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(en) US, Miami, FL - South Florida FTAA Update: August 2003

From Nosotros Somos Mas <n20@hushmail.com>
Date Fri, 15 Aug 2003 17:07:25 +0200 (CEST)


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The following is the first of four South Florida Anti-Capitalist FTAA
mobilization updates. These updates will try to provide an on-the-ground
perspective into how all local efforts against the FTAA are progressing
and will also disseminate all confirmed information about security
preparations for the November ministerial meetings. Pre-requisite: a map
of downtown Miami (mapquest, yahoo, or assorted others will suffice).
IN THE MEDIA
Late June and early July saw local print media (Miami Herald, Miami
New Times, Broward Sun-Sentinel*) officially kick-off their defamation
campaigns against demonstrators expected in Miami this November. What
was previously covered with allusions to &#147;security concerns&#148; and vague
references to the &#147;thousands of protesters&#148; that seem to magically conjure
themselves in the streets, internationally, to oppose these types of
trade
accord meetings, now found detailed expression in terms of numbers
expected (20,000 &#150; 100,000), what awaits them (2,500 officers on duty
and a 4 to 8 foot wall protecting the meeting locale), their general

character
("spoiled rich kids") and their potential for &#147;wreaking havoc&#148; and, in
the
words of one local UNITE for Dignity representative, &#147;alienating the
city.&#148;
A clear delineation has already been drawn between the good protesters
(law abiding) and the bad (disruptive), both in the media and within
the
groups organizing for November. An effort to counter this media onslaught
with a local indymedia has been taken up by the South Floridians for
Fair
Trade and Global Justice (SFFTGJ). More information is forthcoming.
*sources cited follow update


WEEK OF ACTION EVENTS

At the time of this writing, these are the events that are certain to
take
place during the week of November 17-21. More information is
forthcoming on each listing.

· A long list of local, national, and international groups are scheduled
to present forums and teach-ins throughout the week on everything
from Globalization in the African World to Food Security and GMOs
to Indigenous Rights and Globalization.

· A permitted, AFL-CIO-sponsored march is planned for late afternoon
on Thursday, November 20th; it will begin in the vicinity of Omni Mall
(NE 15th St. - north of Bicentennial Park) and wind its way through
downtown before ending at a yet to be determined destination. The
march route is still under negotiation because:
(A) Authorities insist on keeping Biscayne Boulevard free and
clear of demonstrators.
(B) No one will be allowed to cut across Port Boulevard
(NE 6h St.) - the artery transecting Biscayne Blvd. that
transports the Port of Miami&#146;s intake of millions of dollars
of international commercial goods every business day.

· The group Mammals for Peace (including but not limited to Family
Hominidae) has filed for a permit to rally on Friday, November 21st,
on Biscayne Boulevard as close to the security perimeter as possible.
It is expected that this request will eventually embroil the Miami PD
and the local ACLU in a legal battle over free speech and the right to
assemble.

· Local grassroots groups are planning Reality Tours (HOPE VI
devastated communities, unlawful INS detention centers, etc.) and
other actions with a local focus.

· Autonomous and anti-capitalist affinity groups are preparing various
strategic and well-coordinated actions, including: The padded block;
The Free Circus Area of the Americas tri-county puppet parade; the
action you took a break from planning to read this; etc.


THE AUTHORITIES

Here is what is known about security preparations to date:

· 2,500 officers will be on duty at all times during the week of action.

· Bicentennial Park is unavailable for rallies and demonstrations
because it will serve as the staging ground for security operations &#150;
emergency vehicles, armored personnel carriers, initial holding for
the arrested, etc.

· Personnel will wield the full non-lethal arsenal spectrum (tear gas,

rubber bullets, etc.)

· Port Boulevard will be heavily guarded (see above).

· A four to eight feet high perimeter fence/wall will circumscribe the
area surrounding the Inter-Continental Hotel, possibly sealing off
Biscayne Boulevard at East Flagler Street and then snaking its way
through downtown to encompass the various financial buildings
near the FTAA meeting locale as well as the Americas Business
Forum at the Hyatt Hotel.

· More information on movement restrictions and suspension of
public transportation in and near downtown is forthcoming.


