portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article

corporate dominance | human & civil rights | prisons & prisoners

Put the State on Trial

Several people have written to me from Genoa, telling me of what they
suffered during the recent protests there. I join in with those who are
beginning to call for an international tribunal to investigate the
police murder of Carlo Guiliani, and the brutal attacks upon the Genoa
Social Forum and the Italian section of the Independent Media Center by
Italian police and security services.
STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF THE CALL FOR A TRIBUNAL OF THE
EVENTS IN GENOA, ITALY (By Lorenzo Komboa Ervin)

Several people have written to me from Genoa, telling me of what they
suffered during the recent protests there. I join in with those who are
beginning to call for an international tribunal to investigate the
police murder of Carlo Guiliani, and the brutal attacks upon the Genoa
Social Forum and the Italian section of the Independent Media Center by
Italian police and security services. These attacks were clearly organized
by the Italian state security and political forces, working in consultation
with the secret police agencies of the G-8 nations. The decision for this
brutal repression was made earlier at a Spanish conference of police
officials in Europe this past February to decide upon how to beat back
the anti-globalization movement. I had made a statement denouncing this
meeting at the time, alerting protesters that much more severe
repression was coming.

It seems the government's plan coming into the Genoa G-8 meetings
was to use both militaristic terror and public media misinformation
campaigns to undermine the protest movement. Evidence now being
unearthed shows that undercover operatives clearly formented violence,
even though some of it was from persons defending themselves during
demonstrations from random cop attacks. The use of deadly force had
apparently been discussed and approved months before the
demonstration as a tactical measure to intimidate and demoralize
protesters, so Guilian's death was almost a certainty. Further, the mass
arrests and continued court frameups of over 50 persons must be
addressed immediately. I join in with those demanding their immediate
release, and the dropping of all the bogus criminal charges they are
facing by Italian authorities. But it seems government officials are now
going around arresting other persons well after the events, and they must
be made to stop.

The severe police beatings of GSF and IMC activists, and the use of
covert tactical units to literally pummel sleeping people in their beds has
to be addressed immediately, and their assailants exposed and
punished. (These pigs beat people in their beds while they begged for
their lives screaming "pacifist,pacifist...I am a pacifist"!) We must counter
lies of the government that the government went after these people
thinking they were fighting an Anarchist paramilitary "Black Bloc", and
that the hammers and other workmen's tools were "weapons". None of
this can be used as justifcation, this was police terrorism, and the
movement must expose it.

Since the state will not do it, then the movement must stand ready to do it.
These fascist attacks by the government cannot be passively accepted.
This should show us that the issue is not the violence or nonviolence of
the demonstrators, but the fact that an effective capitalist protest
movement is in existence which challenges the social order, and scares
the hell out of the governments of the world. That is the *only
consideration* of the State, it has never been a neutral arbiter of these
events, and hey, the cops use a diversity of tactics to put down
demonstration: brutal repression on the one hand (as in Genoa), or soft
cop public "fronts" of "protecting the rights of everyone", including political
deomonstrators, on the other hand. This latter scame of "officer friendly"
is far from the truth.

It's important also that nobody be fooled into thinking that expelling
Anarchists from future demonstrations by those middle class NGO's,
who would compromise or sell out to the capitalist forces, will somehow
make such demonstrations more effective or afford them protection from
police batons. The Anarchists in this movement are not merely trying to
win "civil rights", but to overthrow the system of capitalism entirely, so
they are not afraid to fight the cops in the streets. They have no faith at all
in any of these rich men and their representatives. They had a right to
rebel against the cops and the capitalists, and I am not sympathetic for
calls to "nonviolence" and Martin Luther King, jr. "tolerance tactics". King
only got concessions from the government when the masses rose up in
rebellion, that was why he and his pacifist politics were virtually
superceded by the Black Power Movement of the late 1960's, and the
youth stopped listening to him. We used to say to those who preached
nonviolence,...tell the white man to be nonviolent". So I would say to the
pacifists, tell the cops to be nonviolent, not the Anarchists! But it isn't
violence they object to, but the use of self-defense, violence in the hands
of the people.

