GLOBAL RESISTANCE TO THE NEW WORLD
Chris Shaw and Jill McEachern
With recent events in Genoa, the anti-globalization movement
has reached a crossroads. To choose which path to take, we must
understand what has been revealed from the relatively innocent
days of Seattle to the overt fascism of Genoa. Crucially, we
must recognize that we are in a war.
This is a hard fact for many of us to
accept. It goes against our deepest hopes for a peaceful and
rational resolution to the current world crisis. It seems to
offer a vision of combat, destruction, and death that violates
in advance the world we hope to create. And, frankly, it scares
most of us, including those who have known war.
The New World Order of global capitalism operates under no such
constraints or illusions. It clearly knows that this is a war
for survival of two totally irreconcilable world visions -- "everything
is for sale" versus "people and the planet before profits"
-- and it is either they or we who will prevail.
Their actions reveal this knowledge
as their agents in the police and the various armies act with
increasing military precision and violence to silence protest.
One has only to realize that the ramped up violence from Seattle
to Quebec City to Genoa has been almost entirely one-sided. At
each protest, more police and soldiers come out, armed with increasingly
Further levels of confrontation and
aggression, almost all from the State, increase, and the civil
rights of ordinary citizens are further diminished. In each case,
protesters and those passersby merely unfortunate enough to be
present have been gassed and beaten. Demonstrators in Sweden
have been shot and in Genoa a man was killed by gunfire.
The war we seem afraid to acknowledge
is, in fact, a global civil war. For all intents and purposes,
the conflict between the New World Order and those who confront
it is an early stage of World War III.
There is a spectrum of response that can be made to the agenda
of the New World Order. First, one may accept as correct the
basic premise that all the world and all the worlds people
are mere commodities to be bought and sold by those with money
and power. Such a statement is far too realistic and honest
for even its most ardent supporters to acknowledge, at least
In its place, many cheerleaders for
the New World Order clothe the reality of their agenda in the
platitudes of neo-liberalism: helping the poorer nations
catch up, free markets equal democracy and
Statements of this type are the mantras
of those who support this world view. The corporate media of
most countries spin out such statements, daily, to the point
where many people accept globalization not only as inevitable,
but even desirable.
Caught between the underlying reality and the waves of pro-globalization
propaganda, many citizens, particularly in the industrialized
countries, choose to remain ignorant, placing their trust in
some future happy resolution. After all, the hope goes, humanity
has been through worse crises before; it will all work out in
the end as it did in the past.
Others are apathetic, believing we cant change the system.
Many are simply afraid, especially after the repression of protests
in various cities.
While these positions are understandably human, they are also
philosophically indefensible given that the New World Orders
fundamental premise and global actions are innately immoral.
Another response to the globalization agenda is to withdraw from
The logic of this approach says that we can make capitalist ideology
and institutions irrelevant by replacing them with our own. We
let global capitalism do its thing while we do ours: We can opt
out of the system, substituting barter for banks and self-sufficient,
sustainable communities in place of corporation-run societies.
A hundred years ago, this strategy might have worked, but no
longer. The forces of the New World Order are everywhere, into
everything, and can tolerate no alternative realities that might
serve as counter-examples to the future world they frenetically
Try to run your own economy as did Serbia and you get Kosovo
and invasion; withdraw into your own community and you get Waco;
escape to the Amazon and they will clear cut it around you.
We share with all humans the foundations for life on Earth: water,
air, the very web of life. There is simply no place to hide,
and the time left to save humanity and the planet is running
Attempts to reform capitalism by restoring national controls
and making it responsive to civil society are sometimes touted
as solutions, often by those already part of the system. Chartered
corporations can work for society if regulated by governments
that recognize the primacy of people.
Entrepreneurial use of capital can benefit society if under the
same regulations. The historical reality is that such controls
have been short-lived at best and the current series of international
trade agreements and organizations seek to wipe out
whatever regulations still exist.
World history is filled with examples of capitalism seeking total
control. Until now, they have never had the collaboration of
most of the worlds national governments. Now they do. There
is thus no motivation for capitalism to reform itself, with the
prize of the whole world within grasp.
