Tag Archives: United National Antiwar Committee

Chicago G8 protest planners offer city guarantees of usual ineffectual actions

Organizers meeting today to plan against next year’s G8 summit in Chicago hit the ground running –backward. On Friday a spokesperson for one of the coalition partners offered this assurance to the Chicago Tribune: “Our goal is a legal, permitted, family friendly march where people can come and have their voices heard in a safe environment.” Interesting. The objective of successful past anti-globalization protests has been no less than to shut the undemocratic summits down.

Nine months out, it appears activism’s old guard is determined to blunt all real resistance welling in American youth. The Tribune found another normalizing voice from UNAC which disavowed any recourse but nonviolence. WTF? It’s one thing not to encourage violence, another to promise to “back off from any violence.”

Hello? Activists with broken spirits need to STFD and STFU. Let younger, hotter heads give you a lesson in courage and purpose. If you are over thirty, hold yourselves among the fucks responsible for this mess. Who are you to deny the young their righteous rage?

As elder activists, precisely what wisdom is it you think you can impart? Have you stopped one war? Slowed imperialism? Ended nukes? Saved the whales? Halted global warming? Attended to anything but the erosion of democracy, the social safety net and the environment? Your exalted nonviolence neither delivered India from class exploitation nor ended racism in America. Stick with fundraising, educating, inspiring others, drawing your peers into social networking; lead, but not by edict, and not by a consensus dominated by your peers. Put your dogma aside for the young leaders, let them make their own mistakes. I hope you will at least admit they can’t fail more miserably than you.

At Sunday’s meeting, the United National Antiwar Committee spokesman acquitted himself when confronted by a young gentleman representing an anarchist entity. Committee member Ashley Smith’s full quote had been: “We will not be the ones to initiate or perpetrate any violence.” And: “We will back off from any violence.” But when pressed at the meeting, he explained that organizers hoped the event would be safe for families, but that younger militants could exercise their freedoms like anybody else. I paraphrase.

I’ll qualify my criticism by pointing out that a number of the organizers were personal victims of recent FBI home invasions, so they are fully justified in having to distance themselves from being interpreted as advocating violence. An additional challenge is presented by an adversarial corporate press determined to squeeze whatever soundbite it wants to discredit or hobble protest.

Of course I’d prefer activists recused themselves from addressing the subject of violence/nonviolence, instead of alienating potential allies by being deliberately exclusionary. And by potential allies, I mean the only allies that will get the movement anywhere, the NEXT GENERATION, because who else are you expecting?