G20 Welcoming Committee Gets Ready

Discuss

74 Responses to “G20 Welcoming Committee Gets Ready”

  1. darkbeanie says:

    How were these free-market policies “neo-liberal”? Can someone give me some background?

  2. gracchus says:

    Especially if they use the ultimate weapon that can bring down politicians and corporations, and indeed the British Transport Police’s campaign. Humor.

    With a few exceptions, humour is a commodity that’s usually in short supply at these demos.

    For example, looking at the Mahalo site, I find “Carnival at the Bank of England” on 1 April. Now I see that title and date, and I see a fantastic opportunity: sleazy ring-toss and 3-card-Monte booths run by clean-cut, be-suited carnies operating under various corporate logos, offering taxpayers the opportunity to “take a chance” at 1-billion GBPs a pop. Government officials acting as the barkers. “Improv Everywhere” or “Yes Men” kind of stuff.

    But I also know the more likely scenario for this April Fools Day “carnival”: the same old dusted-off papier-mache puppets (Skeleton Uncle Sam! Plutocrat Pig! Ooooh!) and a few Wavy-Gravy attention-whore clowns, and maybe a cheap effigy (can’t sacrifice the puppets!) for the burning. The only carnival masks in sight will be bandanas and gas and dust masks. Hilarious.

  3. arkizzle says:

    ..in the name of anarchy
    ..your cause’s philosophy and history

    Yes there are anarchists, but lots of the people we are talking about here, don’t call themselves anything in particular, including “anarchists”. And the ones that do, don’t necessarily identify with any of the others.

    And I’m sorry to break this to you, but the window-smashers and Molotov cocktail throwers wearing black bandanas do indeed call themselves “anarchists” and wear the symbol (if for no other reason than to marry their “politics” to punk fashion statements).

    I’ll give you the second bit, some of these people may be wearing anarchy (A) symbols, but not all of them are using it as a continuum of others’ work.

    Like it or not (respect it, or not) anarchy is many things to many people. How many people who call themselves Republicans have a nuanced knowledge of its history? A chunk of them do, sure, but the rest are simply identifing with the bits they understand, and owning it in a personal way. I mean.. how many Christians have read the bible?

  4. Takuan says:

    “successful at causing untold misery for the masses.”

    are you really, really sure about that turn of phrase, at this time, in this place?

  5. Rindan says:

    How were these free-market policies “neo-liberal”? Can someone give me some background?

    Well, like describing any school of thought you are going to get disagreement over definitions, but the basic idea behind neo-liberalism is a combination of old sk00l liberalism with mildly leftist thoughts on the need for balance. A neo-liberal believes that a world with reduced trade barriers is a better world. What sets them apart from a classical liberal (which is VERY different from what “liberal” means in the US) is that they incorporate a pile of “leftist” ideals into the grab bag.

    A neo-liberal looks at markets and sees them as the best choice out of a series of far more horrible alternatives (communism, national socialism, anarchy, hippie college student utopia, etc). They don’t share the market fundamentalism of a libertarian. They think that markets kind of suck, but they are basically the only option that exist if you like transistors and eating three meals a day. They see the role of government to be to try and counteract the bad things in a market (inequity, environmental damage, anti-social business) while at the same time encouraging the good stuff.

    A neo-liberal would point to India and China as vindication of their ideals. You had two horribly impoverished nations that instituted vaguely neo-liberal economic ideals. They implemented market principles, but didn’t have any compunctions about using the power of the state to reign in industries and enforce standards. As a result they have swung dramatically up in their standards of living. They believe that the path to wealth lies with trade and markets, and that governments need to be on the job to try and stave off the excess that markets create.

    One of the best example of a leader implementing neo-liberal policies is, in my opinion, Bill Clinton. He was pro trade and saw trade as a mechanism for spreading wealth around the world and improving the lives of Americans. However, he wasn’t bashful about using the power of state to try and correct the “bad stuff” that markets brought. Bush is on the other hand is a not a neo-liberal. He might have been pro trade, but he wouldn’t touch the controls of the state to counteract anything “bad” the markets produced to save his life. And he was an asshole.

  6. aj says:

    No thanks.

    If there’s anything the world DOESN’T need now, it’s indymedia battle-in-Seattle anarchists.

    Just.
    GO.
    AWAY!

  7. arkizzle says:

    With a few exceptions, humour is a commodity that’s usually in short supply at these demos.

    OK, now that is just bullshit.

    Usually these demos go off peacefully and consist of lots of different types of people dancing to mobile sound systems and having a grand old day of it. People in costumes and funny banners amongst the serious ones, families with kids, etc.

    Sometimes, some of the people break stuff, in isolated incidents, and they are dealt with quickly and professionally.
    Sometimes the police come in mob-handedly, whether stuff has been broken or not, and provoke more violence than would have occured otherwise.
    Sometimes it turns into a riot.

  8. Takuan says:

    want to do something positive and good? Want to help the situation? Want to save human life?

