FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

We Are Winning

By the time news that negotiations inside the WTO had imploded in the face of an open and unified insurrection by delegates of the global south, the party was in full swing. Members of the resistance ­Peasants from South Africa, Thailand, Central America and Korea with a large crowd of global justice activists still high from the success of the previous day’s ‘grande manifestation’, danced around the fountain. At kilometer zero, the spot where Lee Kyung Have fell by his own hand just a few days earlier, ecstatic celebration mixed with memorial, an American hippie drummer joined the Korean percussionists. Mexican campesinos sported Korean headbands and a handsome schoolteacher from Seoul stood slightly apart from the joyous crowd in dark sunglasses and an embroidered ladies indigenous blouse.

With tears in his eyes, the president of Via Campesino recounted the words of Lee’s daughter when he presented her with a bouquet earlier in the day. “My father is not dead,” she said. “He lives in the heart of farmers all over the world”. As people gathered around the memorial that had grown up at the junction, Cancunensas brought their children forward to light candles at the memorial, passing vehicles honked their horns in support, and in some of the weeks most surreal images truckloads of Policia Federal gave the thumbs up as local cops tied white flags to the antennas of their cars.

The previous day, thousands of resisters descended on the newly fortified security barrier near kilometer zero. Like the initial structure, this fortification was pulverized by the collective action of the demonstration. A couple of hundred women first massed along the fence and set about it with heavy bolt cutters. Mountains of wire were cut free and discarded by supporters as the women went into the 10 foot deep no mans land, thousands of riot police pressing at the other side. Bolts and chains which locked the wall together disappeared in a Fordist destruction line, the chains worn around the necks of the African women as trophies.

During the gradual escalation of militant activity, Media Benjamin, CEO of Global Exchange, a San Francisco crafts importer and travel agency, was spotted on the outskirts of the demonstration. Obviously sensing an opportunity to increase her product visibility, she, like many other NGO boosters, crawled out from amongst the WTO delegates to rub elbows with the resistance. Nowhere to be seen at the second assault was the liberal mouthpiece and parliamentarian, Tom Haydan who outdid the rightwing media in his assessment that the movement was split by a mythical debate over `violence’ as a tactic. Nothing could be further from the truth. The notorious black block, the same ones who keep Hayden awake at night, displayed a sophisticated and mature reading of the situation. They worked closely with the women at the front in securing the barricade from nutcases and provocateurs ensuring the success of the day.

 

Next up, the Koreans. They had spent the morning weaving rope into long plaits. These were brought forward and attached to the top of the barricade. The throng lined up, took the three lines in hand and began to pull in time with the Korean chants of a work gang. During an incredible three hours the barricade was destroyed and removed from the road by the steady collective action of the crowd. It took several turns and minor adjustments to tear the wall asunder. At one point, when it was about to tear into two parts for the first time, several journalists and photographers were gathered inside the collapsing structure. Warnings to vacate were given and the work teams paused, breaking the tempo of the operation. Nevertheless, as the steel caved towards the crowd 2 photographers went arse over tit inside as it rolled. Fortunately the work gangs were attentive enough that the signal went quickly along the line and these people were saved from grave injury.

The atmosphere was otherworldly as the mammoth structure began to buckle and sway, the realization began pass through those assembled that this thing was really coming down. The crowd was silent as the drummers accompanied the heaves of those on the ropes and the barricade disintegrated. It was quickly moved from the road onto the median where youths mounted it for a better view of the front line, now a small open space between the riot cops, a throng of cameras, the Koreans and the women of the movement of the global south.

In an unorthodox but tactically genius move, the crowd, flying high on this tremendous group achievement, which was ready to storm, to riot, to do almost anything- instead sat down. There was a ceremony and moment of silence for comrade Lee and then the electrifying news that not only had a group of Korean companeros made it into the convention center, but the group of 21 developing nations had signed a document refusing the proposals of the U.S.A and E.U. We are winning.

