Alex Foti on Mon, 17 Sep 2007 11:00:44 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> After Rostock, Copenhagen, Heathrow: shifts in the movement against neoliberal globalization and neoconservative millitarism

dear social radicals and cultural heretics from all lands:))

A new phase in radical politics and movement action may be brewing.
New forms of social insurgence are being experimented in various
corners of metropolitan Europe and they could soon spread to and be
cultivated as novel modes of protest and revolt by dissenting youth
and marginalized sectors of society. The historical backdrop is one of
ecological catastrophe, social protest against labor precarization,
the final financial meltdown of neoliberal capitalism, european
disgregation, failing technocratic elitism encouraging securitarian
reflexes in bipartisan governments (luckily sarkozy and merkel are
divided by economic policy; still their strong-armed tactics on the
home front are worringly similar) and xenophobic, clerical,
west-supremacy reactions in all European countries. For every radical
leftist in Europe, there are two radical right-wingers, and four
moral-majority-type moderates. In this situation, so reminiscent of
the 1930s and 1940s, radicals must think in progressive terms, if they
want to set the agenda for the few remaining true liberals, and stave
off cryptofascism and ecodarwinism.

Rostock, Copenhagen, Heathrow, i.e. respectively: the show of potency
and potential for protest of the European antiglobalization movement
six years after Goeteborg and Genova, which managed to put
Heiligendam's G8 summit under siege with the star-march and escape the
manacles of police control and state intimidation; the still simmering
six-month-long urban rebellion of the 69ers of the pink mermaid
against state- and city-decreed demolition of the hub of alternative
life in Denmark; the successful planning and execution of the first
eco-autonomous, low-carb protest camp (complete with windmills, thermo
and pv solar panels, grey-water recycling, wi-fi network, and more) to
act against climate change in an anti-technocratic way and denounce
major corporate culprits and state-backed greenwashers: it was
illegally held on the grounds of the third air strip that would double
passenger traffic and had to deal with gordon's cops armed with
anti-terrorist powers; it picketed the airport authority offices and
made its anarcho-ecologist, science-based demands heard on the global

These three events occurred in 2007 are testimony of a new lymph
flowing in the anticapitalist movements adopting ideological forms
that belong to this century, viz. to the post-cold war era. Pink,
ecotopian, urban insurgence seems to be the name of the game. Pink,
because since at least Act Up threw the gauntlet of protest to the
neoliberal order, queer has become revolutionary for all sectors of
society: it's no longer simply a matter of identity politics, it
bespeaks a radical transformation of society, and the contested
institutionalization of the end of patriarchy. Pink because it refers
to pinko deviant political tendencies in non-pacified urban
subcultures, experimenting with the radical mixing of codes, genders,
ethnicities. Pink like a clown insurrection. And ecotopian like
reclaim the streets (these two fundamental moments in the history of
the "noglobal" movement have much in common), guerrilla gardening,
criticalmass-vélorution, and now the climate action camp, setting a
new template for ecological protest. It's a DIY, eco-hacking way of
dealing with environmental issues, exploring how they can empower the
people in adopting alternative forms of socialization and social
organization, one whose powerful echo can be found in European
environmental justice movements, such as -- speaking from a spaghetti
perspective -- NoTav in Piedmont and the ongoing region-wide (and
national) protest against the DalMolin US aircraft base in Venetia.
Urban insurgence, like the one that has mobilized Copenhagen's
alternative youth since March in countless demos and actions, and
least two episodes (the second this month) of large-scale rioting to
defend to the last the very idea of social squatting as a way of life,
which has become integral to the notion of european urban culture over
the last three decades. As bojan radej sez, self-managed zones and
radical collectives will have to federate all across Europe, if the
political legacy of punk and autonomism is to survive in our cities.

So the still-frame I'm portraying of the unfolding story of rebellion
and protest is this: the european establishment is losing all its
political and financial credibility, there are powerful winds blowing
to the right, but the radical (black, pink, green, anarchist, negrian)
left of the european movement --as opposed to the staid
socialcommunist and liberalenvironmentalist parties still capturing
its votes-- is alive and kicking and possibly bringing to fruition in
the late 00s its political strategy that decisively breaks with the
20th century left (1917, 1945, 1968: it don't matter here) and its
party and union forms, both in terms of contents (no borders, fuck
precarity, immaterial commonalism, ecotopia from below, fight 4 social
freedoms, lgbtq rights), media (indy reporting and blogging, action
camps, cultural subvertising, carnival of revolution, anticorporate
free press, rad.theory on the net and in uncivil society), tactics
(metropolitan insurgence, ecological direct action, anarcho-pink
non-violence), and actors (creative underclass in cities and
universities, service laborers, disaffected transethnic youth, queer
women and men, brainworkers from all walks of life). Organization
(networking) has been deliberately left out of the list. 'Cos the
movement against neoliberal globalization and neoconservative
militarism born in Seattle and resurrected in Rostock loves p2p and
unanimous decisions, and hates anything having a whiff of
bureaucratization and majority-voting. Still, flat as we wanna be,
we'll have to organize. That's the wobbly imperative, an American
indigenous product we shall do well to imitate a century later.

ps i know fellow activists sometimes resent this kind of bird's eye
view on THE movement, but hell I dunno I feel a new wind of change
blowing and wanted to share my views with you.

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