- Mr Costello said: “There are some socialists, there are some anarchists, there are some people that want to disrupt world trade. What do you want the international footage to be of? People trying to disrupt world leaders or a warm, friendly, welcoming city?”
- Spottswoode: From what I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.N.C.E has gathered, it would be 9/11 times 20.
Gary Johnston: 9/11 times twenty? Jesus, that’s…
Spottswoode: Yes, 60,000.
Chris: Basically, all the worst parts of the bible.
Well well, bloody hell.
The G20 has done come and gone. Despite impassioned begging by thousands of young people (and a handful of rock *s and other ideologues) at the Make Poverty History gala on Friday night, ‘poverty’ — deemed responsible for the deaths of 30,000 children every day — and its alleviation was not on the agenda of the 200 or so politicans and bureaucrats who assembled at the Hyatt on the weekend of November 18/19.
No surprises there then, for to seriously address such problems would entail, first and foremost, the G20’s dissolution.
Having enjoyed two days wallowing in corporate luxury, the key statement released by the hard-working G20 at the end of their Melbourne junket takes the form of a communiqué [PDF]. It makes a few passing references to the ‘problem’ of ‘climate change’ and ‘poverty’, but the ‘solution’ to such entrenched and devastating realities is assumed, quite explicitly, to be the inevitable outcome of the (further) expansion of global market dominance. A task which the G20 is quite happily pursuing… even if it is, literally, over the dead bodies of the world’s children.
Notwithstanding millions of dead children, the G20’s General Outlook, then, paints a fairly rosy picture of the current state of the global economy: we live in a period of sustained ‘growth’, low inflation, and — given wise management by technocratic institutions such as the G20, IMF, World Bank and WTO — with excellent prospects for continued growth and restrained levels of inflation.
Thus, rather than contributing to ‘making poverty history’ by abolishing itself, the G20 has, quite properly, focused on potential problems associated with the huge and growing energy and mineral markets in the emergent capitalist economies of China and India. In essence, the problem is one of demand exceeding supply, and the resultant high prices for such commodities placing inflationary pressures on the global economy.
In addition to energy and minerals, the G20 also considered the potential economic impact of an ageing population on state revenues; the means by which forms of transnational labour mobility conducive to profit-making might be encouraged; ‘reform’ of the Bretton Woods system; and, in general, ensuring ‘fiscal accountability’ of economic institutions (including member states) and ‘good governance’ of the masses.
Well, those that survive, anyway.
As for coverage of protest, the corporate/state media has provided lashings, although sifting through it to obtain facts about what actually happened is quite a task… stay tuned.
Capitalism has plastered the working-class for decades. Nationwide in Argentina, thousands of factories have closed and millions of jobs have been lost in recent years. Working conditions have been deteriorated. Many workers that still have jobs must work under the table with no restrictions over how long is the work day, no minimum wage and unsafe conditions. Many compañeros have stood up to resist against this destiny. Argentina is living a moment of a resurgence of struggle inside the workplace, using methods that the working class had lost access to: the strike, sabotage and the factory takeover. Most importantly, these struggles in the subway, public hospitals and recuperated enterprises have resulted [in] new visions and victories for [the] working class…
This is what we want: Lives worth living, lives of dignity and autonomy and we want to work together against capitalism and the state to achieve this. We want to develop collective power and collective communication. Not to follow, not to lead, but to work out how we can organise ourselves.
We believe that an effective bloc is made up of many people who have many different skills and capacities. Sometimes the most crucial skills (such as the ability to care) can get forgotten when the focus is on more “exciting” things. But we all have something to offer, and we are equals. None of us are heroes; together we can help each other to be brave, happy and rebellious.
This is what we’re planning: To confront the G20 more directly: to go to the Grand Hyatt Hotel the morning of its meeting, Saturday November 18, prepared for radical disobedience. We want our disobedience and our creation of other ways of living to be [as] effective as we can make it. We have no time for violent macho fantasy or delusions about [Gandhi]. Our bodies, our lives, our desires, are too precious to fuck with. We want to be smart, joyful and defiant, not martyrs.