For days militants had infiltrated the “zona hoteleria” and caused mayhem, blocking traffic, confronting delegates and being chased around by a bewildered army of private security, conscripts and military policemen. In one of the weeks more comical actions, a `reclaim the beach’ party was reported on breathlessly by network correspondents as a demonstration. Video footage showed bathers bobbing, and waving while fifty odd security guards stood sweating on the sand scratching their heads. Due obviously to orders not to sully the image of the WTO with arrests or blood these spontaneous demos would routinely end in a negotiated deal whereby the police would provide air conditioned coaches back to kilometer zero and parties at the Korean encampment. This is the real Cancun.

On Sunday night at the fiesta around the memorial to Lee the mood was triumphant. People from around the world celebrated the death of the WTO and the life of Kyung Hae Lee. His death had crystallized something very important. As one Campesino woman put it, he has given us a great gift; he has reminded us that the policies of the WTO are a matter of life and death.

 

 

More articles by:

November 14, 2018
Charles Pierson
Unstoppable: The Keystone XL Oil Pipeline and NAFTA
Sam Bahour
Israel’s Mockery of Security: 101 Actions Israel Could Take
Cesar Chelala
How a Bad Environment Impacts Children’s Health
George Ochenski
What Tester’s Win Means
Louisa Willcox
Saving Romania’s Brown Bears, Sharing Lessons About Coxistence, Conservation
George Wuerthner
Alternatives to Wilderness?
Robert Fisk
Izzeldin Abuelaish’s Three Daughters were Killed in Gaza, But He Still Clings to Hope for the Middle East
Dennis Morgan
For What?
Dana E. Abizaid
The Government is Our Teacher
Bill Martin
The Trump Experiment: Liberals and Leftists Unhinged and Around the Bend
Rivera Sun
After the Vote: An Essay of the Man from the North
Jamie McConnell
Allowing Asbestos to Continue Killing
Thomas Knapp
Talkin’ Jim Acosta Hard Pass Blues: Is White House Press Access a Constitutional Right?
Bill Glahn
Snow Day
November 13, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
The Midterm Results are Challenging Racism in America in Unexpected Ways
Victor Grossman
Germany on a Political Seesaw
Cillian Doyle
Fictitious Assets, Hidden Losses and the Collapse of MDM Bank
Lauren Smith
Amnesia and Impunity Reign: Wall Street Celebrates Halliburton’s 100th Anniversary
Joe Emersberger
Moreno’s Neoliberal Restoration Proceeds in Ecuador
Carol Dansereau
Climate and the Infernal Blue Wave: Straight Talk About Saving Humanity
Dave Lindorff
Hey Right Wingers! Signatures Change over Time
Dan Corjescu
Poetry and Barbarism: Adorno’s Challenge
Patrick Bond
Mining Conflicts Multiply, as Critics of ‘Extractivism’ Gather in Johannesburg
Ed Meek
The Kavanaugh Hearings: Text and Subtext
Binoy Kampmark
Concepts of Nonsense: Australian Soft Power
November 12, 2018
Kerron Ó Luain
Poppy Fascism and the English Education System
Conn Hallinan
Nuclear Treaties: Unwrapping Armageddon
Robert Hunziker
Tropical Trump Declares War on Amazonia
John W. Whitehead
Badge of Shame: the Government’s War on Military Veterans
Will Griffin
Military “Service” Serves the Ruling Class
John Eskow
Harold Pinter’s America: Hard Truths and Easy Targets
Rob Okun
Activists Looking Beyond Midterm Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Mid-Term Divisions: The Trump Take
Dean Baker
Short-Term Health Insurance Plans Destroy Insurance Pools
George Wuerthner
Saving the Buffalohorn/Porcupine: the Lamar Valley of the Gallatin Range
Patrick Howlett-Martin
A Note on the Paris Peace Forum
Joseph G. Ramsey
Does America Have a “Gun Problem”…Or a White Supremacy Capitalist Empire Problem?
Weekend Edition
November 09, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Louis Proyect
Why Democrats Are So Okay With Losing
Andrew Levine
What Now?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Chuck and Nancy’s House of Cards
Brian Cloughley
The Malevolent Hypocrisy of Selective Sanctions
Marc Levy
Welcome, Class of ‘70
David Archuleta Jr.
Facebook Allows Governments to Decide What to Censor
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Zika Scare: a Political and Commercial Maneuver of the Chemical Poisons Industry
Nick Pemberton
When It Comes To Stone Throwing, Democrats Live In A Glass House
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail