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The G8 Summit is Coming, Oh Joy.

By 0xA in Culture
Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 10:34:27 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. On June 26th the G8 Kananaskis Summit will start and is being held about an hour outside of the city in beautiful Kananaskis Country. Right next door you could say. Predictably the City and Federal governments are getting ready to take on the protesters and protect the city's interests. Our local media has been full of posturing from both sides for some time. At the actual meeting place in Kananaskis, the Army has already blocked off most of the area.

So I've been thinking about all the different things I feel about this, all I really can be sure of is confused.

I was hanging about the office this afternoon and overheard some of my co-workers talking about a meeting they had downtown on the 26th. I mentioned to them that I knew of a large protest scheduled for the 26th, the aim of which was to blockade the entire downtown area. The ensuing conversation left me angry and disappointed.

To set the stage a little, I am your everyday 25 year old techie guy. I am educated, make a nice living and I think well informed, I spend a lot of my time here anyway. I have a pretty strong feeling of social responsibility and agree with many of the issues voiced by the anti-globalization movement. My co-workers are average early thirties types, married with kids and SUVs, nice houses in the suburbs. Just plain old people. The reaction from these people when I told them of the planned protest was not what I expected. It was along the lines of, "Those damn punks, why are they causing all this trouble?" "Don't they have anything better to do?"

To be honest I can't say why I expected it to be anything different. I don't like what some of the people coming to protest have to say, I don't like how some of them go about it. I do however think that many of the issues they raise are important. I'd be far more comfortable with somebody saying they don't agree with what the protesters have to say than just dismissing them out of hand as trouble makers. Some of them are, no question but I still think what the rest of them have to say is important. Your average type person doesn't seem to have any idea or really care. I know I've tried to explain things to people before, why the IMF's policies towards developing countries may be causing more problems than they are helping for example. I expect people to tell me I'm wrong or I'm just a tinfoil hat type or something but they never do. They just shrug and walk away, they don't care. If somebody does care they better not get in the way of a lunch meting.

Instantly I felt disconnected with these people in a new way. When they asked how I knew about this I lied. I didn't want to tell them I subscribed to a mailing list run by people organizing some of the protests. I didn't tell them I was thinking about taking the day off to go there. Yes Mr. VP of Finance, the same guy who you help with the IT budget and has beers with you at the bosses place is at least thinking about being one of those punks.

I don't know much about the anti-globalization movement, I know I am angry about some of the stuff they are. I'm on the edge of becoming involved, I feel strongly about it. I'm kind of in this new place though, like I'm jammed in the middle. I can't say I'd be looking forward to introducing myself to new protester friends as someone who works for an indoor tanning company, having moved recently from the oil and gas industry. I wouldn't expect it to be a huge issue, I know the company I work for is a responsible corporate citizen and I have no problem saying that. On the other hand, I don't think I want to tell many of my nice safe yuppie friends that I'm going to spend next Wednesday charging around with a sign in my hand hoping I don't get shot in the ass with a rubber bullet. I don't think that will go over at all.

Anyone else living this? Is there really a middle ground I can be in?


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Am I just a punk or a corporate whore?
o Whore, 100% whore. 14%
o Punk, nothing but punk. 14%
o You can live in the middle, it's okay. 50%
o None of this makes sense. 21%

Votes: 90
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The G8 Summit is Coming, Oh Joy. | 155 comments (148 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
Maybe they're _all_ lying (4.10 / 10) (#1)
by dark on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 04:03:04 AM EST

Part of what we call "culture" is an agreement to all keep our masks on :) Are you sure your co-workers' reactions were genuine? Maybe they were just trying to save face and look "professional" (whatever that means).

I'm not saying this is a good thing. But it does mean that there may be hope. You might get a different opinion from these same people if you meet them one on one, in a social setting rather than a corporate one.

I would say, think about your reasons for hiding your true opinion from your co-workers. Then consider that they might have the same reasons for hiding theirs from you :-)

Middle Ground (3.25 / 4) (#2)
by sypher on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 04:13:13 AM EST

It seems to me the best thing you could do would be to continue to tell others about your strong feelings, don't try to convert them, just explain the issues.

It doesnt sound like your opinions would be any more appreciated at work; if your boss saw you on the 6 o clock news protesting.

Mainly when i have seen the media coverage of these protests they only spotlight the hooligans.

I have never seen the media interview a peaceful protester at these kind of events. Maybe that is why your co-workers with no other interest in these issues or exposure to them carry the opinions they do.

I dreamt of it once, now I fear it dreams of me
I agree with the co-workers (3.25 / 8) (#3)
by gazbo on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 04:13:35 AM EST

While many of the people turning up will have some particular points to make, just with every demo and riot, it ends up being hijacked by people bent on demonstrating of rioting for whatever reason.

Rather than showing displeasure and campaigning for change, it ends up being seen as a disruption, and a farcical pantomime.

Here's a question (with no known answer) - Of the demonstrators there, how many only demonstrate on this issue, and how many demonstrate regularly on a wide range of issues? Now I don't know the answers any more than you do, but I think we can take a pretty good guess that rather than being an issue so important that x thousand people turn out to demonstrate against it, it is merely YetAnotherDemo that a certain group of people add to their calendar.

Those damn punks.

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Hardcore ZORA SULEMAN pics!

You are dead wrong. (3.50 / 2) (#37)
by mr strange on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 08:38:34 AM EST

Virtually every freedom and liberty that we enjoy in the West was won through impassioned protest. Sometimes that protest is peaceful, but effective protests often involve violence. Sometimes that violence is caused by the protesters, sometimes by the 'authorities', often both.

I'm not advocating violent protest, I'm merely observing that protests that are successful in changing society are are often violent, or violently resisted.

Once a liberal democracy is established (often through violent revolution), it becomes easier to change things. But even so protests are often resisted with violence. In the UK, universal suffrage was won after decades of protests. Many of these protests were violent, or were resisted violently by the authorities. Women were only given the vote in the early 20th century, after a prolonged campaign of protest including violence and even terrorism.

Anti-globalisation protests seem fairly tame by comparison. As I understand it, the vast majority of the protesters intend to cause intense disruption through forceful, yet non-violent action. Violence flares up when minority elements in the crowd foment it, or when incompetent or over-zealous police provoke it.

The violence is unfortunate. Protesters should do all they can to suppress violent minorities hiding in their midst. Police should be well-trained and strongly lead. The fact that violence occurs at a protest does not diminish the validity of the campaign. It merely suggests that peaceful protesters are not vigilant enough, or that police are incompetent, or both.

People who feel strongly about an issue should protest. I encourage them to do so, even if I disagree with their point of view.

intrigued by your idea that fascism is feminine - livus
[ Parent ]

We're not entirely disagreeing (4.00 / 2) (#41)
by gazbo on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 09:09:08 AM EST

I wasn't trying to claim that protests are unnecessary. I will not attempt to disagree that sometimes as a very last resort it is possible that violence may strengthen a protest's position for a legitimate reason.

What I was claiming, and stand by, is that some people are only in it for the protest/violence, not for the cause.

I imagine the main part of my post you are disagreeing with is where I described perception of demos as:

it ends up being seen as a disruption, and a farcical pantomime
Well, I stick with that. You bring up some excellent examples where demonstrations bring about change for the good. I shall bring up the example of the May Day riots^H^H^H^H^Hprotests. What exactly is this protest? Well...it's kind of a catch-all. Feeling hard done by? Protest here!

What can we really expect to see change from a protest where we have thousands of people with hundreds of orthogonal demands? Nothing. It causes disruption, it causes damage to properties (especially, but not exclusively global corporations) in the name of...anti-capitalism, anti-globalism, third world debt...whatever.

Protests should centre on a specific issue. Violence should be a last resort; I don't mean that if you feel pissed off by the end of the day then switch to violence, I mean that when after years there is still gross abuse of basic human rights, then you may feel justified to be violent.

Now, you may argue that G8 demonstrations meet these requirements. I claim that while the violent (minority?) of hard-core protest-against-anything are dominating these protests they will be seen in the same light as the truly aimless demos. What is needed is a specific campaign group recruiting members to become educated in the issues, and then for this group to protest. They have the same goal, they know the issues. What instead happens is a global call-to-arms. The educated protesters who deserve to be heard are drowned out by a vast collection of ignorant teenagers with colourful hair who like shouting at rich people, and have this vague feeling that starving black children is bad.

Topless, revealing, nude pics and vids of Zora Suleman! Upskirt and down blouse! Cleavage!
Hardcore ZORA SULEMAN pics!

[ Parent ]

Anti-globalisation is somewhat similar to Chartism (4.00 / 1) (#65)
by mr strange on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 01:07:50 PM EST

Modern day anti-globalisation protesters are a little bit like 19th Century Chartists. They are united by a common 'enemy', but there is a wide range of issues and demands.

Modern media has trouble with this. It's difficult to summarise what the protesters want in a sound-bite, and a news programme has no time to go into the issues in depth. All that remains in the news reports is the violence. It is this that feeds the largely negative public attitude to the protests.

In the UK, a similar set of protests have attracted wide public support: anti-GM food. These protesters share many of the goals and tactic of the anti-globalisers, yet they have achieve widespread public support. What's the difference? Anti-GM is a single issue that is easily summarised in a sound-bite.

intrigued by your idea that fascism is feminine - livus
[ Parent ]

+1FP, enlightenment ;) (1.66 / 3) (#5)
by Jel on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 04:36:52 AM EST

Instantly I felt disconnected with these people in a new way.
Anyone else living this? Is there really a middle ground I can be in?

Great article.

The Fourth Noble Truth is the Middle Path that leads to the cessation of suffering.

Nature is not biased by anything, [...] The best to keep is the middle way.

Do you know what I want to see? (4.17 / 17) (#8)
by psychologist on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 04:51:02 AM EST

Somebody who actually explains to me what there is in globalisation to protest against. Globalisation is GOOD. Hating globalisation is nationalism, and is what causes the first two world wars.

You shouldn't be protesting globalisation. That is essentially a selfish act.

You should be protesting the coercion by western governments of 3rd world countries into openning their markets, yet these western countries kepp their own markets shut.

For example: Europe has tarifs against proccessed fabrics from africa, and forces Africa not to have these tarifs  in the name of free trade. So what is the result? Africa plucks cotten, makes swaths of cloth. They send these cloth to europe, europe proccesses it, and sells it back as levi jeans.

Africa cannot produce Levi jeans, because of the tarifs.

Similarly, look at Agriculture. The difference between the industrialised countries - the G8 - and the non-industrialised countries is exactly that - the industry. The 3rd world exists on Agriculture. Europe and America & Japan exist because of the industry.

Yet it is on exactly this life-blood of the third wordl the the west lays its chokehold. The 3rd world CANNOT export agricultural goods to the west because of the tarifs that are imposed.

Go out and protest THAT injustice. Protest it in your capital. You don't need a summit to protest that. A letter to your congressman will do.

But what do you go and do? You protest against globalisation - in effect protesting for nationalism and protectionism;  actually, you are protesting against the things you want.

The Nigerian representative to the WTO (5.00 / 8) (#13)
by Ranieri on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 05:40:42 AM EST

She made this remark:

"The developed countries negotiate with us developing countries on the basis of the carrot and the stick. That means that some countries get the carrot, and others get the stick."

This colourful formulation of the time-honoured divide et imperat principle is exactly what's wrong with the current form of "globalisation". The problem is not free trade. I think we can more or less all agree that we should all be able to do business with whomever we choose whenever we choose, regardless of physical location. The problem is that, under the mantle of "free trade", we are forcing the developing countries to open up their markets, mostly under the blackmail of withheld IMF loans, while we are doing nothing of the sort ourselves.

The most obvious example of this rampant hypocrisy is the issue of farm subsidies. If African farmers were allowed to export to the EU at competitive prices, then we would get cheaper (and possibly also better) food, the farmers would get quite of bit of money and everybody would be better off. Instead we are locked into this expensive protectionist mess that only benefits farmers and those politicians that enjoy exercising power over less fortunate nations.

I am an "anti globalisation activist"? By no means, i welcome a true borderless society, and the inevitable global economy. What makes me sad is the willingness of the developed countries to leverage the power they hold in the current economic system, as that would basically ensure the perpetuation of the current injustices.
Taste cold steel, feeble cannon restraint rope!
[ Parent ]

I agree (4.50 / 2) (#19)
by marcos on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 06:07:06 AM EST

I think you said roughly the same thing as psychologist.

The biggest problem for the developing world are these protectionist tendencies. If the west would give Africa access to their markets, then there wouldn't be any need for aid. At the same time, African enterpreneurs would make money and be able to industrialiaze.

The very goods that Africa has in abundance are the ones that they make Africa not to be able to sell. That way, of course Africa will remain poor. And so long as Africa is poor, it cannot build industries and make the goods that indeed are not tarrifed in the west.

NEPAD in some ways is addressing this issue, but the fact of the matter is that Africa has to beg. They can't say - hey open your markets or we will impose tariffs on cars - it needs to continue buying cars. They can only ask nicely, and promise good governance in exchange.

The IMF is just the mouthpiece of the west. Nigeria, which has one of the biggest economies in Africa, if a bit sluggish, has left the IMF. I think this was the right thing to do. The IMF has made too many mistakes, and I don't think that the IMF sufficiently understands the developing or non-western world to be effective there.

[ Parent ]

right on (4.00 / 1) (#29)
by tps12 on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 07:43:23 AM EST

The rhetoric used in debating this issue makes it nearly impossible to convey your (very common, I think) opinion. "Free trade" means "regulated trade" and "not free trade" means "no trade at all." It makes no sense.

Sadly, I think true free trade will only come about through political centralization. So it's down to choosing the lesser of two evils.

[ Parent ]

Exactly the way I feel (5.00 / 4) (#18)
by 0xA on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 06:05:15 AM EST

You and are are on the smae page with this. There are a lot of people that feel Free Trade is bad idea, I think they are wrong. What we are getting now is not Free Trade, somebody is always getting shafted.

Obviously there will never be a perfectly level playing field, there is too much money and too many distinct intrests involved. It could be better but for the most part nobody sees the problems. That's waht I want to change.

