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Creation Date: 2002-04-21
No JF tonight. Today was A20, 75,000 protestors showed up in Washington DC. A few thousand showed up in Seattle including myself. Below is my review of it. Props to everyone who showed except for the cops, who only came to brutalize innocent peaceful protestors who are protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. We were also protected by the Second Amendment, but it seems that protestors dislike violent protest these days. Some might criticize us for beating around the bush. I say that we are obligated to be pacifist ourselves in order to expect our nation to turn away from war.

Today was a good day for dissent. It lacked a few things which I'll point to chronologically. It started out before Noon at Westlake. There was a large group of people in solidarity with Palestinians. There were some good speakers. One thing that I personally disagree with is that peace cannot come without justice first. As a pacifist, it is my duty to maintain my own peace at all times, no matter the injustice I face. Of course, the injustices I have faced are small. Would I be able to stand the loss of a loved one to the police, government, military, or corporations? That's a question I have to deal with. It's a serious question and I don't have a solid answer yet. My feeling is that the Palestinian/Israel conflict will see peace only when both sides slow their injustice while forgiving their enemy's injustices. Then, when peace is achieved, it will give time for good change so that both sides find justice. Then we all marched up to SCCC. How nice was that? It was good. We all really had a decent time. At 2 PM, there was a teach-in at SCCC. It lasted two hours and proposed a few good ideas. I had a serious problem with it, though. A bunch of the speakers decided to use dogma, illogical arguments, and weak arguments to support their case. Bad idea. I don't take kindly to people who waste my time with that kind of crud. One logical and strong argument: the third world countries' debts have been paid by their labor and thus do not need to pay back the money to the IMF/WorldBank. This is logical because the IMF/WorldBank has made much more money than they originally put into the investment. Forcing these people to pay debts instead of feed their people is murder if I ever saw it. Of course, the third world country did sign an agreement to pay back the loan. Is the contract not valid just because the IMF/WorldBank has made profit? The contract did supposedly benefit these countries significantly, right? Even though it encouraged slave labor? Even though it bought guns that killed many people? Even though the people coerced into signing it are long gone? Even though there ought to be a line in the contract that says: "By the way, you have to starve 30% of your people ten years from now for the sole purpose of our greed." Anne R. Key gave a speech on how we can bankrupt businesses and governments by simply not buying stuff from them. You see, if you don't buy stuff from a certain company, their stock goes down. If their stock goes down, people stop buying stock which drops their stock more. It's a loop and is often seen in Wall Street. I just hope that bankrupting the IMF/WorldBank won't discourage captialists from helping poor people in the future. Helping poor people is actually a very profitable business for any capitalist who does his or her numbers.

There was also a speaker on privatization of schools. I'm both for and against privatization of schools. Privatization like putting soda machines that benefits the university is a good thing. It lowers tuition and actually is a decent service to those who wish to put caffeine into their body while studying. Privatization like selling a bookstore to a good bookstore will save the students money on books (since a good bookstore can get better deals on books). Selling a bookstore to a bad bookstore will seriously hurt students. For example, SFCC's books were twice the price that other bookstores charged. What was their reason? They got a bad deal on it and were guaranteed 20% profit. That means no matter what price they buy for, the get 20%. Duh, it doesn't take a physicist to know that they'll find the most expensive place to buy books so that they make the most profit: 20% of $100 is twice as much as 20% of $50. The speaker had weak arguments. He argued that Edison Schools (a private company that the US government has sold 180 schools to) makes universities into vocational colleges. That's blatently untrue, I know for a fact since there isn't a single non-liberal arts school on the list of 180. They all teach the same BS as the rest. They did add a small vocational section to SFCC, but it's overwhelmed by the liberal arts degree programs. It's not a four-year college in the first place. If people request vocational programs, by George, they'll get them. Diversity in education a good thing. I can not whole-heartedly advocate liberal arts colleges like my fine University of Washington. A person can get a much better understanding of a subject for a few library late fees. College is a place for education, where a person learns a bunch about the world so that they can better function in that world. Selling U of W to Microsoft would be a mistake, sure. But don't they own it already? Bill Gates is one of the highest level Regents. He recently questioned the UW: "Is the UW challenging the students?" In what respect? In each student's field, it's different. Physics is certainly a challenging field, but the devoted students don't have much trouble. Would we be satisfied if devoted students had a lot of trouble graduating? I say that students have a much harder time with trivial topics than the ones that really matter. Graduating within an acceptable amount of time is one of my largest concerns. Many students have trouble with the classes that mean nothing to them (for art students, it's science, for science students, it's usually English). The computer science program is completely screwed, though. Not that it isn't challenging enough, it's too challenging. A roommate of mine got a 3.8 GPA and 4.0s in the freshman year of CSE classes and wasn't accepted. Why? He wasn't currently active in a project.

