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

From Nosotros Somos Mas <n20@hushmail.com>
Date Thu, 16 Oct 2003 16:32:28 +0200 (CEST)

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The following is the third 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: With one month remaining before FTAA ministerial
week, a certain segment of the opposition effort is
enjoying its finest hour of local print media coverage.
The late September Miami City Commission vote on
a highly restrictive demonstration ordinance, and its
eventual deferment to later this month, placed the
November events, and the puppet-making/creative
resistance set, front and center. The question: what
manner of bedlam awaits that an ordinance must be
specifically tailored to squelch it? "It's like attacking
Mr. Rogers," said one local puppetista, defending her
endangered art form in a positive and balanced profile
of the Free Carnival Area of the Americas (Sun-Sentinel).
The counterweight: a paean to Miami Police Chief John
Timoney. Apparently, Miami's very reputation hangs
in the balance this November (Palm Beach Post). Never
mind that it is the poorest large urban center in the U.S.,
matters of image seem to pertain exclusively to whether
or not the political and financial elite successfully realize
their aims - in this case, a flawless ministerial. The
principle obstacle between Miami and its destiny: crafty
puppeteers and "hordes of aggressive demonstrators"
who "dress totally in black and wear ski masks, [and]
carry weapons such as crowbars, large clubs or ninja
sticks" (Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald). Presumably,
Mr. Timoney is up to the task.

Preparing for its own capital-driven, late October
homage to neo-liberalism in Latin America, the annual
Americas Conference, the Miami Herald officially
entered the FTAA debate recently, taking a position
on the proposed city ordinance. "Small groups of
determined troublemakers" prone to "wreaking havoc"
notwithstanding, a scaled-down ordinance is necessary
because media, peaceful protesters with legitimate
concerns, and bystanders "shouldn't be prevented from
using gas masks and other protective gear." Rather,
sound planning, coordination and intelligence work on
the part of security agencies should suffice to keep
"members of the Black Bloc" at bay. Exactly who is
protesting and why seems wholly irrelevant. "A
disastrous ministerial meeting could dash our chances
[for the FTAA headquarters]," reads the editorial. Our
chances? Precisely.

*sources cited follow update


The following is a list of events taking place during
the week of November 17-21. A general breakdown
of the week's events can be found here:
Exact event times are forthcoming.

· Root Cause - a coalition of south Florida grassroots
groups - is organizing three green zone events during
the week of action with the aim of highlighting local
struggles and mobilizing local working class

1. The Free Carnival Area of the Americas. This
three-day march departs from Broward County
(Oakland Park area) on Sunday, November 16th, to
arrive in Miami on Tuesday, November 18th. The
journey will feature lively street theater and puppet
performances, educational and outreach events
every evening, and a mass camp-out every night
(with conventional housing available if needed). Once
in Miami, Root Cause/FCAA will set up an
encampment at a yet to be determined space in the
vicinity of downtown. The encampment, potentially
accommodating several hundred vouched-for
participants, will operate until the week concludes
and serve as a sleeping space as well as a venue open
to local, national, and international grassroots efforts
for presentations and forums.

2. On Wednesday, November 19th, there will be
a Unity Ceremony where excluded and marginalized
communities in Florida, south Florida, and Miami
will unite to affirm their commitment to social
justice and their opposition to FTAA. The ceremony
centerpiece: the American Indian Movement will
grant permission for the use of indigenous land
recognized as "Miami" to all socially conscious
participants. The ceremony will likely take place
in the territory between the FTAA's InterContinental
Hotel and the Americas Business Forum's Hyatt
Regency Hotel.

3. On the Day of Action, Thursday, November 20th,
Root Cause is organizing a protest and rally targeting
one of Miami's two free trade zones (FTZ). The FTZ
(Wynwood Industrial Complex) is located at 2235
NW 5th Ave. - near both Overtown, a poverty-stricken
African-American community, and Wynwood, a
poor Puerto Rican and Dominican community. The
protest will highlight the concept of free trade zones
and how they impact local communities.

