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Rantings, thoughts, diatribe. Anything that captures my interest and hangs around long enough to capture on a keyboard.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

G20 - Do I Stay or Do I Go?

The G20 summit kicks off in London tomorrow and I have been debating with myself as to whether I should go. Speaking to friends and colleagues, I have had a range of opinions from:

Oh no - you should stay out of there. It's dangerous. Riot police and troublemakers. People who are not after a solution but who just want a fight


Yes! Let's go! It'll be interesting and it's important to be involved. To participate.

The media have been having their usual field day with their reports anticipating violence and trouble and vandalism. I just don't know what or who to believe. Which makes me think I need to go and see for myself.

The truth is - I really want to go. I am so curious. I have never been to a protest on this scale before. Years and years ago, I was an environmental activist campaigning against logging of old growth forest in Western Australia with the Wilderness Society. It was a heady two years. Through the intensive process of learning how best to manufacture dissent, I picked up skills which I still use to this day. Lobbying, mobilising large groups of people, consensual decision making, efficient meeting structure, facilitation. I also developed values which I still hold like the application of non violent direct action. It was invaluable training and I have experienced little like it since.

I suspect that my avid desire to participate tomorrow is partially a desire to relive the glory days of old. But my problem is this. Everything I have read or seen to date about the protests leaves me cold. These groups that are mobilising to end the war or to stop climate change seem to only be protesting for the sake of it. What are their real solutions or alternatives? It's all very easy to say something sucks but not so easy when you are responsible for fixing the suckiness.

Change is change is change. It's a phrase that is easy to chant when you are walking down the street with thousands of others. But at the end of the day - you can't be pissed off if you pass responsibility for that change onto some unknown figurehead because you just want to shout and scream but have no solutions. Lobbying is important and it is our responsibility as citzens within a democratic society to monitor our governments. But I do not see how "Bashing bankers" and causing civil unrest is of any benefit to our society as a whole. That is not lobbying. It's juvenile.

Where are the thinkers and the real problem solvers? Where can I find them in the summit tommorrow? Or have they stayed at home, pissed off that the event has been taken over again by the media and a bunch of hooligans.

We'll see...
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