cj#1042, rn> Readers re: Seattle, WTO, police states

1999-12-23

Richard Moore

Dear cj & rn,

We are living in interesting times.  Events in Seattle were
extremely signfiicant, but more confusion than understanding
has resulted.  As for Y2K, we have no idea what is going to
happen.  The following items are interesting, but I do no
recommend taking them at face value.

My comments will follow tomorrow.

rkm

============================================================================
# 1
=================================
From: "Brian Hill" <•••@••.•••>
Bcc: •••@••.•••
Subject: Fw: EU-US Summit agrees way forward for new Round (Ref:4CLCX8)
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 09:58:27 -0800

It looks like powers are making concessions because of Seattle, but I
think we should still challenge the legitimacy of the WTO.  Note
paragraphs on the ILO and the environment.

Brian

-----Original Message-----
From: European Commission, DG Trade <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.••• <•••@••.•••>
Date: Monday, December 20, 1999 11:49
Subject: EU-US Summit agrees way forward for new Round (Ref:4CLCX8)


This a communication from the Trade DG of the European Commission.

Attention:  Mr. Brian  Hill
            Director
            Institute for Cultural Ecology
    Email:  •••@••.•••

The European Union and the United States held their biannual
summit in Washington on Friday, 17th December 1999. The
following EU-US statement on the WTO was issued at that
event:

The United States and the European Union consider the
multilateral trading system one of the world's principal
bulwarks of peace, sustainable development, and economic
growth; and a primary engine for rising living standards and
broad-based prosperity in the future.  As we approach the
new century, we must ensure that the trading system retains
its dynamism and ability to respond to changing needs of an
increasingly diverse membership.

Accordingly, both sides note their disappointment at the
failure to reach agreement on a new Round of trade
negotiations at Seattle, but they agree it is now important
to find a way forward.  In this context, the EU and the US
both pledge continued readiness to work with Director
General Mike Moore and our partners to launch an inclusive
new Round as soon as possible.  A new Round has to be
definitively different from its predecessors.  It should
encompass the built in agenda of agriculture and services,
further and effective market access liberalisation, support
our efforts to harness globalisation by strengthening and
extending WTO rules, and address the concerns of both
developing countries and civil society.

With the Director General and all other members of the WTO,
we need to take full account of the lessons of Seattle.  In
particular, work should be directed towards a set of
measures that will provide better opportunities for wider
participation by all members (including developing
countries) in the decision-making processes of the WTO;
offer greater transparency (both within the organisation and
vis a vis the outside world); and improve public access,
including through broader access to WTO documents and
enhanced consultation procedures with civil society.  This
work should also consider measures to improve the efficiency
of the WTO, and boost overall public support for the
organisation.  We should also seek agreement by all members
on the separate review of WTO dispute settlement procedures,
including measures to enhance transparency.

The US and EU are committed to maximising the benefits
developing countries gain from being in the WTO.  We agreed
to take forward a preferential market access initiative for
least developed WTO members, initially with our Quad
partners.  We will work with other WTO Member to establish
as soon as possible a new, revitalised programme for
capacity building and technical assistance undertaken by the
WTO, beginning with the Integrated Framework established in
1996, and in cooperation with other international
institutions.  We also agreed to consider what we would do
to address the concerns of a number of developing countries
with implementation of existing multilateral trade
agreements.

On issues of interest to our civil societies, we agreed that
changes to global economy have brought new challenges to the
trading system.  Nowhere is that more evident that the
debate that is now joined regarding the relationship between
trade and labour. The US and EU are committed to working
with our partners to engage the WTO and ILO in a
constructive dialogue, including consideration of the
relationship between core labour standards, further
liberalisation, trade policy and social development, in
order to foster understanding and consensus.  And on trade
and environment, we will work together to ensure that trade
rules support and do not undermine the ability of
governments to establish and achieve high levels of
environmental protection.