To draw a medical analogy, attempting to reform capitalism is
like trying to reform cancer. In both cases, the pathology is
unlikely to cooperate.
If we in the anti-globalization movement accept the premise that
the New World Order is a pathological danger to humanity and
the planet, and one that must be combated, we must first define
what our long-term goals are.
Generally stated, I think most would agree with a mission statement
something like, Our aim is to replace rampant global capitalism
with a just society and economy that puts the Earth and all of
its people before profit. To achieve this goal, we must
choose appropriate strategies; within the strategies will be
the specific tactics to be employed for this battle.
We are left with two remaining options. The most extreme is violent
revolution. While many societies are close to this, we in the
West are simply not yet there, neither practically nor emotionally.
It may yet come to this everywhere as global capitalisms
grip continues to strangle the planet, but that time is not now.
Not only are we not ready, but violent revolution as a means
to create a more just world carries within itself its own karmic
implications: It will be next to impossible to teach future generations
that violence is not an answer if their world has been born in
This leaves us with the final current option: education, mass
protests, direct action, and civil disobedience. This is very
much what the anti-globalization movement is doing now.
The problem lies not with the basic strategy, but with tactics.
Up to now, confronting the agencies of globalization at their
meetings has had mixed success. We have succeeded in raising
public awareness about the issues surrounding globalization,
but we are now locked into a cycle of diminishing returns as
non-violent mass protest has reached a predictable conclusion.
After Genoa, middle class white people now know what people of
the Third World, the poor, and people of colour in
our own society have known for years: if pushed hard enough,
the Corporate State will kill. We may still hope in the long
run to win this war non-violently with love and reason, but it
should now be totally clear that without forgoing non-violence,
we will not breach the barricades erected to protect the elite
at their meetings.
Unless the anti-globalization movement becomes armed and ready
for combat, it will never break into the fortresses. The very
best we can hope for with a continued strategy of confrontation
in the cities are more Genoas.
The planned protests at the IMF meetings in Washington DC in
September 2001 seem likely to repeat the events in Quebec City
and Genoa: more violence by the State, more injury, possibly
more death, without protesters coming anywhere near to reaching
their goals of either stopping the meetings or influencing their
outcomes. The embarrassment we cause the leaders of the New World
Order by showing up has now been countered by a new response.
Rather than have their agendas compromised by the untidiness
of clashes in the cities, the globalizers will ensure that future
meetings of the G8, IMF, the World Bank and others will be held
in increasingly inaccessible places, for example, the desert
dictatorship of Qatar, or the mountain stronghold of Kananaskis.
Their goal is to make future efforts to protest the globalization
agenda increasingly difficult. What face they lose
by holding their meetings in secret in such lonely places is,
for them, a small price to pay. Better to pay this price than
allow anarchists to expose their schemes; better
to have meetings where only the tame press can report, where
the violence of their police can go unmonitored, where those
who dare to question their legitimacy can be crushed at will.
For them it even becomes an exercise in spin-doctoring. They
are already claiming that they are forced to hold their meetings
in out of the way places because of the violence of mobs
of unelected, unrepresentative, professional protesters.
Time has run out on the movements focus on tactics of mass
urban confrontation. By now, the point has been made that many
average citizens of all countries oppose the process of economic
The damage wrought to cities hosting such summits has brought
parts of the movement into disrepute, and Black Blocs
and other parts of the anti-globalization coalition mutually
accuse each other of sabotage and collusion with the State.
As false as it is, the corporate media have succeeded in convincing
many of our uninvolved fellow citizens that we are all violent
anarchists, protesting only out of selfishness or a desire
for the cheap thrill of street fighting.
If more of us are killed, the media will write us off as deserving
of such a fate by dint of our 'violence', and any embarrassment
to governments will be transitory. If instead a member of the
police dies, regardless at whose hands, we can be equally sure
that the press will use this to condemn the entire movement and
governments will use such an event for crocodile tears followed
by even greater repression.
