On Friday, we stayed in the camp and I did the interviews I promised for my dissertation project. Many people were already packing and leaving, and the atmosphere was relaxed, so I hoped to get some good insights and talks; it was hot as usual with the sun burning down, definitely, more than 30 degrees and campers stood at the exit of the camp waving DIY signs to catch a lift to the BEACH!!!.
I first talked to a friend of mine from IMC UK, but the minidisc recorder seemed dodgy, so I just asked people hanging around the info tent and the IMC tent.
At first, I felt a bit disappointed because of missing out on today’s actions, but as most of the more autonomous folks had already left on Thursday after their 4.30 am walkout proofed unsuccessful, and after the blockades, it seemed that the final demo on Friday would just be pretty small and supposedly uneventful as most activists were either heading towards the beach or home.
I suddenly realised that we have been missing out a lot by just focussing on reporting the actions and not just talk a bit more with other unknown activists, as there were some brilliant projects going on I did not yet know about.
The music people’s website is http://move-against-g8.de , some big subcultural bands played on the free gigs at the G8 protest camps: Irie Revoltes, Tom Morello (Rage against the Machine), Chumbawamba, Guts Pie Earshot, Quetschenpaua, Chaoze One, Jan Delay, Obrint Pas and Brigada Flores Magon, amongst many others like David Rovics and individuals from German bands less known internationally.
I also met an older pacifist who organises peace bicycle rides, like from Paris to Moskow this year, and next year with the Trans-Siberian train and the bikes to the Olympic Games in Bejing. He was zooming round with a van more or less full of bicycles, apparently borrowing these out and collecting them, and furthermore donating old ones to prospective Eastern European peace cyclists without bikes.
More info under: http://bikeforpeace.de
The friend of the peace-cycling organiser organises the Tour de Natur, an ecological protest cycle ride, this year from Nuremberg to Offenbach, to protest against a gigantic potable water lake project, which will destroy apparently a beautiful valley. Last year, they were apparently cycling against the privatisation of the railways and public transport. More information at: http://tourdenatur.net
I also talked to a french squatter, one of the camp kitchens whose communal housing project is now threatened by a regeneration project, one of the camp organisers, some people staffing the info point, a Scottish activist, a participant of the Christian tent neighbourhood, a trade unionist as well as an ex-soldier plumber, who organises something similar such as conscious clubbing and did initiate the famous Peace Not War CDs some years ago to support the Iraq War protests.
Unfortunately, the Handwerkherz, the collective of apprentice joiners who build the fantastic wooden showers, benches, watchtowers, bicycle racks, bar and children’s adventure playground, did not want to talk to me on record. They were tired, they explained, and also there would be at the moment quite a bit of internal controversy about their role in the camp and protest infrastructure and if they as semi-professional tradesmen would have taken on a specific political stance or something.
One of the most impressive campaigns publicised, were the present Japanese squatters and the current repression against them, with the eviction of Nagai Park tent city, depriving more than 4000 people of a home. Apparently, this has happened in connection with some international Athletic championship in Osaka this year, which has seen some hardcore repression against homeless people and squatters, with some activists being in jail for over 7 months without trial.
More info via the Kamagasaki patrol: http://kamapat.seesaa.net
One of the newest campaigns are the Superheroes, which seem to be quite fun. It basically says that everybody is a superhero because we would all need superpowers to survive in this globalised economy.
The blurb of the campaign says:
To survive neoliberalism, we have all become superheroes. The impossible is demanded of us everyday: We are Super-Flexible, Super-Sonic-Mobile and Super-Superfluous! But all over the world, people are discovering their secret superhero powers of creativity and solidarity in the quest to uncover commonality.
You (and our) superhero mission is as follows: Bring together the multitude of superhero subjectivities. Constitute common struggles, despite and beyond differences.
The Invisible Woman
The Invisible Woman is the worker you never see. She is the illegalised. The one without papers. No legal contract. No security. Sometimes working for a wage, and sometimes without. Sometimes, she produces goods for sale. More often, though, she produces the immaterial: ideas, images, affects, relations, life.
This is the key to her exploitation, as well as her super-powers.
Superheroes of the World Unite, You have nothing to lose but your chainstores.**