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Fri Jan 5 21:27:26 2001 -- Free Radical Guide to the Inauguration Protests

L.A. Kauffman (

an online column by L.A. KAUFFMAN
[to subscribe, write
with the word subscribe in the email subject or body]
INAUGURATION SPECIAL . . . . . . . . . . . . .Issue #14

Many are calling 2000 the "year of the protest,"
after people took to the streets from Seattle to
Belgrade and beyond to demand fundamental change.
Now, in the United States at least, the year 2001
promises to begin with an outright insurrection.

The upcoming demonstrations against the inauguration
of GOP coup leader George W. Bush will bring together
an unprecedented mix of movements-on-the-rise,
heralding yet another surge in activism in this
already volatile time.

Public outrage over the Republican theft of
America's presidential election and the systematic
denial of African-American voting rights has sparked
a vast array of organizing efforts by everyone from
revolutionary anarchists opposing "the entire state
system" to Democratic voters questioning the fairness
of American democracy for the first time. Most
significantly, Bush's coronation is sparking a
revival of grassroots organizing by the black
civil rights movement.

The players in the unfolding inauguration drama
are so numerous and varied, and the pace of
preparations so harried, that it hasn't been easy
to get a handle on what will go down on January 20.
Here, then, is a guide to the scenario and
cast of characters for the inauguration protests.


Many of the details concerning the actual Inauguration,
like the exact parade route, have yet to be announced,
but the basic outline of the day is set. The
swearing-in ceremony will take place on the west side
of the U.S. Capitol building beginning at 11:30 AM.
Bush is scheduled to take the oath of office at noon.
The ceremony will be followed by the traditional
inaugural parade, which begins at 2:00 PM.

For more information on official preparations,
see the official web site,
Other good resources are
and the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee's "frequently
asked questions" page:
If you've got many hundreds of dollars to spare,
you can buy a scalped ticket to one or more
inaugural events, from the swearing-in ceremony to
various inaugural balls; one source for these is

There are three different announced meeting points
and times for anti-inaugural protests.

1) At 10:00 AM, people will meet at Dupont Circle
for the Voter March rally and protest (,
which will culminate in a march to the Supreme Court.
The organizers of this event, which has a moderate tone
and good-government agenda, have received a permit
from the D.C. police.

2) Also at 10:00 AM, folks of a more radical disposition
will meet at Pennsylvania Avenue and 14th Street,
responding to calls put out by the socialist
International Action Center ( and the
anarchist Revolutionary Anti-Authoritarian Block
( The anarchists will
meet beneath a "Class War" banner. Presumably this march
will also go to the Supreme Court, though there's been
no public announcement of the route.

3) At noon, the Reverend Al Sharpton, with the support
of other African-American leaders, has called for people
to meet at Stanton Park, at 4th and Maryland. From there,
there will be a march to the Supreme Court for a "Shadow
Inauguration," in which Sharpton will administer a
"Citizen's Oath" pledging action to safeguard voting rights.

But these are not the only protest plans. Many
direct-action-oriented activists organized into small
groups hope to jeer and/or disrupt inaugural events
including the 2:00 parade.

The Partnership for Civil Justice is strongly urging
protesters to form into groups of no more than 25 people.
The group's guide to the inauguration protests -
essential reading for anyone who will be out on
the streets - explains:

"Demonstrations in groups of 25 people or less may be held without
a permit on Pennsylvania Avenue or other federal land subject
to the jurisdiction of the National Park Service. See, 36 C.F.R.
Section(s) 7.96(g)(2)(i). Based on this provision, the U.S. Circuit
Court for the District of Columbia has ruled that it is unlawful
for the U.S. Government to fine or arrest Inaugural protesters
in groups of 25 or less on the asserted grounds that such protesters
are demonstrating without a permit."

As it happens, this regulation dovetails perfectly with
the way that direct action protests are organized these days.

The groups behind the rallies and marches, the anarchists
excepted, favor an old-style mass mobilization model.
In this type of protest, people attend as bodies in a
crowd, individuals in a mass. Sometimes they form contingents
based on shared identity or membership in an organization
(like "gays against Bush" or "schoolteachers for democracy"
or "National Organization for Women"). Everyone follows
the direction of the protest leadership, whether that's a
prominent individual like Reverend Sharpton, or a
behind-the-scenes group of organizers, like the folks
from VoterMarch who are making their event happen.

