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(en) ONWARD #3 out now! Sample articleattached

From reporter@magicnet.net
Date Thu, 14 Dec 2000 07:09:42 -0500 (EST)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

ONWARD #3 is out now! In addition to the article below -- "Protest
and Disempowerment: One Anarchist's Experience at the School of the
Americas Protest" -- this issue contains articles on the U'wa,
Revolutionary Barrio Organizing, Fighting for Mumia Abu-Jamal, the
fight against the Ichetucknee [FL] cement plant, the recent success
against the night shift for University of Florida custodians, the
struggle of the Immokalee [FL] farmworkers, and the second part in our
series on COINTELPRO, among others.

"The Women in Struggle" centerfold features articles on "Women in
the EZLN," "Dealing with Sexual Assault in Activism," a recent
gender conference, "Women and Self Defense" and "Women Political
Prisoners" (written by former political prisoner Laura Whitehorn).

This issue also contains other news from around the world, and more
history, theory and opinion on a wide variety of subjects -- from
"Resuscitating Anarchism" to "Fatphobia" to "Dealing with the
Police" ... and a whole lot more!

Single issues are available for $2 postage paid in the US, $3
outside. Subscriptions are $7-10 annually in the US, $10-13 outside.
Make checks/money orders out to ONWARD. We're always looking for
distributors -- contact us if you're interested. Issues 1 and 2
still available.

(Please forward this message to others you think would be

In Solidarity and Struggle
The Onward Collective
PO Box 2671
Gainesville FL 32602-2671 USA


Protest and Disempowerment - One Anarchist's Experience at SOA

By Rob Augman

November 19th, 2000 saw a continuation of the annual mass
demonstrations against the [Army] School of the Americas (aka School
of Assassins). The demo, in its 11th year, brought 10,000* people to
the base in Ft. Benning, GA. The annual demos which have mobilized
people in strong numbers, have been a non-confrontational demo of
dissenters who "cross the line" and literally jump into the hands of
the State, forfeiting themselves to the SOA's Military Police.
Because of the last year's successful "anti-globalization: mass
protests, showing powerful, uncompromising and innovative
resistance, SOA Watch (the organizers for the annual SOA demos), had
no choice but to welcome that movement to the SOA demo. While many
were excited about the potential the new anti-globalization movement
would bring, the movement was only welcomed to participate as
autonomous affinity groups to do actions (as long as they abided by
SOA Watch's "Principles of Non-Violence"), but never as the actual
planning body like we have seen in the successful anti-WTO (etc.)
demos. Though the energy of the younger and more tactically militant
strand of the new movement was present, the demo remained stuck in
the rut of non-violent civil (dis)obedience of "crossing the line"
in complete cooperation with the SOA.

At 11 am, around 3,600* people "crossed the line" (resulting in over
2,100* arrests) onto the base in a long, slow, funeral procession,
carrying thousands of crosses and other sacred symbols inscribed
with the names of victims of SOA violence in Latin America. Those
names were spoken loudlt and slowly and the thousands of crosses
were raised in the air as the word "presente" was spoken like a
chorus from the huge crowd. The very front of the procession was led
by dozens of "ghosts" carrying coffins, to commemorate the lives of
six Jesuit priests and their two co-workers assassinated in El
Salvador in 1989 by SOA graduates. It was an emotion-filled march
that stayed true to the seriousness of the issue at hand.

When all those planning to cross the line had done so, the Military
Police stopped the procession. The "ghosts" re-enacted a massacre
(and were later charged with vandalizing military property for the
"blood" they spilled on themselves that dripped onto the street).
Photos were taken of the  "ghosts'" faces (to enter into databases),
and their "dead" bodies were loaded onto stretchers and carried
away. The buses hauled them into the SOA's own processing center and
the rest of the march was allowed to continue. Songs were sung and
crosses were stuck into the ground next to the street. At one point
when the MP's commanded the crowd to stop planting the crosses in
the ground, the crowd complied. One of the MP's, targeting a woman
who ignored his commands, trampled the crosses beneath his boots as
he walked towards her. Some frustrated murmuring took place but it
never materialized. Greatly outnumbering the MP's and other pawns of
the State, the funeral procession waited when the MP's told it to,
and got on buses when they told it to. Where was the resistance or
even the disobedience?

Soon after, the march stopped again and the families got on the
buses to the MP's and SOA Watch peacekeepers commands. The remaining
crowd was allowed to continue on a bit more, singing songs, and
stopping to use the port-a-potties that were waiting.

