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(en) Australia, Sydney, anarchist zine Mutiny #30 - (The threat of) mass direct action gets the goods - Mutiny statement on the cancelled war fair

Date Tue, 30 Sep 2008 10:06:56 +0300

When people first started talking about shutting down the APDSE (Asia Pacific
Defence and Security Exhibition), which was to be held in Adelaide from November
11, it seemed like an almost impossible task. Now they've announced that they've
called it off! And they called it off because of fears of protests from `feral
anarchists', including `the ultra-militant protest group Mutiny.'
It's obvious that this victory really had very little to do with us. The arms
fair was called off because of the hard work of many people organising against
it. The South Australian government wasn't scared of our small collective: they
were scared of disruption from the large, militant demonstration and blockade
that was being planned. It's obvious that an arms fair isn't going to be
popular. The state and the capitalist media aren't really fooling anyone when
they call their weapons festival `defence' & our plans to stand in its way

It's clear that when the acting SA premier talked about `feral, low-life
people,' who are `dangerous to society,' he was talking about everyone who was
planning to protest the arms fair. He was trying to insult and isolate everyone
involved in grass roots organising:
those who would have chosen to blockade, as well as those whose understanding of
`non-violence' would have led them to less direct forms of protest.
We see similarities between his use of the usual clichés to denounce the
entire protest and how, in the past, certain protest groups have condemned
others who
do not strictly follow their ideas of what a protest should be. The strength
of any mass protest is our ability to work together with a variety of tactics, &
no group gains the right to dictate what behaviour is appropriate simply by
calling themselves `non-violent'.
We hope that next time there's such a public media attack on `violent rotesters'
others will remember that it's an attack on them too, and will stand in
solidarity with those targeted rather than seeking `respectability' by
distancing themselves (or by joining in the attack).
We all shut down the arms fair before it happened because it was clear that
there was going to be a public and disruptive refusal to tolerate it, and that
this was part of a broad opposition to the arms fair.
The cancellation of the arms fair showed clearly the power of shared intent &
respect for a diversity of tactics. It was a victory because people who wanted
to physically blockade the conference site refused to be excluded by debates
about `non-violence', but insisted that standing in the way of this arms fair
was the right thing to do.
Mutiny was merely a scapegoat for the decision to shut it down. However, the
successful protest planning - and the victory it won us all - makes us feel
that, even though it has made us a target for police attention and unwanted
publicity over the past few years, our decision to talk openly about the
politics of militant direct action has been worth something.
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