Direct-action radicals - like the people who shut down
the WTO meetings in Seattle - organize themselves
quite differently. They often view themselves as "anti-mass"
(, and generally
take part in large actions as members of "affinity groups,"
small assemblages of like-minded folks who act and make
decisions collectively (see

There is much less coordination among direct actionists
for the inauguration than there was in Seattle or during
the April 2000 protests against the World Bank and
International Monetary Fund in D.C. The Justice Action
Movement (JAM),, is arranging nonviolence
trainings, legal support, and other key matters to the
extent it can, given the severe time constraints.

So the bottom line is, affinity groups are pretty much
going to have to figure out for themselves what to do.
Most will focus on finding creative, in-your-face ways
of expressing their dissent, from street theater to
colorful signs and banners (check the protest guide, for details about
what size these must be according to federal regulations).

There are no plans for large-scale civil disobedience,
at least as far as I know. There's some talk of people
doing sit-ins in the path of the inaugural parade, but
it's not clear whether that will even be physically
possible, given the massive police presence that's

Then too, the parade route will also be lined with
Republicans, including many of the budding right-wing
street activists who staged their own in-your-face
protests against the Florida recount. In fact, January 20
will also witness a scary "Patriot's March on D.C.:
Celebrating Constitutional Victory," which begins
in front of the Supreme Court at 9:00 AM
( One organizer told
The Washington Times, "I think we will present a real
contrast from a bunch of kids all dressed in black
who dislike America, what the country stands for,
and are waving big puppets."

The D.C. police have been making menacing pronouncements
about their preparations. (
If the recent past is a guide, there will be a huge
law enforcement presence, and the real possibility
of police violence against protesters. Be aware that
you run some risk of arrest if you attend any of
these protests, except perhaps the permitted Voter March.
There's also a chance that you will encounter
pepper spray or other chemical weapons; prepare yourself
by reading an excellent guide on the subject from the
current Earth First! Journal


1. Black Civil Rights Activists

The centerpiece of the Bush campaign's theft of the
2000 election was an organized effort to deny voting
rights to blacks throughout Florida - and no aspect of
the inauguration protests is more important than the
African-American mobilizations that are taking place.
Civil rights leaders are terming the election a
"wake-up call" and pledging renewed grassroots
activism by African Americans.

Ron Daniels, a respected scholar and activist who is
executive director of the Center for Constitutional
Rights (CCR), was among the first to issue a call to
protest the inauguration, in two of his syndicated columns:

At a January 2 press conference organized by Daniels
and the CCR, the Reverend Al Sharpton announced his
plans for a Shadow Inauguration:

Reverend Sharpton has still not completely lived down
his role in the 1987 Tawana Brawley affair, in which he
vociferously backed a young African-American woman who
claimed she had been the victim of a hideous racial assault,
which a grand jury later declared to be a hoax. But even
many of Sharpton's former detractors have expressed
admiration for his organizing in the wake of the
1999 killing of unarmed immigrant Amadou Diallo in
New York City, including a sustained multiracial civil
disobedience campaign that led to more than 1000 arrests.

The Kensington Welfare Rights Union (,
a Philadelphia-based multiracial organization of the poor,
which has an impressive track record of successful
direct action, recently announced that it will be mobilizing
for January 20. The International Action Center's march
has been endorsed by a number of prominent African-American
groups including the National Coalition of Blacks for
Reparations in America ( Other people of color
efforts for the inauguration include a Puerto Rican contingent
organized by activists who have been fighting the
U.S. Navy bombing of Vieques (

However, the most famous civil rights activist in
America, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, leader of the
Rainbow PUSH Coalition (, won't
be at the inauguration protests in D.C. on January 20.
Instead, he will participate in a march in Tallahassee,
the capital of Florida.

Jackson's distance from the main action is not only
geographical. On the night that the U.S. Supreme Court
handed victory to Bush, Jackson declared he would
"take to the streets . . . delegitimize Bush, discredit
him, do whatever. But never accept him."

The next day, however, Jackson made a sudden turnabout
and telephoned Bush. "I called him to congratulate him
as our next president and say it's time to engage in
meaningful dialogue so we can start the process of
uniting and healing our nation," Jackson said to
The New York Post. "I told him that he would have my
support." (

According to an article in the Village Voice by Peter
Noel (, Jackson's
flip-flop came at the behest of the big-money moguls who
have been financing Jackson's Wall Street Project, an
effort to increase investment in minority-owned businesses.
Noel quotes a "financial insider" who claims, "These
contributors told Reverend Jackson, 'You better hold
this down because we won't back you anymore if you are
adverse to the new administration in Washington.'"

