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This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh

sing4peace 25 Sep 09 - 11:22 PM
Joe Offer 26 Sep 09 - 03:25 AM
bankley 26 Sep 09 - 10:24 AM
sing4peace 26 Sep 09 - 11:03 AM
Bill D 26 Sep 09 - 12:00 PM
catspaw49 26 Sep 09 - 12:24 PM
Bill D 26 Sep 09 - 12:53 PM
bankley 26 Sep 09 - 01:00 PM
Azizi 26 Sep 09 - 01:07 PM
Bill D 26 Sep 09 - 01:19 PM
CarolC 26 Sep 09 - 01:31 PM
Bill D 26 Sep 09 - 01:47 PM
gnu 26 Sep 09 - 01:54 PM
CarolC 26 Sep 09 - 01:56 PM
robomatic 26 Sep 09 - 01:59 PM
gnu 26 Sep 09 - 02:00 PM
Amos 26 Sep 09 - 02:02 PM
gnu 26 Sep 09 - 02:04 PM
gnu 26 Sep 09 - 02:10 PM
CarolC 26 Sep 09 - 02:15 PM
pdq 26 Sep 09 - 02:22 PM
CarolC 26 Sep 09 - 02:29 PM
Bill D 26 Sep 09 - 02:44 PM
pdq 26 Sep 09 - 02:47 PM
Rapparee 26 Sep 09 - 02:47 PM
gnu 26 Sep 09 - 02:56 PM
sing4peace 26 Sep 09 - 04:46 PM
gnu 26 Sep 09 - 04:52 PM
Azizi 26 Sep 09 - 05:18 PM
Bill D 26 Sep 09 - 05:24 PM
Stringsinger 27 Sep 09 - 01:22 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Sep 09 - 04:59 PM
Azizi 27 Sep 09 - 05:15 PM
Azizi 27 Sep 09 - 05:16 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Sep 09 - 05:33 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Sep 09 - 06:10 PM
haddocker 27 Sep 09 - 06:51 PM
Bill D 27 Sep 09 - 07:26 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Sep 09 - 08:14 PM
Rog Peek 28 Sep 09 - 05:22 PM
skarpi 28 Sep 09 - 05:23 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Sep 09 - 08:01 PM
sing4peace 28 Sep 09 - 09:49 PM
haddocker 01 Oct 09 - 10:56 PM
sing4peace 02 Oct 09 - 06:08 PM
Stringsinger 03 Oct 09 - 12:44 PM
haddocker 03 Oct 09 - 10:19 PM
sing4peace 03 Oct 09 - 10:43 PM
Riginslinger 03 Oct 09 - 10:58 PM
sing4peace 04 Oct 09 - 10:05 AM
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Subject: The G-20 in Pittsburgh - what's going on?
From: sing4peace
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 11:22 PM

Dear Friends -

If Phil Ochs were still alive, I do believe he'd be penning a new lyric to a familiar melody. It would start off "Here's to the land of Pennsylvania..."

This week, the city of Pittsburg in Pennsylvania here in the U.S.A. is under a police lockdown as leaders from the world's largest twenty economies (the G-20) have gathered to forge a cohesive strategy for "managing" the globalized economy.

As has happened in all of the locations where these various economic forums (G-7, G-8, WTO- IMF- FTAA, etc.) have happened, they have been met with protests. These protests have been mostly peaceful although there has been a consistent presence of members of the neo-anarchist "Black Bloc" who engage in acts of property destruction and intentional police provocation. These demonstrations have been met with various levels of police response - at times resulting in mass arrests, severe injuries and even the deaths of protesters. Seattle, Quebec, Genoa, Miami are just some of the places where police tactics have included the use of tear gas, concussion grenades, rubber bullets, tasers and even surprise physical attacks on sleeping activists.

The news media rarely covers these events. Neither the official attendees nor the voices from the street are given much more than a superficial ten or fifteen seconds of coverage. Considering that these twenty national leaders are the self-proclaimed framers of the new globalized economic order - ought we not to expect at least as much air time as say, a pop star's funeral?

I am including a link to coverage of the G-20 demonstrations in Pittsburg, PA on Sept. 24th. http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2009/9/25/steve

How do you feel - what do you think about "globalization"?
What do you think about the anti-globalization protests?
What do you think about the response to the protests?
What do you think about the news media coverage of these forums and protests?

With questions abounding,
Joyce Katzberg


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 03:25 AM

I call myself a liberal, but I haven't been able to get too worried or excited about the WTO and all those other acronyms. I think a global economy is inevitable, and we have to have international entities like these to make it work. If managed well, a global economy can make nations interdependent, which means they might be less likely to fight with one another.

Yes, I know that globalization can have serious effects on third-world nations, but we need to do our best to ensure that doesn't happen - and not just stick our heads in the sand.


-Joe Offer-


    Yes, I know there's mention of a song in the first message, but I'm afraid that isn't enough to qualify it as a music thread - so I moved the thread to the non-music section and added to the thread title so people will know what it's about.


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: bankley
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 10:24 AM

next year G20 and G8 will be in Ontario.... maybe I'll write another song at them all....

sing4peace, pm me your email, and I'll send a couple of tunes you might like.... R.


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: sing4peace
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 11:03 AM

Thanks for your help and input Joe.
I didn't know how to designate this as a BS thread.

Bankley -
This is a good place to PM me with your songs. Looking forward to it.

Peace 'n song,
Joyce


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: Bill D
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 12:00 PM

"How do you feel - what do you think about "globalization"?
What do you think about the anti-globalization protests?
What do you think about the response to the protests?
What do you think about the news media coverage of these forums and protests?"


Simple... I 'feel' that although many issues need to be addressed...(and in some cases, protested...) that the annual chaos and damage caused by these demonstrators goes FAR beyond the sane & reasonable.

The people in Pittsburgh are not responsible for the policies of the 'economic establishment', and they and other cities should not have to suffer.
"Globalization" is not something that can be turned on & off...it *IS*...and it needs some sort of coordination.