The cooperative relationship between the US and the EU has
been crucial to the development of the multilateral trading
system over the past 50 years.  We recognise our shared
responsibilities to continue this work, but also the need to
involve all our WTO partners more directly.  This will pave
the way for continued prosperity, sustainable development,
and long-term growth for the 21st century.


European Commission, DG Trade, Information Unit
Email: •••@••.•••
WWW: http://europa.eu.int/comm/trade
Fax:   +32-2-296-9854
To notify the European Commission of any changes to your contact
details, please quote the following reference number: 4CLCX8


============================================================================
# 2
=================================
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 22:28:37 -0800
To: Recipient List Suppressed:;
From: Randy Schutt <•••@••.•••>
Subject: "My time in Seattle"

Folks, Here is another nice description from a Christian perspective.
Thanks Carol for passing it along. I've removed forwarding marks and
corrected a few typos. --Randy


News from the Front Lines of the Battle of Seattle
by The Reverend Sharon Delgado
(AKA Jane WTO)

To be published in the Jan/Feb edition of Christian Social Action Magazine.

Lying on my bunk wrapped in a thin blanket, alone in the cold cell
under lock-down, time passed slowly. I could hear vague sounds of
drumming and chanting, so I knew supporters had gathered outside the
jail. Kaleidoscopic images were going through my mind: people
marching and singing together, colorful costumes, puppets and
posters, police, rubber bullets and tear gas, injured protestors,
people laughing, people crying.

Songs I had sung with other protestors while sitting in holding cells
also came to mind, including an old Malvina Reynolds' song:

     It isn't nice to block the doorways, it isn't nice to go to jail.
     There are nicer ways to do it, but the nice ways always fail.
     It isn't nice, it isn't nice; they've told us once, they've told us twice,
     But if that is freedom's price, we don't care.

Having nothing better to do, I updated the song by adding two new
verses based on my experiences of the past few days:

     It isn't nice to breathe in tear gas or be doused with pepper spray,
     To be shot with rubber bullets or to hear their sound grenades.
     It isn't nice, it isn't nice, but if that is the price
     To save the earth from dying, we don't care.

     It isn't nice to be beat up or be dragged away to jail,
     To spend long hours in holding tanks or lock-down without bail.
     It isn't nice, it isn't nice; we've told you once, we've told you twice,
     But if that is justice's price, we'll be there.

As I lay there hour after hour, my feelings were of triumph,
solidarity, divine presence, and joy. After all, on Tuesday, through
non-violent resistance we had succeeded in blocking the opening
meeting of the World Trade Organization, one of the most powerful and
dangerous organizations in the world. At that moment, alone in jail,
there was no place I would rather be.

I had come to Seattle to protest the meeting of the World Trade
Organization (WTO).  Under the guise and slogan of "free trade," the
WTO gives "trade ministers" (read "corporate bureaucrats") the
authority to make decisions which undermine democracy and deeply
affect people's lives.

Since its creation in 1995 as part of the "Uraguay Round" of GATT
negotiations, the WTO has greatly increased the global reach of
corporations by its authority to determine the "legality" of laws
enacted by federal, state, and local governments. When a WTO tribunal
rules that a particular law is a "non-tariff barrier to trade," its
binding judgement leaves the convicted locale with three
alternatives:  1) change the law so that it complies with the WTO
ruling; 2) pay agreed upon penalties year after year; or 3) face
financial sanctions specified and imposed by the WTO.  Non-tariff
barriers to trade include restrictions on imports based on
environmental laws, labor laws (including child labor), food safety
laws, laws related to human rights (such as banning products from
oppressive regimes), etc.

The position of the US government is that it will change our laws to
comply.  To date, several US environmental laws have been weakened or
reversed due to negative WTO judgements, including the US Clean Air
Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act ("dolphin-safe tuna" is no
longer dolphin safe), and the Endangered Sea Turtle Act.  The US has
also brought cases against other countries to the WTO on behalf of US
corporations. Since judgements are generally in favor of
corporations, laws of other countries have been judged to be illegal
as well.

