Canada has a reputation as a liberal/lefty sort of place in the US and Europe chiefly I suspect because of the comparison with its nearest neighboor. However as the suppression of the G20 protests in Toronto this weekend shows this is far from the case. In fact outside of Quebec there is little far left opposition to the Canadian state, so apart from the First Nations, who do indeed come under state attack, there is little to suppress. This blog consists of three pieces, two which I wrote around the FTAA summit while in Ontario and the third which I just finished on the G20 Toronto protests this weekend.
I was at the Better Questions seminar in Semora last Wednesday for a discussion of the ideas of two French philosophers Jacques Ranciere and Alain Badiou. The audio recording of the seminar is below, here I wander into a discussion of the fundamental concept underpinning the seminars and an argument that the Better Questions need to be directed as much at the 'moment of movements' as at the 'old left' which I argue it has now joined. This and the previous BQ session seem to share a similar problem to me, that the presentations are demolishing a left that has not only been simplified for the purpose of the argument but which almost no longer exists. What is more in terms of the audience its almost completely a left that no one in the room has or even had much faith in.
These audio files are 11 interviews conducted via mobile phone with Irish protesters at the Gleneagles G8 summit in June 2005 and an interview with Tobie about the launch of RAG 1, the publication of the Revolutionary Anarcho-Feminist Group. I'm adding them to the blog as part of the process of re discovering old audio I recorded and archiving it, in these cases I'd forgotten recording these at all until the point where I was writing the other two blogs on the topic.
In terms of the development of a libertarian movement in Ireland the march on the EU summit at Farmleigh will probably be seen as a turning point. For the first time the movement mobilized large number of people from outside its own ranks, in a demonstration that was in direct defiance of the Irish governments attempt to ban such demonstrations.
Over the last week the Gardai have repeatedly turned up on occasions where the Dublin Grassroots Network has been attempting ton inform the public about the Mayday protests. On each occasion they have demanded the names of the people there in what can only be a crude attempt to intimidate the protest organiser and reduce their ability to inform the public about the protesters. What are they afraid of you finding out?
From J18 City of London, to N30 Seattle, S11 Melborne, S26 Prague; these are all dates that signify a growing movement of international opposition to capitalism. I took part in the S26 demonstrations in Prague which succeeded in disrupting the IMF congress there. The IMF was forced to cancel its evening entertainment's and so many delegates fled the city or stayed in their hotels that the last day of the congress was cancelled after the embarrassment of speakers addressing empty halls.
This is my personal report on the demonstrations in Prague to shut down the IMF/World Bank on Tuesday September 26 2000. I marched near the front of the anarchist (blue) section of the demonstration.
The strength of this movement is that it has come from many places, that it is a network without a head or a central committee that has successfully united many issues in a combined opposition to what we have been told was unopposable. If the demonstrations of the last years have achieved anything it is that they seized the neo liberal slogan 'there is no alternative' by the throat and dashed it into the ground. From Seattle to Melbourne to Prague hundreds of thousands of ordinary people have stood up and proclaimed, 'here and now we are creating an alternative'.
We understand that we are not going to bring down the world order headed by the World Bank on Tuesday or by blockading any of their meetings. Instead we send out a clear message that there is an alternative. This alternative is not merely a question of policies but also of a new world in which for the first time the ordinary people of the world will take direct control over how our societies are run, not simply by occasionally choosing between professional politicians but by self management in the workplaces and the communities.
In the late summer of 1996 I was one of the two Irish delegates to the 3,000 strong international meeting held in the rebel areas of Chiapas Mexico. The experience of getting to the meeting through miles of jungle and military checkpoints was an experience in itself but the meetings themselves were an extraordinary thing to find oneself at. For me it was a transformative experience both personally and politically, one of those points at which 'two roads diverge in a wood'.