As to protests and the media... Riots & anarchy will get coverage by most media AS riots, and will influence very few minds as to issues. Mainstream media will almost never take time to delve into issues when there is video of broken windows & tear gas.

Those who wish to make a serious point should rent a hall and hold conferences simultaneously with the G-20 and invite serious speaker who agree with them and invite serious media coverage.

Those who attempt to disrupt proceeding with violence should then be more easily identified and contained.

(I can address other levels of this and compare it to other types of protest, but that is my basic attitude)


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 12:24 PM

I agree with Bill and I wonder whether that which may be accomplished in these meetings are worth the problems created in otherwise "innocent" cities. Protest is understandable and a part of any such process but the counter protests to the counter protests seem to have reached a level where their usefulness is diminished as well. If the object is anarchy then the mission is accomplished only to the point that the majority pays no attention to their views.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: Bill D
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 12:53 PM

*brainstorming*

I wonder if these meetings could rotated among various nations which would agree to, and be able to, provide something like a Military base for security.
One of these years, they will find it difficult to find a city which wants to put up with the disruptions.


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: bankley
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 01:00 PM

military sounds about right... power to the people !


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 01:07 PM

In my opinion, the civil rights movement in the United States (mid 1950s to 1968) was relatively successful in reaching its goals because it was non-violent. I believe that those courageous and principled Black people and non-Black people who risked their lives, their families' lives, and their livelihoods by participating in sit-ins, marches, and freedom rides galvanized support for their caus to a large extent because they were non-violent. I further believe that the media coverage of the violent actions that were leveled against those non-violent demonstrators shocked many people and helped sway public opinion toward the side of the protestors.

Unfortunately, the other thing that helped convince those who were open to being convinced about the need for significant changes and more equity in major American institutions were racist, horrifying acts such as the 1963 Birmingham, Alabama church bombing
that killed four young girls attending Sunday school.

And yes, I'm aware that there were also riots (rebellions) that happened in response to that tragic events (and also to Dr. Martin Luther King,Jr. being assasinated). Bowever, my point is that I believe that to a much larger degree than is the case today with the G20 protestors, more people in the general public view the Civil Rights protestors as being non-violent.

Furthermore, it seems to me that the goals of the civil rights protestors were more clear cut and easier to explain than "globilization".

While I applaud the conviction of those who are dedicated to want to make the world a more equitable place, I'm just concerned that the way some protestors go about protesting may be counter-productive to their goals (goals which I, in a broad sense, agree with).

**

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is my adopted city. I can confirm that there has been a shut down of access & services in certain areas of the city (particularly in the downtown section, and in the university area of Oakland which is an important area of the city.

Because the public transportation system was affected by the virtual closing of the downtown area, and the expected delays and disruptions in Oakland, all public school schools and most privates schools were closed since around 2 PM or so on Wednesday. Those schools will remain closed until Tuesday morning (since Monday is a Jewish holiday). Federal courts, and federal offices, and public buildings such as the post offices downtown, and the museum/art centers in Oakland were closed. (And my dentist office downtown was closed since Wednesday which is why I had a much longer than usually wait though he still took me for an emergency appointment on Tuesday.

I know that the disruption in routines was a hardship for some people, though it wasn't really a hardship for me.

I really don't know what the G20 summit accomplished in the short or long term for the world, or in the short term for the people who live in the Greater Pittsburgh area. And I don't know if the G20 protestors succeeded in reaching their goals. But if the question is "Did the G20 protestors succeed in raising awareness of their goals and reaching the hearts & minds of many Pittsburghers to their cause/s?", I'd have to answer "No".


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: Bill D
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 01:19 PM

Azizi has made my basic points about other forms of protest and the respect & attention non-violence gets.

I have BEEN in protests in Mississippi, and seen it work...and now I live near Wash DC and see both types and their coverage & results.


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: CarolC
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 01:31 PM

I have to say that I am encouraged by the fact that it is now the G20 and not the G8. The more countries they include in those meetings, the more democratic they will be. Hopefully next time, they will not only include the industrialized nations and the rapidly developing nations, but also the nations that are still struggling as well, since they are also impacted by what the more developed nations do.


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: Bill D
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 01:47 PM

Yes, Carol...excellent point


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: gnu
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 01:54 PM

The G20 has not replaced the G8. The G20 is an adjunct, for a different purpose. The G8 still rules the world.


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: CarolC
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 01:56 PM

Well, then I'm not as encouraged as I thought I was.


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: robomatic
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 01:59 PM

I think what is drawing the lack of media attention is the lack of fear. The G20 do not inspire fear, (maybe they should but they don't) and nor the protestors. Therefor our media, not being particularly issue oriented these days, do not spend more than a minimal discursive detour on it before going on to the important subjects, like Mackenzi Phillips' family life.


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: gnu
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 02:00 PM

The G8 is in Huntsville, Ontario, Canada next year.


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsbur
From: Amos
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 02:02 PM

The problem is not that these fiscal leaders meet and talk. There are always genuine requirements for genuine communication.

The problem is that they function in some ways as de facto governing bodies beyond the visibility or control of the people whose lives their decisions impact.

What should be protested is not the meetings but their lack of transparency and accountability.


A


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: gnu
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 02:04 PM

The G20 includes countries like China... kinda good idea since they hole close to 30% if the US debt?


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: gnu
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 02:10 PM

A... "... their lack of transparency and accountability."

I thought these were democracies, held accountable by their citizens?


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: CarolC
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 02:15 PM

LOL


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsbur
From: pdq
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 02:22 PM

"...[the media] do not spend more than a minimal discursive detour on it before going on to the important subjects, like Mackenzi Phillips' family life." ~ robomatic


Personally, I am trying to convince Pamela Sue Anderson to honor the debt from my big poker party a few years back ...


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: CarolC
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 02:29 PM

Is "big poker" a double entendre in the Pamaela Sue Anderson context?


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: Bill D
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 02:44 PM

More like 1½ entendres...


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsbur
From: pdq
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 02:47 PM

Cole Porter once said: "never complain, never explain".


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: Rapparee
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 02:47 PM

Protests will do no good. A revolution will -- one from inside, for The Man is more than ready for one from the outside.

