FTAA Ten Years Later: Protesters Reunite This Weekend, Fight TPP [UPDATED]
Another decade, another trade pact, another round of protest. Ten years since anti-globalization demonstrations at the FTAA in Miami broke down into a full-scale police riot, veterans of that battle and new adherents to their cause are gathering throughout South Florida to mark the date and raise the banner anew.
In November 2003, the object of protest was the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), a hemispherewide effort to draw international trade rules favored by corporate power. This time around, it's the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an effort to create a similarly corporatocratic regime across other seas.
Jeb Bush and the rest of Florida's ruling elite hoped the 2003 meeting of trade ministers in Miami would clinch the city's selection as headquarters for the FTAA. And to see that no pesky lefties upset the mango cart, a highly restrictive, special ordinance was passed and an army of cops gathered under the direction of Miami Police Chief John Timoney. This new, post-9/11 approach to protest activity became known as "the Miami Model."
The result was uneven at best, with enough chaos to tar the city's image for some time and cost it and the county more than half a million in lawsuits for police excessive force and illegal searches. Oh, and the FTAA meeting went nowhere: The ministers agreed on little, their talks were cut short, and the whole grand plan collapsed.
Never say die, though, especially if you're among the hundreds of corporate advisers with access to the secret talks of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, now being negotiated. The suits and the bureaucrats claim they're going to "promote innovation, economic growth and development." Critics call the TPP a "worldwide corporate power grab of enormous proportions." Just this week, Wikileaks provided a taste of what's going on behind those closed doors.
The gatherings this weekend involve a coalition of groups under a variety of banners including the Miami FTAA Reunion, FTAA+10 and Flush the TPP. Facebook pages for the first two groups are here and here.
Here's what they're up to:
In Lake Worth, now: Puppet-, prop- and banner-building workshops for a Saturday parade through the Miami Government Center.
In Miami, tonight at 7: Food Not Bombs is holding a rally and teach-in at the Government Center.
In Miami on Saturday, November 16, at 1 p.m.: "Stop the TPP" march from Miami Government Center to the Torch of Friendship at Bayfront Park for a rally and guest speakers.
The following day, Sunday, November 17, at 3 p.m. will see a panel discussion, "Speaking About 'Free Trade,' Organizing Resistance" hosted at Florida International University's North Campus in Academic Center 1, Room 194.
[The Miami FTAA Reunion Facebook page also includes these tentative and vague suggestions. Hey, we're dealing with anarchists here! Anarchists!!:
- Friday night, November 22 -- Root Cause/NO FTAA reunion event in Miami (possibly at the old convergence space).
- Saturday morning, November 23 -- Group photo shoot in front of the Intercontinental Hotel in downtown Miami.
- Saturday night, November 23 -- bonfire, party, and storytelling in Lake Worth.]
A late email from one in a position to know informed us of this, revised calendar, the last entry of which (very anarchically) lacked place and contact info:
Tuesday 19 - 4pm Restorative Justice Action
Location:1450 N.E. 2nd Avenue, Miami
Support Power U at their Restorative Justice Action at the Miami school board meeting. The purpose is to address the need of community adn school board administrators working together to end punitive policies that target black and latino students suspensions and incarcerations.
Thursday 21 10am - 4pm Outspokin' Work Day
Location: Outspokin Warehouse on the corner of 2nd Ave South & F Street Lake Worth
Lend a hand at the Outspokin Warehouse cleaning up and prepping for the reunion event.
Friday 22 Swamp Walk on the Florida Trail in the Everglades. Contact Rebecca for meet-up details firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday 22 8pm Miami Reunion Event
Location: Old Convergence Space in Miami corner of 23 street and Miami Avenue
Organizers from the FTAA will share their reflections and updates on current campaigns, festivities and dance party to follow.
Saturday 23, 8am Protest Dick Cheney at Speaking Event
Location: Miami Book Fair, exact location forthcoming
Dick Cheney is directly responsible for untold misery across the world. Lets protest his war mongering human rights crimes.
Saturday 23, 11am Reunion Photoshoot and Visit to Miami Circle
Location: In front of the Intercontinental Hotel, downtown Miami
Bring your favorite prop that harkens back to the big day.
Saturday 23, 7pm FTAA 10 Year Reunion Soiree in Lake Worth
See old friends, meet new troublemakers and plan the next riot to take down world trade....or just reminisce about the time we almost stopped globalization.]
For info on a Saturday Metrorail caravan through Palm Beach and Broward to the parade, contact Joni Albrecht at 561-702-3129 or John Foley at 561-523-2789.
Fire Ant -- an invasive species, tinged bright red, with an annoying, sometimes-fatal sting -- covers Palm Beach County. Got feedback or a tip? Contact Fire.Ant@BrowardPalmBeach.com.