The goal of the WTO is not actually free trade, but regulated trade.
Its hundreds of pages of guidelines regulate international trade in
ways that benefit corporations. "Free trade" is about freedom for
corporations to have access to every last person ("market") and
natural resource ("commodity") in the world, using the cheapest labor
for the greatest possible profit. In its meetings in Seattle, the WTO
planned to create an agenda for a Millennium Round of talks to
increase its power and continue the process of corporate
globalization.

I arrived in Seattle on November 26, the Friday after Thanksgiving,
in order to attend the two-day Teach-In on the WTO sponsored by the
International Forum on Globalization. The Teach-In was held in the
2,500-seat Benaroya Symphony Hall. It was filled to capacity. People
with signs requesting tickets stood outside the door. Well-known
speakers from all over the world reminded us of why we had come to
Seattle, gave us more information on the effects of the WTO, and
inspired us to resist its domination.

The churches were highly visible during the Seattle events.  On
Sunday evening, Jim Wallace of Sojourners Community preached at a
glorious service of Christian worship at St. James Cathedral, using
the text from Leviticus 25, which calls for debts to be cancelled and
slaves to be set free during the year of Jubilee.  The service lifted
up "Jubilee 2000," a world-wide movement calling for the cancellation
of the debt of the world's poorest nations. The call for debt relief
challenges the IMF, the World Bank, and the WTO with the recognition
that there is something very wrong with the current global economic
system, in which the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting
poorer. Churches have led this campaign in the belief that a just
global economic system must put God's people and God's world above
profits.

The First United Methodist Church of Seattle displayed a sign which
said "NGO Central," since it was a central location for the
activities of many non-governmental organizations during the week.
The church hosted daily educational forums and offered space for
various groups to meet.  Several marches originated from the church,
including an environmental march on Monday which had thousands of
people, including over 200 people dressed as Sea Turtles.  A high
point for me was hearing the turtles chant, "No more sweatshops!"
Connections between human rights, labor, and the environment were
finally being made.

On Monday evening, an interfaith service sponsored by Jubilee 2000
and the Washington Association of Churches was held in the First UMC
sanctuary, with an overflow crowd watching the service on video.
Sweet Honey in the Rock sang;  speaker after speaker called for debt
relief. This service preceded a march on Monday evening, when a human
chain of thousands of people encircled the Kingdome during the
opening gala of the WTO, calling for a cancellation of the debt of
the poorest nations.

Early Tuesday morning, I walked with my friends Ruth Hunter (age 83)
and Catherine (Cappy) Israel to join other protestors at Union and
6th, where we sat down in front of the Convention Center. Our purpose
was to shut down the WTO.  I linked arms with Ruth my on my left and
a young woman in her early twenties on my right. About thirty of us
sat blocking the entrance. Others joined us later.  Many people were
supporting us, bringing us water and providing "entertainment."
Street theater groups and puppets came by to encourage us.
Cheerleaders dressed in red gave cheers about the evils of corporate
control. We sat in the wet street, shivering from cold and anxiety,
laughing, singing, glancing back occasionally at the police who stood
in rows behind us.

At one point, two rows of police on motorcycles came toward us, as if
to run us over, but a sea of protestors moved in front of them.
Awhile later, police on horseback began slowly advancing on us from
behind. This time, protestors laid down on their backs in front of
the horses, feet first, to protect us, as people did in India in the
time of Gandhi. The mounted police withdrew.

We saw the police put on their gas masks and then take them off
several times.  Each time, we braced ourselves, then relaxed. The
young woman on my right was terrified. After about two hours, the
police put on their gas masks and suddenly began to attack. I felt
the pain of hard plastic bullets hitting my back, felt the sting of
pepper spray, heard loud explosive sounds of concussion grenades, and
gasped in the suffocating clouds of tear gas. When I could no longer
breathe, Cappy and I helped drag Ruth and ourselves away.