To the general public, Jesse Jackson is progressive
activism embodied, but those familiar with his
grassroots track record aren't shocked by this turn
of events: Jackson has a long history of placing his
personal access to power over the issues he claims to
champion. Many will never forgive him for undercutting
the Rainbow Coalition back in 1988, when it held the
promise of becoming a vibrant, multiracial, multi-issue
grassroots movement with an agenda broader than Jackson's
electoral aspirations. Jackson pushed through a set of
by-law changes that greatly expanded his authority over
the coalition and nipped independent organizing efforts
in the bud.

2. Angry Democrats and Independents

The election of 2000 is inspiring all kinds of first-time
protesters to take to the streets. Several websites reflect
the extent of spontaneous grassroots activism that is taking

Also check out an account by Zack Exley, creator of the
CounterCoup site, of how Internet organizing against
the stolen election took off:

To get a sense of the mood of this wild-card group of
protesters, check out the Voter March listserv - but
subscribe and read it on the web, unless you want your
inbox deluged:

3. Direct Action Radicals

The Justice Action Movement ( is bringing
together many of the forces that fought the WTO in Seattle
and have been actively organizing ever since, including
at the Republican and Democratic Party Conventions
last summer. These include various groups affiliated
with the Direct Action Network (

For many of these folks, including me, the pre-election
debate was between voting for Ralph Nader or not voting
at all. Most of us have little or no faith in the
American electoral system to begin with, given its
domination by big money and corporate interests, and
see the choice between Republicans and Democrats as
one between two wings of the same business party.
The problem with the presidential vote, in this view,
goes far deeper than inaccurate counting or even
African-American disenfranchisement, to a system
based on corporate power and white supremacy.

So there's a certain amount of irony in our presence
at the inauguration protests - we'd have been inclined
to protest even if Gore had won. There have been a few
flame wars on the inauguration listservs between direct
action types and more politically conventional folks,
sparked either by condescension from the former or
efforts by the latter to distance themselves from
the rabble rousers.

4. The Black Bloc

The inauguration protests are also drawing a fair number
of revolutionary anarchists, who are completely opposed
to electoral politics and think the government should be
abolished. One group, the Barricada Collective, has issued
a call for a Black Bloc on January 20 (

Black Blocs became world famous after the one at the
Seattle WTO protests engaged in organized property
destruction, but they are often more about group
solidarity than the use of any particular tactic.
For example, the Black Bloc at the April 2000 D.C.
protests against the IMF and World Bank pledged to
uphold the larger direct action campaign's nonviolence
code. Instead of smashing windows, they acted to draw
police attention away from locked-down protesters and
to reinforce weak points in the direct-action blockade.

The inauguration Black Bloc has officially disassociated
itself from the Justice Action Movement because JAM held
a pre-action meeting with police. If anyone is planning
to engage in property destruction, they haven't been stupid
enough to announce those intentions publicly, so it's hard
to say what the Black Bloc will do on J20. Dressing in
Black Bloc costume will make you a police magnet;
at past protests, the cops have either beaten or preemptively
arrested anyone who "looks like an anarchist." Some activists
are responding by dressing like mainstream protesters while
using more militant tactics.

5. International Action Center

The International Action Center (www. is doing
a vast amount of organizing work for the J20 protests,
emphasizing the issues of black disenfranchisement and
criminal injustice. The group has long experience with
big national mobilizations; for this one, it's created a
network of regional "organizing centers" that are both
spreading the word and handling key logistical details
like chartering buses.

The IAC was founded after the Persian Gulf War of 1991
by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark. It's a
front group for the Workers World Party (,
a four-decade-old socialist organization with some
super-creepy politics. Workers World applauded the
Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, supported
the murderous regime of Romania dictator Nicolae Ceausescu,
and caused a major and ridiculous split in the antiwar
movement during the Gulf War by refusing to criticize
the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein.

Many activists I know - some of them anti-authoritarian
to the core -- cut the IAC a fair amount of slack, because
the group boasts many skilled organizers and mobilizes
a lot of people. I've been impressed with the size of
their contingents at police brutality marches in New York
and the protests outside the Republican Convention in
Philadelphia. They do a great job organizing logistics
like chartering buses - visit their site if you need
transportation. But at the risk of being called a
red-baiter, I've got to say that the IAC gives me
the whim-whams.


To keep up with protest plans, check
and regularly.

