Archive for IMF

On Summit Demonstrations, Solidarity Actions and the Necessity of Consistency

Posted in Corporations, Direct Action & Civil Disobedience, Environment, Government, Housing Rights, Immigration & Borders, Police State, Revolution with tags , , on February 23, 2011 by Ⓐb Irato

A Position Paper From the IMF Resistance Network

The problematic aspects of summit demonstrations have been made clear. In the current climate of action in antiauthoritarian circles we have run into a little bit of a bind, both conceptually and practically. Militant demonstrations at the sites of trade summits have done a lot to break the image of the “Washington Consensus” as well as mount actual destabilizations in the functioning of the apparatus of the State in certain areas for periods of time But summit demos have become something of an abstract anarchist threat that comes to take up a lot of energy and only engages for a short period of time, only to see that energy dispersed after the last dumpsters are rolled back down their respective alleys and the last windows replaced.

But we want to push beyond the absurdities of the recent debates around large scale confrontation. The absurdities of claims to our addictions or speculation about the psychological motivations beyond confrontation aside, we need to move beyond understanding our actions within the borders of spatial divisions of local and global. If we can say one thing about capitalist globalization it is that these divisions have been eliminated and have become part of global commodity flows.

But most recent debates around how to engage in anticapitalist actions have fallen either into an understanding of attacking capitalism as some sort of entity or focus on the local level where it is actually enacted. But all action is localized to a time and place within a wider context that frames that “locality,” and yet a reliance on this localism or globalism, or the position of only “local organizing” or “global movements,” relies on an arbitrary definition of “local” or “global” as a geographic location, as if we only act geographically. We need to understand that capitalist markets operate as a conjunction of local circumstances that, through their mechanizatons, frame the limits and possibilities of localized actions.

We need to see beyond the local/global dichotomy to begin to understand actions against capitalism as a matter of consistency. It is not that markets are things that are damaged by broken windows, in fact I bet plate glass companies love anarchists. But really it is a matter if disrupting the very possibility of the functioning of markets, the flow of commodities. In other words, it is not a matter of striking at sites but of disrupting operations in a consistent and wide spread basis. On this level there is something to be said for completely dispersed tactics that attack at a variety of sites all at once. But again, this reduces disruption to sites of capital rather than the possibility of their operation. What is traded away in these widely dispersed tactics (organized under the banner of Plan B and a variety of different names) is the sheer magnitude that presents itself in convergence, the ability to disrupt and rupture police strategy, the space generated in widespread disruption. We need to look beyond the summit as a singular action, and also beyond the summit as a collection of widely dispersed singular actions that have no resonance or magnitude to them. Rather we need to understand these phenomena through the lens of a flow and deployment of energies, on the level of magnitude, on the level of resonance. In other words, we need to look beyond the summit demonstration as a thing or a space, beyond the institution as a target, and begin to understand it as a convergence, as a coming together. In this framework it may seem odd to focus on the International Monetary Fund, and it would be if that were the focus. It is not that the IMF does horrible things that create poverty through austerity (although it does), but rather that what the IMF presents, and how it has operated, is in the capacity of making capitalism possible through enforcing privatization, monetarization, and the standardization of economic relations around capitalist models. This is what has been recognized in this current round of financial crisis, the IMF makes capitalism possible. And it is within this understanding that we can begin to see something like the IMF not as an institution that is central in itself but as another manifestation of capitalism to be confronted.

The importance of solidarity actions needs to escape this odd format of global referendum on the popularity of our politics and become a way to understand global resistance to capitalism as a convergence of anticapitalist actions, actions that can be more or less coordinated, more or less in concert with each other. But the spectre of the solidarity action is a vast modification in the way that we have understood demonstrations in the past. With the dispersal of action, not in a single urban space necessarily (although there is a lot to say about the tactical advantages of this as well), but on a wider scale, we are able to mount disruptions not only at the site of the summit but within the global flows of markets. But solidarity needs to be seen beyond simply the dates of a meeting and needs to be understood as a constant stance, a constant series of actions in widely dispersed sites over a consistent period of time.

