Anti-capitalists haven't gone away!

(Taken from LoomBreaker #24)

So anti-capitalism has gone away now has it? After all there weren't tens of thousands of people on the streets of Qatar demonstrating against the WTO… They thought they could hide in the desert and no one would notice their summit as world leaders tried to push through legislation to "remove trade barriers". That's short for turning over remaining public services to private interests and claiming ownership (intellectual property rights) of everything under the sun under obscure new international agreements on patents.

Just because people didn't take to the streets of Qatar doesn't mean their summit went un-noticed. In total there were over 116 different actions in 44 countries against the summit. In London, 6000 (including some from Manchester) marched at the trade justice carnival organised by NGOs, in Manchester activists took their protest to some of the companies involved with lobbying the WTO and pushing through privatisation.

The first target was Addleshaw Booth and Co, a firm of lawyers who specialise in privatisation, they are responsible for selling of Hackney's public services and privatising nurses homes in Manchester. Eight protestors, some dressed in smart suits walked past the receptionists and straight into the company's Manchester offices, moving things around, hiding files and generally disrupting their morning. Security were promptly called and those involved were escorted out of the building.

Not content with targeting just one horrible corporation, the next place to get similar treatment was Price Waterhouse Coopers who were involved in lobbying the WTO and drawing up controversial privatisation plans for the Post Office. Again some people dressed in suits, others went for a more casual look and walked into the building ahead of them. The scruffy ones began chanting anti-WTO slogans and playing samba music, this provided a distraction as the security guards contained the samba players, allowing the other protestors in suits to leap over the security barriers un- noticed, this time they were able to wreak more havoc, locking filing cabinets and hiding the keys. Leaflets were distributed to workers many of whom were temps and sympathised with the protests, they didn't realise just how nasty their employers were!


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© Networking Newsletter (December 2001)