Great posters for the Inauguration protests:

Coming up the weekend after the inauguration is the
Conference on Organized Resistance

FREE RADICAL is an online column on the current upsurge in
activism, written by L.A. Kauffman (
It appears once every three or four weeks, more often if
circumstances warrant.

Back issues are on the web at

This issue is archived at

L.A. Kauffman ( is currently writing
U.S. activism since 1970. A longtime radical journalist
and organizer, she is active in a number of New York City
direct action campaigns. Her work has appeared in the
Village Voice, The Nation, The Progressive, Spin,
Mother Jones,, and numerous other publications.

with the word subscribe in the subject or body of the email
OR visit

Wed Jan 3 09:27:36 2001 -- Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) signals green light for Alaska Refuge drilling!


Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) signals Congressional green light for Alaska Refuge drilling!

From ABC News “This Week” interview with NY Senator Charles Schumer 12-31-00:

[Top of show:]

SAM DONALDSON, ABCNEWS What do the president-elect’s Cabinet choices reveal about his plans to govern? …

ANNOUNCER That’s This Week. Now, from Washington, Sam Donaldson.

JOHN YANG (VO) For interior secretary, Gale Norton, a former Colorado attorney general who is a protege of James Watt, Ronald Reagan’s first Interior Secretary. She immediately took a stand sure to draw fire from environmentalists.

GALE NORTON, INTERIOR SECRETARY-DESIGNATE We should explore opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas exploration.

[Later interview with Schumer:]

SAM DONALDSON All right. Senator Schumer, let’s go on to another appointee or someone that the president-elect has nominated, Gale Norton to be the secretary of interior. A spokesman for the Sierra Club said this the other day, ‘our view is this is James Watt in a skirt,’ because she once worked for James Watt, a former secretary of interior. What do you think?

CHARLES SCHUMER Well, I don’t know if I’d go that far at this point. You know, the question here is exploration of oil. That’s a big position for the secretary of interior. We’re going to need more oil and natural gas in America. We—we’re on the verge of an energy crisis. And I think this is the place where the president can compromise. We Democrats have adver—advocated real conservation measures, such as making SUVs and minivans meet the cafe standards.

Republicans have said more exploration. This is a place where you can get sort of environmentally sensitive new exploration, as well as conservation, and deal with our energy crisis. It’s a great area for President Bush to work on a bipartisan basis and, in fact, Senator Susan Collins, a Republican in—of Maine, and I are asking him to support a proposal we have, for a quick, bipartisan energy commission which could deal with these kind of issues.

ABC News “This Week” 12-31-00

add your comments

Tue Jan 2 14:59:47 2001 -- Statement # 2 from a jailed C. Clark Kissinger!

Jan 2nd , 2000
Refuse & Resist Youth Network

C. Clark Kissinger is one of the leaders in the international fight to get Mumia Abu-Jamal a new trial and as a result he has been jailed by the political police. He was sent to jail for violating what Len Weinglass called a "Unlawful Prohibation" , the cause of his violation was speaking on Aug.1'st outside the RNC! Jailed for giving a speech! This statement was written by him from the jail he is currently sitting in in brooklyn.He has been kept in isolation and put under eroneous restrictions. Check out this statement and go to to learn what you can do to help get Clark out of jail and secure his safety! Call the numbers at the botom of this statement to keep the pressure on them!

While we are still fighting to have Clark Kissinger be in communication with
the outside, he is making one phone call to his office each day, and will be
continuing to write about Mumia Abu-Jamal's case. He phoned in this message


The Selectivity of Judicial Review by C. Clark Kissinger

For years, we have been assured by prosecutors, newspapers, Maureen
Faulkner and the Fraternal Order of Police that Mumia Abu-Jamal is guilty
beyond a shadow of a doubt. How do they know? Because he was found guilty
by a jury finding supposedly so sacrosanct that eighteen years of appeals
have failed to get any court to take notice of the massive irregularities
in Mumia's trail.

But let three cops be found guilty by a jury, and judicial review operates
with lightning speed. Sergeant Edward Ortiz, Sergeant Brian Liddy, and
Officer Michael Buchanan were found guilty of major police corruption
charges by a Los Angeles jury. The trial was scarcely over when the trial
judge overturned the jury's verdict. The judge held that the prosecutors
hadn't presented enough evidence, although the jury evidently thought they
had. And the judge ruled that members of the jury had misunderstood their

On this later point, the judge is probably correct! Cops are not supposed
to be found guilty, but somehow the jury didn't get that point. Instead,
they looked at the facts of the massive corruption in the LA Police
Department Ramparts Division, where cops regularly lied and falsified
evidence to frame up alleged gang members. When juries make such mistakes,
they have to be "corrected".

