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Lecture - View from the Summit
Lecture - View from the Summit

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University of Guelph
SOC 1100
Linda Gerber

This film (set in Quebec City on April 20th 2001) at the Summit of the Americas, covers a meeting of the leaders of 34 North, Central and South American countries who are negotiating the Free Trade agreement of the Americas (the FTAA). In even more detail, the film deals with the protesters who attempt to shut down the meetings. Fearing violence, the police barricade the area around the conference centre and prepare for the worst with tear gas and riot gear. Participants and media representatives are screened carefully before they are allowed into the meeting area and go through metal detectors inside. Outside the barricades, some 30,000 protesters calling themselves the Peoples' Summit challenge the authorities, demanding access to the FTAA texts -- hoping to use these to discredit the negotiation process. There are people on both sides (among the police and leaders of the protesters) who try to maintain order and avoid violence. The police, some of the protest leaders, and protesters themselves are involved in aspects of social control. People on both sides of the divide attempt to justify the meetings themselves and the protest that seeks to derail the process. Both sides believe that they are right (remember "groupthink") as both attempt to initiate social change -- albeit through entirely different mechanisms. As you watch this film, try to place it in the contexts of the structural-functional, conflict- and symbolic- interactionist paradigms. Consider the informal and formal mechanisms of social control as well. (Magnus Isaccson) 2002 (TVO) George Bush – launch century of Americas Phillipe dumahel – human chain around building Reconfigure social foces, change international laws, privatize public services Argentina – two weeks before summit – fight for dignity of all people of the Americas Work, fight and live Don’t represent cuba, 10,000 protestin against creation of FTAA. Graciela rodgriguez – continental national alliance Only leaders of countries involved in talks FTAA one element of broader neoliberal… Reject this type of economic… Brings along more unemployment, inequality and such SalAMI formed non-voilence If you will not get the FTAA texts for us, forced to get them ourselves Is it worth getting arrested for today, democracy is worth getting arrested Pierre pettigrew – canada’s minister of trade – publish negotiating texts of FTAA, translate into 4 other languages for the summit Discrediting FAA negotiation process (first step) 4km long chain fence, expecting 600 troublemakers when will the violence start (media); created a climate of terror, built a fortress that only inflames troublemakers frightens local businesses and people – prepping for worse none of ouctions will be directed towards them won’t target small violence if there is violence Tania halle convergence of anti-capitalist struggles Life before profit Action must be strategic, clear, goals to convince necessary to mobilize (10000 people) Wall of shame Without a security perimeter, there wouldn’t be a summit Police are an arm of the government, also an arm of the people; look much lore like gov’t Pierre goupil – quebec’s police A police state – is that what you want SalAMI debated whether wanted to get involved in what might become a bloody mess, risk of violence; certain groups prepping violence; Quebec city is not a test of bravery; 15 people confronting 30 tanks can be intimidating; don’t provide a pretext for tanks to charge; always prepped to abandon violence if it was destined, intended to maintain position at all costs, too much at stake to lead people to slaughterhouse Florent gagne –quebec police; feels a great threat is imminent; info tells us to prep very seriously Unified command centre, all security related; qpp must maintain order; trained to handle all sorts of confrontation; instructed in rights and applications of law; what kinds of demonstrators to expect… who are mostly normal citizens; green, yellow, red ~ 95% peaceful; 4% civil disobedience; 1% reds – extreme 34 people, leader of states to talk about NAFTA – FTAA is like NAFTA on crack not here to reform world bank, imf, or ftaa, reject hem, want to create world based on values CLAC – diversity of tactics – 3 blocks – festive demonstration, obstruction, and destruction Can I guarantee my family they will not be harmed (cocktails, bombs). Radicalize them if we don’t exclude them; most effective, creative and liberating, people may join us; not tolerate wearing of hoods, is to impose something, hierarchical; start respecting each other, united against the enemy, build a movement that will really grow Solidarity, don’t have to agree with each other, stop trashing each other, moveon with the work; Conspiracy defused, six activists arrested, conspiracy to life-threatening acts, theft and possession of military weapons; no proof suggest people remain sceptical; arrests like these on the eve of the summit remind us of other fantastical stories of police infiltration Toilet papered fence; certainly do things that are forbidden Unrolling first letter of SOS message High level of security Richard feinberg – feels it’s a convention, interested in it for 30 years Press conference, address issue of demonstrators – angle they could read previous documents tha
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