So after the teach-in that didn't teach much, there was RTS. It was illegal technically. Of course, arresting people who are exercising free speech is more illegal (SEE 1st Amendment). So legally, the RTS had the green. So we go into the streets and have some fun. The Infernal Noise Brigade was incredible. They always are. So we get to Broadway and there's a girl suspended in mid air in a tripod. Sweet, right? We dance, they play sweet beats and there's not a cop around. Some people climb up a tree and onto Bank of America there. Ya, I agree that it was a bad idea, but they put a banner that said, "Capitalism is killing us." over the B of A sign. Sweet. I'm a capitalist sypathiser (Ayn Rand is a wonderful anarchist capitalist), but not for B of A. They're completely evil. This guy gets on the bull horn and says, "We only need to keep here for ten minutes! Hold steady." Hold steady? We're having fun. So everyone gets real quiet for ten minutes and they bring this girl on the tripod down. Then, ten bike cops bust in on the other side of the tripod from me and arrest the girl (beating her into concussion) and three others. This one cops has a large can of pepper spray and sprays everyone around the tripod for no reason. We were completely peaceful. Even when people were being arrested we did nothing but run away. I must say that if I was on the other side of the tripod, I would not have let the cops through through peaceful resistance. They had no right to arrest people who were peacefully protesting. They had no right to pepper spray me and everyone in the area of the tripod. It was police brutality and intimidation. Goodness knows it won't intimidate me for a second, but it will intimidate all those people who see it on TV. They'll think: violent anarchists from Eugene, OR get their skulls cracked by SPD, hooray. The truth is that it's peaceful anarchists, libertarians, communists, socialists, left-wing democrats, middle-ground demicans, and right-wing republicans out there, all from Seattle. I'm really amazed that with all these non-pacifists out there, no one is violent. Even I get very angry seeing police trample my Constitution, but these so-called terrorists have more restraint than I do. One rough-looking guy got hit with a wildly-swung club and was in a rage to beat up the cops with a stick he found on the ground. Four people including myself restrained him for quite a while and one girl offered to hug him. ^_^ Maybe one day I can fake a violent episode with the police to get a hug from such a pretty girl. Ahh, how I do miss the free love movement. I was just born forty years too late. My dad just let it float by him while he was on an LSD trip. Perhaps a new free love movement is coming that I can catch onto. An AIDS vaccine or a birth control pill that was theologically and biologically sound. Naw, darn... Maybe when they invent a good virtual replacement for sex? Naw. Isn't that sad. The free love movement is gone. It seems that the only thing to come close is the anarchist/pacifist movement. Of course, that's tightly linked with the feminism movement. Errk. Not that I think that feminism isn't cool, but it makes us revolutionaries quite lonely. *shrug*

What was I saying? Oh yeah, back to my assesment of the marching. After the police took the first four political prisoners, they blocked off the street so that they could put the political prisoners into a paddy wagon. The thing that gets me is that it was planned well in advance. They're using tactics to intimidate. They're acting almost intelligent. Some police officer high on the food chain knows too much. That's a dangerous thing. Say that the police know that people are going to be standing on top of a certain building. A misplaced concussion grenade (which was used often during WTO protests) would send a dozen protestors to their untimely deaths with no apology from the police required. If something like that happened, it would escalate into a war which could not be solved by peaceful means. Making peace impossible makes violence inevitable. Goodness knows that one very pissed off person firing a gun at the police would end up with several police dead and dozens of anarchists dead. I really think it's a terrible situation that the police have gotten us into. Everytime we exercise our First Amendment rights legally, they arrest people illegally. I can only say that the police officers should practice more restraint because they cannot expect "terrorists" to practice more restraint than them. Duh... Can't they see that the harder they oppress us, the harder we fight back? Their brutality is one thing that we are protesting.

So after a long and rough standoff with the police, the RTS joined a march headed to Westlake. We marched and did the "No more Sweatshops!" chant outside Gap, Old Navy, etc. People don't seem to get it. They seem to think that we aren't opposed to slave labor. They must know that slave labor is wrong, but perhaps they think that working 18 hours per day for $1 per day is not slave labor. I'd like to see one of their flat asses try it. Actually, no I wouldn't. I would simply like to see them stop buying the sweatshop clothes since slavery is morally wrong.

