In June, the G-8 summit meeting will be held in Sea Island, Georgia from the 8th to the 10th. Anti-authoritarians are calling for decentralized actions against capitalism throughout the country similar to those that took place in conjunction with a G-8 meeting on June 18th 1999. The June 18th protests are widely recognized as the start of the anti-globalization movement among the white left in North America and it is hoped that the 2004 actions will reinvigorate a largely dormant movement. The call for decentralized actions is a result of the increasing ineffectiveness of mass protests in which local and federal law enforcement successfully criminalize protest while local citizens stay off the streets until the crazy anarchists are out of town. Moreover, by staging local actions, activists can draw connections between the global capitalist order embodied by the G-8 and local examples of neoliberal style privatization. For example, San Francisco’s actions will be coinciding with the BioDev 2004 (an annual biotechnology conference) and will be focusing on corporate control of life and specifically genetic engineering of agriculture.
In Boston from July 26th to the 29th, the Democratic National Convention will be met by protests. In addition to the protests, the Boston Social Forum will be held from the 23rd to the 25th and will offer a chance for activists from around the country to get together and strategize.
After the DNC protests, a group of activists are organizing a 225 mile “mass mobile convergence” between Boston and New York City. The march, based on the Root Cause march that preceded the convergence against the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) in Miami, will build towards the protests against the Republican National Convention in New York City from August 29 to September 4th. Pre-convention talk from government officials have indicated that security outside of the RNC will be incredibly tight and that “talk of terrorism” may result in the “freedom of assembly” being largely suspended. Nevertheless, media reports have indicated that police and city government officials are expecting nearly a million people to protest outside of the convention.
Both convention protests are part of a nation-wide campaign designed to promote political involvement beyond just voting, encouraging people to instead get involved in politics on a daily basis. The “Don’t Just Vote” campaign was organized to demonstrate that daily organizing and direct action are more effective in achieving social change than voting for one of two largely interchangeable politicians every four years. The campaign, like the decentralized G-8 actions, is designed to promote local organizing over mass convergences in distant cities based on the premise that people are more likely to get involved with local issues than with abstract international issues that may not have a direct bearing on their lives. In addition to the “Don’t Just Vote” campaign, a more cynical electoral campaign called “Vote No One in 2004” is also being organized.