· City authorities have approved a route for the
national group-sponsored mass march taking place
at noon on Thursday, November 20th. As this is a
green zone event, complete with marshals, police
escorts and possibly barricades lining the route,
non-participants should keep a safe distance and
participants should be prepared to see it through to
the end. The 2.3-mile march route proceeds as
follows (note: streets and avenues are divided
north/south by Flagler Street, and east/west by
Miami Avenue, and where Biscayne Blvd. has
northbound/southbound lanes divided by a median):

1. The starting point is Bayfront Park
Amphitheater (Biscayne Blvd. and NE 2nd St).
2. From NE 2nd St., marchers will travel
north on Biscayne to NE 4th St. and then U-turn
to travel south on Biscayne to NE 3rd St.
3. On NE 3rd St., marchers will turn right
and travel west to NE 1st Ave.
4. At NE 1st Ave. they will turn right and
travel north to NE 6th St.
5. On NE 6th St. marchers will turn left and
travel west across Miami Avenue to NW 2nd Ave.
6. At NW 2nd Ave. they will turn left and
travel south to NW 3rd St.
7. At NW 3rd St. the march will turn left
and travel east to NW 1st Ave.
8. On NW 1st Ave., marchers will turn right
and travel south to NW 2nd St.
9. On NW 2nd St., they will turn left and
travel east, crossing Miami Avenue again on
their way to Biscayne Blvd.
10. Arriving at Biscayne Blvd. and NE 2nd St.,
the march will turn right and travel south on
Biscayne to Flagler Street.
11. At Flagler St., marchers will come
face-to-face with march marshals guarding the
much-heralded perimeter fence (see below)
and U-turn to travel north on Biscayne to
NE 2nd St., where the march began.

· One possible means of obtaining housing for
the week of action is now available here:


· March route disclosure has also revealed one
portion of the security perimeter. Obstructing
entrance into all of Bayfront Park, it will then seal
the northbound lane of Biscayne Blvd. at Flagler
Street, run south along the Biscayne median and
seal off the southbound Biscayne lane at SE 1st. St.,
continuing west on SE 1st St. to an undisclosed point.

· No other information about security preparations
is available. However, on October 23rd, the Miami
City Commission is meeting once again to vote on
an ordinance prohibiting a long list of items for use
during November's demonstrations. The initial vote
on September 25th was met with loud opposition
and deferred to this month (part public relations
concession and part strategy, as a late October
ratified ordinance will not allow for litigation before
November's events). The new version of the ordinance
is said to include some key concessions. Whatever
the case, ratification is certain to affect events in
November. More information is forthcoming.


- Locally -

Action Days Childcare Effort
Contact: yardwideyarns@hotmail.com

Free Carnival Area of the Americas

Food not Bombs Alliance

Miami FTAA Ministerial Medical Logistics

- Regionally -

Alachua for Global Justice Action Camp
November 6 - 8; Gainesville, FL
Contact: Alachua@ziplip.com

The Beehive Collective
FTAA east coast tour is on going.

Medically Trained Activist Skill-share Collective
Southeast workshop tour (on-going)
Contact: coqui@riseup.net

- Nationally -

A-Team Medics Practical Community First-Aid
October 30th - November 2nd; Asheville, NC

The March to Miami
>From Seattle to Miami over seven weeks this fall

Michigan FTAA Conference
October 24 - 26; MSU - East Lansing, MI
Contact: NoFTAA2003@yahoo.com

Midwest Basic Medic Training
October 31st - November 2nd; Bloomington, IN
Contact: Yeti@rescueteam.com

Northeast Basic Street Medic Training
October 17 - 19; Wesleyan U - Middletown, CT
Contact: middletownmedics@yahoo.com

Northeast FTAA Consulta
October 31st - November 2nd; New Haven, CT

The Padded Block
November 20 - 21; Miami, Florida

The POG Pre-Miami Invitational
November 13 - 18; Pittsburgh, PA
Contact: pog@mutualaid.org

Southeast FTAA Consulta
November 9th; Gainesville, FL
Contact: Alachua@ziplip.com

West Coast FTAA Consulta
October 18th; Oakland, CA
Contact: sfconsulta@riseup.net


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

(A) It needs to be said that those who come to Miami
in November with the intention of instigating a violent
confrontation with local law enforcement do no favors
to those of us in the fair-trade movement who have
legitimate concerns with the proposed FTAA that
would surely be overshadowed by violence and
disorder in the streets. It would be self-defeating for
those various labor, community, environmental, and
consumer groups who are organizing locally for the
FTAA to allow out-of-towners to create a climate of
fear that would dissuade locals from participating in
the protests.

