An article from Do or Die Issue 9. In the paper edition, this article appears on page(s) 112-113.
What follows is the original proposal for the Global Day of Action on Tuesday November 30th 1999, the first day of the Third Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation which took place in Seattle, Washington, USA. The proposal was drafted, debated and amended on the June 18th (J18) e-mail discussion list and distributed across the globe.
November 30th, 1999
A Global Day of Action, Resistance, and Carnival Against the Global Capitalist System
Activists from diverse groups and movements around the world are discussing, networking and organising for an INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ACTION on November 30th. On this day, officials of 150 governments will meet in Seattle for the 3rd conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), at which they will decide on new policies that will further escalate the exploitation of our planet and its people by the global capitalist system. Thus, there will be attempts to push through a new version of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), strengthen intellectual property rights, and further neoliberalisation through a new round of free trade talks.
A coalition of radical ACTIVISTS has been formed in Seattle to stage actions against the conference, and activist groups around the world are planning to converge on the city. Also, at their conferences this summer, the International Workers of the World (IWW) and the international Peoples' Global Action (PGA) network endorsed and began to plan ACTIONS AGAINST THE WTO around the world. Meanwhile, various grassroots groups prepare to take action in their own parts of the world in recognition that the CAPITALIST SYSTEM, based on the exploitation of people, societies and the environment for the profit of a few, is the PRIME CAUSE of present SOCIAL AND ECOLOGICAL TROUBLES.
In view of these developments, we now call for SYMPATHETIC COMMUNITIES, GRASSROOTS GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALS around the world to organise their OWN AUTONOMOUS ACTIONS, protests, and carnivals against the capitalist system on November 30th.
Our simultaneous TRANSFORMATION OF THE CAPITALIST SOCIAL ORDER around the world - in the streets, neighbourhoods, fields, factories, offices, commercial centres, financial districts and so on, would contribute to the process of bringing separate struggles together and BUILDING ALTERNATIVE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC STRUCTURES based on co-operation, ecological sustainability, and grassroots democracy.
This call is made in the spirit of continuing the process of building a strong, bold and CREATIVE GRASSROOTS MOVEMENT against the economic and political institutions of capitalism. For as we realise that no issue is isolated, be it exploitation of workers, the peasant farmers going bankrupt, the indigenous peoples getting displaced by 'development' programmes or our environment being destroyed, we also realise that we must act together and UNITE OUR STRUGGLES AGAINST the social, political, and economic institutions of THE CAPITALIST SYSTEM. Only a strong and united movement of grassroots groups who struggle independent of these institutions and seek to effect change directly through their own autonomous action can dissolve their power and BUILD A BETTER SOCIAL ORDER based on grassroots organisation.
Our simultaneous occupation and transformation of economic centres around the globe on November 30th, and our preparations leading up to this, would be an essential contribution to the process of making local, national, and international connections. The day would BRING DIFFERENT MOVEMENTS TOGETHER in solidarity with one another and strengthen the mutual bonds of otherwise disparate groups - workers, the unemployed, students, trade unionists, peasants, the landless, fishers, womens' groups, ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples, peace activists, environmental activists, ecologists and so on.
This process will be continued through FURTHER GLOBAL DAYS OF ACTION IN THE FUTURE, MAYDAY 2000 for instance, has been called by a London collective, and endorsed by PGA and other collectives and networks, as a perfect symbolic and real opportunity to escalate our resistance globally. The proposal and contact information can be found at http://www.freespeech.org/mayday2k/second.htm, and there is an internet discussion listserve already operating at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The PRESENT PROPOSAL of a November 30th global day of action FOLLOWS from the success of the co-ordinated global day of action on JUNE 18TH this year, and is intended to expand on it in the same spirit. On that day, separate grassroots movements in over 30 countries on all continents worked together and JOINED FORCES AGAINST THE GLOBAL CAPITALIST SYSTEM. The day saw for instance marches by workers in Bangladesh and Pakistan; a fake trade fair by Uruguayan activists; thousands of people in a carnival in London's financial district; occupations and street parties in Spain, Italy, USA, and Canada; ten thousand people in Nigeria protesting the oil industry and imperialism; and, in Melbourne, a prominent politician hit with a cream pie and a logging multinational blockaded with dead wombats. (For more information, see: www.infoshop.org/june18.html and www.j18.org)
The November 30th global day of action would be organised in a non-hierarchical way, as a DECENTRALISED AND INFORMAL NETWORK of autonomous groups that struggle for solidarity and co-operation while employing non-authoritarian, grassroots democratic forms of organisation. Each event or ACTION would be ORGANISED AUTONOMOUSLY BY EACH GROUP, while coalitions of various movements and groups could be formed at the local, regional, and national levels. A strategy that may be useful at the local level is that various groups co-operate in creating a surrounding ATMOSPHERE OF CARNIVAL and festivity as a setting for their various actions. Examples of conceivable actions are:
street parties, strikes, handing out flyers, street theatre, pickets, demonstrations, occupations of offices, blockades and shutdowns, building gardens, speeches, appropriation and disposal of luxury consumer goods, critical mass bike rides, banner hangings, sabotaging, wrecking, or interfering with capitalist infrastructure, carnivals, appropriating capitalist wealth and returning it to the working people, handing out free food, mock trade fairs, marches, music, dancing, solidarity actions, declaring oneself independent from global capitalism and authoritarian governments, setting up grassroots community councils and holding meetings outside city halls, setting up economic alternatives, like workers co-operatives offering no interest loans outside major banks, reclaiming space (streets, government land, office buildings, etc.) for living, playing, etc., free distribution of community controlled newspapers.
Your INITIATIVE AND PARTICIPATION, no matter how small, are crucial to the success of the November 30th day of action in your location. This proposal needs to be spread and discussed, perhaps translated; meetings need to be organised; EVENTS PLANNED; leaflets printed and distributed; funds raised; laughter and conversation shared. If you, or your group, plan actions on November 30th, please let others know as soon as possible, to FACILITATE NETWORKING and communication, as well as International media efforts. Please send your contact information to: N30@visto.com
Your contact information may be included in an international contacts list. The more detailed information you send (land address, phone number, fax number, email address), the better it is, but, for your own security, please do not include any contact information that you prefer not to be made public.
We expect to COMMUNICATE INTERNATIONALLY PRIMARILY BY EMAIL, and so encourage all groups and individuals who plan to take action to subscribe to suitable mailing lists, and in general make efforts to STAY IN TOUCH through this and other means. There is a list of available mailing lists in the appendix below. Please join one, and SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS and plans with the rest of us. This proposal has been translated into TEN LANGUAGES, which will be necessary for future proposals and reports as well. If you can help with translations, please keep in touch via the N30 listserve or the N30 email at: N30@visto.com
Please FORWARD THIS PROPOSAL to appropriate lists and to people who will be interested, reproduce it and circulate, put it on a web-site, and most importantly, ACT..
NOVEMBER 30 GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION COLLECTIVE
N30 c/o IWW, 5215 Ballard, NW Seattle, WA. 98107, USA.