Report from the International No-g20 preparatory Meeting, April 7 in Hamburg:
60 activists from various networks and European regions confirm their commitment to push for the transnationalization of the G20 protest and coordinate our efforts:
We are loud we are many, the world will hear us!
On April 7, 2017, we met in Hamburg for the first Inter/Transnational No-g20 meeting to map, prepare and organize for the transnational mobilization and participation in the broad protests against the G20 summit that will take place July 7 & 8 in the midst and centre of Hamburg. We met for a day long face to face meeting after three months of communicating mainly through mails and a mailing list, by meeting in conference calls or at other (transnational) meetings.
We had a full day of productive discussions on the significance of an inter-/transnational convergence of struggles, protests and resistance in this historical moment.
It is a moment of turbulent, violent, multiple crisis with an open end: there is an even more violent neoliberalism on the brink of developing and/or an autocratic, nationalist, right wing global agenda in the making. Both “options” are two sides of the same coin, we agreed. Both might even be very compatible with each other. However, this moment is also a moment of manifold struggles that take the streets and squares worldwide, that organize locally, regionally and globally against the impositions from above and that demonstrate there are alternatives being build, another world is possible!
Therefore, in these times the G20 summit and it’s protests offer us the occasion (and obligation) to build from our different struggles and rich connections a transnational oppositional bloc from below against neoliberalism and the nationalist resurge. A bloc that articulates not only what “globalization” means in its ninth year of “fundamental global crises” but that we have good reasons to be outraged of the further neoliberalization and nationalization of the social. Because we think, that the G 20 protests in Hamburg should be international in its core and that it offers us at the same time the opportunity to build furthermore an international movement, an international call to join the protests has been published and disseminated already; you can see it in many languages at http://g20-protest.info/category/calls/. If you want to sign send an email to international [at] g20-2017.org). Other calls and open letters to join the protests have also written, as a call by Christian groups as well as an open letter to European movements to use the g20 as an important space and step (see http://g20-protest.info/category/international-contributions/).
The “compact week of protest” already organized by a broad range of alliances, networks, organizations and movements in Germany in the days of the official summit in Hamburg offer the space for international movements to internationalize the protests. This “compact week” provides a range of very different activities for all of us. From a two day “Summit for Global Solidarity” (July 5 & 6), a day of action and civil disobedience at the red zone, the harbor, climate changes production sites etc. (July 7) to a mass demonstration “Solidarity beyond borders instead of G20” (on July 8) and many more activities. In all these various actions we can converge in discussions and fruitful debates, protest on the streets and squares of Hamburg as well as come together in huge numbers in the center of the city joined against the politics of the G20 (for a detailed description see: http://g20-protest.info/category/week-of-protest/).
In the report you can find more details about the political discussion and the composition of the meeting, read about the already started process and components of the protest; and most importantly, you can learn about our agreements and work processes and how to participate and connect to them. Stay tuned by joining the mailing list (to subscribe go to: http://lists.g20-2017.org/mailman/listinfo/interlist). For any question, connections to the work groups and updates see: www.g20-protest.info or write to international [at] g20-2017.org. Now read on …..
Detailed Report from the International No-g20 Preparatory Meeting, April 7 in Hamburg
The report on the International No G 20 Meeting, April 7 in Hamburg includes the lines of the political debate and the composition of the meeting, it outlines the planning process in Hamburg and its components as well as a calendar of events and agreements we took to internationalize the process.
I. The meeting: the composition, the significance of the G20 and the process
We were around 60 activists from various European regions and different activist’s networks –with also some people listening to the debates through a livestream and participating politically by sending brief statements and solidarity greetings to the meeting. We came from different European regions (Italy, Czech Republic, France, Portugal, Netherlands, UK, Scotland, Portugal, Greece, Germany). We came from various networks such as Global Project, ESC from Rome – Dinamopress, social centre Ex-Carcere from Palermo, Social centers from Bologna/ Emilia Romagna, Rete della Conoscenza, EuroNomade collective (all from Italy); European Alternatives and DiEM25 (Europe-wide), International Socialist (Netherlands), the Scottish Socialist Party, Plan C (UK), Transnational Institute & Global Migrant Platform-Europe, Socialists from the UK, Solidaire (France), Attac (France & Germany), the Climate Justice Movement in France, the TKP (Germany/Turkey), Transform!Europe, the PCP (Portugal), the Refugee movement Lampedusa in Hamburg, Vox (political education project from Rostock), and many activists from Germany involved in the no g20 organizing alliances such as from the interventionist Left, DIE LINKE, UmsGanze, Occupy Frankfurt, DKP (German Communist party), the Hamburg network Right to the City, the anticapitalist camp, Youth against G20 and many more.
