GENTECH archive


Seattle, first the comic (fwd)

Thaks mary Lehmann - I had intended to spend time with you - as an
"unlikely-suspect" - but the martial law/ tear gas interfered and I felt
forced to leave Seattle at 6:55 instead of some later time adequate to get
us back to Portland by mid-night.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 5 Dec 1999 17:12:03 +0212
From: "Mary L. Lehmann" <>
Subject: Seattle, first the comic

First the comic:

[Am keeping this as short as I can.  Too much sensational stuff of varying
degree.  The whole Seattle event wasn't disorderly.  The only thing you
probably shouldn't believe at all is what went out over TV]

>From an account to the folks back home:

Had a very interesting time in Seattle.  On the one hand lectures and
discussion about the WTO, and on the other marches, which I didn't know I
was going to be in.  In the one today we walked several thousand strong
flanked by cheering crowds and police dressed like Darth Vaders. I got a
good picture of me in front of them, and also of someone washing the pepper
gas out of a person's eyes.  I got an idea how extremely painful that spray
must be because four blocks away it was strong enough that we had to cover
our stinging noses.

Today (Friday) I was in a walking "boat" behind the walking prow who led
the rest of the boat walkers holding up the sides, a wide strip of painted
waves on cloth. We practiced bobbing --very convincing. My sign  was the
only one I saw of all the signs in all the  marches saying "no IMF or World
Bank" either. .--seen one,  you've seen 'em all?   Behind us in the boat
walked the big blue sail and sundry drummers, tootlers and other noise

Suddenly we got word some of the march wouldn't be turning to go along the
prescribed route but straight forward toward the jail and the WTO building.
That would surely get them arrested.  We rounded the corner and stopped.
It turned out the back end of our boat was deliberating whether they would
join the civil disobdience.  The situation was so ridiculous we were all
laughing.  The front end hadn't been consulted --and someone remembered our
"We're all in the same boat" chant, and concluded we were just not an
affinity group after all.  The front end thought maybe it didn't want to
get arrested that day, then the back end reluctantly and separately did
come to the same conclusion  --eventually, and forward the prow and stern
continued. All in all the march today was one of those great What am I
doing here? experiences.  Everybody got in the act, including a sign
pleading for Mumia's life, for dropping the ban on Cuba, a sign nobody
understood about gas protecting (gas chamber?  tear gas?), and prancing
before our prow were four bare-breasted women with "Better nude than NIKE"
written on them, but they weren't barefooted.  And weren't arrested. --not
deemed a threat to the WTO.

Now for the more serious stuff:

What did we come away with after being inundated on all sides with what is
wrong around the globe?  The great concern was that people would go home
and just relax, we won that round. Gradually from the depths of relaxation
a picture analogy took form in my mind, from what I'd heard, of what to do
and what needs doing.

Think of a tree with four roots, which represent 4 things we can start
doing immediately.  First, spread the word.  Code word WTO transposes to
TWO --each person give a picture of the dire situation to (at least) two
people. Don't talk about protectionism, talk about selling drinking water
and patenting genes. The second root represents political action.  Write to
your representatives (give them no peace) and the third root, if you have
stock in any of these Trans-national companies, protest loudly as
stockholders. Finally make some lifestyle changes (this isn't going to be a
big selling point), such as patronizing local sources for food and other
goods, and trimming energy consumption. And I add this:  Above all, don't
tell people what they should want.  People use their own morality.  Ask
them what they do want.

The trunk of the tree -what the roots have to produce, is the foundation of
deep change, advanced in a few places amid the teach-ins.  Namely go for
getting the rent from natural resources (no one produced them) for revenue
distributed per capita. If the people don't have access to that
freebie-for-the-few, power will remain with those who control natural
resources now.  Call it Resource Rent  Revenue per capita (Makes a nice
chant) RRRpercap! leading to less taxes? --to  rewarding voluntary

Then come the branches of the tree, lots of them, adding up to some real
independence and prosperity.  A great aid to the localization that is bound
to occur would be to use the RRRpercap as collateral for accounts in
thousands of local trade exchanges which yearly clear the accounts with the
RRRpercap internally and with other exchanges. That way, money thus
uninflatable would remove the greatest problem with exchanges, shaky
money,.  Ironically that RRRpercap (or "landshare")-backed money would then
be the world's most acceptable, more stable in value than any of the
national, perpetually inflated moneys.

What I don't think will work out:  taking land away from present owners and
giving it to small farmers, although landlessness seemed to be the
principal problem of the less developed countries, with little chance of
reform in the prevailing money economy.  At least if we can win in that
economy by getting RRRpercap, that tree trunk of Basic Income could branch
into a variety of changes people in a region could at last choose because
they could pay for them.

On the whole, I didn't get a sense of whether more people wanted to get rid
of the WTO or to  reform it, but in time Shakespeare may be proven right,
you can't make a  silk purse out of a sow's ear.

Carpe diem!



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