As APEC begins to hot up, there has been large-scale debate over the risks protestors will potentially pose to the summit. But are the demonstration groups all a bunch of violent, ideological extremists? To help you decide where you stand, Crikey has compiled our own cut-out guide to the weekend’s APEC protests.
Stop Bush Coalition (will return to being the Stop The War Coalition after APEC):
The Stop Bush Coalition vows to fight the “destructive” and “unsustainable” Bush and Howard administrations by promoting peace, democracy, clean energy and the rights of working people everywhere. The group’s website advertises its peaceful APEC protest organised for September 8th, at Sydney Town Hall. See the full details and march route here.
The SBC is largely dominated by the Democratic Socialist Perspective :
The DSC is a Marxist group within the Socialist Alliance, seeking to “to build a mass revolutionary socialist party that is capable of organising the Australian working class to bring into being a socialist society through replacing the political rule of the capitalist class with a government of the working class.” It will be supporting the BSC rally.
The Socialist Alliance is an anti-capitalist group. Its website proclaims: “We stand for socialism — a democratic society that is run by and for working people, not the tiny, greedy, destructive elite that now rules. We stand for putting people before profit — for the millions not the millionaires.” It will also be supporting the BSC rally.
Resistance is a socialist youth group that aims to rally “the overwhelming numbers and economic power of the working class to give it the power to overthrow capitalism and replace it with socialism.” The group is responsible for organising the controversial APEC student walkouts right across the country on September 5th at 1:30pm.
The IVAW group began in the US “to give a voice to the large number of active duty service people and veterans who are against this war, but are under various pressures to remain silent.” It calls for the immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces in Iraq, reparations for the people of Iraq, and full benefits and support for returning servicemen and women. Members will be participating and speaking at the major SBC rally on Saturday.
F.L.A.R.E is a pre-APEC convergence space, promoting the opportunity “to learn from each other & strengthen networks of resistance beyond a single summit protest.” It opened last night at the Tooth Gallery, and will run until September 9th. See the full address and details here.
AC/DC is an anarchist group that has controversially announced its intention to ‘violently’ disrupt the summit (they told Crikey that their definition of violent differs markedly from the media’s). In an open letter posted on a variety of internet forums, the group calls for a “mass, strategic intervention”. See a copy of the letter here.
Mutiny is one of the anarchist groups linked to violence at last year’s G20 summit. Mutiny published a controversial open letter to APEC protest organisers in May. Here are some key excerpts:
“We’re concerned to hear that the Sydney Stop Bush Coalition has decided to produce posters saying ‘join the peaceful protest.’
…Insisting on the image of ‘peaceful protest’ only amplifies the wedge politics of the police and media: and it doesn’t stop police violence. It seems downright irresponsible to promise – or demand – peace. Obedience will not make us safer.
In this context, it seems likely that, whatever the desire of the organisers, people will choose to attend the protest prepared for self-defence or other disobedient actions. Is the call for ‘peaceful protest’ an attempt by the small group producing the poster to say that such tactics and politics are not welcome at the protest?
This letter was not written because we’re planning so-called ‘violent protest’ or know of some secret plans. We have no idea. Preparing for APEC protests has not been a priority for us as a group.
…We write in the hope that we or groups with politics similar to ours would be able to organise for APEC alongside others – in the hope that a diversity of tactics will be possible and the spaces for discussion and action will not be shut down.”
See the full letter here.
The MUA will be holding an APEC protest festival to “assert fair trade, real action on global warming, genuine development to alleviate poverty and respect for the labour rights and human rights of all the peoples of our vast Asia Pacific Region”. It will include food, music, performances, speakers and information stalls. There will be no march from the rally to the festival to help ensure the safety of the event. The event will be held on Friday September 7th at Hide Park in Sydney. It kicks off at 11am.
The Latin American Solidarity Network (LASNET) is an “independent and inclusive group of people working in solidarity with Latin American grassroots movements and its struggles.” In Australia, LASNET aims to “raise awareness of the struggles of Latin American people and works to support these initiatives through local and national activism.” LASNET will be participating in FLARE in the Void and in the Saturday protest march.
And then there’s the protest protest group, Aussies for ANZUS:
Formed just last weekend by the “proudly Liberal member” John Ruddick, Aussies for ANZUS is a group designed to welcome the US President to APEC and promote the Australian-US alliance. Its creator boasts a five-by-three metre banner than announces, “We support Bush, we love America, aussies4anzus.com”, decorated with both countries’ flags. The group has been given police permission to position themselves within the APEC security zone. See full details of the campaign here.