Now that this year’s G-8 Summit is history — and the host city trashed — the usual postmortems have been rendered.
Lawlessness has been deplored, globalization has been defended and the plight of the world’s have nots has been denoted in the final communiqué. More Third World debt relief, for example, may be on the way — but it’s probably presumptuous to attribute that to the leverage of riotous behavior.
As for the 100,000 or so anarchists, idealists, union surrogates and unchaperoned, parentally subsidized Marxists, it’s time for them to collectively rethink strategies, priorities and summer vacations. Demonstrations of nastiness and naivete don’t win converts to a cause, unless the cause is chaos.
Getting some public relations help, although unconscionably bourgeoisie, would probably be worthwhile.
What do you do when you have a global forum? If you act like your city just won an NBA championship, who will that impress? The deportment department matters. The medium is still the message.
Bad messengers ill serve any cause, including a dissonant, anarchical one.
Here’s a better idea: Skip next year’s G-8 Summit in Canada. Pick another target, one that’s less amorphous than globalization, one where the moral high ground is yours to lose.
Then take on some causes that will earn you global respect from those that, well, matter most: the industrialized democracies. Instead of, say, WTO or G-8 road trips to Seattle or Genoa to decry sweatshops, how about sorties to Beijing, Khartoum, Freetown, Kabul or Pyongyang?
Rather than protesting globalization and thus incurring the very real risk of seeming clueless and chaotic again, why not start with human rights abuses by the world’s biggest bully? A Falun Gong Showing will play well in the West. And how about this year’s running total of 1,800 executions, many for political crimes and thievery? And don’t forget those summarily harvested organs of the executed. Meaty stuff. Great banners. Slogans to die for.
The only problem: Actually standing up to a police state, as opposed to a permissive democracy. The Chinese mean business and are more like the Red Brigades than the Genoan police.
In fact, word is that they are still pushing for the dissident toss as a demonstration sport in the 2008 Olympics. Protesting in Beijing for unequivocally noble causes that don’t require a modicum of economic sophistication should be a no brainer. Unfortunately it would mandate guts.
But it’s not as if Beijing is the only alternative. Credibility can also be built by disciplined protests in Sudan, where there’s a viable slave trade; Sierra Leone, where genocide is now a cultural more; Afghanistan, where the Taliban want to repeal civilization; and North Korea, where the government thinks starvation is an acceptable tradeoff for expensive weaponry.
Or perhaps the movement needs to think smaller — and for Americans, closer to home –before tackling any of the above, admittedly formidable, challenges.
It would, again, take some guts, but how about taking to the streets of Miami or Cincinnati? A principled protest against the Cuban embargo down Calle Ocho in Little Havana would earn widespread plaudits, as might a bold denunciation of the urban plague that is black-on-black crime in the city now ominously synonymous with “de-policing.”
There’s obviously no lack of critical issues and legitimate causes that need the world’s — and this country’s — immediate attention.
Summer in Canada on daddy’s credit card, however, will likely carry the day.