Meanwhile, in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal where evidence was suppressed;
where witnesses changed their stories under police pressure; where a court
appointed defense attorney failed to even interview witnesses; where no
defense experts could be hired because of lack of funds; where the
prosecution used peremptory challenges to knock black people off the jury;
where the jury never saw the medical examiner's report, saying the fatal
bullet was a different caliber; where a phone confession story made up
weeks after the event was admitted as evidence; where the revolutionary
political writings of the defendant were used as an argument for the death
penalty; and where the defendant was not allowed to defend himself and was
barred from the courtroom for half the trial, in this case the verdict of a
jury remains sacrosanct.


Note: Clark is still not receiving the volume of mail that we know has been
sent to him, nor getting access to money sent him which he can use to make
phone calls. Please let his office know what response you get from
contacting the following:

Continue the phone calls for Clark's release, and for his access to mail and
phone calls:
Warden Hasty: 718.840.4200; FAX 718-840-5005
Unit Manager Lee Tatum ext. 5212 Unit: Cadre 2 South
US Marshal's office, Daniel Byrne: 718.254.6700
US Attorney for the Eastern District, Loretta Lynch: 718.254.7000
Judge Arnold C. Rapoport: 610.776.0369; fax, 610.776.0379
Judge Bruce Kaufman: fax, 215.580.2281

Please keep writing to Clark:
Charles Clark Kissinger #53094-066
Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center
100 29th Street
Brooklyn NY 11232

Phone CCK office 212-571-0962 Email



Ralph Nader founded an activist organization named Public Citizen.
The researchers for this book which is available in Atlanta wrote about this topic.
Hello to WYSO 91.3 FM Yellow Springs from WRFG 89.3 FM Atlanta : "Your Progressive Information Source"

Sun Dec 31 10:58:25 2000 -- J20 InaugurAuction Press Conference on CSPAN


J20 InaugurAuction Press Conference on CSPAN


Excellent coverage of the J20 InaugurAuction Press Conference! A MUST SEE!

J20 InaugurAuction Press Conference from the CSPAN Website.

Was covered by CSPAN, CBS and other "major" outlets.

See it in Real Video at:

See also:

Sat Dec 30 11:39:45 2000 -- "Palm Beach Blues": a painting

A political Rorschach test

please feel free to reproduce this image

Fri Dec 29 15:52:17 2000 -- Statement from a jailed C. Clark Kissinger!

Dec 29, 2000
Refuse & Resist Youth Network

C. Clark Kissinger is one of the leaders in the international fight to get Mumia Abu-Jamal a new trial and as a result he has been jailed by the political police. He was sent to jail for violating what Len Weinglass called a "Unlawful Prohibation" , the cause of his violation was speaking on Aug.1'st outside the RNC! Jailed for giving a speech! This statement was written by him from the jail he is currently sitting in in brooklyn.He has been kept in isolation and put under eroneous restrictions. Check out this statement and go to to learn what you can do to help get Clark out of jail and secure his safety! Call the numbers at the botom of this statement to keep the pressure on them!

While we are still fighting to have Clark Kissinger be in communication with
the outside, he is making one phone call to his office each day, and will be
continuing to write about Mumia Abu-Jamal's case. He phoned in this message

The Curtain of Silence by C. Clark Kissinger

It is illustrative how much the campaign to execute Muma Abu-Jamal is
carried forward on the wings of official censorship. The most recent
example is the attempt of the US Bureau of Prisons to prevent radio
journalist Noelle H from conducting a recorded interview with me. Ms.
Hanrahan, who is seeking to interview me for KPFA-FM in Berkeley,
California, has been told that she can do the interview, but Warden Dennis
Hasty is exercising his discretion to bar her from bringing recording
equipment into the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center, where I am
currently a guest.

Presumably Ms. Hanrahan is also free to photograph me, as long as she doesn’
t bring a camera along.

This incident is yet another example of growing moves by prison authorities
cross the country to stifle the voices of the 2 million who are behind bars.
Noelle Hanrahan, and the Prison Radio Project, have been at the forefront of
the battle to allow these voices to be heard.