We had a full day of productive discussions on the significance of an inter-/transnational convergence of struggles, protests and resistance in this historical moment. It is a moment of turbulent, violent, multiple crisis with an open end: there is an even more violent neoliberalism on the brink of developing and/or an autocratic, nationalist, right wing global agenda in the making. Both “options” are two sides of the same coin, we agreed. Both might even be very compatible with each other. And as we also clearly said: this moment is a moment of manifold struggles that take the streets worldwide and organize locally, regionally and globally against the many impositions from above and demonstrate there are alternatives being build, another world is possible! Therefore, in these times the G20 summit and it’s protests offer us the occasion (and obligation) to build from our different struggles and rich connections a transnational oppositional bloc from below against neoliberalism and the nationalist resurge, a bloc that articulates not only what “globalization” means in its ninth year of “global crises” but that we have good reasons to be outraged of the further neoliberalization and nationalization of the social.
- This is the right moment for demonstrating and building the global dimension of our struggles, the need for unity in difference and the occasion to outline our alternatives. Three tasks (commitments?) came out of this discussion:
In order to “restart” the global movement and “globalization from below” we have to think beyond the G20 summit in July. Therefore, the G20 mobilization should be organized in a way that creates a longer process by building on our historical process and by reaching out to new dynamics, struggles, and movements. Let’s see how we can build organizational tools that use the G20 moment to go beyond.
There are rich, strong, beautiful struggles globally – crucial struggles such as the fights against free trade and militarization, women’s struggles and struggles against racism; there is a whole variety of solidarity /welcome struggles with the refugee and struggles by refugees and migrants – all demonstrating there is a rich, deep alternative to what is called and produced as “refugee crisis”; there are broad ranging struggles against climate change and its producers, the deteriorization of public goods and the cities, and against the normalizing of the state of emergencies and autocratic rule. And this list could go on. All these struggles and topics are crucial and should be seriously addressed and truly invited synchronize themselves in order to create a real convergence of struggles.
However, the challenge we take on is to offer that space of convergence to link all of them in a larger whole of our common fight. The G20 summit and protest are not the occasion to prioritize any of our struggles, but to find unity and power in our convergence.
In order to do all of this and succeed we need to build political coordinating structures that allow for all these different struggles to connect, but enables us at the same time to react and speak politically; to build the necessary structures for all to get the information needed to self-organize, but to have some basic coordination and working structures for the days itself, the process to July as well as to look beyond July.
II. Getting adjusted to Hamburg and the protest planning
The right to assemble, the variety of actions and action images and legal matters
You can find the overall protest planning (in English) at http://g20-protest.info/category/week-of-protest/ with its “compact week” of activities ranging from discussion (alternative summit) on July 5 & 6, actions of civil disobedience (July 7) and a mass demonstration “Solidarity beyond borders instead of G20” on July 8.
Our meeting on April 7 helped indeed to organize and think through what transnational participation means. Following from that we could build links and some questions to be taken home to the networks and regions; such as how to participate in the mass demonstration – as a transnational bloc or in your respective contingents?. We will take these questions up when there is feedback from the networks.
Furthermore, the overall weekend we met in Hamburg (until Sunday April 9) offered already first insights into the political map of Hamburg: After weeks of establishing a “security discourse” on Hamburg and the right to assemble, on April 7, the police (under the responsibility of that political forces which are governing the City) published a set of various “security zones” in and for Hamburg for July. Their plan is to make Hamburg in the days of the summit a “demonstration free zone” by establishing so called blue zones next to a red and yellow zone around the summit’s location. The former one is supposed to include most part of the city centre and a 4 km broad “corridor” up to the airport (for the map of the “Blue Zone” see: http://www.attac.de/startseite/detailansicht/news/g20-gipfel-polizei-erklaert-hamburg-zur-demokratiefreien-zone/).
Of course, this plan is a just plan yet. A political and media outcry put the plan to outlaw manifestations and the movement of people on the public agenda beyond Hamburg so that the red-green (it means a SPD and Green Party majority) government of Hamburg needed to backpedal a bit, officially at least. However, we all know the right to assemble will be decided concretely and practically only. We have to expect heavy police and security forces (15.000 police); they will for sure control inner EU borders etc., probably suspending the effects of Schengen agreements on free circulation. A G20 summit in a centre of a city with so many protests planned will be used to further restrict basic rights and democracy.