People didn't learn nothin' from the Sixties....


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: gnu
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 02:56 PM

People are sheep. Cheap sheep at that. If my old man was alive today, the shit going down here would kill him. G20, G8, G bullshit.


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: sing4peace
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 04:46 PM

Whew! I am sooooo looking forward to getting home tonight to read these posts. I'm in a rush -just came in from spending an hour at the "no time to be silent vigil" open mike that I host every Saturday and another hour on top of that holding my ground (and my sign) outside of the "Spirit of America" military festival and recruitment event in downtown Providence, RI.

I... had a very productive hour without moving from my spot, engaged in a good give and take with a Providence police officer. It wasn't the threat of arrest that made me move, nor the suggestion of being detained 'till Monday - possibly without my medications - it wasn't even that they were going to tow my car from the 15 minute parking spot... it was a promise I made to sing for the folks at St. Michael's (239 Oxford St) in Providence tonight. I'll be there celebrating 150 years of St. Mike's and helping to raise cash for their food pantry.

It's never easy to stand in that zone of possibility, anticipating the feel of cold steel on your wrists. I have to say the officer really was calm and he and I had a very respectful encounter over-all. My heart is still pounding out of my chest. Could be I'm still experiencing the effects of being overdosed on my thyroid medications for over a month. Been on a bit of a crying jag - sooo much out there worthy of weeping over. Some of it's the meds no doubt - the rest of it, I'm afraid, is the price of knowing too much. I always say "If you ain't depressed, you ain't paying attention."

Keep me in your prayers, folks - I'm running on fumes.

She who leaves and drives away lives to sing another day...
Your sister in Hope and Song,
Joyce Katzberg


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: gnu
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 04:52 PM

Joyce... don't put your health at risk for this. It really isn't gonna change the order of things. The rich subjugate the poor. Since Eden. It may change... been many conflicts to that effect and there may be a few more... but your health won't make it change much faster.

Take care of yourself.


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 05:18 PM

I co-sign what gnu said.


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: Bill D
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 05:24 PM

Another point is... choose your battles wisely. The "Light Brigade" was brave, and have become famous...but they made little impact.


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsbur
From: Stringsinger
Date: 27 Sep 09 - 01:22 PM

Joe, nothing like this is inevitable. We can change it.

G8 or G20 it's still the same M.O.

The suppression of protests by police armed force is another manifestation of the growing of fascism here in the States. Is this inevitable too?

Frank


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Sep 09 - 04:59 PM

Plenty to consider in the agenda of the G20.

The dissenting kooks, mentally deranged and anarchists were kept under control and are not worth discussing.


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Sep 09 - 05:15 PM

Q, those are very offensive descriptors. How have you determined that they apply to all of the protestors, or even a large percentage of the protestors?

Furthermore, on an open discussion forum, it is inappropriate for you to declare what is or is not "worth discussing", unless you are saying that in your opinion (which counts no more than anyone else's opinion) the topic isn't worth you spending your time * energy discussing it.

If you feel that way, then you don't need to post on this thread.


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Sep 09 - 05:16 PM

Correction:

* = &


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Sep 09 - 05:33 PM

The kooks et al. were shown in all their stupidity in the television news. Those whose sole purpose is do disturb the peace must be controlled.


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Sep 09 - 06:10 PM

Why not discuss the results of the meeting instead of the useless protests, and whether or not any effective changes will result?

What the G20 claimed-
1. Agreement on "tough new regulations" to prevent another global financial crisis. Increased reserves on the part of the banks, and curbs on excessive pay.
2.Plans to give emerging economies a greater say.
3. The G20 will effectively replace the G8 group of developed economies.
4. A deal to shift the balnce of voting in the International Monetary Fund towards growing nations such as China.

Some nice goals, but is it only talk?
No agreement on capital reserves that banks need to hold. Put off until 'recovery' is assured.
No agreement on holding down bonuses and salaries.
No formal announcement that the G20 will replace the G8 until 2011.
"It was said" that global leaders would shift "at least 5%" of the quota of votes within the IMF from over-represented countries to under-represented countries."
"It was said" that emerging economies would get a greater say at the World Bank.
The leaders pledged to continue pumping money into their economies until "a durable recovery is assured."

Lots of squabbles, e. g., China wields 3.7% of IMF votes compared with France's 4.9% although the Chinese economy is now 50% larger than that of France.
Struggling countries accuse the developed countries of controlling conditions.

What changes will we actually see?


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: haddocker
Date: 27 Sep 09 - 06:51 PM

In terms of "armed response" by the "fascist" police, I would be interested what your response would be if I and two or three others obstructed the door to your home and challenged you to try to get by to enter.What exactly are the "protesters" protesting? If they have a valid argument, then yes, they should be given a voice. But if they are doing so just for their own personal and unfounded errant philosophy, i.e. those who choose "anarchy", then they should be treated as any other threat to society. It's a new game. We have a new President and many believe in him. He understands the importance of globalization and its inevitability and he is culturally integrated. Violent protests don't do much to help him achieve his goals.
                     h


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Sep 09 - 07:26 PM

"The suppression of protests by police armed force is another manifestation of the growing of fascism..."

Awww.. c'mon, Frank. I usually agree with your views, but that's just way beyond fair. The G-8/G-20 'protesters' have a track record of violence & excess. Provisions are made for waving signs & making a point, but a hard-core group of them want direct confrontation and wear bandannas & hoods to hide their identities....and break windows & turn over cars at times.
What SHOULD the police do? Ask them to "pretty please, behave.."?
Heading off violent confrontations is hardly fascism! I saw no evidence that protesters were beaten...as happened in Chicago in 68.

I am in favor of the right to mount protests over serious issues, but not to tear up a city to further a VERY debatable political view. We can argue all day about the relationship of G-20 economic talks to the 'oppression of the people', but it is NOT obvious that relationship is cause & effect.


