Eric Miller on Wed, 25 Jul 2001 03:03:51 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Re: G8 protest thread

here in Portland, Oregon we seem to get spinoff protests from WTO/G8 
summits, usually a day or so after the protests elsewhere escalate to violence.

It's a shame.  Very few people in Portland have unquestioning acceptance of 
the actions of organizations like WTO and the G8.  Nike is headquartered 
here, and they've sparked their share of protests. But the protests here 
that I've personally witnessed are tend to be chaotic, incoherent, and 
counter-productive.  I remember the animal-rights activists at a protest 
last spring that heckled the mounted police with shouts of "animal 
abuse".  Fine, that's a valid viewpoint.  But it was hard to reconcile that 
with the actions of the protesters later in the protest when they 
deliberately threw orange safety netting under the hooves of the horses in 
an attempt to tangle their legs and send them to the pavement.  I've also 
seen protesters stopping mass transit, blocking traffic, heckling 
bystanders...and skipping basic hygiene in a lot of cases.  None of which 
tends to build up a lot of sympathy in the population.  It totally 
undercuts credibility.  I personally wasn't too terribly impressed with the 
protesters standing next to me at the Portland IMF protests last 
year...they didn't know what the IMF was when asked.  They didn't know what 
the policies were.  They didn't have an understanding of the issues.  And 
they coulda used a shower.  But they sure were able to spout vitriol and 
invective at the police.

People should protest the unfettered shareholder capitalism that seems to 
be driving global politics these days.  Multinational corporations 
shouldn't be calling the shots.  At the same time, if protests are 
unfocused expressions of general rage, the message gets diluted or doesn't 
come through.  It reduces protests with valid concerns about globalization 
to the equivalent of drunk rampaging sports fans wandering the streets and 
causing mayhem.  It strikes the mainstream as being self-indulgent and 

> > You are doing damage to innocent bystanders (networks and their
> > administrators, customers of these networks, consumers of these networks)
> > just like the rioters are raiding stores in the riot areas that are owned
> > by people who have nothing to do with the G8.
>correction, everyone has to do with g8. we all do. and especially people who
>maintain networks, websites, etc, of them. the important thing in this kind
>of battles here is to show and display discontempt. there's not much left
>there to do.

I disagree.  Indiscriminately lashing out at institutions solves 
nothing.  Focused non-violent protest with a clear media-friendly message 
will do a hell of a lot more than setting cars on fire and attacking 
police.  Compare the successes of Martin Luther King to the successes of 
the Weather Underground if you'd like a case study.


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