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WEF Update: Message from Starhawk

If you didn’t like the State of the Union speech, if you don’t like the war on terrorism or the war on civil liberties, if you consider yourself progressive, left, radical, or you just don’t like seeing more wealth and power concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, you need to be here.
Come to New York! World Economic Forum Protests
1/30-2/4

The World Economic Forum, the club of the representatives of the world’s richest corporations meeting with the world’s most powerful politicians, meets this weekend in New York City. Major protests are planned, in particular a march organized by Another World is Possible (AWIP) on Saturday February 2.

You need to be here.

If you didn’t like the State of the Union speech, if you don’t like the war on terrorism or the war on civil liberties, if you consider yourself progressive, left, radical, or you just don’t like seeing more wealth and power concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, you need to be here.

Come. If you’re in subway/train/bus/driving distance from New York, come. If you had other plans for the weekend, if you’re too busy, if you have too many other commitments, if you haven’t been to a march in years, if you’re burned out and sick of marching, come. If it rains, if the kids have a soccer game, if you’re tired, if you’re afraid, come anyway.

There are certain crucial moments when the tide of history turns one way or another. This is one of them. It’s more than just one more protest against one more alphabet soup global corporate institution. It’s an assertion of our right to contest the current system at all. As the police mass their forces, as they mount a campaign to discredit and intimidate us, it’s becoming clear that this protest is vitally important.

If we let them succeed, the space for dissent in this country will close even further. The right wing post-9-22 strategy of criminalizing dissent will be confirmed.

If we don’t let them succeed, we can reclaim a momentum and a political space at a crucial moment, when Enron has challenged the credibility of the system and Bush’s policies, when questions are beginning to surface about what really happened on 9-11, when slowly the stories and seeping out about the Afghani’s reduced to eating grass. You might think this is the wrong time for a protest. You might not like the politics or the style or the smell of your fellow activists. People might take stands you don’t agree with or do things you wouldn’t approve of.

Come anyway. It’s happening, wisely or unwisely. There are times to be cautious and careful. But there are other times when caution simply feeds the power of the authorities, and only a leap of courage can keep us free.

The AWIP march is permitted, legal, and nonviolent. Everyone involved in the organizing, from the pacifists to the militants, has agreed to respect those parameters.

The police have shown every indication that they will not. That’s a strong reason for you to come.

The organizers are doing everything in their power to assure a safe, creative, and inspiring event. Yet no one can guarantee that the march will be safe. Come anyway.

We need to act now, to overcome fear, to take the risks that lie before us. If we don’t, if we let ourselves be intimidated into silence, we will become far, far more unsafe.

What we’re contesting on the streets this weekend is, quite simply, the course of the future. We cannot be safe in a world in which more and more wealth is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, and where the consolidation of power is backed by the police and military might of the state. The more that hegemony goes uncontested, the more seamless it becomes.

If we want to maintain our freedom and assert our power to shape a different future, a free and just and sustainable future, we need to be a strong presence now. We need all of you. If you can’t get to New York, support us. Demand fair news coverage, write the letters, make the calls. But if you possibly can, come. Call your friends, get them to come with you. Tell them it's important. Come to New York.

Starhawk
New York City
January 31, 2002
www.starhawk.org
 
 

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