[ Parent ]

Yup (5.00 / 1) (#104)
by broken77 on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 06:53:31 PM EST

And this is exactly why the movement has a new name. It would do us all a lot of good to start using it. The protesters are not all necessarily "anti-globalization". Many of them think globalization is a good idea. Just not the way it's designed currently. Which is why the new (more appropriate) name for the movement is the "Global Justice Movement". Use it, reduce confusion...

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

Protectionism IS good. (5.00 / 1) (#144)
by zocky on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 05:15:30 PM EST

Up to a point. All the developed countries became developed by practicing protectionism for centuries. Free trade between comparibly rich countries is good, as long as it is accompanied by free movement of people.

But the thing is, if two countries are too far apart on the richness/poverty scale and there's free trade between them, two things will happen:

1) foreach $X production of $X will move to the poorer country, where wages are lower, thus driving down wages and driving up unemployment in the richer country.

Notice that even labour protection in the poorer country won't prevent this. The workers in the 3rd world don't work for less money only because of the non-existent labour legislation (most europeans would say that there's no labour legislation in the US). They work for less money because they're satisfied with less money. Poverty is relative. If most people where you live don't own a car, then you're not poor if you don't own one.

2) The capital from the richer country will buy all production facilities in the poorer country, thus taking the economy out of control of the poorer's country's people.

So ordinary people in both countries lose. The winner is the capital in the richer country, and probably the officials of the poorer country who get bribed to allow the whole scheme to take place.

And of course, when foreign capital controls the economy of the poorer country, chances are that officials will be bribed again to lower any existing labour protection standards, does reinforcing both points.

Countries should just be left alone to practice protectionism as long as they deem it prudent. Once they're rich enough they'll want to join in anyway.

I mean, if coal can be converted to energy, then couldn't diamonds?
[ Parent ]

US Steel Tariffs (4.50 / 4) (#32)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 08:23:15 AM EST

The same effect. Also, US and European agricultural subsidies. The hypocrisy of the US and Europe on "free trade" is astounding.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]
Your sig (none / 0) (#105)
by broken77 on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 06:57:49 PM EST

I assume this is from The Simpsons? If so, the correct quote is "Can't sleep. Clown'll eat me."

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

Sweatshops and Economy (4.00 / 2) (#45)
by Matrix on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 09:43:27 AM EST

Dear god. Not only am I agreeing with psychologist, but he's made a rational, well-reasoned, non-inflammatory post! *sees flying pig outside window*

Anyway, this poses an interesting question. Most modern Western economic systems seem to be set up around the assumption of protection of domestic markets. (Both goods and labour) This also leads to the assumption of (relatively) low unemployment, with much of the population employed in (reasonably) well-paying jobs and good conditions. Companies use domestic labour to manufacture their goods, paying the higher wages mandated by various laws because its cheaper than hiring out to foreign sweatshops and paying the import tarrifs. (With a few notable exceptions)

So excuse my economic ignorance, but what would happen if, overnight, some hypothetical shrub-like leader decided to level the playing field and starts playing by the same rules as first-world nations impose on third-world nations? What would it do to the economy and standard of living if companies had no incentive not to use sweatshop-type labour in countries whose governments permit or encourage such practices?

Note that my assumption involves continuing indifference towards quality or morality of any sort in favour of lower prices on the part of the common citizen. In fact, an increase in this trend seems likely. A high unemployment and lots of cheap, low-quality sweatshop goods combined with general economic downturn as imports exceed exports would seem to encourage the common citizen to buy as cheaply as they could without regard for quality.

So how would a no-tarrifs globalization scheme resolve this without enforcing uniform labour laws (a process which seems very vulnerable to abuse) on member countries?

"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

That's the question (none / 0) (#69)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 01:55:34 PM EST

That people in power don't want to address. Ask any textile worker in the Carolinas about that problem! It was the primary reason why the labor unions were anti-globalization, as globalization is being practiced.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]
Globalization (5.00 / 1) (#74)
by Matrix on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 02:52:49 PM EST

Proper globalization, mostly-as psycho described it, sounds like a good thing. No more trade barriers means more efficient production, and opens up competition for third-world countries. Unfortunately, it runs into the problem I mentioned in my post - opressive or corrupt governments mauling the labour market with what is basically slave labour. Free workers can't compete with what is essentially low-maintenence capital. If there was some way around that without marching in and saying "change your laws" (good in this case, but a dangerous precedent), I can't see what it is.

The other problem is distrusted/hatred generated when industries move around. Say Area A has had a booming production of product X for decades, thanks to tarrifs. The tarrifs are removed, and suddenly product X is available cheaper from Area B, which is naturally suited to producing it. (Assuming equally paid and treated workers) Area A can, of course, move to producing something natural for its situation, and the situation is ideal from an economic perspective. But the workers in Area A who now need to retrain or relocate will, of course, not be happy at all about all those B-ies stealing their jobs. Which, of course, promotes distrust, jingo-ism, and ethnic/regional friction, the exact things we were trying to reduce.

I don't know much about recent theories in this field. Are there any that propose to solve this?

"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

Not that I've heard (none / 0) (#77)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 03:00:47 PM EST

Your first paragraph, btw, was the main argument the unions used in opposing globalization.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]
One way.. (none / 0) (#94)
by Kwil on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 04:57:53 PM EST

..that might work is to completely drop immigration restrictions on all countries. Unfortunately, this would have to be supplemented with some means of making it reasonable for people to be able to get from point A to point B, and of course the elimination of any kind of job where an employee can not quit and walk away if they so desire.

For free trade to be fair trade, it not only needs to be free of duties and tarriffs, it also needs to be as easy for people to move as it is for capital and products to move. People would then gravitate toward the better places to work, making it harder to find workers in the worse places and hence giving incentive to better the working conditions there.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze

[ Parent ]
Bastiat answers this (none / 0) (#97)
by Alan Crowe on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 05:12:24 PM EST

Bastiat tackles this question head on. You have to scroll down past the flowery intro to paragraph 33
Once an abuse exists, everything is arranged on the assumption that it will last indefinitely; and, as more and more people come to depend upon it for their livelihood, and still others depend upon them, a superstructure is erected that soon comprises a formidable edifice.

[ Parent ]
Tariffs are wasteful transfers (5.00 / 1) (#96)
by Alan Crowe on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 05:09:08 PM EST

You've got to distinguish between creating wealth and redistributing wealth. Trade genuinely creates wealth. That is most clear where there are absolute advantages, eg. growing crops where the climate is most favourable and then trading to get a varied diet, or mining where the ores are richest. The hard to understand bit, that makes folk scratch their heads when they ponder Ricardo's Law of Comparative Advantage, is that there are gains from trade, even when there are only comparative advantages.

When the US government puts a tariff on steel, that doesn't make US steel mills any more efficient. It just transfers money from the those in the US that use steel to those that make it. Worse, the gainers gain less than the losers lose. For the losers might have bought their steel cheap from abroad; the loss is the difference in price that the tarriff allows the steel makers to charge. But the steel makers cannot buy the steel cheap from abroad and pocket the difference. They have to make it themselves to qualify for their preference. That costs more than buying from abroad, so they only get part of the loss imposed on the losers by the tariff.

I don't know why I'm typing all this. Fredrick Bastiat explained in much better here, see section VII, Restrictions. That was in the middle of the nineteenth century, when the issue was French tariffs on Belgium iron, not Amercian tariffs on Korean steel.

[ Parent ]
Corporate Globalization vs Democratic Globaliza... (5.00 / 3) (#93)
by drivers on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 04:46:20 PM EST


aka We want Globalization from Below, not Globalization from Above.

Here's an example: http://www.progress.org/archive/global01.htm

In the wake of the massive protests at the IMF/World Bank meetings in Washington, pundits have been painting demonstrators the same way they did the protesters at Seattle: as enemies of "globalization" -- and, by implication, benighted souls trying to duck the tide of history. Speaking as someone who stood on the barricades in D.C., I can attest that, from the protesters' perspective, the truth is precisely the other way around. If "globalization" means the unfettered movement of people, products, and ideas, then we're the ones in favor of it. You didn't see any banners denouncing "globalization" in Washington; what you saw were denunciations of "corporate globalization" -- a system, embodied in organizations like the IMF, the WTO, and the World Bank, which is as much about imposing and maintaining forms of protectionism as about eliminating them.

[ Parent ]
Knowing when to fight (3.40 / 5) (#10)
by Nick Ives on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 04:53:27 AM EST

I think you should be honest about yourself to the people you meet at the protest, say you work for a company and what not, but dont be so open with your boss. After all, the protesters opinions dont mean squat when it comes to layoffs or promotions and for the most part I think that most left wing types would understand the predicament you find yourself in. We cant all give up our lives to campaign for an end to third world debt or whatnot.

Having said that I dont think that you should let your work get in the way of your political beliefs. If your making enough money you should give some of it to groups that are campaigning for things you believe in and you should also use your free time to actively campaign for things you believe in too, even though it may be unpopular with your workmates. The way they react with disinterest could work to your favour even, I mean, if they just dont talk about it then its not a problem is it? Or even better, if they do respect you then you might get one of them interested enough to campaign with you, although that sounds doubtful.

At the end of the day though it's really your decision how far you want to take your politics. I'd advise you to take it as far as you can without risking your own livelihood if only because I'd feel guilty if said to start leafleting your coworkers and ended up getting fired for it =), but if their political apathy really starts to get to you and you really start feeling the need to get more involved then maybe a change of scenery would do you good.

Again, its your life and your decision. If you do decide to stick with your current workplace (as its easier to switch places of work than it is to ignore your own moral compass) then just think about all the good the money your making can do. Build your career, be successful and fight for what you believe in. Sure, its a balancing act, but thats what life is all about.

my uninformed opinion

The boss (2.66 / 3) (#17)
by marx on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 06:00:43 AM EST

but dont be so open with your boss. After all, the protesters opinions dont mean squat when it comes to layoffs or promotions
Don't tell him you're gay either. After all, protection from discrimination doesn't mean squat when it comes to the Market®.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

If you go, look out. (4.37 / 8) (#11)
by Ranieri on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 05:08:24 AM EST

My sister was in Genua. Some of the stories she came back with are still spooking through my head almost a year later. She came back with some useful advice. It's wasted on me, so I decided to pass it on to you and all the other K5 readers.

Whatever you do, be prepared. Be mindful of teargas, as some of the varieties utilised in Genua are know for a lot of medical side-effects. Among other things they can apparently induce hallucinations and abortion in otherwise healthy pregnant females. It is imperative to avoid hiding in closed spaces where ventilation is insufficient to dilute the teargas quickly.

Know where you are, where you are going to run to and have multiple paths in mind. You are a local so you have the advantage. And when the shit hits the fan run like hell.

Do not underestimate these people. To them it's a real war.
Taste cold steel, feeble cannon restraint rope!

Thank You (3.00 / 2) (#15)
by 0xA on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 05:54:59 AM EST

I have read about this some but I will look at it further. It doesn't even really matter if I go to the protest, I live all of eight blocks from one of the rally points for the march on the 26th. If this get really out of hand (I have no reson to expect that it will) I'll be in the middle of it anyway.

[ Parent ]
More tips (2.82 / 17) (#16)
by gibichung on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 05:56:01 AM EST

  • Wear a black ski mask (or balaclava, if you're of the British persuasion) -- preferably one made in China, to help support your Comrades. Combined with a face-shielding gas-mask, it can protect you from overzealous Peace-keepers -- erm, Pigs -- who might get the wrong idea about your protest, for whatever reason.
  • When flying between protest sites, try to avoid taking a plane manufactured by Boeing or another American company; avoid supporting the evil American capitalists. Choose an Airbus, produced by the nominally socialist European capitalists.
    Avoid flying on "American Airlines." Although, ultimately, they're no different than any other carrier, but for the name.
  • When `protesting,' avoid throwing ceramic bricks. By their nature, they are very easily shattered and this deadens the impact. Instead, utilize a more natural option, if it is available. Cobblestones, made from solid rocks, work best. Nature, man.
  • When your `protest' ultimately reaches the vandalism stage, choose your targets carefully. Larger chain stores are more probably more financially well-to-do and thus will easily recover from the damage you can inflict. Instead, choose a Mom-and-Pop's style small business on Mainstreet, which you have a chance to really do damage to.
  • Remember that the Peace-keepers, erm, pigs, are agents of the State. They are too far to the right to be people like you and I. Thus, they are blessed with a uniform iron will to resist your antagonisms; if their government has ordered them to open fire, they will make up a justification anyway.
  • And, lastly, if none of this applies to you, then, for Goodness's sake, stay away from the violent protestors. Maybe even go so far as to discourage them from 'protesting' near you. If your protest is peaceful, there won't be any need for tear-gas.

"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]
Oh please! (2.00 / 1) (#20)
by FredBloggs on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 06:10:10 AM EST

"avoid supporting the evil American capitalists. "

Are you serious? How is the global anti-globalisation protester network these days? Come up with an alternative to capitalism yet?

[ Parent ]

actually, yes (2.00 / 1) (#28)
by infinitera on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 07:42:28 AM EST

Just one coherent sampling among many.

[ Parent ]
Well, no ... (none / 0) (#86)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 04:03:57 PM EST

That's not a coherent alternative. Its a mish-mash of ideas, each taken from the agenda of one of the protest groups.

This is my concern about the protest movement - quite apart the ideological disagreements I have with some of the activists. Implementing any one idea would not satisfy most of the protestors, so they'd keep right on going. Implementing the whole lot is impossible because many of them are contradictory. Implementing any significant portion would be a truely dramatic lurch to the left for the whole world, and is pretty unlikely to come about.

When you look at the actual protestors, most of them are vaguely well intentioned but not very well informed reformists, while the organisers tend to be much more radical. The edefice as a whole doesn't look as if it will ever achieve anything.


If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

Exactly (none / 0) (#128)
by FredBloggs on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 05:15:38 AM EST

How did I know bartering would be there? Hilarious!

[ Parent ]
Captain! (5.00 / 3) (#25)
by Ranieri on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 06:50:21 AM EST

The irony drive is malfunctioning! We need to drop out of warp!
Taste cold steel, feeble cannon restraint rope!
[ Parent ]
Don't forget (5.00 / 2) (#30)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 08:20:51 AM EST

These important tips!

