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Quebec City Protest - Part 2

26 Apr 01 - 02:54 AM (#449631)
Subject: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: CarolC

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Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest of Free Trade.
From: simon-pierre
Date: 26-Apr-01 - 01:59 AM

Bartholomew, you said it. Thank to you folks to tell what I can't do in english. What was the most ignore by the medias is WHY we protested, and how much we were doing that. It wasn't about concrete economics at all.

We were strugglin' against the merchandising of our world, against the depletion of the earth, for a new solidarity between us from north & south - and for a brief moment we knew it was possible. The public response was terrible. We've been insulted everywhere - but... can I say this? I just think they don`t understand. Worse, I think that the public opinion is secretly with us...

26 Apr 01 - 03:09 AM (#449636)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: Metchosin

Here is a very comprehensive article on How NAFTA Jeopardizes Health, Safety and Environmental Standards and the far reaching implications of what Multinationals want in order to "grease the wheels of trade".

26 Apr 01 - 10:42 AM (#449815)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: Jim the Bart

simon-pierre -

Please don't lose heart. What you're doing is much too important to stop. I believe history will prove that out, whether the outcome is successful or not. They can't control all of the media, all of the time.

About that: If I hear one more complaint about the "liberal Media" I'm gonna have to yell at somebody. The US Constitution guarantees a FREE PRESS. Quit trying to silence what you can't control!

26 Apr 01 - 10:54 AM (#449823)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: Big Mick

PaulS, you are a smart ass. I like that in a person......LOL. I found your post very interesting. I agree that change to a free trade agreement will cost some jobs, and that it can be, in the long view, a good thing. The point is that if these countries are meeting to discuss how to do it, then the opportunity exists to do in a way that truly benefits the peoples affected. Not just the Corporations. Just opening the borders will get us there, but at a huge price to the workers affected. But if we can force the negotiators to do real journeyman's work on the details and cause them to work on the environmental and labor issues, it will cause a truly beneficial affect on the workers and environment and still have the plus for the corporations of creating a much larger marketplace. But these corporate interests are willing to sacrifice the workers and environment to the short term quick gain in the bottom line.


26 Apr 01 - 04:27 PM (#450144)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: Jim the Bart

The "free trade" crowd is trying to apply good old "trickle-down" economic theory on the macro level, i.e., what's good for the corporations will be good for the workers. The problem with this theory is that it's the owners (and senior managers) that benefit, not the common laborers. The disconnect becomes even greater when the owners are in one country and the laborers are in another.

Someone in an earlier post thought it ironic that where the Woody Guthrie-age protestors were for open borders, we were now protesting "free trade", as if NAFTA & FTAA are the fulfillment of that dream. It just goes to show how this issue is being spun. These agreements create conditions that are the antithesis of what the labor unionists fought and died for.

If you can't see that there is a difference between support for fairness and equity for labor and "communism", if you don't understand that there is a difference between a fair return on investment and usery, if you can't comprehend that all the stock options in the world won't keep you alive when there is no clean air or water left - than you are a part of the problem. You may think well of yourself, but you are helping to degrade the quality of life on this planet. My planet. You may be a nice guy/girl, but the world is better off without you.

26 Apr 01 - 04:44 PM (#450157)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: gnu

Free trade my ass !!! Yesterday, the US included Maritime Canada in it's call for tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber, which are unwarranted as far as the Maritimes go. This means mill closures, lost jobs, and, for some, loss of the family land. Apparently, free trade doesn't mean fair trade.

26 Apr 01 - 04:58 PM (#450163)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: Little Hawk

Nope. It means a free ride for corporate America...on the backs of its own citizenry, as well as those of ordinary people all over this planet, particularly those in 3rd world countries. It means the destruction of local and national sovereignty for the benefit of a few rich international players who have no allegiance to anything but profit. It means ecological and social disaster for most of the world, while the rich protect themselves in tax havens equivalent to gated communities, and the pimps who hire out to them man the guns at the checkpoints and listen nervously for the sounds of many feet approaching...or of tumbrils clattering down cobblestone streets toward some glowering 21st century Bastille.

- LH

Those who will not share are not fit to rule.

27 Apr 01 - 06:27 PM (#450734)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: Greg F.

Apologies for the length, but I think this raises some interesting points.

The Aaronson book mentioned soulds like it might be a good read, too [ Carol take note :-) ]

Blind Spots Blight Bush's Rosy Vision of the World

Washington Diary by Martin Kettle

George W. Bush rarely gives the impression of being connected with the world he does not know, and in particular with the world beyond the borders of the United States. With the world leaders visiting his White House office almost every week he is well briefed, but he never appears much more than dutiful and polite.

