Saturday, December 31, 2011

Important Dates in 2012 for Anarchists, The 99% & Social Justice Advocates

After the rise of the #OCCUPYWALLSTREET movement, on top of various revolutions and insurrections around the world in 2011, I expect that 2012 will likely see more of the same along these lines.  Of course, this will also be in the context of more draconian policies which target dissent amidst a crumbling economic and environmental infrastructure.  Some people will, undoubtedly, try to preserve and maintain the status quo while blaming the victims for resisting (or for even just simply pointing out the injustices of this world).  Nevertheless, I've got a feeling that this coming year might possibly see unprecedented protests around the globe.  As late as the proverbial hour is getting for the dominant culture... people may simply never have this type of opportunity to protest again.  That may sound like an exaggeration, but I wouldn't underestimate the power and ruthlessness of those currently in charge of this system.  Who can guess the horrific depths to which they will sink to maintain their power?     

That said, despite the risks, I reiterate my hunch that 2012 will be a year of significant and unprecedented protests.  Particularly, in English speaking countries, a few specific events might attract large numbers of people demonstrating in favor of social, economic, and environmental justice.  Again... these will simply be building off of recent actions and will be driven by an evermore desperate and diverse cross-section of society (with less to lose each passing day).  The simple reality is that environmental degradation continues to snowball while resource depletion spurs war, famine, and economic instability.      

So, without further ado, these are the particular events which I predict will see large protests in the face of violent and corrupt power...

The London Olympic Games: August 29th to September 9th

The underlying social issues have not really been addressed in England since the riots took place in early August of 2011.  While many apparently want to pretend that there was no socio-economic impetus behind those riots, others can see the reality of the situation and they realize that the more such problems are ignored, or addressed poorly, the more they will continue to simmer and brew under the surface.  Additionally, the modern Olympics are largely about advertising for corrupt and exploitative corporations.  Other issues of historical injustices surrounding the Olympics, combined with the regular appearance of protesters at this nationalistic carnival, suggest that this year's Olympic games might see serious and unprecedented protests.      

Global May Day Events: May 1st. 

I'm throwing this date out there because, historically, it has been a day of protest.  In the context of a continuing protest movement... I suspect that this year's May Day celebration will attract more people, in countries around the world, who are interested in reviving it as a day for social justice and action.  No date calls out for a general strike like May first and, with the way things are going, an international general strike on this day is not out of the question.   

The simultaneous G8 & NATO Meetings in Chicago: May 19th to May 21st.

The "G" events have become an annual beacon to social justice advocates around the world and have inspired many of the most aggressive protests in recent history.  So... a G8 meeting, combined with a NATO meeting during the same week, in the same city, only portends to what will certainly be some of the biggest days of protest all year -- with solidarity actions undoubtedly taking place around the world.    

The RNC (August 27–30, Tampa, FL) & DNC (September 3–6, Charlotte, NC) Conventions

Every 4 years the Republicrats meet to celebrate their continued domination of the corrupt American political system.  All their corporate sponsors show up and it's generally an extravagant production intended to keep the American people buying the same old lies while they are simultaneously hung out to dry.  Historically, these conventions have drawn relatively large protests (with some being quite infamous).  My guess is that this year's conventions will offer the best way to legitimize the #occupy movement as the protesters involved with that movement will show that they are not partisan and that they recognize the corruption of the "one party state masquerading as a two party state."  As the #occupy movement has proven fairly successful at not being co-opted, I guarantee, at both conventions, that you will see a few shirts and signs featuring the iconic 99%.  In any case, the protests at these conventions (and related protests around the country in solidarity) may prove to be the most historic of the year.  The corporate "person" pulling the strings behind the curtain of U.S. politics has been revealed (thanks to the 99%) and that wizard is just about out of tricks.               

A closing comment in regard to all the protests.

Beyond the most superficial level I will probably not be very hands-on in regard to the specifics of any organizing around these protests.  I've been, more or less, relegated to spreading basic information and news about these events.  So... I'm  not going to be recommending any particular course of action for any particular event.  That said, I'll refer once again to Naomi Wolf: "Real protests stop traffic." 

Beyond that, I'd just like people to be mindful about what they think their best course of action might be in regard to political protest.  It's important to think things through and you may not always want to get beaten or arrested by the police while being marginalized in the media.  There is a fine line between staying safe and taking calculated risks.

Furthermore, not everyone will be in the same mindset regarding protest.  But remember... no one wholly owns these protests.  Therefore, while some people will want to be mild along the revisionist perceptions of Gandhi, others may have already had their lives wrecked by the system and therefore tend to be more aggressive.  I condemn neither but feel the latter often gets marginalized unjustly by the former.  I won't condemn you if you are protesting minor decreases in your standard of living (or higher college tuitions) -- nor will I condemn the belligerent person who has lost a brother in the oil wars, a sister to the trumped up drug war, a father that couldn't pay the medical bills, and a grandmother who was foreclosed upon.  And I certainly won't expect them to simply line up passively for more punishment at the hands of the state.  I won't condemn someone who is mildly upset about global warming nor will I condemn the person who is protesting because they understand that the anthropocene mass extinction is already well underway.  I might roll my eyes if someone wants to sing Kumbaya and stick flowers in the barrels in the police rifles, but I won't condemn them any more than I will condemn someone who is a little more aggressive and provocative about these matters. 

That's about all I've got to say on these topics.  I'm not necessarily predicting the final collapse of civilization this year, and I'm not really going out on limb in expectations about upcoming protests, but 2012 is shaping up to be a very interesting year and you might want to start thinking about how you'll be passing the time.

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