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]
Good advice (3.50 / 2) (#21)
by FredBloggs on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 06:12:01 AM EST

"Be mindful of teargas, as some of the varieties utilised in Genua are know for a lot of medical side-effects. Among other things they can apparently induce hallucinations and abortion in otherwise healthy pregnant females."

Yes, and if I were pregnant, I`d probably avoid war zones, bungee jumping and bare-knuckle fighting too.

Tune in next week for more top safety tips.

[ Parent ]

Take notes, write a K5 article (4.22 / 9) (#22)
by FlipFlop on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 06:20:59 AM EST

The mass media has done a terrible job reporting on protests. They generally provide shallow coverage and they often miss the point entirely.

A typical report will maybe list a few reasons that people are protesting. More likely, they will report on a few trouble makers who throw bricks through windows, or describe how a couple hundred people walked into the hands of the police. Or they will describe how the police tossed tear gas into the crowd. Even your own local media is simply reporting on protest strategies, not the reasons for the protest.

I can only speculate on why the mass media provides such shallow coverage

  • Perhaps they simply don't want to spend time researching the issues
  • Perhaps they just want the most sensational story, or
  • Maybe they need to avoid upsetting their multinational corporate sponsors (advertisers).

Whatever the reason, I am confident that news coverage of this protest will provide absolutely no insight into the reasons thousands of people take time off work to speak out against the G8.

When I read a report on 60,000 people protesting something, I want to know why. I want a fairly in-depth analysis of the issues. If a report wants to describe the scene to create a sense of atmosphere, that's fine, but there needs to be more focus on issues.

I would encourage you to take notes and write up a report on the protest. Once it's published, perhaps you can refer your coworkers to the article.

AdTI - The think tank that didn't

Media logic (4.00 / 2) (#33)
by eyeflare on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 08:27:08 AM EST

The closer it is to the reader, the more dead / mayhem involved, the more shocking, the better the coverage.

Anti-globalization protests tend to end up with a lot of destroyed property, which attacks peoples' pocketbooks. It also makes Joe Bloggs wonder if his car is safe or whether his front window may be broken by some moron.

The shock value of the destruction buys eyeballs, which helps sell ads. So that becomes the focus of reporting. Difficult issues such as WHY the protests were staged to begin with don't settle too well with the average eyeball. So it doesn't get covered.

It doesn't exactly help that the protesters are usually unable to provide a good, fact supported, rationale as to why they're actually protesting. Feeding journos slogans works on TV, but will not get your cause reported well.
"There is no way to peace; peace is the way." -A. J. Muste. Go: www.eyeflare.com
[ Parent ]

Hrrm... (4.00 / 2) (#47)
by mikael_j on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 10:03:44 AM EST

It doesn't exactly help that the protesters are usually unable to provide a good, fact supported, rationale as to why they're actually protesting.
One very very very big reason it's hard to come up with a single reason people are protesting is because it's not one movement, it's many working together, they don't all agree on everything or even the main reason that they think different things are bad (this argument applies to the IMF,WTO,G8 and so on...)

We give a bad name to the internet in general. - Rusty
[ Parent ]
media distrust 101 condensed (5.00 / 1) (#55)
by mdouglas on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 11:56:15 AM EST

the news is not the product, the audience is not the consumer.

the audience is the product, the advertisers are the consumers.

the only purpose of the media is to produce eyeballs to sell to advertisers, any entertainment or informative value is purely coincidental.

to further whip youself into a cynical frenzy i would recommend the following books :

amusing ourselves to death : public discourse in the age of showbusiness by Neal Postman
coercion : why we listen to what "they" say by douglas rushkoff
culture jam by kalle lasn

[ Parent ]

Seconded... (none / 0) (#76)
by Jetifi on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 02:59:46 PM EST

Hearing from someone on the scene (yes, I encourage you to go :-) would be fantastic. Also, as per the comments above|below, I'm wondering how many of the protestors can actually talk about their causes without sounding like complete ignoramuses.

[ Parent ]
The particular intoxication... (none / 0) (#148)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 06:19:23 PM EST

... of being in a mob is probably not all that helpful in answering the types of questions that you would like them to answer. Besides, some people aren't all that good at public speaking (or speaking to strangers) to begin with. Does that mean that they don't have valid concerns and/or opinions?

Going to a protest expecting to have deep and meaningful conversations may be a tad unrealistic of you.

[ Parent ]

... should not prevent ... (4.00 / 1) (#152)
by Jetifi on Sat Jun 22, 2002 at 04:42:21 AM EST

...Anyone attending a protest from being able to justify his presence to a journalist without resorting to ''smash the system'' or hyperbole like that.

I agree 100% that eloquence has nothing to do with valid concerns, BTW, and I couldn't expect a dissertation from them, or anything else particularly deep and meaningfull.

However, the goal of the protest itself is to make these voices heard. If you went to a protest on <issue>, shouldn't you be familiar enough with the issue yourself, to the extent that you can give soundbites to any journalist who collars you?

[ Parent ]
I wasn't trying to excuse them... (none / 0) (#153)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Sat Jun 22, 2002 at 12:09:55 PM EST

... just pointing out a couple of possible reasons for the behavior.

[ Parent ]

Middle ground (3.66 / 3) (#23)
by Betcour on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 06:28:24 AM EST

Is there really a middle ground I can be in?

Well either you go demonstrate or you don't. That's a rather binary choice. Choosing appathy is always the wrong choice (although the most comfortable obviously). As for what your colleagues will think of it, does it really matters at all ?

It isn't a binary decision (1.00 / 1) (#58)
by substrate on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 12:13:57 PM EST

You can go or not go and your reason for not going may be that while you support the ideas the protesters represent you don't support the manner in which many will go about expressing their opinions. That isn't apathetic. Saying otherwise is akin to Bush's statement "You're either for us or against us".

Maybe based on your values you feel you can accomplish more by speaking with your co-workers and expressing your viewpoints, by researching the topic and being able to provide insightful links that may at least soften their views.

I don't side completely with the protesters, but I also don't side with the conservative view-point. The people I work with are for the most part staunch Limbaugh worshiping conservatives. I've managed to get at least a couple of them to consider other viewpoints without labeling me as a liberal, communist or socialist. I've accomplished more by modifying a couple peoples view than I could possibly could by attending a protest.

[ Parent ]

Not true... (none / 0) (#147)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 06:14:20 PM EST

... He could go with well reasoned arguments and supporting facts (along with reasons for why nonviolence is good for the protests) and distribute these to other protester so as to educate those that aren't as up-to-speed as they should be.

When one is not sure what side one is on, challenge them both a little.

[ Parent ]

Anti-Globalization Protests (3.66 / 9) (#24)
by harryh on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 06:42:03 AM EST

Regaurdless of weather you agree or disagree with what the protesters have to say I think your article highlights a very important point.

The protesters are hindering the very cause they claim to support!

By staging protests that are seen as either violent (at their worst) or simply annoying (at their best) the protesters are doing an incredibly poor job of getting their message accross. In fact, at times it appears to me that the protesters are more interested in making a lot of noise and then complaining about police harrassmant than they are in getting their message out and actually having an effect on public policy.

I'm starting to come to the conclusion that protesting globalization has just become the trendy thing to do for young liberals. Especaially when so few of them even seem to understand the issues they're getting themselves involved with.


Not as simple as that (4.00 / 3) (#26)
by Betcour on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 06:54:32 AM EST

Violence has the advantage of getting mass media coverage quickly. On the other hand a bunch of peace loving hippies boycotting Exxon is not likely to get you the front page on cnn.com.
I'm not saying violence is a good thing, just that it's in today's world it's by far the best way to get people attention. Would the Israelo-Palestinian conflict get much press coverage if Palestinians decided to wear anti-Israeli tshirts as a form of protest instead of doing suicide-bombings ? Doubtful.

[ Parent ]
Wrong kind of (5.00 / 1) (#31)
by eyeflare on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 08:21:57 AM EST

attention though. Does it really matter if you get a lot of attention when that attention makes the world at large believe you're violent (anti-globalization), murderous (Palestinian bombers, ETA, IRA, etc.), or just plain weird. I was trying hard to get a good example on the last one, but to no avail.

The argument that attention = positive is ludicrous. The ability to effect some change is what is needed. Protests have never been very good at doing this, at least not since the Boston Tea Party and the French Revolution.

2 cents, wasted.
"There is no way to peace; peace is the way." -A. J. Muste. Go: www.eyeflare.com
[ Parent ]

I think (4.00 / 1) (#35)
by shrike7 on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 08:30:14 AM EST

That you underestimate the effect a good protest movement can have. The civil rights and suffragette movements are classic examples of this, as, to a lesser extent, was the anti-Vietnam War movement. In none of these cases could protest alone effect change. But the attention protest brought to the issues and the pressure it brought to bear on those in authority were major factors in the success of the movements.
[ Parent ]
Yes (5.00 / 1) (#36)
by eyeflare on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 08:37:28 AM EST

while the Vietnam War protests have a mixed record of peaceful and violent confrontation, the suffragette movement and the civil rights movements were in all important ways peaceful. The current anti-globalization tour is filled with rampaging thugs from Germany, Holland, Italy, and France. While they are a small fraction they are the ones capturing headlines. Mostly I believe this is because the promoters of the protests have no desire or capability to eject these violent elements and have a civil demonstration.

Good examples, wish I had thought of those. My point still stands in the current status quo.
"There is no way to peace; peace is the way." -A. J. Muste. Go: www.eyeflare.com
[ Parent ]

Pardon me (4.00 / 2) (#39)
by shrike7 on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 08:54:16 AM EST

I read the original comment to be a rejection of protest as a form of social criticism. It appears I was mistaken. I apologize.

I will concede the general point about the thugs taking over a lot of protests. I wish people would stop thinking that smashing windows hurts anyone but small business owners and the public opinion of the protesters in general, and I wish even more that people who see police officers as 'symbols of oppression' would get a grip. I still think, however, that protest with a clearly articulated agenda can be an extremely effective form of political involvement, because it still puts pressure on governments to explain their actions and brings attention to the issues.
[ Parent ]

Yup. (none / 0) (#131)
by eyeflare on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 08:44:22 AM EST

In addition they need to be sustained and well organized. After all, it is a marketing campaign we're talking about here. Marketing for a social change instead of peddling wares, but marketing nonetheless.

I've actually debated the above point with a certain person who just couldn't wrap his head around that. "But marketing is bad and that's what global corporations do"... *Sigh*
"There is no way to peace; peace is the way." -A. J. Muste. Go: www.eyeflare.com
[ Parent ]

suffragettes (3.00 / 1) (#40)
by streetlawyer on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 09:02:52 AM EST

Suffragettes non-violent? Bollocks.

Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Hmmm (none / 0) (#130)
by eyeflare on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 08:40:44 AM EST

I got to admit I didn't know shit about the British suffrage movement.

Have more background on the American (oh, joyful civics class at university) and the Swedish (hated high school btw) movements.
"There is no way to peace; peace is the way." -A. J. Muste. Go: www.eyeflare.com
[ Parent ]

boston tea party (4.00 / 3) (#51)
by Shren on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 11:09:05 AM EST

Sometimes, when promoting a cause, the time for leafleting, sitting around with picket signs, and writing letters to the editor comes to an end.

[ Parent ]
I wish you were right (5.00 / 1) (#52)
by Betcour on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 11:18:44 AM EST

The argument that attention = positive is ludicrous

It used to be, but not anymore. Nowadays a minority doesn't exists unless it appear in the medias, and the modern medias mostly talk about the small and oppressed when they get violents. And if you don't exists, then no one will ever help you, no matter how nice and peaceful you might be.

Protests have never been very good at doing this, at least not since the Boston Tea Party and the French Revolution.

In Europe, where protests are numerous, they also are quite effectives (most are peaceful demonstration, but many aren't). I think it's just a North-American cultural thing that no matter how many people are the streets, the people in charge won't change the slightest bit to their policies.

[ Parent ]
bullshit (4.00 / 5) (#34)
by streetlawyer on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 08:29:38 AM EST

With respect, you don't know what you're talking about. The collapse of the Seattle round resulted, directly, in a vastly improved draft of the intellectual property regulations (specifically, one which allowed Brazil and South Africa to produce generic versions of patented AIDS drugs). Literally millions of people are alive today because the Seattle protestors smashed a few windows.

Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Say what ? (none / 0) (#56)
by sasquatchan on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 12:01:14 PM EST

While I recall Brazil manufacturing a generic version of the aids drugs, the headlines I recall about it said Brazil was ignoring or not recognizing the patents in order to do so.

And most of South Africa still has idiots spouting that HIV doesn't cause AIDS, among other things.

Drug companies took a big PR hit in their dealings with poorer nations, but I fail to see how the rampages in Seattle had anything to do with those changes.
-- The internet is not here for your personal therapy.
[ Parent ]

very simple (none / 0) (#57)
by streetlawyer on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 12:04:07 PM EST

Under the TRIPS agreement on the table in Seattle, Brazil and South Africa would have faced utterly punitive WTO penalties for these actions. Under the TRIPS agreement actually concluded a year later, they did not.

Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Evidence? (none / 0) (#61)
by DarkZero on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 12:34:46 PM EST

Can you back this up with any more information? Because if this is really the case, then I think I'll probably be firmly behind the anti-globalization protesters from this point on. That's an amazing story if it's true.

[ Parent ]
Don't be (none / 0) (#87)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 04:07:36 PM EST

They had nothing to do with it. Indeed, I suspect if you asked most of then what the differences between the proposed TRIPS and the actual TRIPS was, they'd have not idea.

What streetlawyer says is otherwise true, however.


If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

Except ... (5.00 / 1) (#63)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 12:41:36 PM EST

... that the principle reason the Seattle round collapsed was that the developing countries told the US and EU to go stick their pre-arranged agreement and come back with something better. The protests had little to do with it. They did provide a convenient face-saving excuse, though.


If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
I have a feeling (3.00 / 1) (#27)
by shrike7 on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 07:01:35 AM EST

that Calgary may not be the city most receptive to anti-globalization protesters. Go if you feel you have something to say. I have, and it's rewarding if you feel that you're actually trying to communicate an idea. But if you don't think your co-workers will understand-and it sounds like they don't-don't bother telling them. Be honest if they ask, but you're under no obligation to tell them about your political beliefs and activities.
Blockading Downtown? (3.00 / 4) (#42)
by Merk00 on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 09:36:40 AM EST

Frankly, I can easily identify with your coworkers. If you told me that someone was protesting with the aim to disrupt my ability to travel through the downtown of my city, I would be annoyed. They are troublemakers if that is there aim. It is in the same vein as violent protests. While it may not result in the loss of lives or property, it does result in a significant loss of time, which in most societies, is equivalent to a loss of money or property.

