anti-WTO DIRECT ACTION CONVERGENCE, SEATTLE


DIRECT ACTION CONVERGENCE AT THE WTO

COME TO SEATTLE NOV. 20 - DEC. 3, 1999 FESTIVAL OF RESISTANCE * NONVIOLENT DIRECT ACTION * STREET THEATER Increasing poverty and cuts in social services while the rich get richer; low wages, sweatshops, meaningless jobs, and more prisons; deforestation, gridlocked cities and global warming; genetic engineering, gentrification and war: Despite the apparent diversity of these social and ecological troubles, their roots are the same -- a global economic system based on the exploitation of people and the planet.

From Nov. 29 to Dec. 3 in Seattle, WA, thousands leaders of transnational corporations, governments officials and an army of bureaucrats will come to the World Trade Organization's Summit to further their drive for profits, and their control over our political, economic and cultural life, along with the environment. Their new strategy to concentrate power and wealth, while neutralizing people's resistance, is called "economic globalization" and "free trade." But these words just disguise the poverty, misery and ecological destruction of this system.

Tens of thousands of people will converge on Seattle and transform it into a festival of resistance: mass nonviolent direct action; reclaim the streets with giant street theater, puppets, celebration, music, street parties and pleasure; vibrant sounds of community, creativity and resistance and glimpses of life as it could be in the face of hundreds of deadening businessman, bureaucrats and politicians. A new world is possible and a global movement of resistance is rising to make it happen. Imagine replacing the existing social order with a just, free and ecological order based on mutual aid and voluntary cooperation. Join us. Come to Seattle.

Here is some of what is planned and what you need to know to come to Seattle:

RESIST THE WTO: ROADSHOW Art and Revolution Street Theater Troupe will join a multi-media, giant puppet and dance performance, teach-in tour of the Western U.S. and Canada from September 28 to October 18 (in Seattle October 5) to educate, agitate and organize against the World Trade Organization Summit. Cosponsored by Global Exchange.

ACTION/STREET THEATER CAMP NOV. 20-28 We are planning for nine days of street theater, giant puppet, dance and music making/skillsharing/performing, nonviolent direct action trainings and affinity(action) group formations, community building fun, meetings to coordinate it all and prepare ourselves for the WTO, outreach and performance around Seattle, and more. Come early and help organize and prepare. Contact us or check the website for more details.

NOV 30 SHUT DOWN THE WTO MASS NONVIOLENT DIRECT ACTION INFO We are planning a large scale, well organized, high visibility action to SHUT DOWN the World Trade Organization on Tuesday November 30. The World Trade Organization no right to make undemocratic, unaccountable destructive decisions about our lives, our communities and the earth. We will nonviolently and creatively block them from meeting. Hundreds of people will risk arrest, reflecting the diversity of groups and communities impacted by the WTO and corporate globalization. We envision colorful and festive actions with large scale street theater as a major element. We will make space and encourage mutual respect for a variety of nonviolent action styles reflecting our different groups and communities. The WTO Summit offers a historic opportunity to halt corporate globalization and to help catalyze a widespread mass movement in North America. Cosponsored by the Direct Action Network (Against Corporate Globalization), Earth First!(Seattle), Global Exchange and Rainforest Action Network.

WHY NONVIOLENT DIRECT ACTION AND STREET THEATER? It is time to raise the social and political cost to those who aim to increase the destruction and misery caused by corporate globalization, as movements in other parts of the world have. Nonviolent direct action can force corporate globalization onto the front burner of public discussion and coupled with high visibility street theater, will get national and international alternative and mainstream media coverage. The time is ripe for massive nonviolent direct action against the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the corporate globalization it serves. Demonstrations and protest have been an essential part of every successful social change movement in North American history, but they are too often marginalized by corporate media, too easily dismissed by those we want to engage, and bore participants. Street theater used as a tool for making social change can break into people's consciousness, communicate powerfully and capture the imagination of participants and observers. Well planned nonviolent direct action can intervene into a process that we have been left out of, showing the depth of our opposition and forcing the issues onto the public agenda. There is an incredible opportunity to use street theater-- art, dance, music, giant puppets, graffiti art and theater-- and nonviolent direct action to simplify and dramatize the issues of corporate globalization and to develop and spread new and creative forms resistance. This will help catalyze desperately needed mass movements in the US and Canada capable of challenging global capital and making radical change and social revolution.

