Dear rn, I'd like to thank Jan again for her inspired participation in the FTAA protests, and for sending us her front-line bulletin. These next two reports give us perspectives from a movement spokesperson (Naomi Klein) and from a neoliberal advocate (Sinclair Stevens). Naomi is playing an important role with her ongoing attempts to explain the meaning of our leaderless, decentralized movement. The article from Stevens is a ~very~ encouraging one. Here's a fellow who helped push through the neoliberal agenda, while in the Canadian Government. I can't quite say he was radicalized by his experience in Quebec City, but the truth is somewhere close to that. He may not buy into the economic thread of the movement, but his words do a lot to promote the democracy thread. I find it significant that these two articles appeared in a prominent Toronto newspaper, and this may symbolize a promising trend. Although the global media always portrays the protests as 'cops vs. black block' skirmishes, the local media (as we saw in Seattle) often presents a much more balanced view. Perhaps, as protests continue in city after city, this will gradually build up a significant constituency for the growing movement. Every little bit helps. regards, rkm http://cyberjournal.org btw> I'll be in Dublin this weekend at a "Convergence Festival" put on by "Sustainable Ireland". Laurence Cox is chairing a series of workshops on "Tools for Change", and I've got a two-hour slot to talk about "Post Seattle: Building a Global Movement", followed by plenty of time for discussion. Monday we'll continue our dialog thread. ============================================================================ Date: Tue, 24 Apr 2001 22:59:01 -0500 From: Mark Douglas Whitaker <•••@••.•••> Subject: NEWS: Not One or Two, but Hundreds of Protests Naomi Klein, Globe and Mail April 24, 2001 To: •••@••.••• Not One or Two, but Hundreds of Protests Naomi Klein, Globe and Mail April 24, 2001 Maude Barlow, chair of the Council of Canadians, is condemned for not calling off "Maude's Mob." Activist Jaggi Singh is in jail for allegedly possessing a weapon that he never owned or used -- a theatrical catapult that shot stuffed animals over the infamous fence in Quebec City during last week's Summit of the Americas. It's not just that the police didn't get the joke, it's that they don't get that they the new era of political protest, one adapted to our post-modern times. There was no one person or group who could call off "their people," because the tens of thousands who came out to protest the Free Trade Area of the Americas are part of a movement that doesn't have a leader, a center, or even an agreed-upon name. Yet it exists, undeniably, nonetheless. What is difficult to convey in media reports is that there weren't two protests that took place in Quebec City -- one a "peaceful" labor march, the other "violent" anarchist riot. There were hundreds of protests. One was organized by a mother and daughter from Montreal. Another by a van load of grad students from Edmonton. Another by three friends from Toronto who aren't members of anything but their health clubs. Yet another by a couple of waiters from a local cafe on their lunch break. Sure there were well organized groups in Quebec City: the unions had buses, matching placards and a parade route; the "black bloc" of anarchists had gas masks and radio links. But for days the streets were also filled with people who simply said to a friend, "Let's go to Quebec," and with Quebec City residents who said, "Let's go outside." They didn't join one big protest, they participated in a moment. How could it be otherwise? The traditional institutions that once organized citizens into neat, structured groups are all in decline: unions, religions, political parties. Yet something propelled tens of thousands of individuals to the streets anyway, an intuition, a gut instinct -- perhaps just the profoundly human desire to be part of something larger than oneself. Did they have their party-line together, a detailed dissection of the ins and outs of the FTAA? Not always. But neither can the Quebec protests be dismissed as vacuous political tourism. George W. Bush's message at the summit was that the mere act of buying and selling would do our governing for us. "Trade helps spread freedom," he said. It was precisely this impoverished and passive vision of democracy that was rejected on the streets outside. Whatever else they were searching for, all were certainly looking for a taste of direct political participation. The result of these hundreds of miniature protests converging was chaotic, sometimes awful, but frequently inspiring. One thing is certain: after at last shaking off the mantle of political spectatorship, the last thing these people are about to do is hand over the reins to a cabal of would-be leaders. The protesters will, however, become more organized, a fact which has more to do with the actions of police than the directives of Maude Barlow, Jaggi Singh, or, for that matter, me. If people wandered and stumbled to Quebec City, profoundly unsure of what it meant to be part of a political movement, something united us all once we arrived: mass arrests, rubber bullets, but most of all, a thick white blanket of gas. Despite Canada's Liberal Party line of praising "good" protesters while condemning "bad" ones, treatment of everyone on the streets of Quebec City was crude, cowardly and indiscriminate. The security forces used the actions of a few rock throwers as a camera-friendly justification to do what they have been trying to do from the start: clear the city of thousands of lawful protesters because it was more convenient that way. Once they got their "provocation," they filled entire neighborhoods with toxic fumes, forcing families to breathe through masks in their living rooms. Frustrated that the wind was against them, they sprayed some more. People giving the peace sign to the police were gassed. People handling our food were gassed. I met a 50-year-old woman from Ottawa who told me cheerfully, "I went out to buy a sandwich and was gassed twice." People having a party under a bridge were gassed. People protesting their friends' arrests were gassed. The first-aid clinic treating people who had been gassed, was gassed. Tear gas was supposed to break-down the protesters but it had the opposite effect: it enraged and radicalized them, enough to cheer for "Black Blockers" who dared to throw the canisters back. It may be light and atomized enough to ride on air, but I suspect the coming months will show that gas also has powerful bonding properties. http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=10763 ============================================================================ Delivered-To: •••@••.