So we get to Westlake and we sit down for a second to decide whether to go to SCCC or to the County Jail in solidarity with those four arrested. Well fucking a if a bunch of riot cops didn't yank a guy right twent feet behind me while I was eating ramen noodles. Fucking pigs. Is wearing a mohawk a crime these days? Perhaps sitting in a protest area is illegal. But duh, we had a permit. Then as they beat him up, people form a line against the cops and shouted "Shame!" etc. So the police bring in horses. Why horses? To provoke people. A horse cop tries to trample a person and the horse spooks and the police arrest four people in that area. What the fuck? None of these people will be convicted. We had video cameras, National Lawyer's Guild members, and a bunch of eye-witnesses. What is does do is intimidate those people who wish to speak out. Before going to a protest that a person feels strongly about, he or she must take into account the possibility that they might be pepper-sprayed, beated, trampled, arrested, or killed by police for things that are completely covered by the First Amendment.

So after that incident, we decided to go back to SCCC. It seemed reasonable to disperse quietly after a loud exit. We couldn't lose our pride nor would we do something to get ourselves arrested. So we walked on the sidewalks very loudly up to SCCC. I was in the middle of the line and suddenly the the people behind me start shouting to come back. The police officers blocked a large part of the end. They were either going to arrest them or hassle them needlessly. The front of the protest line had to come all the way back to the end. After five minutes of standing there shouting at the police to let them cross, the light changes color and the cars that were blocked by our protest were let through by the horse cops. Really, they could've just let us through and it would've taken us less than five minutes that it took them to clear the sidewalk and get the cars through. Why did they do this? So that they wouldn't lose face letting anarchists illegally cross the street when it said "Don't Walk". Wonderful, huh? Oh yeah, like any city or state law can be enforced when it violates the First Amendment in this case. Laws that are unconstitutional were meant to be broken. You can "blah blah blah" about safety, people late for work, lost income, and what if everyone did that, but the simple truth is that the Constitution starts out: Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness. Revolutionary words, radical, very old, wise, and misconstrued, yet while no life is being threatened, we must next wonder if liberty is being threatened. Protests being impeded is a threat to liberty. When we get liberty, we can worry about the fuckers in SUVs. Patrick Henry even put liberty before safety saying, "Give me liberty or give me death!" Certainly he wouldn't agree that those cars getting home is more important than protesting a government that taxes us without representation, a police that protects corporate profits before rights of the people who pay their wages, and a war claimed by it's founders (GWB, Cheney, etc) to be counter-effective, endless, and damaging to civil and human rights. Should I go to the Mayday protest? I might, but I'll bring my fscking green bandana and chemistry goggles. I encourage everyone else to do the same. Chemistry goggles will stop a shot of pepper spray at point blank, which is the only distance that you will be shot at, even though it is illegal. They are one use if you get sprayed, so cheap goggles are as good as expensive ones. Chemistry goggles also work fairly well against tear gas. They have air inlets, but tear gas works by single immediate contact. Walking through a recently gassed area will not irritate a person's eyes, so by having the goggles on, the tear gas will dissipate before it gets into goggles. It isn't so good for throwing tear gas back at police. For that, it's good to have a snorkel mask since they're airtight. Remember that the police aren't sneaky. They're methodical. If the police put on their gas masks, they've already decided to gas you, so it's time to put on the mask and bandana. If you see them a block away, they're going to confront you. If they're in a line, they're either protecting a storefront from imaginary vandals or they're going to arrest you. Next, I'd like to direct your attention to the numbers. The police are outnumbered by 50. The only thing they have that the protestors do not is: an antagonistic PoV and weaponry to back it up. If the protestors decide to stay and the police get reinforcements, so can the protestors. If the protestors want to arrest a police officer, they'll get antagonistic resistance from the police (beating with clubs, spraying with pepper spray, rubber bullets, and if a protestor gets too close, they'll shoot with live ammo). If the police want to arrest a protestor, they'll get passive resistance. I say that the next event should be an overnight event. It should be calculated correctly and done right but there's no reason why A20 had to stop at 8:30 tonight other than most people didn't bring food, water, or courage enough for two days. It would take a little extra effort, but not all that much. On the Friday of WTO 1999, I skipped classes and protested all day and overnight at the county jail. I'd say that fit's my free love movement thing from above. Sleeping with a whole bunch of cute girls (and guys) was the highlight of my life. No sex, but that's a good thing. The unconditional love minus sex thing is certainly a plus in my book. I plan to be celibate the rest of my life. Not that I could change it, but that's how it goes. "I'm beginning to wonder if another woman is really what we need." -Tyler Durdan Fight Club.

If you'd like to see a few pics of WTO 1999, click here. It's a script thing. If it doesn't work for you, go to the low res page.
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