I'LL GRANT YOU THIS: one good thing about living in Amerika is that you can dedicate yourself to smashing the corporate system, toppling the culture of materialism, and replacing the patriarchy with a truly inclusive value structure, without ever fearing that the "powers-that-be" will ever allow any of that to actually happen.
In so many ways, these are sweet, sweet times to complain about Amerika. It is a fully Fascistic nation, of course, and exploits others. The Working Man and the Environmentalist are completely oppressed, each in their own manner; the Sick and the Old are slowly dying and soon will be no more. These diverse oppressions create many opportunities for fighting oppression according to each individual's needs and pace.
Or if your gripe is with the economy then we have now the ideal environment for hating prevailing economic conditions, which have created hundreds of thousands of new businesses to obstruct and sent many of the best protestor jobs overseas I would say. Not knowing who to blame for this has brought a certain nuance to our protesting that is absolutely thought-provoking for whomever we are inconveniencing on a given day.
It was against this background that the WTO came to our fair city last December. Ah, yes. The much-hated World Trade Organization. Who are they?
- Day One
The word came down on November 29th: Emergency People's Tribunal Assembly that afternoon at the Belltown 7-11! And man, it was an awe-inspiring sight. Nearly a hundred of Seattle's Best and Brightest, milling as one together in the parking lot on that sunny, sunny day. We had gathered at this place to confront the question of why to protest the WTO, as kind of a morale-booster for us.
Cilious, the leader of the White Dreadlocker clan, stood and quieted the assemblage as his scribe Skreechy took notes. "We must confiscate the wealth and property of the rich without negatively impacting the economy. I'm thinking the WTO could tell us how."
"Job! It about job!" cried an elfin Street 'Tard.
"Jobs indeed," agreed Cilious. "What exactly about jobs is it?"
"THEY SUCK!" explained the 7-11 Clerk. A chorus of agreement.
A Skate-Boarder Dude contributed. "Overseas workers, man! They get like a dime a hour!"
I seethed. "We are going to send a message to those factories, people. They will immediately agree to a pay increase or they will be fired."
"They're killing the sea turtles!" cried a Stoner Dude, hallucinating.
Skreechy: "WTO? What is that? How do you spell that?"
Eventually we decreed that we would send the pigs of WTO a communiqué instructing them to provide us with the following:
1. A LIST OF DEMANDS.
And that if they did not meet to decide this matter we would prevent them from meeting. Newly-emboldened, we got stoked for the battle at hand.
- Day Two
Rain: bullshit on that. We took a much-needed break and decided to have some fun reliving some of the great protests of the past, so we protested the Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930 in the 7-11 parking lot and just got fucking drenched. Scroffie protested KIRO's "weather-man" Harry Wappler over the phone a couple of times; Skeeter went inside to protest his 7-11 corndog. Overall, not a bad day.
- Day Three
We set up Protest Ops at the corner of Fourth and Pine. We first established a defensive Panhandling Line of drunken teens; to our flanks we extended two massive flying buttresses featuring some of our stoutest Carnivore Dykes to generate discomfort along pedestrian paths. The rest of us hunkered down to sing songs of protest and change to drive away holiday shoppers.
I know what you're thinking. And no, none of us, deep down, believed that the visiting WTO dignitaries would be conducting any of their meetings at the intersection of Fourth and Pine, in and around certain Nordstrom display windows. But of one thing we were certain: we had effectively denied them use of these spaces. Little victories add up over time.
Anyway, we fucked up downtown traffic for a while and that was fine but frankly it was not challenging work and was beneath our abilities. We brain-stormed; someone came up with the idea that we could sort of "accidentally" mail a Ryder van containing barrels of kerosene-soaked fertilizer to the top of the Space Needle to snarl year-end festivities. The debate was spirited.
Scroffie: "Wait a minute, dudes. Think. We could live in that van."
Smegan: "Another idea is that we could go touring if we were in a band in that van."
Mookus: "Another idea for the barrels of kerosene-soaked fertilizer is we could use that fertilizer to grow pot in that van."
The conundrum reached the point where when we went to the Ryder place we ended up protesting them and setting the vans on fire so we scratched that notion and went back to what we were good at: fucking up downtown traffic.
By the way: I gotta get this off my chest. If the city pigs would simply provide us with a facility -- like the skate-board park they built for the Skate-Boarder Dudes? -- where we could obstruct and fuck up things without interfering with the rights of others, well, we would use it. But the city has denied us this ... interfering with our rights perhaps. Sadly, they leave us no choice.
Anyway, later on tummies started a-grumblin': a lot of us hadn't eaten in days. We hashed out our lunch options and the consensus seemed to be stolen Quarterpounders w/cheese but fact is we had already been to Mickey D's that morning and it seemed likely now that the burgers and shit were full of broken glass and suchlike. Dingus recommended giving blood to the Blood Bank, because you get juice and a wafer. But of course now we would need blood.