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Sep 09 - 08:14 PM

A deal to shift voting in the IMF towards growing nations."
Current votes:
U. S. A. ---17.09
Japan-       6.12
Germany-    5.98
France-      4.94
UK -         4.94
China-       3.72
Italy-       3.24
Saudi Arabia-3.21
Canada-      2.93
Russia-      2.73
Netherlands- 2.37
India-       1.91
Belgium-    2.12
Switzerland 1.59
Australia-   1.49
Mexico-      1.45
Spain-       1.40
Brazil-      1.40
Korea-       1.35
Venezuela    1.22
Sweden-      1.10
All others below 1%.


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: Rog Peek
Date: 28 Sep 09 - 05:22 PM

Thought you may be interested in what David Rovics had to say about the policing of the protests in Pitsburg:

The Police Are Rioting
Reflections on Pittsburgh
David Rovics

If any elements of the corporate media have been paying any attention to what's been happening on the streets of Pittsburgh over the past few days I haven't noticed, so I thought I'd write my own account.

There is a popular assumption asserted ad nauseum by our leaders in government, by our school text books and by our "mainstream" media that although many other countries don't have freedom of speech and freedom of assembly – such as Iran or China – we do, and it's what makes us so great. Anybody who has spent much time trying to exercise their First Amendment rights in the US now or at any other time since 1776 knows first-hand that the First Amendment looks good on paper but has little to do with reality.

Dissent has never really been tolerated in the USA. As we've seen in recent election cycles even just voting for a Democratic presidential candidate and having your vote count can be quite a challenge – as anyone who has not had their head in sand knows, Bush lost both elections and yet kept his office fraudulently twice. But for those who want to exercise their rights beyond the government-approved methods – that is, their right to vote for one of two parties, their right to bribe politicians ("lobby") if they have enough money, or their right to write a letter to the editor in the local Murdoch-owned rag, if it hasn't closed shop yet – the situation is far worse.

Let's go back in history for a minute. After the victory of the colonies over Britain in the Revolutionary War, the much-heralded US Constitution included no rights for citizens other than the rights of the landed gentry to run the show. This changed as a direct result of a years-long rebellion of the citizens of western Massachusetts that came to be known as Shays' Rebellion. Shays' Rebellion scared the pants off the powers-that-be and they did what the powers-that-be do and have always done all over the world – passed some reforms in order to avert a situation where the rich would lose more than just western Massachusetts. They passed the Bill of Rights.

Fast forward more than a century. Ostensibly this great democracy had had the Bill of Rights enshrined in law for quite a long time now. Yet in 1914 a supporter of labor unionism could not make a soapbox speech on a sidewalk in this country without being beaten and arrested by police for the crime of disturbing the peace, blocking the sidewalk or whatever other nonsense the cops made up at the time.

If you read the mainstream media of the day you would be likely to imagine that these labor agitators trying to give speeches on the sidewalks of Seattle or Los Angeles were madmen bent on the destruction of civilization. Yet it is as a direct result of these brave fighters that we have things like Social Security, a minimum wage, workplace safety laws, and other reforms that led, at least until the "Reagan Revolution," to this country having a thriving middle class (the lofty term we use when we're referring to working class people who can afford to go to college and buy a house).

Reforms are won due to these struggles – proof over and over that democracy is, more than anything, in the streets. Yet the fundamental aspect of these social movements that have shaped our society – these social movements that have at least sometimes and to some degree ultimately been praised by the ruling clique and their institutions, such as the Civil Rights movement – freedom of speech and assembly, remain a criminal offense.

Fast forward another century to Pittsburgh, 2009. For those who may have thought that the criminalization of dissent was to be a hallmark of the Bush years, think again. Dissent was a criminal offense before Bush, and it quite evidently still is today.

I was born in 1967, so I can't comment first-hand on things that happened far from the suburbs where I grew up as a kid, but I can tell you unequivocally from direct experience that I have witnessed police riots before, during, and since the Bush years. Most recently, last Friday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (If you want to read about previous police riots I have witnessed go to http://www.songwritersnotebook.blogspot.com.)

In a nutshell, here's how it went down. I drove to Pittsburgh from a gig in Allentown the night before, all the while listening to BBC, NPR, CNN, etc. on my satellite radio. Naturally, the coming G20 talks in Pittsburgh were in the news. The most powerful people in the world, the leaders of the world's richest nations, were meeting in Pittsburgh to decide the fate of the planet, to decide how to deal with the economic crisis, the climate crisis, and other crises caused by industrial capitalism gone mad, crises which affect each and every one of us intimately, crises about which many of us naturally want to do something – crises about which we would at least like to voice our concerns.

Notably absent from the news coverage is anything about the lawsuits that the ACLU had to file in order to force the local authorities to allow any demonstrations or marches to happen at all. Permits applied for months ago by state senators, peace groups, women's groups and others were only granted in the past couple weeks. Many other permits were never granted. It doesn't say anything about applying for a permit in the First Amendment, and in many other more democratic countries than ours no permit is required for citizens to assemble. In many European countries where I have spent a lot of time, if citizens choose to have an assembly in the streets the role of the police is to escort the march in order to divert traffic and keep things safe, and no permit is required. But not in the US – not in Philadelphia or Los Angeles in 2000, not in Miami in 2003, not in Denver or St. Paul in 2008 and not in Pittsburgh last week.

While various progressive organizations were trying hard to work with the intransigent authorities, other groups took the sensible (but – in the US – dangerous) position that this is supposed to be a democracy and we should not need to apply for a permit so that the authorities could tell us where and when we could and could not protest.

The first nonpermitted march that I heard about was Thursday afternoon. I should mention that I heard about it, but only with a certain amount of difficulty, because I and many other people I talked to in Pittsburgh were having strange problems with our cell phones, problems which started in whatever states we came from and continued in Pittsburgh right up until yesterday. People I talked to – friends and fellow engaged members of society such as Cindy Sheehan, Joshua White, Sarah Wellington and others – reported the same phenomenae. Every time one of us would receive a call we couldn't hear the callers, though we could hear our own voices echoing back to us. When we'd call back it usually would work then. Coincidence? Sure, maybe.

