By Chuck Strouse
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The arrival of the FTAA ministerial meetings brings not only a rush of official representatives, but a rush of activists, radicals, and protesters from all corners of the country as well as all around the hemisphere. Buses, vans, and charter planes will debark onto Miami soil starting this weekend, the 14th and 15th. The highlight of the unofficial participants is a rally on Thursday afternoon, where groups like the Green Party, the Communist Party, industrial workers unions from the U.S., rural workers groups from South and Central America, and even animal-rights groups dressed as dolphins will march through downtown displaying thousands of reasons why the FTAA will ruin the lives of thousands of people in the Western Hemisphere. High-profile musical acts chime in Wednesday night at the People's Gala for Global Justice at Bayfront Park, which could be dubbed "Protest Central."
For general information about the protest efforts, local organizations to contact include South Florida Jobs for Justice (305-623-4900) and the Root Cause coalition (305-757-3880 or www.therootcause.org), or visit the Citizens Trade Campaign's calendar at www.citizenstrade.org/miamicalendar.php
SATURDAY NOVEMBER 15
Workshop: Working Women and the Global Economy - local, national and international
Several organizations will use the FTAA meetings in Miami to develop leadership of women from Miami and Latin America. This workshop will be a forum where women can share their experiences with trade, learn about trade and its impact on women, and learn how to influence the trade debates. Women who participate in the limited-enrollment workshop will receive training to speak with the media and as speakers during the actual meeting events. Workshop is noon to 5:00 p.m. at a location TBA. Contact sponsoring organizations STITCH (stitchonline.org), Unite for Dignity, and Women's Edge Coalition (www.womensedge.org). Call 202-265-3790, 305-623-3000, or 202-265 -3790.
SUNDAY NOVEMBER 16
Root Cause People's March
Hundreds of people from local organizations, together with allies from communities across the Americas, will embark on a 3-day, 34-mile march to downtown Miami, one mile for every country resisting the FTAA. The march wraps up on Tuesday with a huge rally/concert in Bayfront Park in downtown Miami. The march will highlight the impacts of free-trade policies on poor communities and communities of color throughout the Americas with protests, rallies, press conferences, concerts, teach-ins, and nightly workshops; it is sponsored by the Root Cause coalition, comprising three South Florida grassroots groups. The march starts at 9:30 a.m. on U.S. 1 in Fort Lauderdale. Contact www.therootcause.org or call 305-757-3880.
MONDAY NOVEMBER 17
Roadshow and teach-in: The Gapatistas - We'd Rather Wear Nothing Than Wear Gap
The roadshow making its way down the southern coast of the United States has its final stop in Miami Beach as the group called the Gapatistas will march to the Gap's entrance, then conduct a teach-in and strip for justice. The redwood forest is a primary cause for their efforts and they carry with them a stump of a 200-year-old tree for emphasis. The crowd assembles on the corner of Ocean Drive and Seventh Street at 2:00 p.m., then heads to the Gap at 673 Collins Ave. Call 415-731-7924 or visit www.gapsucks.org
TUESDAY NOVEMBER 18
Forum: Hemispheric Labor and Parliamentarian Forum
The forum will bring together trade unionists, parliamentarians, and civil society organizations to critique the proposed FTAA. It will be moderated by Linda Chavez-Thompson, executive vice president of the AFL-CIO (the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations) and president of the Inter-American Regional Organization of Workers, also known as ORIT in Spanish, which represents more than 45 million workers throughout the Western Hemisphere. The event runs from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Gusman Center for Performing Arts at 174 E. Flagler St. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.aflcio.org/issuespolitics/globaleconomy/ftaa_calendar.cfm
Rally and Press Conference: Health Before Trade - Tobacco Out of the FTAA!
Antitobacco organizations from around the country band together at noon to demonstrate the specific negative effects of trading tobacco for world health. There will be speakers and general solidarity-building with the goal of excluding tobacco from the scope of the FTAA. Meet at noon at the Freedom Torch, near Bayfront Park. Call 202-387-8030 or visit www.essentialaction.org/tobacco/event/ftaa/
Forum: Latino Communities and Free Trade
The forum will feature leaders and rank-and-file people from Latino organizations in the U.S. and from Latin America. It will focus on the impacts of free trade on Latino communities and Latin American countries, the different forms that resistance has taken, and alternatives for a fairer and more democratic hemispheric integration. The event is sponsored by South Florida Jobs with Justice and the Comité Latino Contra el ALCA. It runs from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Marriott Biscayne Bay, 1633 N. Bayshore Dr. Call 305-623-4900.
Forum: Steelworkers' Forum on Corporate Responsibility
Representatives and members of the United Steelworkers of America discuss why the FTAA is not a good thing. Speakers will begin at 2:00 p.m. at the Marriott Biscayne Bay, 1633 N. Bayshore Dr.
Meeting: Faith Groups Long-term Strategy Meeting