Nothing like window-smashing was planned in Miami. Protesters wanted to breach the fence so the meetings would be disrupted and the delegates would know that plenty of Americans were also against the agenda of the U.S. trade representatives. We dreamed of getting within the security perimeter that would have caused an evacuation of the meetings. We might have been able to preemptively avoid the policies of the FTAA that would undermine workers' organizing rights here and there, would cause a collapse of small-scale agriculture (as happened in Mexico after NAFTA), and give transnational corporations more power to dictate economic policy.

The way Brett Sokol dismisses those who use direct action as a tactic is confusing, demonizing, and dishonest.

Simon Fitzgerald

Baltimore, Maryland

Kulchur Clashed

Okay, so some kids threw some stuff -- they're, like, really pissed off: Brett Sokol's critique was one of the more interesting I've read about the FTAA protests, partially because few people are writing critiques. I think he is tackling some of the flaws of "the movement," though I don't think he was right about people claiming there were no anarchists. I do agree with him, however, that "they weren't all cops acting as agents provocateurs." And there were folks throwing rocks, bottles, starting fires, whatever in a manner that didn't appear to be self-defense. (Let it be known that if these were acts of self-defense I would support them.)

It's true that many kids on the street don't have a clear vision of the change they want to see or quite how to approach it. But in their (our) defense, how the fuck could we? We live in America. We didn't grow up learning about these things in school. We didn't see it on our televisions. Few of us have experienced the obvious and overt repression used by some companies in Latin America. Here it's generally more subtle and more of a mind-fuck.

There are a handful of kids drawn to protests just because they are fucking pissed off, no doubt. And perhaps it is those kids who are throwing things at the cops, not just in the name of the FTAA but in the name of the whole damn picture. These kids are expressing something very real, an oppression and repression that is connected to the police-state at large, to capitalism, and yes, to the FTAA and all its methodologies. They feel something very real and have a genuine need to express it. Who knows what will be learned in the process?

Mollie Hurter

Amherst, Massachusetts

Kulchur's Caracas

Last time I checked, Hugo Chavez hadn't nationalized a thing: In "Direct Action Reaction" Brett Sokol bemoaned "the type of nationalization and class warfare that have plunged Venezuela into a stifling depression." Mr. Sokol would do well to check his facts before making such a statement.

Since taking office in 1998, Hugo Chavez has not nationalized a single industry, or even a single firm. While the personal style of Chavez has certainly enraged many in Venezuela's traditional ruling class, his economic policies could most accurately be described as social democratic. Most of the recent economic trouble in Venezuela has been caused by the destructive strikes and violent coup staged by the opposition.

Antonio Padrino

Consulate of Venezuela


Beach Adopts

New Hotel Rules

Check-out time for scab-encrusted lepers is now: It seems like politically correct hypocrisy for Juan Carlos Rodriguez to write a patronizing article about some transgender person who had a skin disease and was full of scabs and probably did bleed on her hotel bed sheets ("The Beach Welcomes All," November 27). Why should the minimum-wage-slave maids have to clean up after some scab-encrusted leper? Don't they have a right to ask that lady to get a room somewhere else?

Just because someone is a member of some "special" group does not give them the right to expose others to their various diseases.

Gerald Franqui


It Don't Mean a Thing

If you ain't got the address of that swing: Regarding Abel Folgar's "Here is the Jazz!" published on November 27: Great piece! There are lots of us jazz-hungry folks out there. Now just where is this Gil's Café?

Albert Kirsch

Bal Harbour

Editor's note: Sorry about that. Gil's Café is located at 216 71st St., Miami Beach. Call 305-867-0779.

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