Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Still More Copenhagen

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Grist’s David Roberts and Duke’s Own Michael Hardt™ have two more Copenhagen round-ups. Here’s Michael:

Outside the official summit in Copenhagen, in fact, at the second scene of struggle over the common, one of the most interesting strategies of the activists and social movements was to act on a division between the powers inside the meetings. The primary concept of the “Reclaim Power” coordinated actions on Wednesday 16 December was to link “walking in” with “walking out.” In other words, protesters, attempting to break the restricted perimeter, as they have at summit meetings for over a decade, were to be met by dissatisfied delegates and participants who would express their objections by walking out. Together these two groups would then hold a “people’s summit.” The Danish police, through mass arrests and other tactics, made sure that the two sides did not actually meet, of course, but they did get to within about 100 yards of each other, close enough to wave across the fences and police lines. The conceptual significance of the effort, however, was clear to all involved, since “walking in” / “walking out” not only opens up the decision-making process but also highlights the kinds of alliances that are possible within and outside the structures of global governance—alliances that have the potential to create real alternatives.

We should keep in mind that the basis of such alliances rests on some fundamental conceptions of the management and institution of the common. For example, the primary mechanisms to address climate change promoted by the dominant forces, such as “cap and trade,” involve transforming the common into private property and, specifically, transforming carbon emissions and pollution rights into commodities and establishing markets in which they can be traded. Such strategies are indeed consistent with neoliberal ideology and its belief that privatization always leads to efficiency. The various opposition groups that can potentially form alliances advocate a variety of different solutions, but they all agree in their hostility to the neoliberal strategy and the privatization of the common.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 21, 2009 at 12:15 pm

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