    Everyone who cares about the foregoing should immediately put the UK government on notice that the whole world is watching, the whole world knows what is coming and the whole world knows that UK citizens do NOT have to be killed by police and soldiers in the coming inevitable protests. There is no mystery here, there is nothing unexpected or surprising about what is coming. Tell the government that killing will not be overlooked, that everyone knows it is intended, that the usual media whitewash will not be accepted and that there is no need for what is already planned. So what if a few windows get broken? Who really cares if a few cars get burned?
    No one is going to believe it was really necessary for those live rounds to be fired – so don’t do it! Evil people even now plan murder, drag them into the light before it happens.

  9. Rindan says:

    are you really, really sure about that turn of phrase, at this time, in this place?

    Yes, I am really sure about that turn of phrase.

    There can be absolutely no argument that capitalism has brought wealth and prosperity. The computer your are slamming away on is a product of capitalism. Turning a pile of sand and trace elements into a few billion transistors performing complex tasks and then being mass produced for billions of people is a result of capitalism. I am not saying it is a bed of roses and that it also doesn’t cause untold misery upon the masses, but there can be no denying that it has created a lot in this world that is unarguably good, despite whatever evils it has inflicted. I’m not judging the balance of good and evil, just stating that there can be no argument that it hasn’t brought both.

    Anarchist can make no such claim.

    Anarchist have never made anything good in this world. They have never put together a functional (and I being generous in calling it “functional”) society bigger than a hippie commune, and it has never lasted for more than a blink in the eyes of a civilization before collapsing. The only thing anarchist have done for society is give bored college students, at best, a reason to hang out together jerking off on each others ideals, and at worst a reason to go break things with no regards to the misery they spread as they break the things other systems have built.

    Capitalism, communism, authoritarianism, theocracies, monarchs, and even fucking national socialist have all built things and improved the lives of their fellow humans. They certainly spread their fare share of misery around the world too, but at least in the misery they inflicted they have brought happiness and prosperity to some, if not many people.

    Anarchist have done none of that. They, at the best of times, are irrelevant vandals or a benign outlet for the bored and those with anger but who have no worthwhile way of expressing it. At the worst of times they are opportunistic vultures that turn the collapse of an established order into a needlessly violent and bloody affair – always failing without exception to build anything other than a pile of bodies, destroyed properties, and ruined lives when it is all said and over with.

    In the end, despite being given countless chances and causing untold misery, anarchist follow the same tried and true pattern that they always have since the dawn of human civilization. They are irrelevant until an order collapses on itself. They gleefully help destroy whatever was built, and when the dust settles and they have nothing left to destroy or the people get sick of destruction, the people realize that the anarchist offer nothing in terms of lasting human happiness and prosperity, and a new order sweeps them aside, shooing them off like the vultures they are.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      They have never put together a functional (and I being generous in calling it “functional”) society bigger than a hippie commune

      You make it sound like it’s a bad thing.

  10. Takuan says:

    and how many of those you label capitalists, communists, authoritarians, theocrats, monarchs, and even fucking national socialists are in fact anarchists along for the ride? Despite what you say about being “given” countless chances I think history shows all societies start out as benevolent anarchies that become corrupted by size as time goes by. I wonder where you got your comic book idea of cloaked, unkempt bomb throwers from anyway?

  11. cycle23 says:

    THE REVOLUTION WILL BE BOINGED!

    Burning cars releases a lot of toxins into the air.

    Since I’m employed I guess I’m not invited anyway. Let me know if you guys want to start burning vehicles in cities near LA. I can always go camping that weekend.

  12. Boba Fett Diop says:

    And the police never incite violence at events of this sort:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WTO_Ministerial_Conference_of_1999_protest_activity
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3rd_Summit_of_the_Americas
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agent_provocateur

    The version of anarchism I subscribe to concentrates less on smashing the state (it’s doing a pretty good job of smashing itself) and more on what to do afterwards. Think about things like mutual aid, cooperation, local autonomy.

    Of course, it could be argued that violent incidents and civil unrest are merely a symptom of the increasingly massive contradictions apparent in capitalism. Personally, the approach of the Situationist Internationals to protest always appealed to me, but it does presume a certain degree of familiarity with critical theory among your audience.

    Sous les paves, la plage!

  13. prentiz says:

    Oh marvelous. Stupid young men who want to fight with police officers are going to come and trash Britain’s biggest city, or bits of it. That’s not FUN. London isn’t some sort of sports of arena for fighting – real people from all backgrounds live there – real people who have a right to live and work free from violence and the threat of violence.

    “So what if a few cars get burned” – what if it’s your car that you’ve worked hard to get on the road, that you need for your job, or to get about if you’ve got a disability? “So what if a few windows get broken” – what if they’re your windows and your an old age pensioner scared shitless with the lights out wishing the fighting outside would stop?

    To hear the people that seem to advocate this sort of violence in the same breath criticising the police for being heavy handed beggars belief. Let’s break it down simply for you – it’s never acceptable to use violence to make your point in a democracy – and its pretty irresponsible for BB to appear to be condoning it. Let’s hope it’s not Cory’s windows you’re breaking – not I suspect that some of your will give a damn anyway.

