============================================================================ X-Sender: •••@••.••• (Unverified) Date: Wed, 8 Dec 1999 22:03:12 -0800 To: Recipient List Suppressed:; From: Randy Schutt <•••@••.•••> Subject: Some Thoughts on WTO Folks, I've finally gotten my computer back from the fixit shop. I had some thoughts on the demonstration in Seattle that I thought I'd pass along. First, as best I can tell from my vantage point, despite very difficult circumstances, protestors were able to carry out a highly successful action -- get the WTO on the news agenda, inform a lot of people about the WTO and why it is bad, and encourage the delegates inside to stand up for their rights. They also demonstrated what real nonviolent action and democracy looks like and helped to build for future actions. Hooray!!! Thank you to everyone who helped make it happen in whatever way. The police used the fairly innocuous term "protest-free zone" and many activists have echoed this terminology. I think it would be much better to call it what it really is: a "democracy-free zone" (including the trade ministerial meetings -- which were not at all democratic) or a "zone of tyranny" or a "martial law zone". I encourage everyone to use these terms instead. On the radio on Friday, Dec. 3, I heard people chanting "This is what democracy looks like." After thinking about this, I had an image of a few chanters standing between the protesters and the police. First the camera would focus on them as they chanted "This is what democracy looks like, this is what democracy looks like" and they pointed at the multi-ethnic and brightly dressed demonstrators dancing and singing, making decisions by consensus, and working together cooperatively. Then the camera would pan back across them as they chanted "This is what tyranny looks like, this is what tyranny looks like" as they pointed at the police who are dressed in riot gear, firing rubber bullets at people, firing tear gas, spraying pepper spray in people's faces, kicking and hitting people with clubs. Perhaps in the future, we can get such a scene on video or maybe the SF Mime Troupe could illustrate it in their plays next summer. I think the concept that we are democratic and acting for democracy and the WTO and police are not democratic and are acting for tyranny is really important. These chants are really useful for illustrating this and teaching people who can't see it on their own. And lastly, as a facilitator of NV Prep workshops and one who has experienced this personally, I want to discuss the aftermath of demos: very often after a good, intense demo that goes on for several days, folks come back exhilarated (even from one with lots of horrible police violence against people). But once the adrenaline wears off, they fall into a slump and get exhausted, depressed, and grumpy. Some of these folks will pull away and withdraw, and some of them will never come back. It is also really easy for in-fighting to erupt and rip organizations asunder. I encourage anyone so affected to spend a lot of time working through all your built-up feelings of anger, sadness, and frustration -- tell each other your war stories, hug each other, and cry over the hurt, violence, and tyranny. Also, try to be really gentle with each other and watch out for destructive in-fighting for the next few months. I hope these comments are useful. Please pass them on to whoever you think they might help. --Randy ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Richard K Moore Wexford, Irleand Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance •••@••.••• http://cyberjournal.org Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world, indeed it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead Permission for non-commercial republishing hereby granted - BUT include and observe all restrictions, copyrights, credits, and notices - including this one.