More particularly, this is a reprise of the government’s attempt to censor
the voice of Mumia. It was Noelle Hanrahan who first went into Pennsylvania
prisons to record Mumia’s voice and make his audio journalism available to
millions. When Pennsylvania authorities cut off Mumia’s access to audio and
video journalists, as punishment for publishing his first book, Live from
Death Row, Mumia took them into federal court and won. The federal courts
ruled that Pa could not single out Mumia for this kind of censorship. The
Pennsylvania prison system responded by changing its rules to prevent all
Pennsylvania prisoners from being recorded.

People everywhere must speak out against the wall of silence that official
are seeking to build around America’s two million prisoners. CCK

Note: Clark is still not receiving the volume of mail that we know has been
sent to him, nor getting access to money sent him which he can use to make
phone calls. Please let his office know what response you get from
contacting the following:

Continue the phone calls for Clark's release, and for his access to mail and
phone calls:
Warden Hasty: 718.840.4200; FAX 718-840-5005
Unit Manager Lee Tatum ext. 5212 Unit: Cadre 2 South
US Marshal's office, Daniel Byrne: 718.254.6700
US Attorney for the Eastern District, Loretta Lynch: 718.254.7000
Judge Arnold C. Rapoport: 610.776.0369; fax, 610.776.0379
Judge Bruce Kaufman: fax, 215.580.2281

Please keep writing to Clark:
Charles Clark Kissinger #53094-066
Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center
100 29th Street
Brooklyn NY 11232

Phone CCK office 212-57-10962 Email

Wed Dec 27 01:46:55 2000 -- latest news on Low Power F.M. Radio LPFM

Dec18 Congress kills hundreds of community radio stations
Partytown streaming network

FCC announces the new Low Power F.M. Radio license
filing window and Congress kills hundreds of community radio stations

The FCC's Mass Media Bureau announced Friday December 15th,
the third filing window has been scheduled to open
on January 16th and close January 22 of 2001
for the following states and territories:

American Samoa, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho,
Missouri, New York,
* Ohio *,
South Carolina, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

All new applicants are required to electronically
file FORM 318 within the *7 days* given for the
filing window.
A public notice will be issued within the next
3 months to announce the fourth filing window.
For more information visit the FCC's website
at or call 1-888-CALL-FCC

On the same day, Congress passed legislation that
would severly limit the number of possible
LPFM stations across the country.
The House and Senate voted to pass the anti-LPFM
legislation introduced
by Senator Rod Gramms
as part of the omnibus budget bills.
The large corporate broadcast lobbyists may have
politically succeded in keeping hundreds of community,
educational, religious and local government stations
off the air. However many microradio enthusiasts aren't
letting fat cat politics get in their way of diverse
radio programming. Many have vowed to go on the air
regardless of the legal outcome of LPFM.

Some LPFM proponents feel that the nation has been
slighted and cheated by the powers that are supposed
to protect the publics interest.
Others feel it's a crime equal to treason in which
politicians have betrayed the trust of the people
by selling out to the power hungry media conglomerates.
It is uncertain how the future of LPFM will unfold
for the few who successfully make it through the
complex hoops now required.
The will of the people has continuously been ignored by
Congressional representatives in favor of campaign
contributions from big spending broadcast lobbyists.
Politicians continue to perpetuate the corrupt system
by spending billions in campagin advertising which
funnels back into the super-sized pockets of the
large media corporations.

This such action taken by Congress to effectively
silence community access to the publics airwaves
is a prime example of the corruption within our
system of democracy. Broadcasters were entrusted
with the stewardship of the publics airwaves and
were responsible for a commitment to public service
in exchange for the use of the airwaves.
The public service commitment has all but dissapeared
while bottom line pressures of increased profit has
risen as the primary focus of broadcasters.

The high-powered broadcasters have bribed Congress
to steal the publics right to the airwaves,
but no one knows about it because of the control
these broadcasters have over the media outlets.
Individual stations aren't willing to take a risk
and cover stories that are this scandalous,
especially when it involves it's own network.

A revolution is begining,
the next war will have to be fought on the
media's own playing field.
It's important for the public to educate themselves
and others to the current coup that is taking place
right under American's noses.
Corporate media is killing America,
and it's time for America to rise up and fight back!
get a mp3 of this 'LPFM' news ,,,

Mon Dec 25 06:31:36 2000 -- Anti-corporate protests awakened activism in Cincinnati

By Darlene D'Agostino --RELAYED BY John Zeh, OVIMC-Cinti.