In fact, the killing of a policeman or soldier would likely be
viewed as a win-win event for them as it would further
demonize the movement, further tribalize the police, and further
divide the forces opposing the globalization agenda. One wonders
that they have not yet upped the ante to killing one of their
own to achieve just this response.
The use of agent provocateur tactics by the State
documented against the anti-globalization movement and throughout
the history of social uprisings. The architects of the New World
Order will mourn neither our deaths nor those of the police if
they should occur: We are merely in their way; the police merely
their tools whose deaths may serve a purpose. We need a new tactical
There are two major war-fighting doctrines now taught by Western
armies: attrition and manoeuvre.
Attrition warfare was that which characterized most wars up until
the end of World War II. Basically, in this form of war, an army
fights for space, attacks the enemy at his strong point, and
seeks to wear him down by attrition, ultimately totally destroying
him. The winner of such wars is the side best able to withstand
the attrition in lives and material.
Our current anti-globalization approach has been mostly that
of attrition: They barricade themselves, we besiege; they move
to new locations, we follow. The fundamental problems with this
approach are that
(1) they have all the weapons;
(2) they are in defensible positions with the force required
to hold them; and
(3 ) they are already planning to move to ever more remote fortresses
where our ability to follow and effectively confront them will
be severely limited.
A rule of thumb for offensive operations says that to succeed,
the attacker must outnumber the defender by a ratio of 3:1. As
they move farther from major cities for their meetings, this
ratio will increase in their favor.
Add to this the fact that they will now operate out of sight
of all but the controlled media, and we have the recipe for a
complete failure of our future goals if we carry on with an attrition
However, if we adopt the manoeuvre doctrine, the move to more
remote locations becomes irrelevant and it presents the anti-globalization
movement with opportunities.
Historically, manoeuvrist doctrine has been used
successfully by various armies. In brief, the manoeuvre doctrine
says this: Attack the enemys weakness, do not fight for
space, disrupt the enemys tempo, and destroy his cohesion.
Changing the tempo of attacks and hitting where least expected
prevents the enemy from responding to any challenge in time,
and saps his morale. In military terms, such tactics get
inside the enemys decision cycle and keep him constantly
striving to catch up. In the end, disorganization and demoralization
In many ways, the manoeuvre approach in war is much like the
guiding tactical philosophy of most martial arts that seek to
defeat an opponent by attacking weak points, rather than by confronting
strength with strength.
We can accept that there will always be a place for demonstrations
in major urban centres, if for no other reason than to educate
and expand the movement, if only to bear witness
to the crimes done in the name of globalization.
We can, however, also envision future hypothetical scenarios
in which the manoeuvre approach could provide added ability to
fight back by increasing mobility and flexibility of thinking
to our overall strategic plan. Imagine this:
***Any resemblance of the following to any current or future
events or people is purely coincidental. ***
Its the year 2005. The state of the environment and the
plight of poor and working class people the world over is desperate.
Successive meetings of the global elite have been met by ever
greater numbers of protesters taking to the streets, despite
The State has turned to face-recognition software and anti-gang
legislation to prosecute anti-globalization groups and assumed
leaders. Increased intimidation and violence is unleashed
against dissenters in the lead-up to the meetings, and the demonstrations
themselves are pure carnage.
After a protest against the IMF, Independent media footage and
accounts flash around the Internet, exposing the lie of the official
line about the death of a policeman. Its a PR disaster
for the State.
Meetings of the international financial and trade bodies are
moved away from urban centres, and are held secretly in remote
locales. Rather than attempting to follow, anti-globalization
groups such as the Guardians and Global Resistance
move when and where least expected.
Supply lines for food, water, air, transport and communication
become opportunities for direct action. Organizations that support
the meetings become the focus of boycotts and other forms of
interference, causing them to reevaluate their participation.
The cost of doing business is escalating, but globalization marches
on. The Resistance begins to increase the pressure by hitting
global capital the only place they can be hurt in the
Headlines read, Protesters ignore
G8 meeting, stock markets are shut down in all G8 nations.
