The G20 summit in Hamburg is over and everybody pretends to be shocked. Or is shocked. But shouldn’t.
I didn’t really understand why the militant part of the protesters went through streets flying torches and randomly burning cars. It’s not a very civilized thing to do and it’s not a very clever communication strategy either. Whatever they may protest against, they mute their own voices and make sure that surveillance and inner repression go to the next stage. Why did they do that?
Well, a comment under an article about Hamburg pointed out that, whatever representatives of the so-called Autonomous Movement say now, the kind of warfare-like behavior had been planned beforehand. As proof he presented a link to the blog of the organizers of the “G20 – Welcome To Hell” demonstration.
I didn’t stop with the short quote, I read the whole call to action (unfortunately not available in English), and found it to be a mostly stringent analysis of global politics and their economic roots. It’s a marxist analysis and I wholeheartedly agree with everything but some of the conclusions.
Basically there is a group of globalization critics with a marxist background, that believes in a kind of low-profile revolution. These protests are meant to be seen as a harassment of the mighty. You make those summits, we make clear that there is opposition.
Only that it does not work.
You can’t make a revolution without the masses. You can’t make a Ghandi-type peaceful revolution without a majority, and you can’t make a bolshevik-like revolution without at least a critical mass of supporters. They are magnitudes away from that. They are not even able to get their message across, and therefore all their actions are open to misinterpretation by establishment and media. And of course that’s exactly what happens.
The only thing that comes across is the call to arms, not the analysis behind. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t sympathize with violence, because although we live in a system of injustice, violence never goes against the system, it always goes against individuals. Some individuals may be guilty to a degree that violence against them would seem justified, but in the end those are never the victims. They always stay behind, they always get away.
What I do agree with is the need for radical changes, but how?
What we’ve seen in Hamburg was harassment. You can call it terrorism, if you like, but I think “terrorism” has already been stretched into meaninglessness. They couldn’t do anything more, because they lack popular support – and I think for a lot of bad and some weighty, good reasons.
A revolution can’t happen at the fringes, it must happen at the heart of the empire. If it happens, it must have massive popular support. Even then, in times of globalization, it is doomed to fail, because the very heart of the empire is globalized itself.
SciFi author Daniel Suarez tried to solve this problem in “Daemon” / “FreedomTM” by introducing a benevolent artificial intelligence, created as the testament of a dying genius programmer / billionaire. Basically this is the tech equivalent to divine intervention. Unfortunately it does not work. AI is much more complicated. I’m afraid it’s part of the problem, not part of the solution 🙂
So what should we do? I think it is important to recognize that this has not been random violence. It was planned violence. It’s also important to recognize, that these protests – however ineffective and counter-productive – were rooted in honest and serious concerns about a current economic and political system, that has demonstrated its inability to steer the world into a peaceful, just and prosperous future. The violence is a symptom, and it won’t do us any good to carry on and ignore the malady.