I saw one woman lying unconscious, face down, on the street. Many
people were crying in pain, tears streaming from their eyes. "Medics"
working with the Direct Action Network helped drag people away,
flushed their eyes with water, treated their wounds. One young man,
who had not been blocking the entrance but was simply in the area,
cried in agony from the burn of pepper spray that had been shot
directly into his eyes. I know now similar scenes were taking place
all over the city, and that it got worse.

Since tear gas was also being used at the next intersection, there
was nowhere to go. We were trapped, together with hundreds of other
people. We finally found our way through a building and out of the
area.

Later that day, we joined the labor union march. Like other protest
marches of the week, it was more like a huge parade that filled the
streets with thousands of people. Colorful banners and signs,
costumes and props, marching bands, drummers and dancers streamed
along, creating a mardi gras atmosphere. It was thrilling to have so
many people together in solidarity - labor unions, environmentalists,
religious groups, organizations working for human rights, and
individuals with a variety of concerns - all directed toward ending
corporate rule.  Smiles were on every face. A common chant was "This
is what democracy looks like."  A sign captured the essence of
solidarity: "Turtles and Teamsters, Together At Last."

Throughout the city, the streets were filled with people. Only once
did we see any property damage taking place. In that instance,
peaceful protestors stopped it, not the police. Every so often, we
would come upon an intersection where the police were using tear gas.
It wafted through the city most of the day. By evening, a curfew was
in effect.  We watched on TV in horror as we saw huge clouds of tear
gas envelop the downtown. It looked like a war zone.  We were also
dismayed that the thousands of peaceful protestors got so little
coverage, while scenes of the same few windows being broken were
shown again and again.

Early the next morning, on Wednesday, December 1, Ruth, Cappy, and I
walked with another friend, Emily Maloney, to Denny Park to join in
the civil disobedience planned for the day.  We arrived at dawn, just
as the curfew was supposed to be lifted.  As people gathered, the
park was surrounded by SWAT teams.  Our group of about fifty walked a
block and a half into the area that had been designated a "No Protest
Zone." (The ACLU is currently challenging the legality of that
designation.) The police ordered us to leave but instead we sat down,
linking arms.

When the police moved in to make arrests, I stood and helped Ruth up,
holding out my arms. A policeman grabbed me and put the plastic cuffs
on tight, behind my back, and made me lie face down on the street.
The police were very rough, especially with those who refused to
walk. They carried people face down, their hands cuffed behind them,
then dropped them hard on their faces.  Batons were used. Some people
were in great pain. I pleaded with a policeman who was guarding me to
loosen my cuffs, but he wouldn't. They were loosened two hours later.
By then, one person's hands had begun to turn blue. Some screamed in
agony when the cuffs were cut away.

We were taken to Sand Point Naval Station, where we stayed until
evening.  No food was offered to us until the next day. Still, our
spirits were high. Through a large glass window we saw another group
of people who had been arrested. They taught us a song through the
glass, which has become the theme song of the whole experience for
me. It includes the Spanish words "Si, se puede," meaning "It can be
done!":

     Rising, rising, the earth is rising.
     Turning, turning, the tide is turning.
     Si, se puede. Si, se puede. Si, se puede. Si, se puede.
     Si, se puede. Si, se puede. Si, se puede. Si, se puede.

We sang it while being processed, when new people came in and after
we were released. We sang and danced with joy and a deep sense of
hope.

Throughout the jail experience there was a powerful sense of bonding
with fellow prisoners. Those of us who were older learned so much
from the creativity, dedication, and wisdom of the young, and younger
people felt encouraged to have elders with them. Most of us chose to
be in solidarity with each other by not giving our names, as is our
legal right, in the hope that there could be "equal impact" on all
arrestees, including internationals. We were given numbered
wristbands with the names "Jane WTO" or "John WTO." I turned over my
clothes and everything in my possession. My wedding ring and money
were not returned when I was released.

We saw and heard some terrible things. When the women in our group
were separated from the men at Sand Point, we were put in a cell
where several young women had been pepper sprayed in their faces at
close range. Their eyes were still red and they were traumatized. I
also saw two women whose noses had been broken by police. I was with
several people who were denied their medication, including Ruth.
Later that week, I heard many first-hand accounts of police brutality.