  14. arkizzle says:

    Something interesting Takuan said in the Banker thread:

    “..regarding “community”; the poor always with us is a community, but their learned helplessness removes them as any threat to those who have too much.

    What you see aborning now is new poor, who WILL have a clear community since they have living memory of NOT being poor. Anyone who remembers earning a pay check and putting a meal on the table for his family is quite capable of picking up the cobblestone and suffering the split head or the jailhouse if it means he has a chance of regaining dignity.

    I think there are a whole lot of new (read: not indymedia and not brand-Anarchists) people interested in shouting at the establishment. People who respect society, who care about justice and pay their taxes, but who’ve been shafted by the bankers’ shenanigans and the politicians’ complicity.

    It’s a different climate to Genoa’01 or Seattle’99. I don’t have any idea what will happen in London on the 1st, but the following months and years could shape up to be very interesting times, indeed.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Why is it that the average ‘anarchist’ can only articulate what they are against, rather than what they are for? Teenage much?

    No system was ever changed for the better from the outside – only replaced with something equally despotic.

    If you want to make a difference – opt in. And don’t demonise people for being different to yourself.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Why is it that the average ‘anarchist’ can only articulate what they are against, rather than what they are for?

      Funnily enough, I say that all the time about the Tories.

  16. codereduk says:

    I’m going to go to London, dress as a woman and play the ukulele, then I KNOW I’ll get mentioned on Boing Boing.

  17. arkizzle says:

    I have a feeling you didn’t bear witness to the all hallowed Goatse, in his one true form.

    Or maybe you are made of sterner stuff..

  18. moniker42 says:

    Violence against property is not the same as violence against another human.

    And it is fun.

  19. ridl says:

    “I’ll refrain from spouting my opinion on anarchist [sic] in this post.”

    God, I wish you had.

    Misinformed diatribes against a political philosophy you’ve reduced to an ugly caricature and the worst, most apologist definition of neoliberalism I’ve ever seen – how is dismantling social programs and privatizing resources (up to and including water) included in “leftist ideals”?

    I’m a firm believer in protest – and in this situation where our great-grandchildren are being sold into debt in order to ensure another round of the “inevitable” boom-bust of predatory global capitalism – I hope as many “real people” as possible see past the “protest=violence” fear mongering of “it’s just kids who want to burn stuff and will disrupt my workday” on one side and “they’re one step from terrorists who must be gassed and beaten” on the cop side and hit the streets.

  20. moniker42 says:

    There is this radical idea that we’re all equal and should be sharing. It’s called ‘Anarchy’.

    http://www.rockdovecollective.org/

  21. moniker42 says:

    You know I heard those Moslems are all terrorists too and they all are like poor and don’t bathe and believe in God and hate our freedom.

    Must not have any reason to be pissed off!

  22. frogmarch says:

    The grammar of rage start here!

  23. gracchus says:

    Yes there are anarchists, but lots of the people we are talking about here, don’t call themselves anything in particular, including “anarchists”.

    You may be talking about them, and obviously many of us here are aware of their existence. I (and others) are talking about the Anarkiddies who show up and overshadow the messages of the various groups of serious anarchists.

    The UK demos should be especially interesting, in that I understand the big Anarkiddie fashion statement this year is more “straight-edge” than classic punk. And while I understand the ideological distinction between “straight-edge” and skinhead, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the violent “anarchists” the TV reporters pull from the crowd takes their soundbite opportunities to start spouting off about “immigrants taking white Britons’ jobs.”

    some of these people may be wearing anarchy (A) symbols, but not all of them are using it as a continuum of others’ work.

    A distinction that makes no difference to the MSM. In fact, obscuring and blurring that distinction is in the media’s interest.

    And before you start trying to exceed my own considerable disdain for the popular press, keep in mind that the purpose of these protests is to send a message not to government functionaries and central bankers (who could give a toss), but to their fellow citizens. And — like it or not — the media will convey the message to the vast majority of people. Serious anarchists can either accept that situation and start hacking it, or let themselves continue to be defined by these dopes at the big demos.

    I guess it’s the dilemma of serious anarchist protestors, whatever their specific ideology: how do you make it clear that violence is unacceptable when no-one is supposed to be “in charge” and any bored pyromaniac teenager or even racist thug can appropriate the name and symbol. But that’s their dilemma, not mine.

    How many people who call themselves Republicans have a nuanced knowledge of its history? A chunk of them do, sure, but the rest are simply identifing with the bits they understand, and owning it in a personal way. I mean.. how many Christians have read the bible?

    Indeed — I show similar contempt for those two groups of uneducated yahoos, too. Especially given the extreme damage both have done to public discourse in the U.S.

    My point being, ignorance and violence are very bad mix, and Anarkiddies I’m talking about have both in spades.

    Usually these demos go off peacefully and consist of lots of different types of people dancing to mobile sound systems and having a grand old day of it.

    I’m talking about organised protests (the ones attempting to send a message), not what happens in the crowd. What I saw at events in the US in the ’90s was a bunch of self-important Boomer relics dragging their hobbyhorses (relevant or not to the issue of the day) onto the podium one at a time and riding them in front of the cameras. Very serious and dour. But hey, Bread and Puppets is here to lighten the mood! Please.

