Australia goes anti-capitalist
'We've had our battle of Seattle'
MELBOURNE exploded in mass anti-capitalist protest on Monday. Ten thousand protesters, the equivalent of 50,000 in Britain, successfully laid siege to the World Economic Forum (WEF) being held in Melbourne. They blocked off all the streets to the bosses' and politicians' powerful gathering on how to push globalisation and the free market.
"We blockaded the forum! It was like Seattle without the teargas," said David Glanz of Socialist Worker's sister organisation in Australia. Dave was picked out by the world's press as the "S11" spokesperson.
"There is an enormous anti-capitalist mood here. The protest had a real sense of unity against the world system," said Dave. Trade unionist delegations made up part of the crowd. College students, socialists and environmentalists locked arms and refused to bow before the violence of mounted police.
Thousands of Melbourne school students defied the authorities and struck for the day to march behind their banner against corporate capitalism. The WEF was rocked to the core. The pictures on this page tell the story of S11 and show that the mood against global capitalism is an international phenomenon.
Part of a global fight
"HUMAN NEED, not corporate greed" was the popular slogan. The protesters, by early morning on Monday, had blocked off all the roads to the WEF meeting, held in Melbourne's Crown Casino complex.
Australia's Tory prime minister was humiliated in front of the world's business and political elite. John Howard could only get INTO the meeting by river, reportedly transported on a police dinghy.
Australia's finance minister could only get OUT of the meeting by boat. The racist state premier of Western Australia, Richard Court, reportedly had to sit in his car for 30 minutes surrounded by hundreds of protesters, while an Aboriginal activist danced up and down on the roof. Court never got to the forum.
Another leading Tory was blocked in his car for over an hour. He too was forced to turn away, but not before protesters had sprayed anti-capitalist slogans on his vehicle. Denis Napthine complained to the world's press, "The protesters have unfortunately won the first round."
S11 was followed on Tuesday by a mass protest against globalisation called by Australia's organised trade unions. David Glanz told Socialist Worker that the protesters feel themselves to be part of a global movement. "When we mentioned that a similar protest is happening in Prague this month everyone cheered."
"if the World Economic Forum has the support of the world's business leaders, protesters today showed how widely social groups dislike the organisation. Aboriginal activists joined with mountain cattlemen, gay and lesbian groups, and Christians, among others, to voice their disapproval of the WEF"-the Age, Melbourne newspaper