September 9th 2000

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Articles from this issue:

EDITORIAL: A way out of the debt trap

COVER STORY: Inside the World Economic Forum

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Petrol prices puncture GST optimism

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Radical groups organised for Forum protests

Straws in the Wind

LABOR PARTY: New book, old view of ALP



DOCUMENTATION: “I’ve always felt like an IVF guinea pig”

MODERN ART: “Anything goes”: gallery

Milk: will wheat be next?

EAST TIMOR: Rebuilding East Timor

'Kursk' disaster timely reminder to next US President

As the World Turns

LITERATURE: The magic of Harry Potter

BOOKS: The triumph of spin over substance

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Radical groups organised for Forum protests

by Martin Sheehan

News Weekly, September 9, 2000
S11 is the name of the radical group threatening to upset peaceful protests against the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Melbourne in September. Actually a coalition of many small anti-capitalist, radical environmentalist and leftist groups, S11 (so named for the day that the Forum opens, September 11) is threatening to put thousands of people onto the street to “close down the forum”.

The Forum is being held at Crown Casino from 11 to 13 September. The blockade is scheduled to begin at 7.00 am on September 11, outside the Casino.

The S11 coalition contains a number of radical groups. One is the revolutionary Trotskyite group known as the International Socialist Organisation (ISO).

The ISO is notorious for its violent protests in the past, such as the anti-HECS student rallies and the protests against the visit of US President George Bush, in the early 1990s.

The ISO was also responsible for the severe injuries to police during protests against the AIDEX defence exhibition in Canberra in 1991.

As a militant Marxist-Leninist organisation the ISO is committed to the violent overthrow of the state.

Another leading organisation in the S11 coalition is Resistance, the radical pro-Cuban youth group, aligned to the Marxist Democratic Socialist Party (DSP). Formed in the late 1960s by anti-Vietnam War student radicals, the DSP and Resistance has been prominent radical activities over the last 30 years. In recent times, it organised school children in Sydney to protest against French Nuclear testing in the Pacific.

Once again Resistance is at the forefront infiltrating schools and of organising school children. The DSP website ( boasts of the DSP’s role in recruiting school children. One Resistance member, Katie Nevile, in year 10 at high school, is quoted saying “[y]oung people have shown in the past that they will stand up for their future — if they’re given the opportunity. Demands like cancel Third World debt have huge support on schools, and in September we’ll turn this support into action.”

The DSP and Resistance also organised a training camp for activists, held near Ballarat in August, where they were trained in the tactics to be used to shut down the Forum and battle the police.

Other groups involved in the S11 coalition include the S11 High School Students Affinity Group, Public First, Workers Liberty, the Socialist Worker, the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Snuff Puppets, and the radical environmentalist group, Friends of the Earth, as well as many other anarchist/Trotskyite groupings.

While claiming publicly that S11 is dedicated to the non-violent blockade of the Casino, many groups within S11 seem to be at odds on the question of violence.

An article on the DSP website, “Left debates S11 blockade tactics,” looks at the dispute between the ISO and the DSP over the use of violent tactics.

While the DSP opposes the ISO on the use of violent, confrontational tactics, the author argues that “[s]ocialists do not accept the ‘philosophy of non-violence’ common among some in the environmental movement and typified by those who glorify Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi. We reject non-violence as a universally applicable strategy in the struggle against oppression and exploitation: the violence of the oppressor cannot be pacified by the non-violence of the oppressed.”

Militant anarchists

More worrying for police and other security personnel at the Casino, is the possible presence of militant anarchist groups, who respect no authority and are committed to the violent overthrow of the state.

The Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) has warned in a report, “Anti-Globalisation — A Spreading Phenomenon,” of the danger of violence protests from these groups in particular. Named are US groups, such as the Black Bloc and the Black Army as well as the European group, Third Position.

The CSIS reports that these groups often infiltrate non-violent protest movements, as they did during largely peaceful demonstrations against the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Seattle. Small numbers of anarchist militants were responsible for much of the violence.

The far Left has only the vaguest understanding of globalism and either no solution or appeals to failed Marxist ideology.

While it is legitimate to voice concerns during the WEF in regard to the way globalism can undermine democratically-elected governments, violence against police or conference delegates cannot be condoned under any circumstances.

The Victorian Trades Hall Council and the trade union movement generally, have been at pains to distance themselves from S11.

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