Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Last December 6 Polish anarchists joined the "climate change parade" in the Polish city of Poznan. To say the least they had different viewpoints and different solutions to the problem than others who took part. Here's an article from the Polish Centrum Informacji Anarchistycznej via the A-Infos website that tells the story.
Poland, Anarchists Take Part in Climate Change Parade in Poznan:
On Dec. 6, some NGOs and some political parties or "paraparties" held a parade in support of the climate change conference COP14 which is being held in Poznan, Poland. The parade started out rather modestly, with around 300 people but was joined by hundreds of conference participators, mostly internationals which doubled or even tripled its size as it reached the place of the conference.
Unfortunately, the parade, which was meant as a show of "support for the negotiations" was dominated by liberal wishy-washy politics. Prior to the parade there were problems with the organizers who were panicked about potential anarchist violence (in part provoked by exaggerated macho bravado of anarchists). There were different opinions as to whether to join the march or not, but the local anarchists decided to join. Besides local anarchists, a group from Warsaw came, including samba players. Some Warsaw anarchists planned only to do their own thing and boycott the liberals' march, but on seeing that others were determined to go on the demo, they went as well. Although it is hard to tell who was in this black bloc and who was just walking near it, it was at least 60-100 people, thus much bigger than the Green Party and some of the other groups officially organizing it.
However, the demo was still dominated by the Oxfam/ Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth types. A large number of these people were dressed as clowns. The liberal clowns were surely entertaining for passersby, but, for anybody actually interested in the politics of the issues, the different demonstrators were giving totally different messages. A small debate broke out between a number of American Greenpeace activists and anarchists because they were wearing Obama stickers and buttons and bullshitting about how Obama was going to bring about a green revolution. (Similar stuff was printed in the Green Party's newspaper which was given out widely to passerbys.) One member of Union of Syndicalists (ZSP) handed out leaflets in English as well to the international participants, most of whom were delegates to the conference, calling for direct action instead of lobbying and calling for an end to government and capitalism.
The anarchists had a banner which read "Climate Change Requires System Change" and chanted slogans against capitalism and calling the conference participants hypocrites. The former slogan was controversial amongst some of the liberals since many conference participants were on the march. The tactics amongst the anarchists therefore were also different since, although all were against the politicians, some were aggressive towards the NGO people and others were more interested in presenting a different view to them. In terms of political approach, the anarchists again presented different opinion, with some of them supporting the idea spread by the Polish government that CO2 caps will hurt Polish industry and lead to job loss and others challenging this idea. However they were united in their opposition to lobbying and government talks as a solution and in the idea that capitalism has got to go.
Some members of Anarchist Federation and Workers' Initiative, as well as non-aligned anarchists took part in the Black Bloc. Members of Union Syndicalists prepared lots of different booklets calling for direct action and organizing in Polish and English which they handed out to people on the street as well as to many of the liberal NGO types and leftists.
Photos are here:

No comments: