>Protesters take aim at Philly and L.A.
>By Michael Dolan
>Last Updated: July 30, 2000
>On the last day of November last year, I was walking among the
>swirling crowds and clouds of tear gas in Seattle and noticed Tom
>Hayden standing on a corner, checking out the tens of thousands of
>anti-World Trade Organization protesters - the Turtles and Teamsters
>Given that our organization, Public Citizen, helped organize the
>WTO protests, I asked him what he thought about our mobilization
>against corporate globalization.
>He was impressed. Encouraged, I went for it: "Tom," I asked, "how
>does this compare to, you know, Chicago '68?"
>"The difference," he told me, "is that you're winning."
>Like many veterans of Seattle, I will be in Philadelphia for the
>GOP convention and in Los Angeles for the Democrats'. I wish we
>were organizing a massive street celebration of either party's
>post-Seattle epiphany that the flawed and failed free-trade agenda
>must be replaced.
>If we were winning, the Democratic convention would ratify, in its
>party platform, a fair-trade plank that meets the legitimate
>expectations of workers and family farmers and ensures that a living
>wage, the environment, health and democratic accountability are
>not subordinated to the imperatives of corporate-managed trade.
>But we're not winning. Since Seattle, the trade policy showdown
>was a vote on China's permanent normal trade relations.
>The China business lobby spent an unprecedented amount of money
>pushing normal trade relations.
>And, of course, transnational corporations are "sponsoring" the
>conventions; Motorola, for example, which dropped a cool million
>on advertising, spent another million funding the DNC party next
>Then Al Gore selected Commerce Secretary Bill Daley, perhaps the
>biggest booster of corporate-managed trade in any administration
>in history, as chairman of his campaign.
>So, as I and my fellow activists don our protest puppets and the
>Democrats put on their party hats, a few words of advice and
>admonition are suggested by our experience in Seattle and a decade
>of grass-roots travails in the cause of fair trade.
>To Democratic delegates: I urge you to walk off the Staples Center
>set, put down your scripts, come outside, cross the police line
>and join us in the street to share, for a few minutes, the spirit
>Globalization and trade policy are marker issues now, canaries in
>the mine shaft of Democratic policy-making, and this convention is
>an opportunity to return your party to its progressive, pro-worker
>antecedents. If you read the same polls I do, you should realize
>that your standard-bearer stands a better chance in November if
>you push him to renounce his slavish devotion to corporate
>To the mainstream media: You have all our sympathy for trying to
>find actual news in the predictable, scripted convention proceedings.
>You will do your readers and viewers a favor by coming outside as
>well to find some real stories.
>And please don't get distracted by protest tactics. You should be
>asking why we are outside with our signs and chants, not merely
>what we're planning to do to get our message heard.
>To Mayor Richard Riordan and the Los Angeles Police Department:
>We've all read about your baton-rattling preparations for protesters.
>Hey, you invited the convention to Los Angeles (just as Seattle
>invited the WTO), and political protest is part of the package. So
>spare us the bluff and bluster about anarchists. We will be peacefully
>exercising our First Amendment rights.
>To my fellow activists: Folks, we're holding our own against a
>better-financed corporate lobby because its agenda hurts the majority
>of people living with its results.
>Seattle was a battle in a larger war between corporate rule and
>civil society, and the great and good grassroots of the international
>fair-trade movement - workers, family farmers, consumers, environmental
>and human-rights activists - must fight on, united.
>The next skirmish, damn it, will be on the streets of Los Angeles.
>I'll see you there.
>Michael Dolan is deputy director of Public Citizen's Global Trade
>Watch. This first appeared in the Los Angeles Times.
> Copyright 2000, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved.
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