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(en) US, Smash the FTAA Pittsburgh Organizing Group* Call for a Padded Bloc in Miami

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Mon, 23 Jun 2003 13:06:31 +0200 (CEST)

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

From - infoshop.org: Anarchist Movement:
First Draft- Call to action from Pittsburgh Organizing Group.
"Call for a Padded Bloc this November in Miami Shutdown the FTAA!
This November over 100,000 people will travel to Miami, Florida for
one of the most important global justice protests since the WTO
meetings of 1999. The Free Trade Area of the Americas is a proposed
“treaty” that will bind the hands of all people striving for a
more just world. It is “NAFTA on crack,” and its repercussions
-- the commodification of every aspect of life, the smashing of unions,
and a corporate bill of rights superceding all else -- are intolerable.

We refuse to accept this agreement and invite anyone who chooses
strong and healthy democracy over corporate control to resist the

What form will our resistance take in November? After long
discussion and careful deliberation among assorted affinity groups, we
have come to the conclusion that the best chance of materially
disrupting the summit lies in a Padded Bloc. (A Padded Bloc is a
contingent of people protected from police violence through the use of
padding, shields, banners, and/or other materials.)

Our purpose in sending this out is to state what our group (and allies)
are thinking, and that we have reached consensus to be a padded
contingent in Miami. This padded contingent would take action with a
determination to take our protest to the doorsteps of those in power,
protecting our bodies from the forces of state repression. While we
have decided on this course, a key determinant of success will be a
critical mass of properly equipped participants.

The goal of the global justice movement in Miami must be to materially
disrupt the summit to such a degree that it is impossible to continue
any negotiation. While many of us are willing to risk the wrath of state
power, we do not seek repression nor will we risk it unless to do so
will advance our goal of a complete summit shutdown.

What form can our resistance take in November? What will it take to
stop the summit? How can we create the needed space for diverse
tactics to work in tandem? If a shutdown is accomplished how can we
use that to open up room for a multiplicity of voices to present their
stories of and reasons for resistance? These are the questions
we’re asking ourselves. The situation we’re facing in Miami is
significantly different then past summits. The majority of delegates
are staying in the meeting site hotels, which will be closed off with
some type of security perimeter (as in Quebec City). There is no
chance of stopping the meetings through blockades nor trapping
delegates in the meeting site once the summit has begun. Trashing all
of corporate Miami will not stop the meetings, disrupting the lives of
local residents already hostile to us will not stop the meetings, nor will
a march of 100,000 people. The state would like nothing more then for
this movement to fall into the predictable roles being played lately.

An enormous amount of work and discussion must take place before
the details of this padded bloc are finalized, and we are eager to begin
discussion with other affinity groups about possible participation. We
realize it is important that affinity groups autonomously form and
decide their role in the larger strategy. We also realize that it is
equally important that larger clusters, capable of initiating mass
actions, form as well.

As a part of what is sure to be a multitude of tactics, POG is sending
out this call specifically for a padded contingent. We envision a total
shutdown of the meetings through the combination of diverse tactics.
We feel a well-organized padded bloc will be a critical contribution to
whatever overall framework is created.

We must not allow the inevitable disinformation campaign of the State
and Media to divert energy from shutting down the summit. The forces
of the status quo will use every means possible to discourage people
from disrupting the ministerial meetings in Miami. We must also be
mindful that the key confrontation between the forces of civil society
and corporate power will take place in Miami. We feel local solidarity
events should become important components only after we’ve
expended every effort possible to get the maximum number of people
to the summit itself.

From Seattle, RNC, DNC, Quebec City, to S29 we’ve seen how
far the state will go to advance the neo-liberal agenda. Through it all
we’ve seen in small and large ways how the actions and
determination of ordinary folks can make a difference. Fences and
barricades fall, powerful grips of authority figures are broken, and
through it all our determination to create a new system out of the shell
of this world increases.

August 29-31st a consulta will take place in Pittsburgh, which will
continue the discussion among groups on what we can to prepare for

No matter what forms our strategies take, we must be organized and
prepared, and we must obtain the training and materials necessary to
make it a success. Solidarity is needed in Miami.

This November we’ll see you in the streets, rivers, skies, sewers,
and high-rises.

In solidarity,

Pittsburgh Organizing Group

www.organizepittsburgh.org pog@mutualaid.org P.O. Box 10215
Pittsburgh, PA 15224

We are actively seeking endorsement of this call. If you are interested
in doing so please contact us.

POG is a Pittsburgh based progressive group concerned with peace,
social justice, and environmental issues locally, nationally, and
internationally. We are consensus based, non-hierarchical, believe in
affinity groups, and support a diversity of tactics.

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