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Oxford Indymedia

Review: Whatever happened to the anti-globalisation movement

Player of Games | 09.05.2011 13:08 | Globalisation | Indymedia | Oxford

My account of Sunday's film screening in OARC - the Oxford Activist Resource Centre.

The first film, Big Rattle in Seattle, documented the uprising against the WTO (World Trade Organisation) in Seattle in 1999. Tens of thousands of activists turned up with the intention of blockading the venue for the WTO meeting. Despite a brutal police response - think pepper spray fire extinguishers and rubber bullets - they succeeded!

Also interesting (to me anyway) to note that the Seattle demo was the beginnings of Indymedia.

A brief interlude followed with a very strange YouTube video of somebody in a car ranting about the Bristol Stokes Croft riot. The the classic Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring of Free Trade [  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkmczhkrKYA ] - although it was later pointed out that many of the politics in this parody are dodgy to say the least.

The we were back to the anti-globalisation documentaries with Capital's Ill. This time the venue was Washington DC, and the targets were the World Bank and IMF. More riots and police brutality ensued. But also interesting to see the presence of people from the global south turning up to fight for their rights and the environment.

Another interlude, this time the South Parks episode Mystery of the Urinal Deuce. Based on 9/11 conspiracy, it was very worrying that the video cut out 4 minutes from the end, so we never did find out who did it. Spooky.

Onto the final film, Crowd Bites Wolf. World Bank and IMF again, this time in Prague. This time Guerillavision (the makers of all three films) went for a more arty angle
with the presenter playing the role of a Brit gone to Prague for a piss-up who suddenly finds himself in the middle of an anti-globalisation protest. Personally, I didn't think this worked as well as the straight documentary format, but that's just my view.

Once the films were over there was time left to change the seating arrangements and have a discussion on the evening's theme – whatever happened to the anti-globalisation movement? It was a great discussion, but I'm not going to say much about it. I was slightly tipsy by this time, and don't want to horribly misquote somebody. If you want to know what goes on in these discussions, you'll just have to come to the next screening (currently being planned – keep an eye out on the calendar).

I came away from the evening really inspired. First, that so many people are willing to risk life and limb to challenge unjust global institutions. Second, that we can (sometimes) win. Third, that are are so many people in Oxford still interest in these subjects and willing to become activists.

PS – I've kept the descriptions of the films very short so I don't ruin them for you – I really recommend watching them – it's not all violence – there are some really interesting politics there, and more that a few good laughs.

Player of Games

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