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GR Scotland tries to capitalise on disruption

relayed by m | 21.10.2004 14:20 | G8 2005 | Repression | Social Struggles

This message is being circulated by Gill Hubbard. I don't know why I
recieved it because Scottish CND or me were never part of the Scottish ESF mobilisation committee although Scottish CND has affiliated to the G8 Alternatives group - which was originally a ESF Committee clone...

This message is being circulated by Gill Hubbard. I don't know why I
recieved it because Scottish CND or me were never part of the Scottish ESF mobilisation committee although Scottish CND has affiliated to the G8 Alternatives group - which was originally a ESF Committee clone...

Her message is incorrect in a number of respects. I cannot reply to this either personally or as a representative of Scottish CND but if someone from the anarchist community of Scotland would like to reply (I thought the women from Scotland who were involved might perhaps) then we could circulate it to some of the other groups mentioned below.

Gill's account of the protest is wrong in that:

The meeting was not cancelled but delayed by the action for thirty minutes or so and those occupying the platform made this quite clear from the start - they weren't stopping free speech. The activists left the stage peacefully after the occupation was over.

The protest was, among other things, about the lack of support from the ESF for Indymedia who had server files seized by the FBI just before the ESF started and about police harrassment and intimidation of the Indymedia centre and the other events/centres organised autonomously during the ESF.
In other words the activists occupying the stage were calling, among other things, for ESF solidarity to defend 'Freedom of Speech'.

Of the four or five speeches made on the stage by those occupying it, at least two that I heard were by women and it is wrong to imply that the occupiers were predominantly 'all men' or that they were all dressed in black. On other networks, and in national newspapers, people have made the snide implication that the anarchists were facists or were behaving like facists in that they were: all men, all white and all dressed in black.(They have stopped short from saying they all had beards, were wearing black cloaks and carrying little round bombs!) Photographs of the occupation show clearly (for example posted on the Melbourne Indymedia site) that the people occupying the stage included a significant number of women and black activists and were not predominantly dressed in black(!?) This is a clear misrepresentation of what happened and an attempt to smear activists who have been amongst the most vocal in their crticism of how the London ESF was organised and how Globalise Resistance (who Gill represents) operates.

Finally the activists occupying the stage made it clear that they supported taking actions against facists and that the primary reason they were occupying the stage was because a leading member of the political party that had taken Britain to war on Iraq - Ken Livingstone - was due to speak. This was also clear from the messages the activists carried.

This was the only meeting that was disrupted in this way by anarchists. An earlier meeting was disrupted by activists objecting to the presence of a member of the Iraqi National Council at the Saturday Plenary, a wide range of activists were involved in disrupting this meeting and mainly people who were 'official' delegates to the ESF. (This Plenarary session was abandoned
as a result.)

Why just single out the anarchists for condemnation, especially as the
meeting they disrupted was allowed to continue and that a large proportion (the majority) of the meeting actually seemed supportive to what the anarchists were saying? (Certainly a large number of people seemed to turn up when the anarchists did and then disappear when they left the stage!)

-----Original Message-----
From: gill hubbard [mailto:]
Sent: 21 October 2004 10:08
To: gill hubbard
Subject: Freedom of speech statement

Dear all,
The ESF was wonderful - it was a whirlwind of vibrancy. 20,000 people
attended. Discussion and debate was excellent and very focused on the
effects of neo-liberalism and war. The Assembly at the end of the ESF representing a host of European countries agreed to a massive mobilisation for the G8 summit. This means that we will be joined by 10s of 1000s of people next year! The ESF was however, marred by a tiny minority of participants who took it upon themeselves to stop a meeting from taking place because they objected to Ken Livingstone speaking. Because we will be hosting the G8 Alternatives next year I think that we need to lay down a clear marker that we do not agree with this kind of action. I have written a statement that I would like to forward to the ESF on behalf of the Scottish Mobilisation for the ESF. Please let me know if you agree or disagree with the statement or any amendments that you may have.

Freedom of Speech

1. Oppressed and exploited people around the world are struggling on a daily basis to have their voices heard. The global media is dominated by a caramilla of extremely rich and powerful men (and occasional woman) who prevent us from airing our views and opinions. One of the main objectives of the European Social Forum is to enable these voices to be heard.

2. The social movements around the world are rich in their diversity. We represent a wide range of struggles including people who are campaigning in South Africa against water privatisation, in Iraq against US and British imperialism, in Europe against the EU constitution. What unites us is a vision that 'another world is possible.' We come together at the European Social Forum so that we can share this vision.

3. Whilst the rulers of the world deny 'freedom of speech' we are not
afraid to listen to other people's points of view. We are not afraid of the differences that we have within the social movements. In fact we believe that in order to develop our movement we need to be able to listen to each other much more.

