Monday, August 01, 2005


The Scotland G8 Protests (a critique)

Via DC Indymedia, an interesting critique by an anarchist of the recent G8 protests in Scotland.
If you asked folks how the G8 protests we're, they'll use words like "fun", "intense", and "exciting". Yeah, the G8 protests we're all of these, but did we effect global or local change? Did our actions and rhetoric echo throughout the world or spread through movements and instigate more action? No. And that's OK, we don't have to be successful every time or expect that all our tactics will work in our favor.
We just pulled a fence down, setup a fun campground, roughed up the cops a bit, saw some performances, and a few windows of insignificant corporate businesses were smashed. Big deal.

Victory was declared pretty quickly by lots of organizers and protesters after Scotland, celebrating the fact that we even got up there and made an attempt at shutting down the meetings. Now don't get me wrong, there we're a ton of great successes; Over 40 blockades went off on the 6th and disrupted the summit, a train was chartered up from London, folks got to the fence and tore part of it down around Gleneagles, none of our actions we're cancelled in face of the massive police state, we shared conversations and helped each other understand our movement better, we networked and built connections...

But was this mobilization successful as a whole? Can we gage the successes of our mobilizations on their physical successes in the streets or the successful deployment of people to actions? Can we declare a victory over the G8 because we managed to do actions in the face of 11,000 police and sneak around some checkpoints?

No. We have to take into account the global ramifications of our words and actions. Sure, the actions shaped us as organizers and activists and provided us with ideas, critiques, and experiences that we can get nowhere else. But nothing matters in the seclusion of a mass demonstration to the rest of the world. We did not change the fate of the G8 meetings nor did we reach out to folks who weren't attending the protests with our ideas and visions of a world liberated. We just faced off with the police and the authorities.
Here is the best bit:
When we face off with the cops in the streets of anywhere, we are not building a new world, we are challenging aspects of the old world. While this is obviously an essential part of a mass movement, it is not something we should focus on in a critiques of our movement or used as a way to gage our successes. Property destruction does not mean a successful action nor does the amount to which people resist police violence. While these two things are important at certain times, we can't ignore the reality. War is property damage and fascists resist the police too...
I hope the protesters travelling to Russia next year read this.

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