Reports I heard over the phone on Thursday from people I talked to were in between bouts of catching breath and running from the police. Reports on the local media (the only "mainstream" media doing any serious coverage of the protests, as usual, mainly because they were intimately connected to the traffic reports) said the police were "restrained" (what else are they supposed to be?) until the march reached a certain point, at which time it was declared to be an unlawful assembly and the crowd was "dispersed." How? There was no mention.

Usually – and outrageously enough – whether in North America, Europe or other places I've been, if there's a meeting of the global elite happening you are not allowed in unless you're part of the gang or you're a lobbyist or a (officially-sanctioned) journalist. Usually a perimeter is formed by the police, Secret Service, FBI, and whichever other "intelligence" agencies are there, that you can't cross. This was also the case in Pittsburgh, but like Miami in 2003, St. Paul in 2008, and other occasions in recent years, the authorities were not just being "on the defensive" and maintaining a perimeter around the meetings. They were on the offensive.

If this happened in Iran or China it would be called martial law – but here in America we never have martial law, apparently, even when the military and the police are jointly patrolling the streets with armored vehicles and weapons of all descriptions and attacking people for the crime of being on the streets. Any gathering other than the permitted march (which was a great, festive march involving many thousands of participants from all walks of life, albeit with a ridiculously large, armored and menacing police "escort") was declared an unlawful assembly and then attacked. I saw it myself on Thursday night and then again, much worse, on Friday night.

And what kind of unlawful assembly are we talking about? Hundreds of students and other folks, a few of whom may have broken a window or two at some point during the evening in the course of being pursued by violence-prone riot police, who were ultimately gathering on the grass on the campus of the university in the Oakland district of Pittsburgh. They had no weapons, they were unarmed, mostly youth, mostly college students from various parts of the country, along with perhaps an equal group of local college students, most of whom were just curious and didn't even have anything to do with the protests – many of whom in fact were just wondering what there is to protest about! They soon found out one thing to protest about – police brutality and active suppression of our Constitutional rights.

I have no doubt that the Pittsburgh police (and cops present from, of all places, Miami as well as other cities) will in the end have radicalized many local students who had previously been apolitical, and for this I applaud them.

On Friday night I went to a free concert a local community radio station was hosting on the campus. It ended around 8 pm. Over the course of the next two hours there were more and more riot cops arriving. Why? Because they knew what I knew – that a few hundred young folks were planning on gathering on the green at 10 pm, many of whom came by bicycle, after having engaged in a criminal, nonpermitted mass bike ride around the city. Around 9:30 I had to leave to go to a different neighborhood, and I returned in my rental car around 11 pm along with Cindy, Joshua and Sarah.

If the police had made announcements for everyone to disperse (as I'm sure they had at some point) we were too late for that. What we arrived in the midst of was a police riot. We parked on the street in front of the campus and walked on the sidewalk on the campus. Within seconds we saw a young man on a bicycle, a student at that very university, being violently tackled by two riot cops, thrown down to the ground with the police on top of him. All of the police all of the time were dressed in black armor head to toe, many of them driving armored vehicles. Earlier in the evening Cindy and Joshua and I were hanging around one of the armored vehicles while Cindy harassed the cops and soldiers strutting around there, telling them her son died in Iraq because he didn't have an armored vehicle like this one. (They studiously ignored her, of course.)

The young man with the two cops on top of him and his bicycle cried for help, perhaps not realizing that there wasn't much anyone could do other than take his name, which he was too freaked out to pronounce in a way that anybody could understand. Within seconds we found ourselves running from a group of cops, along with a bunch of young folks who had their hands in the air, hoping vainly that this might deter the police from attacking them. It didn't. Off the campus, a block away, police were running in groups in different directions, penning people in, throwing them to the ground, hitting them with clubs, handcuffing them and arresting them.

The four of us (an affinity group I suppose) got separated. Sarah and I were running and were about to be boxed in by police coming in different directions. After I was myself clubbed in the back by a cop with his truncheon, we ducked into the front of the lobby of the Holiday Inn and started talking with guests, other protesters, and various students who had also gone there because they were quite naturally afraid to be on the streets. Fifty feet away in either direction the police were assaulting and arresting people, individually and in small groups, picking them off the sidewalks.

Cindy and Joshua had ended up running in a different direction, through clouds of tear gas. They ducked around a corner just in time to watch dozens of young people, running away, being shot methodically with rubber-coated steel bullets in the back. One friend of mine there from Minneapolis said he saw someone who had ten welts on his back from being shot ten times. On both Thursday and Friday nights the authorities used their fancy new LRAD weapons, a sound-based weapon that causes people to flee because it hurts their eardrums so badly. (At future demos, look out for the noise-cancelling headphones accompanying the goggles...)

At every turn you could hear the sound of shocked students who had never seen or heard about this sort of thing happening, who were struggling to come to terms with what they were experiencing. They're just attacking anybody on or near the campus, they're not differentiating between us and the protesters! Some of them seemed to think that it might be OK to club protesters as long as you don't club the students, others had concluded that attacking people for hanging out on the grass was over the top regardless. (This is not an easy thing for a sorority girl from a wealthy suburb to come to terms with, so I was duly impressed at hearing these heretofore clueless youth having such epiphanies.) What was particularly entertaining was the first-hand realization that the local students could not themselves differentiate between "their" fellow students and the other ones who had come from out of town. How could they? It is, in fact, completely impossible to tell the difference between a college student from Pittsburgh and one from Toledo, even if they do have very different politics...

Eventually, by 1 am or so, Cindy and Joshua were able to move without being fired on, and they joined Sarah and I in the comfort of the patio at the Holiday Inn. The people who worked at the Inn, at least some of them, were trying to keep protesters out. The thing was, though, that if you could afford to buy a drink you were no longer a protester, but a guest of the bar, which is what we were. A little while before Cindy and Joshua arrived a convoy of limousines and other fancy cars pulled up in front of the hotel, and then security locked the doors. You could still go in or out, though, just not without security opening the doors for you.