    Yeah, there are clever signs and families and picnic lunches and all the rest in the crowd. And the non-summit demos generally are peaceful. But “peaceful and family friendly and permits-in-place” doesn’t necessarily translate to a humourous protest, either on the ground or in the media.

    Sometimes, some of the people break stuff, in isolated incidents, and they are dealt with quickly and professionally.

    By whom? Their fellow protesters? Sometimes, but more often it’s the police. And that kind of “quick and professional” is about as disturbing to me as is the police riots.

    Sometimes the police come in mob-handedly, whether stuff has been broken or not, and provoke more violence than would have occured otherwise.

    As I noted above, sometimes the police are provoking the violence in the first place.

    Sometimes it turns into a riot.

    When it’s a G-# summit, like this one, change that “sometimes” to “often.”

  24. Rindan says:

    Misinformed diatribes against a political philosophy you’ve reduced to an ugly caricature and the worst, most apologist definition of neoliberalism I’ve ever seen – how is dismantling social programs and privatizing resources (up to and including water) included in “leftist ideals”?

    He asked what a neo-liberal believes and that is what a neo-liberal believes. I’m not saying it turns out merry, that it lives up to ideals, or that it is good. I could also tell you what a market fundamentalist libertarian believes. It doesn’t mean that his happy little supply and demand curves end up in nirvana. He just believe that they will. Take a step back for a moment and realize that having the capacity to understanding what others believe doesn’t mean you have to agree with it. Neo-liberalism is the belief that markets are the best of the bad systems offered, and that they need to be tempered with government intervention. That doesn’t mean it works or is true. My apologies for being able to describe that without frothing at the mouth in rage.

    I’m a firm believer in protest…

    …I hope as many “real people” as possible see past the “protest=violence” fear mongering of “it’s just kids who want to burn stuff and will disrupt my workday” on one side and “they’re one step from terrorists who must be gassed and beaten” on the cop side and hit the streets.

    I am a firm believer in protest as well. The junk in the links isn’t the kind of protest that I believe in. Just read the crap on storming banks. There are all sorts of instructions as to when and where, but if there are in instructions on how to not turn the “summer of rage” into smashing stuff up when the mob shows up, it is buried in those websites.

    Here in Boston we had many large utterly peaceful anti-war protests a few years back. No one was smashing windows and working up a violent froth. The junk above? That is going to be violent. Local businesses are going to suffer. Property is going to get destroyed. People are going to get hurt fighting mobs off that try and storm buildings.

    So, hurray for the people who are going to go and be peaceful. To bad the “Summer of Rage” (nice name BTW, nothing says peaceful protest like “Summer of Rage”) is going to be remembered for violent students smashing and burning things. Like all of these protests that turn violent, the people that are going to suffer will be those on lower rungs of society while the executives they are pissed at don’t see their net values flutter. Instead of galvanizing the “movement”, you are going to have hard working people pissed that they need new car windows or that the place that they work at had its windows smashed. For every person who might be made aware of whatever the message is supposed to be, three are going to pissed that a bunch of students are breaking things and not want to be on the same side as them out of principle.

  25. aex1609 says:

    The “property is theft” crowd should build a noah’s ark and sail off to their utopia.

    It reminds me of the “battle of seattle”. Those kids didnt realize they were hurting the third world countries that were trying to stike better deals for open trade. What a bunch of tossers.

  26. jacobian says:

    @2

    I’ll refrain from spouting my opinion on anarchist in this post and just say that I have yet to see one of those jerks set up a functioning society big enough for two, but those bored college students sure have been successful at causing untold misery for the masses.

    You didn’t refrain and instead decided to speak in total ignorance. Have you ever heard of Spain ’36. How about Free Territory of revolutionary Ukraine? Or maybe the autonomous Shinmin region of Korea? The Zapatistas?

    We can live in cooperative societies, it just takes a bit of cooperation to get there and a belief that it is possible. You should probably find out what libertarian socialism is before spouting off about it more.

  27. beneditor says:

    Fun? Super, I hope the anarchists (or – more realistically) students have an opportunity to put in your windows and burn your car during the course of this.

    If you are able to provide details of one violent ‘anti-capitalist’ protest that has achieved it’s aims, or altered the views of those in power one iota, then let’s all grab a molotov cocktail.

    I’m not entirely sure how we educate and mobilise an apathetic nation of voters to the complexity and evil of the modern financial system (especially when it spent so long grooming us and giving us sweets), but I do know this is not it. All it achieves is the scorn of the majority, and further justification for the police state.

  28. jacobian says:

    @7

    Anarchist have never made anything good in this world. They have never put together a functional (and I being generous in calling it “functional”) society bigger than a hippie commune, and it has never lasted for more than a blink in the eyes of a civilization before collapsing. The only thing anarchist have done for society is give bored college students, at best, a reason to hang out together jerking off on each others ideals, and at worst a reason to go break things with no regards to the misery they spread as they break the things other systems have built.

    Actually people made those things. Anarchism is a political philosophy. Political philosophies do not make things. People who are anarchists however have been engineers and scientists. In fact, i’m one myself.