Amnesty International has called for an independent investigation
into alleged human rights abuses. The ACLU is collecting reports on
police brutality. The Seattle Chief of Police, Norm Stamper, has
resigned amidst criticism. The Seattle City Council, after hearing
accounts of police misconduct from hundreds of people, has
established a civilian police oversight commission, which replaces
the Police Department's Division of Internal Affairs. Not only did
the protests shut down the WTO, they exposed the violence of the
criminal justice system.

As we were being booked into King County Jail on Wednesday evening, I
witnessed an unprovoked attack by police against my friend, Cappy.  A
policewoman hit her as she frisked her, grabbed her by her long gray
hair and dragged her around the corner, throwing her face down to the
ground.  Other officers got on top of her and twisted her arms behind
her. Later, as we sat for hours in a small holding cell, her hair was
coming out in bunches, she had a big bruise on her forehead, and her
shoulders ached. Still, we talked and sang and tried to sleep on the
cold concrete floor. Finally, around 2 a.m., we were taken up to our
cells. I spent most of the next 26 hours in my cell, until I was
released.

I had no contact with the outside world. I had no way of knowing what
was going on. I didn't know that the police violence had increased in
the Capitol Hill area, that they were using military grade tear gas
and arresting residents and protestors alike. I didn't know that
ongoing protests on the streets of Seattle were putting pressure on
Clinton to stand up for labor and environmental standards and were
empowering delegates from developing nations to stand firm (against
the patenting of life forms, privatization of services, etc.) in
spite of pressures imposed by industrialized nations. I didn't know
that the official meetings of the WTO were headed toward failure and
that the success of the protests would be beyond my wildest dreams.

As I lay there in my cell, all I knew was that I was witnessing a
different kind of globalization in the teach-ins and worship
services, as well as on the streets of Seattle, a worldwide network
of citizens joining together not for the sake of profit, but for the
sake of a shared vision of a just and sustainable world. I felt I was
a part of an amazing, historic movement of kindred spirits coming
together to demand fair trade rather than free trade, to promote
justice and environmental sanity. I was  part of a watershed event,
supported by the prayers and hopes and hurts of the world, sustained
by the presence and love of God. It was one of the most powerful
experiences of my life, a life-changing experience.

As Paul says in Romans 8, "Hope that is seen is not hope." For years,
I had been preaching, teaching, and acting out of hope that I could
not see.  Now I can see. There is not just hope, but possibility for
amazing and positive change in the world.  And opportunity. Vast
opportunity.

     Si, se puede!  It can be done!  It's happening now.
     Rising, rising, the earth is rising.
     Turning, turning, the tide is turning.
     Si, se puede. Si, se puede. Si, se puede. Si, se puede.
     Si, se puede. Si, se puede. Si, se puede. Si, se puede.

============================================================================
# 3
=================================
Date: Sun, 19 Dec 1999 12:06:58 -0800
To: •••@••.•••
From: Rosa Zubizarreta <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Russia's warning to U.S.

Dear list members,

A few days ago I received the post below, written by the
director of Sydney's Friends of the Earth campaign. It urges
us all to focus our attention and actions for the next 10
days on the critical issue of nuclear weapons safety over
the year 2000 rollover.

Then, this morning, I received the following news item about
Russia's warning to the world. It has underscored for me the
importance of this issue. While I realize that this list is
predominantly for academic discussion, I thought it might be
pertinent for all of us to take some action that can ensure
that our conversation can continue unimpeded.

With all best wishes,

Rosa Zubizarreta


from the Boston Globe

"In interviews with Russian news media, the chief of the
missile program, Vladimir Yakovlev, stressed that Russia's
economic crisis and new security threats had prompted a
dramatic review of nuclear deterrence.

''Russia, for objective reasons, is forced to lower the
threshold for using nuclear weapons, extend the nuclear
deterrent to smaller-scale conflicts, and openly warn
potential opponents about this,'' he said.

