From: "Nathan S." <firstname.lastname@example.org> New radical anarchism on the march This is from Jane's Terrorism and Security Monitor Go to http://www.janes.com to see what they're about... October 19, 2000 THE thousands of protesters who descended upon the World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting in Seattle in December, at the meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, in April, and at the Democratic and Republican national conventions this summer, represent a new phenomenon in political activism. It marks the first time since the Vietnam War that so many Americans, particularly young Americans, are willing to go to jail to make a political point. The protesters - who have like-minded allies in Western Europe - tend to be young, idealistic and concerned about the environment. In addition to an anti-establishment ethos, today's social activists voice deep forebodings about the growing power of global corporations. While the protesters have individual concerns - ranging from workers' rights to protecting the natural resources of developing countries - they are united in their opposition to the globalisation that has swept the US and other countries in recent years. Mark Weisbrott, of the left-leaning Centre for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, summed it up: "We are opposed to this tremendous concentration of power that is unaccountable and causes enormous destruction around the world." Corporate power Institutions such as the WTO, the World Bank and the IMF appear to be perfect foils for a whole variety of protesters, according to Alexander Bloom, a professor of American history at Wheaton College. "You have people concerned with the environment, labour, the anti-sweat shop movement and the notion that these institutions represent some kind of invisible corporate power." One element of the protests has been the revival of anarchism. Black-masked anarchists stoned chain stores in Seattle and protesters with giant A's pasted on their shirts blocked intersections in Washington during the Republican National Convention and in Los Angeles for the Democratic convention. Anarchism, it seems, is becoming fashionable. This may be seen in the way protesters of diverse loyalties - labour, environmental, and consumer groups among them - have sought to become a mass but leaderless movement, a collection of affinity groups that operate by consensus. Many of those who oppose international capitalism call for a return to local decision-making, echoing long-time anarchist objections to the way nation states usurped the power of cities and towns. Paul Avrich, a leading historian of anarchism at Queens College in New York, said: "With the decline of socialism, you have seen anarchism go through a revival as an easy way to oppose global capitalism." He claims anarchist groups are emerging in every major city, but whether this radicalism will emerge into a movement is less than clear. Analysts argue that too many disparate themes do not make for coherent protest. At the Democratic convention in LA, for example, gang members protesting police brutality joined vegetable-eating environmentalists protesting about logging. Hippies marched with welfare mothers. Free trade foes marched with the self-described "radical anarchist clown bloc". Two banners displayed signs against the WTO and the North American Free Trade Agreement. They flanked another banner that included a discourse on revolution and the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal slogan (Mumia was convicted in 1981 and sentenced to death row for shooting a Philadelphia police officer). Boycott favoured The protest movement's leaders say their next objective is to spread the anti-globalisation message to religious organisations, unions and city councils. Many favour a boycott of World Bank bonds, the main financing tool the Bank uses to pay for its operations. Critics argue that the protesters are advocating policies that would hurt the very people they seek to help. Professor Lestor Thurow, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said: "Globalisation is similar to what happened a century ago when electricity and things that went with it (the telegraph, the telephone, the radio) replaced the local regional economies with a new national economy. "The difference is that we already had a democratically elected national government standing by to regulate this new national economy. Today, there is no democratically elected global government ready to regulate this new global economy. While the demonstrators talk about democracy or lack of democracy at the WTO, the IMF, or the World Bank, they don't really believe in global democracy." For whilst there is much of the 1960s in the tactics of the protestors, their 'ideology' has more in common with the 19th century questions over burgeoning capitalism - how ro reconcile the demands for growth with the need to preserve fairness. At present the protestors seem to simply want to tell the developing countries to stop developing.
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