The New "Revolution against Global Capitalism"

Jay Moore research at
Fri Dec 8 14:15:30 MST 2000

They have different methods, but only one enemy: globalisation
The Movement

By Justin Huggler
The Independent (UK)
8 December 2000

Once they were seen as dull events in far-off places. But suddenly
international summits have emerged as the destination of choice for a
disaffected generation. From Britain's Reclaim the Streets movement to the
Basque separatists, a diverse array of protesters has begun travelling the
world, dropping in on an IMF annual meeting here, an EU summit there, united
against one enemy: globalisation.

They belong to no single organisation. Many, in fact, do not belong to an
organisation at all. Yet they manage to arrange teams of medics to attend
injured demonstrators, and teams of lawyers to get arrested protesters out
of prisons.

They communicate using the most visible symbols of the globalisation process
they so vehemently oppose: e-mail and mobile phones. They eschew television
and newspapers, preferring news from their own internet-based "independent
media centre". They have their own calendar in which planned protests are
known by their date. The month is represented by its first letter -
yesterday's was D7. On their websites, they have begun to call their
movement the "revolution against global capitalism".

It all began in Seattle on 30 November last year, when protesters wrecked
the World Trade Organisation's summit. The city was put under curfew in an
effort to end the violence and the Seattle police chief was later forced to
resign. Worse, the summit collapsed before it could agree what was supposed
to be the crowning achievement of President Bill Clinton's term in office, a
new round of trade talks. Mr Clinton was left inside the conference centre
admitting the protesters outside, who had ruined his moment of glory, had a

That was the moment the anti-globalisation movement arrived in the public
consciousness, when the demonstrators proved they could make their voice

Since then, they have brought one international meeting after another to its
knees. The manner of protest is so diverse because the people behind it are
so varied. On May Day, for example, Winston Churchill was given a turf
mohican haircut in Parliament Square. Many are there for the spectacle and
the street party, attracted by promises of a "carnival of protest". But the
demonstrations are planned by people, most of them young, who take the
politics seriously

Before September's street battles with the Czech police at the IMF and World
Bank summits in Prague, earnest young protesters had spent months in the
city planning peaceful protests. They even held a counter-summit, quoting
facts and figures to prove their case against the IMF. But in the 24 hours
before the demonstration, the city was flooded with tens of thousands of a
different type of protester. Many seemed bent on violence.

A destructive minority has hijacked the anti-globalisation movement. But the
reward has been front-page headlines and unprecedented public attention.
Despite the violence in Prague, the protesters' web-sites proclaimed it a
great success. They will probably do the same in Nice.

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