I’ve been so busy being either sick or working on this commercial I helped write and direct (more details later) that the Miami protests were something happening in the far corner of my eye. I finally read about them in this Rebecca Solnit essay, and I can see that this is where this country is heading. That “F” word is rearing its head again, and we shouldn’t be afraid to use it, because that’s what this is.
Fragments of the Future:
The FTAA in Miami
By Rebecca Solnit
The future was being modeled on both sides of the massive steel fence erected around the Intercontinental Hotel in downtown Miami last Thursday. Inside, delegates from every nation in the western hemisphere but Cuba watered down some portions of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) agreement and postponed deciding on others in an attempt to prevent a failure as stark as that of the World Trade Organization ministerial in Cancun two months before. Outside, an army of 2,500 police in full armor used a broad arsenal of weapons against thousands of demonstrators and their constitutional rights. ‘Not every day do you get tear-gassed, pepper-sprayed, and hit in the face,’ said Starhawk, a prominent figure in the global anticapitalism movement,, who experienced all three Thursday.
Since the Seattle surprise of 1999, it has become standard procedure to erect a miniature police state around globalization summits, and it’s hard not to read these rights-free zones as prefigurations of what full-blown corporate globalization might bring. After all, this form of globalization would essentially suspend local, regional, and national rights of self-determination over labor, environmental, and agricultural conditions in the name of the dubious benefits of the free market, benefits that would be enforced by unaccountable transnational authorities acting primarily to protect the rights of capital. At a labor forum held the day before the major actions, Dave Bevard, a laid-off union metalworker, referred to this new world order as ‘government of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations.’
By way of Tom Dispatch