4. Denying 'freedom of speech' is a very serious matter. In Britain, the labour movement has only enforced this on one group of people - the fascists. This is because fascists deny 'freedom of speech' to others including refugees, black and Asian people, and people of jewish origin.
Fascists prevent these people from speaking out through violence,
intimidation and even death.

4. The Scottish Mobilisation Committee for the ESF therefore wishes to condemn those at the European Social Forum who denied 'freedom of speech' by physically stopping meetings at the ESF from taking place. One of these meetings was an anti-fascist meeting and we hope that the irony is not lost on the anarchists (predominatly men and dressed in black) who stopped this meeting from happening.

5. We welcome everyone to join us in Scotland next year when we unite to challenge the summit of the 8 richest countries in the world. We want our movement to focus our energies on the real enemy - those global powers who are threatening our environment and our lives.

Organisations involved in the Scottish Mobilisation for the ESF include:

Globalise Resistance Scotland; Dundee Trades Union Council; Scottish
Churches Industrial Mission; Glasgow NUJ; TGWU 7/151 Scottish Housing
branch; Positive Action in Housing; Poverty Alliance; Edinburgh Stop the War Coalition; Scottish Left Review; Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign; Stirling University Stop the War Group; James Connolly Society; Edinburgh CND; Scottish Human Rights Centre, Global Concerns Trust, Scottish Socialist Party; Scottish Green Party; World Development Movement Glasgow; No Sweat.
The STUC is also supporting the mobilisation.

relayed by m


Hide the following 10 comments

and Morning Star disinformation too

21.10.2004 16:39

The Morning Star has a tasty piece of disinformation about those damn (white, male, racist, violent) anarchists, in their Comments section, at

Text below in case they make it part of the paying website:
Marred by hooligans
(Tuesday 19 October 2004)
THE weekend's European Social Forum was, overall, a huge success, bringing together tens of thousands of mainly young people from all over the continent.

The efforts of the ESF preparatory committee to provide space for the most far-reaching discussion on a range of subjects were rewarded by well-attended, forcefully tackled but essentially comradely debates.

Significant organised labour movement involvement also emphasised the identity of interest between those who champion the daily concerns of working people and a range of campaigners for global justice.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone's effective underwriting of the entire venture provided the basis for others to concentrate on organising discussions, entertainment and general encounters from people of different countries.

The high level of the debates will have clarified for many participants essential questions about US imperialism, the centralisation of the EU, with its militarisation and privatisation priorities, capitalist exploitation, racism and the need to organise to counter all these threats.

Above all, the criminal occupation of Iraq was a major focus and Sunday's magnificent march to Trafalgar Square highlighted the vital political priority of organising to force the government to bring British troops home.

Unfortunately, the unity of purpose that had been manifest throughout the weekend was marred by physical attacks on marchers and stewards by self-styled anarchists, resulting in a few arrests by police.

This thuggish element had already made its presence felt on Saturday night at Alexandra Palace when up to 100 young white men stormed the anti-fascist session, which had been facilitated by the T&G.

Unite Against Fascism secretary Weyman Bennett, who was chairing the session, was punched and had his mobile phone stolen as the stage was occupied.

This was no spontaneous action. It had been advertised on the internet by self-styled Wombles who claimed to be protesting against a number of issues, including that participants were charged an entrance fee, that some would-be participants had been excluded by Britain's racist entry legislation and that police had harassed some participants in other parts of London.

The ESF organisers had decided, in order to deny a pretext for greater disruption, not to oppose the group entering the building without paying their entrance fee and also asked police not to become involved.

But, rather than make their points in the existing debates, the group behaved arrogantly and violently to suppress freedom of speech and undermine ESF principles.

They claimed, falsely, that the mayor controls London's police and raised banners proclaiming: "Ken's party, war party," ignoring the reality that Mr Livingstone was an active campaigner against the war.

The fact that violent young white men attacked a platform of black and Jewish people debating how to combat racism, fascism and anti-semitism invites unflattering assessments of their real motives.

It also serves to warn all progressive campaigners to be on guard against the undemocratic antics of such anti-social hooligans.


Agent Provocateurs

21.10.2004 19:03

Ever noticed how the SWP and it's front organisations act in the classic modes of agent provocateurs by divide and disrupt alternative and leftfield movements. You could use them as case studies on how to do it.


Well, the state already have Searchlight in their pocket, why not the leaders of the SWP with it's hidden funding and authoritarian leanings?

Kick out the fascists.


Final (Jack?) Straw

21.10.2004 23:50

I have just decided to stop buying the Morning Star. I hope others will too. Enough is enough. As foir searchlight, I actually spoke to an ex-comrade who left because of the black-ops thing. ( No he wasn't a policeman!)This is not the first time for the MS. They have fucked over a few of their journalists too! If you're reading MS Eds- You know what/who I mean. Final bloody straw you idiots.