However, this controversy also demonstrates the vulnerability of “the city” and the power of the public: The more people and the public protest happen and are organized, the more the right to assemble will be practiced and become real. Be it by joining the alliance and calling to the streets, by writing open letters and making the right to protest and assemble a public topic and right beyond those who will be on the streets or by just speaking up and going to the streets. Therefore, civil rights organizations in Germany initiated a common open letter to the government of Hamburg (only in German but http://www.grundrechtekomitee.de/node/849).
As for an international response: we discussed the demonizing of the international protesters using them as a scapegoat for the suspension of assembly rights. We decided to address this question with a public letter by the “international participants to the city of Hamburg and it’s citizens”.
This issue is far from “resolved” yet, and the more diverse, the more colourful, and the more different we will be in the week of the summit – no matter whether people join the alternative summit, the civil disobedience, the mass demonstration or any other manifestations – the better for the G20 protests and the right to assemble and protest. In terms of a transnational mobilization, we need to take good care of these assembly-, security-, police-matters.
We agreed on certain tasks:
For the days of the summit a “legal team” (made of lawyers, the “red help”, demonstration watch, legal hotline etc.) will be established. This, resp. basic services need to be bilingual for sure. We arranged to communicate the issue to the “legal team”. However, especially those of you who will come in groups need to prepare themselves too. They need to elect people with English language skills as liaison persons and have to prepare themselves by studying legal material already produced [here you can find info sheets in many languages: http://g20-protest.info/category/legal-stuff/] or by collectively dealing with the issue of border controls from your country (also involving National and European MPs as observers and guarantors of freedom of movement and the right of assembly).
An Open letter to the city and publics of Hamburg is for sure helpful. Therefore, a group of people at the meeting decided to design one to explain who we are, why we come and why Hamburg should be an open city to protest.
There will a variety of activities taking place in Hamburg with a range from a camp to the summit of global solidarity, the mass demonstration on July 8, the actions of civil disobedience “Colour the red zone” on July 7 and other actions in or around the city and harbour. Most of them (but not all) work with a clear “action consensus” or “action frame” and with a concept of mass participation (that might differ from one or the other action form). People should know in advance what to expect and how to respect the respective “consensus” (e.g. the mass demonstration is planned as one for mass participation and with the clear goal to start together and to end together, and to not escalate out of the demonstration). Most of the actions include the idea of non-escalating – and many more debates between different groups and networks need to happen in order to ensure as much as possible “transparency” and clarity – especially for those coming from outside. For the “colour the red zone” action of mass civil disobedience an “action picture” has been already designed and will be translated in a couple of languages (for English see: http://www.blockg20.org/en/
Even if not all things will happen according to the plan, it is crucial to get an idea of the various actions planned beforehand. Especially if you have a transnational and broad mobilization people need to be “included” or thought of in the communication about pictures, frames, consensus and this needs to be truthfully communicated by the respective organizers. Therefore, it is utterly important to establish (trustworthy) links to the respective “alliance” or action group you want to participate in. At the meeting, we already started to find liaison persons between the respective actions (mass manifestation, “colour the red zone”), but more should follow. The general international no g20 group will not be able to act as the liaison to all activities.
A last information meeting by “Colour the red zone” (and other current info in that week) is planned for Thursday, July 6 in the afternoon. If you plan to participate in the actions on civil disobedience on July 7 and the mass demo on July 8, please arrive already in the afternoon!
Not only for the participation in the activities themselves but also for our organizing process, we thought that another transnational preparatory meeting in June could be useful. However, everybody needs to check with his/her networks whether an extra trip to Hamburg makes sense so that we can decide of organizing such a meeting together. Besides, the organisations from Hamburg need to check if they have the capacity of welcoming us, as they will most probably have many things to do to prepare the summit.
Furthermore, on the weekend of our meeting, a small but noisy and colourful demonstration by maybe 850 people to the summit’s venue took place. It was a good way of demonstrating already that the city will see many more manifestations and others in the upcoming months. The presence of the police forced was impressive. A guided walk through some parts of the city by Hamburg activists for the international activists helped also already to adjust oneself to the protest map in a very practical manner.
III. Overview of crucial information for the transnational participation, agreements and work to do
Political/Mobilization Calendar (work in progress)
There is a whole range of meeting, summits, protests we should use for building links to networks and used as crucial moments of “mobilization”.