Read the full story at:

http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/352/nation/Nuclear_might_celebrated
_with_a_Russian_warning+.shtml


The following is the background information on nuclear
risks:

At the end of the next 15 days, the largest, oldest, most
complex, most deeply interconnected, and previously least
Y2K - compliant computer command and control systems in the
world will experience Y2K.

These are of course, the systems that perform command,
control, communications, and monitoring for nuclear weapons
systems.

There are some 2,000 warheads in 500  land-based minuteman
ICBMs in the US, and some 3,600 warheads in land- based
ICBMs in Russia, on permanent 24 hour hairtrigger alert,
with gyros spinning ready for launch at a moments notice.
That doesn't count warheads in SLBMs or bombers.

The launch of all 5,600 warheads could end all human life,
and certainly would end civilisation, and would do
irreperable and very profound damage to the entire web of
life on earth.

The Pentagon has spent over $4 billion and it says it is
totally confident its systems will cope.

The Russians say their control systems for their nuclear
weapons do not utilise the date and will cope.

Privately however, US officers worry about blank screens,
false data, and communications blackouts.

The Canberra Commission reccommended as far back as 1996
that as a first step toward nuclear abolition, nuclear
weapons be taken off hairtrigger alert. The Tokyo Forum has
also called for this to be done.

Two UN resolutions passed this year and another two passed
this year have called for de-alerting.

Two resolutions of the Australian Senate and a resolution
passed unanimously by the European Parliament have called
for nuclear weapons to be taken off alert over the Y2k
rollover.

Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin and their secretaries of
defence have been the recipients of a very large number of
letters from NGOs all round the world calling for nuclear
weapons to be taken off alert.

So far there is no indication that they will do this.

Instead, Yeltsin has threatened the US, saying they should
remember that Russia has a large nuclear arsenal and has
deployed ten of the latest Topol-M missiles.

Nontheless, there are indications that the campaign has at
least been noticed.

And what will actually happen on the night of the rollover
has implications that are about as ultimate as they could
be.

Hopefully nothing at all will happen.

However, what will determine the future of us all and of all
life is exactly how a possible false alert will be dealt
with.

That is why it is essential for the Pentagon and the Kremlin
to hear our voices over the next 15 days.

That is why I am asking everybody I can to place the Y2K de-
alert campaign at the top of their priority lists for the
next 15 (or more realistically the next 10) days.

There are lots of campaigns that are important.

There are lots of campaigns that have much more profound
long term implications than this one.

But we have to get through the Dec31/Jan1 rollover at the
very least. Its all a bit pointless if we accidentally make
the planet uninhabitable by a simple and utterly mindless
computer glitch.

And of course it has been pointed out to me that  there may
be Y2K - related glitches in command and control systems for
months or even years afterwards.

The danger from all of this would disappear almost
completely of course if the 5.600 weapons now on 24 hour
hairtrigger alert in the US and Russia (land - based ICBMs
only) were taken off alert.

With luck all this will prove to have been without
foundation.

We'll turn out to have been a lot of nervous nellies and
paranoid doom -mongers, and there will really have been
nothing to worry about.

Realistically, what we are dealing with is a classic
'High-Consequence, low- probability' event.

But there is nothing to lose. A massive manifestation of
global concern, focussed on the Kremlin and the Pentagon is
the best shot we have at giving the world the best chance of
getting through the new year.

And with luck nothing whatsoever will happen, and we'll all
be wrong - till the next hairraising near miss.

I'll be posting a proper alert with  updated sample letters
tomorrow.

Seriously, I am asking everyone to consider whether the
possible risk and the possible stakes over the rollover even
if the risk turns out to be very small indeed, don't warrant
your concerted effort for at least the next week, so that we
are sure we will be around for those high- priority, long -
term, deeper implication, campaigns.

Think about it. But not for too long.

In the meantime,
The fax number of US Defence Secy William Cohen is +1-703-695-1149
Bill Clinton's fax is +1-202-456-2461
The Kremlin fax is +7-095-205-4330
Igor Sergeyev, the Russuan defence minister is on +7-095-247-2722 (but you
may need to try quite a few times).