The State's manual on 'counter-subversion';

22.10.2004 10:27

"Low Intensity Operations: Subversion, Insurgency and Peacekeeping" by Frank Kitson is the State's manual on 'counter-subversion'. It is pretty much SWP policy to the letter. Kitson particularly emphasises creating fictional splits between obedient, non-violent and disobedient, 'violent' dissent - by lies and disinformation etc. Thus SWP people (Weyman Bennet, the GR letter) condemn 'the all white, male anarchists' (demonstratably wrong on all three counts) for violence (no evidence yet produced despite the numerous cameras present). The obvious intention is to play to media-stereotypes of 'black bloc anarchists' (Alex Callinicos has been calling the interventionists the black bloc), so that liberals condemn the 'violence' that never was and by association refuse to see direct actionists as 'part of the movement' (as Bennet's statement said in the Sun morning assembly). Thus even non-violent civil disobedience becomes 'violent' and 'not part of the movement'. Whether or not this is deliberate or co-incidental, the SWP *leadership* are acting like state assets to the letter.

I'm not attempting to start a flame war here, and I'm not attacking individual SWP members. I'm just pointing out some observations, please bare this in mind before replying 'mindless anarchist '.

know your enemy, read Frank Kitson

Dissent! G8 Alternatives and ESF

22.10.2004 12:43

Before this comment starts I wish to state a disclaimer that this is not meant to create divisions but before the meeting in Scotland I would like to make it known to as many people as possible the events that took place at the ESF and there possible implications regarding the G8 mobilisations in scotland.

Around two months ago the international networking group from Dissent! approached the NGO coalition 'make poverty history' about speaking at a seminar on the G8 at the European Social Forum. The NGO's, The Climate Action Stratedgy group, Heidi Gilluani and Mark Ballard MSP for the Green Party (all also on the platform) where very happy for Dissent! international networking group to speak at the seminar.
However G8 alternatives/Globalise resistance where not keen at all and kept saying that we could not come on the platform because we had pulled out from another seperate workshop before hand.
We pointed out that we could not afford the prices of hosting a workshop and the chaos of the various workshops being merged etc.

The result was the at the time of the seminar-with a block on us being on the stage still in place- two of us intervened during the seminar and took chairs and Saturday at the table regardless. With the support of other organisers of the seminar.
Needless to say Gill Hubbard (chairing the discussion) from G8 alternatives appeared disgruntled by our presences and proceeded to be fairly rude and dismissive of us throughout the seminar despite the
fact that we obviously had a legitmate place in the list of speakers.
A further dicussion was had between the groups that had spoken during the seminar about creating a listserve where by the different mobilisations could stay informed and abreats of activities, meetings etc. More or less G8 alternatives and GR refused to be part of
such a list serve.
They also requested to quote us in the newsletter they are producing as G8 alternatives for Scotland. We declined when they refused to put Dissents website in the newsletter.

This although small event reflects the entire process of the ESF which has become one of the most outrageous co-opting of an social justice event ever which was a "a shambles in terms of reflecting any
of the core values of the social forum movement".
Resulting on the demonstration on Sunday of two 'known' people with absoultely entirely and legitmate critiques of the european social forum being arrested after stewards at the demo from the SWP surrounded them and allowed police into a compound to arrest
Furthermore people involved with the autonmous space Beyond ESF where surrounded at section 60'd at Kings
Cross Station Furthermore I quote this from someone who has written
a good article post ESF.
"no one has publically denounced the police interventions, nor spoken out in support of anyone who was arrested or temporarily detained under section 60 of the public order act, whilst instead official ESF organisers have continuously accused people critical of
them as being violent and therefore declaring them excluded from 'their movement'. I also briefly stood outside a pub next to
Charing Cross Police station on Sunday night where I saw many core members of the ESF organising committee, predominantly from the SWP, heartily knocking back the pints and laughing whilst Javier Ruiz, also an important member of the ESF organising committee with whom they have collaborated in the last year, sat in a police cell across the road - so much for solidarity with him and his intentions of
mediation at the demo that some of them are claiming to hold."

The significance of all of these seperate but interlinked events highlights a number of issues in respect to the G8 in Scotland. There seems to be a genuine desire from other mobilisations for there to
be a sharing of information, supporting of iniatives and genuine respect for the diversity that exist within the various different mobilisations. All apart from G8 alternatives who seemed determined to cling on pathetically to a dated rhetoric and be the 'only'
mobilisation to Scotland.
Not only that but there tactic of requesting 0.5 of the budget of security money for the G8 is questionable.

