Strategy discussion on internat. mobilisation

author: no idea - 23.09.2002 16:08

Strategy debate (1)
'Looking back at the internat. mobilisations, and the way forward'
14.00 - 17.45
author: Mina - 01.09.2002 22:04

How do we look back on international mobilisations and days of action, and how will we move forward?

Strategy discussion on international mobilisation

How do we look back on international mobilisations and days of action, and how will we move forward? (Sunday afternoon session) Only a handful of people turned up and informally exchanged ideas and experiences. There were no major differences of opinion. First we reflected upon the big anti-globalisation demo's of the past, summing up both their positive and negative aspects. Next we looked at the future, and tried to formulate concrete alternatives.

Looking Back / Pros and Cons

We agreed that the big anti-globalisation demo's are still a valuable, and even essential tool, because they can serve as an exchange platform between people with different backgrounds, inspire people, strenghten international solidarity,create visibility, expose our perspectives to a wider audience, provide a low threshold for 'newcomers', and they are good fun! Also, public support for the 'anti-capitalist movement' seems to be growing.

However, the big demo's are not sustainable: we don't seem to go forward. They often don't relate to peoples' daily lives, or even alienate people. Sometimes they even result in local activist groups suffering additional repression. There is a lack of innovation and creativity - with regard to strategies and tactics- leading to predictability and the police being one step ahead of us. Certain groups seem to be underrepresented (e.g. people of colour, marginalised groups, lowest social classes of society, etc.). We seem to fall in a trap: our responses are increasingly symbolic instead of confrontational. Is that because the movement is being monopolised by certain groups, or have we become afraid after Genoa? Finally, the diversity of the movement can be a strength, but also a weakness. We might find ourselves lost in a sea of perspectives, ideas and goals, and unable to effectively disseminate a coherent and clear message.

The way forward

We came up with ideas (most of them quite abstract) to address the mentioned problems. The importance of reaching out to a wider audience, and involving a bigger variety of people was emphasized. Also, we have to put more thought into big demo's beforehand, in order to make sure the demo's remain a means to and end (instead of an end in itself). We increasingly have to link the big demo's with local actions and campaigns (see the the 'Anarchist Travelling Circus' initiative,at: We have to diversify and innovate our tactics, be 'braver in our expectations' -and not let police repression dictate our minds. It might be good to mix up various 'blocs' of people, since the police often tries to play the divide-and-rule game (e.g. attacking the pacifists in order to create animosity within the movement and/or isolate and attack the 'hard core groups', being left behind when the pacifists run off). Counter state 'propaganda' to inform local citizens about the coming demonstrations would be a good thing. We could increasingly organise our own gatherings, separate from the global elitist fora. It might be useful to increase the level of small affinity-group-based actions, working autonomously but in conjunction with the big demo's. To prevent the police from 'caging' us, we should be more fluid and mobile. We could also consider sealing off summits, instead of shutting them down, and to go and find the delegates at their cocktailparties and hotels. Finally, we need to improve our knowledge of the legal system, and create more and better legal teams to support us. 'Jail solidarity' could work-depending on the context- when a large number of people gets nicked (if everybody agrees not to give the police any information).

European PGA Conference Leiden | |