G8 Dispatches: Organizing for Justice: Inside the Anti-G8
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(See below for previous dispatches .)
The G8 delegates may have boarded their planes and flown home, another year's summit having come to a close. But for many, this is just the beginning. Three anti-G8 organizers spent almost two weeks in jail facing the possibility of years-long sentences, mounting legal fees, and families left to deal with the consequences. Another 23 people were detained as a part of government repression of an Osaka-based homeless and precarious workers' rights group that has been focusing on anti-G8 organizing. Solidarity actions are taking place around the world. Perhaps some of the most important organizing happens now when we, as a movement, seize opportunities that arise in the wake of this mobilization to build sustainable international movements for justice. It's not yet time to turn the spotlight away from Japan. There is work to be done, and international support is needed.
The Kamagasaki Patrol
Ten years ago, a homeless man in Osaka, Japan, was collecting recycling by the river when he was assaulted and thrown in the water, where he drowned. The homeless community was outraged and called meetings to decide what could be done to ensure the safety of their community. They decided to address the issue collectively and autonomously, since the police were not supporting them. This was the beginning of the Kamagasaki Patrol.
Since that incident, the Kamagasaki Patrol, composed primarily of precarious workers--day laborers and others with low-wage temporary employment--and homeless community members themselves, has patrolled the encampments and neighborhood in five to seven hour shifts each day.
"The policy is squatters and the homeless organizing themselves," said Koske Nakagiri, homeless rights activist and Kamagasaki Patrol member. "This is about autonomy and self-governance." Nakagiri, 32, lived in the Ogimachi encampment for six years before moving into his own apartment several months ago, and remains very active in the community.
The Just Words Collective is a group of four friends who are engaged in various global justice struggles and believe in the power of words and action to change the world.