Yet if there is one conviction that seems genuinely to inspire his view of the wider world it is the almost religious enthusiasm that he can sometimes bring to the discussion of global free trade. His speeches attest to his commitment, and so do the infor mal comments of his friends. So do his own priorities and actions.

This month, for example, Bush has quietly settled the long-running "banana war" with the European Union, a goal that had eluded Bill Clinton. In Quebec City last weekend he launched his plan for a 34-nation free trade zone of the Americas (Nafta writ large, with only Cuba not invited to the party). Bush has also made clear that he will shortly try to get the "fast track" trade negotiating authority that Congress denied to Clinton three years ago. Even the settlement of the spy plane stand-off with China this month can be understood as the work of an administration that puts trade above even military supremacy.

There is an understandable tendency to see Bush's relationship with American corporations as a simple quid pro quo business deal. They backed him with their millions during the campaign, so he delivers for them in the form of reduced regulations, tax breaks and international trade openings. This is not an entirely false picture, but it is not the complete one. It fails to take proper account of Bush's American idealism, probably because it is not a form of idealism many of his critics share.

"The case for trade is not just monetary, but moral," said Bush on the campaign trail last year. "Economic freedom creates habits of liberty." Trade freely with China, he added, and the political rights will follow. That optimism has not disappeared in government. Last week the administration's commerce secretary, Don Evans - a former Texas oilman who is Bush's best friend - set out a philosophy of free trade that it is not unreasonable to equate with Bush's own. Trade brings prosperity, said Evans. Prosperity brings civilisation. Civilisation brings democracy. Democracy and trade are the pillars of a peaceful world. Every word that Evans said would have been fully understood by the Victorians. Bush and Evans have the confidence that goes with being American leaders in a world dominated by the United States. But along with their confidence in the beneficence of free trade comes a comprehensive inability to see the world as others may see it.

There are always blind spots in even the most optimistic world view, and it needs to be pointed out that Bush's rosy materialist vision of the world would be much more convincing if there were ever the slightest hint that he - or any other Republican - was willing to apply it to Cuba, the one American nation not invited to Quebec City. Not only does the US not take the view that free trade would democratise Cuba, it continues to believe that a complete trade boycott will achieve that goal.

But the biggest blind spot is the inability of Bush and Evans to see that there are other perspectives on free trade. In Quebec City Bush said that he looked forward to building "a fully democratic hemisphere, bound by goodwill and free trade". Note the words. This is not a man who thinks that he is simply capitalism's doorman. He believes that democracy and peace come with trade.

The protesters in Quebec City would not have believed a word of it. The protests in Canada proved what we knew already. That every international conference, especially if it involves the US and is concerned with global trade regulations, will be besieged by people who are mostly as idealistic in their way as the leaders mostly are in theirs. Between the idealisms, there is little intercourse. The protesters are as tone deaf to Bush as the president is to them.

The protests captured many headlines, occupied many hours of cable news television live reporting and will probably be most people's lasting memory of the 2001 Summit of the Americas. However, what remains is a crying need for a movement, or a group of leaders and protesters, to articulate the case that always remains unmade when the two sides fail to speak to one another. As the American writer Susan Ariel Aaronson says in her new study of the public debate about globalisation*, the leaders and bureaucrats are mostly wrong to regard the protesters as national protectionists, while the protesters are mostly wrong to regard the leaders and bureaucrats as pure free traders.

Aaronson rightly says that the real argument is, or ought to be, about how, not whether, to create international regulation of international economic activity. Just as the national debate in economically dynamic nations such as the US is about how, not whether, to protect the environment or working conditions, so the international debate is about how much, how strong, or what sort of regulation to impose on the modern economy.

In the Americas context Bush is at one end, with Vicente Fox of Mexico close to him. Hugo Chavez of Venezuela is near the other end, though not as far as Fidel Castro would be if he were allowed to participate. Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil is somewhere in the middle, as is Jean Chr├ętien of Canada. No one is either a complete protectionist or a complete free trader.

The truth is surely that both international summitry and the international summit protests have become a conspiracy against the interests of the nations and of the world. The real choice is not between the global economy and the end of the global economy. It is between good and bad trade agreements, and good and bad regulation. However, neither Bush nor the protesters who throw bricks at him seem to get it.

*Susan Ariel Aaronson: Taking Trade To The Streets (University of Michigan Press, 2001)

27 Apr 01 - 06:30 PM (#450735)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: Greg F.

RATS! forgot the source for the Kettle article:The Guardian Weekly 26-4-2001, page 6

27 Apr 01 - 06:49 PM (#450742)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: CarolC

Thanks for the heads-up, Greg F.

