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

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 14 Nov 2003 16:40:03 +0100 (CET)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
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The following is the final South Florida Anti-Capitalist FTAA mobilization
update. Many anti-capitalists and anti-FTAA activists from across the
country are already on the ground in Miami. This update, then, will try to
provide some final words and insight into how all efforts against the FTAA
are preparing for the upcoming week and will also summarize information
about security preparations for the November ministerial meetings.
Miami geography resource: www.vidaamericana.com/miami_guide/maps.html
Miami Bus-line resource:


Ostensibly saving the best for last, and in the wake of
countless articles detailing the girding of downtown -
street and business closures, court suspensions, ships
relocating, class cancellations - in preparation for
next week, local print media has recently conceded
substantial copy to the actual issues behind the FTAA
demonstrations. Trade is no panacea, the FTAA may
jeopardize the health of impoverished HIV/AIDS
patients in the Americas, and perhaps NAFTA was
not such a boon for small farmers in Mexico after all.
(Miami Herald*) Likewise, groups participating in
next week's events have also enjoyed a considerable
increase in coverage. Root Cause, the AFL-CIO, the
Lake Worth Global Justice Group and their puppet
space, and several individuals from the SFFTGJ
Coalition have all, through either press conferences
or profiles, graced the pages of local dailies. But if
these are the demonstrators to descend on downtown
for ministerial week, why all the hype about an epic
clash in the streets?

"Perhaps the most worrisome and unpredictable
contingent of protesters is the self-described anarchists,
who travel to international economic meetings intent
on causing as much mayhem as possible," fighting
words not from some well-paid security analyst, but
rather a Miami Herald crime-beat reporter feeling
obliged to offer her seasoned expertise. So now there
are the everyday, recognizable opponents of capitalist
globalization, and then there is the notably silent other.
Those "dedicated rabble-rousers" whose "vicious
tactics intentionally provoke violence" and "contaminate
and endanger peaceful demonstrators." (Miami Herald)
Media shy? Or mere apparition? The ruse unravels:
while the Miami Herald Publishing Co. contributes
cash and free ad space to both the trade meeting budget
and the campaign to win the FTAA headquarters
(Miami Herald), its crack team of journalists prop up
a phantom menace, obscuring the real issues,
fomenting fear among the public and fueling both a
repressive city ordinance and massive security
expenditures. The "specter of Seattle's 1999 WTO
riots remains fresh" so long as one requires a return on
investments. (Miami Herald)

Lastly, if there is any vindication in the local print
media's poor FTAA coverage over the past year, it
arrived in the recent revelation about funds for the
security apparatus set to protect next week's ministerial.
"The big fund-raising windfall came this week when
the U.S. Senate approved an $87 billion spending bill
for Iraq&#133;Tacked onto the legislation was the $8.5
million for Miami's security costs." (Miami Herald)
In every south Florida daily for all to see, the love
connection among neo-colonial conquest, White House
gangsterism, and the local architects of capitalist
globalization takes center stage. In addition to
devastated lives, families and communities both here
and abroad, the occupation now finds form in
factory-fresh truncheons, tasers, body armor and an
8-foot fence. How apropos.

*sources cited follow update


Most events taking place during the week of action
now have a set time and place. Below are links to
more detailed information.

Root Cause - local grassroots coalition and its events: www.therootcause.org
Free Carnival Area of the Americas: www.mediamouse.org/fcaa/
National events - forums, a mass march, etc.:

· The Florida American Indian Movement chapter
has organized a four-directions march for noon on
Saturday, November 15th, at the Torch of
Friendship (Biscayne Boulevard and NE 3rd St.)
in downtown Miami.

· Mammals for Peace and the FTAA Welcoming
Committee have secured a march permit for
Friday, November 21st. Assembly is at 10am at
the Miami Arena (721 NW 1st Avenue).

· For diagrams of both the Thursday and Friday
march routes, see: www.ftaasafetyinfo.com


The following is a summary of all confirmed security
information. Do not self-police, but be vigilant.

