A Conversation for The s11 Protests

*protesters* behaving badly?

Post 1

Almighty Rob - mourning the old h2g2

The vast, vast majority of protesters were there to peacefully voice their concerns. Eyewitness accounts regularly describe the whole affair as having had a carnival atmosphere, with buskers, street performers and a whole lot of people coming together to celebrate their unity in diversity.

The violence was almost entirely instigated by police. Amateur video footage shows police abusing and inciting the protesers, then attacking them with batons. And they did not follow correct procedure - they aimed their blows at the heads and necks of people.

Furthermore, one woman was run over by an unmarked police car - not just hit, but the car actually drove over the top of her leg. The car was driven by a police officer - his uniform can be seen in footage. He broke the law by failing to stop at the scene of an accident, and the car had its number plates removed so that it could not be identified.

Other police officers were reportedly told by their commanding officers to remove their ID badges in case of repercussions for their reprehensible behaviour.

The only negative footage I saw of protesters was one man jumping on the roof of WA Premier Richard Court's car. This was not a nice thing to do. However, Richard Court had been told by the WEF event organisers *not* to drive in through the front door. His attempt to drive through a crowd of people was senseless media attention-seeking during a dummy election campaign (thankfully he was voted out).

Roll on May 1, we'll see more police brutality.

*protesters* behaving badly?

Post 2

R K1024-T

I never said that I doubted that the majority of protesters were acting peacefully, however, there were numerous incidents of clashes. That's what stuck in my mind, and that is what the media reported, and hence, that's what coloured my article.

And yes, the Man jumping on the car was a biggie, but I did see photos published of people throwing ball bearings and other hard objects at policemen who didn't seem to be provoking anyone (except by their presence).

There are a couple of other issues at work here, One of which is the classic media issue of unbalanced representation. No report I read was pro-protestor, they were all talking about how violent some of the protestors got.

Two, yes, the police got somewhat overzealous. There was a considerable amount of police brutality, I also don't doubt that, and some police officers should have been punished more severely.

Three, you realise that the protesters were actually doing something illegal? They were impeding on the people's rights to free association. They were preventing people (who had paid for the right, nonetheless) attending what was essentially a high-up networking session. Out of all the issues, this one is the one (at the moment, maybe not then) that I am most concerned about.

Maybe, if you wanted to, we could redo the report? Place a more balanced view on the subject?

*protesters* behaving badly?

Post 3

Almighty Rob - mourning the old h2g2

I don't think you need to redo the report.

I disagree that the protesters' blockade was illegal. The WEF went on, didn't it? Therefore they didn't stop anyone meeting. The only people who were stopped were the ones who disobeyed police instructions and attempted to drive through a crowd of people...

Anyway, no offence/hard feelings. Like I say, I wasn't there. I just don't think it's fair that the media representation, which is controlled by the big end of town (who attend the WEF) is the only one that people see.

If you're interested in seeing the other side of the story on this or many other issues, check out [URL removed by moderator]


*protesters* behaving badly?

Post 4

R K1024-T

Don't worry, no hard feelings. I like a good argument as much as the next man (although, bad arguments I hate).

You're right of course, for all intents and purposes, the whole thing went on, but If I recall correctly, wasn't the whole goal of the s11 protest to "Disrupt the WEF forum"? Essentially, they were using their freedom of expression and association in an attempt to stop other people from doing the same!

Look, sorry, with M1 coming up, this is getting to be somewhat of a sore point for me. I keep looking at all the volunteers handing out the leaflets, and I get the feeling that no-one's planned what happens once the whole anti-globalisation war is won. To me, Money that disappears from the hands of the rich doesn't magically reappear in the hands of the people who need it. Yes, the state of affairs now is not really the best, but we tried socialism, and that proved to be one hell of a fizzer. I actually thought out what happens once a single corporation falls. Want to know what I came up with?

1) Company collapses. The rich investors (who saw this coming) move on to a new corporation.
2) The thousands of Rank & File employees get layed off. About half get new jobs.
3) The money that the corporate employees used to have isn't there in the economy anymore. Hence, places that relied on the corporation's presence go into depression.
4) Builders and other indirectly hired staff are told that the work is to be put on hold. The building company loses considerable amounts of cash, builders are unable to feed their families, forced to go on the dole
5) The supermarket, which relied on people buying produce and dairy products, suddenly has less market for those products. Farmers are told that the produce that they were growing is not required. Said farmer (who was already deep in debt and relying on that income) is forced to foreclose.
6) The "Mum and Dad" Investors lose varying amounts of money due to stock being worth less than receipt paper.