We continued going in and out of the bar, passing by none other than Kevin Rudd, the Prime Minister of Australia, and his entourage, who were all staying that night in the Holiday Inn (of all relatively downscale places to stay!) and watching some big Australian rugby match on TV. In our confusion at having just escaped the riot police only to find ourselves ten feet away from the Australian Prime Minister, Cindy, Joshua, Sarah and I were all at a complete loss as far as what we should say to the guy. We all talked a lot about what we could say, but by the time we were getting close to coming up with a plan he had gone to bed.

The next day, Saturday, I joined a couple dozen friends and acquaintances outside the county jail where people had spent the night, waiting to get out on bond. Most folks got out on bond, others were (and perhaps still are) being held on a higher bond, waiting for friends and relatives and comrades to come up with the money. Talking to people just out of jail I heard more horror stories. One man, Gabriel, told of being kept outside between 2 and 6 am in the rain, and then being held in a cell where he was handcuffed to a chair along with another man, not able to stand or lay down, for 13 hours.

I left Pittsburgh in the late afternoon from the jail, heading towards New England to continue this northeastern concert tour. In Connecticut this morning I got a call from Cindy Sheehan, who had just gone to the Emergency Room because she was having trouble breathing. People around her the night before had been vomiting profusely as a result of the tear gas. Having suffered injury in the past from getting gassed in Quebec City, I knew exactly why she was in the ER.

There will be lawsuits, and the lawsuits will be won. People like Cindy and Gabriel might make a bit of money from their suffering at the hands of the authorities. Not to worry, though – the authorities have a multi-million dollar slush fund to deal with these lawsuits. They expect them, and they don't care. This is democracy in the USA. It's always been like this, under Democrats or Republicans. If you doubt me, it's quite simply because you don't know your history.

Protest, however, matters. The end of slavery, the banning of child labor, the fact that most working class people live to be past 30 these days, is all a direct result of protest – of democracy happening in the streets. Marches, strikes, rebellions, and all manner of other extra-parliamentary activities. The authorities are well aware that democracy in the streets, no matter what they say – that's why dissent is criminalized. Because as soon as we are allowed to have a taste of our own power, everything can change. It has, and it will again, but the powers-that-be will continue to do what they do best – try hard to make sure we don't know how powerful we are. They require the consent of the governed, the consent of those students in Pittsburgh, and they have now lost it, at least for many of those who were in Oakland last Friday night. They would have lost it a lot more if they had done mass arrests or used live ammunition, which is why they didn't do that.

We don't have freedom of speech or assembly and we never have, but it is through all kinds of "unlawful assemblies," from Shays' Rebellion to the Civil Rights movement, that change happens. So here's to the next Pittsburgh, wherever it may be. I hope to see you there, on the streets, where our fate truly lies.

Rog


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: skarpi
Date: 28 Sep 09 - 05:23 PM

the econamychost the IMF , the tool of the Greedy nations .
they only leaf burning ground where ever they go .

I want the IMF out of Iceland .
I will not vote for EU .

kv Skarpi Iceland .


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Sep 09 - 08:01 PM

Rovics and other professional agitators stir up the clueless who have nothing to contribute to society except violence and nonsense.

The leaders of the major nations and their advisors came together at Pittsburgh to plan to move the economy forward. The discussions lead to improvements in global economies. President Obama said, "By working with our friends and partners from around the world, the U. S. is ready to help lead this effort in Pittsburgh and beyond." Americans should stand behind his statement.

Some posters here do not seem to believe in giving support to their elected leaders or in rational discussion of the issues.

The next meeting, at which the G8 will be transformed into the G20, will be held in Canada.
The RCMP and provincial forces must be ready to corral anarchistic disruptors who gather at these summits.


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: sing4peace
Date: 28 Sep 09 - 09:49 PM

Howdy Cats -

Back from a busy weekend. Glad to see this thread is generating conversation.

I thought I'd blickie this into the discussion: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/09/27-4

This is a first person report from the streets of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania during the G-20 protests. Meanwhile, I am trying to get permission to reproduce some photos from a friend who was present at the demos.

I remember reading a book by Jack London called "The Iron Heel". It was written in 1905 and describes a fictional oligarchical takeover of the United States. It was a very good read. It was very disturbing to see the parallels to contemporary U.S.A. for the past decades, right down to describing the tactics of the "anarchist black bloc" who serve the oligarchs with their provocateur antics.

I've witnessed the "bloc" tactics personally. I took part in the "world says no to war" demonstration in NYC on February 15, 2003. It was one of over 670 demonstrations in major cities around the world where people turned out by the millions to try to stop the U.S. from invading Iraq. At the NYC demo, some of the "anarchists" were filmed throwing firecrackers at mounted police officers and then disappearing behind the police lines. The police then turned on the peaceably and legally assembled protesters - including several people from my home town among them, the Vice-President of the R.I. Sisters of Mercy, and, using their horses, pushed onto the sidewalks and forced people up against plate glass windows. A little boy was separated from his parents during this encounter. It was very upsetting to see 30 mounted police officers charging this crowd of people.

This is not to say that all people who identify themselves as "anarchists" are actually police provocateurs. However, when the Molotov cocktails start flying and the windows are breaking and trashcans and cars are being turned over and set on fire - it creates a bit of a crisis that is always responded to with an escalation of violence on the part of the police. This always serves the purposes of the police and provides a justification for extra-repressive tactics.

In Genoa, during a G-8 gathering, the Italian police entered into a youth hostel where demonstrators were sleeping and beat them bloody while they were stuck in their sleeping bags. The police were reported to have been singing "Fascist" songs all the while as they kicked young women in their bellies and cracked open people's heads. Most of the media attention revolved around one protester who was killed by the police as he was engaging in an act of property destruction.

There has been a lot of discussion among various individuals and organizations who are concerned about the policies of globalization -about how to engage in meaningful protest over legitimate issues. There are some who feel that the "nonviolence" crowd is completely ineffective and others who feel that embracing the "diversity of tactics" credo has resulted in the escalation of police repression. The media will always find the most disturbing pictures to broadcast further frightening the general population from participating in demonstrations whether they be against globalization or against the war.

