IMF in DC begins

colist-admin at colist-admin at
Fri Apr 21 16:38:42 CDT 2000

[ed:  Doug continues the discussion of the focus of A16]

From: Doug Hess <DHess at>

I have to agree that participants in the A16 activities need to ask
themselves: what next?  Often A16 seemed young protestors vs the police,
instead of mass movement vs the IMF/WB.  

I got the impression from interviews in the media with activists and from
glancing at their sites that many participants believe that direct action
is the only legitimate tool.  Furthermore, many of the anarchists groups
seem so swept up in their factions and debate over tactics that they even
defeated the a16 website from being effective (at least for part of
yesterday it was full of ugly internecine debates).  Likewise, the focus on
technology for reporting made it hard for me to use the website (at least
at work where I have a rather mediocre computer/modem), and I assume this
made it even harder for others. This "overdoing of the technology" is
especially unfortunate as mainstream websites like Yahoo had the activists
websites listed as primary links for new....a nice coup in itself...but
maybe a somewhat lost opportunity.

All this makes me wonder if the focus on tactics over strategy isn't in
need of urgent reflection by these activists. I fear that many of them are
so emotionally caught up in the self-identify of being "radical" that they
are not realizing that they may be condemning themselves to also being
"fringe."  If so, they will be dismissed.  As the DC police and conference
planners showed, you can always get around direct action with practice. 
(For instance, I happened to be up at 4:30 am the day before the protests
-- don't ask why -- and saw about 9 police cars and 4 buses head down the
street.  I believe these might have been many of the delegate being bussed
into the conference before demonstrations got under way.)

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