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 ‚€œtreaty‚€Ě that will bind the hands of all people striving for a more just world. It is ‚€œNAFTA on crack,‚€Ě 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 FTAA.
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. 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 Miami.
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.
Pittsburgh Organizing Group
http://www.organizepittsburgh.org (will be updated soon)
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.