This movement has a great deal of potential and militancy, but, IMHO, the
weakness of this movement is the same of others that have arisen but
failed among white radical youth, like the Left tendencies of the 1960's it
ends up "speaking for the poor" (or the workers, etc.) and fighting in their
behalf. You cannot speak for poor people or Black people in Africa or
America, no matter how sincerely motivated. Myself and an increasing
number of others are beginning to question the entire thrust of the
movement on a number of grounds, not least of which is the lack of
people of color in the leadership or membership. That is a legitimate
question which has doomed many social revolutionary movements in the
past.

We also have a a tactical disagreement on the one hand, as to whether
the radical ultra-Left can sustain the battles in the street at the site of
international conferences like the Genoa G-8, and whether the
movement should now begin to understand that its task is both
to mobilize globally and organize *locally.* Police racial profiling,
homelessness, poverty, mass imprisonment of the youth, the death
penalty, prisoners' human rights, and other issues are things which Black
and people of color understand and would fight for, but which the
anti-globalization movement has yet to adopt. It is clear to me and others
that the reason that this movement is so white and middle class is
because it does not involve itself in the *revolution of daily life* in the
cities of the metropole where many of the real battles of poor people are
taking place, instead of congresses where the rich hold their meetings.
There people of color (immigrants and native born) are brutally policed
(and even murdered)by the internal security forces in the inner cities of
New York, London, Los Angeles, Brussels, Chattanooga, Toronto, and
other cities based on an agenda of racism and political repression. The
cops enforce poverty and injustice with the most brutal tactics, and only
when the people rebel, as they did in Cincinnati, will the issue even
receive any attention.

The whole world is now a ghetto, but the fact is that while the
anti-globalization movement, made up of white Anarchist youth and
NGO's, is just beginning to experience police repression at its
demonstrations, it is a constant feature in the lives of peoples of color all
over the world. It is also a reality for all those who live under
IMF/WTO-imposed dictatorships in the 3rd and 4th world counties. Hey,
let's not forget what the New York cops did to repress the Million Youth
March a few years ago, in the USA any group of young Blacks is
suspect, and the cops are called in.

There is a call for an international tribunal to be held on October 20-21, to
expose this police murder and brutality, and the police state repression
which took place in Genoa, and I support it. This is not just a "European
matter",or an "Italian internal affair", and I believe the tribunal's "judges
should include people from Mexico, South Africa, India, and other parts of
the world, who understand the crimes of these cops first-hand, along with
Anarchists, students and other activists who were there. This tribunal has
to investigate all of the government's tactics in this matter, must demand
payment of reparations for all those injured and unfairly arrested by
police, and forced to pay to replace the IMC's electronic equipment
which was smashed or grabbed by police in unlawful raids, and it must
secure the release of political prisoners, must set the record straight for
the people of Italy and of the world to see this tragedy for what it was: a
bloodthirsty plot by the Italian government acting as the snarling police
dog for the rich nations of the G-8. It should run Leonardo Berlusconi
and his corrupt government out of power, and perhaps indict him for
murderous conspiracy, and yes, the cops should be put on trial with him.

But more than anything, we cannot let this police state terrorism stop us
from continuing to challenge the WTO/IMF/WEF, and other such
international institutions; not let them stop us from street protests against
their actions, whatever tactics we are forced to or decide to adopt to
make our point. It's already been proven that Fredrick Douglass, the
19th century African American slavery, was right in something he said
over 150 years ago:... "power concedes nothing without a demand." We
cannot now ask for permission to protest against these gangsters who
masquerade as "statesmen" and "elected popular leaders". They're
thugs and we can prove it!

Love and struggle,

Lorenzo Komboa Ervin