PDX Solidarity Against the G-8?
Is there any work being done on solidarity actions in Portland? Is there a day of action planned? If not, discussions for formation of a planning committee for actions on either June 1 or June 2, 2003, for the city of Portland. It's time to get back on track and back on point.
Days of Resistance to the Gang of 8 (alias "G8"), Evian, 1-3 June 2003
"Oye! Oye! It is now certain that an international Gang of Terrorists, known as the "G8", plan to meet in the town of Evian. Some of the leaders of this Gang are already responsible for crimes against humanity defying the imagination - including the assassination of several thousand people every year in Columbia, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children in Irak, indiscriminate bombing and nuclear pollution in Afghanistan and an ongoing genocide in Tchetchenia. The real agenda of their meeting will of course be secret, but it will certainly include the threat of the new massacres and violences necessary to maintain their control over criminal trafics in arms, oil, drugs, etc. not to mention the extortion and "protection" rackets by which they levy huge profits on all kinds of legitimate activities worldwide.
We therefor call on all the inhabitants of the region to be attentive to any activity of suspicious foreigners who could be accomplices of the Gang, and to immediately inform the Anti-Gang Coordination of their activities and whereabouts, so that they can be immobilised. Given the size of the Gang, we are appealing for help to concerned citizens of all Europe.
Attention! Exercise caution! The Gang is armed and ruthless!"
Since Seattle, every summit, worldover, has been resisted, blocked and harassed by ever larger masses of people. This worldwide outbreak of civil disobedience has obliged our rulers to meet in improvised fortresses, or exile themselves to feudal dictatorships of the Middle East and isolated mountain villages. Thus, summits intended as ritual shows of their supremacy now reveal the universal unpopularity of the regime and its fundamental basis: force and violence. Of course this symbolic revolution will not suffice, but it is the essential achievement of the movement and has given new hope and determination to millions worldover.
For our rulers, the major political issue of the next G8 meeting is to demonstrate that they can return to hold meetings in the heart of Europe relatively unhindered.
For the movement, it is vital to maintain and enlarge a determined resistance without being divided and criminalised.
The french government has a double strategy with respect to the opposition. On the one hand they have announced their willness to "organise" an innocuous demonstration. On the other hand the political police (Renseignements Généraux) are already fomenting a scare and criminalisation campaign. It is highly probable that they will organise the kind of police provocations and violence we saw in Goteborg, Genoa - and most lately Davos if they get the chance.
Evian was chosen because it is small and difficult of access, squeezed between the southern shore of Lac Léman and the Alps, with only one road leading to it on each side. An "exclusion zone" of several kilometers has already been announced around Evian. Thus, it will clearly be impossible to even approach the town.
The weak spot in the Gang's plan is that the summit - with the various vassal governments, counselors, technical staff, journalists, minstrels, etc., necessary for such an event - will involve about 10,000 people. And all these people will be lodged in a radius of 30 kilometers around Evian, principally in Geneva and Lausanne. (The authorities have already announced that they will reserve one lane of the Lausanne Geneva turnpike for transport from the Geneva airport and hotels. All navigation on the lake will be outlawed with the exception of ferries for delegates.) So we won't get to Evian, but we can make it very difficult for they themselves to get there! The geography of the situation calls clearly for a blockade like in Seattle, but on the much larger scale that the movement can now afford. We think that the political situation also calls for a defensive posture. Given the violent intentions of the police, it would be a mistake to try to force their lines as in Genoa. But we can declare our own much larger "exclusion zone", on the scale of our huge movement the exclusion of those who themselves foment exclusion, misery, servitude and death, year round and world over!
A small international coordination has met twice to start planning, and now invites you for a large international meeting in Geneva (we expect several hundred delegates) on the weekend of March 1-2 to decide on the general plan of action. The french and swiss organisations of the Leman region were mandated to draw up a practical proposal for this meeting. There is a consensus in the region on the following scenario:
The "Days of resistance" would cover roughly a week: from the demos "welcoming" the arrival of the G8 teams on Wednesday the 27th of May, to the end of the summit, Tuesday, the 2nd of June.
We imagine a week of festive, good-humored but determined insubordination which might start for example by a gigantic game of hide and seek to localise the G8 teams in their hotels (and maybe even serenade them with a cazerolazo rather late at night).
At least one (probably several) anti-capitalist "villages" (on the model of the Strasbourg "No Border" camp), would also start operating well before the summit a concrete experience of alternative forms of social organisation, a place for debates on the larger perspectives of the movement, for example, the link between such mobilisations against "global governance" and local organising for example. In the region, we wish precisely to use this occasion to strengthen the dialogue between the movement and local issues such as processes of exclusion in our area, starting the debate well before the week of resistance. We hope that as many people will take the time to really meet, and not just "summit hop"! This process and the villages will also help the organisation of affinity groups for the days of action.