Some confusion occurred at one point as a small defiant group
marched up the exit road towards the base. The crowd took notice and
cheered and chanted but none left the procession. The crowd watched
the militants get dragged away by MP's while waiting for other MP's
to order us onto buses.

In custody, we waited on buses, then on bleachers in the rain, then
in tents, and then in a large airplane hangar which at no point were
there feelings of unity or solidarity with fellow demonstrators. The
general feeling was an impatient curiosity of when we would get home
and into dry clothes, and on which wall to hang our "Ban and Bar"
letters on.

When we were finally processed through, herded onto buses, and
driven to a park a few miles off the base, crowds gathered around
the buses and cheered for us as we got off. We were heroes and
heroines of a fast-food style protest. It was a protest fit for
television, but there wasn't even any media. *** As a demo that has
been sharply criticized, a few questions arise. It is my hope that
we can criticize, in a way that is constructive, the movement we
take part in as part of evolving our ideas, tactics, strategies, and
our movement. Any simple write-offs that serve as destructive
criticism are useless and unnecessary. What can we learn from the
anti-globalization movement?


The main success that the 'anti-globalization' movement has is that
we're not just protesting, but we're learning a new way of
organizing, a way of building the new society. The organizing
structure of non-hierarchy, decentralization, participatory
decision-making, cooperation, and mutual-aid and solidarity not only
results in successful actions but also in empowering and educating
ourselves. The empowerment comes from doing it ourselves. By making
decisions in a cooperative and participatory manner where we aren't
over-ruled by an elite minority (as we're used to in school, work,
etc.) we learn how to build, and build huge, from the bottom-up,
from the grassroots. The education comes from taking part in a
bottom-up, cooperative, participatory, non-hierarchical structure
that works (!). Our knowledge we gain from our direct experiences
can be carried with us and spread into all aspects of our lives.


Unlike the SOA demos, where we simply act as a petition, using our
bodies (in a cooperative manner) instead of our signatures, the
anti-globalization movement uses a no-compromise attitude of direct
confrontation, resistance, and disobedience. Where the
anti-globalization movement is using an inclusive, non-hierarchical,
decentralized planning structure, SOA Watch is using a cooperative
method with the SOA itself.

While the anti-globalization movement plans protests with its
participants, the SOA Watch plans theirs with the SOA.

While the Direct Action Network, one of the main networks
coordinating anti-globalization protests, asks for participants to
abide by their guiding principles, a diversity of tactics is
encouraged as part of the mass that aims to shut-down or disturb
major governing bodies. While part of the movement advocates tactics
that don't comply to DAN's principles, property-destruction and
confrontational attitudes towards the police, the diversity of
tactics is undeniably part of the movement and it has maintained a
relatively united body that is a strength to all of its


The anti-globalization movement brings a vision that is drastically
different from the systems we presently live under and participants
and observers alike can see that. Anti-globalization protests are
marked heavily with anti-capitalism and anti-statism, as well as
advocating new structures and for the world's economy that we use in
our organizing: decentralization, non-hierarchy, participatory
decision-making, cooperation, mutual aid and solidarity.  In SOA
demos, we don't find much vision; not even a vision for changing US
foreign policy.


What has made the anti-globalization movement such a success is that
people exercise real power, from the bottom-up, in the streets, and
make a real effect. The anti-globalization movement has organized us
out of our homes and into affinity groups, clusters, and
spokes-councils where we take part in changing the face of a city by
working cooperatively.

In SOA demos we follow orders from SOA Watch "Peace Keepers,"
police, and MP's. We march in obedient lines towards buses that we
know are waiting for us. We walk to the buses, get on, and get
processed. We exercise no power. The State processes us and we go


Contrary to anti-globalization protests where successes are made by
innovation, coalition building, collective actions and militancy and
are counted not just in numbers but in effectiveness, education and
empowerment, the SOA demos measure success purely in numbers. But
our movement needs not only to be big, but also empowering and
educational to participants, as well as threatening to the
institutions of oppression.

I hope the incredible aspects of the anti-globalization movement can
be brought to the anti-SOA movement, working together to further our
opposition to the SOA, and other institutions of oppression and make
real changes happen.

*Numbers are provided by SOA Watch

For more information on the School of the Americas demos, check out
SOA Watch's website: www.soaw.org For articles about this year's SOA
demo: www.atlanta.indymedia.org

Rob Augman is a member of the Onward Collective, a community
organizer, and coordinator of the Civic Media Center
(http://www.gator.net/~cmc), a non-profit reading-room and library of the
non-corporate press, in Gainesville, FL. You can write him at
mvcot@hotmail.com or PO Box 2671 Gainesville, FL 32602-2671, USA.

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