If you want to protest, by all means go ahead, but causing severe inconvience will accomplish nothing and more likely simply hurt your cause.

"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission

Not nothing (4.00 / 1) (#46)
by krek on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 09:56:22 AM EST

The point of causing such inconvenience is not to convince anyone of anything, it is mearly to amke sure that your cause IS an issue for everyone.

Apathy is a rather severe problem in our society, and protests, especially the ones that inconvenience people, are the slap in the face that many people need to at least begin to think about the issues that face us.

[ Parent ]
Then they are complete failures. (4.00 / 1) (#64)
by jason on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 12:59:09 PM EST

The point of causing such inconvenience is not to convince anyone of anything, it is mearly to amke sure that your cause IS an issue for everyone.

If that's true, then they are complete and utter failures. The "cause" is nothing to the people inconvenienced. It's an abstract. The immediate, concrete problem is the jerks blocking the road. The authorities then offer a solution to the problem, and life is good again. Or at least that's what the majority think.

The successful ones cause minor disruptions. They need to be enough to get attention, but not enough to piss most people off. A well-planned march is a good example. You can block a traffic path for a few minutes but not long enough to piss off the driver who really needs to go to the bathroom or arrive at an appointment.

Think of it this way: If someone's a few minutes late with a good march description, then you get more attention. If someone's an hour late and gives a horrible portrait of the march, then you've lost.


[ Parent ]
I disagree (none / 0) (#141)
by krek on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 03:36:39 PM EST

Would you care to explain the historic effectiveness of the General Strike then?

Spain is currently in the middle of a general strike, the main goal of this general strike is to disrupt the proceedings of a UN meeting that is happening in Seville, and thus cause the greatest amount of embarassment possible to the Spanish President (PM?).

Strikers almost always try to have their protest coincide with a high profile event so as to create controversy and high levels of inconvenience, because that is what it takes to get on the 6:00 news.

Passive forms of protest are very easy to ignore, you must get into peoples faces if you want them to hear you, they are way too used to ignoring small amounts of everyday plight.

If a protest march interupts you for three minutes on the way to work, you may mention it over lunch, if it comes up, or, if you feel that it is important. If, on the other hand, you are delayed by an hour and a half, you will be late for work, your boss will ask why, you will complain about it all day, and perhaps all week. Many, many people will hear about your inconvenince, some will agree with you, some will symathise with the protesters, chances are, a discussion will arise out of this, maybe even an argument, others will over hear, interject, disagree, and become involved.

I repeat the goal is not to convince anyone of anything, the goal is to get your message out, and hopefully, generate some discussion. Besides, someone who was delayed for an hour and a half on the way to work will, at the very least, want to know how to best avoid being an hour and a half late to work in the future.

[ Parent ]
In the same boat. (3.60 / 5) (#43)
by poopi on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 09:37:28 AM EST

I think that what we're seeing here is the "mainstreaming" of a political movement. We are at the cusp where the "radical" nature of these protests is about to be replaced by a legitimate political movement (political parties and elections VS protests). The protesters have done their work and now it is almost at the point where their opinions are shared by those who'd rather organize an election bid (through an existing party or a new one) rather than march through the streets. I too find myself in the same boat. I feel that the issues that are brought up by these protests are important enough that I want to act, but the type of action that is happening is not my style anymore. I used to march and shout slogans, but that was a dozen years ago, now I don't think so. What to do? Join the status quo political parties and try to use them? Create a new one? Go outside the political process? If so, how?


"It's always nice to see USA set the edgy standards. First for freedom, then for the police state." - chimera

That time passed (none / 0) (#70)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 02:05:23 PM EST

Unfortunately. The AFL/CIO and Teamsters were part of the anti-globalization protests at one time. Nice, respectable, mainstream, middle class people marching with the protestors. Then the kids and hooligans went non-linear in Seattle, and later made it clear they intended to get violent in DC.

The nice, respectable, mainstream, middle class people wanted nothing to do with that and left the movement.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]

Teamsters - mainstream? (none / 0) (#89)
by poopi on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 04:20:30 PM EST

I don't think that the motivation union members have is about an altruistic sense of planetary good. I think the unions were only looking out for their own pocket books. Unions are not in it (with regards to anything) for altruistic reasons. And as for being mainstream, middle class people - debatable. I know I'm painting with a very wide brush here, but my life's experience hasn't put unions in a good light. This is why this comment exists. I also realize that among the protestors, there are those whose reasons aren't altruistic either. But to say that anti-globalization is a movement whose time for "mainstreaming" has passed because the Teamsters left the movement is a bit of stretch. Finally, I'm pretty sure that the Teamsters aren't strangers to violence (sorry, a parting shot so-to-speak).


"It's always nice to see USA set the edgy standards. First for freedom, then for the police state." - chimera
[ Parent ]

Not just teamsters (none / 0) (#100)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 05:17:29 PM EST

AFL/CIO and other unions also left. Face it, Big Business was never going to support the movement, but if it can't get mainstream workers, it won't accomplish anything

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]
I can't argue with that... (none / 0) (#151)
by poopi on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 07:38:25 PM EST

I guess what I'm trying to say is that there are many young people (teens-20s) who seem to be rather adamant about this issue and since we (the older generation) are not terribly opposed to the concept, if not the tactics, then perhaps this anti-globalization, earth-first thing will become mainstream. This is of course assuming that I represent a not uncommon view. Perhaps I am just short of being a freak out on the margins of society - but my house in the burbs, wife, kids(2 mo. away) and steady job keep making me thing that this issue is resonating more and more with the middle classes.


"It's always nice to see USA set the edgy standards. First for freedom, then for the police state." - chimera
[ Parent ]

I sympathize (4.16 / 6) (#44)
by Miniluv on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 09:42:01 AM EST

While I agree with very little that the protesters have to say I support their right to say it. Of course, it's not actually a right in Canada, but that's beside the point for the moment. So, I support their right to say it, but then I don't support the way in which they do it. Protesting has become a parody of itself, and violent protest seems to have a way of hurting more bystanders than anyone else.

I understand that most of the protests planned are peaceful in intent, however I also know that there is not as much organization for this round of the G8 as there was in, say, Seattle. I've been asking around quite a bit as I'm lucky enough to get to fly into Calgary the final day of the summit.

I guess my major objection is that people are protesting in Calgary proper, not out where the conference is. I realize that the conference grounds are being made off limits to protesters, however they can still do more for their cause by trying to keep the summit from happening, than by trying to keep people from getting to work downtown.

You stupid wankers. Stop zeroing comments that aren't spam, it's just stupid.

Not a right in Canada? (4.00 / 2) (#53)
by johnnyfever on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 11:31:59 AM EST

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

As you can see, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association are just as much rights here as in the US.

Of course, much like is happening in the US now, the government has in the past found ways around people's fundamental rights when it suits them.

[ Parent ]

Quite correct (none / 0) (#59)
by Miniluv on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 12:27:13 PM EST

I was mistaken, and had forgotten that PET finally got those rights through. It was previous to that that, to my understanding, Canadian citizens had no fundamental rights.

Thanks for the link, it's a good one to have handy.

You stupid wankers. Stop zeroing comments that aren't spam, it's just stupid.
[ Parent ]

well... (none / 0) (#66)
by johnnyfever on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 01:16:22 PM EST

That's somewhat inaccurate. The charter of rights and freedoms made these rights part of our constitution and was enacted in 1982. Being part of the constitution means that all laws passed must be consistent with it. In that sense, prior to 1982, Canadians did not have a constitutional charter of rights and freedoms.

The Canadian Bill of Rights, enacted in 1960 guaranteed our fundamental rights in law prior to the charter. Part of these laws state:

Every law of Canada shall, unless it Is expressly declared by an Act of the Parliament of Canada that it shall operate notwithstanding the Canadian Bill of Rights, be so construed and applied as not to abrogate, ridge or infringe or to authorize the abrogation, abridgment or infringement of any of the rights or freedoms herein recognized and declared
So really, the charter just took what previously existed in law and made them constitutional rights.

[ Parent ]
Yes but... (none / 0) (#67)
by Miniluv on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 01:46:48 PM EST

Read "unless it Is expressly declared by an Act of the Parliament of Canada that it shall operate notwithstanding the Canadian Bill of Rights" carefully. What the Canadian citizens appear to have had before was something similar to the Balfour Declaration. That is to say a nice sounding promise that the government would really like to not infringe upon these rights, but as long as it openly says it is going to it can. That's fundamentally different than the situation you're in now where you have gauranteed rights.

You stupid wankers. Stop zeroing comments that aren't spam, it's just stupid.
[ Parent ]
I agree, but... (none / 0) (#78)
by johnnyfever on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 03:17:49 PM EST

Don't you think that when it really comes down to it, the powers that be will do whatever they damn well please?

There are always reasons they find to circumvent the constitution, in Canada, the US, and the rest of the world. I know I wouldn't wnat to be a muslim of Afghan descent in the US right now, anymore than I would have wanted to be someone of Japanese descent in Canada during wwII.

You're definitely right though, the charter was a big step in the right direction...

[ Parent ]

stupid (1.75 / 4) (#48)
by scatbubba on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 10:35:45 AM EST

If the protesters want to say their piece, fine. They want to have a march or create a protest village, that's cool too. But if they want to block roads so that i can't get to work, they should be clubbed and tear gassed, just like i would be if i went downtown and tried to block a road to get my message out.

And the G8 shouldn't be clubbed? (4.75 / 4) (#49)
by iwnbap on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 11:01:35 AM EST

Have you seen one of these conferences?  Inevitably there is a motor cavalcade with enough security to destroy a city block - when they delay you getting to work, should they be clubbed and tear gassed?

[ Parent ]
Good point (none / 0) (#60)
by EngnrGuy on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 12:34:43 PM EST

I saw them doing some motorcade practices last week, made 6th Ave chaos for a while. Supposed to be more today, should be fun. And the cops were being especially ignorant to people who didn't get out of the way.

[ Parent ]
well (none / 0) (#154)
by scatbubba on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 08:39:45 PM EST

The G8 haven't made it their mission to interrupt my day. They have to move fast, because some vegan unwashed hippie will throw a rock through their windshild.

[ Parent ]
Due Process (5.00 / 3) (#124)
by swr on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 11:57:18 PM EST

But if they want to block roads so that i can't get to work, they should be clubbed and tear gassed, just like i would be if i went downtown and tried to block a road to get my message out.

Clubbed and tear gassed??? What's wrong with "arrested, charged, tried, and convicted"?

Do people not believe in the right to due process anymore?

[ Parent ]
seriously, i agree (none / 0) (#155)
by scatbubba on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 08:40:52 PM EST

The clubs and tear gas was a joke. Arrest will do fine. But it's hard not to dislike people that go out of their way to cause me grief.

[ Parent ]
something else to consiter (4.00 / 5) (#50)
by raaymoose on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 11:07:58 AM EST

I don't know what they were thinking when they decided to have the meeting in Kananaskis, but I'm quite concerned that some idiots are going to end up damaging the area by being entirely insensitive to the plants and wildlife. For that reason alone, no matter how much I like Calgary (I've lived there), I think it's far better that the big protests take place there.

On the subject of educating the yuppies about what's really going on - make them aware, beyond the 'protesters' there soley to try and make trouble, there are far more that have legitimate concerns and this is one way to make them known. The G8 summit is an extraordinary event in the area, so there are going to be extraordinary things happening - blocking off downtown may be one of them.

Educating the yuppies (4.00 / 1) (#68)
by JyZude on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 01:47:29 PM EST

Remember good old Marshall McLuhan (...he's such a groovy thinker!...) - the Medium is the Message.

The message of the protesters is one of utmost concern. Globalization frequently occurs at the expense of the environment, and regular people who don't own stock. The problem is that many middle-classes won't absorb this knowledge from protests because of the violence of the medium. Okay, certainly most protesters are peaceful, and violence is not wanted, but it happens so often that that's all people see. Plus, the news almost only reports the violent stuff. (Interesting sidenote - yesterday CTV news Calgary reported a peaceful article about some protesters that made them look like "dirty hippie peacenicks". Not much of an improvement.)

If you block off downtown, most people will not ask why, they will just say "goddamn protesters". What is needed is a nonviolent means of change, using peaceful influence.

k5 is not the new Adequacy k thnx bye

[ Parent ]
I also work in downtown Calgary. (4.33 / 3) (#54)
by johnnyfever on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 11:43:17 AM EST

I must admit, I'm not looking forward to the G8. On the one hand, I feel as though the protestors have some valid points. I'm not educated enough about them to go to a protest, and I'm not likely to change that. On the other hand, the idea of potentially violent riots and blocking traffic etc pisses me off.

I'm half way between you and your coworkers. I think maybe you will find that once you get to be 35 with a couple kids and all that, you may become more conservative in your views that you are now. I know that I have slowly been getting there, and I've watched it happen to plenty of friends.

At some point (likely when you have kids) I think that your family becomes the number one priority, and any 'causes' that you felt strongly about 5 or 10 years ago move down on the list. I'm not saying it happens to everyone, but certainly it is not abnormal.

I'm getting married in downtown Calgary the day after the last day of the G8. I suppose that is also skewing my opinion somewhat as I would like to avoid doing it in a pile of rubble!

I'm not educated enough ... (4.50 / 2) (#82)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 03:53:50 PM EST

That's alright. It doesn't appear to be a requirement.


If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
I don't understand protesting... (3.80 / 5) (#62)
by gauntlet on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 12:38:36 PM EST

I may be kind of... I don't know... realist, or something, but it seems to me that protesting is a highly ineffective way of getting your message across.

First of all, it makes the message look bad, because protests attract people that no message wants to be associated with. Hoolagins (sp?).

Secondly, it makes the message look like it's coming from a special interest group, not a general public consensus. If it was public consensus, then people that believe the message would join political parties, go to policy conventions, and get their representatives elected where they could make a change.