    Your claim reduces to the fact that anarchism isn’t hegemonic as an ideology and is not in wide spread practice. Anarchists never claimed that it was and that is the whole reason they want to change society.

    Libertarian socialism is about restructuring society to maximise mutual benefit and cooperation and removing the control of society from those who simply have more money.

    http://red-anti-state.blogspot.com/2009/02/what-is-communism-libertarian-communist.html

    Here in Boston we had many large utterly peaceful anti-war protests a few years back. No one was smashing windows and working up a violent froth. The junk above? That is going to be violent. Local businesses are going to suffer. Property is going to get destroyed. People are going to get hurt fighting mobs off that try and storm buildings.

    And a lot of good it did to stop the war eh? You sit there with your arm chair moralising whilst neo-liberalism is taking us to the brink of ecological disaster, raping and pillaging and generating destructive wars over resources (as in the Sudan), systematically exploiting workers through the attack on freedom of movement for labour while enforcing total freedom of movement for commodities.

    With friends like capitalism, who needs enemies.

  29. Grozbat says:

    Let’s hope those anarchists are as successful at creating a riot as they are at creating their website.

  30. gracchus says:

    It’s a different climate to Genoa’01 or Seattle’99.

    I hope you’re right. I hope the Bank of England “carnival” is more like my first scenario. I hope the first idiot kid or agent provocateur who tosses so much as a pebble at a brick wall gets booted by the crowd. I hope anarchists like Boba Fett Diop become the public face of anarchism.

    But the core problem with anti-globalist street demos is that the violent and ignorant fantasists always seem to show up to make a spectacle of themselves for the cameras.

    Which is why I suspect that the government functionaries I was mocking earlier chose London for that very reason — they want people to be frightened. If they didn’t want riots to go along with the luxury hotels and shops, they could have made the venue Zurich or Singapore or (if they were daring in showing off their true vision of globalism) Dubai or Beijing.

  31. jacobian says:

    It reminds me of the “battle of seattle”. Those kids didnt realize they were hurting the third world countries that were trying to stike better deals for open trade. What a bunch of tossers.

    You are quite wrong about what anarchists think about making people better off. It’s about alter-globalisation, not anti-globalisation. Until the neo-liberals own up to the fact that they want captive labour kept in poor conditions with horrible working hours enforced by authoritarian governments with no thought for safety or ecology in order to get low wages to produce product for the rich western countries the game is off.

    Maybe the tossers are the people who deny that this is happening. What we need is a world in which people are not kept captive while goods are free to move. You’ve a twisted inversion of humanism if you believe that freedom for commodities to move supersedes the rights of humans.

  32. arkizzle says:

    Hi gang, here is a news report taken from More4 news here in the UK, about this action:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9La1uBYz5Y

    (reposted from here)

    Anyone gonna be in London on the 1st? Fancy it?

  33. arkizzle says:

    Rindan

    ..I have yet to see one of those jerks set up a functioning society big enough for two..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freetown_Christiania

  34. Grozbat says:

    “The summer of rage start here”?

    How can these people claim to know what they’re talking about?

    They can’t even manage basic english syntax.

  35. aex1609 says:

    @23 wrote:

    “Until the neo-liberals own up to the fact that they want captive labour kept in poor conditions with horrible working hours enforced by authoritarian governments with no thought for safety or ecology in order to get low wages to produce product for the rich western countries”

    Please show me some evidence for this bold claim.

  36. arkizzle says:

    Moniker42 @ 16

    It’s spelt “muslim”. If you care, the other spelling is sometimes considered offensive.

  37. mokey says:

    It’s pretty easy to say, begrudgingly, that capitalism is the best possible world when you’ve got a decent job and don’t have to personally see the effect your comparatively lavish life has on the rest of the world. Fair trade coffee isn’t gonna do shit for anyone, and deep down, you know it.

    @ 11: “it’s never acceptable to use violence to make your point in a democracy”

    No it’s not. Unless you’re delivering democracy from the barrel of a gun. Democracy enforces itself ideologically and psychologically, just like fascism or state communism (red fascism). That’s why we’ve realized that ideas like peace, justice, democracy, and other expressions of humanism are moralizing, objectivist bullshit. Democracy is not enough. Call me what you will, but I want the world I want [i]because I want it[/i], not because I wring my hands and decide it’s what’s best for the world. That thinking is what gave us Stalin.

    @ 18: “That is going to be violent. Local businesses are going to suffer. Property is going to get destroyed. People are going to get hurt fighting mobs off that try and storm buildings.”

    And we’re not stopping. Sorry you can’t quantify love or rage in a lab. It’ll be ugly and imperfect and beautiful and complicated. Y’know, like life.

  38. arkizzle says:

    Well, you seem to be agreeing with me more than disagreeing, so I’ll count my winnings and run.. but:

    I’m talking about organised protests..

    Yeah, so am I. Everyone has a good day, shows their numbers, listens to the speakers make their point on the 40′ open truck-trailer with a shitty PA. Some speakers are hyper-serious, some have fun with it. Some sing a song about it, some shout and foam and spittle.