A Place on the Globe

Anti-corporate protests awakened activism in Cincinnati

By Darlene D'Agostino

Cincinnati joined Seattle, Philadelphia, Washington, Minneapolis, Melbourne, Los Angeles and Prague this year, starting its own chapter in the movement against globalization of the economy. A few days before protesters in India stormed the headquarters of the World Trade Organization (WTO), demonstrators in Cincinnati marched on a conference of the TransAtlantic Business Dialogue (TABD).

The buzz about globalization began to circulate in Cincinnati in September. Big players -- the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Cincinnati Convention and Visitors' Bureau and the Partnership for Greater Cincinnati -- were thick into preparations for the TABD. This was a big deal. Fifteen U.S. cities competed to host the prestigious group of more than 130 of the largest U.S. and European corporations. The goal of TABD is to free trade across the Atlantic from excessive regulation.

After tens of thousands of protesters demonstrated against the WTO in Seattle 1999 -- and caused millions of dollars in damage -- Cincinnati Police Division bristled at the prospect of similar protests here against TABD.

It didn't happen that way. TABD claimed a successful meeting in a hospitable city Nov. 16-18. Hundreds of protesters came and claimed a successful awareness-raising campaign. Police, while praised by the city for a job well done, were criticized by others for provoking activists and violating constitutional rights.

But did the weekend of Nov. 16-18 make an impact? Did the protests accomplish anything? Did the police effectively balance the rights of protesters and public order?

The TABD came to life in 1995, created by the Clinton Administration and the European Union. An invitation-only trade association, TABD aims to make trade less of a headache.

A headache? In terms of free trade, government regulations are a migraine. The United States has one set of environmental, consumer and safety regulations. European nations have their own.

TABD sees government regulations as trade barriers. The TABD has a catchy motto: "Accepted once, approved everywhere." A chief aim of the organization is "harmonization" of business regulations, working toward adoption of a single set of rules applicable in each country.

Opponents of TABD see the group as puppeteer of the WTO. TABD -- a private, non-governmental organization-- advises WTO, which is made up of government representatives. WTO member countries have to accept the organization's rulings on fair-trade practices, essentially relinquishing the power to regulate corporations.

"It's a group of financial leaders talking about what kind of laws will benefit trade, which is profit," said Sister Alice Gerdeman, spokesman for Coalition for a Humane Economy (CHE) and coordinator of the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center in Over-the-Rhine ("Taking the Bull Out of Globalization: Who's Afraid of the TABD," issue of Sept. 28-Oct. 4). "They have a real good track record of getting what they suggest, whether or not we have anything to say about it.

"What we object to is the concept that gives corporate policymaking influence over people's lives. It's a concept that says, 'We know how to fix your economies,' as the World Bank and the IMF do. It's the whole idea that what's good for profit is good, rather than what's good for people."

Most business and government leaders in Cincinnati welcomed the TABD.

"I don't think globalization is an awful thing at all," said Rene Thomas, international marketing manager for the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce. "Cincinnati is the 20th largest exporting city in the United States ... TABD is a very useful tool, because it takes people with practical knowledge and discusses ways to make business easier and more appropriate for everyone."

'Riot gear' is such an ugly term

As the one-year anniversary of the Seattle protests approached, an ad ran in a Seattle alternative weekly, The Stranger. A proclamation with a bright yellow background bore the scarlet headline, "N30 International Solidarity Day Against Corporate Globalization." Cincinnati has been woven into the fabric of that movement. The events of N16, the moniker the Cincinnati protesters gave their demonstrations, were a success.

Events planned by the main organizing groups -- Cincinnati Direct Action Collective and Ohio Citizen Action -- went well, according to Rachel Belz, southwest Ohio program director for Ohio Citizen Action.

CHE, a group of labor unions, community activists, environmentalists and human-rights advocates, came together to work for economic justice. The TABD conference was tailor-made for the new coalition.

CHE lists its accomplishments on its Web site, N16 highlighted globalization issues at a teach-in attended by more than 500 people. CHE events attracted extensive press coverage via independent, alternative and mainstream media, including CNN.

CHE also did what it intended to do -- protest peacefully for three days in a series of rallies, pickets and marches. New relationships with groups and individuals across the country were established. Protesters did not lash out at police, and property damage was contained to minor spray painting and three broken windows.

Most importantly, N16 showed the anti-globalization movement is growing and the TABD knows it has a formidable force to deal with, Belz says.

"The next step will be to address what the focus of (CHE) will be now and what structures are needed," Gerdeman says. "We learned a lot. Most of us were used to doing demonstrations, but not in such a large framework. We became aware of the complexities in bringing together different groups who have different models of what protest is."

