The Violence of Capitalism in Genoa

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by Robin Banks

The death of the young Italian anarchist during the anti-G8 protests in Genoa was inevitable.

The death of that particular person wasn't inevitable, of course. But when you are confronting the vast and powerful forces of global capitalism, casualties are to be expected. It almost happened in Gothenborg during recent protests there -- protesters were shot with live ammunition and one nearly died.

There have already been many people killed by troops of the ruling class in the Global South, where the raw effects of capitalism are much more obvious to the many than its meager benefits handed out to the few. But we, the privileged of the Global North, have been able to escape the murderous brutality of capitalism's enforcers during these massive protests up until now.

People will be shocked, horrified and outraged by the murder of that Italian anarchist. But they should not be surprised. People are murdered all the time in the struggle against capitalism -- just not during huge protests where thousands of Western journalists are present.

This incident just goes to show that the stakes are very high. Capitalism is not going to keel over without a fight. No matter what our tactics are, if we start to make dramatic headway against capitalism -- even against the manufactured consensus that "capitalism is good" -- then we can expect to have a serious battle on our hands. And not just a battle in the streets, either, with masked anarchists and RoboCops. There will be many fronts, including public space, popular opinion, information media, and social institutions.

If no one realized before, then realize it now: this is war. Nothing less than our lives and our future are at stake. This is not about some distant Third World country where our boycotts may or may not convince a corporation to stop abusing workers -- this is the real deal, all or nothing, and the outcome will affect all of us.

As I write this, it is currently 8:00 pm in Genoa, Italy. I predict -- I hope -- that when the sun goes down tonight, people in Genoa (and all over the world) will demonstrate that we do not die without a fight.

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