Lausanne Solidarity Declaration

A response to press misinformation
June 3rd 2003


The iron fist of police brutality is still preventing us from piecing together the entire puzzle of events surrounding the Sunday blockades of the G8. And yet, the usual suspects are at it again. In the past 36 hours, some sections of the entertainment industry (also known as the corporate media) have happily jumped into their usual role: a campaign of disinformation, criminalisation and intimidation. This is happening in direct support of the state terrorism being exercised, as we speak, against thousands of people in Lausanne, Geneva and Annemasse. We are again confronted with a fine fabric of half truths and more-than-half lies, posing as the 'neutral' and 'objective' account of the G8 blockades.

Sheer urgency precludes a response to all the details of this nebula of falsehood. We have prisoners to defend, lungs to decontaminate and good stories to tell. However, one illusion that needs to be dispelled right now is the ritual separation between 'good' and 'bad' protesters, manufactured yet again by the corporate media in all its sensationalist glory. Le Matin, celebrating its greatest achievement to date in the art of rabid inflammation, tells us in a blood-red headline that 'the black blocks destroyed the dream of the pacifists' in Lausanne. Have they ever considered the possibility that the two share the very same dream? 24 Heures rushes to quote the rehearsed and predictable denunciations by the self-appointed 'leaders' of the 'altermondialistes', that ridiculous cadre of middle-aged, middle-class, white, male opportunists, most of whom might as well be picking the scraps from under the banquet table in Evian. As if to enforce this image, pictures of masked 'casseurs' are faced, on the opposite page, by the smiling faces of their holier-than-thou categeurs. And Le Temps, in the most shameless show of superficiality, characterises the 'casseurs' as anarchists and fascists at the same time, as if two such diametrically opposed ideologies could coexist in any space of political expression. And so on and so on, as it has always been, lies without end, amen.

Enough of this farce.

This declaration of solidarity is written by friends who participated in the non-confrontational parts of Sunday's blockades in Lausanne. We are speaking in our name only, not in the name of the Aqua or Pink and Silver blocs, which have disbanded. Still, as far as the stupid divisions created by the corporate media go, we would definitely be perceived as the kind of 'good' protesters that they so like to cuddle.

We want to say the following, loud and clear: For us, the only division worth talking about is that between the people of the world and the masters of death and exploitation. The only 'ring-leaders' that need to be exposed, isolated, and removed from their position of menace to society are George Bush, Vladimir Putin, Tony Blair, Silvio Berlusconi, Jacques Chirac, Gerhard Schröder, Jean Chretien and Junichiro Koizumi. Our determination to disrupt their yearly feasts of power is matched only by our contempt for that other handful of losers in suits who, instead of fighting for the starving millions of the global South, came to Evian in order to kiss the hands of the torturers.

The blockades were undertaken by a very large number of people, with different expectations and sensibilities. But it was abundantly clear, at least to us, that everybody was agreeing to operate in full solidarity. This was made clear not only by the written declarations of the different blocs, but also from the abundant will to coordinate our fluid actions on the ground. The fact that some of us chose not to engage in highly confrontational tactics (whether for reasons of principle or of prudence) does not mean that we automatically refuse to cooperate, and defend, those who did choose higher levels of confrontation. We are constantly looking for ways to live with our differences, so as to continue acting together for a world of freedom, justice and peace.

We challenge the corporate media to reproduce a single quote or sound-bite from Sunday in which someone who actually participated in the Lausanne blockades denounces another participant.

There is talk of fascist infiltration of the various black blocs. Since Genoa these claims have become certain people's knee-jerk reaction to high levels of confrontation, but we are prepared to look at the facts. Indeed, from what we saw on Sunday in Lausanne, there was an enormous presence of fascists on the streets. They were all wearing police uniforms. These thugs almost killed one activist, directly beat and tortured hundreds, and left thousands more injured: bruised by rubber bullets, traumatised by concussion grenades and poisoned by highly potent chemical weapons. The corporate media subsumes, under the single category of 'violence', (a) the occasional erection of a barricade and its defense with a few bottles and sticks, and (b) the continuous assault on unarmed masses of people with tear gas, flash-balls and icy gushes of water laced with pepper spray. This is an insult to human intelligence, even if the latter is as low as that of corporate journalists, Leninists and cops.

All the blockade actions that took place in Lausanne had the clear objective of obstructing the arrival of G8 delegates. The difference was only in tactics. A clear dimension that they all had in common, however, was the reclamation of our urban spaces. Whether this is done through a sit-in, a street party, or symbolic assaults on corporate property, we have the common goal of cleansing our living space from its contamination by capitalism and the state. We want our streets back, but we are tired of asking politely: we just take them.

Finally, we find it absolutely preposterous that the media is willing to play this divisive game after seeing the amazing levels of solidarity that were present during the police repression of activists in the Bourdonnette camp on Sunday afternoon. For long hours in the blazing sun, surrounded by fully armed police, protesters who earlier in the day had oriented themselves to vastly differing levels of confrontation all maintained a non-violent, collective resistance to the police's attempts to intimidate and isolate us. We were constantly making decisions together by consensus, chanting slogans in each other's languages, freely sharing among us the precious little food, water and cigarettes that we had, and protecting people that we had never met before from arrest and brutalisation as if they were our own family members. We simply cannot believe that the journalists who saw this happen were not blown away by our level of cohesiveness and strength. We know that we were.

To sum up: you can talk all you want, but for us the G8 blockades were a master-class in revolutionary solidarity. They were the creation of a movement more united than we have ever seen it in our lives. We have discovered, together, that the colours of resistance can combine in a beautiful rainbow if we just try. Let the sounds of samba and breaking glass harmonise, because this movement has something stronger than guns. It has a memory.

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