Strangely enough, even though there have been threats of violence on the part of some "Tea Party" activists who have demonstrated outside of events where Obama has appeared bearing automatic rifles and signs proclaiming it time to "water the tree of liberty" - I have yet to hear of a single Tea Party demo that has met with heavy police security.

It has become a ritual here in the U.S. to use random arrests, excessive police force, denial of permits, so-called "less lethal" crowd control apparatus - including rubber bullets, water cannons and machines that generate a painful sound frequency to disperse anti war protesters - whether or not they have permits, whether or not they are peaceably assembled. These altercations rarely receive any media coverage here in the United States. When they do, they are slanted to make it appear that the police action was "necessary".

At the Republican National Convention in NY City in 2004, the police set upon permitted marchers, scooping them up with orange nets as if they were fish. People were caught up in those nets who were simply on the street leaving their jobs to go home, transiting from one part of the city to another. People were detained in a municipal garage for up to three days, forced to sleep on the floor where there were chemicals and oil slicks. Some of the innocent spectators were detained without essential medications and others received far more harrassing treatment. Almost all of those who were arrested had their charges dismissed for lack of evidence.

During the Democratic and Republican conventions in 2008, I made a point of reading three separate newspapers to track the coverage of the demonstrations that I knew would be happening. If I had only read the Providence Journal, I would have gone away thinking there had only been one incident of protest at the RNC convention in St. Paul, Minnesota involving approximately 50 people who were breaking windows with some arrests reported. If I read only the NY Times, I would have a somewhat more complete version of events that at least mentioned that there were reporters detained and that some people were arrested.

I was quite surprised to see that the most consistent and thorough coverage was provided by "USA Today", a paper that I had dismissed as "fluff" until that time. USA reported on the National Guard being deployed to use tear gas and water cannons against a permitted and peaceful march led by "Iraq Veterans Against the War". It went further to describe how a rally in a park nearby was surrounded by the police who gave an order to "disperse immediately" to the peaceful crowd who were legally assembled and were listening to speakers and music. Excessive force was used, people were beaten and arrested randomly.

The thing that the Seattle 1999, RNC 2000, Miami (FTAA demo) and RNC 2004 and RNC 2008 demonstrations had in common was the fact that the "security" was organized by the same person, former Miami Police Commissioner, John Timoney.

A friend of mine by the name of Camilo Vivieros was arrested in Philadelphia during the RNC convention in 2000. He was charged with assaulting then Philadelphia Police Chief,John Timoney. Camilo is a very soft spoken, gentle, peaceful young man who has spent much of his life as a community organizer (gasp!) helping elderly citizens to get better health care and housing. Camilo was charged with a felony and sat in prison for quite some months as we raised nearly a half a million dollars for his bail. Camilo was facing 40 years in prison. Several pre-trial conferences occured where Camilo had to travel from Rhode Island to Pennsylvania - at great personal expense - prepared for trial, just to have his case continued to another date. Most of the other folks experiencing this attempt to wear them down by attrition, took plea bargains just to get out of the pre-trial go around. Camilo did not. He pressed his case, defending his rights and record, for nearly four years before his case came to trial.

At Camilo's trial, Timoney described how Camilo had assaulted him with a bicycle and that he was filmed doing so. When the judge ordered the film to be shown, it clearly showed that Camilo had not done any such thing. In fact, the film showed the Pennsylvania police beating Camilo while he had his hands handcuffed behind his back. The judge was outraged and dismissed the charges against Camilo. To my knowledge, there have been no charges brought against Timoney for his allegations that resulted in the false arrest, imprisonment and harrassment of a U.S. citizen exercising his rights to peaceably assemble and redress his grievances.

I have had many friends attacked by police officers. One - John Heid - a Plowshares activist, was kicked in the mouth by a Court Sheriff resulting in John's jaw being broken and the loss of teeth. John had done nothing other than exhort the sheriff to be gentle with some peace activists who had just been convicted and were being roughed up as they were taken out of the courtroom. The Sheriff gave a roundhouse kick with his steel boot landing square in the middle of John's face resulting in a broken jaw and the loss of several teeth. John was charged with assaulting a police officer and to everyone's absolute astonishment was found guilty of this felony and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He served one and was released on probation with the rest of the sentence suspended.

The point I am trying to make here is that we cannot trust media accounts of what happens at these events. We cannot condone the use of repressive and overbroad "security" measures because some wannabe revolutionaries - who may or may not be paid provocateurs - may or may not decide to break a few windows. This police state response - and the media frenzy following - diverts attention away from the policies that emerge from these conferences and serves to intimidate citizens from participating in public demonstrations.

Whether or not you care for Starhawk's politics or spirituality, she has written a very good account of many of these demonstrations in her book, "Webs of Power: Notes from the global uprising". Starhawk was present at many of these world power gatherings in order to conduct non-violence trainings. She has documented a very disturbing pattern of repression. Her essay on "Rethinking Non-violence" is a troubling read for those of us who are committed to non-violence as we engage in the process of discussing and helping to determine the future economic policies of our increasingly "globalized world" and challenging the military strategies that enforce them.

Thank you for your participation in this discussion. I believe that by sharing our own perspectives and experiences, however diverse, we will eventually have a deeper understanding of these events and our own beliefs and responses.

