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GR Scotland tries to capitalise on disruption

relayed by m | 21.10.2004 14:20 | G8 2005 | Repression | Social Struggles

This message is being circulated by Gill Hubbard. I don't know why I
recieved it because Scottish CND or me were never part of the Scottish ESF mobilisation committee although Scottish CND has affiliated to the G8 Alternatives group - which was originally a ESF Committee clone...

This message is being circulated by Gill Hubbard. I don't know why I
recieved it because Scottish CND or me were never part of the Scottish ESF mobilisation committee although Scottish CND has affiliated to the G8 Alternatives group - which was originally a ESF Committee clone...

Her message is incorrect in a number of respects. I cannot reply to this either personally or as a representative of Scottish CND but if someone from the anarchist community of Scotland would like to reply (I thought the women from Scotland who were involved might perhaps) then we could circulate it to some of the other groups mentioned below.

Gill's account of the protest is wrong in that:

The meeting was not cancelled but delayed by the action for thirty minutes or so and those occupying the platform made this quite clear from the start - they weren't stopping free speech. The activists left the stage peacefully after the occupation was over.

The protest was, among other things, about the lack of support from the ESF for Indymedia who had server files seized by the FBI just before the ESF started and about police harrassment and intimidation of the Indymedia centre and the other events/centres organised autonomously during the ESF.
In other words the activists occupying the stage were calling, among other things, for ESF solidarity to defend 'Freedom of Speech'.

Of the four or five speeches made on the stage by those occupying it, at least two that I heard were by women and it is wrong to imply that the occupiers were predominantly 'all men' or that they were all dressed in black. On other networks, and in national newspapers, people have made the snide implication that the anarchists were facists or were behaving like facists in that they were: all men, all white and all dressed in black.(They have stopped short from saying they all had beards, were wearing black cloaks and carrying little round bombs!) Photographs of the occupation show clearly (for example posted on the Melbourne Indymedia site) that the people occupying the stage included a significant number of women and black activists and were not predominantly dressed in black(!?) This is a clear misrepresentation of what happened and an attempt to smear activists who have been amongst the most vocal in their crticism of how the London ESF was organised and how Globalise Resistance (who Gill represents) operates.

Finally the activists occupying the stage made it clear that they supported taking actions against facists and that the primary reason they were occupying the stage was because a leading member of the political party that had taken Britain to war on Iraq - Ken Livingstone - was due to speak. This was also clear from the messages the activists carried.

This was the only meeting that was disrupted in this way by anarchists. An earlier meeting was disrupted by activists objecting to the presence of a member of the Iraqi National Council at the Saturday Plenary, a wide range of activists were involved in disrupting this meeting and mainly people who were 'official' delegates to the ESF. (This Plenarary session was abandoned
as a result.)

Why just single out the anarchists for condemnation, especially as the
meeting they disrupted was allowed to continue and that a large proportion (the majority) of the meeting actually seemed supportive to what the anarchists were saying? (Certainly a large number of people seemed to turn up when the anarchists did and then disappear when they left the stage!)

-----Original Message-----
From: gill hubbard [mailto:]
Sent: 21 October 2004 10:08
To: gill hubbard
Subject: Freedom of speech statement

Dear all,
The ESF was wonderful - it was a whirlwind of vibrancy. 20,000 people
attended. Discussion and debate was excellent and very focused on the
effects of neo-liberalism and war. The Assembly at the end of the ESF representing a host of European countries agreed to a massive mobilisation for the G8 summit. This means that we will be joined by 10s of 1000s of people next year! The ESF was however, marred by a tiny minority of participants who took it upon themeselves to stop a meeting from taking place because they objected to Ken Livingstone speaking. Because we will be hosting the G8 Alternatives next year I think that we need to lay down a clear marker that we do not agree with this kind of action. I have written a statement that I would like to forward to the ESF on behalf of the Scottish Mobilisation for the ESF. Please let me know if you agree or disagree with the statement or any amendments that you may have.

Freedom of Speech

1. Oppressed and exploited people around the world are struggling on a daily basis to have their voices heard. The global media is dominated by a caramilla of extremely rich and powerful men (and occasional woman) who prevent us from airing our views and opinions. One of the main objectives of the European Social Forum is to enable these voices to be heard.

2. The social movements around the world are rich in their diversity. We represent a wide range of struggles including people who are campaigning in South Africa against water privatisation, in Iraq against US and British imperialism, in Europe against the EU constitution. What unites us is a vision that 'another world is possible.' We come together at the European Social Forum so that we can share this vision.

3. Whilst the rulers of the world deny 'freedom of speech' we are not
afraid to listen to other people's points of view. We are not afraid of the differences that we have within the social movements. In fact we believe that in order to develop our movement we need to be able to listen to each other much more.

4. Denying 'freedom of speech' is a very serious matter. In Britain, the labour movement has only enforced this on one group of people - the fascists. This is because fascists deny 'freedom of speech' to others including refugees, black and Asian people, and people of jewish origin.
Fascists prevent these people from speaking out through violence,
intimidation and even death.

4. The Scottish Mobilisation Committee for the ESF therefore wishes to condemn those at the European Social Forum who denied 'freedom of speech' by physically stopping meetings at the ESF from taking place. One of these meetings was an anti-fascist meeting and we hope that the irony is not lost on the anarchists (predominatly men and dressed in black) who stopped this meeting from happening.

5. We welcome everyone to join us in Scotland next year when we unite to challenge the summit of the 8 richest countries in the world. We want our movement to focus our energies on the real enemy - those global powers who are threatening our environment and our lives.

Organisations involved in the Scottish Mobilisation for the ESF include:

Globalise Resistance Scotland; Dundee Trades Union Council; Scottish
Churches Industrial Mission; Glasgow NUJ; TGWU 7/151 Scottish Housing
branch; Positive Action in Housing; Poverty Alliance; Edinburgh Stop the War Coalition; Scottish Left Review; Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign; Stirling University Stop the War Group; James Connolly Society; Edinburgh CND; Scottish Human Rights Centre, Global Concerns Trust, Scottish Socialist Party; Scottish Green Party; World Development Movement Glasgow; No Sweat.
The STUC is also supporting the mobilisation.

relayed by m


Display the following 10 comments

  1. and Morning Star disinformation too — sunrise
  2. Agent Provocateurs — FtP
  3. Final (Jack?) Straw — socialist
  4. The State's manual on 'counter-subversion'; — know your enemy, read Frank Kitson
  5. Dissent! G8 Alternatives and ESF — bits
  6. Divide and disrupt — Peter Smith
  7. Dont blame the SWP for your ineptitude — Noam Chomsky
  8. Thoughts from an anarchist scumbag — Morag
  9. sad folk — Kron stan
  10. Really? — Morag