Anti-Globalization Graphics: Bad Tactics?

At some point I’ll probably do a posting on the question of tactics within the anti-globalization movement.  Violence vs. non-violence is a big issue there.  (Turns out our good friend Ward Churchill has played an important role in this debate.)  So also is the definition of “violence.”

Today, however, I just want to post a some graphics that I’ve run across on the Web that deal visually with this question.  The first is a flyer that the Black Bloc anarchists circulated during the “A16” protests.  These were the April 16 2000 anti-globalization protests in Washington DC.

Secondly are some protests in the form of vandalism in Winnipeg, Manitoba involving the defacing of posters promoting the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

[Source.]

In case you aren’t able to read it, the slogan on the vandalized poster says “RIOT 2010, We were made for this.”

A couple of interesting things.  First, while the pictures of the defaced posters are easy to find on the web, the original undefaced poster is not.  To that extent, the poster is a minor success for the protesters.  On the other hand, as far as I know there was no rioting at the Olympics which means that the protesters failed in their purpose.  (Whether there ACTUALLY was rioting is, of course, irrelevant.  If there’s no camera, it didn’t happen.)

Second, and this goes for both bits of protest art, I rather suspect that attacking or belittling wildly popular symbols of peace (Gandhi, the Olympics) and juxtaposing them with violence is counterproductive to the activists.  I’m assuming that their goal is to attract people to their cause.  There are other possibilities, of course: I may be wrong; or these efforts may represent a disjuncture between tactics and strategy; or the activists may not be seeking support at all but rather simply be trying to forcibly impose a new reality (an end to globalization, the staging of the Olympics, etc.) upon an unwilling majority.

Speaking of the Olympics, congratulations to my Canadian friends for winning the gold in men’s hockey tonight in a great game.

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Published in: on March 1, 2010 at 2:37 AM  Comments (1)  
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  1. there was rioting during the olympics and in canada, at least, it got a good deal of media coverage. it was a fairly large and successful riot by canadian standards, which are admittedly low. but it was a big enough deal that the canadian media and vancouver police have become quite paranoid about anarchists and the black bloc since, and in combination with the G20, 2010 made the black bloc a household name in canada.


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