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Anti-Capitalist Symbols Hijacked for G8 2005 (J18 and Ya Basta!)

Agent | 01.12.2004 21:17 | Globalisation | London

Here's a blatent hijacking and cheeky borrowing of two significant symbols from the anti-capitalist movements, ahead of next years G8...

J18 and Ya Basta!

First off, and more serious, is the "J8" school competition organised jointly by the Department for Education and Skills and the Morgan Stanley International Foundation and administered by Eductation Direct.

"J8" brings to mind the date based shorthand used for many anti-globalisation protests since J18 - June 18th 1999 - or The International Carnival Against Capitalism.

Its an educational programme coupled with a competion for uk school kids aged 13 - 16yrs.

The website says:

"The J8 programme is the first global citizenship initiative of its kind to be launched in secondary schools across the United Kingdom, and is open to pupils aged 13 to 16.

J8 is the opportunity for young people to address some of the most important issues facing our world today. The programme will culminate in a J8 Summit, modelled on the G8, where competition winners will debate topical issues with other participating schools, and communicate their views on how to change the world to the leaders of the G8 countries."

The programme of course has been designed to fit with the national curriculum, to provide a G8 framework for tackling many issues. It also of course seeks to paint Tony Blair and the UK Government as the global pioneers in terms of Debt and Climate Change. A quick look at the initial material shows what you can expect from the full programme.

(nb it's also supported by the Scottish National Executive, the National Assembly of Wales, and the Dept of Eduction, Norther Ireland)



The other is just a bit cheeky. A call for artistic projects around the G8 next year in scotland has nicked the name of Italia group Ya Basta - it's a good idea for an initiative, but a bit of a cheek!...

This from a post on G8 Alternatives forum:


Ya Basta! - a period of cultural action confronting the G8

Ya Basta! is a period of cultural action leading up to the G8 arriving in Scotland in July 05.

It will involve performances from Scotland’s leading political theatre makers including 7:84, Birds of Paradise and Theatre Workshop as well as residencies, participatory workshops, film screenings and exhibitions. We hope that a wide range of people from every part of Scotland will become involved. If you are planning an event between mid May and early July, you may want to be part of the Ya Basta! programme. Venues, such as The Arches and Tramway, in Glasgow, are already getting involved.

Our Philosophy

Ya Basta!, like those who protest at the G8, is a broad movement of people who want to say enough is enough, the agenda of the G8 leaders is not our agenda and we want to make our voices heard through the activity that we know best – the arts.

We also hope to demystify both the G8 and the protests by making work on themes held dear by both sides. Participants in Ya Basta! are free to identify which particular theme they wish to focus on whether local or global.

We want to reach out to those who are already active in organising protests and engage them both in using and enjoying the arts as alternatives to mass media.

We dream of engaging with people who believe that the economics of the G8 is the only possible world order and showing them an alternative.

We want to wake up those who have never considered the power of corporations and faceless institutions. By profiling the non-dominant world view, we can explain and show just why those protesting feel so passionately about the power of the G8.

Cultural Action

As well as the companies already mentioned, we are still hoping to fill a programme running from mid-May to the beginning of July. Therefore we want to invite companies, individuals and groups to be part of Ya Basta!

Existing companies and venues might consider sympathetic programming as a way of fitting into the action.

Grassroots and community groups might find Ya Basta! to be the ideal platform from their creative campaigning.

Individuals could become involved through residencies, exhibitions or publications or simply by engaging with newfound networks.
At the moment the programme is wide open and we hope to be able to respond to as many ideas as possible.

Ya Basta! is being organised by a team of interested colleagues, who believe that by working together we can make this happen. Although we do not have funds for commissioning work we hope to be able to publicise events through print for Ya Basta!, which will be distributed nationwide.

Get involved

To facilitate planning and collaboration we are holding a meeting:

15th Dec 04
5pm -7pm
The Arches

Refreshments Provided. This will provide a forum for artists, activists and venues to meet with a view to creating projects.

The deadline for submissions is 20th Jan 05.

For further information contact;
Jean Cameron, The Arches on 0141-565-1000
Morven Gregor, Birds of Paradise on 0141-339-1155



Hide the following 4 comments


02.12.2004 17:38

Ya Basta! was the cry of the Zapatistas when they emerged from the jungle and rose up against the NAFTA free trade agreement in January 1994.

The Italian group chose that name because they were standing in solidarity with the Zapatistas. If other people want to call themselves Ya Basta! I reckon that's ok. Italian Ya Basta! don't really exist any more anyway do they.


Appropriating Symbols and Language is not truthful

02.12.2004 22:03

The last day of the G8 summit is July 8, so their pro-capitalist J8 is more than cheeky, it's invidious.

I bet if you let these school kids to come up with their own ideas they'd be calling for revolution. How about encouraging youth to participate in a more independent, democratic and genuine J8.

What next? Might they'll be all bopping to 'Enough is enough' by Chumbawumba, at the G8 evening do, with enthusiasm and passion derived from the desire to nuke the Iraqi resistance? Well Blair and Bush would.

The danger in appropriating symbols and language is that their meaning can be changed.
It's the start of distorting the truth, history and culture, and then mollifying it.

The "Ya Basta" appropriation could be seen to be cynical, especially if it's coming from liberal lefts who sometimes pose as revolutionaries. I might be wrong, but weren't The Zapistas prepared to die, and the Italians prepared to take punishment, in solidarity with the uprising. Putting on an artistic/cultural festival is not in the same.

If it catches on, the true meaning of this symbolic statement changes, and the truth is lost. The one common quality of good art is that it tells the truth, so I don't know what this will say about the festival, unless they attempt to include ideas of the original movement.

Soon, I bet the Labour Party will be setting up local Social Forum, or using the name on existing bodies. There's a hint of it already, we already have local Socialist Worker Forums, that's a bit cheeky too, and might give the wrong idea about what local Social Forum really should be: certainly not a meeting organised by a political party. In fact, this would totally reverse the meaning of Forum.

I know someone recently suggested in these pages that another name should be sought. Why not fight to defend the true meaning of the current one? Perhaps, in this case, because of the connections to Rome, and Rome is dying, after all.

Surely, most of the people who contribute to this site are part of that movement - the Anticapitalist movement - that seeks the truth. The truth will win and the best of everything will follow, otherwise it's the barbarism of Rome.

However, one thing is absolutely certain, the bastards will never appropriate "Anticapitalim", that's why it shouldn't be replaced by one that they can.


One no many yeses

05.01.2005 13:05

The J8 pack also contains a poster which is lots and lots of yeses and one big red NO - I can only think that it is a co-opting of subcommandante marcos famous - one no and many yeses quote. it really makes nme hurl


Ya Basta Italia is alive

11.01.2005 19:07

hi, we red the article and the comments, all seems so absurd and grotesque !

Ya Basta is an Italian network of collectives working since 1996. We are active and present in various places in Italy in social centers, community centers and as an association on our own depending on the conditions of the place.
Our website is and you can find there what are we doing now.

Others people who share our struggle are welcome always when they get in contact and agree with us. We don't know these people organizing the Ya Basta ! in UK and we don't agree with that way of "detourner" the political context of the movement.

Anyway good luck, G8 is tough shit....

Ya Basta Italia, desde el Caracol 1

Ya Basta !
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