    I’m pretty sure we’re on the same page here, maybe our experiences are different because we are on different sides of the pond. Most demos of any sort I’ve been to in the UK and Ireland were both organised and fun (to a point).

    Its the only way to get most people involved and interested.

    And: No, not their fellow protesters. Sometimes the police can actually do it right (shock horror), and arrest the few trouble makers in the crowd without being dicks.

    But more often than not they end up inciting the violence from the crowd, by being heavy-handed and misreading the atmosphere.

  39. Bugs says:

    For those who’ve said that it “sounds fun” or is harmless, put yourselves in the locals’ shoes. I live, work and socialise in central London (for some values of “central” and, indeed, “work”).

    I’m fully supportive of the right to mass demonstrations around the G20 summit and, as a side note, think that the law banning protests near Westminster should be repealed. But several groups openly planning behaviour designed to end up with violence and destruction of property? Not cool. A lot of businesses in central London operate on a knife-edge – income is extremely high but so are rent, taxes an labour. Property damage, keeping the locals at home and scaring tourists away from the centre will do serious harm to peoples’ livelihoods as well as pissing us all off.

    Demonstration and protest are important tools in the democratic process. But I get pissed off when people treat them like sports, just a fun way to feel self-righteous, work off their rage and shout “fight the system!!oneeleven” without giving thought to what message they’re trying to convey or who they’re hurting in the process.

  40. Boba Fett Diop says:

    While I stand by the statements I made above, I also believe that there are times and contexts when violence, even mass violence is necessary. Self-defense is one of those contexts:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federaci%C3%B3n_Anarquista_Ib%C3%A9rica
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Cable_Street
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/43_group
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poll_tax_riots

    Now can it be considered self-defense when a group of people whose economic security has been threatened, and whose ideas of liberty and security of person are attacked, decide to respond with a different form of violence (proportional or not)? Is it self-defense when the agents of these threats appear in the midst of one’s own communities? Is it self-defense when one is prevented by force or legislation from legitimately expressing one’s objections to the presence and actions of these agents?

    I agree that there will always be people involved in direct action who are just there for the kicks (although I probably lack Gracchus’ more sophisticated critique of protesters’ sartorial choices), and I agree that people in a group do a lot of things for a lot of different reasons, but there is real anger out there. As I said, these events are symptoms of a much larger change, but that does not invalidate the anger and frustration felt by many people. Do we have a right to dictate how that anger should be expressed? Do we bear responsibility for actions other than our own?

    (These questions are not rhetorical. They are problems I often wrestle with)

  41. Takuan says:

    “interesting Times” reminds me Arkie; as Pratchett wrote it,the only actively violent rebels against the iron heel of the state were all agents of the state.

  42. arkizzle says:

    I hope you’re right

    Maybe you didn’t take my point then. I didn’t necessarily mean there would be less (or more) violence or breakage.. Just that in the coming years, we might see more Anar-Mums and Anar-Dads, rather than the Anar-Kiddies you were talking about.

    Maybe the police will be less inclined to baton-charge the general populace than the kids, but maybe not.

  43. Geof says:

    Rindan, your definition of neoliberalism bears no resemblance to how I have seen the term used. Neoliberalism is an economic agenda. Its central tenets are free markets and free trade. It typically entails deregulation, privatization, strong property rights (including strong copyright etc.) and the liberalization of trade, markets, and investment.

    This is not a “mildly leftist” agenda. Except, apparently, in the United States, where the term is sometimes used to mean something closer to what you describe. (But then “mildly leftist” in the U.S. tends to map to center to extreme right elsewhere, so who knows.) In the rest of the world, including here in Canada, it basically means what Reagan and Thatcher and their successors have in common (including Clinton, Blair, etc.). Since these protests are being planned for London, I can’t see how the America’s special (and deceptively confusing) definition has relevance.

  44. gracchus says:

    Usually, if there’s any protest group who can garner sympathy for soulless bigcorps, uncaring central bankers and out-of-touch political leaders (no to mention profits for the sensationalist MSM), it’s the Anarkiddies — showboaters who love dressing in black and shouting hackneyed slogans and breaking and burning stuff, but who inevitably give you a blank look if you mention Kropotkin or Proudhon or Goldman (Emma, not -Sachs). I have less of a problem with serious anarchists and peaceful demonstrators, but the brick-throwing People’s-Hero fantasists we see in the popular press end up being very useful to those who push the surveillance state.

    I prefaced that last graf with “usually” because this time, in the public’s perception, even if the Anarkiddies do their worst they’ll have a long way to go to match the obvious and widespread waste and destruction wrought by those they’re protesting.

    I’ll ask a question here that I’m sure will be asked in the days and weeks following the summit: does anyone know which genius decided to hold this historic G20 meeting in the middle of bloody London?

  45. Anonymous says:

    Anybody worrying about the effect of this on (a) peoples’ private cars and (b) small local businesses – Have ever visited the City of London?

    Like, not the city, but the City? The bit in the middle where all the multinational banks are?

