rn- Two reports: protesting the WTO’s Millenium Round in Seattle


Richard Moore

Dear rn,

I don't know what happened to Jan.  She did return from Vancouver.  Perhaps
the old PC has succumbed at last.


Date: Sat, 11 Sep 1999 15:27:33 -0300
From: •••@••.•••
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: (en) (Fwd) Millenium Round -- self-organizing in Seattle
Cc: •••@••.•••, •••@••.•••

I begin with some samples of the interesting info below, including "worries
about the loss of U.S. sovereignty".  This may sounds ironic, but it is
right:  if one thinks of the ideal concept of sovereignty as the power of
the state based upon the people, every people on Earth, without exception,
will lose from the coming M.R., but the great transnational corporations.

    "The WTO has chosen one of the most trade-dependent states
    in the country for its meeting.   [snip]

    ......   serious concerns on the Metropolitan King County
    Council almost prevented that body from approving a routine
    welcoming resolution to the WTO. Both the County Council and
    the Seattle City Council voted to oppose the Multilateral
    Agreement on Investment, a trade pact that will be discussed
    during the November meeting.

    There has always been well-organized opposition to free

    Worries about the loss of U.S. sovereignty through trade
    agreements galvanize the left and the right. Locally, the
    Green Party on the left and the American Heritage Party on
    the right have similar anti-free-trade planks in their

In solidarity,
Roberto Magellan

"It is just a question of  -- together --  re-appropriating the future of
our world."
(from the founding manifesto of ATTAC)


From: "Lisa & Ian Murray" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: self-organizing in Seattle against the WTO/Seattle Times article
Date: Sat, 11 Sep 1999

This was on the front page of the paper yesterday.  "Things" are starting
to catalyze rather quickly.  For more info see http://www.seattlewto.org
and http://www.peopleforfairtrade.org http://www.ruckus.org These sites
have been updated quite a bit in the last few weeks and have info of
significant use to those who are making the trek to Seattle.


Local News : Friday, September 10, 1999

Protesters busily practice for WTO meeting in Seattle

by David Postman
Seattle Times Olympia bureau

When World Trade Organization negotiators from more than 130 countries
arrive in Seattle in November, they will be greeted by giant puppets,
street dancers, anarchists, activists dangling from skyscrapers and a mass
of protesting steelworkers and Teamsters.

Here, in one of the most trade-friendly spots in the nation, thousands of
demonstrators are expected to take to the streets around the Washington
State Convention and Trade Center on Nov. 30 in what is likely to be the
biggest protest in America against the globalization of commerce.

The goal of opposition organizers was bluntly stated in a recent e-mail
circulated among protest organizers:



"This is the time to really draw a line in the sand and say this is the
largest and most influential corporate gathering of the millennium, and it
is not going to happen," said John Sellers, director of the Berkeley-based
Ruckus Society.

His group will hold a weeklong training camp for protesters next week in
Snohomish County.

The Seattle Police Department is doing its own special training for both
VIP protection and crowd control, said Capt. Brent Wingstrand, who heads
the department's WTO detail.

"We have to plan for something big and then adjust our deployment to what
the reality turns out to be," he said.

Likewise, Seattle organizers of the WTO meeting said they don't know what
to expect.

"We support people's right to express their opinion, and we hope they
continue a Seattle tradition of holding demonstrations peacefully," said
Susan Kruller, spokeswoman for the WTO/Seattle Host Organizing Committee.

Several activist groups see the Seattle meeting as the best opportunity to
turn the tide of public sentiment against global free trade.

The meeting's U.S. location guarantees it will be the most-covered WTO
meeting. Its end-of-the-century timing gives it a millennial gloss.
Seattle, organizers hope, could be the Million Man March for WTO opponents,
a sort of Earth Day in the efforts to build a sustainable anti-free-trade
movement in the United States.

"We win in Seattle if we can peel off enough of the political elite, the
trade ministers, the government functionaries from this slavish devotion to
a corporate agenda and get them to look at the legitimate expectations of
workers and the environment," said Mike Dolan, deputy director of Global
Trade Watch, a part of Ralph Nader's Public Citizen.

