Bush on Social Security + WTO-G.P.

Christine Peterson quintanus at hotmail.com
Mon Nov 22 13:47:21 PST 1999

>November 22, 1999
>On Sunday George W. Bush locked in his position in support of
>Social Security. As our profiles have shown, Bush has regularly spoken
>the stump in favor of privatization. But Sunday he was speaking to a
>national audience in an interview with Tim Russert of NBC's Meet the
>In the interview Bush said he would consider raising the retirement age
>part of a deal that would assure Social Security taxes could be diverted
>private accounts for Baby Boomers and those who come after them.
>As the attached news stories explain, Bush was so explicit before a
>audience that it will be virtually impossible for him to change his
>in subsequent debates.

That's suicidal. what a fool. which adviser made him do this.

anyway - Here is a good article by Geov Parrish, a wonderfully reasonable person, who writes for Seattle weekly (www.seattleweekly.com) and does eat the state! http://eatthestate.org I think he probably accurately predicts the scene.

Beyond Gandhi


In planning the (mostly) nonviolent actions against the WTO, activists are blending old protest tactics with newer, less passive ones.

ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 30, the official opening day of World Trade

Organization talks in Seattle, protests will also erupt. The widely

anticipated chaos downtown, however, will be only peripherally due to

the biggest and best-publicized event. That's the labor-sponsored

march that may draw upwards of 50,000 to Seattle Center for a 12:30

march to the Convention Center. Less well publicized, but perhaps

equally important, will be an entirely separate campaign kicked off

early that morning. Beginning at 7am with two separate legal

processions from Victor Steinbrueck Park and Seattle Central Community

College, an ad hoc alliance called the Direct Action Network (DAN)

will descend on the Paramount Theatre with one immodest goal: to shut

the WTO down.

Facing perhaps the greatest security apparatus Seattle has ever seen,

the chances that DAN will succeed are not very high. But chances are

excellent that in trying, DAN will spend much of the day generating

photogenic actions in which hundreds--perhaps thousands--of people

will risk arrest.

Media attention thus far has focused on the wilder aspects of planned

civil disobedience and what two separate Seattle Times op-eds last

week, in eerily similar dismissive language, referred to as Seattle's

"crazies" and "zanies." But most of the preparations for the November

30 direct actions are quite sober, focusing on keeping events peaceful

and participants safe. Planners also are striving to keep protesters

from a wide variety of cultures and ideologies on the same page, with

a consistent message of nonviolent opposition to the WTO.

For DAN, even creating a few simple tenets of nonviolence to ask

protesters to abide by on November 30 was a delicate matter. Their

four-point "nonviolence code" seems relatively commonsense: "1) We

will use no violence, physical or verbal, toward any person; 2) We

will not carry weapons; 3) We will not bring or use any alcohol or

illegal drugs; 4) We will not destroy property."

But a fifth plank commonly found in such guidelines--"We will not

run"--is missing; and the fourth and even first guidelines are not

entirely uncontroversial among protesters these days. Nationally and

particularly in the Pacific Northwest, born largely of woods-based

antilogging actions, a newer protest culture has in recent years

criticized an older, more static way of doing protests dating to the

antinuclear sitdowns of the late 1970s. The criticism, put simply, is

that a Gandhian-style passive presentation, where people politely wait

to be arrested, no longer works. Media are no longer impressed, and

police have figured out that avoiding arrests works better. In the

21st-century protest, tactical flexibility is increasingly considered


The WTO protest will be one of the first large-scale direct actions on

US soil not wed to the models of Gandhi and King in decades.

DAN'S ERICA KAY, a local veteran of protests with groups such as Earth

First! and the Nonviolent Action Community of Cascadia, stresses

safety while allowing for innovative tactics. DAN is asking

protesters, particularly those that want to risk arrest, to take

nonviolence trainings--not to indoctrinate people in pacifism, but to

practice how to react in chaotic situations in a way that preserves

the message that protesters want heard. These trainings, typically two

to six hours, cover a wide array of topics and exercises: consensus,

quick decisions, responding to provocations, de-escalating conflict,

arrest and jail role plays, legal information, processing personal

fears and hopes. They'll be offered on a daily basis in the week

leading up to November 30.

For the younger, anarchist groups that are particularly skeptical of

what they view as "protest as usual," that won't be enough. They've

also been offering truncated self-defense classes, to give activist

more control during frenzied situations.

Another sort of preparation will also be under way, one that speaks to

the desire for less static demonstrations. Working out of the same

office as Erica Kay, Art and Revolution organizer David Solnit is

pulling together an eight-day series of workshops and trainings

leading up to the November 30 DAN protest: street theatre, puppet

building, mask making, costume design, music, and much more.

"When looking around the world," says Solnit, "to Chiapas or Europe,

the most powerful movements are using culture to come up with new

forms of resistance."

Solnit reels off different groups from around the world that will be

part of the November 30 morning processions: Vermont's Bread and

Puppet Theater, a former Barnum & Bailey clown who will be doing clown

seminars in the preceding week, a West African dance group, hip-hop

and spoken word groups, half a dozen local Art & Revolution street

theater groups from around the country, a Japanese butoh theater

group. "Artists from Washington are coming out of the woodwork," he


The international flavor is no accident, and it will be a wild card in

how the blockades and direct action will play out. Groups like the

People's Global Assembly will bring activists from around the world

with their own sets of WTO issues; and these activists, notes Kay,

tent to be much more direct about their direct action. The PGA has

been noted in India, for example, for burning crops to protest

genetically modified seeds. And just as the US has come late to the

global movement protesting the WTO, US activists will have the

opportunity to learn a lot from people from less privileged cultures

who've seen these barricades before.

How has the collision of different protest cultures in planning the

DAN protests changed Kay? She ponders the question. "I have a greater

acceptance and understanding of the value of a wider range of tactics

and techniques . . . I'm emerging with a less strong opinion of what

is right and wrong, and using different tactics so long as they're

used well. That's not where I was a year ago."

Another question remains: How will such new tactics and fragile

alliances play out under the glare of the WTO security apparatus?


For information on nonviolence trainings and the November 20-28 Art &

Revolution workshops, call the Direct Action Network at 632-1656.




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