(1) The ramifications of whatever occurs in the
streets of Miami this November will pale in comparison
to the consequences of the dealings (however
unsuccessful) inside the InterContinental Hotel. This
reality is precisely why the entire spectrum of the global
justice movement is mobilizing - all of us with legitimate
concerns, no matter how pronounced (and in some
instances irreconcilable) our differences in aims and
strategy. In fact, one of the more reassuring aspects of
this mass convergence of disparate groups (peopled by
out-of-towners) is that no matter how unwelcoming and
hostile various national representatives in the South
Floridians for Fair Trade and Global Justice coalition are
to the idea of a pluralist and inclusive movement, in
November the streets belong to everyone. The fair-trader
agenda may drown out the anti-capitalist critique in the
forums and rallies, but Miami's big paved heart will
provide ample permitted and autonomous options for
everyone to feel welcome and free to participate how
they see fit. Lastly, the "climate of fear" is largely a
media construct, and to date it has met with remarkable
success in Miami. This is due in no small part to the
SFFTGJ's rather sporting acquiescence, publicly
deriding and disparaging other groups when the
situation demands quite the opposite: an unrelenting
emphasis on the FTAA and solidarity with the diversity
of this global movement.

(B) We need numbers: masses of people in Miami
itself, gathering together where they can be seen
and counted, where the media will be focused, and
where they can directly affect the delegates and the
summit. And along with legal, permitted marches
and forums, we need actions that go beyond: acts
that directly withdraw our consent from the summit
and the policies it represents, broad based nonviolent
direct actions that attempt to disrupt and derail these
undemocratic proceedings.

(2) While numbers are important, strategy and
coordination is even more important. Downtown
Miami - where most week of action activities will take
place, where the mass march will gather to be seen and
counted, and where the media will be concentrated in
hopes of capturing the melee they have been promoting
since late spring - is a relatively small space. Further,
most daily activity will already be suspended due to
security precautions. In this context, disrupting and
derailing proceedings begins with an assault on, and
attempt to breach, the security perimeter. While this is
a worthy and ambitious objective, implicit in this aim
must be the realization that, unlike Cancun and Quebec
City, security personnel intend on contesting every foot
of grimy asphalt leading to the fence. Efforts like the
padded bloc, that preach confrontation and prepare
accordingly, understand this. All affinity groups should
heed this rationale as the United for Peace and
Justice-driven mass direct action plans take shape.
Hopefully, UFPJ's involvement (and resources)
will only serve to strengthen and invigorate planning
and coordination already underway because the nature
of the terrain and the intensity of the circumstances
will require every bit of spontaneity, creativity and
imagination that we can muster.

(C) everybody from outside heading to Miami
better sure as hell be studying city maps before
arriving. The police know the intersections. So
should we.

(3) It cannot be stressed enough that everyone should
at the very least have a basic understanding of the
layout of Miami and the downtown area, if only to
insure safe travel to and from events. Some avenue
and street fundamentals:
· North and South are divided by Miami Avenue
· East and West are divided by Flagler Street

(D) I think many of us will want to get there at
least a day early to get our self and groups set and
see what we're up against.

(4) Most of the security apparatus will not be up and
in place until the week of action. Nevertheless, the
earlier we arrive the better. There will be much to
learn and plenty to do, not only to insure the
effectiveness of our actions, but also to become familiar
with, and perhaps appreciate, Miami and its residents.
Early arrivals are also encouraged to help out and/or
participate in the Free Carnival Area of the Americas
(see above) march and outreach events. The march
departs from Pompano Beach, FL, on Sunday,
November 16th to arrive in Miami on Tuesday,
November 18th.


One month remains before the week of action.
The final update is set for release shortly before
then and will attempt to include all relevant
information streaming out of this month's many
conferences and events. If we failed to include
information that should be public knowledge at this
point, please let us know.

800million vs. 34 Coalition

"Ensure public safety and free speech." Miami Herald
05 October 2003.

Fleischman, Joan. "Trade protesters mean business,
analyst warns." Miami Herald 01 October 2003.

Gopal, Prashant. "Activists build giant puppets in Lake
Worth to spread the word of free trade's foes."
South Florida Sun-Sentinel 28 September 2003.

Pacenti, John. "Miami braces for crush of free-trade
protesters." Palm Beach Post 09 October 2003.

For an extensive list of back articles, see:
For the September update, see:
For the August update, see:

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

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