Now on loan to the Citizens Trade Campaign, Dolan, a former trial lawyer
and veteran political organizer, has opened a storefront office in Seattle
to help coordinate dozens of protests during the WTO meeting.

People's Global Action, a year-old international group that calls for
confrontational, nonviolent protest, is planning events around the world
Nov. 30 and organizing a caravan to bring foreign protesters on a "direct
action" tour across America. Members of the Canadian Union of Postal
Workers, where an organizer's phone message says, "Remember, capitalism
does suck," hope to be in Seattle. So do representatives of the Nicaraguan
farmers union.

And the trade ministers might take a close look at that concierge working
the convention center. A California group recently circulated to fellow
protesters some applications for volunteer jobs with the WTO host committee.

The WTO has chosen one of the most trade-dependent states in the country
for its meeting. Boeing is one of America's great exporters, Microsoft has
extraordinary global reach, and Washington farmers ship hundreds of
millions of dollars worth of wheat and apples overseas each year.

Politicians of all stripes tout free trade, none more than Washington's
high-profile governor, Gary Locke. Former Gov. Booth Gardner was the United
States' ambassador to WTO's predecessor organization.

But recently, serious concerns on the Metropolitan King County Council
almost prevented that body from approving a routine welcoming resolution to
the WTO. Both the County Council and the Seattle City Council voted to
oppose the Multilateral Agreement on Investment, a trade pact that will be
discussed during the November meeting.

There has always been well-organized opposition to free trade.

Many American labor unions worked unsuccessfully to stop the North American
Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In Europe, protests against the WTO resulted
in riots this summer in London's financial district. In France, farmers
dumped manure and tomatoes at McDonald's restaurants to protest American
trade policy.

But in the United States, the push for more open global markets has
bipartisan backing in Washington, D.C., and is a hallmark of the Clinton
administration's trade policy.

Still, Congress recently defeated Clinton's request for "fast track
authority" to negotiate trade deals. The Multilateral Agreement on
Investments has picked up a long list of opponents.

Dolan said protesters have been buoyed by those victories: "Remember, for
us, the enemy isn't these governments that comprise the WTO. The enemy is
the trans-national corporate, free-trade lobby that uses these agreements
like the WTO to move production around the world to the lowest wage area
and the areas in the world with the least environmental standards.

"We've got to remember who the enemy is here."

Opposition to the WTO has grown as the organization has become more powerful.

The group is the international supreme court for trade rules. Countries
that join agree to abide by the rules that are designed to eliminate trade
barriers. Critics say that means the WTO and other international trade
agreements such as NAFTA can essentially trump national, state and local
laws, particularly on environmental and labor issues.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency loosened Clean Air Act
restrictions after a complaint from Venezuela about a ban on contaminants
in foreign gasoline.

Rulings by trade tribunals have weakened efforts to use the Marine Mammal
Protection Act to save dolphins from tuna nets and the Endangered Species
Act to keep giant turtles from shrimp nets.

Those disputes galvanized environmental opposition to the WTO.

It also gave the opposition a simple story to tell. In a call for entries
to a children's anti-WTO art contest, a local protest group boiled down the
complex free-trade questions to this: "At the end of November this year,
the people (WTO) who don't care about turtles and dolphins, but care about
money, are coming to our city. We want them to know we don't like what they
are doing, and we don't think you do either."

The focus is now on state laws. The European Union has filed WTO complaints
about a Massachusetts law barring state contracts with companies that do
business with Myanmar; a small-business program in Kentucky; and the
income-tax laws in 16 states and the District of Columbia governing how
foreign corporations are taxed.

Concerns also have been raised that WTO rules could stop states, including
Washington, from pursuing insurance and other claims of Holocaust survivors.

Under WTO rules, the federal government must side with the unhappy foreign
corporations and governments, not states or local governments. If the WTO
finds against a state or local law, the federal government must pursue
every avenue to repeal it, including filing lawsuits.

