PRAVDA.Ru conducted an interview with Evanne Scott, an anti-globalist activist who works with the organization Another World is Possible! In addition, Evanne Scott was one of the organizers of the recent anti-globalism protest in New York, a protest that drew 20,000 demonstrators. Greetings Mrs. Evanne Scott! We appreciate your taken the time to give us an interview regarding the issue of anti-globalism. Please define for our readers your definition of "globalization."
Globalization is the internationalization of economic and social power structures. It is a process that has been occurring for hundreds of years in one form or another, but has, in the last century, sped up to an alarming rate (thanks largely to the advancement of technology).
The form of globalization which our planet is currently witnessing is a corporate tendency. Other types of globalization could potentially exist as well, benefiting other groups. Historically, all manner of religious and political organizations (everything from the Cuban Communist party to the Catholic Church) have supported an internationalization of various power structures. But in the modern world, corporations are the dominant social force. Thus the current "anti-globalization movement" is primarily an movement against corporate power.
Corporate globalism combines the worst elements of both capitalism and socialism but it isn't strictly a representation of either tendency. Governments like that of the United States simultaneously praise the glory of 'free market' capitalism and work as financial puppets - funneling huge amounts of subsidies and kick-backs into the pockets of the global elite. Our giant military budget and outrageous federal bureaucracy create a system which functions like a social welfare program for the rich.
You are involved with the umbrella organization Another World is Possible! Please describe for our readers the purpose of this organization, its goals, and how it plans to achieve them.
The Another World Is Possible Coalition is a politically broad, Left-oriented group which came together against the World Economic Forum. It was started by community members and represents a lot of the passion of local activists. Included in the coalition are groups like the NYC Direct Action Network, the NYC Anti-Capitalist Convergence, Refuse and Resist, the International Socialist Organization, Reclaim the Streets, Worker's Democracy Now, and the Green Party.
The group was brought together by a collective disgust with the elitist politics of the World Economic Forum. The only formal point of unity was opposition to the WEF and the coalition was intended to be a one-time network to channel energy into the week of the WEF's meeting in NYC. AWIP consented on five demands. These demands were written as a tool to express the coalition's political orientation rather than as literal demands of the WEF. They included the following:
1. Dumping all debt, personal and private, 2. Rebuilding New York and the World, 3. Stopping the destruction of the Earth, 4. Stopping the aid of terrorism / halting the US war machine, and 5. Defending civil liberties and the rights of immigrants.
You were one of the organizers of the protest in New York City on January 31st against the World Economic Forum. It has been claimed that over 20,000 protesters took part in this protest. Please tell us something about the different activists and groups who took part in this protest. How would you describe them? Why are each of the groups opposed to globalization?
The protest included participation from a wide variety of groups and individuals. There were small children and grandmothers, students and workers, anarchists and moderates. Unlike many previous mass mobilizations, however, there was not a lot of NGO and labor support. Due to the post- September 11th political climate of NYC, many liberal and main stream organizations were afraid to support open dissent in the streets. Organized labor (including groups like the AFL-CIO and Jobs With Justice) held their own rally on Thursday, January 31st, because they were not comfortable with AWIP's anti-war stance. Non-Government Organizations, such as Public Citizen, which were instrumental in funding and organizing legal marches and rallies at previous mobilizations, pulled their presence entirely, leaving the burden of organizing and fund raising on the shoulders of more radical elements.
The way things turned out is interesting, actually. The majority of the grunt work fell into the arms of the New York City Direct Action Network, a predominantly anarchist network. Thus, it was the first American mass-mobilization put together by a segment of the activist community that is generally considered the “violent fringe,” and yet it was one of the most peaceful anti-globalist protests in recent history.
As for the motivation of individual groups, the resounding cry was “social justice!” Personally, I think there is a lot of interesting psychology at play within many of these groups, but that is a whole different story.
As you know, during the "Battle in Seattle," the protest quickly led to violence. Although the majority of the people who were there to protest were from various unions, members of the "Black Block" (an anarchist group) were able to seize the moment and create a situation that led to a riot, which resulted in a massive crack down by the police. What are your thoughts on the use of violence in anti-globalization protests?
