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|"With non-violence as a strategy we want to make Gothenburg an arena for the public, in which we show with words and actions the kind of world we want to live in!"|
|THE NON-VIOLENCE NETWORK OF GOTHENBURG||
May 5th, a big spring party will take place for the benefit of the Non-Violence
Network of Gothenburg. The party is arranged together with the vegan catering
company Vegfab (http://www.com.to/vegfab). A three-course vegan dinner
will be served; there will be music, poetry, etc. A more precise program
will be along soon.
In order to plan for the dinner, Vegfab needs to know before May 1st if you want to come, so send an e-mail to email@example.com, or call: 0704-97 37 32, or 0709-53 69 81. If you only want to come to the party you have to let Vegfab know that by May 4th.
a) THE EU SUMMIT IN STOCKHOLM MARCH 23-24
On the 23rd and 24th of March, a group of activists from the Non-Violence Network of Gothenburg participated in the protests against the Stockholm EU summit. On the 23rd, three of the activists tried to enter the conference area. They managed to get through the police barriers, and tried to reach the conference building. Their goal was to proclaim the EU "Europe's most expensive employment policy". The activists made all in all four attempts to enter the area. On the fourth attempt the succeeded to climb over the two meters tall fence by using a rope ladder, and were able to unfold a banner and approach the building before being arrested. They were then taken into custody for "disturbing of public order", but were released later in the day.
"We don't think that these EU summits are legitimate", says Sara Hawén, one of the activists. "They are undemocratic and not representative of the people's views. A few elite politicians represent the whole country of Sweden, and ordinary people can't even go near the meeting. When we still try to do so, to state our opinions, we are considered a threat to democracy".
The action, carried out by Sara Hawén, Ebba von Krusenstierna, and Johan Jaatinen, was also a kind of warm-up for the EU summit in Gothenburg this June, when the Non-Violence Network of Gothenburg will try to enter the conference with symbolic and concrete non-violence methods.
In the evening of March 23rd, a large "rattle demonstration" took place outside of a party held for the EU delegates. The police stopped the demonstration, and many peaceful demonstrators were cruelly treated and beat by police truncheons. The demonstrators were then bussed out to the suburbs where they were released.
Elisabet Ahlin, one of the activists from the Non-Violence Network of Gothenburg, was beaten by a policeman. On March 29th, she commented on the events in a radio program called Studio 1. She strongly criticized the police for its brutality, and warned that it might lead to an escalation of violence at demonstrations.
During the large demonstration on Saturday the 24th, a few activists from the Non-Violence Network of Gothenburg practiced peacekeeping, which was also important as a preparation for the June demonstrations.
On April 21-22, the EU's ministers of finance held a summit meeting in Malmö. A few people from the Non-Violence Network of Gothenburg participated in the demonstrations. Especially on Saturday, the police was very violent toward the demonstrators.
"The police claim that they want to keep people calm, but the consequences of using riot squads at a legal demonstration, and brutally attack, will only be an escalation of violence. On the one hand, it was a tactical mistake by some activists to bring fire extinguishers to the demonstration, since that gave the police the excuse they wanted to attack the protesters. On the other hand, it does by no means legitimize the police violence. I hope that this will result in a serious debate on democracy and the right to express one's political views in public". These are the words of Sara Hawén, who witnessed the events in person, for example when a young woman got dragged on the ground and then punched in the face by two policemen.
"The police tried to divide the demonstration to be able to strike harder on the so called "black block'. The other part of the demonstration showed solidarity with the black block and stopped, but eventually kept going. My impression was that the mounted police forced the other demonstrators to proceed, Sara Hawén continues. "It was obvious that the police project an image onto the activists as "threatening' and "dangerous'. On Friday night, the police drove around town in rented cars with dark windows, searching people and demanding ID's. This is a clear example of how the recently ratified Schengen agreement have grave consequences for people's personal integrity. The police have the right to demand identification based solely on people's looks, ends Sara Hawén.
March 31st - April 1st, another successful non-violence "training for trainers" took place in Gothenburg. About ten people participated in the course, which was held by Elisabeth Ahlin and Ebba von Krusenstierna at Forum Unga Marxister (Young Marxist's Forum). The same weekend, Marika Dörwaldt and Tomas Nilsson held a course in Umeå with about twenty participants. On April 10th, Johan Jaatinen and Luisa Garcia held a course at a socialist camp in Värnamo, which was attended by about twenty people.
