I’m still a little disappointed that I didn’t have a chance to stay with the People’s Caravan during all this, and maybe run into Bill Quigley, But the prefigurative stuff we were doing before (and the Food Not Bombs In West Philly the Sunday afterwards) was probably more productive for me anyway. The Sound Cannon that John Stewart compared to anarchist music and their probable future ringtone is, not surprisingly, a bit more involved than that.
Amy Goodman at Democracy Now provides some reality "you have the American Tinnitus Association saying protesters at G-20 were “acoustically assaulted”
with a sound of over 140 decibels, which it described like “the kind of sound pressure members of the armed services might face from an Improvised Explosive Device.” You also have Pittsburgh officials saying, yes, they believe it’s the first time that this LRAD sonic cannon was used against civilians in US history."
Stewart spends so much time trying to balance his scorn on everyone, it ends up being tacky-shallow. John Oliver’s Segment comparing Teabagger’s message (‘I’ll shoot you in the face with Jesus’) and Fox news (‘coordinatining and inspi, to the ‘scary’ (love and peace) anarchists was a little better. I met the kid in the blue shirt that was protesting 3 different things, before Oliver got him to settle on ‘capitalism.’ I was explaining why I went in more Z and Michael Albert-inspired phrases, ‘people who are affected by policy should be involved in making policy.’ Those 20 rich guys, the IMF and World Bank haven’t been doing a very good job on their own so far have they? Why not close it down?
DN! was great in showing why Pittsburgh isn’t a model for national or global recovery, How do you send half your population away to make a living somehwere else? It’s enough to make you reach for Susan George’s The Lugano Report and think that the Water Corporations just want to (well, just don’t care if they) see all the poor people die of cholera and diarrhea. Did you know there are 7 Steeler Bars in Montana? Pittsburgh’s population went from 740,000 to 320,000 since 1960. That’s not a model for nation-wide, world-wide recovery.. Worthwhile history with this guy Charles McCollester who wrote "The Point of PIttsburgh."
You think the media in the States is bad, at least you knew somebody was protesting the G-20. Apparently none of this got through in Japan. It was just the new Prime Minister’s Debut, and his wife got to visit a lot of trendy places. That’s the only impression I get from my 60 year old forest and water environmental buddy and 40 year old restaurant owner-cook. They were amazed to hear about the tear gas and sound cannons. It’s great to live here with pretty-much single payer health care, and relatively accessible, professional (for the most part) child care, but why is the news so bland. Does it have anything to do with the 30,000 people a year suicide rate? One of my buddies ‘nobody is fighting’ their all just hanging their heads… I have to take him a magazine of Japanese movement photos, Patrone. People are always resisting, it’s just a matter of finding out about them…
Here’s an interview with a moving (as in she’s active and moved me emotionally) person from Pennsylvania that helped out with the People’s Caravan. She said her grandfather gave them an image to keep them involved, if you have to move something big, you have to put a lot of hands on it. You have to get a lot of people involved ot fight the big issues like poverty and disenfranchisement. I thought of her and the Kensington Welfare Rights Union while watching Flow for Love of Water on the plane back to Japan. She had this cool t-shirt, ‘Human Rights Monitor’ and could explain the articles in the Declaration of Human RIghts that pertained to economic human rights. I walked around North Philadelphia looking for their office and they had the articles posted in their window. It was nice to walk around these neighborhoods you’re supposed to be afraid of, nice old ladies tell you to be careful, people on the bus speak up and show you how to get dollars for the fare – the bus driver lets you out to get it at the cleaners, nice young women make sure you’re on the right corner to catch the bus. You hear horror stories that 400 people were shot in Philly last year, I met R.W. in Lancaster, he’s involved in keeping teenagers from killing each other – "win lose or draw I’m with you.". During my walk I an old guy stopped while I was taking pictures of a Willy Mays Mural. I saw he had a ‘Stop The Violence’ t-shirt on and asked him if he was active, did he know R.W.? He said ‘what do you mean active, I’m just trying to survive in this motherfucker’ and we shook hands, intricately, and went our separate ways.
We visited a trailer park in York that was getting bulled by developers. They were sweet people, we cried and hugged each other. I just found their blog entry on the People’s Caravan to the G20 also. The guy with the video camera that got beat up and arrested and is still in jail, he’s in the pictures too, with a video camera no less. They’re looking for support to get him out of jail. I think he got to see a doctor after a couple days with a probably-broken nose.
I can’t recommend enough how good it is to jump into these things. Thanks to massive amounts of Znet reading it was easy to follow everything, and help ‘Make it Happen‘. And the people you meet and organizations you experience. We stayed in this tent city, I met John Parker and then lost his e-mail address, along with everyone else’s but it was nice to be photographed with him – even though I looked like a psycho being caught trying to get my ear close enough to hear him. I was explaining to family back in Philly how a lot of time was spent, talking, trying to reach an understanding of what to expect and consensus on how to participate and react. My mother told me it all sounded like the Quakers.
The facilitator at the meeting on whether the Caravan should be one big block, instead of people breaking off into different affinity groups mentioned that there was probably an undercover agent in the space, maybe even in the meeting. She said the best way to destroy everything would be to spend time pointing fingers and accusing people of being police, you have to work on creating an open, loving atmosphere. It reminded me of Michael Albert or someone saying how easy it was for macho movements in the 60′s and 70′s to get infiltrated. Every where you go, all that Znet reading makes you feel on top of things, confident..
The tent city was great for meeting all kinds of people in all kinds of issues. One guy was explaining the rules, how everyone should pitch in and help with something. He also metioned security, how it didn’t look like there was security because it was ‘friendly and unobtrusive, which is the way it should be.’ He mentioned that ‘if you’re goin to fight, if you can’t get away from a fight, if you even smell a fight, it would be best to remove yourself from the tent city.’ He was nice (was in sweet) yet clear. His explanation of why Lucius ?? from Pastors for Peace was coming to give an update on Zelaya in Honduras. It has everything to do with poor people, Zelaya was kicked out for doing too much for poor people.. His concise explanation over a bullhorn at night gave me the same impression I get from Noam Chomsky explaining financial speculation as a ‘virtual senate’….