Thirdly, if it isn't a special interest group, but there is simply a lack of education of the public on the issue, then perhaps rather than trying to disrupt the workings of the state(s), they should simply be trying to educate people. Of course, they won't bother trying to educate people to agree with them if they believe for some reason that the people won't agree, in which case the cause appears wrong-headed.

If you believe what you're saying, do some fundraising, get some people that agree with you together, start up an association. Educate the public on the issues, advocate for your cause where it will have positive effects, and try to convince politicians that your cause should be a plank in their platform. It's slow, but it works.

Into Canadian Politics?

A few points. (4.50 / 2) (#72)
by blixco on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 02:32:44 PM EST

1) Depending on the type of protest, the protesters may not care about public perception. Some protests are just about getting attention from authority, and getting media attention. Some, on the other hand, are simply exercises in direct democracy: making your voice heard. All protests are mediapathic these days...if the news vans don't show, you've not done your job properly. More than anything, a protest gets people thinking about the issue, whether it's about how stupid the protesters are for protesting, or how stupid the thing is they are protesting against. Voicing your opinion should be allowed and encouraged.

2) Politics don't work. There's a lot of money in politics, and not much money in freedom. The folks with the money make the rules. Voting doesn't work: look at the US. The idea of getting your own representatives worked in the 1960's, but just doesn't work now, when apathy and the dollar are king.

3) What method should be used to educate a belligerent, uneducated public when the people in charge own the airwaves? The only method left is direct action.

4) While protests are going on, the people protesting also have fundraising and "legitimate" political efforts in place as well. Showing up en masse in public is one good way to show the politicians that you are serious about the issue. If ten thousand people who vote are shown rallying for cause X or against cause Y, then maybe the politicians will take note.

Unfortunately, they don't. Politics is a money making enterprise, and the ones with the most money consistantly are the corporations that own the politicians....at least in the US and most developed countries. I would hope Canada is different, but maybe it's not. For examples of this kind of activity, look no further than the Bush administration in the US. Both democrats and republicans exhibit the same tendency towards the businesses that pay them. It's not something you can fight with "legitimate" politics....hence, you get fed up and protest.

I'm not necessarily a protest-apologist, since I appreciate any means to further a cause, regardless of the cause, that cuts out the beaurocratic nonsense that most developed countries seem to be mired in. If legislation can save us, I'd like to see an example. Maybe with enough action, though, and enough voices, the politics can be removed from government, and the people can step back in. Won't happen in my lifetime, but it's good to get the momentum going.
The root of the problem has been isolated.
[ Parent ]

I'm optimistic (5.00 / 1) (#134)
by gauntlet on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 09:31:28 AM EST

I should clarify here: When I'm talking about protests, I'm talking about anti-something people going to where something is going to be discussed and willfully trying to disjoint it.

a protest gets people thinking about the issue
I would challenge you strongly on that. The media show up, but they label the entire crowd under a single banner (e.g. "anti-globalisation"), and that is the totallity of the attention given to the "issue."

The pictures are of vandalism, not activism. A peaceful protest doesn't get as much coverage, so these groups are just feeding the media machine what it wants to eat, without realizing that they're killing themselves in the process.

Politics don't work.
If politics doesn't work, and I don't buy that for a second, then it's because people like you have given up on it. Fact is, it does work. It just works slowly. Too slowly for the largely twenty-something protesters at the conference. People who don't have children yet, and so don't yet see the point of following a high-percentage strategy that's only likely to benefit their kids rather than a low-percentage strategy that's likely to do nothing but develop bad will against their cause.

What method should be used to educate a belligerent, uneducated public when the people in charge own the airwaves?
Oh, I don't know... how about the Internet? How about pamphlets handed out on a street corner? How about doing something non-violent in the name of the cause, that the media will be attracted to?

If ten thousand people who vote are shown rallying for cause X or against cause Y, then maybe the politicians will take note.

Unfortunately, they don't.

Exactly my point.
It's not something you can fight with "legitimate" politics
You're wrong, there. One of the most successful "protests" of government action currently underway is the protest against election fundraising. Think about it. What percentage of the people in the US know that their congressman is in someone's pocket? Compare that to the percentage of the people in the US that understand that international free trade is only free for the developed countries. And if knowledge of the problem exists, it must have come from somewhere. Who's motivated to argue against it? The minority party? Not likely. They lose credibility too. Not the people in power... not the businesses lining the pockets... even the media wouldn't really want this known, because most media are parts of conglomerates that are doing the paying. Citizens are the only people with a vested interest in that information coming to light, and it has come to light.

Oh, and your sig is patently incorrect. I may not change what you think, but who gives a shit what you think, really? :)

Into Canadian Politics?
[ Parent ]

Exactly. (none / 0) (#137)
by blixco on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 10:56:38 AM EST

"I may not change what you think, but who gives a shit what you think, really? :)"
That's it, precisely. I can't change what people will think. You can't do that either. What influence do we have, as individuals? I think, though (and I've said this many times in the past) that a balanced approach to change is required, and that it takes all kinds. Slow and steady is one route, burning the entire system down is another. Both are working towards the common goal of Changing Discontent to Contentment.

Using a tired, old, evil example: the American revolution would not have happened with traditional politics. There were no methods left, no recourse except revolution. Not everyone felt that way (even some of the leadership), and some stayed the course, attempted political change. There is no single solution, no magic bullet. To affect change requires movement from all directions.

And may the best man win, so to speak.

About my sig, by the way: it's not what you say, it's what you do. Action defines.
The root of the problem has been isolated.
[ Parent ]

Sorry (none / 0) (#150)
by gauntlet on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 12:00:41 PM EST

A person CAN change what another person thinks. To claim otherwise is to claim that we are alone in the universe. To claim otherwise is to claim that a parent's thoughts are not changed by a newborn, or that a your thoughts were not changed by 9/11.

Your balance analogy is exactly the problem. People will not be willing to repair a building that someone else is trying to burn to the ground. Standing outside it, making a lot of noise about how it's in disrepair, that's fine. But trying to burn it down is counter productive at worst, risky at best. You don't know whether or not what eventually replaces it will be better or worse.

Using the civil war as an example of the benefits of tearing down a system and starting from scratch is dubious. Do you know what America would be like if you had followed the constitutional monarchy route? I don't.

Into Canadian Politics?
[ Parent ]

naive naive (4.00 / 1) (#81)
by loudici on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 03:48:10 PM EST

if you keep in the lines you mention you will never attract the media.

this is sad but true. burning a couple cars will get much more media attention than all the petitions you can dream of.

gnothi seauton
[ Parent ]

Whatever (none / 0) (#132)
by gauntlet on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 09:10:09 AM EST

A 15 second spot of me next to a burning car while the commentator says, "Anti-globalisation protesters burned stuff today" doesn't exactly promote my cause. Why do you think most people don't know what anti-globalisation activists are actually opposed to.

On the other hand, every single time medicare gets affected, "Friends of Medicare" gets on TV. Every time taxes are changed, the "Taxpayers Federation" gets on TV.

All press is not good press.

Into Canadian Politics?
[ Parent ]

Logical knots... (4.54 / 11) (#71)
by jhodge on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 02:18:24 PM EST

I live in Washington, DC, so I have plenty of opportunities to talk to people protesting various things. I've spoken to people protesting the IMF, World Bank, GMO food, the amount of government spending on (name of disease), global warming, etc., and have noticed a few consistent points:

  1. Most of the protesters don't know what they are talking about. That is to say that their pamphlets, talking points, and signs do not hold up to even basic fact checking.
  2. Most of the protesters are not willing to have a converstaion about whatever it is they are protesting.
  3. Fairly often, the protesters and counter-protesters aren't even having the same conversation. For instance, in the great American gun control debate, one side is talking about safety, and the other side is talking about liberty. I suspect they both know this, but for some reason think that to acknowledge the legitimacy of each others' position would look weak.
I'm not certain what all this means, except that I'm not about to be convinced of anything by someone with a closed mind and wrong facts. I accept as an article of faith that some subset of the protesters really do know their stuff, and are open to legitimate debate; I just wish they'd encourage everyone else to stay home.

What I have to say to any protester is:

If you want to go, go. Know your facts. Be able to speak intelligently about both sides of the issues. Don't rant and rave. Don't smash things.

If you can do that much, I'm willing to listen. And I doubt I'm much different from most people on either side -- yuppie friends and protester friends alike.

Why globalization is different from Gun Control (4.50 / 2) (#90)
by dachshund on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 04:26:48 PM EST

For instance, in the great American gun control debate, one side is talking about safety, and the other side is talking about liberty. I suspect they both know this, but for some reason think that to acknowledge the legitimacy of each others' position would look weak.

Unfortunately, even open and rational debate on a well-worn issue like gun-control doesn't always help that much. For one thing, both sides have orthogonally different goals, and there's no simple way to reconcile them. For another, both sides have already heard most of the arguments. You might be able to convince a few members from the other side to come over to you, but there's very little earthshaking information you can give to people.

The globalization debate is very different, because a lot of the people who consider themselves to be generally "pro-globalization" don't really understand what the issues are at all. Ask any average citizen about the practices of the IMF or WTO, you'll get a blank stare, maybe followed by something like "I don't know, I just think free trade is a good thing." So there's lots of room to educate people as to why you're concerned with the particular methods that are being used to acheive "globalization". This information really is earthshaking for some people, because it's not generally disseminated-- you don't see a lot about it on CNN. In fact, if it weren't for the irresistably mediagenic images of these protests, you would probably never even know that there was a group of people who opposed the current system.

So though it's a shame that many of the protesters are clueless, or have silly radical notions of their own, simply seeing thousands of kids engaging in these actions makes people ask questions. Sooner or later those folks will (hopefully) stumble across some good answers. In general I think that these protests are over-all beneficial to the movement; a few pissed off commuters in Calgary is a worthwhile price for the media (coverage you can only get by doing crazy things like this.)

[ Parent ]

Speaking vs. Writing (5.00 / 1) (#109)
by FlipFlop on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 07:28:13 PM EST

Be able to speak intelligently about both sides of the issues.

I don't speak intelligently about much of anything. Fact is, I'm a lousy speaker. I can write far more intelligently than I can speak. If I were at a protest, and a someone asked why I was there, I would probably come across sounding like a raving lunatic. On the other hand, I could write a well-reasoned response.

0xA, if you decide to write a K5 article, you should make up a bunch of cards with your email address on it. You should hand the cards out to protestors so they can articulate their arguments. If the protestors don't know what they're talking about, perhaps they will give your address to someone in their group who does.

AdTI - The think tank that didn't
[ Parent ]

Idiots (none / 0) (#120)
by hesk on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 11:00:34 PM EST

I'm not certain what all this means

It means that a lot of anti-globalization protesters are a bunch of bitching idiots. Which is very unfortunate, because the stuff they bitch about actually is important. Most of them are so ignorant of the situation, that when you're supportive of their cause, but try to point out the factual errors you mention, they will immediately dismiss you as not being on their side.

"You're either with us or against us." Sounds familiar? Unfortunately, so.

Yes, a conversation with these people is extremely hard and mostly annoying, because their protest is basically a gut reaction. That shouldn't stop anybody from trying to talk, because there are little other choices.

Also, can somebody explain to me that fact, that a lot of left people have to have an (unfounded) opinion about everything? I often find it hard to join a protesting group, because they basically bitch about every single controversial topic that's going on in our society. It's always an "all or nothing"-deal, without focus on one particular topic. I often agree with some topics and disagree with others, which in my opinion isn't a good basis for an effective protest. Just proves your point, though.

[ Parent ]

Violent protests (4.16 / 6) (#73)
by kentm on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 02:49:39 PM EST

I too work in downtown Calgary. This should be an interesting show.

Unfortunately it will all be wasted effort. Their protests seems designed to upset the very people they are trying to get support from. On Wednesday, June 26, they are planning to blockade downtown Calgary. Sounds like a great way to show that your cause is a worthy one, and that people should support you... "Hey, I can't get to work today. Those G8 protesters must be right!"

The protesters have also allowed their cause to be associated with violent and destructive riots. While they claim to be non-violent, the fact is that their protests typically end up in a riot. They can whine about how the police provoked them, or how it is a small minority who do it, but the fact remains that they are facilitating the riots, and the rioters have their tacit approval

While I support their right to _peaceful_ protest, I also support peoples' rights to live in safety, without worrying about the mob of hooligans from out of town.

wasted efforts (4.00 / 2) (#80)
by loudici on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 03:45:42 PM EST

a few years ago, IMF, world bank and WTO could meet and take decisions engaging the future of the planet without being visible except for a snippet in the WSJ.

nowadays there meeting make headline news and the issues at stake are being mentionned in political campaign.

wasted effort? i do not think so. they broke a few shop windows, burnt a few cars, and ONE young man lost his life. that sounds like a very little price to pay to put the institutions who organize globalization under scrutiny.


gnothi seauton
[ Parent ]

A small price? (none / 0) (#85)
by jhodge on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 04:01:46 PM EST

"...and ONE young man lost his life. that sounds like a very little price to pay..."

How about a bargian then: you douse yourself in kerosene and light up, and I'll agree that you've earned the right to say that the loss of a man's life is a small price to pay.

I think statements like yours go a long way toward explaining why the greater public doesn't want huge protests coming to their neighborhood.

[ Parent ]

yes- a small price (none / 0) (#98)
by loudici on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 05:16:37 PM EST

of course the death of carlo giuliani is a tragedy. but young rebellious men die daily in confrontation with the police, and most of them lose their life for much less worthy causes.

as to people not wanting protests coming to their neighborhood, the average corporate zombie whho opposes protests live in a yuppie concentration camp (which they call gated communities) where no protester in their right mind would do anything.


gnothi seauton
[ Parent ]

young rebellious men? (none / 0) (#119)
by hesk on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 10:47:15 PM EST

Of course the death of carlo giuliani is a tragedy. But young rebellious men die daily in confrontation with the police, and most of them lose their life for much less worthy causes.

Wait a second. Are we talking about the guy who was shot in Geneva? As far as I am concerned, he absolutely provoked that reaction with his own behavior. Even a lot of my friends who are supportive of the anti-globalization movement agree with that.

Yes, it is a tragedy that he died. I doubt his worthy cause, though.