7 May Assembly in Naples for the G7-protest in Taormina
11 May G7 Finance & Economy in Bari
12-15 May Sabir Festival in Sicily (annual festival on Mediterranean culture and politics)
20 May (ca) G20 Health Minister meeting in Berlin
24/25 May March against Trump / Stop NATO in Brussels
27 May G7 Chiefs of State and Government summit in Taormina (Sicily – Italz)
9-11 June G7 Environment in Bologna
11 – 13 June G20 summit on Africa and development in Berlin (with an action week in
Berlin starting June 2)
9-11 June “FearLessCities” conference of municipal movements in Barcelona
No G20 Material
There is English material (posters, flyers) available for the mass demonstration and the action of civil disobedience. If you think it is useful in your cities/regions to have, you can order it here: http://g20-demo.de/en/mobilization-material/ and it will be send to you (please coordinate with others, so a larger amount can be send). Of course, if you want to produce your own language material but in the logo/frame, please write to info [at] g20-demo.de. The same applies to the “colour the red” material (https://www.g20hamburg.org/en/content/block-summit-reclam-city), please send an email to aktion.ag [at] g20hamburg.org
Outreach and Media Work:
- an Internet / Media Group has been formed to work on outreach and media tools (including logo etc.) by Kat, Tomas (London), Thomas (Frankfurt), Tomas (IL), Connor (Dundee), Vania, Francesco, Ilaria, Fanny (France).
The group will consider how internal and external news should be best disseminated (incl. channels like Facebook, signal, twitter, telegram). For internal news and intense working processes, a new (smaller) work list should be established. The Interlist Mailing list remains the medium where new documents (in English) are shared, translation sin other languages are welcomed but should be the task of the regional groups.
A proposal of a contact that is manageable and useful will be presented by that little group at the next conference call and discussed; maybe new members can be integrated too.
The existing international no g20 call “We are many! We are loud! Τhe world will hear us“ (http://g20-protest.info/category/calls/) should be used for pushing the transnational mobilization and organizing. Up to know it has not been really used that way even if it has been translated into many languages already. We call for everyone to send it out to their contacts again to continue spreading it; after the Easter holidays it should circulate and be published with collected signatures in a greater wave.
A group (mainly from Italy) formed to design an open letter to the people in Hamburg and should be presented at one of our next conference calls and then distributed in /to Hamburg
It is wonderful that there are more than 150 people on the No G 20 Mailing list (to subscribe http://lists.g20-2017.org/mailman/listinfo/interlist). This mailing list should be really used for disseminating calls, info form Hamburg and all the involved territories and networks, on general matters etc. But in order to avoid too much traffic and to allow for a work process of those more dedicated for the organizing/preparation itself a work group and work group mailing list should be build. It should stay open to everybody and be composed of those working groups and delegates from networks who work out the “general information”, who participate in the conference calls etc. This work group is not supposed to become a closed matter but should include activists from the various networks, the work groups, the regions. The work group should be composed of those committed to the work to be done and to act as “liaisons” to their networks/regions etc. and will form some kind of organizing/preparatory/coordinating core to build upon the mobilization.
The G20 protest consists of various alliances and activities. There is the general overview at http://g20-protest.info/category/general-information/. Not all of the German involved in the international no g20 group are involved in all alliances. However, it is easy to either write to the alliances (such as the summit for global solidarity e.g. for their program or workshops) directly or ask for liaisons. At the meeting, we decided to have brief reports on each activity planed at our conference calls and have at least liaison person for the mass demonstration (Corinna) and “Colour the red zone” that report on the alliance activities and try to represent the “transnational voice”/participation. More liaisons need to be found.
We will continue with our bi-weekly conference call Tuesdays at 6.30 pm (CEST) with somebody taking the responsibility (sending a reminder, facilitating etc.). This conference call for now is THE main venue for coordinating our transnational efforts, for exchanging ideas and getting information (updates) or finding out the respective needs.
Of course, we know there are other transnational links made with networks in Germany. The no-g20 functions therefore not as an overall coordination, but a coordination for those who wish to do so and do it in that broader alliance protest. In addition, from here the “Germans” are building deep links to the “German alliance” protest to ensure the participation of those organized in the international no-g20 group.
We might meet again for another no g20 organizing/preparation meeting in June (maybe in correspondence with a new one-day German Action conference), but the need of such a meeting needs to be discussed and decided within the networks out of Germany.
Stay tuned by joining the mailing list ((to subscribe to the mailing list got to: http://lists.g20-2017.org/mailman/listinfo/interlist)) or one of the many work groups we build. For any question, write to international [at] g20-2017.org or look at www.g20-protest.info
the no G20 International Preparatory and Coordinating Group