    Google Map is your friend, don’t be evil(*)
    http://tiny.cc/gZxZ6

    (*) – where “evil” comprises “hit the wrong target” :)

  46. mokey says:

    Let me get this straight – “real” anarchists want to peacefully petition their elected officials for reform, but “fake” anarchists just want to smash things up for fun. And they’ve never heard of Emma Goldman. I’ve been an anarchist organizer for 7 or 8 years, and I can tell you that it’s quite the opposite. All the hipster anarcho-liberals just wanna be vegan and ride fixed gears. Those advocating insurrection are generally very well read. Like, be ready for a 2 hour argument about the roots of abstract social control. Active (not activist) anarchists don’t want anything to do with peace (a word so abstract as to be meaningless) or protest (“please please please give us more rights! then we’ll be good!”) Seriously, where are you pulling that that one out of? I’ve heard people complain about over intellectual anarchists, or overly wordy communiques, but this one is new. It sounds like you might be talking about drunk punks. They may have circle A patches but you won’t see them in the street.

    I’m reading a lot of racist and classist bullshit too. They’re all white middle class kids, right? What about all the anarchist people of color and working class anarchists? This shit seriously pisses me off. It’s another way for privileged liberals to suggest that people of color are invisible. Or even imaginary. Magic, mythical creatures, much like the working class. Since it’s clear that none of y’all making these accusations actually have any experience with this shit, let me spell it out. Kids wearing black, who are fucking shit up – they’re the people who clean your office and scrub your toilets and serve you your fuckin organic wheat free veggie burgers at the sorta edgy cafe with overpriced food. Here’s a good zine that spells it out:

    http://images.indymedia.org/imc/seattle/media/2009/01/270665.pdf

    Since all of this will probably cause you cognitive dissonance, I’ll go ahead and FNORD you so won’t notice. And you pissed me off and turned me into an asshole. I don’t like being an asshole, but quit being racist liberals.

  47. Boba Fett Diop says:

    Arkizzle,
    I’ve always liked this image of the miner’s strike:

    http://workblogging.blogspot.com/2009/03/after-miners-strike.html

  48. Geof says:

    I want to add, Rindan, that I’m not suggesting you are attempting to deceive anyone. What I am suspicious of are the multiple definitions of words (liberal, neoliberal) that make it very hard for people to express certain ideas. The struggle over the meaning of words (e.g. marriage, life, freedom) is central to politics. I doubt this confusion is a matter of coincidence.

  49. jacobian says:

    @26

    aex1609, It’s simple really. If the didn’t want that, they wouldn’t call “free-trade” exactly that thing. Free trade would be when commodities and labour can move freely. Nobody would be in the factories in these third world shit holes if they could move to a comfortable suburban home.

    Free trade is not free as labour is not free to move. It’s not rocket science.

  50. gracchus says:

    I’m pretty sure we’re on the same page here, maybe our experiences are different because we are on different sides of the pond. Most demos of any sort I’ve been to in the UK and Ireland were both organised and fun (to a point).

    Yeah, most mass U.S. demos are pretty ineffective and unfocused, at least in terms of content, message and tone. For a while the anti-war demos were being sponsored by a Stalinist outfit called International ANSWER, who were good at bringing out the crowds but little else. A group called UFPJ later took over, with slightly better results. But the speakers under both sponsors were usually dour and tended to focus on their own progressive issues to the exclusion of the larger one. What humour there was the strained and self-congratulatory “remember the ’60s?” type.

    The most effective street demo I’ve seen in the US lately was the one in 2006 against anti-immigrant legislation — organised, focused, peaceful, non-partisan, massive, multi-city. Massive crowds of Hispanic immigrants — legal and otherwise — and their families and supporters, all wearing white t-shirts. The legislation went down in flames in large part because politicians got the message.

    Its the only way to get most people involved and interested.

    I wouldn’t say it’s the only way. Maybe it’s the best way in the UK and Ireland, but these days in the U.S. there are better and more effective ways than street demos to get people interested and involved. Still, there’s something about seeing a diverse 100k-plus-strong crowd peacefully marching and chanting that won’t easily be eclipsed by other forms of protest.

    Sometimes the police can actually do it right (shock horror), and arrest the few trouble makers in the crowd without being dicks.

    Again, I suspect that’s somewhat unique to the UK. Here in the U.S. it’s usually a billy-club mess if someone starts throwing things or jumps the police barricade. And the G-# summits seem to bring out the worst in everyone no matter where they’re held.

    Anyhow, we’ll see what happens in a couple of weeks.

    In the coming years, we might see more Anar-Mums and Anar-Dads, rather than the Anar-Kiddies you were talking about.

    Well, the Anarkiddies (who aren’t anything close to serious anarchists) will probably grow out of it. For the sort of middle-class white kids who make up their ranks, after a certain age the romance tends to drain right out of getting into armed confrontations with the police. Some stick with it, but they usually get serious about the ideology.

    As for your Anar-Mums and -Dads, people responsible for young children are generally less inclined to prove their ideology with violent spectacle. They’re also usually willing to read up a little on that ideology before they head out to the streets under its banner. And if they show up to protest peacefully on general principle, rather than branding themselves with a limiting political label, so much the better.