On April 28-29th, two trainings were held; one in Bergen, Norway by Johan Jaatinen and Sara Hawén with about 10 participants, and one in Uppsala by Marika Dörwaldt and Tomas Nilsson with about 20 participants.
The planning of the mass action continues, and is now beginning to concern the more detailed matters. The base camp will be erected June 5th near Korsvägen, opposite to the Svenska Mässan, where the EU summit takes place. Our goal is to maintain the camp until the meeting is over. If we are not allowed to stay, the camp will become a non-violent occupation, and may thus become a civil disobedience action. Everyone is welcome to the camp, which will be in clear view from the Korsvägen tram stop! Feel free to bring your own tents!
Concerning the June 15 mass action, the Non-Violence Network of Gothenburg is organizing a "getting-in-action". The plan is to climb the police barriers using rope ladders and building human ladders. This action will be separate from the so-called "white overalls action" planned by Globalization From Below and Ya Basta!. There are ongoing negotiations about how to make this work out.
With our action we want to symbolize how we, the people, are being shut out from the scene where political decisions, which affect us all, are made. We do not think that our so called "representatives" at the EU summit will consider our opinions on Fort Europe, highway projects, the growing police state, the increased power of transnational corporations, the militarizing of the EU, and so on. When - and if - we get in to the conference we will state our demands.
The following guidelines have been accepted by the Non-Violence Network's mass action meeting (Note that these guidelines only apply to the "getting-in-action", and not to the "white overalls action", which will be carried out according to guidelines set by Globalization From Below and Ya Basta!.):
"We urge all participants in the action to respect these guidelines, the purpose being to make the mass action safe and non-violent, and thereby as broad as possible. These guidelines are intended for the morning of June 15, until the mass action is finished, in the area around the Svenska Mässan where the action is taking place.
1. We do not use violence, except for in self-defense. By violence we mean physical violence against sentient beings. If we are subjected to violence we will use the self-defense methods which have been taught at the non-violence training courses, for instance feminist self-defense. We will not stop a person who, when attacked, defends her/himself.
2. We do not carry or use any kinds of weapons. These items must not be brought within the area of the mass action.
3. We do not destroy material property in a way that may expose sentient beings to danger.
4. We do not use drugs, including alcohol, during the action.
5. For the safety and security of everyone, all participants should belong to an affinity group, and undergo non-violence training, as provided by the Non-Violence Network of Gothenburg, for example.
6. We respect
the democratic decisions made before the mass action.
What will you do if a fellow demonstrator gets attacked by a policeman? If an activist starts throwing rocks during a peaceful action? Or if your friend flips out and attacks someone? It is simply not enough to claim oneself being non-violent, and then disclaim all responsibility for other people's actions. In order to be prepared for situations that might easily become violent, we need to train ourselves actively in non-violence. Our non-violence training courses deal with many important things, such as non-violence theory, peace-keeping, police interrogations, affinity groups, openness, mass action training, the media, police violence, our own violence, arrest, self-defense (general and feminist), and resistance law. The fee for a course is normally 150 SEK, including meals. If you want to participate in a course, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Courses will be held in Gothenburg on the following dates:
Many activists have criticized the fact that the Non-Violence Network of Gothenburg communicates with the police. Due to this, we have developed the following policy for our meetings with the police:
"We communicate with the police. One purpose for this is to ensure the safety of the participants in the mass action. Frightened policemen are dangerous policemen. Our communicating with the police make them less scared, and thus decreases the risk for police brutality. Another purpose is to avoid that the focus of the action is on the confrontations with the police, instead of the EU summit.
In our contact with the police, we are constantly aware of the risks, such as infiltration. All of our meetings are official and take place in groups, never privately. We don not mention the names of individuals other than ourselves. Information about the common parts of the mass action, and about the guidelines, is official, but we do not answer questions concerning particular organizations or affinity groups."
is how you can reach the Non-Violence Network of Gothenburg:
+46-(0)736-17 96 60
Göteborgsaktionen web site: