From the way today’s Miami Herald describes it, the FTAA protests are going to be peaceful, well-organized, and colorful. (This queer eye would hope for tasteful without being gaudy, but, hey, you go with what you’ve got.) The well-organized among the protesters (there’s an oxymoron in there somewhere) are hoping that their message – fair trade, not free trade – gets heard and that the threats of violence and property damage by a few don’t overpower the majority who want to have a peaceful encounter with the FTAA delegates.
As hopeful as that sounds, I don’t hold out much hope. Even leaving out the anarchists, getting a group of demonstrators to work together and in any kind of order is like trying to teach cats how to march (there’s an assignment for you, NTodd). Even when it’s just a bunch of friends trying to caravan from one place to another, anarchy ensues: “Okay, the Greenpeace people won’t ride with the PETA people because the Greenpeacers are going in Joe’s Buick Wildcat and PETA says that’s an exploitive car name. And the ACT-UP gays won’t talk to the Lesbians for the Metric System – size issues, I guess. And no one wants to stop at Starbucks because they exploit the coffeeworkers in South America, but Lucy says she can’t get motivated to do her Free The Arabic Women mime act without a frappacino.” You get the idea.
Going into this, it looks the the policy is hope for the best, plan for the worst.