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Still a Bit Shaken, but Safe - The Life and Thoughts of Zach

Nov. 23rd, 2003

07:21 pm - Still a Bit Shaken, but Safe

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I'm online briefly from the Atlanta IMC temporary space set up for the SOA protest in Columbus, GA.

I just wanted to pop in and let everyone who has been following the news from Miami know that I and everyone who traveled to Miami with me are ok.

The police were FUCKING INSANE (actually they were methodically oppressive, an unstoppable dispassionate militarized tight knit force, not chaotic at all, just inhumanly brutal). The protest was a blood bath. The cops used concussion grenades, tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, bean bag bullets, pepper balls (hard plastic balls filled with some kind of stinging powder), tazers (!), and swinging batons. I saw people with broken noses. I saw a person with a pepper ball embedded under his skin near his temple (!), I saw hundreds of people burned and bleeding. I saw a lot of really scary stuff first hand.

Hundreds of people were arrested for no reason other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The folks that I talked to who were arrested had horrific stories to tell about torture, sexual assault, and viscious beatings (all by the cops) in jail.

I am very lucky to have gotten out uninjured and unarrested. Our affinity group was very tight knit. We took care of each other, kept track of each other, and scouted out the situation in order to stay out of danger. I'm so grateful for the folks who helped us prepare for the trip, the home support folks who kept on top of things for us and provided us with invaluable information, and the folks on the ground who were amazing. The street medics (many of them actual EMTs) who took care of the hundreds of wounded protestors deserve a particular shout out.

I am so glad that I came to this protest. I witnessed the creation of the most amazing community. Thousands of people, without leadership, making decisions together, feeding each other, caring for each other, and creating joy in a warzone. I have so much to say about this but I have to say it later. It is going to take me all week to get it all written out, to sort through all the photos and videos and audio that I and others gathered, and to wrap my head around everything that happened.

I would be particularly pleased if folks concerned about the unprecedented level of police brutality at this protest to participate in Monday's call-in action and/or consider a donation to help bail people out of jail, pay legal expenses, and get jailed people rides back home when they get out.

Current Mood: shockedshocked

Comments:

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From:stuffedsheep29
Date:November 23rd, 2003 06:17 pm (UTC)
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What happened seems unspeakable, but I'm glad you're okay.

I'm too shocked to say anything else. Stay safe.
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From:hope_persists
Date:November 23rd, 2003 06:20 pm (UTC)
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wow. I have so much respect for you for going. Thank you. And I'm really glad you are safe.
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From:folkyboy
Date:November 24th, 2003 04:14 pm (UTC)
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amen! what she said. that's so fucked up what the police did! it shows exactly how many powers they are whittling down in the constitution
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From:boannan
Date:November 23rd, 2003 06:30 pm (UTC)
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So glad you made it out OK! :)
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From:anne_jumps
Date:November 23rd, 2003 06:40 pm (UTC)
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Holy crap!
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From:jasunshine
Date:November 24th, 2003 12:03 am (UTC)
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Happy you're on your way home safe!
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From:goytoy
Date:November 24th, 2003 07:29 am (UTC)
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I'm glad you're Ok - thanks for the update.
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From:jane837
Date:November 24th, 2003 05:57 pm (UTC)
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I'm so glad you're okay. I was worried after hearing just how close you were to the violence. Big props to you and all the other journalists/protestors. :)
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From:hfx_ben
Date:November 25th, 2003 09:40 pm (UTC)
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Hey zach dewd ... hfx_ben ... I was IMC/CMAQ QC/FTAA-A20. Remember: the walls of the convergence space in Genoa were smeared with blood after the cops were done.
Hang tough.