This is what we’re planning: To carry, as a bloc, white overalls and bright bandanas to cover our faces and to be ready, if we decided collectively, to wear them. We encourage those that want to struggle with us as part of the Arterial Block to organise this equipment.
By having the option of becoming clandestine we are refusing the rules of the game of civil protest, the containment of the ‘good protester’. We are choosing not to be compliant citizens who make their wishes, and show their faces, to ‘their representatives.’ Rather we are relying only on our own disobedience and our co-operative power.
We are constantly subjected to the surveillance of the state and yet made invisible by the simulated reality of power, their media, their ideology, a world of things and their prices. By having the choice to become invisible, we can subvert this. They may not see our faces but we shall show our anger, our creativity and our ungovernable desires.
Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement, or in Portuguese Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST), is the largest social movement in Latin America with an estimated 1.5 million landless members organized in 23 out [of] 27 states. The MST carries out long-overdue land reform in a country mired by unjust land distribution. In Brazil, 1.6% of the landowners control roughly half (46.8%) of the land on which crops could be grown. Just 3% of the population owns two-thirds of all arable lands…
OCAP has its roots in a struggle around welfare reform in the late 1980s. At that time, the Liberal Government of David Peterson was under considerable pressure to introduce some improvements to the Province’s welfare system. As a stalling tactic, it set up a review committee that held extensive public hearings and, finally, recommended a number of measures that included an increase in welfare rates (depending on the category of recipient) of between 10% and 20%. During this period the London and Toronto unions of unemployed workers had been campaigning for a 25% increase in the rates. After the release of the review committee’s report, a broader formation came together and decided to press for the Government to implement the proposals of its own committee. A three pronged march from Windsor, Sudbury and Ottawa was organized on the Ontario Legislature to fight for this…
“What the hell have you come here for? We’ve got nothing here! The mines have shut down and those bastards in their offices are corrupt to the bone! We had a strike, but there’s no way of controlling them. It’s not like the USA where everyone’s rich and you’ve got democracy. Shulan Town? It’s a joke.”
“The system in our state-owned enterprise is different from your factories in America. The machinery we have imported from Germany and Belgium has boosted production and we are now the third largest brewery in China, but such modernisation does not mean we will lay-off workers just to increase profits. [Large-scale] nationalised industry has to make money for sure, but we also have a responsibility to society and can’t just lay people off – though this is also changing.”
Two opposing views on the political backdrop against which the current wave of industrial unrest is unfolding in China. The angry comparison with America came from one of a group of laid-off workers sitting in the square in front of Shulan train station in the northeastern province of Jilin. The second view came from a trade union official in the state-owned Zhujiang Brewery in Guangzhou in answer to a question from a delegation of American students. It is hoped that this article will provide a brief analysis of labour unrest in China and look beyond the figures to what is actually happening on the ground…
Your newspapers and televisions and radios describe us as spoiled brats who are foolishly rejecting the “necessary changes” decreed by the kings of the so-called “free-enterprise” economy.
In reality, we are fighting against a law aimed at totally destroying the rights of working people, rights won long ago through the struggles of our ancestors. We are fighting against a law enabling bosses to fire us at any moment without justification or compensation. We are fighting against the so-called modernization currently being implemented by most governments, a “modernization” designed to take us back to the conditions of near slavery suffered by workers and unemployed people in the nineteenth century before the proletarian movement succeeded in imposing a certain number of social reforms.
In so doing, we are fighting not only for ourselves and our children, but for the well-being and dignity of all humanity.
Don’t believe the caricatural image of us presented in your mass media. Challenge it.
They are upset by what we are doing because they are afraid it might give you ideas. They’re afraid that you might end up rebelling like we are. And they’re right, because we’re all in the same boat.
We refuse to stand by while this boat is capsized by the present rulers of the world, whose never-ending accumulation of money reduces more and more people to poverty and misery. We are mutineers against those destructive captains, trying to turn the boat toward a better world.
Support us. Join us.