G8/G20 Call-out from Dijon: Deauville we won’t drink your water

2011. The last “crisis” to date is in its third year. In Europe, the financial and banking systems crisis has become a crisis for States. Having thrown millions at the banks and big business, governments say they can no longer take on their debts and they organise, with the help of international institutions (IMF, European Bank), austerity plans: cuts to salaries, social welfare and pensions, massive redundancies, privatisation of public services, destruction of social rights… If rebellious movements develop in many more countries like in Greece, Romania, UK, Italy, France, the politics of social rupture have not stopped and are starting to produce their effects. Exploitation and growing inequalities, repression of migrants and the development of techniques of control, gentrification and ghettoization accompany well-oiled capitalist media propaganda and formidable security policies aimed at maintaining the status-quo and avoiding outbursts.

Mc' Donald

On a global level, the planet suffers from all kinds of pollution, hunger and thirst concern millions of human beings, wars endure but international institutions and multinational corporations are having a party. Millions suffer whilst their power continues unhindered. These institutions get away with anything under the pretext of “handling the crisis”, and this, without leading to coordinated resistances. It is in this context that the ‘powers-that-be’ are about to come together in Deauville (G8, 26/27 May) and in Cannes (G20 in November).

First discussions

At the end of November 2010 a meeting took place at the self-managed space of Les Tanneries to discuss the possibility of organising resistance to these two summits. This meeting took place after ‘evenings of militant reflection’ on the question of counter-summits had been organised in a dozen towns, mainly in France and Germany. We were a little over 80 people from various countries gathered in Dijon to discuss – along anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian lines – our hopes and reflections about the next G8 and G20. Pending other meetings and gatherings here is a run-down of what we arrived at…

Don’t go to Deauville: open the scope of counter-summits.

If certain participants to the discussion have displayed a will to mobilise directly in Deauville to confront the G8, many of us do not wish to meet up in the same place as the summit. The first reason is tactical. We do not want to go exactly there where the forces of repression are awaiting us, to the place that they have chosen and where they will have been prepared for a long time. The counter-summits of Strasbourg, Copenhagen and Brussels were informative: we do not want to go through another lesson in counter-insurrectional techniques from the forces of order. The first international counter-summits had been innovative in bringing into the public sphere a theoretical and practical critique of capitalism, and in producing sometimes ungovernable situations for power. These first confrontations succeeded in denouncing the illegitimacy of official meetings and they were obliged to leave city centres and take refuge in fortified camps. However, after Genoa, the handling of protests by the police has evolved immensely whilst our techniques have only seen minor changes. All too often we find ourselves having to submit rather than act. Without wanting to undermine our successes at these occasions, the official summits of NATO at Strasbourg or of the G8 in Heilligendam played out without any notable problems for the administrators. Deauville is a small, bourgeious, seaside resort which will be super-militarised and where the people will be hostile to us: the possibilities to effectively blockade the G8 summit (or that of the G20 in Cannes) seem to us to be almost none. So, we do not want to take part, yet again, in the big media game and the political instrumentalisation that follows. We no longer want to lose our energy placing too much importance in these summits which, of impostures in collapse, undermine our own credibility. The system crumbles, giving confidence to professionals in this way, preparing the recovery. Our future doesn’t depend on Deauville or Cannes.

However, we believe that it is still necessary to radically contest that which the G8 and G20 represent: capitalism and the more and more violent, unequal and individualist societies that it generates. These official summits are the organisational and legitimising spaces of the global politics of capitalism which we fight the effects of daily. We want to continue to mobilise ourselves on an international level against these institutions, but we believe that it would be more effective to do so by supporting local struggles, multiplying points of rupture and resistance.

The time of the meeting

If we question the classic model of counter-summits, moments of international convergences seem to us to still be indispensable. One of the main interests of counter-summits has always been the possibilities of meeting, exchanging ideas and practices, and living collectively through egalitarian methods. These communal moments nourish our struggles and our possibilities for action, our reflections and our desires. On the other hand, the camps of the counter-summits are habitually marked by time pressure, the urgency of one week that slips by, the pressure from repression, and the police omnipresence. For these reasons, many of the participants of this gathering in Dijon have decided to put their collective energies into organising a village that will last for a longer period of time, taking place during the summer. Many places have been suggested, with the common characteristic of being places marked by struggles.

Convergence spaces will probably be organised in Deauville or nearby during the G8. For our part, we want to organise a space to gather, one with a character that brings out the urgency, that truly allows us to develop and solidify our network, beyond borders, the compartmentalisation of struggles or of political milieus. This village will be an autonomous space to take the time to reflect on theoretical and practical questions but also to (re)learn to work together and coordinate our strategies and our actions. In other words it will be about sharing a communal life, to exchange our practices and the alternatives that we put into practice each day.

Unite the struggles, choose the locations.

This is another of the conclusions from the gathering at Les Tannieres: the importance of the link with people in struggle has been evoked many a time. The movement against pension reform that has just finished in France has left a bitter taste. Many wish to continue to fight against government policies. Many other struggles have taken place all over, in France and in Europe, the politics that more and more people are opposed to are the same, if their carried out at the local, national or global level. Struggles such as the Greek uprising in 2008, the anti-castor campaign in Germany, or the Communes of Oaxaca and Copenhagen show that our force is all the more multiplied when it is linked to those of local populations. On the other hand, to introduce questions and anti-capitalist positions in local struggles could facilitate the broadening of perspectives. This is why we want to spread critique and the confrontation of G8-G20 global politics and their local effects on places, of towns or assemblages where they are not normally present. A collectively run caravan, open to all, will leave next from Lyon to go up and down the roads, towns and villages of France with the aim of participating in the setup of mobilisations against the G8 and G20.

In order to not make the same mistakes of the past again, so that in France the mass of police forces in Deauville will become an advantage and no longer a problem, we call for decentralised actions during the time of the G8, in France and in other countries. Without wanting to dissuade those that will go to Deauville, we call on groups to come together themselves in all regions of France and the world and to organise locally to carry out decentralised actions, in the places and on the symbols of the State and Capital, demonstrations, occupations, temporary autonomous zones, distribution of texts and communiqués… the possibilities are endless and we are everywhere.

The success of this strategy depends on the capacity of local groups to mobilise ourselves. From this perspective, we hope that the self-managed village in the summer will in particular be the continuation of this dynamic, and convergence space for local, regional and international, self-organised groups, and a space that enables the analysis of the results of actions against the G8 and to consider the next international mobilisations, which will start with those against the G20. These 3 moments (G8, village, G20) are the occasion to experiment with a new stage in our movements of struggle, to pass another stage in the elaboration of strategies and collective tactics against international institutions. This is, in the end, an attempt to augment our capacities for action and our possibilities for reflection and self-organisation.