The vast majority of the violence in Seattle, and at virtually all anti-globalist demonstrations, was initiated by police forces. Although I have no objection to the use of confrontational tactics, I think that it should be noted that the Black Bloc participants in Seattle made an explicit tactical decision to avoid directly confronting the police. Unable to cope with the highly mobile and well-coordinated movements of the Black Bloc, the police turned their batons on peaceful demonstrators. Although the anarchists destroyed hundreds of thousands of dollars in corporate property, they did not initiate violent standoffs.
That being said, I think that radical tactics are very important in our struggle against the New World Order. As someone who fundamentally believes in the necessity of revolution over reform, I am willing to support individuals who take a more confrontational stand against the establishment and I would be lying if I said I believed that we could win without armed struggle.
However, it is critical that all tactics be effective and well thought out. A wanton use of violence is just as counter-productive as the Left Wing's often masochistic tradition of symbolic protest. No one should expect to go head-to-head with the state's military machine and win. Additionally, I believe in a progression of tactics. One shouldn't start out attempting to solve every problem with one's fists.
Many different groups coming from various ideological camps, such as Buchananites, Naderites, unionists, white-nationalists, environmentalists, and activists representing third-world countries, are opposed to globalization. In your opinion, why are each of these groups opposed to globalization, and is there the possibility that these groups might be able to more effectively work together? In addition, is there any chance for the "left" and right" to come together and oppose globalization?
Although I have serious ideological disagreements with most of groups you mentioned, I strongly believe in tactical cooperation. There are a few organizations which I feel cannot be trusted (for example, the Workers' World Party, which has a history of backstabbing and sectarian bullying), but I believe that all revolutionary organization benefit from political agitation - regardless of the ideology behind the agitation. Any action which works to destabilize the system is a step in the right direction.
The truth is that Left and Right Wing are a false dichotomy, intentionally kept separated by media and academia. Nothing is scarier to the American ruling class than the prospect of a unified front against social injustice.
Unfortunately, I think that the chance of widespread Left-Right cooperation in America is highly unlikely due to intense division. This division is largely cultural rather than ideological. The first step towards unification is learning to communicate without using alienating rhetoric. The Left and Right have a lot to learn from each other. And although I don't see any huge shift towards group cooperation, I think that many radicals are beginning to realize this as individuals. So far, the Right Wing seems to be much more open minded with regards to political solidarity.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges facing the anti-globalization movement?
Internal conflict as well as external pressure have greatly impeded the advancement of the anti-globalist movement. The development of a police state within the US combined with a new, misguided sense of nationalism among the general population will present the movement with unknown challenges. No doubt, the odds will be overwhelmingly against social justice.
It has been said that the anti-globalization movement suffers from a lack of direction. When ordinary citizens of various countries read articles and view programs covering the anti-globalization movement, the come away with the impression that (1) anti-globalists consist mainly of people who are rejects of society and (2) they are unable to focus their energies effectively. Is this a result of what the mainstream media chooses to present to the public, or is this, in fact, reality?
Although I am the first to acknowledge the failures of the anti-globalist movement, I feel that this demonization by the corporate media is independent of reality. I have witnessed blatant manipulation of truth by the press. After February 2nd's march and rally (at which there was a crowd of 15-20,000), FOX news reported that we had only 500 protesters. CNN reported a turnout of 1,000 and later increased their estimate to 2,000.
It must be recognized that the media is the enemy. When we were protesting against the World Economic Forum, we were protesting against CNN, ABC, FOX, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the rest of the main stream media. All of these media outlets, liberal and conservative, are members of or are owned by members of the WEF. Expecting fair coverage from our enemies would be naive.
At the same time, the anti-globalist movement *does* attract a lot of dysfunctional people. If the movement had half as many personal conflicts and power struggles, it would have won by now. The truth is that, in the end, the work falls on the shoulders of the focused minority.
What future events does your organization plan to hold?
Currently, the Another World Is Possible Coalition and the NYC Anti-Capitalist Convergence are going through a period of self analysis. ACC will probably continue as a group, but AWIP was never intended to exist as a long term coalition. The next AWIP meeting is March 3rd. At that meeting, the coalition will decided whether to continue as a group and what issues to tackle if they do. We are expecting the World Economic Forum to return in two years and we have learned a lot. Next time we will be much better prepared!
Thank you very much for the interview Evanne Scott!
Questions compiled by Justin Cowgill
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