By Rory Hearne
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After Florence: from Resistance to Revolution

This article is over 19 years, 1 months old
The fallout from the European Social Forum (November SR) is huge.
Issue 269

The organisers of the ESF estimated that attendance would be around 20,000 for the forum and 150,000 for the demonstration. In fact 57,000 signed up for the first European Social Forum, and 1 million marched against capitalism and war.

The anti-capitalist movement has shown incredible resistance and strength despite many of the pessimistic words and thoughts of those on the left. Only a year and a half after the violent repression suffered in Genoa, the movement has responded in the most spectacular fashion.

As we marched through the residential areas of Florence one would have to be made of stone not to feel, as Walden Bello said in the final assembly, that ‘not only is the movement winning now, but we will win’. As the march entered these districts, we saw banners reading ‘Peace’, ‘Welcome’ and ‘Thank you’. The ordinary people of Florence lined the sides of the march for kilometres, applauding, smiling and crying. This is popular resistance. At that moment the idea of popular revolution became so much easier to fathom.

The movement is attracting the mass of people because of its diversity, plurality and openness to debate, but most importantly its message and aim–that another world without war, famine and oppression is possible.

Florence now gives a new lease of life to discussions about the movement. It is the new reference point. No elite groups of protesters like the Black Block or White Overalls, no police brutality, just an unbelievably huge united demonstration.

This is important if we are to make the ‘other world’ possible. We have to deepen and extend this movement, to take it from mass protests to seriously challenging the system. Central to this has to be bringing it into the places where people congregate on a daily basis, and feel most angry and willing to fight–that is, in the workplaces. To oppose war and capitalism, not just in whatever way possible but also in the most effective way possible, through mass workplace stoppages, university occupations, strikes and walkouts, we must build the links between the workers’ movement and the anti-capitalist movement.

Rory Hearne

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