Brian Brotarlo on Tue, 24 Jul 2001 19:41:29 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Fw: TODAY editorial 07-23-01

A rather Conservative assessment of Genoa from a paper an ocean away.
> Black flags
> 7/23/2001
> The TODAY (Philippine Newspaper) Editorial
> MARX may be dead, philosophically the pundits declare, but the
> Russians still haunt the imaginations of the young. If Marxism is
> losing its allure and Socialism seems stodgy, there now, irony of
> ironies, resounds the clarion call to the young and the restless of
> anarchism. Give way Marx, take a bow, Prince Kropotkin-and
> Robert Nozick, whose updated version of anarchism in Anarchy,
> State and Utopia, is impervious to intellectual challenge.
> An anarchist, simply defined, is someone who advocates the
> end of exploitation, namely through the abolition of government
> and/or capitalism . . . that is, the creation of a society that does
> not feature political or economic stratifications: which is why
> anarchism as a political and idealistic force, which sprung up at
> the end of the 19th century and shook the world at the turn of the
> 20th century, with the assassinations of the Empress of Austria
> and President William McKinley of the United States (not to
> mention a President of France) among other people, finally
> found itself exterminated where it had flourished best, liquidated
> by its Communist allies during the Spanish Civil War.
> In Genoa we have seen authorities react hysterically, or so it
> seems to observers, to the 100,000 demonstrators that
> descended on that ancient Italian bastion of capitalism for the
> meeting of the G8. An American newspaper reported that a
> "missile defense system has been installed to guard against
> airborne attacks (there've been rumors of an assassination plot
> on President Bush by Osama bin Laden)," and that over 18,000
> police and paramilitary troops were mobilized "in one of the
> biggest security buildups in the country's postwar history." The
> airport, the report added, and train stations and access roads
> were shut down and the city center blockaded with armored
> trucks.
> The result was mayhem and-anarchy. The New York
> newspaper the Village Voice tagged the "militant anarchists of
> Italy's Tute Bianche (White Overalls) movement" as having led
> the assaults that led to water cannon, and enough tear gas
> being flung about to make a BBC correspondent say that even
> within the heavily guarded confines where leaders met, people's
> eyes smarted from the whiff of the tear gas. One protester was
> killed; a carabinieri assaulted; Italy's President and Prime
> Minister in shock, and the enemies of globalization in disarray
> and in dismay over the militancy of the youth. We seem to be in a
> fin-de-siècle moment in history, and in a curious changing of the
> guard as far as global political activism is concerned.
> Anarchy is back, whether half-understood or not: the fact is from
> Seattle to Canada to Genoa, the black flags are aflutter once
> again. The veterans of the socialist-oriented street movements
> of the 1960s, older, wiser, more peaceful, are now facing the
> challenges of their own children. As the Village Voice puts it:
> "The mere threat of mass demonstrations has succeeded in
> putting the global elites on the run . . . the World Bank decided to
> hold its June meeting over the Internet rather than risk a
> tear-gas-soaked riot in Barcelona."
> (Thousands turned out anyway, resulting in violent clashes when
> the police stormed the crowd.) And with few places willing to
> endure another "Battle of Seattle," the World Trade Organization
> is hosting its November ministerial in Qatar-a repressive
> monarchy where they cut off your hand if you steal and your head
> if you talk.
> And all George W. Bush has to say is that those against
> globalization are those most against the poor; but what can he,
> or any global leader, or even any Philippine leader say in the face
> of mounting militancy on the streets, militancy that has yet to
> reach our shores, where protests are still living in a nostalgic,
> Marcos-instigated First-Quarter-Stormer past?
> But this we point out in all seriousness, because the trends so
> obvious abroad must inevitably reach our shores. The black flag
> of anarchism has been unfurled. Where Marx was dead, his
> anarchist contemporaries have found a new lease on life in the
> imaginations of the young. It is inevitable that a generation of
> young Filipinos will discover the allure of the raised fist, the black
> banner of utter contempt for all authority, whether capitalist or
> communist.
> This is the most dangerous trend of all, for it only takes a few
> dedicated anarchists to break security cordons and sow
> mayhem and confusion. We might even go so far as to say that
> what spelled the doom of anarchism as a global movement of
> autonomous believers-liquidation by both the Right and the
> Left-now spells its salvation and hope for growth in the 21st
> century. The habits of the young, particularly those that are
> attuned to the Internet, are the habits that will put them in the
> frame of mind to become anarchists. You surf the World Wide
> Web, you gladly loot Napster, you gladly look for alternatives to
> it-you are already treading on anarchist ground. And for readers
> puzzled by all these terms: perhaps now you understand what
> every State and society is up against.

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