That's all (and quite enough) for now,
Joyce


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: haddocker
Date: 01 Oct 09 - 10:56 PM

And once more I ask: " What exactly are they protesting about?" Rovics, you have described a simple cause and effect relationship between the "protesters" and the police. I will agree with you that dissent is not tolerated in this society, but that is because when it is executed it is in the form of some outrageous behavior on the part of a bunch of spoiled brat rich kids who have been drinking and partying there way through college and yet call themselves "students". They expect that they can get away with anything as long as they are attached to some cause. They are the reason why many causes fail. Now I ask you one more time: WHAT IS THE DETAILED EXPLANATION OF THE REASON FOR THEIR PROTEST? I would propose that the perpetrators themselves are unclear in their argument. Most were back in the 60's when I had come back from Vietnam. Case in point...I was playing my guitar in a park in Providence Rhode Island when a large group of protesters came down the street. Wishing to know what was going on, I asked several of the participants who were quite vociferous yet vague about their mission. "I don't know, man.", "Something just happened, but I don't know what it is..." and "We gotta' stop the war man..." were a few of the more intelligent responses I received. What it was, I found out later, was Nixon's bombing of Cambodia. But few in that mob had a clue.
                   haddocker


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: sing4peace
Date: 02 Oct 09 - 06:08 PM

Dear Neil -

I am not rich. I am not drunk. I am not spoiled. I know exactly why I march as do most of the disciplined and dedicated people who I have had the pleasure of standing or marching with through ice and snow,torrent and drought lo these many years. I have as much in common with Molotov cocktail throwers as you do with Lt. Calley. Pigeon holes are for the birds my friend.

Most of the "movement" people I know have come to their actions through study and prayer and have put their lives, freedom, safety, reputations, etc. on the line for absolutely no reason other than because we thought it was the right thing to do. We have faced police actions, beatings, chemical agents, dogs, surveillance, harrasment, imprisonment and vilification from the media, pundits and our own fellow citizens. It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.

During the G-20 gathering and attendant protests, the police used indiscriminate crowd control devices such as sound machines and tear gas that had a far reaching, negative impact on a large sector of Pittsburgh - anarchists, pacifists, shopkeepers, old people, workers trying to go about their day, children, dogs, cats, birds.... all equally vulnerable to the out of proportion response of the police department.

As I attempted to describe above, there are people who are engaging in provocateur behavior that serves the purpose of providing justification for extra police tactics. Those police tactics in turn prompt people to come out to demonstrate against the creeping militarization of our society. It goes around and around and around. There are very few people at these big demonstrations who engage in the disruptive behavior the media tends to focus on. The far, far greater presence is made up of thoughtful and deliberate people of all walks of life - young and old - who brave the possibility of harm by attending these demonstrations.

There are serious questions needing answering about how the economy of our world is to be shaped. We need accurate information and we are not getting it. With the attention focused on a few rowdy "anarchists" who talks about what goes on inside?

One of my many concerns about the official "globalization" agenda is that it presumes to impose an industrialized model upon many agrarian cultures out of a paternalistic belief that "development" is better.

The FTAA treaty contained provisions that provides for punishment of any country that imposes stricter protections for the environment and/or the workers. If said protections have an impact on company profits, the countries can be sued. I have a problem with that. Those are just a couple of reasons I want to know what is going on with the Corporatocracy of Globalization.

No one can dispute that we live in a globalized world. Who does or doesn't get to sit at the table to decide the fates of civilizations and the distribution of the planetary common wealth has everything to do with the dissent on the streets.


Your sister in Hope,
Joyce


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsbur
From: Stringsinger
Date: 03 Oct 09 - 12:44 PM

Bill, you may be getting some serious misinformation about the protests.
There has been a concerted effort by right-wing counter demonstrators including
the police to sabotage an orderly protest by introducing shills who start violent
disruptions. This has been going on ever since the Vietnam War protests and even
before then back to the labor struggle times.

The right to peaceful protest is being sabotaged by an out-of-control police department spearheaded by right-wing special interests. Provocation is a manipulative tool used here to invalidate a reasonable protest.


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: haddocker
Date: 03 Oct 09 - 10:19 PM

All the more reason to be careful how you make your statement. Yes, Joyce, I think you DO know what your doing and you state your concerns well. But no-one is going to hear you if those who precede you wreak havoc and destruction. Tell me how that spells peace.
   Oh, and your reference to Calley was quite uncalled for. I was a Hospital Corpsman...most civilians know the position as medic. Everyone thinks they know all about Vietnam. Believe me, if you weren't there you haven't got a clue.
                     h


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: sing4peace
Date: 03 Oct 09 - 10:43 PM

Dear Neil -

I was not meaning to offend you. Read what I wrote again. The reason I brought up Calley was exactly to make the point that we are all different. Protesters - soldiers - each of us has our own story, our own quest. You were no more responsible for Calley than I (or any other protester) is responsible for those who precede or follow after who are bent on wreaking havoc and destruction. You're absolutely correct, that doesn't spell peace. You are trying to dismiss an entire movement of people because of the disruptive actions of a few who are managing to hijack the attention that should be focused on the economic and political decisions being made at these conferences.

What are we supposed to do? Not go to any demonstrations because some people who may or may not be saboteurs may or may not try to stir up some violence? I have to give credit to those folks who do show up in spite of the history of police and protester violence. Kinda brave I think.

I am very particular about who I will march or stand vigil with these days. I care very much about the method and the message. As Thomas Merton said, "There is no way to peace - peace is the way".

I don't think I know anything more about your experience in Vietnam than you do about what it was like for those who got beat up or went to prison over here trying to stop that war - Or any of the wars since. Then the media focussed on those who were in it for the sex and drugs and rock and roll and now they seek out the few out of the millions of otherwise non-violent protesters who are in it for the thrill of "putting it to the man" by breaking some windows at Starbucks.

Most of the peace activists I know would never in their life spit on a soldier. NEVER! That is not to say that there weren't some who did or do. But the actions of a few grew into a belief that those few people who spit somehow represented an entire movement.

You and I have important life experience that we need to draw from in order to help people understand who haven't been there or done that.

I think we both agree that the tactics of violence don't work.

With all due respect,
Joyce


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: Riginslinger
Date: 03 Oct 09 - 10:58 PM

"Now I ask you one more time: WHAT IS THE DETAILED EXPLANATION OF THE REASON FOR THEIR PROTEST?"

               This is just a guess, but I suspect the protestors are concerned about the fate of the planet, and they don't think a tiny group of self-appointed elite individuals should be in a postition to tell everyone else what to do--while extracting the fruits of their labor and banking it in corrupt institutions. Just a guess, mind you.


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Subject: RE: This is no time to be silent...G20 in Pittsburgh
From: sing4peace
Date: 04 Oct 09 - 10:05 AM

All that and more Riginslinger...

JK


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