In other words, it is time to get serious about this! Trying to appeal to the better ethical notions of capitalists and politicians, trying to shame cops out of beating demonstrators, trying to appeal to global financial institutions to “find a heart” are all approaches based in an understanding of capitalism as some sort of cabal. What we need to understand is that markets only work if economic situations are “stabilized”, smooth, without disruption and that these minor disruptions, these singular actions, pieces of graffiti, broken windows, are nothing compared to the constancy of the flows of global capitalism. Solidarity actions are pointless if they are about “speaking with one voice” or appealing to “decision makers”. They are about making a decision ourselves. Deciding that we will not allow our existence to be limited and defined through the flows of markets, and that we will do what is necessary to create the space to live a life that is worth living. But that decision must exist outside position papers like this one, it must exist as an active, alive convergence of the energy generated by anticapitalist actions. It must exist as an expansion, a multiplication of disruptions that operate beyond the arbitrary borders of the global and the local, and every confrontation is part of the development of this destabilization. It is not about smashing capitalism, but about generating disruptions of enough magnitude, in enough places, consistently enough to make its operation impossible. That means that confrontation must feed confrontation, on whatever scale possible, at whatever site possible.

Call to Action for the Spring 2011 IMF/WB Meetings

Posted in Corporations, Direct Action & Civil Disobedience, Environment, Government, Immigration & Borders, Indigenous, Police State, Prisoner Support, Revolution with tags , , , on January 27, 2011 by Ⓐb Irato

On April 16, 2000 upward of 20,000 anti-globalization protesters descended on Washington, DC to resist the destructive neoliberal policies of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. On the heels of the stunning victory in Seattle on N30, hopes were high that the A16 demo would shut down the meetings and once again show the world the power of bottom-up, horizontal resistance.

A16 didn’t turn out to be another Seattle, but the worldwide struggle against neoliberalism was largely successful nonetheless. The relentless pressure of mass demonstrations at every summit meeting, coupled with ever more militant resistance from the residents of the affected countries, left the so-called Washington consensus in ruins. IMF capitalization plummeted in the following years as more and more poor nations opted out of the financial straightjacket of exorbitant interest rates and austerity measures demanded of IMF loan recipients.

Today, the tentacles of neoliberalism are encircling previously exempt populations in Europe and the US, as international bankers demand their speculative losses be made good by people already on the verge of destitution. In countries like Greece and Latvia, massive cuts in social services are forcing millions into poverty, in order to repay the IMF the billions that went to bailing out casino capitalists. In other countries, like the US, neoliberals wreak their havoc without middlemen, but the results are the same. Here in Washington, DC, home of the IMF and World Bank, school budgets are being slashed, homeless shelters closed, city employees laid off, and Metro fares raised, all to make up budget shortfalls caused by rescuing multi-billion dollar banks from their own greed and stupidity. DC is also the target of an invasion by Wal-Mart, who plans to open four stores here in 2012. This is the same Wal-Mart that received millions from the World Bank for energy projects in Haiti and Mexico.

The rest of the world is not taking this lying down. In Greece, strikes and protests are near daily occurrences, to the point that the economic disruption may be costing the government more money than they save through austerity measures. Students in England have rioted in response to tuition hikes, destroying the lobby of the Liberal Democrat party headquarters and attacking Prince Charles’ car – with him inside it. A spontaneous, leaderless revolt in Tunisia has driven one president into exile, and the transition government is already falling apart.

Here in the US we live at the heart of the capitalist empire. More than any other people in the world, we have the opportunity, and the responsibility, to derail the imperial machine. This year the IMF and World Bank will once again begin their spring meetings on April 16. The IMF Resistance Network invites all enemies of neoliberal capitalism to join us in the streets of DC to fight for a just and free world.

IMF Resistance Network Calls for an International Night of Action Against Capitalism

Posted in Corporations, Direct Action & Civil Disobedience, Government, Police State, Revolution with tags , , on September 29, 2010 by Ⓐb Irato

Call for an International Night of Action Against Capitalism on October 8, 2010

The street is a space that we create together, a space that has become fragmented by private property and the flow of capital. Because the flow of capital needs this space to function, this is the ground on which it is most vulnerable. The idea of real public space has been robbed from the people. This space needs to be defended and united against the forces of oppression and capitalist concepts of production. We assert that this space must be retaken! It is ours to take, we are the public, and this is public space. When we ask “whose streets?” it is most important that we answer for ourselves “our streets!” because they are ours to define, and we, not the police, set the stage for them to function.