[ Parent ]

I wonder why none of the protests ever.... (5.00 / 2) (#106)
by Ben Welsh on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 07:03:27 PM EST

...seem to take the Ghandi approach. I watched a biography of him on the history channel the other day, and his approach to passive protest sounded like the only one that's ever made a significant impact. Even when these people were shot at with real bullets they didn't fight back.

Christianity Meme
[ Parent ]
Protest (4.16 / 6) (#75)
by godix on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 02:58:09 PM EST

I'd be a lot more impressed by protesters if they had a coherent message. I freely admit I've not spent a great deal of effort trying to decipher what these groups want, but I know a lot more about it than the average person I've talked to. All I've ever gotten out of the various protests were two messages. #1) We don't like global trade and the only reasons we're giving are one or two horror stories about a chinesse worker or a rainforest somewhere. #2) Some of us are violent idiots. Compare this to the LA riots. I didn't spend a lot of effort trying to decipher their desires either, but I perfectly understood it was all about blacks protesting treatment towards them (and they were violent idiots). Get a message guys, get it so simple that even a random joe who doesn't give a damn understands what you want, get rid of the violent idiots, THEN protest. It'll work a lot better that way.

By the way, if you're going to protest because "I don't know much about the anti-globalization movement" then don't expect me to care. Just a little tip, before you try overthrowing something have a plan on what to do after it's gone. Africa is full of countries that overthrew European colonies but had no idea what to do next, and look at the state they're in. If globalization goes away how will Japan get natural resources it lacks? How will Tiawan get food? How can third world countries turn into first world countries if they can't trade with anyone? How can you wield economic power to prevent farmers from destroying the Brazilian rainforest if you don't have any economic influence with Brazil? How will anyone get cheap TV's to follow the news about what protesters destroyed this week? How will protesters get ahold of cheap cardboard to make their signs and cheap bricks to throw at cops? At the very least try to get to the point where you won't be saying 'I don't know what this is all about, but I'm angry and I care deeply about whatever this is'

As for your coworkers, don't be suprised at all. The current round of protesters aren't protesting for something that most people understand, much less care about. Even when the protests were clear on their objectives (think Martin Luthor King or the anti-war protest of late 60's) most people didn't care. You mention the IMF as an example of things people dont' care about. That's because few understand it, and even if they do it's hard to get worked up about a beaurocracy. Instead try showing the plight of third world countries, showing somethings we should be doing and aren't, and then show how current policies (including the IMF) usually cause more harm than good. Most peope still won't care but at least you'll have someone who understands why you're on the street seeing if you can push the cops into beating your head in.

I know what I'm about (5.00 / 1) (#111)
by 0xA on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 07:36:57 PM EST

By the way, if you're going to protest because "I don't know much about the anti-globalization movement" then don't expect me to care.

While it's true I don't know a hell of a lot about the people and groups involved in these protests I do know the things that make me want to get involved. I didn't include them in the story because I didn't want the discussion to be about that, I wanted it to be about trying to fit in the middle of these two worlds.

I find myself compelled to get involved, I'm not at the stage where I would drive 4 hours to protest. I'm still learning and feeling my way about, I may in the end decide that I don't want anything to do with these groups. The calm rational part of me is saying "go to a few meetings, check this stuff out first" but that isn't really going to happen. There is a major protest, in seven days, eight blocks from my apartment. My concern is that if I jump into this, how is it going to effect the rest of my life? I either have to let this chance to get involved slide by or jump in with both feet and let the shit fall where it may.

[ Parent ]

Personal protest (none / 0) (#123)
by godix on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 11:48:45 PM EST

So why are you wanting to protest? It sounds like you don't want to influence anyone on anything, after all your concern are for how this will effect you rather than how this will effect globalization. It can't be because you're against globalization, you apperently don't know enough about it to be for or against it. It obviously isn't for social or professional advancement if you think the effects on your life will be bad. It isn't for education since you freely admit you won't check anything out first. Why do you want to protest?

In the past protesters from movements that made a difference (ie. MLK, Ghandi, anti-vietnam, etc) were willing to be jailed or killed for their causes. You, you're worried about the effects of protesting on your life and you aren't even willing to stand up to your co-workers to defend the movement you're considering joining. I think you should just stay home during the protests. You don't know what the protest is about really, you aren't that dedicated to it, and you don't seem to be interested in actually changing anything.

Please don't think I'm trying to bash you here. You are considering doing something that could easily get you arrested and your name tied to these protest groups. Since you are concerned about your future, this would be a mistake and I'm trying to point that out. To be an effective protester requires a lot of knowledge about what you're against and a lot of dedication to changing it and you just don't apear to have that. There's nothing wrong with that, I don't have it either and the vast majority of people I've ever met don't have it. Your time would be better spent trying to figure out why you want to do this and perhaps following a different course of action that would achieve the same goals instead.

[ Parent ]

simple (none / 0) (#127)
by fhotg on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 01:35:46 AM EST

My concern is that if I jump into this, how is it going to effect the rest of my life?
You might get recruited.

Cause that's what it's mainly about. It's not about media attention one way or another and it's not about disrupting something. These are only sideeffects that may serve as a symbolic unifying goal for the event.

The real purposes are networking, training, psychological empowerment and recruitment.

[ Parent ]

Subscribe to The Economist magazine (none / 0) (#129)
by Alan Crowe on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 08:09:26 AM EST

It has lots of vicious attacks on capitialism. It condemns banks as the world's must dangerous institutions. It slams first world protectionism every week. It reveals how businesses cook their books to show non-existent profits. It disentangles corporate ownership, showing who is cheating whom. It reveals the secrets of re-districting, explaining how elections to Congress are rigged to keep the incumbents in office. It digs into campaign finance, explaining how much it costs the American sugar industry to buy the laws which keep American sugar at twice the world market price.

At the same time it is mainstream, prestigious, and utterly respectable. This week's letters page has John Maher, Commissioner, Pennsylvania Securities Commission, responding to coverage of the Merrill Lynch settlement, and One Ye Kung, responding to coverage of privitisation in Singapore on behalf of the minister for finance.

Buy some undergraduate economics textbooks so that you have something to refer to when you get stuck on the jargon. Keeping reading for a year or two. It will open your eyes about how the world works.

Obviously, this isn't what you want to hear. You want to "jump in with both feet". You don't want a reading list, but please read my essay Most of the evil in the world is done by good persons. It is only 343 words.

[ Parent ]

The protestors have a coherent message. (none / 0) (#135)
by Shren on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 09:59:48 AM EST

The sources who tell you what to think have nothing to gain by telling you what it is, though, so they don't. Thus, you are left with the feeling that the message is unclear. It's not.

Just like any group policy, not every individual involved agrees with every aspect. They do still have a broad common consensus.

[ Parent ]

To any protestors out there - how about a k5 story (4.40 / 5) (#79)
by greenrd on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 03:20:46 PM EST

I'm sick and tired of the anti-the-protests stories (like theantix's) and pro-the-protests-but-I'm-not-really-clued-up stories (like this one) on k5. (No offence to the author of this story, but it was a little light on, uh, reasoning for going on the protests. Very light in fact.)

There is a distinct lack of stories here from actual protestors who really know their stuff. I know you can find them on Indymedia, ZNet etc., but we need to redress the balance on k5. I'd be willing to invest some time and energy in helping out any protestor who wants to write a pro-the-protest article for k5. Whether you're a liberal, radical, anarchist or whatever. As long as you're reasonably knowledgeable about the issues you want to talk about.

I should write one myself one day, but (a) it needs a lot of work, and (b) I'm not a protestor, for various reasons - none of which have to do with disagreeing with the protestor's overall aims and critiques, because I don't disagree with them, for the most part.

"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes

A few comments to stories ago..... (none / 0) (#84)
by blixco on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 03:57:26 PM EST

Lemme dig thru my older posts......

Actually, I don't have a concise listing from a single event. I'll have to put a bunch of texts together and see what I can come up with.

Heres one diary entry and another from a series that I wrote a while back, with the help of my friend Michelle. She's not around anymore...apparently left the country after getting arrested and mishandled in DC. If I can find her, she has more than a few good front-line stories.

The root of the problem has been isolated.
[ Parent ]

humor (4.00 / 3) (#83)
by loudici on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 03:54:58 PM EST

i am in a pretty similar situation. probably worse. i have more than a bit experience in street protests and a history of political actions back in my country, and for a variety of reasons i am now working with corporate suburban zombies.

my favorite attitude in that case is humor. surrealism and dada attitude are your friends. and bearded sysadmins are supposed to be weird and funny.


gnothi seauton

Disruptive Protests. (3.00 / 2) (#88)
by stevex on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 04:09:47 PM EST

Personally I'm quite annoyed that local protesters (I'm in Ottawa) have caused the city to scale back our Canada Day festivities.

Canada Day in Ottawa is always a big deal - but this year, the CBC has moved the main show to the East Coast because they expect protesters to interfere with the days of setup required on Parliament Hill. After the last summit here in Ottawa I can't blame them.

There are peaceful protesters, and then there are idiots out to cause trouble. However I feel that if the peaceful protesters want to be heard, then they have to distance themselves from the violent or disruptive ones.

I've seen protesters egg on police, be disruptive (to the people who aren't part of the protests, just people trying to live their lives in the unfortunate path of the protesters), and then cry "police brutality" when the police drag them away.

This is supposed to get me to listen to the anti-globalization message? It just turns people off. And yet the protesters keep doing this. I wonder if the protesters really understand the image they've created for themselevs in the minds of the average citizen...

- Steve

Assholes (3.50 / 2) (#92)
by Gwen on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 04:43:48 PM EST

The basic problem is that there are assholes in every group. Even the ones who have (or supposedly have) good intentions. Some people are just assholes.

But yeah, they tend to be a lot louder than the others. If there's 10 peaceful protesters and 1 asshole who just wants to break shit, the police are going to see that person, get angry and then be defensive about the peaceful ones.

Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, there's no way to make sure EVERYONE who comes is a non-violent peaceful person.

I know that I'm going to be protesting in the Take the Capital err.. festivities. But I'm not breaking anything. I'm adding my vote against the Bad Shit I see as going on here. I want to CONstruct, not DEstruct.

"So raise your hands in the air like you're born again
But make a fist for the struggle we was born to win"
-The Coup ft. Dead Prez, Get Up!

[ Parent ]
There is a way (none / 0) (#101)
by Lord of the Wasteland on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 05:32:39 PM EST

The big problem with the peaceful protesters have is that they are staging their protests at a high profile event with a huge number of people from all different idealogical groups coming. This is stupid for many of these groups.

First, the media attention is going to focus mainly on the most idiotic and destructive. Second, you have a harder time controlling the makeup of your own group if you don't really have to organize the event--if people actually have to have been following your activities for a while you'll have an easier time weeding out the assholes / agent provocateurs

Big protests with huge numbers of people and large numbers of groups tend to degenerate to the lowest common denominator on all sides.

[ Parent ]

There's a reason for that (none / 0) (#117)
by Gwen on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 09:03:36 PM EST

They're big because they're exceptionally bad.

And from what I understand (sorry I can't give any refs,) there are a lot of protests that the media simply don't report on, so you don't hear about them and no one knows that anything happened.

"So raise your hands in the air like you're born again
But make a fist for the struggle we was born to win"
-The Coup ft. Dead Prez, Get Up!

[ Parent ]
Why take the capital? (none / 0) (#122)
by stevex on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 11:29:36 PM EST

Something is going on somewhere far away that you don't like so you're going to disrupt Ottawa? Why?

Are we going to see protests in Ottawa now whenever there's something going on anywhere in Canada that you want to protest? Seems a little unfair to the people who live and work in Ottawa doesn't it?

- Steve

[ Parent ]

Let them be disruptive. (3.50 / 2) (#95)
by Juan Rojo on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 05:06:31 PM EST

Let's face it. The media doesnt care about them until some disruption occours. Without that violence it's hard to transmit the message of how much they are against it, besides only a disagreement.
This way, they get media, and their message.
From someone used to protests almost everyday, violence is "normal" but people is way more responsible than what it seems, since very rarely anyone dies. The non-violents allways control the violent ones. Calling them destructive is fun, as they only throw eggs, burn some tires, break windows or cars. The the people outside protesting knows that a human life is way more precious than the ones inside the g8 summit.

[ Parent ]
Globalization is a myth. (4.00 / 8) (#91)
by Juan Rojo on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 04:41:13 PM EST

I sincerely feel bad about how all the posts and the article itself are so sceptic.
I understand that since most of you live well, or just live inside the US or Canada, globalization doesnt change your life, or just dont care, and naturally find other people protesting for things just annoying because they annoy you.
I feel like i could write a whole article about this, because it involves just too many things.
Many of you said "Protesters dont have any idea what they are protesting for". Well, they are protesting against Globalization.
Does anyone really know what globalization actually is? I doubt so. Dictionary definition is just "To make global or worldwide in scope or application"
Perfect, now, what IS globalization? you just hear all kind of definitions "The world becoming a social and economic coalition", or usually applied to "Shortening distances", a "Worldwide economy leveraging", etc.

The only truth, is that "globalization" itself is just propaganda to induce countries into economic reforms that aim to completely liberalizing the economy (as in, avoid the government to control it, letting free commerce happen, leveraging currency to let more foreign products in, allowing foreign economic institutions (banks mostly) to stabish, moving statal companies into private hands, etc).
The first effect of such practices is a huge economic growth in the country, citizens have access to credit, new and usually better products are aviable and cheaper, the statal reserves in money grow, companies invest, and the average per capita income grows.

This, which obviously seems like the best it could happen to a country ever, however is a deadly trap. The country loses it's ability to produce, this results in massive firings, and a high grow of the unemployment, salary reductions, and in overall the segment between the rich and the poor increases.
The country suddendly enters into a recesive situation and end into total misery.
In the end, the country's real economy is replaced by a purely financing-based economy, which cant end up sustaining itself alone.

Now, then, who benefits from all this? The institutions/companies from European and North American countries, who make billions in course of such process.
We could define real globalization as mainly this process for huge economies to penetrate smaller/closed ones to end up looting them.
It has never worked, and it never will.
Protestors are basically against THIS. I'd happily assist to such protests if they were held here.
It's also a great place to talk to people, exchange ideas, debating, etc. Media does a great job as picturing them as only "Violent acts".