A network of french developmental NGOs is planning a counter-forum with delegates from the South.
Saturday night (the eve of the summit), "the lake will burn" ("il y a le feu au lac" means that something's urgent in french) as people of the various localities light huge bonfires all around the shores of the lake and gather to discuss the situation of the world, feast and dance, their drums signifying to the G8 that the natives are restless... Such fires are also an old tradition of peasant revolts in this part of the world.
Sunday, June 1st, opening day of the summit, tens of thousands must gather to block the accesses to Evian: blocking the single road from St. Gingolphe on the east, the ferries from Lausanne and - on the west of Evian - the delegates trying to come from Geneva by the south of the lake. (For a map of the area go to http://www.swissgeo.ch and type in Morges as the localité. Then zoom away as far as possible on the map ( > > > -). Sorry! we'll have our own map up soon!)
The western blockade could be placed in the town of Thonon, just outside the exclusion zone (in fact, as a matter of principle we shall even continue to demand the right to demonstrate in Evian itself but with no illusions!). However, transporting tens of thousands of people to this small town poses real logistical problems and would put us at the mercy of a last minute breach of faith on the part of the police.
The best way to block the western access seems to be to form a human wall from the lakeside in Geneva to the mountain behind it. The distance is 6 kilometers, so 60 000 people would already make an impressive blockade: 10 people thick every meter of the way. The idea would be that one demo leave from the center of Geneva and another from the turnpike at the foot of the Mount Salève - to meet at the french-swiss border. Thus we would symbolically open a frontier while closing the access of Evian to the gang of international terrorists who seek to meet there. This human wall would run through a residential section of Geneva, thus neither in a dangerously secluded "tête à tête" with the police in the countryside, nor in a downtown area inviting confusion with other kinds of activity... The goal of this demo, which would hopefully include every possible stripe of person opposing the G8, would be solely to block - or at least seriously perturb - the opening of the summit. (Of course the gang leaders will be transported by helicopter and they will probably be able to stage their meeting more or less. But if they have to do it with a kind of military airlift operation, our political point will have been made.)
Monday and Tuesday, the resistance, surprise blockades and perturbations will continue with all those who can prolong their stay on the bonny, bonny banks of Lake Leman. Local groups can provide information and some logistics. The rest will depend on you! Given the terrain and the unpredictable behavior of the authorities (and - we hope the activists) decentralisation and mobility will be the watchwords of the week of resistance. We therefor urge you to come as mobile as possible: buses, cars or even better bicycles rather than trains. A "cavalry" of 10 000 bicyclists would give a deliciously ecolo look to the mobilisation and would be VERY useful!
This scenario is possible, necessary and a proposal in which the diverse strands of the movement can all find their place. (It will also be fun!)
However, concerning the main demonstration, there was also a proposal to simply organise a traditional sort of march somewhere, on Saturday, the day before the G8 arrive. The arguments in favor were that it would make it easier for people coming from far to be back in time for work on Monday, and the possibility that the european unions might in that case join the demo. The arguments against were that: Since Seattle, the specific force of our movement has been that people are motivated enough to confront summits when they really happen, including weekdays (we were more than a hundred thousand on Friday in Genoa) so a demo Sunday is no problem, especially as the bulk of the demonstrators at summits usually come from relatively close by. The growing force of our movement has gradually drawn more reformist organisations towards us. If the unions are ready to demonstrate with us now, great! If they decide to make there own march on another day, as they have so far, so be it. It's up to them to decide when and how to insert their action in the days of resistance. But it would be a disaster for us to abandon our political ground (directly confronting "global governance") just in order to march with the unions. It is obvious that politically, symbolically the opening day of the summit is decisive. The international media will not seriously cover anything else (except perhaps a riot). On the regional level, several unions have already agreed to join the blockade on Sunday. For all these reasons, the regional organisations have agreed to go for the blockade on Sunday, and we imagine that people who take the trouble to cross half of Europe won't want to miss the crucial appointment with the G8!
But it is IMPORTANT that you come to the meeting the 1st of March, or at least let us know your opinion, since this scenario could only be justified with respect to groups coming from afar.
The international coordination meeting is IN LESS THAN THREE WEEKS. Please inform us as soon as possible if you can come!
Looking forward to seeing you 1-2 March ... and many, many more of you in the end of May!
Olivier, for the APCM
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