27 Apr 01 - 09:33 PM (#450822)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: MAV

If you want to share in the profits and growth.......


You don't even have to be rich to do it.

Good Grief!

mav out

27 Apr 01 - 11:43 PM (#450857)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: CarolC

MAV, I've been thinking about this and wondering how to introduce it into the discussion.

One of the things I'm concerned about is the effect that the stock market has on decisions that are being made by large corporations. With an economy that is driven by the stock market to the extent that ours is, a lot of important decisions are made with only short term consequences in mind.

I worry about the effect the stock market has on the way decisions are being made. I think a lot of decisions are made that make the short term bottom line look good, but that are very bad for us in the long run. I'm having a hard time figuring out what might be a better way of doing things, but I feel pretty sure that we need to try to come up with something.

And there really are a lot of us who are not in a financial position to buy stock, whether we want to or not.


30 Apr 01 - 03:25 PM (#452311)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: Jim the Bart

Ownership of stock is the illusion of wealth. The stock market is little more than a pyramid scam. It will only continue to run, based on false perceptions of value, as long as people believe in it and no one decides that it's time to cash out. That's the scary little secret that our current boom time balances on. Look what happened to all the little dotcom start-ups when the public flinched.

Anyone out there who has a 401k plan or an IRA has gotten a glimpse of what can happen when the economy stops growing, or if you place your eggs in the wrong basket. There isn't an economist worth his/her salt that is willing to bet on how long this will continue, either. The market favors those who got in at the bottom, i.e., the old money crowd. Unfortunately, the way the economy is skewed right now, the market is the only game that pays. But so much of this "prosperity" is no more than fools gold.

Mav, you might as well go out and buy lottery tickets.

30 Apr 01 - 03:43 PM (#452322)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: GUEST,Braggi sing a protest song for Avi and Naomi

There appears to be a bit of a scandal brewing over the rubber bullet that Svend Robinson sez he took in the leg.

First, it seems that the injury Svend claimed is not consistent with those of anyone else hit by a rubber bullet.

Second, the rubber bullet that Svend showed the media is a different size and shape from the ones that the police were using.

Third, picture has now surfaced of someone handing Svend the rubber bullet that he sez hit him.

I smell something and it ain't tear gas.

30 Apr 01 - 05:08 PM (#452378)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: CarolC

GUEST,Braggi sing a protest song for Avi and Naomi,

You could be right. What I'm wondering, though, is if maybe you're just trolling for flames. Seems to me, if you really wanted to be taken seriously, you would have posted under your screen name. But I could be wrong.

30 Apr 01 - 11:42 PM (#452605)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: GUEST,willie-o

my neighbour built the famous catapult that Jaggi Singh is charged with possession/use of (Singh had NOTHING to do with it).

As for stock, tell it to everybody whose Nortel shares (the largest hightech corp in Canada) are worth about 20% of what they were 12 months ago.

Anyway, that's got nothing to do with it. If buying stock could save the world, it would be in good shape already.'

And if Svend Robinson felt an injury to his leg, then someone produced a rubber bullet (guess what GUEST, cops don't always use the regulation stuff), was he supposed to go tap on a shield and say, "Excuse me, is this yours?"


01 May 01 - 12:19 AM (#452631)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: MAV

Dear Carol,

One of the things I'm concerned about is the effect that the stock market has on decisions that are being made by large corporations.

The stock market is like a popularity contest and the shares are like baseball cards. All the shares traded on wall street belong to owners other than the company who issued the stock.

In other words, the company made it's money when it first put it on the market (of course they still have unsold shares that reflect the market price of the traded stock)

I think a lot of decisions are made that make the short term bottom line look good, but that are very bad for us in the long run

In the long run (which is the best way to look at ownership) the market has always gone up and at about a 10% per year average since inception.

I'm having a hard time figuring out what might be a better way of doing things, but I feel pretty sure that we need to try to come up with something

Well, the whole world does it this way, there are stock markets in all developed countries. The CAC, FOOTSE, Hang Seng, Nikee,(not confident on all those spellings) The Chicago Board (Commodities) NASDAQ (volitile tech stocks) American Exchange not to mention the bond markets.

In the case of stocks (equities) you can own a piece of a corporation by buying shares.

In the case of bonds, you can loan money to a corporation or government by "buying" a bond.

Bond and stock prices are typically opposite each other in current valuation (if stocks are doing well, bonds are flat and vice-versa)

And there really are a lot of us who are not in a financial position to buy stock, whether we want to or not.