A bipartisan coalition that included conservative Republican "trade
patriots" and liberal Democrats tried recently to get Congress to pass an
amendment denying funding for any WTO-related federal lawsuit against state
and local governments. It failed on a close vote.

Worries about the loss of U.S. sovereignty through trade agreements
galvanize the left and the right. Locally, the Green Party on the left and
the American Heritage Party on the right have similar anti-free-trade
planks in their platforms.

But the sovereignty issue is a "straw man," says Des O'Rourke, a professor
of international marketing at Washington State University and director of
the International Marketing Program for Agriculture, Commodities and Trade.

He says a loss of sovereignty is an essential element of any treaty.

"Once you sign a free-trade agreement, you are signing away, temporarily,
your right to control certain things. It's like any other treaty, like an
anti-ballistic-missile treaty, you're lending your sovereignty because most
of these treaties can be repudiated within six months," he said. "Most
countries don't see treaties as being forever."

O'Rourke said environmental and labor issues do not belong in trade
agreements, which work best when they focus on the relatively simple issues
of tariffs-and-trade barriers.

"If the potato quota is 20,000 tons, it is pretty easy to get people to
move it up to 25,000 tons," he said. "But to get India and Indonesia and
Brazil to agree on child-labor laws with the U.S., that's quite difficult."

No one knows how many protesters will be in Seattle Nov. 30. Dolan says
there will be at least tens of thousands. Some of his staffers hope for
more than 100,000.

Wingstrand said the Seattle Police Department is confident it can keep
crowds of any size under control.

"Seattle has a long history of trying to work with groups that want to
express opposing ideas and help them do that without it being illegal,
disruptive or violent. And that's our aim again this time," he said.

Dolan's office wall is lined with a huge, three-month calendar on which he
tracks all the organized protests, meetings, teach-ins and puppet shows.
Many of the groups will apply for permits with the city; Dolan said others
may not agree on rules of engagement for the protests.

"You know, with the anarchists from Eugene, it'll be, `Badges? We don't
need no stinking badges,' " Dolan said.

Dolan said Seattle police have been cooperative. But he worries federal
authorities will take control of WTO security, forcing demonstrators to
stay blocks away from the meetings. "If the feds say six blocks and it's a
hard perimeter, that's when things are probably going to get rowdy, and not
because of me," Dolan said.

Wingstrand said Seattle police, not federal authorities, will remain in

Some of what unfolds on Seattle's streets will be the responsibility of the
Ruckus Society. The 4-year-old group trains activists from as far away as
Tibet and Burma on protest strategies and techniques. One of the activities
protesters train for is scaling buildings, like roped rock climbers, to
draw attention to their cause. Sellers said he'd like to see some building
climbs happen during the Seattle event.

Later this month, the group will hold a weeklong Globalize This! Action
Camp in Snohomish County. Only what they describe as "advanced" protesters
have been invited.

At past camps, there were training sessions on the history and philosophy
of nonviolence, clandestine scouting-evasion techniques, climbing, radio
communications, blockades and a workshop to "learn how to lock your head to
something," according to Ruckus Society literature.

"I'd love to see mass Gandhi-like civil-rights-style resistance; giant
sit-ins and shutting down streets and blockades," said Sellers, the group's

Sellers is well aware that anti-WTO protests in Europe in June turned
violent. He said violence must be prevented in Seattle because it will turn
off the public and set the anti-free-trade movement back in the United

"Europe is years ahead of us," he said. "The public is much more ready to
see really radical action in the streets."

From: "Brian Hill" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Fw:      [Fwd: [StopWTORound] (wto/mai) USA Tooday: Activists
ready for             'festival of resistance']
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 1999 08:10:45 -0700

-----Original Message-----
From: Doug Hunt <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.••• <•••@••.•••>
Date: Thursday, September 16, 1999 06:53
Subject: [Fwd: [StopWTORound] (wto/mai) USA Tooday: Activists ready for
'festival of resistance']

>-------- Original Message --------

From: "Margrete Strand-Rangnes" <•••@••.•••>

USA Today, September 15, 1999

Activists ready for 'festival of resistance'
By James Cox, USA TODAY

Protesters plan to disrupt WTO talks

It promises to be a "festival of resistance" against the evils of corporate
"conquistadors," activists say.