· The FTAA ministerial is credited with mobilizing
the largest collective law enforcement effort in the
history of Miami-Dade County (44 departments
and 6000 personnel, 2500 of which will be
deployed in downtown and neighboring areas).

· Alpha/Bravo staffing (12-hours shifts) will be
implemented from November 16th until
November 21st.

· Bicycle patrols for "chasing and herding without
seeming overly threatening" will be prevalent.

· Tasers (www.taser.com) and water cannons are
the weapons of choice.

· This Thursday, November 13th, the Miami City
Commission unanimously approved the "Streets
and Sidewalks" Ordinance. (For complete
ordinance text, see: www.ftaaimc.org/en/2003/11/287.shtml)
Security personnel intend on enforcing the measure
through search and seizure procedures. Targeted
will be the downtown Miami Metro-rail system,
the Tri-Rail train, Miami-Dade transit buses and
possibly Greyhound buses as well. It is not clear
if these searches will be limited to inside Miami
city limits.

· The Miami-Dade Community Relations Board
(CRB), and the City of Miami CRB, will have
volunteers on the streets wearing "Goodwill
Ambassador" t-shirts (bright orange and bright
blue respectively).

· For an introduction to the voluminous history of
police corruption and misconduct in Miami, see:


- Mass Mobilization Checklist -

Convergence Center: The as yet unnamed convergence
space is located at 2300 N Miami Avenue. It is already
up and running and preparing to serve the
national/international mobilization slowly trickling
into town. During the week of action, the center will
feature information about on-going events, a meeting
area, a food area, space and supplies for art and
creativity, several IMC terminals, and a healing space
for readjustment and reflection. For more information,
see: www.stopftaa.org or call 305.576.9774

Food not Bombs alliance: Although the convergence
space will offer some food, the feeding effort will
primarily be conducted through a mobile kitchen. More
details available on the ground in Miami. For more
information, see: www.autonomen.net/fnbnoftaa/

Independent Media Center Space: www.ftaaimc.org;
Tel: 305.576.9773

Housing: More details available on the ground in
Miami. For last-ditch housing efforts,
see: www.citizenstrade.org/housingrequest.php

Medical: A clinic space has been secured. More
details available on the ground in Miami.
See: www.artlessentropy.org/ftaa/

Legal: The legal collective effort is coming together.
The number we will all tag on our person will be
available on the ground in Miami. For information
everyone should know, see: www.stopftaa.org/legal

Childcare: A childcare space has been secured. For
more information, contact: yardwideyarns@hotmail.com


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

(A) This convergence space is in a generally poverty
stricken neighbourhood. If we converge on these
areas we are going to cause an awful lot of stress to
the local people, with and influx of thousands of
people and probably thousands of cops (who are
people too, but...). I don't know if this is being
discussed or if it has crossed anyone else's mind.
One thing I would like to attempt to organize is a
distribution network of food and clothes and other
things to the local people.

(1) A stroll from the convergence space to downtown
will introduce out-of-town visitors to Wynwood
(where the space is located) and Overtown (further south).
For context, here is some background information on
these working-class communities. Though Miami's
Wynwood neighborhood has long been considered a
Little San Juan, many of its Puerto Rican residents have
relocated to the suburbs as their economic conditions
have improved. (According to census figures, though
the overall Latino population has grown to nearly 60
percent, in 2000 only 17 percent of neighborhood folks
were Puerto Rican.) Wynwood, however, remains
Miami's cradle of Puerto Rican leadership: home to
the Eugenio Maria de Hostos Senior Center, the
Dorothy Quintana Community Center, ASPIRA, the
Borinquen Health Care Center and the Puerto Rican
Chamber of Commerce. Wynwood also houses
Roberto Clemente Park, Eneida Hartner Elementary
and Jose de Diego Middle School.

