"Its amazing to think that the work of a few unruly anarchist kids who broke a dozen windows and spray painted chain stores throughout Seattle's downtown streets were enough of an excuse to arrest over 700 people." (As an aside, I am posting this because I feel strongly that we must defend the rights of people everywhere. Especially in our own backyards. However, I must warn that when the power structure is threatened, in any way, it strikes back without sensitivity to basic rights. This piece is Caitlin's and knowing her as I do, I know that this account is accurate. The real question is, how can we affect change without violence? - Doug)
Last week a handful of my friends and I drove up to Seattle to participate in the WTO protest. Our first day of peaceful protesting started on a gloomy Tuesday that rained all morning and froze our fingers as we stood linked arm and arm in front a police line robed in riot gear. We sang and chanted and talked to some of the police officers, Sharon even took a picture of one of them who told her he was the meanest and growled. We smiled. Obviously the atmosphere was light despite the threat of disaster.
Now almost a week later my friend Chris was just released from prison, being charged with threatening pedestrians health and safety and failing to move when asked by an officer; he was held as a political prisoner of the WTO. Its amazing to think that the work of a few unruly anarchist kids who broke a dozen windows and spray painted chain stores throughout Seattle's downtown streets were enough of an excuse to arrest over 700 people.
Tuesday's protest only began to get out of hand in the late afternoon, Sharon and I walked from block to block observing every streets explosions of tear gas and undulating masses of brilliantly colored protesters. Chris had already been injured by a police office that afternoon when an officer leading some delegates tried to push through their line and twisted his arm until he hit the ground. Things were beginning to get out of hand.
A curfew was set that night, and the protesters were run out in droves from their city streets at seven in the evening. The next morning the mayor and the chief of police had set a protest perimeter, stating that anyone to enter those boundaries who even smelled like a protester would be arrested. When I woke up at about eight thirty that morning already 60 people were in jail.
Chris and others went downtown to check out the scene and witness a little of the chaos before we left to drive home. They had some lunch and when they came out of the restaurant they were tear gassed and maced along with a plethora of other innocent Seattlites and herded onto busses to be hauled off to the Old Sandpoint Navy Base just outside of the city. They had not even been inside the police's perimeter. Many people feared that they lost there jobs, a man was arrested walking his dog and another who was getting off a bus on his way to work.
Chris recounted to me the horrific and amazingly illegal proceedings in side the holding facility and jail he was kept in for three days. When the buses of the arrested arrived at the navy bases many were advised to remain on the busses, holding out as long as they could, before they were forced off by the police. The busses were full of innocent citizens and protesters alike and despite all differences they began to organize. They began to form into groups with a spokesperson and leader in each and whenever they were separated they would again form another group and report their last groups plans and agenda. Soon all of them were doing the same thing, they had cohesively formed a network and were all working together. The officers did everything that they could to coax the prisoners off the busses. They lied telling them that they had attorneys waiting for them inside, and in one instance told them that they were going to move them to a different bus. The prisoners on the first bus held a sign in the window asking the second bus if there was enough room for them inside, there was hardly enough room for them they replied. They ended up staying on the bus all night, hardly sleeping and not being able to go to the bathroom. In the morning most of the prisoners went inside, many being forced off their busses by tear gas and mace. Inside many prisoners were never allowed to see a lawyer, some weren't even allowed to make a phone call. They were transferred to the King County Regional Justice Center, in Kent. Chris says that in all the time that he was being held he got a total of about six hours sleep. Before any group could get comfortable (if that were at all possible) they would be moved to another holding cell, sometimes the rooms would have cold water on the floor so the couldn't even sit, or they would be so jammed with people that there wasn't even room. Chris had his own cell for most of the time and like many others was photographed finger printed and now is the proud owner of a record with the FBI. There are countless accounts of the cops playing almost brainwashing games with the prisoners, promising them things they would never give them. Many women were put in there own personal rooms, but they were so packed that many had to sleep outside, the officers would say things like, there's no guarantee that you won't get maced in the night, or, sometimes women here just disappear and never come back. Besides the blatant breach of civil rights, like forbidding the use of the phone or access to a lawyer few prisoners ate enough if at all, and many were denied showers as well as bathroom breaks for hours and hours.
It's impossible to recount every law that was broken by the officers and thus the chief of police and the mayor and the laws that are still being broken as all the prisoners and being released. But the audacity that they had to think that a city in the DEMOCRATIC United States of America, would get away with facilitating such a monstrous event is nauseating and disgusting.
PLEASE HELP US AND PASS THIS TO EVERY ONE YOU KNOW. We CANNOT let or government get away with this. If no cases are filed against them this is just the beginning of the rest of our rights being taken away.
Ode to a Bayou Firefly
will i always be happy?
am i happy now?
will i find my soul mate?
will i find a god?
will i find myself?
will i ever be in control?
am i in control now?
will i ever get the courage?
will i find peace?
is there peace to be found?
have i already met my destiny?
will i travel the world?
will my dreams come true?
will i get past my inhibitions?
will i become something beautiful?
am i beautiful now?
does what i think matter really matter?
have i missed the point?
is there a point?
will i get the answers?
are there answers?
will i die before i've seen all there is to be seen?
if i die is it my destiny?
are our lives preplanned?
will i die satisfied?
is there peace in death?
I swirled shifting nervously in my blue plastic chair.
"So uh... what did you do this summer?" I scratched the back of my neck, like a nervous tick and sniffed my nose.
"Well a lot of stuff really... I'll tell you when there's more time." He didn't look at me, staring ferociously at the computer screen.
I wanted to scream... I had stupidly, stubbornly not called him all summer. I felt jealous and left out not being involved in his life. I had no idea what was going on with him anymore. I felt some sort of ornate loneliness.
Sense of History...
A white gardenia bloomed in her ebony curls. The flower embraced by silky curls, her deep wide hips swayed rhythmically adding flair to her song. Her liquid voice was rank with jazz and sad melodies that make you cry. Her sounds were rich with nostalgia, stimulating and sweet. A few lonely dancers forgot their swing steps trying to listen... Louis's trumpet echoed her croon.
a leaf from a place I seldom see
dark and crisp and old
frosted with the coming winter
but warm in the air
it's never seen the ocean
but the mountains know its name
with affection it lies upon its grass blanket
weeping from the circle it has become
the complete scrumptiousness
of its autumn being
watching thick wool and cotton sweaters,
mittens and steam and frothy swallows,
hoods on bobbing children
flying in the wind
it follows the breath of the snow-tipped drops
swirling and pulsing
back and forth, up and down
in a pile of ornate colors
mauve, crimson, gold, and orange
with pin-like fingers
tickling like a feather
is an apple a bite out of the tree?
WILL I FIND THE POCKET TO THE FRIEND WHO LIED?
DO I HAVE AN ISSUE THAT YOU CHILL WITH YOUR SMILE?
if I wear a sweater will the wind stop blowing?
ARE THE ANSWERS IN THE AIR?
why isn't being real in style?
IF I PRY OPEN MY MOUTH WILL I FIND A PEARL?
does a chef's art feed your soul?