WTO

Sol Dollinger soldoll at SPAMinreach.com
Wed Dec 8 11:31:11 MST 1999





A few days ago I saw a notice that Tom Hayden was speaking at the Midnight
Special Bookstore in Santa Monica, on the Seattle events.  I went to the
meeting that swelled to capacity with people sitting on the floor and in the
aisles.  At least a hundred present in a room that should hold fifty.

The first speaker was a representative of Cispes.  He gave an overview of
the preparations leading up to the Nov 30 opening date of WTO.  He described
a church meeting with a seating capacity of 3500 with an additional 2500
trying to get in. There were ongoing teachins held by the various
environmental groups in churches all around the city four days before the
opening of the WTO.  At one meeting the speaker described the refusal of
France to buy asbestos from Canada and Canada desperately trying to keep
this a secret so that they could sell asbestor to the third world.  In the
leadup to  the WTO the Turtles and the Teamsters had a march of 5,000
through the streets.  The speaker enthused over the merging of the unions
with the save the turtles group.  They flooded the streets of Seattle.  He
said the groups had to sign a pledge against violence.

The next speaker was Art Kunkin, editor of a small newspaper.  Years ago
when I first arrived in Los Angeles, he edited the largest throw away paper
on the West Coast.  His role was to describe media preparations. I sent you
an Email from a Los Angeles list that gives it to you in  detail.  A woman
from Fair gave some additional information.  She said that 500 people were
in the group supplying an alternate to the capitalist press and television
with telephones and camcorders.  They did an incredible job of countering
the bourgeois media.  They published a daily paper.  They supplied webs with
five hours of material each day.  They put their material into the hands of
the national press corps.  They broke through the usual blackout of
pro-demonstrator news.

Tom Hayden gave a personal view of his experience as related to his Chicago
1968 demonstration at the Democratic convention, his civil rights marches at
Selma, etc.. He is not running for office again and doesn't seem to regret
the restraints that the Democrats had on him all the years he was in
Sacramento.  He went into detail to describe the brutal treatment of the
young protesters.  Those that had gas masks, had them ripped off and pepper
spayed right into their eyes.  When arrested the young were advised to not
give their names and ask for a lawyer.  They were put in buses and taken to
a naval base.  They refused to leave the bus and were kept there for hours.
Eventually they were forcefully dragged off and booked.  Treatment inside
was away from public eyes and they report strip searches and young girls
forced to walk naked. There were 585 arrested. Another 500 sat down outside
demanding their comrades release.  The police were unable to handle the
arrest of any more and began to release the prisoners.  The National Lawyers
Guild had accumulated photographs and statements to be used against the
police and in defense of those accused of felony.

The last group of speakers was a half dozen of the young people who were
present for these events.  They eloquently revealed their personal
recollections and what they learned from the experience in Seattle.  One of
the speakers was a young schoolteacher who was sent by the County Federation
of Labor.  He was moved emotionally by a planeload of union members
including 100 from the Long Shore Union.  He was sorry not to have
participated in the gassing and  concussion attacks of his young comrades.

It was hard for me to assimilate all that I heard last night.  The meeting
banded together  the various groups, like Save the Whales, Save the Ballona
wetlands, aid to El Salvador, Fair and others.  They are looking forward to
the Democratic Convention.  The environmental groups will not have labor
like they did in Seattle.  Even without labor they put on one magnificent
demonstration that the executive committee of the ruling class cannot
ignore.  They are a vey combustible combination and sooner or later the
powers that make the decisions  may conclude that civil disobedience must be
stopped.  The Democratic convention will tell us if they have made this
decision.

Sol










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