I was not expecting a lot from this book, after reading Naomi Klein’s Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate, I was somewhat skeptical that a book could effectively capture the energy, hope and frustration of the anti-globalization movement.
However, I was presently surprised by Starhawk’s book. She has attended most of the major protests since the Seattle WTO meetings, and more importantly, she has been an active participant in the various direct actions that have taken place. Her accounts of the protests are interesting, and while they usually discuss the actions of the pagan cluster, that discussion is always rooted in the larger context of what else took place at the protests.
The last part of the book, a collection of writings dealing with direct action and non-violence, is what really impressed me. She is able to move beyond the usual polarized discussion of non-violence versus violence debate (a debate in property destruction usually constitutes “violence”) and address the issue in a refreshing manner. While I disagree with the position of non-violence, Starhawk has a lot to say about the reality of violence in the context of anti-globalization protests and how it is ultimately a tactic that will fail in the face of the state’s power.
Starhawk, Webs of Power: Notes from the Global Uprising, (New Society Publishers, 2002).