arterial
bloc members he knew personally. It doesn't need to be said, of
course, that the same people were supporting the people of Oaxaca,
Mexico, in their uprising the week before. (far, far away...)

Over 40 people have been arrested for their involvement in the
protests, with charges of riot & affray, assault of a police officer,
property damage, and theft. Those arrested have their lives
effectively run by the state, with most having to report into a police
station every 2 weeks and not being able to travel outside of their
state.

Task force 'Salver' publicly announced that it would end in May 2007,
and it was initially thought that the tough measures of repression
were being used to keep anarchists away from the APEC summit in Sydney
in June 2007, where George W Bush was attending and the city turned
into a veritable police state. However, since then the arrests have
continued. Exactly one year after the G20, one New Zealand anarchist
was arrested at Sydney airport while transferring to a flight to
Spain. Another Brisbane man was arrested just last week.

The court cases are being dragged out for as long as possible, with
the arrestees in a constant state of surveillance, anxiety and
uncertainty.

As for the anarchist scene in Melbourne and around Australia, there
has been a drastic drop in any dissent against the government. The
scene is full of paranoia, fear, and even regret.

The police, government and media joined forces in this repression
against dissent to silence voices of opposition against capitalism and
the status quo, and to frighten activists into never contemplating
attacking its power ever again. And it has succeeded.

With the recent sentencing of Genoa G8 activists in Italy to 110 years
of prison collectively, the article 129a in Germany used to repress
organised dissent and label activists as terrorists, the recent
'anti-terror' raids against Maori, environmentalist and anarchist
activists in Aotearoa (New Zealand), and many, many other examples of
repression happening currently all around the world, this is a call
out for letters and emails of solidarity and support for anarchists of
Australia who have been arrested for opposing the exploitation of
people of third world countries, the destruction of our natural world
and the status quo which keeps powerful corporations and CEOs rich
while keeping the rest of us poor.

In a country as isolated as Australia, and without any real history of
resistance, it is important for people to know that this is not an
isolated case of repression. That these tactics of silencing dissent
are occurring the world over, and have been used for centuries against
anarchists everywhere. That the actions of the 'arterial bloc' are not
those of 'violent thugs' but rather valid forms of protest that are
used commonly around the world...

If you have a spare 5 minutes, please take the time to write a small
email or letter to the arrestees awaiting trail to show your
solidarity and support in our global struggle against capitalism to:
afterg20@gmail.com

Or post a general solidarity message on Sydney Indymedia:
http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/ (melbourne indymedia fell apart after
post g20 backlash...)

Love and International Solidarity!

For more information, see:

http://afterg20.org/index.htm
http://arushandapush.blogsome.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_G20_summit

See also:
A first communiqué from two uncitizens of Arterial Bloc
Another Reflections on the Arterial Bloc at the Counter-G20
Convergence in Melbourne Australia
Support for G20 arrestees

[original article]
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