Little noticed by the public, the upcoming World Trade Organization summit
has energized protesters around the world - from indigenous tribes to
longshoremen - like few events before.

Opposition forces are descending on Seattle from places as far-flung as
Togo and Finland to express outrage at the excesses of globalization and,
if possible, prevent world leaders, bureaucrats and corporate executives
from meeting to talk about expanded trade.

"Globalization is so out of control," says Dave Solnit of Art and
Revolution, a group specializing in political theater and dance. "This is
one of those critical times like there were in the civil rights and
anti-war movements when regular people have to take a stand."

The Nov. 30 gathering will be an eclectic party. President Clinton will
host other world leaders, along with 5,000 delegates from more than 150
countries. Cuba's Fidel Castro, himself a foe of free trade and capitalism,
is among the WTO's invitees.

Boeing CEO Phil Condit and Microsoft's Bill Gates are heading the Seattle
Host Organization. Big business is sponsoring dozens of events and

But the Seattle police also expect tens of thousands of anarchists, greens,
peasants, union members, consumer advocates, Christian groups, AIDS
activists, biotechnology opponents and others who defy description.

Activists, noting that the Northwest is a hotbed of social causes, can
barely contain their glee.

"They're bringing the largest corporate junket of the millennium to our
home court," says John Sellers, director of the Ruckus Society. "I would
have had it in Houston. It's not a very forgiving place to be an activist."

Even official Seattle is not entirely open armed. The Metropolitan King
County Council struggled recently to come up with a lukewarm welcome
resolution. The city and county councils have passed resolutions declaring
themselves "MAI Free Zones" - off-limits to trade pacts known as
Multilateral Agreements on Investment. MAIs, which govern foreign
investment, are on the WTO agenda for Seattle.

'Shut down this town'

The Clinton administration and the Geneva-based WTO picked Seattle, a port
city where one in three jobs are dependent on imports and exports, to
showcase the benefits of free trade.

But the city's many bridges, bodies of water and already congested freeways
could leave it vulnerable.

"There's going to be a wide range of rowdiness. Some people are going to
try to shut down this town," says Mike Dolan, organizer for Public Citizen,
Ralph Nader's consumer group.

Many of the protesters are trained in "urban climbing" techniques enabling
them to scale buildings and bridges to unfurl banners. Greenpeace activists
prevented trawlers from heading out to Puget Sound by dangling themselves
from Seattle's Aurora Bridge in 1997.

Local police are brushing up on VIP protection, crowd control and traffic
procedures. "I don't think you can make ironclad guarantees you'll be able
to keep people off buildings and bridges. We're not going to lock the city
down," says Capt. Brent Wingstrand of the Seattle Police Department.

Since the end of the Cold War, liberalized trade rules and technological
advances have made the world's economies more closely intertwined.

Foes blame trade liberalization for exploiting workers and the environment
in Third World countries and draining jobs from developed nations. They
criticize the 134-nation WTO for conducting business behind closed doors.

The WTO argues that the trading system it oversees promotes peace, raises
incomes and living standards, provides more consumer choices and reduces
the influence of special interests.

"In the absence of global conflict between 'isms,' some people have chosen
to focus their fury on globalism," WTO chief Michael Moore said recently.
"The WTO has become a target for abuse."

But many business leaders blame themselves for the public's apathy toward
and ignorance about trade.

"Our tendency has been to talk about trade sporadically and in an
incomplete manner," says Scott Miller, a Procter & Gamble lobbyist who
chairs a business alliance called U.S. Trade.


On the Internet at http://www.tradewatch.org/publications/gtwpubs.htm

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is
distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in
receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Margrete Strand Rangnes
MAI Project Coordinator
Public Citizen Global Trade Watch
215 Pennsylvania Ave, SE
Washington DC, 20003 USA
202-547 7392 (fax)

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