The cost of a single page A4 fax to Russia, as counted on a telephone bill
from Australia is $1.00-$1.50, but public fax agencies charge an arm and a
leg just to dial the number.

John Hallam
Friends of the Earth Sydney,
17 Lord street, Newtown, NSW, Australia,
Fax(61)(2)9517-3902  ph (61)(2)9517-3903
•••@••.•••
http://homepages.tig.com.au/~foesyd
http://homepages.tig.com.au/~foesyd/nuclear/bbletter.html

============================================================================
# 4
=================================
Date: Sun, 19 Dec 1999 22:32:18 -0800
From: frank scott <•••@••.•••>
To: cyberjournal <•••@••.•••>

I promise a response to your(as usual) thoughtful
comments...for the moment, here is something from someone
who may not have responded to your list directly...
fs

----fwd------
Date: Sun, 19 Dec 1999 01:00:11 -0800
To: •••@••.•••
From: •••@••.••• (Michael Smith)
Subject: fs post

Thanks for your post and Richard K. Moore's remarks on the
Seattle protest. I heard from a friend of mine who lives in
Seattle that the police behavior was pretty brutal, but as
you say, nothing by the standards of what routinely occurs
elsewhere.  Apparently, in jail there was some forcing of
pencils between protestors' fingers with hands held behind
the back and then breaking of them, causing a great deal of
pain.  Also, another friend reports she had her face smashed
into the concrete floor by a guard in jail.  The mild end of
the torture spectrum, but still, enough to be outraged
about.

I hadn't realized that people were using the Nazi/gas
chamber analogy for this, which is, as you say, simply
ridiculous.  The left is never going to get anywhere in this
country if it reacts hysterically at the first challenge and
resorts to the Nazi analogy for every injustice down to
parking tickets.  There has been to date, thank God, only
one Nazi Germany, and hopefully there will never be anything
like it again.  What happened in Seattle is to be expected;
next time, since the police will likely be better prepared,
it could  be worse.  But this is not to say that we are
entering a police state.  There is, at present, no danger of
a military coup, and the primary method of social control is
mind manipulation. The achievements of American public
relations are simply awesome, and the effectiveness of
indoctrination here largely obviates the reliance on the
cruder tactics characteristic of police states.  This
doesn't have to remain the case forever, of course, but at
the moment I see no danger of dicatorship or anything like
it.

The reflexive hysteria and exaggerations of our predicament
(certainly bad enough as it is) must be overcome.  There
have been quite a few examples of sweeping change in recent
years that have occurred with minimal bloodshed - Iran
(1979), Eastern Europe (1989),USSR (1991), South Africa
(1994), which should give encouragement to those of us
seeking extensive change now.  But somehow on the left it
has become a badge of militance to project bleak scenarios
and deny all possibility of change without torrents of
blood.  We are a long way from revolutionary change now, but
it seems to me that if a revolutionary movement ever emerged
in this country it would stand an excellent chance of
avoiding being crushed by force - the scourge of revolutions
generally - simply because Canada and Mexico are too weak to
intervene, and more distant powers lack the power projection
capabilities to do so. Internally, of course, anything might
happen, but if a democratic ideology went deep enough
repression would simply hasten fundamental transformation.
What we need to do is not to spread hysteria about the
inevitability of a police state, but to stick to what has
been working so far - education, outreach, and organizing -
and keep attacking the neoliberal ideology that for the
first time in a long time is on the defensive. Let the
business classes be hysterical - as they customarily are at
the first sign of protest.

The war on drugs has been fought largely to put a
superfluous population behind bars, not to form a new
Gestapo for use on middle class protests against neo-liberal
economics.  The whole idea of equating non-lethal crowd
control technology with the vast apparatus of death
constructed by the Nazis is an insult to those who were
liquidated by the real Gestapo. Let's get a grip here!

