Genoa and (Persistent) Resistance in the Balkans
Genoa: The G8 Summit
What follows is a short report on the situation in Genoa as of July 8, 2001.
The coordinator of the protest movement against the G8 Summit at Genoa is the Italian organization Genoa Social Forum (GSF).
The GSF succeeded to force the (crypto-fascist) Berlusconi government to agree to the following: - 1 The Italian frontiers will stay open from July 14 to July 22, when the G8 Summit ends.
- 2 The city of Genoa will be an open city during the same period of time, that is people can enter the city (through trains, highways and the port) freely and move freely in it. Only the Genoa airport will be closed for the duration of the meeting. Also, the area of the port around the Ducale Palace, the site of the meeting, designated as the "Red Zone", and the area adjacent to it on the west side, designated as the "Yellow Zone", will be out of bounds for the demonstrators.
- 3 The Genoa Police issued a permit for the holding of 3 big demonstrations: one on the 19th of July for the rights of the immigrants, one on the 20th of July to protest the G8 Summit, and one on the 21st of July as a final march with the participation of the labor unions (with an expected crowd of above 150,000 protesters). Also the police rejected the petition of the GSF to disarm the police. But, the Chief of the Genoa Police, assured the GSF that he personally assumes the responsibility that the police will not fire at the demonstrators.
On their side the demonstrators (the GSF and the people from other countries) agreed among themselves: - 1 To set limits to the level of violence: a) The demonstrators should avoid any physical damage to the city, its monuments, and its neighbourhoods, and b) the demonstrators in no case will attack the police. They will not throw even a single rock against the police.
- 2 The participants should enter the city through highways or through trains.
- 3 The participants will stay in the spaces (athletic fields, schools, and parks) designated by the municipal authorities.
The events will start on July 14 with a series of public discussions at the GSF site of assembly.
On July 19, at 6:00 pm, the first massive demonstration will take place to demand the free entrance and movement of economic or political immigrants in the European Union. (At least 30,000 demonstrators are expected to participate, only from Italy.)
On July 20, from early in the morning, the demonstrators will assemble in 8 squares around the "Red Zone" and will try to prevent the G8 leaders to reach the Ducale Palace. If the G8 leaders manage to reach the Palace, by sea through the port, then the demonstrators will try to invade the "Red Zone" and cancel the meeting.
On Saturday, July 21, at 2:00 pm, the demonstrators will start an (as expected) huge march (possibly in the hundreds of thousands) to protest the brutality of globalization.
Let us hope that the peoples of the world will make life for W.Bush and his (servile) co-summiteers difficult in Genoa. Also, let us hope that this will be accomplished without any violence; the mere ridicule of the "leaders" will be quite effective in raising the consciousness of the ordinary people about globalization. The fact that Berlusconi did not have the time to replace the leadership of the police, appointed by the former leftist government, with right wingers might help avoid violence by the police and let the demonstrators be more effective.
(Note: Most of the information of the above report are due to Vangelis Karageorgos, the in situ correspondent of the Greek paper ELEFTHEROTYPIA in Genoa, issue of July 8, 2001)
Persistent Resistance in the Balkans
" ' We all thought, the (US) Marines are coming, we will be saved,' the Liberian reporter remarked, ' but they left. How could they leave?' Poor guy, his country has no Marines to rescue him. I'll bet he wouldn't mind paying some taxes for a few good men." That is the world according to Thomas L. Friedman of the New York Times and "one of America's leading interpreters of world affairs." (Thomas L. Friedman, "The Lexus and the Olive Tree," Harper Collins, 2000, p.435)
Going to the real world we find that a few weeks ago a detachment of US Marines (or some other kind of "missionaries") were disgorged from landing crafts to Litohoro, a beautiful beach a few dozen miles south of Salonica, on a training mission. They fixed their cute little tents on the sandy beach and were ready to bivouac. And then, the Greeks came and started a vigil shouting all night long the slogan "Murderers go home". Next morning the US soldiers had to pull up their tents and cancel the mission which would have prepared them probably to enter Macedonia about sixty miles north of Salonica. It would have been interesting to have the "interpretation" by Friedman of the expressions on the faces of the young US soldiers as they watched the demonstrating Greeks. (My interpretation-on the basis of the TV footage in the news: The US mercenaries' faces had a mixture of surprise and hate. Definitely, they understood that this is not a Friedman world.)
The atrocities perpetrated by NATO (i.e. the US) in Kosovo about two years ago are almost forgotten by most people. Yet, in Greece there is a persistent resistance to the US (NATO) "humanitarian" missions in the Balkans.
A few days ago, on July 7, 20001, eight warships of NATO entered the port of Salonica on a "friendly" visit.(Actually to offer the services of "comfort ladies" to the crews; not of the Korean type, but this time of the professional kind.)
Starting from the evening of July 7, a Saturday, 6,000 Greeks (mostly of the Left) blocked the main gate of the fence of the port by building a symbolic barricade out of bales of hay and old tires and started a vigil with song and dance all night long, shouting slogans, mainly the well-known "murderers" one, through loudspeakers, to the crews across the sea.
Next day, a Sunday, the NATO brass and the local Greek (toadying) elite had programed a banquet on the NATO flagship. The banquet was canceled! A not so minor victory for the demonstrators.
Again, what could be the feelings of the multinational crews of the NATO force? Of the eight ships one was Greek. It is certain that most of the (drafted) Greek sailors agreed with the demonstrators.
Seattle, Genoa, resistance in Salonica; an era of optimism.