True enough, but today, a high percentage of teenagers are stock holders and have sophisticated portfolios. Had we been taught this information and encouraged to invest in high school, we'd all be millionaires by now. Unless they screw up and sell low, they are all set for retirement.

The market has never permenently gone and stayed down.


mav out

01 May 01 - 12:31 AM (#452643)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: MAV


Ownership of stock is the illusion of wealth.

It isn't if you sell when the market is up.

The stock market is little more than a pyramid scam. It will only continue to run, based on false perceptions of value

Only bogus stocks that have no fundamentals. If you but no-profit bogus stocks with inflated valuations you'd better hand on to your hat.

as long as people believe in it and no one decides that it's time to cash out. That's the scary little secret that our current boom time balances on.

That's why you want to own companies that make money.

Look what happened to all the little dotcom start-ups when the public flinched.

Those were phoney values and fad investors who lost their @$$.

Anyone out there who has a 401k plan or an IRA has gotten a glimpse of what can happen when the economy stops growing, or if you place your eggs in the wrong basket

You place your eggs in lots of baskets, not one. There isn't an economist worth his/her salt that is willing to bet on how long this will continue

No, and there never was nor will be.

You can count on one will continue going up, just like real estate.

mav out

01 May 01 - 09:35 PM (#453417)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: GUEST,petr

one point about economists. when I first got on the internet a couple years ago I did a search for "economists were surprised" quite a number of hits there.

01 May 01 - 11:27 PM (#453486)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: GUEST,willie-o

HA, that's good, Petr!

Next try "Experts are baffled."


03 May 01 - 02:10 PM (#454931)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: Jim the Bart

"We'd all be millionaires". Possibly, and a million dollars might buy you a dozen eggs. Mav, my friend, you sound like you live in Lake Woebegone, "where all the children are above average". There's not enough space here to try to disillusion you re: "the American Dream" and, furthermore, it's not worth the effort. It's a beautiful day. There is thunder in the distance and a storm on the horizon. And with that metaphor I bid you all "adieu".

Have a wonderful day.

03 May 01 - 05:25 PM (#455105)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: CarolC


I think I may have done a bad job of expressing what I wanted to say about the stock market. I'll try again, but keep in mind that my knowlege of the terminology is patchy, at best.

My understanding of the way things work is that the short term bottom line is the factor that is most taken into consideration by corporate CEOs, Boards of Directors, and major shareholders. With this in mind, decisions are made by these people that may not be good for society in the long run. And I would postulate that they are not good for the companies in the long run either.

One example of this would be decisions made about environmental considerations. Another example would be corporate downsizing. You may recall that a number of years ago, a lot of the major corporations underwent massive downsizing. With the bottom line (short term profits) being the major driving force in the decision making process, decision makers didn't try to forsee what the long term effects of these decisions would be.

As a result, many companies downsized too much, and suffered as a result. Many of these companies found themselves in a bad situation and had to begin rehiring. One of the unfortunate consequenses for the workers was that many of them found themselves trying to do the job of two people, and the quality of their work suffered along with the quality of their lives. And productivity suffered as well.

This is only one example, but I think it illustrates the concept I'm trying to convey.


03 May 01 - 06:32 PM (#455176)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: Jim the Bart

Carol - You seem to have a pretty good grasp on some of the inherent problems connected with the stock market, but there are others. Manipulating information to move the market for a specific stock around is a huge problem, particularly when you have amateurs day trading and dabbling. "Insider information" is hard to prove and prosecute.

My main problem with the market is that it creates the illusion of ownership, rather than the reality of ownership. Sure, you own a piece of paper that represents a part of a corporation. But there remains a huge difference between being a farmer and owning stock in an agricultural corporation.

A farmer owns land and grows food; feeding people is his business. If the farmer does that he/she (theoretically) makes money. Unfortunately, before the crop is planted the futures trader's have already set the market price for that crop. It has little or no relationship to the cost of production or the current demand. And yet the farmer continues to grow food because that is what he/she does.

An agricultural corporation, on the other hand, is in the business of making money. Period. The means to do this is (nominally) production of agricultural products. If it is determined that more money can be gleaned from the land by making it a golf course, storing nuclear waste or selling the mineral content, that is what the corporation will do because the only mandate a corporation has is to maximize profits for the stock holders. And a stock holder would be a fool to tell the board of directors to do anything other than drive the stock price up.

That's the problem. There is no committment in corporate America to anything but generating profits. It is only moral suasion and the counterweight of the federal government (they is us, you know) that keeps corporate greed in check. But I'm repeating myself. I'm gonna go now and let others voice their concerns and opinions. Have a nice night.


07 May 01 - 03:11 PM (#457197)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: CarolC

I just got this from a friend of mine who was in Quebec during the protests. It's quite long. I will separate it into several posts. I'm posting it because I think people will probably want to read it.

There is one thing I want to ask of everyone who reads it. Please, if this upsets you or gets you fired up, use your energies constructively. Please don't waste your energies and Mudcat space on outrage in the forum. --Carol

Hi everyone--

I know this is long, but I think it's so important. I wasn't on the "front lines" like this woman, but the psychological effects of the weekend are well written. It's so much to process.

Dear Friends and Family,

Attached to this email you will find a letter I wrotetonight as part of my healing process, having just gotten back from the warzone in Quebec City.

Please find the time to read this, as I feel it is so important that as many people as possible know what really happened on the streets.

As most of you know, I was volunteering as a street medic and had a very traumatic experience. Please please please reply and let me know what you think of all this, and if you have questions please ask them. Also, if you feel so inclined, please spread my letter around to anyone you know.

Thank you

Love Sara.

Testimonial on the Anti-FTAA Demonstrations, April 18-22, 2001 April 24, 2001

I want to write about what I saw this weekend in Quebec City. I volunteered as a Street Medic for the anti-FTAA protests, from Wednesday afternoon until Sunday afternoon. In the course of these days I saw so much that I hope to never see again. I treated hundreds of injured people, got tear gassed, felt the effects of pepper spray, and mostly felt the kind of turmoil that a peaceful society ought not to experience.

Throughout the event medics were targeted by the police: wherever my partner and I would be treating people, tear gas canisters would land right beside us. Some medics got hit with rubber bullets. On Friday, my friend Sean was on his knees treating a patient in a tear gas cloud on the front lines, when a canister fell right under his face and exploded. He inhaled so much of it right there, then he tried to stumble to his feet only to narrowly miss a canister aimed at his head. Another canister hit the wall behind him, bounced and hit him in the back, knocking him flat. A final canister rolled by his face again and exploded.

He was rescued by another medic team and spent the next two days recuperating in the medic clinic on Cote D'Abraham. On the front lines on Friday we began treating people as the gassing began. We kept having to retreat more and more to avoid the clouds of gas. At one point a canister exploded right next to me. I can't begin to explain the agony of being hit head on with tear gas first of all it suffocates you. I began to walk very quickly, barely restraining the panic, as I coughed and choked. I thought I would die, that any minute my asthma would kick in. Everywhere we turned there were more riot cops, more gas, and no safe space to calm down and decompress. My eyes were fine, being sealed under swim goggles, but my skin was burning like fire. Finally we managed to find a corner without gas and I got my breath back. I can't explain the fear that set in afterwards I was soscared to go anywhere near the cops. But I was in Quebec to do a service treat injured people who were in pain. Now that I knew what that pain was like, I also knew I had to go back into the fray.

As we walked back into the chaos, we came upon a girl who had been hit by a canister of gas, which exploded all over her body. Medics were treating her by stripping off her clothing and pouring liquids all over her. The poor girl was crying and screaming, in so much pain. Around us were clouds and clouds of gas, and cops advancing on all sides.

The cops began shooting canisters high into the air, into the back of the crowd, where we were. In that area were only peaceful protesters; we were not up by the perimeter fence, and we were not involved in Black Bloc activities up by the front lines. Our space was full of individuals being treated for various injuries, and just trying to recuperate. Yet we were getting hit with dozens of canisters! We had to watch the sky, hoping thecanisters wouldn't land on us. We had to continually stand in the centre of the action, yelling at people to walk, walk, walk to avoid a mob scene and tramplings.

It's so hard to stand still or walk slowly when tear gas canisters at a temperature of hundreds of degrees Celsius are being shot straight at you or above your head. I broke down so many times in the fracas, because the emotion just ran so high. I thought I was either goingto die or be incapacitated or arrested. At one point we were in the middle of a city block when a fire truck came through and the protesters attacked it.

At the time I couldn't understand why, why would they attack firemen, but later on someone helped me realize that the truck was going to be used as a water cannon, so people wanted to trash it. Finally the truck went through, after having all its water emptied and the equipment taken.

Later a row of riot cops formed at one intersection, and lobbed gas canisters to block off the end of the block. There was no escape route for my partner and I and the dozen or so protesters still there. Again I began to choke and almost panic, but we ducked into a driveway. When I saw the pain the others were in the adrenaline kicked in, and I began to treat them. I didn't even think about my state, because I didn't feel it once I saw the injured people that needed my help. We managed to escape through backyards onto another block.