THE DIRECT ACTION EFFORT

Locally

Free Circus Area of the Americas &#150; tri-county puppet parade extravaganza
http://www.ftaaresistance.org/puppets.html

FNB Alliance
Miami Food not Bombs is inviting FNB chapters from across the
nation/globe to assist the food for all effort during the week of action.
Volunteers, know-how, and supplies are needed in bulk quantities!
Contact: miamifnb@hotmail.com

Regionally

Florida statewide anti-FTAA Consulta
Tentatively scheduled for mid-September.

Nationally

Stop the FTAA! Regional Consulta in Pittsburgh, PA
August 29th - August 31st
www.organizepittsburgh.org

Cincinnati Global Economics Conference
Tentatively scheduled for early October.
Contact: cincyglobal@yahoo.com

Ruckus Society &#150; Global Justice Action Camp
October 10th &#150; 17th; Arcadia, Florida
www.ruckus.org


CONCERNS

The following concerns (lettered) were recently shared in discussions
regarding the Miami FTAA mobilization. Our responses follow
(numbered):

(A) even if the local "anarchist/anti-authoritarian" group puts forth
a call or complete plan of action, we should all be wary about jumping aboard
because we are not involved in their decision making process and have
no idea if they may be influenced by outside pressure or whatever. plus
those calls/plans usually list specific meeting points and time (and
even routes) with language that suggests some people in that group might
attempt disruption. somehow that ends up with that group receiving an
extraordinary amount of police attention.

(1) The reality of the local "anarchist/anti-authoritarian" group is
that it is not a group but rather a coordinating body formed to do precisely
what this update is trying to do &#150; help facilitate out of town folks that
were otherwise being neglected by the SFFTGJ. To that end, by November:
there will be an action everyone is welcome to take part in/forego (puppet
parade); there will be a coordinated effort to feed everyone (FNB Alliance);
and there will be better, more detailed updates such as this one posted.
A complete plan of action such as that released by the Popular Mobilization
Against the WTO in Montreal in July prior to their event is NOT in the
works. The Miami call to action stressed self-sufficiency because where
and when you meet on November 20th and what route you take on your
way to handling your business is up to you and your affinity group.

(B) These demos will always fail if you do not have local people
participating. The police can pick you off one group at a time! This is
what really made Seattle a success (along with surprise)...there were
thousands of local people on the streets. I have many doubts about
Miami...

(2) The SFFTGJ has made a concerted effort to outreach to the local
community through ongoing forums focused on educating the public
about globalization in general and the FTAA in particular; about how to
challenge the free-trade agenda; and about how one can plug-in to events
taking place in November. Although their approach emphasizes fair trade
without exploring the complicity of capitalism and the state in where we
are and how we got here, the effort is sincere and will probably result
in a good number of folks learning something and possibly participating
in the permitted march in November. That said, since the events likely to
attract locals will be both heavily marshaled (discouraging spontaneity)
and at a great distance from non-permitted, autonomous actions (which
presumably will be near the perimeter), there is a strong possibility
that those of us focused on disruption will be left isolated and vulnerable
to repression.

One footnote: for anyone with his/her heart set on the local multitudes
descending on downtown for a spectacular riot in November just because
the FTAA is in town, here is some sobering news. Miami is a very poor
city. Folks residing near downtown that are not rabidly reactionary, well
to do, or both, are largely immigrant and working class people of color.
Their struggle with capital and the state is a daily one characterized
by homelessness, unemployment, gentrification, decaying communities,
police harassment and brutality, and the various social ills that accompany
despair wrought by poverty. The spark that sets off this city is more
likely to be immediate and tangible - police murdering a local in the streets,
the displacement of low-income housing residents, or the unlawful detention
of fellow immigrants - and not as remote and unwieldy as a closed
meeting of trade ministers in a rich corner of town.


LASTLY

Ideally, all the above information will find a home on either a permanent
indymedia or mobilization website. Three months remain before the week
of action. If we failed to include information that should be public
knowledge at this point, please let us know.

---

800million vs. 34 Coalition -
n20@hushmail.com

----

Delgado, Celeste Fraser. 2003. Whole World Watching. Miami New
Times. 17 July.

Nesmith, Susannah A. 2003. Police chief: We're prepared for protests
at
free-trade talks. Miami Herald. 13 July.

Marrero, Diana. 2003. Miami Prepares for Trade Summit. Sun-Sentinel.
29 June.

For an extensive list of back articles, see:
www.geocities.com/ericsquire/ftaafla.htm#miami

---
800 million vs. 34 Coalition abides by the PGA Hallmarks. That is to
say, anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist, and for direct action.


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