OCTOBER 2011: A NEW MOMENT FOR GLOBAL JUSTICE

October 15: a protestor at the Portuguese Parliament on the United for Global Change day of action (photo by Rafael Marchante, Reuters).  Since the beginning of 2011, uprisings for democracy, human rights, and economies that support people and the planet have literally circled around the world. GGJ members and allies have led and participated in many of these protests. What should come next?

On October 12 and 15 we saw resistance to a global economy in crisis move literally around the world.  On October 15 alone protestors took to the streets in 951 cities in 82 countries from Asia to Europe, Africa and the Americas.  More than 500 mobilizations took place.  GGJ members have been leading protests and engaging directly with occupy forces.  Check out CJJC and CVH’s stories, and see posts from member groups’ rallies and campaigns.

It may not be exactly as some U.S based commentators have portrayed it -- as a spreading of the Occupy Wall Street movement -- so much as it is an expansion and convergence of uprisings that had already been happening in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and Asia.   Greece  -- with its intensifying general strike against austerity measures -- is the most current example of the escalation of international people’s uprisings that have been happening throughout the year. That said, the occupy movements in the US have apparently provided new momentum and energy to these global uprisings.  

Maybe that’s because, as Immanuel Wallerstein has pointed out, this is the biggest mass outpouring of dissent in the US since 1968.  If that’s true then this brings up a whole host of questions of how we learn lessons from the history of what came to pass after that critical year.  The GGJ coordinating committee and some potential anchor organizations have already begun conversations on questions including: What can we do to move key forces within these encampments towards organizing for racial, economic and gender justice?  How do we deal with reactionary forces including nazis and tea party elements who are part of the occupy movements in some areas? How do we anticipate and avoid or negotiate the splits that are nascent that may become deep divides?   How do we deal with the increased repression that is bound to come?

For the global justice movement, this may be another key moment like the 1999 Battle In Seattle  (which weakened the power of the WTO and made corporate globalization a kitchen table phrase) and the 2005 Mar de Plata Mobilization in Argentina (a defining moment for the defeat of  the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas - FTAA).  The autonomous forces taking to the streets represent new actors in the surge towards global justice.  The questions are many but our biggest challenge may be to avoid the fragmentation that happened after 2003.  We should take advantage of the unifying momentum of the 99% frame and resist re-siloing into our specific issue areas or fighting for only our particular demands.  

We are calling on GGJ members and allies to help advance the No War, No Warming, Build an Economy for People and the Planet framework to connect the impacts of militarism, climate disruption, and corporate greed: who gets paid by all this? the 1%.  Who gets played?  Us - the 99%, especially people of color, indigenous people, women and non gender-conforming people, and the poor and working-class.

We are also calling on all GGJ members and allies to mobilize for December 3rd
- this will be a chance for us all to expose the military, corporate and financial targets responsible for the crises.  It's also a chance for us to show our collective power in connection with the occupy movements, and to highlight what we have already won in the journey towards a more just and sustainable world.