Mike Smith

============================================================================
# 5
=================================
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 22:20:25 -0800
From: frank scott <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: Re: cj#1041,rn-> Frank Scott: "Enough already, with the gas chambers
         and nazis"

I appreciate rkm's comments on my -perhaps harsh sounding -
criticism of what I found over-the-top about some posts on
this list...and others, as well, since this is not the only
place where there has been over-reaction to the Seattle
police behavior...in response to some points:

I'm well aware of how nasty and brutish some of the
treatment was, but merely pointed out, or tried to, that
nasty, brutish behavior by the police is not a sign of a
nazi take-over, or out of the ordinary when the
establishment is threatened. pepper spray and tear gas and
rubber bullets are awful, but they beat the hell out of real
bullets!

Pepper spray is designed to be sprayed in the eyes, not to
flavor chili...it is awful, but bombs and rockets are worse,
and they are designed to kill and maim. I don't believe we
are convincing to the great mass of people who don't feel
the way we do about the world, if we constantly scream
bloody murder anytime some of "us" suffer rough, even
vicious handling at a demonstration.

Yes, there are and have been and probably always were
tendencies towards a police state inherent in any system of
domination, but there are less in this one, especially where
white, middle class people are concerned. The fact that
many such had their first experience of clubbing, gassing,
etc, is not a sign that the heavens have fallen and the
goose-stepping storm troopers are on their way.

By the way, as to "pepper spray in the eyes", which, again,
is where it is designed to be used, you may not be aware of
an incident that took place in california not too long ago.
Demonstrators blocking the office of a congressional
representative - they chained themselves - were not sprayed-
they had the stuff rubbed onto their eyes with q-tips! And
this was video-taped!! BY THE POLICE..no more exclamation
points...vicious and nasty? yes..a sign of impending nazi
attacks on mainstream america? Hardly...

The corporate capital state will act to suppress when it is
threatened, and do so through its soldiers, sailors, marines
and air force when it means the worst...the cops are first
line stuff, and while they can clue as to what may lie ahead
for some, they say little about most...

Once again, the behavior in Seattle was shocking and
dreadful to those who never had such experience, but
unfortunately commonplace to those who've been there before.

Watch a film of what went on at, say, the 1968 Democratic
convention in Chicago, where some demonstrators had the crap
beaten out of them and it was shown on TV, but where
previously, Fred Hampton of the Black Panthers had been
murdered in his bed by the police, and that was not on TV.

By the way, much has been made of the anarchist group who
"destroyed property" (shudder-gasp-etc) and were not
arrested, while peaceful demonstrators were, as though this
indicated plots-conspiracies...not so...

the anarchists got away with it because the cops were inept,
the anarchists were better organized, and the peaceful folks
(who got nailed) were not...plus the fact that anyone
blocking entry to an establishment citadel will likely be
dragged off, or stepped on, or even beaten on the spot if
not later, not as a sign of a coming police state, but
simply as a sign of authority cracking down as it does all
the time, every time, and in cases other than seattle, with
far, far, far more deadly results..

to end this post, I want to add that I find much of rkm's
work and the other posts here valuable, interesting,
informative, challenging and necessary..all the more reason
why I get ticked off when there is an occasional foray into
what I find less than reasonable theorizing about
conspiratorial tendencies re shooting down airliners,
murdering princess di, laying the groundwork for nazi-ism
and such.

If these things were coming down on some other list, I might
not even bother speaking to them, It's because they are here
that I get upset. Not a damned thing at Seattle was
"unprecedented" in the response of the authority, except to
not only be wrong, but pay a price for it: Seattle, even the
USA, will not see the WTO for a long time, if ever. What was
truly unprecedented was the coalition of groups ,the
outpouring of people and the wonderful surfacing of the WTO
for most of the world to see it as never before. Let's make
the best of that and build on it....conspiracy tales, rumors
of secret nerve gas used by authority, alleged set-ups of a
military police state, etc are not only useless, but DUMB.

fs


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
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.

Share:

ekbonus bahis forum linkegit.com