[sixties-l] (en) New radical anarchism on the march

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: 12/05/00

  • Next message: radman: "[sixties-l] John Lewis on the vote"

    From: "Nathan S." <javanate@yahoo.com>
    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
    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
    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
    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. 

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : 12/05/00 EST