Report from DC

Nathan Newman nathan.newman at
Wed Apr 12 06:06:10 PDT 2000

After hanging with the Franciscan monks and boilermaker unionists at Sunday's Jubilee 2000 rally and human chain, I headed over to the Mobilization for Justice's "Convergence Center." This is where the Direct Action Network and other folks have setup shop planning direct action on Sunday and Monday.

It's an impressive operation. A DC charter school has donated breakout rooms and warehouse space where hippie chicks and punk dudes are busily building puppets, running nonviolence trainings, servicing bicycles for daily loan, and holding non-stop meetings in preparation for action. Media is swarming the place, escorted by media liasons, and the increasing hordes of activists are being fed (veggie meals of course) out of a communal kitchen.

The "spokes meeting" (meaning spokesleader for various affinity groups) last night was impressively run; the DAN folks have a lot of great tricks for running meetings efficiently given the constraints of consensus anarchy, although there was the inevitable question of who ends up running the thing - the answer being those who can come to extra meetings midday, which of course excludes working folks or those with child care responsibilities. But a minor ideological point.

There were at least 250 folks last night, with estimates of at least 1000 people associated with their affinity groups risking arrest, and two or three times that in the streets coming into town. Given additional unaffiliated people coming into town, the direct action folks will likely have many thousands in the street to rival Seattle, although the "permitted march" will likely have far fewer than in Seattle given labor's focus on Jubillee and the China WTO deal.

It was a great group, a mix of older veterans (most from the West Coast) and younger activists bringing lots of great new energy to the movement. An extremely white crowd, notably. One of the few local black faces in the crowd noted that holding training meetings during the day excluded local working folks like herself. Saw ChuckO announcing the Black Block.

Heading off to the AFL-CIO anti-China deal rally at Capitol Hill. All looks fun and groovy down in DC :)

Nathan Newman nathan.newman at

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