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(en) US, Boston, Call to Boycott the 'Free Speech Zone

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Wed, 14 Jul 2004 12:23:25 +0200 (CEST)

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Scattered throughout El Salvador, Indonesia, and other so-called
"developing" nations are what are known as Export Processing
Zones (EPZs). These zones, sometimes referred to as maquiladoras
in the Spanish-speaking world, are walled off from the surrounding
countryside and house manufacturing plants designed to cheaply
and efficiently produce consumer goods for sale in the American
marketplace. Workers pass through the EPZ gates each and every
morning, generally on a six-day week/twelve-hour day routine. The
entrance to the EPZ is heavily guarded. Outside, the local police
and military protect the perimeter. Inside, the private corporate
army runs the show. Workers passing through the checkpoint are
subject to search, interrogation, detainment, or arrest. Once inside,
company thugs patrol the workplace, looking for workers failing to meet quota, talking on the job, getting up to use the bathroom, etc. Union organizers are blacklisted from not only the EPZ, but from all surrounding

The word "zone" implies an artificial construct; an area of land
set-aside for a specific purpose, usually for a purpose of
conflicting notions with the surrounding landscape. In the case
of the EPZs, this purpose is the advancing of the neo-liberal
economic program. The land inside the EPZ is governed not by the
national government, but rather the private company. EPZs may
dictate their own policy, enforce their own rules, and inflict
their own punishment.

The artificial construct of a "zone" has now found its way to
America, under the guise of a "free speech zone" (FSZ). Much as
the EPZs serve to viciously oppress workers, FSZs serve to
viciously repress basic civil liberties. Under the banner of
"national security" or "public safety", FSZs are erected prior
to major protests. The basic layout of a FSZ is virtually
identical to an EPZ. Protestors entering the FSZ are subject
to search, interrogation, detainment, or arrest. Once inside,
numerous basic rights are forfeited to the State. In this way,
the State is able to isolate dissent to one compact, easily
manageable "zone". An added bonus provided by the FSZ is the
ability to quickly clampdown and terminate dissent at a moment's

The notion of a "Free Speech Zone" is absurd. The First Amendment
guarantees the ability to speak out against state policies
without fear of retaliation. The fact that the people of this
country have willingly forfeited this basic human right to the
State is dreadful. Now, the State is attempting to divert
attention away from this erosion of the Bill of Rights by
artificially constructing FSZs. Scattered pockets throughout
the city that are set aside for free speech is not a manifestation
of a democratic society.

Politics aside, FSZs also serve a major public safety hazard.
Should the State clampdown in attempt to silence dissent, the
resulting panic and stampede inside an enclosed area can be
dangerous - even fatal. The potential release of chemical
weapons into a FSZ is an unneeded and unacceptable risk. A
police riot inside a fenced in FSZ would be a disastrous
outcome. An isolated protest pen surrounded by armed police is
an accident waiting to happen.

Furthermore, the FSZ in proximity to the Fleet Center is a
danger in itself. As our tax dollars fund the endless Big
Dig, the excess materials have been thrown carelessly into
the FSZ itself. The city claims that the massive mound of
dangerous debris will be removed prior to the DNC. The truth
of this claim remains to be seen. Regardless, the facts speak
for themselves. One entrance to the FSZ is only 5' 7" high.
The other is a mere 10' wide. The police claim they will allow
everyone to enter and exit freely. The truth to this claim also
remains to be seen, however, it is obvious that the measurements
will never allow a mass exodus should the need arise. People
entering the FSZ will be searched. The police have announced
that absolutely ever person will be searched, and have installed
a complete ban of all bags. The size of the FSZ is far from
adequate. The Boston Fire Department has declared the zone
unfit for over 1,300 people.

Inside the FSZ will be a wide range of reactionary or even
fascist politics. Various anti-choice groups will be
rallying inside. The Zionists have also proclaimed their
intent to celebrate racist genocidal foreign policies. The
act of entering the FSZ will not only serve to increase the
audience of these groups, but will also manifest a
violation of working-class solidarity. The State seeks to
divide protestors against each other. If our numbers are
partitioned between those who refuse to enter the FSZ and
those who bow to the State's wishes, police repression
against those outside the FSZ can surely be expected. The
only solution is collective refusal to enter the "Free
Speech Zone".

The Bl(A)ck Tea Society is calling for a boycott of any
and all "Free Speech Zones". The permits we have obtained
cover the inside of the FSZ, however we do not want anyone
to actually go inside. We will stand in solidarity with our
fellow workers condemned to enslavement within the EPZs of
the world. We will refuse to accept the erosion of basic
civil liberties outlined within the Bill of Rights. The act
of entering a FSZ is poor judgment in every possible way.
It ratifies the State's ability to channel dissent and erode
our rights. It legitimatizes the fascist organizations
scheduled to rally inside it. It creates a major public
safety hazard

The First Amendment of the Constitution promises the right
to free speech. The Constitution is still in effect in
America. The question remains: is Boston in America?

The Bl(A)ck Tea Society encourages all protestors to engage
in lively protest to voice their message and celebrate their
cause. Rather than legitimatising the fascist politics of,
and in, the FSZ, take to the streets! Occupy Canal Street,
Friend Street, Lancaster Street, or Portland Street. Initiate
a rally; bring your creativity, your drums, your dancers, and
let your voices be heard!

Don't go in the pens!

- The Bl(A)ck Tea Society

email contact: nodnc04@hush.com
on the web: http://blackteasociety.org
email announcement list: http://lists.riseup.net/www/info/dnc2004
donate to the convergence: http://blackteasociety.org/donate.php

Source: http://blackteasociety.org
* [Ed. Note: The Bl(A)ck Tea Society
is antiauthoritarian anticapitalist
direct action initiative.]

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