Wednesday, July 17, 2002
Banana Republicans, Stock Market Crashes
Pledge of Allegiance
WARtertainment Reality Television
Keep the Change
The Second Coming
The Gruesome Marketing of JonBenet
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Injuries were inevitable. Death was likely, and it came in the midst of a pitched battle late Friday afternoon between Italian carabinieri and a group of militant demonstrators who isolated a carabinieri vehicle, its front end blocked against a wall, and smashed its windows with stones, boards and anything else available including a red fire extinguisher wielded by a 23-year-old demonstrator named Carlo Giuliani. In a sequence recorded by a Reuters photographer the young man, his face covered by a balaclava, raises the fire extinguisher, apparently intending to hurl it through the already-shattered rear window of the vehicle. A policeman points a handgun through the window and Giuliani drops to the street, bleeding profusely from the head. The vehicle backs up over the supine body and speeds away. Witnesses said they had heard two shots...The blood-soaked spot where he died was covered with sawdust, then with red flowers ripped from a nearby public garden. Hours later, sobered protesters stood at the site, some weeping. One used a spent tear-gas canister to pin down a note: "Made in G-8."
One man died in Genoa; a man, we must presume, who was swayed by the false promise that violence -- not peaceful protest, not participation in the democratic process -- is the best way to advance a political cause...It is not too much to hope that the next time his friends stoop to pick up a cobblestone, they will remember a lesson learned when plows first broke the Mesopotamian earth: You reap what you sow.
This Site Is Dedicated to Carlo Guiliani
More than 100,000 angry protestors have gathered in Genoa, Italy to voice their concerns about the harmful effects of globalization, as the leaders of the seven wealthiest nations and Russia meet to discuss how to carve up the resources of the other 231 nations of the world. The eight leaders who make up the so-called "G8" alliance reportedly discussed such issues as AIDS in Africa, free trade, the Kyoto global warming accord, the proposed Bush missile defense system, and different ways to ignore the presence of more than 100,000 angry protestors.
Participants of the Mobilization for Global Justice (MGJ) are shocked and deeply saddened by last week's terrorist attacks. We express our deepest sympathies for the victims of this tragedy, their families, friends and communities. We unequivocally condemn these horrific attacks, and we call for an immediate end to the cycle of violence. We urge all leaders to seek justice in this situation rather than revenge. In this time of grief, the MGJ is postponing the nonviolent demonstrations against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) our coalition was planning to host later this month. We choose this course of action regardless of the plans of the World Bank and IMF, and we respect other organizations that choose a different path.
One could not however miss a rather pronounced streak of American conservatism in the Seattle showdown. But as the theatre of action travelled from Seattle to Melbourne, Prague and Genoa, the tone became increasingly anti-imperialist, the US imperialism was squarely named as the number one global enemy and issues like third world debt began to figure much more prominently alongside the other issues that are of immediate concern for the youth and the working class. I am happy to tell you that Carlo Giuliani is popularly acknowledged among Left circles in India, and I hope the same must be true of many other countries, as the first martyr of the anti-globalisation resistance. Rudy Giuliani may be the hero of New York after September 11, but Carlo Giuliani remains the hero of the worldwide campaign against globalisation.
He was a boy of great generosity who was opposed to injustice. He read, he studied, he discussed, and he protested for his ideas. He always cared about others...He worked in the jobs that all young people are forced to take--in the black economy, without any security, without any rights...Carlo didnít accept the notion that eight leaders of the world should decide the life and death of hundreds of thousands of people. Here in Genoa, you do not need to go far to see the victims of their policies. Come back after the G8 have gone, and you will see the desperation of those who are left in hunger, those who are forced to flee their own countries to settle here, forced to survive without any dignity in the alleyways that surround the harbor..You cannot equate the throwing of a fire extinguisher with a gunshot to the head...In some ways, we didnít understand each other...There wonít be his liveliness in our house anymore. We wonít have his jokes about football. And we wonít have our political discussions anymore. But maybe now is the time for new people to open up new branches so we can carry on discussing.
Billionaire Silvio Berlusconi, the new prime minister of Italy, decreed that no one in Genoa should hang underwear outside--so that other world leaders wouldnít view Italy as a "backwater." When people canít even hang their underwear outside, you know the weekend will be something we wonít forget.
The human costs of globalization, which target the ill effects of corporate power, are not going to be headline news. The media's attention is fixated on what is going on in world capitals where people in positions of economic and political power reside. The comings and goings of President Bush and Madonna make the headlines. Only 20 percent of the media's attention is focused on "ordinary" people, and when they are newsworthy, they are generally presented as individual victims or perpetrators like Carlo Giuliani, not as members of groups opposed to the existing power structure. The business of news is still business, not movement politics.
In any case, Carlo Giuliani was neither a brave Jack nor a martyr to any meaningful cause. He was an aimless and ignorant young man enjoying the opportunity for lawless violence that the gentle idealists of the university had set in motion.
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