Columnists go on to detail the surprise change in tactics from
demonstrating outside meetings to shutting down stock markets
from Vancouver to London to Moscow in the weeks preceding and
during the summit.
Other reports describe direct action taken against multiple arms
of corporate power in key cities by fast moving activist affinity
groups, and raids into government and business files by hacker
Such future hypothetical scenarios raise an ethical question
that must be squarely faced: Would such tactics be likely to
harm innocent people? The answer, clearly, is yes.
The global money markets and stock exchanges are now totally
rooted into the daily lives of many ordinary citizens. Most in
the middle class own stock or mutual funds and any downturn in
market stability will affect them. Interfering with the markets
must inevitably hurt the innocent.
Seen from the broader perspective, however, the damage inflicted
on middle class citizens might be considered the lesser of evils.
In comparison, doing nothing or withdrawing must surely doom
Confrontation in barricaded cities brings tear gas and batons
onto protesters and uninvolved bystanders alike. No one should
pretend that all of the people gassed in Seattle, Prague, Quebec
City, or Genoa were even peripherally involved with the protests
or that these people would have suffered this fate if we had
not confronted the Corporate State in their cities.
In the extreme, if the condition of the environment and society
deteriorates to the point of revolution, it will bring death
and misery to millions. An unfortunate reality of any war is
that many suffer who are not combatants. The only solace to the
grief that would be brought to bystanders by direct action is
that we fight also for those who remain uninvolved, and for those
It is doubtful that manoeuvre tactics alone will be enough to
halt the aspirations of global capitalism. Such tactics, however,
will slow the march toward world domination long enough to decide
how best to bring capitalism to an end, or at the very least
force it into accepting a new, mutually beneficial relationship
with the rest of us. The burden of proof that capitalism can
be reformed must always rest with them.
Big business and its political puppet leaders may have more resources
in money, in police and soldiers, but in the end they are few
in number, ultimately unable to win an endless civil war, nor
even profit by fighting it. Those fighting for a just global
society are more numerous, have the potential for more creativity
and mobility, and have the added power that comes with justice.
If for no other reason, the New World Order will ultimately lose
because their ideology is pathological to humanity and the planet.
Thus, while the long-term outcome is certain, it would be far
better if the anti-globalization movement were able to defeat
capitalism in the short term before Mother Earth does it herself,
taking the rest of us down in the process.
The tasks before us are not simple and the battle for the Earth
is unlikely to be short or painless. Facing the challenges of
the present and future, it is far too easy to be overwhelmed
by the enormity of the damage already wrought and by the powers
arrayed against us. It is too easy to seek refuge in apathy,
to wish we had been born in a less frightening time.
This fear brings to mind an ancient Jewish prayer, the Shehechianu,
which thanks God for
giving us life, sustaining us,
and enabling us to reach this time.
Normally offered at holidays and happy events, this prayer has
a deep meaning for those of us alive now. Rather than despising
the adversities facing us, we can instead be grateful that we
are the generations chosen to fight this battle: We are the blessed,
fortunate to be here at this time and place, and given the task
of redeeming the world.
Great evil brings forth acts of great heroism and sacrifice
without one, we might not witness the other. In the face of the
evil perpetrated by the New World Order, many otherwise ordinary
people have found an inner courage and a calling to fight for
global justice: Je me souviens those who went time
and again into the hail of tear gas canisters and plastic bullets
in Quebec City. Generations to come will honour this struggle,
and so we must fight in the way we hope to be remembered by those
The struggle for global justice has already laid the foundations
for the world we hope to build. The anti-globalization movement
is powerful in its diversity of peoples and visions, in its core
spirituality, and in its determination to wrest back control
of our world. Within the movement, consensus decision making
and a refusal to acquiesce to traditional forms of leadership
have changed the way many of us view community and democracy.
Our opposition to global capitalism has spawned multiple notions
of what society could be like, how economies could be run, how
sustainability might replace consumption and greed.
The seed has been planted: We now see the outline of what the
world will look like when we win. And we will win.
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