On the night of October 8th the International Monetary Fund and World Bank delegates will be in Washington DC meeting with their corporate cronies. On this night they will be wining and dining in some of the most lavish hotels in the world, planning how to facilitate the enclosure and sale of the worlds streets to the highest bidder. It is in the streets that we propose this be challenged. The IMF Resistance Network is calling for an international night of action against capitalism to reclaim our streets and our lives. From the streets of DC to streets around the world we will assert that all streets belong to the people. The time for negotiation has ended, all our pleas have fallen on deaf ears. It has become clear that we cannot ask trade ministers and capitalists to not function as trade ministers and capitalists. This is not about dialogue, this is a fight to retake our lives, and this is a fight that tolerates no compromise.

On October 8th we will begin to retake our streets and our lives. The time to ask is over, we need to retake our spaces, to reclaim our streets, to assert that we are the ones that create this space, and our creation will not be sold out from under us.

Love and rage,

The IMF Resistance Network

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Beyond the Local/Global Dichotomy: On Summit Demonstrations, Solidarity Actions and the Necessity of Consistency

Posted in Corporations, Direct Action & Civil Disobedience, Environment, Immigration & Borders, Indigenous, Police State, Revolution with tags , , , , , on September 13, 2010 by Ⓐb Irato

A Position Paper From the IMF Resistance Network

The problematic aspects of summit demonstrations have been made clear. In the current climate of action in antiauthoritarian circles we have run into a little bit of a bind, both conceptually and practically. Militant demonstrations at the sites of trade summits have done a lot to break the image of the “Washington Consensus” as well as mount actual destabilizations in the functioning of the apparatus of the State in certain areas for periods of time. But summit demos have become something of an abstract anarchist threat that comes to take up a lot of energy and only engages for a short period of time, only to see that energy dispersed after the last dumpsters are rolled back down their respective alleys and the last windows replaced.

But we want to push beyond the absurdities of the recent debates around large scale confrontation. The absurdities of claims to our addictions or speculation about the psychological motivations beyond confrontation aside, we need to move beyond understanding our actions within the borders of spatial divisions of local and global. If we can say one thing about capitalist globalization it is that these divisions have been eliminated and have become part of global commodity flows.

Continue reading

Update From the IMF Resistance Network

Posted in Corporations, Direct Action & Civil Disobedience, Environment, Indigenous, Police State, Revolution with tags , on August 30, 2010 by Ⓐb Irato

Greetings from the IMF Resistance Network! With five weeks to go, interest in the October demo is increasing around the world. Sign up for our announcement list here.

The nice people at Occupied London have re-posted our call. Check it out here.

We have confirmation that the dates of the meetings have changed. The new dates are October 8 – 10, with seminars on the seventh.

Tentative schedule in place. Times and particularly places are subject to change, and more events and details will be filled in in the coming days.

Thursday, October 7: Student day of action. This is being organized by Defend Education and various radical students in DC. http://www.defendeducation.org/

Friday, October 8: Jubilee USA (http://www.jubileeusa.org/) is organizing a permitted march, to be followed by a block party in Washington Circle featuring food, workshops and trainings. There will be an anti-capitalist night of action Friday night.

Saturday, October 9: Festival at the Ellipse (a park in DC near the Capitol). Music, art and magic.

Sunday, October 10: Nothing yet, get in touch at contact AT imfresistance DOT org if your group would like to organize something.

Call to Resist the IMF

Posted in Corporations, Direct Action & Civil Disobedience, Police State, Revolution with tags , , , , , on August 12, 2010 by Ⓐb Irato

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have a well-deserved reputation for being the loan sharks of global capitalism. Both institutions are infamous for forcing poor countries in the global south to ruin their own economies in order to further enrich Western corporations. Nations who decline to borrow money at exorbitant interest rates and then beggar their populations to pay it back (or worse, default on their existing debt), are subjected to trade sanctions that have been described as “the economic equivalent of nuclear war.”

The neoliberal regime represented by the IMF has generated intense, and largely successful, resistance across the world. In Argentina a popular revolt in response to the 2001 economic collapse, caused by strict adherence to neoliberal policies, saw three governments toppled in a month. Piqueteros threw up barricades of burning tires on the highways, workers took over their factories, and “Que se vayan todos!” became the rallying cry for an entire nation. After the passage of NAFTA in 1994, the Zapatistas established their own autonomous territory in the Mexican state of Chiapas that survives to this day, in spite of continuous government repression. In North America and Europe massive protests greeted neoliberal elites at every summit, including Seattle in 1999 when the World Trade Organization meeting was completely shut down. In Barcelona in 2001 the World Bank canceled a summit entirely for fear of protests.

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