  51. Decay says:

    Hmm. I want to take the 1st off and take pictures :) The Revolution WILL be photographed.

  52. arkizzle says:

    Tubgirl has personality, under all that gloss and glamour.

  53. phillamb168 says:

    @moniker42 #15: “http://www.rockdovecollective.org/”

    This is all well and good if you need a massage or some “chakra alignment”, but what if you’ve got Pneumonia? Or a broken finger?

  54. nicol says:

    Images of terrifying violent protest on the evening news will give the police and Home Office the public support it’s long been waiting for to crack down on civil liberties and increase controls further.

    People & families unsure of who to blame for the financial crisis will be alienated from those trying to argue against a return to neo-liberal forces.

    Violence at protests is always a betrayal of the hundreds of thousands of other peaceful marchers / demonstrators who do not make it to the news because it instead focuses on a few people throwing firebombs at police and kicking in coffee shops.

    Likewise the politicians, holed up in their hotels as the police clear the streets, will be quicker to dismiss the voices of dissent if they can associate them with dangerous thugs rather than people like themselves – their core voters.

    It’s just counter productive and wrong.

    A gridlocked city, on the other hand, because of thousands of protesters marching, sitting, lying, chained and super-glued all over the place will annoy a lot of commuters, but probably inspire a fair few as well. Especially if they use the ultimate weapon that can bring down politicians and corporations, and indeed the British Transport Police’s campaign. Humor.

  55. fltndboat says:

    To me the beauty of BoingBoing is in the notion of turning stuff loose. When we capture stuff it dies. How on earth can anyone be turned into an asshole? Are you shape shifting?

  56. arkizzle says:

    ..people responsible for young children are generally less inclined..

    Yeah, normally I’d agree. But as I said before, these are Interesting Times.

    We’ll see. (MuHahahahaah) :)

  57. foop says:

    Hurrah! What London needs is more violence and destruction. As someone who lives and works in London (for a cancer research charity, not a bank, in case you think that’s my agenda), I’m really looking forward to people running around attacking businesses and people.

  58. chris says:

    Personally, I think destroying citizen’s personal property is NOT a good way to convey a message. It’s shit like this that reinforces the public perception that anarchists are hood-wearing bomb-making misfits.

  59. arkizzle says:

    ..but who inevitably give you a blank look if you mention Kropotkin or Proudhon or Goldman (Emma, not -Sachs).

    So you have to be educated to be angry? Maybe you should just stop calling them anarchists (no, most of them don’t call themselves that), and you won’t be so disappointed by their lack of credentials.

  60. aex1609 says:

    @31

    Dont bore us with wordplay, you’ll need evidence to convince us that what you claim is correct.

  61. Brainspore says:

    Those guys seem pretty well organized for anarchists.

  62. fltndboat says:

    #62 .Thanks . I looked it up. Losers all. Instant assholedome by joining up. My problem is how to communicate the notion that nobody needs terrorism or assholeidm to feel good about themselves. All one needs is to feel good about the notion that you are alive. Then take measures to secure your love. As best you can.

  63. disprofession says:

    No one speaks for all anarchists, but here is what (some) anarchists are for: They for cultural pluralism and political decentralization. They want a rich diversity of local communities and cultures to be allowed to exist and not be homogenized and forced to adopt a single world culture. They’re for these things, but the people who run the world are for the opposite, and so these anarchists are against the policies of the people who run the world, many of which fall under the umbrella of “globalization.”

  64. gracchus says:

    So you have to be educated to be angry? Maybe you should just stop calling them anarchists (no, most of them don’t call themselves that), and you won’t be so disappointed by their lack of credentials.

    No, you don’t have to be formally educated to be angry. But if you’re burning and smashing stuff in the name of anarchy, it gives you somewhat more credibility with the public you’re trying to reach if you can demonstrate even basic knowledge about your cause’s philosophy and history. If one doesn’t have that minimal ideological discipline, one shouldn’t be so shocked when that trusted comrade on the demo planning committee (“…and then we’ll smash a Starbucks window, ma-an!”) is caught wearing police-issue boots.

    And I’m sorry to break this to you, but the window-smashers and Molotov cocktail throwers wearing black bandanas do indeed call themselves “anarchists” and wear the symbol (if for no other reason than to marry their “politics” to punk fashion statements). The libertarian socialists and the syndicalists and anarcho-capitalists and all the rest generally have enough grounding in reality to understand that making a “revolutionary sacrifice” out of some working-class bystander’s car isn’t going to help the cause.

  65. Rindan says:

    Awesome. Lets go bust down some banks. I bet that will encourage them to give out more loans and drive down rates! Lets got smash the windows of local business and tip some cars! Nothing shows the man who is boss like pin pricking a few executives balance book by destroying the livelihoods of low level workers, managers, property owners, and people foolish enough to park their car on the street.

    I’ll refrain from spouting my opinion on anarchist in this post and just say that I have yet to see one of those jerks set up a functioning society big enough for two, but those bored college students sure have been successful at causing untold misery for the masses.

Leave a Reply