Just Do It! (3.50 / 2) (#116)
by Lord Snott on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 08:22:40 PM EST

Dude, write that article you mentioned. I want to know.

To me, Globalisation means poorer nations getting support from more powerful nations. With the standards of every nation taking part being lifted up to a minimum, not dropping to "lowest common denominator".

It seems the idea of Globalisation is a good one, but the current implementation is not only flawed, but is really colonial imperialism under another name.

This sig in violation of U.S. trademark
registration number 2,347,676.
Bummer :-(

[ Parent ]

Your coworkers have more sense than you (2.33 / 6) (#99)
by trhurler on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 05:16:57 PM EST

You see, when you protest and block off a whole downtown area, you are being what is known as counterproductive.

Do you really believe that creating a huge annoyance for tens or hundreds of thousands or even millions of people is going to cause them to "see the light?" Or do you believe, perhaps more reasonably, that they're just going to get pissed at you and cheer the cops for shooting and gassing your annoying ass?

Do you believe that people will become aware of the intricacies of globalization because you carried around a sign with a slogan on it, or do you think they'll remember globalization protesters as the people whose street blocking ways got them fired from their jobs, made them lose clients, caused their girlfriends to dump them, and so on, and refuse to ever listen again no matter what?

The problem is that you and people like you are fucking idiots who have no idea how to influence people.

"It just seems to me that you are willfully entering an arse-kicking contest w
In answer to all your questions... (4.50 / 2) (#102)
by broken77 on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 06:28:18 PM EST

"Yes". For example, I have always been anti-establishment, anti-governement, anti-most things, really. But I never even knew about the Global Justice movement, the World Bank & IMF, the WTO, the FTAA, etc. until the Seattle protests. I know... That's incredibly weak, but the fact is, I was ignorant of a great many things. Because of what happened in Seattle, I was driven to learn and study more about it. Protests serve many purposes. One of them is to get more people involved. It certainly worked in my case. How many others has it worked for? If these protests didn't happen, the momentum wouldn't be building quite like it is. And from what I can tell, what I read and hear on the radio, it certainly is building strong and fast.

But, to expand on your comments a little bit... Here's the thing. As a Global Justice protester, you're probably never, I mean, really, fucking NEVER going to convince these types of people to see these issues from your viewpoint. I know this all too well, having spent the majority of my life around these kinds of people (what I mean to say is, yuppy, SUV driving, cheap beer swilling, skirt-chasing, football-watching, flag-waving types). The best you can do is stand up and be a force to be reckoned with. Organize, and get more people to come out there with you. Make the world more aware of you as a force. Fuck worrying about anyone who doesn't agree with you, you're not ever going to get them to agree with you anyway.

And when you're not protesting, you present your viewpoint calmly and rationally. Find out the best way to discuss things with each person you talk to. I've already convinced a few people to open their eyes to some major realizations they never had before talking to me. That's a great thing. But doing that takes too long. Take to the streets. The only thing I don't agree with the author of this story is that he didn't stand up and let his co-workers know his thoughts. I work in corporate America, and believe me... Everyone around here who's talked with me knows I'm "The Anarchist". And I've yet to be fired! But, I'm not worried about being fired either. If I can't say what I think, I'm practicing self-censorship. I'd rather be unemployed than gagged.

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

Duh! (none / 0) (#133)
by eyeflare on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 09:22:53 AM EST

"I've already convinced a few people to open their eyes to some major realizations they never had before talking to me. That's a great thing. But doing that takes too long."

And that is how you effect real change, by involving the average person to influence more people. It takes a long time, yes, and therefore you think it's not as worthwhile as pissing off thousands of them?

"Everyone around here who's talked with me knows I'm "The Anarchist". And I've yet to be fired!"

Well, la-dee-fucking-da! How do you think this will look if you actually try to have a successful career in something besides the service industry?
"There is no way to peace; peace is the way." -A. J. Muste. Go: www.eyeflare.com
[ Parent ]

Clarifications (5.00 / 1) (#139)
by broken77 on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 02:07:37 PM EST

First, I thought I suggested that in order to affect change, you need to do both things (take to the street and also influence people every day). If I didn't do that, then sorry. But regardless of this, I thought I also suggested the idea that it's generally impossible to sway people who are diametrically opposed about this issue. It's like trying to convert someone's religion. So don't even worry about them, let them think whatever they want to. The people you're trying to convince one-on-one are the people who still don't know very much about the issues, and are open-minded and willing to discuss them.

Second, I also thought I made it clear what I did in my job. I don't work in the "service industry". When I said I work in "corporate america", I meant I am a computer programmer for a very, very large organization. Right now, I'm working on an extremely high profile project that is well-known throughout the entire organization (of many thousand employees). I make around $75k a year. :-) So what was your point again?

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

Sorry (3.00 / 1) (#143)
by eyeflare on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 04:08:22 PM EST

I tend to get pissed off when the whole subject of activism comes up, far too many comments like "Lets take to the streets!". Whatever. Most people on here though seem to actually have a rationale when they take a minute to write it down instead of just shooting off slogans.

Second part: You're lucky in many ways then. Most people here do not have employers quite that open minded. They may not start firing people for spreading anti-capitalist (*sigh*) propaganda or other political causes but in many cases it will hurt their credibility when it comes to raises, promotions, etc. Encouraging people to act in a way that is self-incriminatory in most corporate environments is, I think, irresponsible.

Effect a little change at a time. There are quite a few of us who have thoughts on how to make our lives better, and others lives better too. But it needs to be gradual, and it needs to have wide support. You only get that, in my opinion, by talking to one more person, and then one more, and one more... It's also much better to explain clearly what you are working FOR instead of saying you're anti-fascist (that's a very loaded term...) or whatever. Say that you want to create ways to improve the lives of poor people in your city instead of saying you're against rich people having lots of money. Most people want to be rich, and will have a problem with the latter. Everyone wants to support the former. Get my point?
"There is no way to peace; peace is the way." -A. J. Muste. Go: www.eyeflare.com
[ Parent ]

Yes (none / 0) (#145)
by broken77 on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 05:39:01 PM EST

I get you. Thanks for the input. Believe me, all I ever _do_ is try to sway people's opinions... I bet a lot of the people I meet think I'm pretty crazy :-)

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

Yeah probably (none / 0) (#108)
by 0xA on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 07:14:34 PM EST

Do you really believe that creating a huge annoyance for tens or hundreds of thousands or even millions of people is going to cause them to "see the light?" Or do you believe, perhaps more reasonably, that they're just going to get pissed at you and cheer the cops for shooting and gassing your annoying ass?

Well, watching what happened in Seatlle led me to investigate exactly what all these people were so pissed about. I would hope at least some people would do the same in the future.

I don't really know how to go about all this, in case you missed it I am new to this. I don't pretend to have all the answers or a nice neat list of ideas that spell out why I feel compeled to get involved. The fact that this is happening next week, in my city, a few blocks from my apartment has certainly pushed me to get involved quicker than I would have arrived at that point otherwise.

Yeah this way is messy, if I decide to get involved further maybe I can hep find something new. I don't know yet.

[ Parent ]

Maybe (none / 0) (#126)
by RandomPeon on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 01:10:33 AM EST

The Indian independence movements and the civil rights movement for the most obvious counterexamples to your claim.

Do you believe that people will become aware of the intricacies of globalization because you carried around a sign with a slogan on it

Maybe. You might do well to remember that the ideals of the civil rights movement were once rather controversial. Some of the arguments against it were non-trivial, namely the "property rights" bullshit.

that they're just going to get pissed at you and cheer the cops for shooting and gassing your annoying ass?

Again, maybe. The civil rights movement had similar problems with police assaulting demonstrators. Some people cheer, others are disgusted. My personal opinion: anyone who beats the shit of unarmed civillians for fun is the lowest form of coward.

Some civil disobedience movements are successful, some are not. No movement of this type is completely non-violent, sadly. It's hard to separate the succesful ones from the unsuccesful ones.

[ Parent ]
Actually, (none / 0) (#140)
by trhurler on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 02:56:30 PM EST

The "property rights bullshit" is a perfectly good argument against most of what passes for "civil rights" these days. What started as a drive for equality under the law has become a drive for legally enforced equal treatment of everyone by by everyone, and that's morally wrong. Private citizens have a right to discriminate, whether you or I like it or not.

And really, how many people understand civil rights? Almost none. The truth is, they got so sick of protests and watching protesters get beat up that they changed their minds just to make it go away. The problem with this is, the protesters were indistinguishable from other minorities, so they had "all black people" on their side, and they had plenty of innocent martyrs and so on, whereas in the globalization case, the protesters are an identifiable fringe without much outside support or any visible outside martyrs, fighting for a cause most people can't even begin to describe, much less do they understand.

As for beating the shit out of unarmed people, if the admittedly minority violent protesters didn't assault cops and destroy things so much, or if they made themselves visibly different from other protesters, you'd probably see less of that. If I was a cop, I'd probably rather beat people than be beaten too.

Finally, notice that Ghandi succeeded because people were afraid he'd die. He had a moral authority that exceeded his actual importance. Your average globalization protester is some dumbfuck undergrad student in a postmodern studies department at Bumblefuck U who has never achieved anything in life, lives on generosity and/or the dole, and by and large is completely uninspiring. If he died on TV, maybe someone would care. Maybe.

"It just seems to me that you are willfully entering an arse-kicking contest w
Parent ]
So (3.33 / 3) (#103)
by trhurler on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 06:46:08 PM EST

Let us say that the Seattle people managed to get 1000 people like you. I doubt it, but let's say so. In exchange, they were made to look like incompetent, incoherent, violent thugs who screw up other peoples' lives and can't even get a message out on CNN, and the general public now things of protesters in general as possessing those traits.

You think that over time, that's a winning strategy? I'd sure like to know how.

"It just seems to me that you are willfully entering an arse-kicking contest w
Sure. (4.00 / 2) (#107)
by blixco on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 07:10:34 PM EST

As soon as the protesters own CNN, the perception will change. IN the meantime, fuck perception. Those who will be swayed will be swayed. Those who wouldn't be swayed won't be. The process allows people to get a message out. The message will noticed by the body being protested against. The citizens around the peripheral? Who really cares? If they're angry, they're paying attention. If they're not angry, they should be.

That being said, anti-globalists are increasingly becoming dependent on nuisance. That's a good tactic, but it shouldn't be the only one.

I talked to a black bloc group at the last event I was involved in. They were of the opinion that it's not a protest, it's a war. They're not there to win friends. They used their violence the same way governments do: "If you come here, we'll destroy the joint, and you'll not be welcomed back." My favorite quote from a guy who called himself The Jesus: "Fuck the message, man. Someone else can sort that out."

Good or bad, everyone noticed, and no one went away unchanged.
The root of the problem has been isolated.
[ Parent ]

Maybe (5.00 / 3) (#112)
by trhurler on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 07:42:02 PM EST

The message will noticed by the body being protested against.
Maybe. Truth be known, probably not. G8 participants and their ilk probably view protests as simple criminal activity; those in power historically have not been good at recognizing semiviolent protest as a means of speech, and even when you know they "know," they don't admit it, so it does you no good. Remember, if all you get across is "we're not happy with your actions," they can rationalize that away in a million ways, no matter how many cars you wreck or buildings you loot or streets you block and so on.
The citizens around the peripheral? Who really cares?
Being one of those people, I do. There are a lot more. Many more, for instance, than there are protesters.
If they're angry, they're paying attention.
To what? Not your message. The message they're paying attention to is, "those who protest the government are annoying fucks who got in my way." This is worse than if they never noticed you.
I talked to a black bloc group at the last event I was involved in. They were of the opinion that it's not a protest, it's a war.
And yet they cry foul when the cops shoot real bullets at them. Maybe they should go to Africa and fight in some real wars before they run off at the mouth about being at war. I bet they'd change their minds.
"If you come here, we'll destroy the joint, and you'll not be welcomed back."
Except that it doesn't work that way. What happens is, they get the events closed to ALL protests, using tens of thousands of cops in the process, and people who protest anyway get beaten up and/or killed. The black bloc and friends are the reason that protests(even peaceful ones) are such dangerous things to take part in. Remember, the cops don't have magical black bloc detector glasses - they can't tell a black bloc fanatic from Ghandi - or vice versa.
"Fuck the message, man. Someone else can sort that out."
Translation: "I don't really care about globalization. I just want to break stuff and get away with it!" Even if it isn't always true, it is what both the public and the courts will always accept as being true, which makes the point rather academic.

In the end, a protest is always against a militarily and/or economically superior opponent; otherwise, you WOULD have a war. As such, changing public opinion and/or embarassing those at the top is what counts, because you have no other viable means of achieving your goals. Wanton destruction is not embarassing to them - it is embarassing to YOU. Disrupting normal activity for thousands of uninvolved people is embarassing to YOU. As long as these are their tactics, the globalization protesters will lose in the end. Granted, there are peaceful protesters who stay out of the public's way as much as they can and actually try to put out a message - but does anyone hear about them? Nope.

"It just seems to me that you are willfully entering an arse-kicking contest w
Parent ]
I am *so* out of practice. (3.66 / 3) (#115)
by blixco on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 08:19:56 PM EST

In my case, I've started working within my community, affecting my neighborhood, getting to know my neighbors, and engaging in discussion. I think that this approach works well.

I fear that protesting has become the next extreme sport. There's a lot to be said about getting the message to those whom you are protesting against, but I'm sure that they don't care.

My discordian side loves the chaos though. That's where I kind of like the current protests....they leave no middle ground. And there's nothing worse for any government than complacent centrists. So the protesters piss you off...that's not so good. How about the moron in front of you who has never taken a side about anything? He's now aware, and he's pissed, and he's taking a side, and he's thinking! He may hate my friends, but at least he's not blindly wandering through the society he's supposed to be shaping.

Chaos! Discontent! Disorder! All hail.
The root of the problem has been isolated.
[ Parent ]

Your Idea of Protesting Disturbs Me (1.00 / 1) (#110)
by copo on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 07:32:53 PM EST

I personally don't care one way or the other about your ideas on globalization, but I do have an issue with your ideas regarding protesting.

