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How do we look back on the international mobilisations and days ofaction, and how will we move forward?

  1. Strategy debate 1: Intl. mobilisations (morning session)
  2. Strategy debate 1 :'Way Forward' (afternoon session)
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 Strategy debate 1: Intl. mobilisations

author: j - morning session

How do we look back on International mobilisations and days of action, and how will we move forward?

We had some success with some previous mobilisations (for example Seattle, Prague), got many people talking and thinking about economy, social problems,... on a large scale; networks got built up and widened, it's good for selfconfidence and keeps up motivation. Capitalism got questionned again. On the other hand, the many mobilizations got too much for people.
Massmobilisations and days of action are often spectacular, get lots of media attention (altough less and less) ,but it mostly doesn't bring over a clear message and it's very abstract.
Antiglobalisation is, by many, seen as cool and fun for the moment, it's esthetic, and many jump on it because of the fashion. On the other hand, mobilisations visually express the problems of every day life and often are a first step to get into social change.
Summits are good to show the resistance by many people taking the streets and by trying to shut down summits, but they don't change a lot on themselfes, and it's dangerous to overestimate their effect. The workers movement was much bigger, and didn't succeed, some participants even thought mass mobilisations are contraproductive. Numbers are also relative: small groups can also reach a lot (for example with regular critical masses). On the other hand, mass mobilisations are important for getting confidence, learn and teach skills, getting ppl involved,... but it may not become a goal on itself.
Massprotests also show the true and repressive face of the capitalist system, as walls around cities get build, people get identificated frequently and get their bags searched,... We're not stronger as them in this, so the question came up if violence is useful at this moment.
Since Genoa and the 11th of september, escalation seemed to stop from both sides: less provocation and repression from cops, and also from our view also less straight forward action.
But the repression seems to deepen: they try to stigmatise us as terrorists, and the establishment divides up between "the good values of the western world" and the others. Therefore it's very important to stick together in solidarity.

Global days also come over as a luxury problem for people in the south, as many people there fight
a daily struggle to survive.
Positive on these global action days is that global problems can be locally interpretted (water problem different in London as in bolivia), so non-activists feel involved.

A big question that came up was if you can live as a direct action activist in daily life?

Building bridges to communities, professions (eg health workers) integrating into everyday life, building consciense and practical projects in communities. People in the communities often don't see the sense of action-networks, but want to work on practical issues, visual problems
instead of abstract ones.
Linking propaganda to everyday life seems to be very important, instead of in an abstract way (eg occupying an office, explaining to the unions why, going into debate with them, showing them directly how they can change, for example changing work): if ppl would see what capitalism
is doing to their lifes, they'd be much more questionning and sceptical and to go onto the streets People may also not getting underestimated, for example the no to nice referendum in ireland.

Choices have to be made between working on a daily basis and big mobilisations, altough a mixture is possible. In this debate, different kinds of long-term (maybe even permanent) caravans were proposed as a mix of mobilisations and practical working to have a lot of time to build things up, by exchanging knowledge, skills, experiences, to work on more diverse topics, to help people setting up autonomous and social zones,... and also make an evolution ourselfes (after all, we're still in a consumer mentality ourselfes).
In this way, it could be used to make bridges (links) between different islands (communities, cultures, networks, topics,...) on a practical, daily basis (now often already in one city, working together is not obvious) to build up to slowly deconstruct nowadays society, as an alternative on the competitive neo-liberal system , by experiments in education, house, food, production; when it gets visualised ppl might take it over.


 Strategy debate 1 : 'Way Forward'

author: Mina - noon

Strategy debate 1 : 'Looking back at the internat. mobilisations, and the way forward'

Only a handful of people turned up and informally exchanged ideas and experiences. There were no major differences of opinion. First we reflected upon internat. mobilisations ('the big anti-glob. demo's') of the past, summing up both their positive and negative aspects. Next we looked at the future, and tried to formulate concrete alternatives.

Looking Back / Pros and Cons

We agreed that the big anti-glob. demo's are still a valuable, and even essential tool, because they can serve as an exchange platform between people with different backgrounds, inspire people, strenghten international solidarity,create visibility, expose our perspectives to a wider audience, provide a low threshold for 'newcomers', and they are good fun! Also, public support for the 'anti-capitalist movement' seems to be growing.
However, the big demo's are not sustainable; we don't seem to go forward. They often don't relate to peoples' daily lives, or even alienate people. Sometimes they even result in local activist groups suffering additional repression. There is a lack of innovation and creativity - with regard to strategies and tactics- which leads to predictability and the police being one step ahead of us. Certain groups seem to be underrepresented (e.g. people of colour, marginalised groups, lowest social classes of society, etc.). We seem to have been falling in a trap: our responses are increasingly symbolic instead of confrontational. Is that because the movement is being monopolised by certain groups, or have we become afraid after Genoa? Finally, the diversity of the movement can be a strength, but also a weakness. We might find ourselves lost in a sea of perspectives, ideas and goals, and unable to effectively disseminate a coherent and clear message.

Way Forward

We came up with ideas (most of them quite abstract) to address the mentioned problems. The importance of reaching out to a wider audience, and involving a bigger variety of people was emphasized. Also, we have to put more thought into big demo's beforehand, in order to make sure the demo's remain a means to and end (instead of an end in itself). We increasingly have to link the big demo's with local actions and campaigns (see the the 'Anarchist Travelling Circus' initiative,at: We have to diversify and innovate our tactics, and be "braver in our expectations" (not let police repression dictate our minds). It might be good to mix up various 'blocs' of people (since the police often tries to play the divide-and-rule game, e.g. attacking the pacifists in order to create animosity within the movement and/or isolate and attack the'hard core groups', being left behind when the pacifists run off). Counter state 'propaganda' to inform local citizens about the coming demo and activists would be a good thing. We could increasingly organise our own gatherings, separate from the global elitist fora. It might be useful to increase the level of small affinity-group-based actions (working autonomously) in conjunction with the big demo's. To prevent the police from 'caging' us, we should be more fluid and mobile. We could also consider sealing off summits, instead of shutting them down, and to go and find the delegates at their cocktailparties and hotels. Finally, we need to improve our knowledge of the legal system, and create more/beter legal teams to support us. 'Jail solidarity' can work-depending on the context- when a large number of people gets nicked (everybody agrees not to give the police any information).

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