‘Our mission after Genoa is to broaden the resistance against globalisation’

27 July 2001

‘Our mission after Genoa is to broaden the resistance against globalisation’

Though Harry van Bommel – SP Member of Parliament – felt the teargas in his throat and saw the havoche rioters made in Genoa, he was deeply touched with the widely supported resistance against globalisation. ’I have seen the crowds passing by, students, people from workers unions, delegates from several churches and of political parties from all parts of Europe, protesting peacefully. It was very impressing.’

Harry van BommelWhy were you there?
’The liberation of world trade, the way the western world goes about it now, imposes a neo liberal policy on counties that wish to sail their own course. The Worldbank, IMF and WTO (read: the G8 countries) won’t let hem. Protesting against this dominance is of utmost importance. The reason I joined the protest and the reason why many more should have done the same is that the resistance should be broadened. I’ve tried to persuade Dutch Labour- and GreenLeft MP’s to come with me. None of them showed up. The Netherlands were over all pathetically underrepresented. Other counties had sent huge delegations from political parties, workers unions, and environmental organisations. Only eighty people in the crowd were Dutch.

About the violence, exactly what happened?
’There were two different groups. The bigger was the one of peaceful demonstrators, who condemned the activities of the other group that was strictly focused on violence and vandalism. I saw a bank that had been set on fire. On the second floor there were people’s homes. If the fire had spread, people would’ve been killed. That was downright criminal. Rioters also beat up members of the press because they didn’t want to be filmed. I can imagine that the massive presence of the police with armed tanks rifles, aroused anger with the demonstrators. It is true that the police have used excessive force. Peaceful demonstrators who were already on the ground or who tried to run away were beaten up too.

But that does not justify the behaviour of the group who wearing helmets and gas masks and who carried catapults. Their only goal was to fight the police. They had no political motive whatsoever. They are no more than hooligans who use this demonstration to create a riot. But one shouldn’t emphasise their behaviour too much. More important is how we can broaden the protest against globalisation now that we are all back home in our own countries. For globalisation leads to privatisation of government services, to an even wider gap between rich and poor, and to pollution of the environment and deterioration of working conditions. Genoa proved that massive resistance does exist. We need to mobilise that in our own countries too.’

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