Friday, 27 March 2009

anti capitalista

There's a certain amount of media hype in the run up to the anti-capitalist direct actions planned for the middle of next week in London. Any radical activist reading the right-wing press would be forgiven for feleing extremely cheerful - it appears we're on the brink of a near-insurrectionary situation.

Sadly, this bears little relation to the truth. There are, however, two genuinely welcome developments. Firstly, as the G20 leaders arrive in town we are at least glimpsing the rebirth of a serious, angry, militant anti-capitalist movement. After all, this is surely the time for anti-capitalism. The system's crisis is far more profound - and it's plain for all to see - than at the time of the great Seattle and Genoa mobilisations. The potential for a movement responding to the crisis - and debating exciting, egalitarian alternatives too - is amazing.

Secondly, Wednesday sees the first visit to this country by Obama since becoming President. The Stop the War protests (organised with others in the anti-war and pro-Palestinian movements) are not getting the media treatment, but are very important. They can show a movement for change can be both broad and radical. They come after a whole term of militant student protests with the brilliant wave of uni occupations for Gaza solidarity.

Just as importantly, with the slogan 'Jobs not Bombs' they start to link the issues of war abroad and unemployment at home. It's a pity tomorrow's Put People First demo won't have an anti-war theme integral to it - though some of us will be raising anti-war slogans of course - as it could have been an opportunity to bring all the big issues together.

We also surely need to connect the breadth of Put People First with the dynamism and anger of the smaller anti-capitalist actions to follow in coming days. Seattle's great achievement, almost a decade ago, was the uniting of 'Teamsters and Turtles', i.e. trade unionists with environmental (and other direct action) activists.

That's what we need to work to renew - and in conditions more volatile, and more open to left-wing arguments about the capitalist system, than we had several years ago.

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