Overtown is, after Coconut Grove, the second oldest
African-American community in Miami-Dade County.
It owes its birth to railroad magnate Henry Flagler,
whose FEC railroad system connected South Florida to
the rest of country. Many African-Americans who
provided labor to Flagler settled together in land the
city of Miami alotted west of the railroad tracks
(segregationist laws prevented these workers from
living elsewhere). The settlement thrived. During the
20's, 30's and 40's, Overtown was Black Miami's
showcase, centerpiece, and mecca: a self-sustaining
community complete with an entertainment district,
shops, groceries, law offices, and a hospital. Black
musicians and artists frequented venues in Overtown -
along NW 2nd Ave., then known as Miami's "Little
Broadway" - after performances on then-segregated
Miami Beach. Although it could not compare with
the affluence of white Miami, black businesses
prospered, as did churches, social and civic
associations. Overtown continued its relative stability
during the 1950's. In the 60's, however, change was
drastic and devastating. During this period, Interstate 95,
a ten-lane expressway that today is Miami's primary
north-south artery, and the East-West Dolphin
Expressway (State route 836) were both constructed
directly through the heart of Overtown. The same
forces that destroyed or altered the physical structures
also weakened the social underpinnings of the
community. Businesses folded, churches closed, and
many residents were forced to leave. Now one of
Miami-Dade's poorest communities, the majority of
Overtown residents are those with very few choices.
Vacant lots, a high unemployment rate and rundown
housing characterize Overtown today.

(B) On a recent Monday night I watched the
Miami-Dade Police Department go through
maneuvers on the deserted streets of downtown
Miami. A phalanx of cops decked out in black
helmets, body armor, shields, tear-gas guns, and
truncheons marched up Third Street to a group of
mock protesters. It was unnerving and disorienting,
a scene suited to more desperate places.

(2) For a society, the road to desperation is marked by,
among other things, a deference to brute force in the
settlement of disputes and in addressing the grievances
of its members. Next week, the poorest large urban
center in the United States plays host to the
hemisphere's wealthy and powerful, at once placing
Miami's landscape of decadence amidst utter depression
in a regional and global context, while also showcasing
the menace that reinforces our social order.

(C) You say strategy is important. I am sorry, but
through your writings, I fail to see how violent
confrontation is strategic. Either one is deluded to
think we can breach their massively fortified
security perimeter, or there is some inherent end
to battling cops. Which is it for you?

(3) None of our writings have ever advocated violent
confrontation. And strategy *is* important. Security
personnel have indicated that they intend on impeding
any advance on the perimeter. Still, many folks are
convening in Miami with just that in mind. While this
may not be the most practical of aims, what courage
can do, that dares courage attempt. Such an effort is
valid and has place in the upcoming week's sundry events.

800million vs. 34 Coalition

"Adopt protest revisions." Miami Herald 23 October

Brand, Richard. "Migrant workers: The plight of the
poor farmer." Miami Herald 10 November 2003.

Dorschner, John. "Stage is set for a struggle over
generics." Miami Herald 09 November 2003.

Driscoll, Amy. "Protesters: Hear message, don't fear
the messengers." Miami Herald 11 November 2003.

Hanks, Douglas. "City secures money to run talks."
Miami Herald 06 November 2003.

Hanks, Douglas. "GM tops list of FTAA private-sector
donors." Miami Herald 10 November 2003.

Hemlock, Doreen. "Coalition outlines plans for
peaceful protests at Miami free trade meeting."
Sun-Sentinel 22 October 2003

Nesmith, Susannah A. "Security boosted for FTAA
talks." Miami Herald 10 November 2003.

O'Connor, Lona. "Activists prepare for Miami protests
in Lake Worth." Palm Beach Post 10 November 2003.

For an extensive list of back articles, see:
For the October update, see:
For the September update, see:
For the August update, see:
A Day Hopeful and Radiant: www.ainfos.ca/03/jul/ainfos00317.html

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

From: Nosotros Somos Mas <n20-A-hushmail.com>

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