07 May 01 - 03:15 PM (#457208)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: CarolC

This weekend was a war zone. I felt like I was in the middle of civil war and urban warfare. I treated so many burned hands, from people who wore thick gloves to throw tear gas canisters back at the cops or away from the crowd, yet got their hands burned. I saw third degree burns. I flushed hundreds of eyes with water and sometimes with LAW liquid antacid mixed with water in a 1:1 ratio. When we were safely away from gas, I did MOFIBA skin decontamination treatments (mineral oil followed immediately by alcohol)to take away the pain. I treated so many injuries from people hit by teargas canisters and also those hit by rubber or plastic bullets. I saw back injuries, head injuries, broken fingers, leg wounds, and so much more.

On Friday night we ended up under siege in our medical clinic as the cops advanced down Cote D'Abraham, firing rounds and rounds of tear gas. The air was so contaminated that we had to breathe through our vinegar-soaked bandannas INSIDE the clinic. We had all the lights out and were speaking in whispers. It was so scary. I thought we were for sure going to be arrested. Finally we managed to evacuate down the stairs outside, and get away.

On Saturday night it was a different story. I wasn't there, I was at Ilot Fleurie under the highway, in the middle of the big party. But I heard from many medics who were there, and here's the story: The cops advanced down Cote D'Abraham, shooting tear gas like crazy and shooting rubber bullets down alleys and driveways. When they reached the clinic they marched everyone who was in the alley (the decontamination space) out at gunpoint. This included many medics and their patients, even seriously injured ones. The cops forcibly removed all the protective gear from everyone, including gas masks, vinegar bandannas and any goggles, saying "No more protection for you guys!".

They also took all the medical supplies and equipment that was in the alley or being carried by the medics. They then marched them, hands in the air and at gunpoint, out into the gas. They made them walk one way, then changed their minds and marched them another direction. My friend Sean said that one guy next to him was hit in the head with a rubber bullet, and the cops wouldn't allow him to stop and treat the person.

Finally they let the group go, without any arrests. Needless to say, the clinic was evacuated and set up in a different location. Other injuries I heard about from medics were: Derek and his partner treated a guy who was severely beaten by police. He had a skull fracture, was in serious shock and had a compound leg fracture that made it almost severed.

They waited in clouds of tear gas, with more and more canisters being hurled at them, for the ambulance. Another medic treated a guy whose finger was cut off as he tried to scale the wall. One girl's shoulder was dislocated. I treated a guy who got hit in the back with a tear gas canister. One guy got hit in the Adam's Apple with a rubber bullet and underwent an emergency tracheotomy.

My teammate Leigh had a serious asthma attack in the clouds. There were many victims of beatings at the hands of police serious injuries from police batons. One guy had his earring ripped straight out of his ear by a riot cop.

There were so many more, I just can't remember them all. And the funniest thing is, the mainstream media (i.e. the Montreal Gazette) reported only 300 injuries total hahaha that's laughable, since I must have treated that many MYSELF!!! And there were probably 50 medics treatingthat many injuries each!

07 May 01 - 03:20 PM (#457217)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: CarolC

In the midst of all this chaos and fear and pain there were bright moments. On Thursday I was present at the start of the Women's March, which was colourful, beautiful, peaceful, magical. There were huge puppets and decorated artwork that the women wove into the Wall of Shame. That night I walked with the Torchlight Parade all the way fromUniversite de Laval to Ilot Fleurie.

Along the entire route, for many countless hours, the group sang songs, chanted, drummed and danced. Slogans such as "This is what Democracy looks like", "Whose streets? Our streets?", "Ain't no power like the power of the people and the power of the people won't stop" and "So So So, Solidarite!" were repeated over and over. There was a festive atmosphere, with many residents waving from their homes and calling out their support to the crowd.

On Friday things went bad as soon as the next march from Laval reached the perimeter, but I saw some beautiful things through the clouds of gas. A group of women joined hands and danced in a slow circle, singing beautiful songs about peace and nonviolence. They were angelic, young and old, a space of quiet in the midst of a thunderstorm of pain. Starhawkled her Pagan group with blue banners and an aura of calm, straight into the tear gas. I saw them go by and felt safe for just a moment.

I heard later that they went straight through the gas and the bullets, and sang and danced right by the row of riot cops. Apparently some were later treated for injuries. Their courage and faith was inspirational to many, including me.

On Saturday down at Ilot Fleurie a party was going on all day long. In this space, supposedly the "Green Zone" (safe, non-confrontational, nowhere near the perimeter) had a booth set up for Food Not Bombs, a group that fed us all weekend long. Everyone was welcome to come and eat for free any time of day, and there were containers to eat out of with a wash station nearby that everyone was expected to wash their dish out in after eating. There was also an art space set up where artists would fashion their work to use in the protests. By late afternoon there was a huge fire going in the street, with people dancing around it.

