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Bob Paquin: J18
nettime maillist on Sat, 19 Jun 1999 19:41:52 +0200 (CEST)


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Bob Paquin: J18


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Date: Fri, 18 Jun 1999 10:47:32 -0400
From: Bob Paquin <paquin {AT} ciff.on.ca>
Subject: J18
To: nettime-l {AT} desk.nl


18.6

The following article was scheduled to run this week in the Ottawa
Citizen, but unfortunately got bumped.  Nevertheless, here it is. 

Bob Paquin

J18

Don’t be surprised if the streets are jammed this Friday with a noisy
crowd clamouring for attention.  In fact, it’s likely that this will be
the case the world over, since a very disparate array of groups have used
the internet to coordinate an “International Day of Protest, Action and
Carnival in Financial Centres Around the World,” to coincide with the
opening of the G8 meeting in Cologne, Germany, on June 18th. 

Anarchists, environmentalists, unemployed activists, indigenous groups,
and hactivists around the world have been burning up the wires over the
past year to coordinate a series of demonstrations in over 40 countries
around the world. 

In Ottawa, a loose coalition of groups are planning a “Day of Action
Against Corporate Greed In Canada”.  The Peoples’ Global Action includes
the Canadian Federation of Students, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers,
Industrial Workers of the World, and the Montreal-based Comite des Sans
Emploi, and are organizing “actions” at various corporate institutions
around town. 

"The ground is being laid for huge social and political changes", claims
the J18 website (www.j18.org).  “Radical social movements from all over
the world are beginning to work together, and this day could be a landmark
in that process.  Never before has there been a time when coordinated
action across the planet has been so necessary and so possible.

On June 18th, the G8 nations will meet in Cologne, Germany, to further
promote their vision of free trade and economic growth.  Meanwhile, across
Canada, Europe, Nigeria, Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico, South Korea,
Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil, Australia, and many more nations, activists
plan to occupy their local financial districts, including stock exchanges,
banks, corporate HQs, and their rallying cry will be “The resistance will
be as transnational as capital.

These social movements from all over the world have been working together
to combat global capitalism.  The groups involved are incredibly diverse,
from environmentalists in Zimbabwe, Poland, Israel and Portugal, to unions
including the Bangladesh National Garment Workers' Confederation, Indian
Fisherfolk Union and Austria's Independent Unionists, to the unemployed in
France and indigenous people in Nigeria fighting oil companies, to peasant
groups in Indonesia and Senegal. 

The incredible reach of the internet has enabled this sort of mass
coordination as never before.  Websites, mailing lists, and email have
been the driving factors in linking up these diverse groups, and have
created a more focused approach in delivering their highly targeted
message. 

“Electronic communications will allow us to know what is happening
everywhere on the day though the main site (www.j18.org), which will have
a continuous feed of text reports, photos, video and audio from as many
places as possible, says the site. 

The j18 website also features translation into a dozen languages,
newsletters, and advice on planning activities.  Other like-minded
websites include Protest.net, which includes calendars of events, and
publications, such as the “Activists Handbook”.  Members of Toronto-based
activist group Tao (www.tao.org), are acting as the Canadian points of
contact for J18 activities.  Tao also hosts the Direct Action Media
Network, the Democracy Street website, and B92, the alternative Yugoslav
news service on the web. 

“During last year’s G8 meeting, many local actions and demonstrations took
place autonomously organized, yet globally coordinated,” states the J18
newsletter.  These ranged from 50,000 landless peasants on the streets of
Brasilia, to 30 simultaneous street parties across the globe, to 50,000
people of the streets of Hyderabad in India.  “Of course, the process of
building links globally between movements is just as important as the
events on the day itself, as a strong international network is needed to
counter the globalisation of misery under capitalism.

In Cologne itself, there are plans for a mass 'Laugh-Parade', where
thousands of people will make attempt to make laughing stocks of the G8
leaders.  There will also be a camp for activists coming from different
countries (including 400 Indian activists at the climax of their direct
action tour of Europe), and on the 19th, a mass demonstration against the
G8 summit.  A call for mass fare-dodging has gone out for activists within
an overnight train-ride to Cologne, with the slogan: “No money. No
passport. No problem.