••• From: "Brit Eckhart" <•••@••.•••> To: ">" <•••@••.•••> Subject: Fw: [BGAN-FTAA] 4/24 (G&M): A Police State in the Making Date: Tue, 24 Apr 2001 22:49:51 -0400 -----Original Message----- From: Rajiv Rawat <•••@••.•••> To: •••@••.••• <•••@••.•••> Date: Tuesday, April 24, 2001 3:32 PM Subject: [BGAN-FTAA] 4/24 (G&M): A Police State in the Making This from a pro-free trade, conservative politician! - R ---------------------- Published on Tuesday, April 24, 2001 in the Toronto Globe & Mail A Police State in the Making Democracy Trampled in Quebec City by Sinclair Stevens I never thought I'd be writing this article, surely not in Canada. There aren't many people in this country who view free trade as positively as I do. As industry minister in the Mulroney government, I participated in the 1985 Shamrock Summit that set the stage for our trade agreement with the United States. I was even responsible for replacing the Foreign Investment Review Agency with Investment Canada, a welcome mat for our partners to the South. There also aren't many people who view the maintenance of law and order as a higher priority than I do. But this past weekend, I was shocked by events in Quebec City. Shocked by what I saw, and stunned by what my wife, Noreen, and I personally experienced. I believe Canada is right to view free trade as a model for democratic development in every corner of our hemisphere, and I was delighted to see us host the Summit of the Americas. But our government is dead wrong to behave in a manner that suggests we have forgotten what democracy is all about. Noreen and I arrived in Quebec City last Friday at about 5 p.m. We had heard about the so-called security fence and wanted to see it firsthand, to walk along beside it. My first view of the fence was in front of the Chteau Frontenac. It brought back memories of many happy visits to that hotel. But, this weekend, I could not enter: The hotel was inside the fence, I was outside. As we walked around the perimeter, a 40-year-old chap passed us, and asked: "Where is your gas mask?" I asked what he meant. He said: "There is gas farther on -- watch out." We continued until we saw our first contingent of riot-geared police lined up three deep behind a closed gate. They were an intimidating sight -- in battle dress, with helmets, masks, shields and assorted elaborate weapons. I was glad, this time, that they were inside the fence and we were outside. Farther on, just before we got to Dufferin Street, there were perhaps 50 people -- protesters, it turned out -- who were standing or sitting on a small side road. At the end of the road, we saw a much larger group of riot police standing shoulder-to-shoulder, several rows deep. The road was well away from the security fence. In fact, the fence was nowhere in sight. I spoke with many of the people in the street, asked them why they had gathered, why they opposed the free trade proposals. It was a lively but friendly exchange. We were interrupted as the police down the road began an eerie drumming, rattling their riot sticks against their shields. Slowly, in unison, one six-inch step at a time, they began marching toward us. Noreen and I moved to the side of the street, as the protesters remained stationary. Some formed V signs with their fingers. To my horror, the police then fired tear gas canisters directly at those sitting or standing on the road. As clouds of gas began to spread, Noreen and I felt our eyes sting and our throats bake. We pulled whatever clothing we could across our mouths. One young woman, who had been among the protesters, offered us some vinegar. "What's that for?" I asked. "It takes away the sting," she said. And it did help. The police, however, kept advancing. One large policeman with the number 5905 on his helmet, pressed right against me and ordered me to get behind a railing. "I haven't done anything," I protested. "Why?" He simply replied: "Get behind the rail." Then he added, "and get down." I did so. I shook my head. I never thought I would ever see this kind of police-state tactic in Canada. What we witnessed that night was mild compared to events the next afternoon. This time, walked along the fence until we reached the gate at Ren Lvesque Boulevard, where a great crowd had gathered that included TV cameras and reporters. I was asked for an interview by a CBC crew but, before we could begin, dozens of tear gas canisters were fired, water cannons were sprayed and rubber bullets began to hit people nearby. Three times, I felt could not breathe, my eyes were sore and all I could do was run. In the bedlam, my wife and I were separated for almost three hours. She said she had almost passed out from the gassing. We lost something else, besides each other, last weekend in Quebec: our innocence. This government, and some reporters, like to brand the Quebec City demonstrators as "hooligans." That is not fair. I talked to dozens of them, mostly university students, aged about 20. They came to Quebec, not to have "a good time," as some suggest, but to express their well-thought-out views on a subject that is important to them, to all of us. I may not have agreed with their position, but I sure believe in their right to express it. The police had no cause to violently suppress it. Some will say that a handful of demonstrators got out of hand and forced the police to take collective action. I can't agree. The police action in Quebec City, under orders from our government, was a provocation itself -- an assault on all our freedoms. Sinclair Stevens, minister of regional industrial expansion under Brian Mulroney, was an MP from 1972 to 1988. Copyright 2001 Globe Interactive -- ============================================================================ Richard K Moore Wexford, Ireland Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance email: •••@••.••• website & list archives: http://cyberjournal.org content-searchable archive: http://members.xoom.com/centrexnews/ "A Guidebook: How the world works and how we can change it" http://cyberjournal.org/cj/guide/ A community will evolve only when the people control their means of communication. -- Frantz Fanon Capitalism is the relentless accumulation of capital for the acquisition of profit. Capitalism is a carnivore. It cannot be made over into a herbivore without gutting it, i.e., abolishing it. - Warren Wagar, Professor of History, State University of New York at Binghamton Permission for non-commercial republishing hereby granted - BUT include and observe all restrictions, copyrights, credits, and notices - including this one. ============================================================================ .