ORGANIZE YOUR COMMUNITY The WTO Summit offers an unprecedented historical opportunity to organize in our communities, build alliances with other groups and communities impacted by corporate globalization, and help build a movement capable of standing up to the existing economic and political system at the root of our problems. Here is a brainstorm of ideas of what you can do in your community:

* Form, join or activate a local group to organize around the WTO. Publicize your meeting/s. This is a chance to work with local groups affected by corporate globalization: labor, eco, human rights, animal, agriculture, solidarity, etc

* Call or e-mail us and ask us for a local WTO organizing packet and ready to copy flyer. Or get your computer friend to print it all out from our website.

* Outreach to your community: get out flyers/posters, put in newsletters and zines, speak to groups, announce at events, write letters to editor/guest editorials, send out calendar announcements

* Plan a public event about the WTO (speakers, video, music, performance..), organize a nonviolent direct action training with local trainers, or street theater making workshop, or a teach-in. Ask other local groups to cosponsor.

* Fundraise to help cover costs, especially for those who need $ help for transport.

* Plan transportation to Seattle: organize drivers and passengers, share renting of a van, ask to borrow vehicles, check out trains and buses.

* Organize yourselves into affinity groups (5-20 person self reliant action groups-- the basic planning and decision-making bodies for the action)to take care of each other and stick together. Pick a name. Make a banner/puppet. Take a nonviolent direct action training together.

* Plan a simultaneous solidarity event/action on November 30 for those who can't come to Seattle.

* Make a public send-off event out of leaving, leave as a caravan, send press release to and call local press (offer to keep them updated and call from Seattle--"Local residents protest/arrested at WTO")

* Plan a follow up meeting after the WTO to celebrate, take care of any legal or other loose ends, discuss sticking together as a local group or affinity group to keep working to overthrow corporate power.

ACTION GUIDELINES All participants in this action are asked to agree to these action guidelines. Having this basic agreement will allow people from many backgrounds, movements and beliefs to work together for this action. They are not philosophical or political requirements placed upon you or judgements about the validity of some tactics over others. These guidelines are basic agreements that create a basis for trust, so we can work together for this action and know what to expect from each other.

1) We will use no violence, physical or verbal towards any person
2) We will carry no weapons
3) We will not bring or use any alcohol or illegal drugs
4) We will not destroy property

JAIL/COURT SOLIDARITY We will encourage and facilitate jail and court solidarity for the mass action. This includes: Distributing information about and giving trainings on jail solidarity (Check the web site, or contact us for solidarity info); Setting up spokescouncil meetings to plan solidarity; Providing a legal support team who understands and will help negotiate solidarity demands. Through jail solidarity we can take power in a situation designed to make us powerless. We do this by making our decisions as a group, by acting in harmony with each other, and by committing ourselves to safeguard each other's well being. Every time there is a choice in the legal process, activists can either cooperate or things become more difficult for the authorities. Solidarity tactics mean that people noncooperate as a group unless the authorities agree to our demands. An overcrowded, expensive jail and legal system create additional pressure. This can give us some control legal consequences and get them over with more quickly, protect the authorities from singling some people out for harsher treatment, resist fines and probation, and extend the action to the prison and legal system with the strength and community of a group, instead of as individuals. We encourage action participants who are able, to clear their calendar in advance for several days or a week or so after the action should it become necessary to use a fill-the-jails tactic to win our demands. It is likely that those who want or need to leave will be able to do so.

