archives of global protests

Breaking News: Heroes of the 21st Century
by Mark Motyka 8:41pm Fri Apr 20 '01
address: Mount Shasta, California

Source: Indymedia DC

Feel free to share this viewpoint with others.

Dear friends and family,

As I sit and watch as events unfold in Quebec today, I am reminded of the poison tear gas, rubber bullets, and grenades that injured me and thousands of others in Seattle. Like Seattle, Quebec has suspended any liberties, freedom of speech, and created a militarized zone to quell opposition to the harmful agenda of the Summit of the Americas (FTAA). CNN and other television news are busy denouncing the people on the streets of Quebec. They're serving the needs of their advertisers: huge transnational corporations which exploit labor, the environment, and third world countries.

Allow me to offer another perspective: the real Democracy today is taking place on the streets of Quebec, and dozens of other cities holding protests against the FTAA. Over 200 years ago, citizens came together and threw the Boston Tea Party to protest taxation without representation. Today, they come together to protest trade without representation. There are no representatives of labor at the summit; no one speaks for the environment; Human Rights will not be included at all. The text of the FTAA agreement remains a secret even today. Citizens have no vote on this agreement which supersedes both national laws and national sovereignty.

The summit attendees aren't elected by anyone, they're appointed and selected by the same big business interests they serve. These aren't small companies accountable to the communities they serve: they are corporations that are now unaccountable to labor and environmental laws. Their spin doctors will be busy today and tomorrow selling you the pipe dream of free trade. What they won't report on is the environmental disasters fostered by the agreement: vanishing rainforests, toxic air pollution, unsafe drinking water, and global warming, for example. They won't report on the slave, child, prison, and forced labor in this country and elsewhere: making cheap Nike shoes and shoddy GAP clothing. They won't report on the hundreds of thousands of jobs exported from this country to others, and the harsh working conditions in these exported factories that were outlawed in this the U.S. decades ago.

As always, the media will magnify reports of "violence" and "property damage" to no end. Having been to Seattle and many other demonstrations, I can tell you with certainty that the majority of today's violence will be perpetrated by the police. Tear gas is not a humanitarian nonlethal weapon: it is a sadistic, carcinogenic, torture device sanctioned by governments that do not represent their citizens. Pepper spray has caused over 100 deaths in the U.S alone. Rubber bullets, concussion grenades, and stun guns are devices of citizen control that Orwell could only have dreamed of. This police violence and control is the ugly face of modern capitalism. The nameless, faceless representatives at the FTAA make the decisions that benefit a handful of multibillionaires at the expense of the rest of society. It's the final chapter of trickle-up economics.

The serious violence of today, and every day, that the corporate media will not report is everywhere; let's put it in perspective. It's the violence against workers in third world factories: beatings, hazardous working conditions, and unfair wages. It's the destruction of small sustainable, indigenous cultures and economies for the benefit of big business. It's the global warming that causes rising oceans to flood the homes of millions of people. It's the control of the global food supply by a handful of companies. It's the military-industrial complex that destroys countries that don't fall into step with Western Capitalism. It's the cancer and illness in workers and children, caused by the air pollution and toxic chemicals dumped into our environment.

There are thousands of documented cases of these real atrocities. There is all too much evidence that the policies of the WTO, NAFTA, IMF, FTAA, MAI, and World Bank, (to name a few) are driving this global destruction. Don't expect the TV and corporate media to tell you these uncomfortable realities: their job is to promote consumption through commercials for their advertisers. Don't believe it? Try counting those nightly news segments that are really commercials disguised as news. Educate yourself on the realities of the "Free Trade" agenda, and the other half of the story unfolding on the streets of Quebec today. Here's a few places to start:

Those people protesting on the streets of Quebec today are the REAL heroes of the hour. I wish them Godspeed.

Mark Motyka
Mount Shasta, CA