In dealing with police, Gerdeman says the group learned about communication. Last week, CityBeat reported on poor communication between organizing groups and police. That miscommunication led to accusations of bad faith by each side. Fifty-two people were arrested in connection with protests.

But Gerdeman, Belz and CHE are encouraged by what they saw. Now Cincinnati is part of a worldwide movement that allows those involved to look across generational and philosophical lines and work together.

Whether the city feels the same is unclear. After numerous attempts to reach City Manager John Shirey, CityBeat was finally referred to Cincinnati Police Lt. Col. Richard Janke, assistant chief in charge of TABD planning. When asked to describe the city's experience during the TABD, Janke said he could not speak for the city.

"I would imagine that at any point, the city would refer you to the police division," Janke says. "From the police division's point of view, it was an experience with positive and negative aspects."

Janke declined further detail until the police department finishes its after-action report, a collection and synthesis of data due early next year.

Within days of the protests' conclusion, Mayor Charlie Luken praised police for doing a good job. District 1 Commander Capt. Vince Demasi said he was very satisfied with how police handled the protests ("Failure to Communicate," issue of Dec. 14-20).

The division spent almost two years planning for N16, but the weekend experienced some less-than-shining moments because the division was not prepared for unplanned events, Demasi says. He contends CHE should have identified troublemakers to police.

Police clashed with demonstrators on four occasions during the three-day protest ("Black and Blue," Nov. 22-29). The division reluctantly used tear gas and made arrests to protect the public, Demasi says. But protesters only became more militant as police provoked them, according to CHE Chairman Steve Schumacher.

The fact is no one knew what to expect, who would come to the protests or how many. Communication broke down when police and protesters feared the worst. Police feared demonstrations would turn violent; protesters feared police would overreact.

A week before the protests, Gerdeman said she couldn't control who might come to town. Meanwhile, Internet discussions of N16 included throwing paint balls at riot masks so officers would be exposed to their own gas and throwing ball bearings on the street if officers gave chase.

"We are, not to be dramatic, waging a brief war," one activist said via e-mail. "That is, think of the Cincy experience tactically. We are going to attempt to converge on and occupy space in a public demonstration against the TABD. The police are going to use violence to try to stop us."

In September, calls about the Cincinnati Police Division's preparedness were referred to the commander of the SWAT team.

The city's Law and Safety Department has not yet released information on the number of officers used during TABD and the cost to the city. The police division was equally uninformative with organizing groups.

"We want to make sure they're not getting ready for trouble they're not telling us about," Schumacher said before the protests. "We have asked repeatedly to explain what their preparations are, and they've not done that. We want the dialogue to be upfront and very frank. We want very clear rules of engagement on protests."

The police division consistently played down the protests beforehand. Janke stated police planned no road closings. Despite reports from street officers that confirmed they would be in riot gear, Demasi told reporters the day before the protests that officers had no plans to use riot gear. But, at the first scheduled rally on Nov. 16, the SWAT team was on hand and officers manned streets in "protective gear."

Demasi denies misleading the press.

"This concept of riot gear is really inaccurate," he says. "It's protective equipment. The fact that a person has a helmet -- it does not give you the ability to do anything any differently. The only thing that it provides is some protection for your head from bricks, bottles and cans. The same with pads -- it doesn't allow you to be more offensive or aggressive; it provides more protection to you when working in large hostile crowds that tend to throw objects."

Next come the commercials

N16 had an impact. Cincinnati is now recognized as not only a corporate town but as a place where political activism exists.

"I would hope that one would look at the city and say, 'Wow! There are people there who really care,' " Belz says. "For people to compare Cincinnati to Seattle is even more hopeful. If it can happen here, it can happen anywhere."

The direct impact N16 had on the city is still taking shape. Complaints against police actions have been filed with the Ohio Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, according Jill Davis, the Cleveland office's staff counsel.

"We're looking into it," she says. "I can't make a statement right now, but we're looking to see what happened and to see if we need to take action."

The TABD feels its meeting went extremely well, says Jeff Werner, spokesman for the organization.

"Cincinnati worked out great," Werner says. "We expected and embraced the protests. It was good. It created good dialogue. The people were noticed, and their concerns were acknowledged. The police did a really thorough and good job of allowing things to continue."

The lesson for TABD, WTO and other international economic organizations?

"Business has to do a better job of telling people why it thinks globalization is a good thing," Werner says.

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