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(en) Britain, Days of Dissent*: Reflections on Summit Mobilisations** - Introduction

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sat, 27 Nov 2004 13:38:32 +0100 (CET)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
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Over the last decade a global movement has emerged which
has called itself `anti-capitalist'. This emergence has been a
process of diverse movements making real links with one
another: discussing, learning, reflecting and acting together.
The Zapatista enquentros, the emergence of the Peoples'
Global Action (PGA) Network, the globally co-ordinated days
of action, the Summit mobilisations and the Indymedia network
have contributed to the creation of a worldwide network of
groups, organisations and individuals, mostly autonomous
from the `old-left' institutions, parties and unions. It has sought
to identify the needs and desires of its movements' constituents
and to create a new world which makes their dreams a
reality. A world in which we can all start living.
However, this `movement of movements' consists of far more
than these spectacular gatherings and uprisings as
identified, theorised and documented by the academics and
`radical' journalists who are presented as the movements'
`spokespeople'. As important as these impressive mobilisations
have been the movement is firmly rooted in the local: in
collectivised farms in Chiapas, occupied social centres in towns
and cities across Europe, self-managed factories in
Argentina, seed sharing projects, small action collectives,
prisoner support initiatives and independent publishing projects
across the globe. Each of them trying, in their different ways, to
dismantle the structures of power which permeate every
aspect of our lives and to return a sense of humanity to our

The G8 Summit is coming to Britain in the early summer of
2005. This meeting of the global elite offers an almost unique
opportunity to involve people in a confrontation with one of the
most powerful symbols of capitalism's most recent form:
the neo-liberal world order. No doubt the big non-governmental
organisations, the trade unions and the political parties of
the left (the Greens, the new Respect Coalition etc...) will jump
at the opportunity to swell their membership by mobilising
against this, most obscene manifestation of power. And no
doubt, due to the nature of previous demonstrations against
the G8, in Evian in 2003 and Genoa in 2001, the media will
publicise (perhaps unwillingly) any mobilisation by recounting
stories of street violence and window smashing.

The question which faces those of us considering mobilising
against the G8 is two-fold. Firstly, would a concerted
mobilisation against the G8 Summit in 2005 bring us closer to
the kind of world in which we would like to live? And
secondly, if so, how do we need to go about mobilising?
Those of us who have been involved in putting together these
articles are already actively involved in the Dissent!
Network. We have already decided upon our answer to the first
question. We realise, however, that there are many
criticisms which could be made against such a mobilisation:
the tendency to fetishise meetings of the elite rather than
focus upon our own immediate, perhaps more local, needs; the
danger of concentrating our energies on creating large,
perhaps set-piece, confrontations which create the illusion of a
movement; the levels of repression likely to be brought
down upon individuals and movement infrastructure. The list
could go on. Despite being aware of these criticisms, we
believe that there is real potential for strengthening and
broadening the radical movement in the UK, and the building of
more concrete links internationally, through a mobilisation
against the Summit. However, whether this potential can be
realised or not depends, largely though not exclusively, upon
the answer to our second question. How should we go
about mobilising?

It is in attempting to answer this second question for ourselves
that we embarked upon this project. This publication
contains a series of reports and reflections upon mobilisations
against Summits, from the 1988 IMF and World Bank
meeting in West Berlin to the much more recent mobilisation
against the WTO Ministerial in Cancun, Mexico in autumn
2003. Most of the articles published here have been commissioned
by the four editors of this pamphlet from people who
we, or friends of ours, have met travelling to Summit
mobilisations. Each article is written by people who were active
within social movements in a given location when it was
announced that a Summit would take place. The authors
explain, for the most part, why it was decided to mobilise
against the Summit, how this was done, what proved effective
and what not and, most importantly of all, what the lasting
impact upon the social movements involved was. An attempt
has been made to evaluate the positive and negative impacts of
the mobilisation, the events which unfolded and, more
often than not, the repression which followed.

Our hope is that those, who like us, decide to involve
themselves in the mobilisation against the 2005 G8 Summit will
attempt to reflect upon the events which have taken place
elsewhere, seek not to repeat the mistakes of others, and to
prepare themselves for the problems and challenges likely to
unfold: the question of levels of interaction with established
organisations, unions and parties; the relationship that will be
had with the media; the way in which the (potentially) large
influx of people into the movement will be dealt with; what our
response will be to repression - police violence, raids, the
imprisonment of activists; how we will articulate our criticisms
of the structures and global social relations which have
created the G8; how we will go about creating structures for the
dissemination of information which allows for maximum participation
in decision making.

Of course, you won't find solutions or answer to all these
problems and questions here. What we've attempted to do is
make a contribution to the process of formulating a way (or set
of ways) of organising and acting which is based on
learning lessons from the past. It should go without saying that
all these texts should be read critically. What was
organised and what can be learned from an event in one
location will be very different to how this knowledge can be
applied in other locations. West Berlin in 1988 and
Thessaloniki and Cancun in 2003 are very different places and
contexts than the UK in 2005. Additionally, each of these
articles was written by an individual or very small collective. As
such, they are highly subjective. Others, equally involved in the
same mobilisations would certainly disagree with the
conclusions drawn, and perhaps even with the technical facts
as they are presented. The articles are more personal
reflections than absolute truths. We hope you find them useful.
The Editorial Collective.

http://www.dissent.org.uk - Dissent a network of resistance -
Against the G8
[Ed. Notes:
* Dissent! is antiauthoritarian anticapitalist
direct action social struggle initiative against the G8.
** 'Reflections on Summit Mobilisations' is an excellent new
booklet from the Dissent! Network. For copies send £2 to Box 8,
245 Gladstone St., Nottingham, NG7 6HX www.dissent.org.uk]

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