Over the last few years, anti-capitalist protests at meetings of the main world powers have been gaining in size and impact.
The 300,000-strong Genoa demonstration against the G8 summit this July was the latest in a series of large protests world-wide. The next large demonstration was to have been in late September in Washington DC, against IMF and World Bank meetings. However, following the horrific events of 11 September, this demo has been cancelled, as have the IMF and World Bank meetings.
The suicide attacks in America inevitably affect the anti-capitalist movement when shock and revulsion are at their height. But all the horrors of the capitalist system remain intact, so a resurgence of the movement is likely. In addition, if US military retaliation kills thousands of innocent people, large anti-war protests will develop which can coalesce with the anti-corporate and anti-capitalist movement.Although the Washington demonstration is cancelled, demonstrations against European Union (EU) summits in Belgium have continued.
15,000 workers from Belgium, France and Germany took part in a trade union demonstration against a EU finance meeting in Liège on 21 September. An anti-globalisation protest involving 2,000 people took place the following day. Trade union federation leader, Michel Nollet, confirmed that plans for a 100,000-strong trade union demonstration against the Brussels EU summit on 13 December remain in force.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) planned to shut themselves away in Qatar, for their next meeting in November. Protest boats to Qatar were being organised by anti-capitalists, and a day of global protest at stock exchanges and multinational corporations had been called for 9 November. However, it is now questionable whether the WTO could meet in that part of the world, with US revenge attacks rousing hostility from the people in all Arab countries.
Tony Blair previously described anti-capitalist protesters as ’attacking democracy’. After the US suicide attacks, with the US government calling for a war against ’anti-democratic’ terrorists, many governments will try to use new ’anti-terrorist’ measures against anti-capitalist protesters. Before the 22 September Liège demonstration, everyone on a regular train from Antwerp to Liège was searched and threatened with arrest.
Austrian far right-winger Haider says that those who carried out the New York attacks are part of the "violent" wing of the anti-capitalist movement.The movement must resist this intimidation, keep voicing our opposition to capitalism and develop the movement towards a socialist alternative.
Careful attention should be paid to organisation and stewarding, to safeguard demonstrators against police provocations. Both the US events and the deepening world recession will increase the numbers questioning the entire system, supplying new activists to develop a mass movement to change it.
This article first appeared in The Socialist