cj#1034,rn,sm-> Randy Schutt: Some Thoughts on WTO

1999-12-10

Richard Moore

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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


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Richard K Moore
Wexford, Irleand
Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance
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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

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