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archaeological traces of another world

I stumbled upon this on the back of a door at Victoria University the other day, one of the original stickers from the S11 blockade of the World Economic Forum back in 2000.

photo

With all that’s happened in the last nine years, the S11 protest seems, in retrospect, entirely fantastical. Not just the huge numbers that attended (though that too is a source of wonder) but the optimism that permeated the whole event, a sentiment encapsulated in the slogan ‘Another world is possible’. Compare with the zeitgeist of today, manifested most depressingly at the shenanigans at Copenhagen where, with the fate of the planet very possibly hanging in the balance, the statesman’s art consists of manufacturing bogus enthusiasm for various permutations of the status quo.

The explosion of creativity that accompanied S11 has now been largely forgotten. The regular film screenings; the photo exhibitions; the new journals and publications; the various political groupings that, for a while, held huge meetings every week: the memory of all it has been effaced. Yet it all happened, and not so very long ago.

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Jeff Sparrow is the former editor of Overland. He is the co-author (with Jill Sparrow) of Radical Melbourne: A Secret History and Radical Melbourne 2: The Enemy Within, the editor (with Antony Loewenstein) of Left Turn: Essays for the New Left and the author of Communism: a love story, Killing: Misadventures in violence, and Money Shot: A Journey into Censorship and Porn.  On Twitter, he's @Jeff_Sparrow.

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  1. Nice continuity between these last two posts, because you’ve got to wonder what happened to the Revolution Heron told us was happening. There’s some kind of cripple walk forward most of the time, and I wish it was two steps forward, one step back, because as soon as we stop moving forward it seems like we just lose our footing altogether. But Heron and s11 are handholds, and its great to be reminded of them.

  2. 9-11 and the killing of Carlo Giuliani at J20 really mucked with that optimism. the two are not unrelated… i think the rapid escalation of policing was partly cause we put the fear of Us into them.

    at the risk of being nostalgic, we need to care for these stories lest the ideologues of left and right rewrite them on our behalf. eduardo galeano wrote ‘the history of the poor is either sung or lost.’

    and yeah, nice segue from maxine’s excellent poem. you sing it, lady.

  3. I’m so jealous when hearing stories of those protests. The closest I got was at APEC, which was good, but nothing like S11 I’m sure.

    I think the conditions that led to S11 are largely out of our control, but this can also mean that I think capitalism can do things that inspire a resurgence. Sometimes we just have to be patient.

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