I would as a result of the behaviour of SWP and its various fronts this weekend- who repeatedly attempted to delegitmise the real and genuine work of commited worldwide groups and movements- urge everyone to think about solidarity and about the processes we adopt in
building and creating the different elements necessary for mobilisations to Scotland- to genuinley make it an inclusive, particaptory, equal, inspiring and creative series of events.

mail e-mail:
- Homepage:

Divide and disrupt

22.10.2004 13:03

I agree with ftp: "the SWP and it's front organisations act in the classic modes of agent provocateurs by divide and disrupt alternative and leftfield movements."

However, I think the reason they do it stems from fundamental ideological reasons: they do not want any other competition from the left when the opportunity arises to replace the government on revolution day. So, subject to resources and opportunity, anything leftfield, whatever its merits, needs to be destroyed or controlled and used for the Party's benefit.

Policy and programme are only relevent in so far as it allows them to do this, but even more important they need to retain sufficient forces for revolution day.

But you are right in the sense that their interests and the states are similar, except the taking power bit on revolution day. It would seem logical for the state to promote them on this analysis. I have no idea if they do. But it would be in the interest of the state to support them now that they are becoming so weekened. But how would you ever know. Is it even worth bothering about.

Peter Smith

Dont blame the SWP for your ineptitude

24.10.2004 14:55

The SWP is the most organised;vibrant;dynamic and active organisation on the scene.
So dont dig up state sponsered conspiracy theories to cover your own shortcomings.If your good enough then organise something substantially better yourselves rather than hijacking cross-spectrum campaigns that are getting the message across and the job done.

Noam Chomsky (individual supporter of G8 mobilising committee).

Noam Chomsky

Thoughts from an anarchist scumbag

25.10.2004 16:22

Nice to see that all but one of these comments supports the action we took on Saturday, in contrast to the flame fest on UK Indymedia. (I'm assuming the last comment wasn't from the *actual* Noam Chomsky, seeing as he couldn't spell "sponsored" or "you're").

Well, I was one of the terrible people that stormed the stage. I came in when there were already folk on stage, but didn't see any "violence" that amounted to anything more than a scuffle. Guilty as charged of being a white anarchist (must do better eh?), but last time I checked I was female. I spoke on stage and heard at least two other women do the same. I would stand by all the speeches made in English during the time we were on the platform. Specifically, I stand by my own call for a boycott of G8 Alternatives next year - meaning the music festival. To be at a state "sponsered" rock concert when the leaders of the world's eight most exploitative economies are just down the road seems strange to say the least. I *would* encourage people to come to the blockade at Faslane - having lived at the peace camp for over a year I'm hardly likely to slag off anti-nuclear direct action. (It would also be nice if more of the political high-ups who pose for the cameras at Big Blockades would come and offer solidarity/do actions at other times of year when the camp badly needs visitors. Moving the compost toilet barrel on a freezing December morning is lots of fun, honest).

Not only were there women and black people involved with Beyond ESF (some of whom even had non-black clothes); I also met quite a few official ESF delegates who thought our action was about the most interesting thing that took place at Ally Pally all weekend. Folk I know from the Scottish Green Party, SSP and SWP actually joined our march back to the autonomous spaces after. Believe it or not I like and respect most people in lefty political parties, and understand that they join hierarchical organisations because it seems like an effective way to try and change the world. What frustrates me is the way that the party machine (and especially the way GR is structured) seems designed to keep disobedience within manageable limits. I've often seen socialists getting really excited about an idea or action, only to later be chastised for getting involved with "dangerous anarchists" or similar. Think about it - people who hope to form the government one day aren't going to want a population to be *too* disobedient or autonomous in their thinking and actions. I agree that there is a lot of work to be done in strengthening the anarchist and direct action movements in Scotland, but that will be achieved all the quicker if talented and principled people decide to chuck in the party rules and start *living* the other world that they believe is possible.

Yours idealistically.

P.S. Sorry 'bout slagging off the last poster for spelling mistakes. That's a bit of a cheap shot. Serves me right if there are typos in my post.


sad folk

04.11.2004 15:52

Your site is so bad & so abusive to people who work hard for a better world.So congrats and keep up the destuctive debate...anyone who is for the status quo will love your site fact are you certain this is not set up by MI5/MI6 just for entertainment.

Kron stan


11.11.2004 13:19

I would have thought folk who were for the status quo would be at least as happy if we all went along with whatever "alternative" way of organising we were fed, and never debated what we wanted a future society to look like. Obviously there are positive and negative ways of carrying out this debate - we should think about our *style* of criticism, but constructive criticism, I would say, is a good thing. And like I said, I can socialise, and sometimes work, with folk who have different political views from my own. That doesn't mean we won't argue politics with each other tho! Anyway, I'm off to do something useful for a change...


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