Folks: those who are caught up in denial suffer profound neurosis in the name of protecting themselves from the trauma of dissonance. Those of us who opt for a somewhat more dignified life are at risk; the pigs /know/, from long experience and training (google SOA and "militarization of police"), that for each they beat, more are freaked and scared off.
While it is, of course, our responsibility to try to make sense of this barbaric shiet, a profound tactic is to take care of ourselves and our comrades best we can short of cowardice.

be real good to one another, yaa?
(Transformed into an experience of solidarity and human empathy, militant trauma can be foundational to life-long committment.)

*shiet ... so old, and still tearing up ...*

!La luta continua!
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From:zarfmouse
Date:November 26th, 2003 06:27 pm (UTC)
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Hey man, thanks for the good words. I'm curious about who linked to my entry that is bringing in so many non-friends posters. It's great to see so many new names posting comments on this thread!

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From:hfx_ben
Date:November 26th, 2003 11:46 pm (UTC)
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Heh ... will brad be named as a co-conspirator?
Be of good faith, bro' ... somebody played some Hendrix at the club tonight and I reminded him of how, at the time, Berkeley was the scene of not only tear-gas and bayonets but also razor wire.

On a different thread, tune deeply into the shiet about synergy, symbiosis, and synchronicity ... the vast majority of tactical discussion these days sounds like M$ d00ds cumming in one another's laps; there's this Tantric concept that's pertinent: "self-secrecy" ... if everything was self-evident, the opportunistic careerists would have us by the nuts.
Be strong, be true, follow your bliss.

Oh ya, also: share you cake! ;-)
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From:zarfmouse
Date:November 26th, 2003 09:35 pm (UTC)
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Ah, I see now that arohanui nudged you to post to anti_righty and the flood of new posters began! Awesome. I'll definitely post there when I finally finish my lengthy write up of my experiences in Miami.

I just finished writing the first rough outline and the OUTLINE is 2 pages long. I'm still getting my head around just how much stuff happened over the course of 48 hours.

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From:hfx_ben
Date:November 26th, 2003 11:52 pm (UTC)
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Yaa mahn ... think Kerouac ... god is in the details ... flow, dude, flow.

Disputing Bloc tactics, I recall the actuality of how things come riding down on a very few shoulders at times, if in the best situation /despite/ plans otherwise; I was reminded of my 60s bus culture cliche: 38 people to put new drapes in the bus, but "the same six" to change the engine. ;-)

For now: set your thoughts down; craft, bro' ... dump toil decently done ... craft.
Later, perhaps, read Paolo Friere on "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" and "Education for Critical Consciousness".

BTW: World Social Forum's in /India/ this year. 8-)
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From:wespennest
Date:November 25th, 2003 09:59 pm (UTC)
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Street medics are angels. Keep posting about yer experiences- the more people that report the truth, the less garbage the authoritarian shills can get away with!

Plus, it's a damn good read. :)
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From:zarfmouse
Date:November 26th, 2003 06:28 pm (UTC)
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Amen about the street medics.

I'm doing Thanksgiving stuff with my family right now but I'm working on writing up more stuff about all of this. I'm glad so many people are reading about it here.

Thanks!
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From:zra
Date:November 26th, 2003 09:28 am (UTC)
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shit
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From:fenrishero
Date:November 26th, 2003 07:41 pm (UTC)
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Ever since the Battle in Seattle, WTO protests have been a risk to life and limb to attend. Problem is, there are nuts on both sides of the lines. Websites where people plan acts of violence and non-peaceful demonstrations do exist, and the cops use that as justification to go nuts pre-emptively. Organizers of these protests need to track down the nut jobs out there, and obtain restraining orders against them. Make'em stand away from the peaceful groups, then see if they're willing to go mob mentality.

on a similiar thread, seeing as how I've only done a little analysis on WTO policies, I was wondering what effects these protests have on WTO policy? The best example I've seen where the WTO got kicked in the nads was when IRN got ahold of that BS report on dam projects, ripped it to shreds, and got the study taken away from the WTO to be done by an independant group.
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From:forlackofwords
Date:November 27th, 2003 07:22 am (UTC)
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wow. you're really lucky to have made it out of there safely.
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