[R-G] OCAP and tactics for demonstrators since 9-11 was: Re: Comments on O16
LAMZ at sympatico.ca
Tue Oct 30 17:41:53 MST 2001
I agree with almost everything you say Macdonald, but not the statement
"turfing mailboxes at demonstrations is not on-- it is not an option, as a
matter of safety". You commented on the effectiveness of the OCAP action on
October 16th, but you might not realize that this played a key role in the
shutting down of the financial district.
The financial district was effectively paralyzed because the 3 snake
marches--approximately one thousand strong each--blocked traffic with not
only their bodies, but by using the newsboxes as road blocks that stayed
behind after we moved on. I was there to witness this first hand and it
worked! Many people didn't want to get out of their cars to move the stuff
so they started turning around. Others did get out and move the blockades
off the street, but most would stop and the line of cars would start turning
around one by one.
All of this caused major traffic disruptions and contributed to the
effectiveness of our action. Just trying to shut down the financial district
put our safety in jeopardy and I'm sure that simply trashing newsboxes
didn't make it any more dangerous for us.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Macdonald Stainsby" <mstainsby at tao.ca>
To: "Discussions on the Socialist Register and its articles"
<SOCIALIST-REGISTER at YorkU.CA>
Cc: "Rad Green" <rad-green at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2001 6:23 PM
Subject: [R-G] OCAP and tactics for demonstrators since 9-11 was: Re:
Comments on O16
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "John RichLeMonde" <smarty_panz at YAHOO.COM>
> To: <SOCIALIST-REGISTER at YORKU.CA>
> > All good points from Geoff - I have been referring to
> > discussions in the community - not to the list.
> In Vancouver, the police have contacted members of the known
> "anti-globalisation" gang and threatened them:
> "the rules of engagement between protesters and police changed drastically
> Sept 11", followed by heavy handed "suggestions" that we not protest the w
> near the American consulate. In this state of affairs, to not excersize
> rights of protest is to hand them over to the enemy without a fight; it is
> the utmost importance that defiance take place.
> Normally, I would be very much inclined to want to slap JR here for
> anyone from attacking the newspaper boxes, etc: it isn't our job to police
> demonstrations and these acts are hardly worth attacking our own ranks
> the times are quite different. I have a simple little peace sign button on
> button on my (not anti-establishment looking) coat- and that alone has
> cops to glare at me and strangers to threaten. Turfing mailboxes at
> demonstrations is not on- it is not an option, as a matter of safety.
> But the more "extreme" actions such as this are not the issue. I don't
> anyone other than maybe that loser of the Net "Chuck0" would even consider
> ok any longer. What is at issue is the fighting strategy. The slogan that
> captured the anti-globalisation bunch and brought it home to the local
> against "neo-liberalism" (as J Clarke calls it) has been "Fight to Win".
> "fight to stop the loss from getting really, really, bad" or something
> We have a problematic reality: The success of the movement has been,
> idiocies put forth by "orthodox" types, the proactivity of the actions
> Seattle to Prague and locally with actions carried out by OCAP. Naomi
> rightly points out that OCAP has had great victories in that they have
> manged to organise the homeless. This is, in part, because they *act*.
> and other totally destitute types are not particularly interested in being
> as show pieces. They are willing to fight along side those who treat them
> actors in creating their own history- not pawns to be moved in front of
> (non-existent) cameras. A movement that has been spawned, up until 9-11,
> basis of pro-activity is what we have been dealing with. That proactivity
> *shamed* the Hargroves and the Georgettis et al into coming to Quebec. It
> *before* 9-11 that OCAP was systematically (and in class traitorous
> less) cut loose by Buzz himself (while he cynically posed at the
> calling for the release of OCAP members).
> Now, the situation of the post WTC world is essentially a defensive one.
> to adopt a position that can somehow be proactive yet adheres to the
> the dynamic of the global imperialist crisis (and therefore, the response
> from the hierarchies of capital). If "official" labour was going to sell
> once, they certainly are not to be relied upon now. Quite the opposite.
> In people like Fast, there is a tremendous desire to orient even the
> movement to the union struggles. Again, the logic of this is bizarre,
> understood as an old habit stemming from days long past. The workers are
> only in unions, but the TUB's certainly are.
> The reason we are all discussing the O16 actions is simple: They made an
> The debates around the effectiveness- regardless of the positions
> testament to the effectiveness thereof. In the current super-hysteria, in
> situation where we in the anti-war movement are being attacked from all
> (fill in the epithet), the small group of anti-CAPITALIST demonstrators
> found a way to utilise their strength and shut down parts of the financial
> district in the context of this fascistic war situation. I am very proud
> of these comrades across the country, and people who don't like the optics
> flag burning are going to have to get over it. I haven't done so either-
> I'll tell you this: It sure feels good, in this current situation to know
> someone wants to do that to this day.
> These people who worry about optics, etc- are hopelessly lost on the
> They want to demand that reality adjust to their schema, rather than
> their schema to reality. That is and always has been a crime for a
> revolutionary. It is the idiots who criticised the NLF during the Vietnam
> it is the disease of irrelevance.
> The situation here in Vancouver- the same country but light years away in
> of the struggles against "neo-liberalism"- does not have the potential for
> demos right now. The self-illusory nature of the left isn't the "ultras"-
> the people who think that marshalling a few hundred people for an
> picnic during the current situation can have more impact than the tactics
> by the OCAP bunch.
> Getting noticed- even as "terrorists"- is betterthan being ignored. Tell
> there anyone on this list who can say what happened at the Vancouver
> against the war which saw 2000 or 1500 a few weeks back? No? That's the
> The demonstration by OCAP sent the message that history nor radicalism is
> in the totality of the aftermath of 9-11. We can certainly question the
> silliness of being over-provocative on the grounds that we are in a
> where there is serious danger posed to all of us in a "riot" or what not.
> the self-illusions come from all those who believe that Big Labour is the
> to stopping the war, or that we can evolve an anti-war movement that A)
> draw on the anti-globalisation movement; B) doesn't draw on the short but
> traditions being created by that movement. The amount to which the
> can be made and synthesized are the amount to which anti-corporate
> can become anti-corporate imperialist war.
> The connections must be made in practice, not just analytical tracts. And
> must be wooed but not cowed to. These are the principles we must advance.
> as in the A-G movement, labour will be part of the decisive bunch- but the
> unorganised radical working class will show the way.
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