Breaking the summit protest monotony?

Despite democratic silliness and uncritical approach to engagement with summit protests the Arterial bloc did manage to make the most out of a dull day and have some fun at the G20 protest and thereby give me a degree of optimism over things coming from counter-summits.

Unfortunately the material that has come out from these people has slowly eroded my limited sense of optimism, but I still hold out for more possibilities from this diversion.

This is the latest statement (coming from Arterial bloc and co blog ):

  • OPERATION SALVER: A CRACKDOWN ON THE RIGHT TO PROTEST

    Protests are an important part of participatory democracy. The aim of the arrests and house searches that have followed the G-20 protests is to intimidate a group of young politically engaged people and stifle dissent more generally.

    The laying of charges such as riot and affray constitutes a gross over-reaction by police, in the face of what was overwhelmingly a peaceful demonstration. Police have described their investigation – Operation Salver – as being concerned with ‘the upper end of criminality’. This statement is so exaggerated as to be absurd.

    In fact, the intimidation and mass arrests which have followed last November’s G-20 protests is part of a wider process of the criminalisation of protest and the silencing of political opposition.

    The protests surrounding the November meeting aimed to highlight issues discussed at forums such as G-20, where decisions are made about war, poverty, labour rights and climate change that impact on the planet and its people.

    The G-20 protests were widely reported as being a raucous affair that, on occasion, tipped over into violence. Coverage of the protests has often been tinged with hysteria, and rumour has consistently been reported as fact.

    In contrast to inflated and often inaccurate depictions of ‘protestor violence’, media coverage has overwhelmingly failed to mention or acknowledge the violence and excessive force used by police over the course of the weekend.

    The posting of peoples’ photos along with the caption ‘Taskforce Salver’ and alongside media articles on the violence of the protests implies that those people are guilty or are implicated in actions, where they may not necessarily be facing any charges.

    While police have yet to reveal whether the 28 people are witnesses or stated offenders, they are named on the Crime Stoppers website as ‘most wanted’. This implication of guilt has potentially severe consequences for the civil liberties and rights of those identified.

    We refute the argument of Detective Superintendent Richard Grant of the Salver Task force that ‘Victoria police respect the rights of individuals and the community to protest and express their opinions lawfully’, as on many occasions peaceful protestors were treated with excessive force and prevented from lawfully protesting outside.

    In particular, the peaceful protest outside Melbourne Museum on the Sunday was broken up by police with extreme and well-documented violence that left many injured, with one woman so badly hurt she required hospitalisation.

    This media release was written by a collective in support of G20 arrestees.

    For further comment contact: Jonathon Collerson 0438136093

  • Further, eroding my already high esteem for counter summits is the news about the continuation of silliness with APEC. As well as more of the same world wide (with the G8 in Germany), which I will still probably keep an eye on.

    From what I have seen of the defence campaign efforts it seems to be that people moving more and more towards a simple liberal right to protest line. Although this could be simply a result of the authority figures that have lended them a hand (fitzroy legal). Another reason for the liberal line could be it being part of a tactical choice to try and gain some support from the rest of the left (which were quite vicious towards the Arterial bloc in the aftermath), perhaps hoping that this line will get some money and/or words of support.

    Unfortunately, given the extent to which the protestor violence is being demonised, perhaps demonstrated best by the “Most Wanted” montage and media colaboration, I don’t think anybody will be taking a liberal ‘right to protest’ campaign in anyway seriously… or seriously enough for much exertion to be expended upon it…

    But I think that there is an opportunity here to make a break witht he liberal defence campaign, perhaps working from more of a ‘how can we ensure that people can get away with illegal and autonomous activities against the state and capital’ basis.

    I think that such a campaign would be all the more interesting and more solidly based if it was brought into an IR context. In other words legal defence not because of ‘rights’ but because of strengthening a position against capital and the state…

    of course complicating this is the willingness of people to take risks with the court…from my experience protestor types especially students get off very lightly, the main concern seeming to be if they have priors marking them as lumpens…(of course some worry about not being able to practice law, but is that really a worry?). The concern could be that if there is a campaign it will make the mag harsher – in fact I think there is some condition on peoples associating together(?) which in itself should be attacked and perhaps would be not that hard to circumvent(?)…

    anyhoo this is an idea that I would like to develop… if I do do that I will post something further on this site as well as the after G20 discussion site (

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    About barkingcoins
    This author is just another fucking dickhead.

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