LEGAL

We will have legal support for those arrested at the mass action through arraignment: this includes legal and solidarity briefings, a staffed legal support office, an experienced legal coordinator and lawyers who can make jail visits.

AFFINITY GROUPS: Everyone participating in the action is asked to form or join an affinity group (a self reliant action group of 5-20 people, which includes some support people who do not risk arrest and are committed to do support before during and after arrest). Affinity groups are the basic planning and decision making bodies for the mass action. Form an affinity group with your friends, people from your town, neighborhood or workplace, from your organization or community, with people you share some other affinity, interest or identity with. Two or more affinity groups that have something in common, or want to do similar actions should work together as a "cluster" of affinity groups.

Action Spokescouncil: Leading up to the action participants will coordinate the action and jail/court solidarity through an Action Spokescouncil, with spokespeople chosen by each affinity group responsible for carrying their groups plans, opinions and decisions to the spokescouncil and carrying information and decisions back to their group. Agenda items and proposal will be available before each spokescouncil so affinity groups can discuss them. We encourage mass action participants to try arrive by Sunday November 28, or as early as they can on Monday November 29 to get briefed and to coordinate.

NONVIOLENT DIRECT ACTION TRAINING: All action participants will be encouraged to take a nonviolent direct action training to prepare themselves for both the action and for jail and court solidarity to deal with the legal system. Trainings are already being set up in many local communities and will be available in Seattle during the week leading up to and the day and evening before the action.

HOUSING

If you have any connections in or near Seattle where you can stay, please pursue them. People for Fair Trade have said they will try to provide some housing at 1-877-STOPWTO. The Direct Action Network expects to have some limited housing or camping options during the Action/Street Theater Camp and possibly during the WTO, but call write first to check and confirm space- priority will be given to folks who confirm well in advance. D.A.N. OFFICE: (206) 632-1656

NEEDS:

* Housing: For Seattle area people: can you put up an out of town activists before and/or during the WTO?

* Puppet supplies: Backpack frames, bamboo and wooden poles (6 feet and up), large pieces of ripstop nylon other water resistant fabric, white sheets, latex (water-based) housepaint (bright, not pastel colors-- like red, yellow blue, green and black only).

* Food to share: call for specifics

* Money: we need money for outreach materials, renting street theater making spaces, puppet supplies, phone calls, mailing, legal support and office space. Please send what you can. Make checks to "Art and Revolution (WTO)" and send c/o CAN, 4554 12th Ave. NE, Seattle, WA 98105

DIRECT ACTION NETWORK (AGAINST CORPORATE GLOBALIZATION) The Direct Action Network is a network of local grassroots groups and street theater groups across the Western United States and Canada who are mobilizing our communities to creatively resist the World Trade Organization (WTO) and corporate globalization. We are organizing and coordinating mass nonviolent direct action and large scale street theater-- giant puppets, dance, drums, music, spoken word, and graffiti art at the WTO Summit in Seattle, November 29 to December 3. Our current social and ecological troubles are rooted in an economic and political system that is going global. Imagine replacing the current social order with a just, free and ecological society based on mutual aid and voluntary cooperation. A NEW WORLD IS POSSIBLE and we are part of a global movement that is rising up to make it happen. Join us!

DIRECT ACTION NETWORK (206) 632-1656 can@drizzle.net www.agitprop.org/artandrevolution
c/o CAN, 4554 12th Ave. NE, Seattle, WA 98105
San Francisco (415) 339-7801/ (510) 464-5921
Vancouver, BC (604) 254-3145 vga-van@tao.ca

WTO Radical Cheer

they're trying to take control to do as the please
globalizing power for their corporate sleaze
WTO, your plan has got to go
your scheming system we are gonna overthrow

Well there's poverty and misery all over the land
the situation's gotten out of hand
when so few own so much
it's time to take a stand
(everyone shout):
take back the power! end corporate greed! (4x)



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This page last updated September 30, 1999
Comments, questions? Send them to dennyhenke@tao.ca