Many people ripped down street signs and used them as musical instruments a steady beat went on for hours and hours, late into the night. There was a group dancing to the beat, and everyone felt so free and beautiful. It felt like the kind of society I want to live in, at least until the cops arrived and the fear set in. A whole phalanx of riot cops stoodtheir ground at the top of the stairs looking down on Ilot Fleurie, and were an intimidating presence for hours on end (from approximately 5 pm until they gassed us at 2:30 a.m.). Six choppers circled overhead as well.

Getting back to good moments: while we medics were holed up inside a shack that was being used as a "Free Space" in Ilot Fleurie (they let us use it as a makeshift clinic), a guy was brought in with a serious asthma attack. He had been having the attack for about a half hour, and his breathing was extremely laboured. I sat him down and attempted to calm him down, but it only got worse. I could hear the wheezing and feel his body shaking with every effort, and I knew the pain he was in because of my own experiences with asthma. I recognized his panic. He also didn't have his ventolin inhaler.

As I sat there by his side I went over my options in my head and realized I had none. An ambulance wouldn't come into such a "hot" area,our clinic had just been busted by the cops, and I had no ventolin or adrenaline for him. So in a moment of clarity I realized I should try my only other option an acupressure point I had learned the week before, that supposedly stops asthma attacks immediately. I admit that before Saturday night I wasvery sceptical of these techniques, but when I was confronted with this guy's obvious need, faith just kicked in. I knew it would work, I just knew it. Maybe because I believed it so much, maybe because of something else, it worked. Within seconds of my pressing that point on his hand, his breathing began to slow down. Within a minute he was calm, and walked out of the clinic!!! That moment for me was magic without any Western medical techniques or medication of any sort, I managed to take away this man's pain. Unbelievable. I began to cry as soon as he walked out I was so shocked and so relieved.

What I saw this weekend, what I went through, what I saw people going through it made me realize how much stronger I am than I previously thought. I kept saying to myself if you can get through this moment, you can get through the next, and the next, and then whatever life drops on you. And I got through it all. Without serious injury, without arrest. But I haveto say, I didn't get away scot-free. My heart hurts. My mind hurts. Most of all, my soul is aching with pain and disbelief. I can't believe how people hurt each other.

I am shocked at the violence I saw in the span of two days, Friday and Saturday. I can't believe the ferocity of chemical weapons, and that a government would allow its police force to use such arms against its own people.

I am angered that a) the Black Bloc, formed of a handful of protesters at any one point, attacks the police and that b) the police react by gassing the thousands of peaceful protesters!!! I fully appreciate the cops need to defend themselves against the concrete and plywood wielding Black Bloc-res., but each of these cops is heavily armed and protected, and a handful of them could have easily surrounded the Black Bloc and dealt with them instead of affecting the peaceful demonstrators. Tear gas was being shot deliberately at the peaceful demonstrators at the back of the crowd!

I know all this because I was there. I am not spreading misinformation or propaganda of any sort, because I saw the majority of this with my own two eyes. The information that I heard from other medics is 100% reliable because I worked with these people all weekend, and much of this was talked about in our debriefings at the end of every night. No one in those debriefings was lying, and none of these stories are without two or more witnesses.

07 May 01 - 03:23 PM (#457224)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: CarolC

I am sending all of you my story because I believe that the mainstream media is very biassed. I want you all to know what really went down. I haven't even told you the half of it in this letter, but I've tried to give at least a taste of the pain I saw all weekend. I am having a very hard time processing and dealing with this the feelings I am experiencing are similar to those I had when I came back from the death camps in Poland. I cannot function adequately right now, and this letter is part of my healing process.

If you have any questions, please ask me. ASK ME! I want to spread this message to as many people as possible. I want the world to know what went on in Quebec, how undemocratic and unfair and immoral and oppressive the situation was.

Yet I also want people to know that a better world is possible - through the gas and the pain and the fear I also glimpsed the possibility, the hope, of that new space. People from all walks of life, backgrounds, ages, races, and more came together in Quebec to fight against corporate rule, and to fight for basic human rights, environmentalism and fair trade.

We have a vision of a future where things will be better. I don't stand with the anarchists who want to break this society in order to form a new one, and I don't stand with the protesters shouting "Revolution" in the armed sense. But I do stand with the ordinary individuals, grandmothers, kids, labourers, environmentalists, humans, who want to change things.