We hashed out our options again. Rooter: "Come on, think about it. We could use that blood to throw blood on fur-wearing Nordstrom's ladies."
McDufus: "Another idea is we could have that blood tested for HIV -- you know, the virus that causes AIDS? -- as a way of increasing AIDS awareness."
Shemp: "I say we just rob the Blood Bank."
Fuck it: we decided to just bleed the shit ourselves. We went up to the police barricades and just made complete pests of ourselves.
"POLICE BRUTALITY! POLICE BRUTALITY NOW!" went our defiant cry, to no avail. The pigs basically just hosed us down with pepper-spray from time to time and otherwise ignored us. Great. Thanks a lot, pigs. And here's a question that came up about pepper-spray: why pepper? Why not mint, for god's sake? The stuff is just foul. Eh, pigs?
[And in case you were wondering: all the protestors were caucasian, so, yes, these appeared to be racially-motivated pepper-sprayings.]
Oh, well. Fact is deep down we really didn't mind: we were kind of getting the idea that maybe the WTO had left town or something, so this police interference was affording us a strong new focus for our protestations.
After, a bunch of us decided to bunk down for the night at my uncle's place, so we broke into his garage and while there discovered several sheets of plate glass and some safety goggles, so we protested a little while longer until, exhausted, we crashed.
- Day Four
Okay, man: fuck it! It is SCANDALOUS that those who try to save society each and every day are not compensated with meals. Makes you not want to save society quite as much. Finally a few hundred of us marched down to County Jail and acted like quite an annoyance until the old night-watchpig came to the door. "Hello! Can I help you young people?"
Goth, the elder sage of the Pale Vegans, spoke. "LET US IN, PIG ... wait a minute. What's on for tonight?"
The pig checked his clipboard. "Ehh ... that'd be our salisbury steak dinner. Comes with corn and a muffin."
We went nuts. "ARREST US! ARREST US!" we roared defiantly, until the pig was forced to hand over the paperwork.
It took us over three hours to fill it out because we only had one pen. Then we looked at what we had signed. We had agreed to a full pardon! Full Pardon Without Meal! Goddamnit Fuck Piss. And that old homily about doing things yourself if you want them done right turns out to be bullshit: when we tried Citizen's-Arresting each other, chaos reigned.
Later the city pigs called a downtown curfew so that protestors wouldn't be able to pan-handle bus fare home. I protested my way over to the hobo squat under the Viaduct, ending up with my pal Beezer huddled next to a smoldering burn-barrel full of yuppie recyclables.
Beezer: "Got any plans for Armageddon?"
Huh? "For ... for what?"
"Armageddon, man. Destruction of civilization as foretold in Biblical prophecy."
"Huh." Weird. "When is it?"
"Turn of the Millennium. Either this year or next, depending on, you know, when the Millennium starts."
"And I was wondering if you, like, had any survival skills."
"Oh. Why's that?"
"Because after Armageddon -- and all the doom, and destruction? -- I'm thinking about starting my own cult. And I'll need cult-members with survival skills so that, you know, they can keep me alive."
I looked at him and smiled. Beezer T. Leighton ... "cult-leader." The Dude with all the Answers. I shook my head and briefly pondered man's inhumanity to man. "Um ... well, I can design web-pages."
"Come on, dude. Anyone can design web-pages. I can design web-pages, and I'm not even old enough to drive."
Shit fuck. "Um ... well, I'm a rebel ..." Think, man, think! "... and also I am a teller of tales."
"Hmm." He scratched his soul-patch thoughtfully. "And rebels and tale-tellers attract chicks. After Armageddon chicks will be more necessary than ever." He turned his cap forward. "I bet Armageddon really sucked back in the days before there was canned food."
Armageddon, man. Doom and destruction. I don't pay taxes, but if I did I would be OUTRAGED that my important tax monies were being squandered on such a thing. Any society sick enough to conjure such a plan REALLY deserves to have its traffic fucked up. I went to sleep that night determined to wake up the next day newly emboldened.
- Day Five
Conundrum: Skeeter steals Grumey's Gameboy as a way of fighting corporate greed. Good move, we figure: "property is theft," as the saying goes. The problem is, thievery is also theft. Selling something isn't theft, though, so hence the Solomon-like solution of having Skeeter pawn the clever recreational device.
20 bucks: enough to get us over forty 7-11 corndogs! We made haste; and soon we were enjoying that crunchy goodness.
"Thith really thuckth," said one of the Piercers-of-the-Tongue, using the cryptic dialect of their clan. I nodded ... and my mind began to wander. Just as waste cow parts are used in ways you wouldn't necessarily predict, so too the musings of a protestor travel curious paths. You know, it's often said that a "radical" is merely someone who hates everything that keeps him alive: corporations, government, cops, etc. I slowly chewed my snack,