You've just made a lot of people pretty miserable, plus not one cent of the money goes to the poor. In fact, the government welfare scheme is put under more pressure, can't make budget balance, starts to fall into depression, and this is where the real fun begins, because other countries, who relied on that country for export money start to get affected, and the cycle continues.

Prognosis: The rich get richer, the poor gets even poorer than they were before. Exactly what you guys are trying to stop with the M1 protests. I don't see the logic.

PS Yes, I know this is a worst-case scenario, but it's worth thinking about, and Yes, I will be doing another Mastermind on the M1 protests

*protesters* behaving badly?

Post 5

Almighty Rob - mourning the old h2g2

May I ask when we tried socialism? So far all I have seen is state capitalism (Russia, China, even Cuba - though this is more of a state-sanctioned underground market economy). The closest we have seen is probably the Scandinavian model of social democracy, which again is a form of capitalism, but allows for the needs of all.

The problem most people have with globalisation is not the idea itself as much as how it's being done. And the problem is the same with major corporations - there is no accountability.

There is no transparent democratic process of election to the vast majority of positions of global authority. Citizens no longer have a say, because governments are beholden not to their constituents but increasingly to corporations. Shareholders don't even have a say, because the vast majority of companies are run by other companies. The 'Mum and Dad' investors don't have enough of a stake in the corporation, and anyway, What would they know? They weren't born into power.

I don't think the aims of S11 or M1 are as revolutionary as some of the more vocal protestors might claim. Globalisation is not the enemy, the *processes* of globalisation are. Even right wing critics (eg One Nation) complain about the lack of democracy - the battler doesn't have a say any more. The anti-globalisation movement is globalised itself, and even many of the extreme left Marxists support a globalised socialism.

Well, that's my 2 (or 10, or 20) cents worth.


*protesters* behaving badly?

Post 6

R K1024-T

Are you sure you didn't want to collaborate with me on an entry about all of this? I'll admit, I'm not nearly as knowledgable on this as you are, but we'd certainly do a good job of covering both sides of the debate!

Also, sorry about the Socialism comment. I was of the impression that Communism is simply a more advanced state of Socialism (at least, that's what I read), and of course, that has been shown to be a rather poor way to govern. At any rate, Communism as I understand it (and I understand it imperfectly, I'm not a political science major) seems to completely forget about the general human instinct to hoard, which incidentally is the underlying precept of capitalism, and is why it seems to take off wherever it lands.

*protesters* behaving badly?

Post 7

Almighty Rob - mourning the old h2g2

I don't pretend to know a lot about s11, or even about globalisation. I do find it interesting, but I don't know much about details - the Marshall plan, WTO, WEF, IMF, GATT and a zillion other agreements and organisations fly straight over my head. I only have a general sort of overlying idea about the implications for equality, equity and democracy.

I'd love to do an entry with you, but right now I'm a bit busy. Maybe we could collaborate on the M1 protests coming up? That would allow both of us to pay a little more attention to detail... and give me a chance to finish the assignments that are starting to build up.

And BTW, I agree with you about capitalism - like the ISO, I concede that it is a great way to increase wealth. And I also agree that there is a human instinct to hoard. However, I don't know that it is innate - I think if we start redistributing wealth, people will realise it's not such a bad thing, and they'll be brought up without a desperate need to grab their share ASAP.

Oh well. Bye for now.

Oh, if you're interested in these sorts of issues, the FTAA summit in Quebec is currently being beseiged by similar protests - although more serious. I read about the Black Bloc contingent - an anarchist group that literally wants to overthrow the banks, etc by force... it's just a pity that these crazies draw the media away from people with genuine, rational and reasonable concerns.


*protesters* behaving badly?

Post 8

R K1024-T

I'd love to collaborate on an M1 article. Although, the focus may shift a little, I'm thinking of doing it now on all the Anti-Globalisation protests in the past couple of years. There's enough of them there, and I'd love to have a second opinion on the whole subject

I've been following what little of the Quebec situation as I can from Down Under. I expect that there'll be a huge amount of local media information with the M1 protests (considering that there'll be local protests they can cover) and I'll probably focus on that. I don't know very many international newstands where I live, so I can't really get any American papers for comparisons.

And finally, You may be right, Hoarding may very well be more of a social instinct than an innate one. Not really much else I can say on that one.


*protesters* behaving badly?

Post 9

Almighty Rob - mourning the old h2g2

Anti-globalisation is a *huge* topic. You might have to split it up into parts. What about joining the University on the guide and doing a politics project, and then work out sort of a rough plan, and ask for submissions?

You could get a political science major to give an overview of globalisation, then get people who attended different rallies to report about them, and so on.

If you want to get access to US news reports, search the Web! Most US papers would have an online version.

Well, got to go...


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