So I went to Quebec City as myself, and I came back as myself but with eyes washed clear by tear gas and pepper spray. As the song says, "I can see clearly now the rain has gone I can see all obstacles in my way". I can see, but at what price to my psyche? I still don't know. I find myself asking, would it have been better to have stayed home and watched it all on TV??? It would have saved me the pain and heartache, but it wouldalso have left me in my little bubble of idealism. Not to say I am not still an idealistic, romantic, optimistic woman I am but I am also just a little bit more realistic.

I hope that you have read this far, and if so I congratulate you on being an open-minded and intelligent individual. Please send this letter on to whomever you may choose and send my email address along with it so I can field any questions. As we said in Quebec City, Be Safe.

Love Sara Ahronheim
Sara Ahronheim Biology 2001, Queen's University

"In the end we will conserve only that which we love; We will love only what we understand; We will understand only what we are taught."

-- Baba Diauorm, on Environmental Education

---------- End of report by Sara Ahronheim ------------------

Editorial Notes.

I have reformatted the message to eliminate the "forwarding" characters introduced in the email process and taken the liberty of altering the spelling of three words.

The message appears to have come to me through Kathleen Williams and Allison Goebel, neither of whom I know but who might be able to vouch for the bona fides of Sara Ahronheim.

Kathleen Williams Program Assistant, Development Studies Queen's University Kingston ON Canada K7L 3N6

Dr. Allison Goebel Institute of Women's Studies and the School of Environmental Studies Queen's University Mackintosh-Corry Hall, D503 Kingston, Ontario, CANADA K7L 3N6
email: goebela@post. queensu. ca

07 May 01 - 06:28 PM (#457387)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: Metchosin

The CBC just announced that Jaggi Singh, mentioned in the first thread, has just been released on bail of three thousand dollars. One of the conditions of granting bail was that he not possess a megaphone......

right...them maegaphones are real could put someones eye out with one if you're not careful.

07 May 01 - 06:33 PM (#457391)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: RichM

...And he isn't allowed to throw teddy bears at politicians either!

07 May 01 - 08:23 PM (#457458)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: Metchosin

what a hoot! Canada is probably the only country where you are considered armed and dangerous if you're carrying a teddy bear.

07 May 01 - 08:56 PM (#457483)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: flattop

What the teddy bear story? I've been in a padded cell for a few days.

07 May 01 - 09:09 PM (#457488)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: flattop

A year or two ago when that guy in Prince Edward Island whacked our Canadian Prime Minister in the gob with a pie, Toronto radio station CFRB had serious discussions, asking listeners if the Royal Canadian Mounted Mickey Mouse Police should carry machine guns so that they could shoot people who get too close to our PM. (CFRB used to be dominated by irritating rightwing airheads but they've recently balanced it off by hiring a few leftwing airheads.)

Callers to the phone-in show pointed out that history might have been different if Oswald had whacked Kennedy with a cream pie. One caller pointed out that, if the assailant had been armed with a donut, he wouldn't have gotten within ten paces of the Prime Minister before one of the cops would have disarmed him and eaten the donut.

07 May 01 - 09:34 PM (#457504)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: Metchosin

flattop, I hadn't been following it much either recently, but I had recounted the Jaggi Singh story of today to my daughter and she too mentioned that one of the protesters had been arrested for catapulting teddy bears at the police and was going to be charged with possession of a deadly weapon. To be fair the catapult was considered the deadly weapon not the teddy bear.

07 May 01 - 11:27 PM (#457565)
Subject: RE: Quebec City Protest - Part 2
From: GUEST,willie-o

Yes, the catapult was the weapon. I have inside knowledge on this, don't ask. (we're having a catapult-building competition, the Highland Fling, at our Celtic Arts Festival next month, there are a lot of entries. Its a guy thing...)

But first, the catapult was designed to look terribly large and threatening, 20 feet long and 10 feet high, but not to have any actually significant flinging power. It could shoot a teddy bear about forty feet. This got surreal, my friend who was firing teddy bears at one point had to perform an act of civil disobedience and lie down in front of the 'pult to prevent members of the BLACK BLOC from hauling it off and trying to do real damage with it. (And by the way, he was arrested but not charged with anything. The cops dropped him off forty miles from QC at 2 a.m. )

Singh had absolutely nothing to do with the catapult!! He didn't organize it, plan it, pay for it, use it or anything. He was seen looking at it and laughing. That's the extent of his involvement. A whole bunch of people have signed a statement that they were the catapult mob and that Singh wasn't involved. (One of the confessors, the shadowy secret godmother of the project, is JUDY REBICK, a well-known union activist and now TV opersonality.