You seem a little ambivalent on this issue, and I have always thought of a protest as a demonstration of one's passion for an idea/cause.  If you really felt strongly about globalization, then I don't think you'd care so much what your work buddies or what the fellow protesters would think of your involvement.  It just seems absurd to me that someone would go make a powerful public statement on a topic about which they haven't made up their mind.  That's not protesting; that is looking like an idiot.  Protests lose all meaning when they are comprised of people who feel only slightly more than indifference on the issue.

You need to find an issue where you care so strongly, others' disapproval doesn't matter at all.  If you can't find an issue like that, you don't belong at a protest.

No I feel strongly about this (4.50 / 2) (#113)
by 0xA on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 07:43:43 PM EST

I feel strongly about the issues I think are important, I will end up delivering a lecture at the drop of a hat in all kinds of social situations.

The article is about me identifing myself as part of a group I don't know much about yet. I like some stuff that they do, other stuff I don't. It's not one group either. On top of that, many of the people I am connected with from other parts of my life look down on these people. How is all this going to change my life?

The smart answer to this is look around, find out more and make a call. I'd love to but it's right here, right now.

[ Parent ]

why i think people don't know (4.80 / 5) (#114)
by rhyax on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 08:06:11 PM EST

I think a lot of it has to do with the media, i remember the protests in seattle, and i used to watch the tv news like an addict, and not much internet or other alternative news. i remember thinking i didn't know what they were protesting really. the best i could figure was they were against cultural homogeneity. i thought it was a weird thing to feel so passionate about. the media does not do a good job of explaining to people what the protests are for. and i don't think it is completely some scary conspiracy or anything, it's just hard to explain in 10 seconds.

all you get on the news is "there were anti-globalization protesters in canada today for the G8 summit." ::pictures pictures:: "teargas was used, when the protesters became violent."

well, what did you learn? nothing. people think they are punks, because the media portrays them as such, they are shown as young kids protesting some amorphous thing called "globalization" which is not defined. in order for people to really understand what it meant cnn, fox news etc would have to actually cover things like argentina, the IMF, world bank, in depth, for - hold your breath - possibly over 15 minutes. this will never happen, because 1) giant powerful corporations don't want it to, and 2) 15 minutes is pretty much the whole news cycle.

Trade-offs and ignorance (4.66 / 3) (#118)
by hbw on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 09:33:50 PM EST

It's all about trade-offs. If your co-workers value peace and quietness higher than some issue that they've never really understood, they will shrug when you raise the issue.

It's the same as with everything, and in this case I blame the media. If the people don't know what the issues are about, or that they even exist in the first place, they will value their ignorance higher than the protests' existance in their city.

However, if the media would let them know why the protesters protest and what the issues are about, maybe they would care, and maybe the trade-offs for a few broken windows in their city would outweigh their precious ignorance.

I have discovered a truly marvelous signature, which unfortunately the margin is not large enough to contain.

Love the sig :) (nt) (none / 0) (#149)
by tlhf on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 08:24:00 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Comments from a "Protester" (4.50 / 6) (#121)
by Col Klync on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 11:01:01 PM EST

In response to overwhelming demand for a comment from a true-blue activist/protester, I submit to all you at K5 the following points. Please do not read further if you fear my tinfoil hat. The glare may blind you...

  1. This article is fabulous! The central question cannot be ignored by any thinking person. That is, why do most people seem not to care at all? I wish I could answer that question.

    On this question, I don't care if you're right or left, pro- or anti-, whatever the cause. What is the source of all this apathy, and how can it be changed? Society is truly doomed if people do not care about anything but their selves.
  2. We (protesters) live within society. We have jobs, and we wish we could just spend sunday afternoon having lunch with friends. We can understand people's anger toward us. We love society, we love our fellow humans; but there are things we cannot stand. We cannot let the IMF, OAS, and WTO continue to pillage, plunder and divide the world. And so, we must take to the streets, and face the wrath of the state. We must put up with the ridicule and derision from those who do not see things the way we do. Because we see no better choice.

    Just about everyone knows that our political institutions are broken - that "democracy" is a sham, that our "leaders" are leading us up the river. There is no value in a "legitimate" opposition, such as a political party. The system is designed to keep people like us out of legitimate institutions.
  3. What kind of sick person would think that delaying traffic is cause for a chemical attack? If protesting on the street merits a good "clubbing and gassing", then, at the very least, everyone who's ever jaywalked or coasted through a stopsign deserves a couple of broken fingers, right?

    No. Part of the reason why this tactic (inconveniencing the public) is often employed is because it breaks up the monotony of day to day existence, which happens to be a drag for a lot of people. Maybe if you can't drive downtown, you'll walk... and, lo, you might actually meet your neighbour. The alternative is to hop into your SUV, conveniently drive home on the expressway, and sit at home, in front of the television, wondering why your life is so empty.
  4. Okay, I'd better stop before the ranting gets out of control. One of these days, I'll write a grand political thesis of an article for K5. Sure, It would be nice if everyone agrees with me, but I'll be happy if you just read it, think about it, and talk about it. Some of us do know what we're talking about. Even if we don't have all the answers.
  5. One last thing.... I don't know what kind of impression you'll have formed based on these comments. Let me assure you though, that I'm a very multi-faceted person, and my beliefs are deep and complex. I am not an "anti-globalization protester". I am not "left wing". I am not "some punk kid". I might be one part of all of these things, but I am much more. My biggest problem with all this protesting, is that it's mostly anti- something; what we need is more pro- stuff. It's not very imaginative to just point out the problems; we need to start thinking about solutions.

This should be an inciteful subjet but it isn't (4.00 / 3) (#142)
by godix on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 03:36:40 PM EST

1) People get worked up about things that effect them personally. Black rights protests were mainly done by blacks. Womens rights were protested mainly by women. Antiwar protests were mainly by young males that could be drafted. Anti-globalism protests (and envirmoental protests, they often get combined) are mainly people who aren't that effected by globalism or rainforest disappearing trying to get other people who aren't effected by globalism or rainforest disappearing to care. This is why there is a large indifference towards them, who cares about some Bangladesh worker, that's halfway around the world!

2) The rhetoric is useful in a protest situation. As I said earlier, the easier your message is to understand the better. However this isn't a protest, this is K5. A community based mostly on intelligent discussion. Know your community and target your messages for it.

3) If you disrupt my life I'm going to feel hostile towards you. I want to go from point A to point B. I don't want to sit in my car staring at a bunch of kids blocking the road. I don't want to walk. I don't want to meet my neighbor. What you are basically saying here is 'What I want you to do is more important than what you want to do.' Is it any wonder people feel hostile towards that attitude?
  As for chemical attacks, delaying traffic isn't a justified cause. If this protest follows past protests there will be people throwing things at cops, breaking windows, and rioting. The general population knows that, knows that is cause for a chemical attack, and wonders if it's going to end up happening why couldn't it happen BEFORE these little brats disrupted their life?

4) That would be nice. That's the one thing I've rarely seen from anti-globalism forces. Usually they're too busy chanting slogans, looking up how to make homemade gas masks, or telling us sad stories to bother giving actual reasons for their actions. BTW: Michael Moore is a classic case of someone too busy telling sad stories to actually get around to something like facts. As for your other link, I didn't get father than the 'new Anti-war links!' claim. Anyone who treats a complex subject like war with something like 'war is bad, don't do it, mkay?' on their front page isn't worth the effort to go further into.

5) The problem with making solutions is that the problems are very complex. Trying to get people to quit making war, quit trading with other countries, or quit cutting down rainforest won't work till you figure out why they're doing it to begin with and address that. These things certainly aren't going to be solved by tying up traffic, rioting, or throwing shit at cops.

[ Parent ]

It's because you don't care (none / 0) (#146)
by epepke on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 05:57:21 PM EST

"You" is general, not simply personal.

I know that this is a difficult concept, but bear with me: When you protest a globalization summit, you are not protesting globalization. You are protesting summits. That is, you are protesting the fact of a bunch of powerful people from several countries getting together in a central place to talk about globalization.

Now, you seem to have decided that the people who go to summits are a bunch of world-rapers. That's as may be; I don't know. But world-rapers don't need summits. They don't need to meet in a place that the public knows about. They don't need to provide access for the press. The traditional cigar-filled room or secret junket works just as well. In fact, it works a whole lot better. I'm sure they'd all rather just meet in secret, without any easily linkable web pages, if nothing else, to avoid the ag you inflict. World-raping didn't start with the G8, and it isn't likely to end if you manage to shut down all the summits.

If you cared as much as you claim about globalization, you'd try to get in to to the summits. You'd get a press card. You'd volunteer. You'd talk to them. You'd hang out in the local restaurants where even very powerful people at conferences go--unless, of course, there is heightened security in response to some idiots chanting slogans. You would make every possible use that you could of whatever scant public access exists. You would even make efforts to increase public access.

But you'd rather go out, be in a Protesting Group, and make a big show about how angry you are. Maybe get on the teevee. Impress everyone your caring nature. If the summits to clamp down even more on public access as a result, hey, that's a small price to pay for the warm superior feeling of righteous outrage.

That, at least, is the impression that you give. If you don't like that impression, well, maybe you should have listened to your neocortex rather than your thalamus.

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett

[ Parent ]
Kinda glad I work in NE Calgary... (none / 0) (#125)
by Witt on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 12:41:19 AM EST

I work for a Large Telecommunications manufacturer whose stock isn't doing so well, and for whatever reasons, the office is way in the northeast, near the airport. During times like this, I admit it's somewhat of an advantage - I can avoid downtown quite easily if the need arises.

That said, I can't see the protests getting too wild and crazy - it sounds like Ottawa may get hit worse than we will (even though they're thousands of kilometers away).

Trust your technolust
-- Jeremiah

Fault line in capitalism (4.25 / 4) (#136)
by Alan Crowe on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 10:00:46 AM EST

There is a big split in capitalism.

The "merchants" want to buy low, ship it half way round the world, and sell high. This is a traditional way to get rich and works better than ever, due to modern transport. The "merchants" favour free trade.

The "despoilers" want tariffs so that they can raise prices in their home markets. You can become seriously wealthy if you can get the government to help you restrict competition and raise prices.

The merchants and their trade are a key part of the creation of wealth. We tend to talk about technology boosting productivity and creating wealth in a normalised way. One says that a machine makes a widget in an hour, when previously it took ten hours to make it by hand. That is seldom how it really works. One needs to think of the machine making 1000 in 1000 hours. If you just want one for yourself, using the machine is only 1% as productive as making the widget by hand. Having merchants find buyers for the other 999 widgets is a vital part of using technology to generate wealth.

The "despoilers" are the recipients of transfers. Their activities have the advantages of theft over honest toil, and also the key disadvantage: no wealth is created.

To the extent that one can make moral distinctions amongst men motivated by avarice, the merchants are the good guys and the despoilers are the bad guys. Tragically, the young persons protesting against globalisation are joining in on the side of the bad guys.

What about your colleagues? You say:

I know I've tried to explain things to people before,.... I expect people to tell me I'm wrong ... They just shrug and walk away,...
I think there are several different things going on. Some persons don't get the distinction between creating wealth and transfering it. If they have something they didn't have before, that is good. End of story. No looking to see whether it was freshly made, or stolen from some-one else. Others have no sense of symmetry. When it comes to the goods they sell, they expect to be able to sell freely into foreign markets and have the government keep foreign competition out of their home market. When it comes to the goods they buy, they expect to be able to buy as cheaply at home as when they are on holiday abroad.

I share your disappointment over your safe yuppie friends, who don't think, and who just shrug and walk away. You ask if there is a middle ground you can be in. No. The middle ground is this swamp of unthinking selfishnish. You cannot be happy there, but must live your life on higher ground. The danger you face is that you feel tempted to join in on the side of the bad guys.

Those damn punks... (3.00 / 5) (#138)
by bodrius on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 11:04:06 AM EST

I admit I would have reacted more or less in the same way as your co-workers. However, it is not because I don't care. It's because I don't care about the protesters or what they say, after I spent X amount of resources trying to figure them out I got the impression they were just whining about imaginary sufferings of people they don't know anything about. If I don't consider their particular position a worthy contribution to the debate I will dismiss THEM, not the discussion itself.

Whenever you deal with political advocacy based on idealism rather than logic or pragmatism, we can either judge them according to the same moral table they use, or not. If our moral framework is different from theirs, we are forced to dismiss them, simply because they offer no logic to compel our reason and their sentimentality does not cause any moral outrage.

Not all of us are fond of the "protest" solution unless the seriousness of the situation justifies it and it is helpful to find a solution. There are a lot of issues where this does not seem to be the case. If the protest seems little more than an emotional catharsis for those involved, thinking in terms of "those punks" causing inconvenience just to feel better about themselves is a valid reaction. The sense of urgency for most people, concerning globalization, is not there to justify it.


- I agree with the protection of animals from undue treatment, but PETA's position simply alienates me. Therefore, if I hear about a PETA protest I will think about "those punks" because I don't care about their position, not because I don't care about animals.

- I believe reckless destruction of the environment is dangerous for the human race. However, most environmentalists seem to think of their position in idealistic terms about "saving the environment", which leads to unrealistic goals, a decrease in the quality of life, and seems illogical to me because I find it hard to believe that the environment needs any saving (clue: evolution works through extinction of species that cannot adapt to changes in the environment, including changes imposed by other species, and preserving the environment is as much engineering as a modern farm).
   I will pay attention to the issue, and support certain organizations, but if Greenpeace organizes a protest against the use of modern farming techniques near my home I will think about "those punks".

- I am pro-globalization, but not necessarily in favor of the current methods or activities that carry that name. I try to keep myself informed of the issues, and the political debate about cultural, economical and political globalization. I value insights from both sides, and if I saw something I considered worth protesting for or against, I probably would.
  But the anti-globalization protests so far have failed to convince me that they have any rationale behind them. They have failed to convince me the organizations they protest against are exactly what they claim they are (much in the same way David Icke has failed to convince me the world is ruled by reptilians and others haven't convinced me the Rockefellers prepared everything when they ruled over the Illuminati). They have failed to convince me they have a better alternative.
  I value the individual insights and opinions of some of the supporters of that movement, but the movement as a whole just seems "a bunch of punks" to me. I will probably dismiss them as such when they act in that way, and resent the fact that they make the globalization debate seem like an ideological war of good vs evil, which makes finding a rational way of dealing with this all the more difficult.
Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...

The G8 Summit is Coming, Oh Joy. | 155 comments (148 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
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