PR Analysis Of Seattle WTO Protests Leaked
The following was recently posted on a number of news-lists associated with the Mayday2k protest movement which is presently organising a global anti-capitalist protest on 1 May 2000.
It is a guide – apparently addressed to corporate America – to the protest movement which closed down the Seattle WTO meetings for a day in November last year.
It’s author Burson Marsteller is a powerful US PR firm. The authenticity of the document has since been confirmed by a senior member of the firm who said it was, to his knowledge, the first attempt to analyse who was involved in the Seattle protests.
Kelly, Scruggs & Healy
A Burson Marsteller Company
1801 K Street,
January 14, 2000
Dear [Corporate Client]:
Enclosed is our "Guide to the Seattle Meltdown: A Compendium of Activists at the WTO Ministerial". The "Guide" is a comprehensive listing of the activist groups which protested against the WTO Ministerial in Seattle this past November. It lists the groups and their leaders we were able to identify, descriptions of their ethos (largely in their own words), as well as web site addresses and other useful information. We wanted to share this "Guide" with you, not so much as a retrospective on the past, but as an alarming window on the future.
The spectacle created in Seattle during the WTO Ministerial meeting by a diverse collection of activists may have significant short-term ramifications for the business community. The perceived success of these groups in disrupting Seattle and in contributing to the failure of the WTO meeting will be a dramatic boon to them in several ways. First, their victory and heightened visibility will lead to substantially enhanced fundraising capability. Second, the smell of victory will lead to a deepening of already existing coalitions and will strengthen the recognition that broadening such coalitions to include non-traditional allies exponentially increases effectiveness. Third, the Presidential election campaign and several likely trade votes in Congress this year will give activists golden opportunities to seek wider recognition and gain additional strength. These high profile battles will allow activists to further institutionalize and consolidate their gains, increase coordination, gamier greater media attention and expand their targeting of business interests.
What is less understood -- but perhaps more significant -- is the potential ability of the emerging coalition of these groups to seriously impact broader, longer-term corporate interests. Seattle was not an anomaly and the consistent anti-corporate message of virtually all the groups who participated there in November is not a temporary phenomenon. Many have traditionally highlighted alleged corporate misconduct in mass mail fund raising campaigns. More recently, some environmental groups have resorted to targeting corporations for contributions in return for suspending their public ire.
At Black, Kelly, Scruggs & Healey, we have developed a capability direction of these groups, as well as to defend clients against their attacks. I hope you find the enclosed "Guide" useful and if you have any questions, please call me at: (202)530-4805.
Gardner G. Peckham Managing Director
Guide to the Seattle Meltdown: A Compendium of Activists at the WTO Ministerial
"Many of the groups that helped organize the anti-WTO victories in Seattle are already preparing for days of protest, education, training, and direct action during the week of April 9-16 in Washington. The week begins on Sunday, April 9th with a Jubilee 2000/USA mobilization for cancellation of the debts of African, Latin American, Asia-Pacific, and Caribbean countries, and continuing with teach-ins and trainings on the global economy. It will culminate with a massive rally at IMF Headquarters on Sunday, April 16th 2000." - 50 Years is Enough web site
"Leaders of the peaceful demonstrations have lashed out at the anarchists, accusing them of undermining their anti-globalism message by breaking windows and destroying property. The anarchists in turn accused the Seattle protesters of protecting the same private-property interests that the WTO represents. - The Los Angeles Times
"...the coalition [of labor, environmental and human rights groups that took to the streets in Seattle to protest the WTO] said that they will flood over 100 key congressional offices with phone calls and letters and march on Washington this Spring to prevent passage of NTR for China. - National Journal's Congress Daily
1) Abya Yala Fund
Alicia Canaviri, President-, Nilo Cayuqueo, Director
"Fosters greater self-reliance by indigenous peoples through support of struggles to protect homelands, natural environment and human rights, to improve health care, to address domestic legislation and international laws, to obtain access to communications media to improve the conditions and status of women, to increase economic security, and to revitalize cultural and spiritual traditions. "The group's focus is on providing training, grants and technical assistance for self-development projects that originate in, and are controlled by, indigenous communities and organizations in Central and South America - not on anti-WTO advocacy. The web site provides links to the sites of other indigenous groups as well as sites about anti-globalization and ending corporate Governance.
2) A SEED
Action for Solidarity, Equality, Environment and Development. "A global and diverse action network focusing on a broad range of issues, A SEED plays a critical role in involving young people in the struggles against ecological destruction and social injustice." They advocate the use of public opposition to stop the WTO in the same manner that it was used to block the " . . . the corporate-driven MAI [multilateral agreement on investment] agreement. " The web site presents many campaigns and publications and links to other activist organizations. The group claims that more than 700 organizations worldwide have signed its on-line petition against the WTO and are associated with www.oneworld.net.
John Sweeney, President; Linda Chavez-Thompson, Exec. Vice-President
"A voluntary federation of 68 national and international labor unions that include 13 million working women and men and which espouses a strong political voice for improving the lives of working families. " The web site contains plenty of information about the WTO, including a blueprint for reforming it. The group plans to keep pressure on Congress and the government against the WTO, the Caribbean Basin Initiative, and normalized trade relations (NTR) with China. The group is large, very well organized, and headquartered in D.C. The web site provides many links to the sites of other labor unions, organizations, constituency groups, the government, and media. Issues of interest to the group include: environmental protection, debt relief, poverty alleviation, and investment policy reforms.
4) Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment
Tracy Katelman (activist, also part of the Trees Foundation)
5) Amazon Watch
Lucy Braham, WTO contact; Mark Westlund, U'wa defense working group contact "Works with indigenous and environmental organizations in the Amazon Basin to defend the environment and advance indigenous peoples' rights in the face of large-scale industrial development (oil and gas pipelines, power lines, roads, and other mega-projects)." The group is currently focusing on Venezuela, Bolivia/Brazil (against the Overseas Private Investment Corporation), and Colombia. It is a major opponent of Occidental Petroleum's drilling on "U'wa traditional land," and on that issue are very vocal and organized.
6) Anarchist Action Collective
Marshall Kirkpatrick, contact
Based out of Eugene, Oregon, the anarchists state, "Fight back and don't get caught ...sacking the WTO is just a start. "
7) Black Army Faction and Black Clad Messengers
John Zerzan, contact
Another militant anarchist group based out of Eugene. Oregon. The group advocates property destruction (against private property) and some of its members were responsible for much of the damage in Seattle. Zerzan has authored and edited books and essays promoting "anarcho-primitivism." He has also participated in speeches, lectures, radio talk shows and 60 Minutes.
8) Chinese Activist Groups
Wei Jingsheng, leading Chinese democracy activist and Fellow at Columbia University's Center for the Study of Human Rights Wei says that, "WTO entry for China will either re-enforce the existing system of manipulation and corruption, or result in chaos, providing no one with a safe, sound, or fair environment for trade. "
9) Christian Aid
Alex Milner (spokeswoman)
An organization of British and Irish churches, engaged in relief work in more than 60 countries to Improve lives and tackle the causes of poverty and injustice". It consists of 3,500 committees around the UK and Ireland. They have links to church groups, and organizations associated with the environment, free trade, and free speech.
Jili Dowling, New York contact
Committee In Solidarity With the People of El Salvador. "This year we have committed to raising $50,000 of material aid to help build a stronger labor movement and to organize maquila workers in El Salvador. For two years, CISPES has funded the monthly salaries of FMLAR organizers in communities with minimal resources. This material aid contributed to the party's electoral breakthrough in 1997.- the FMLN won the elections in seven of the eight municipalities where the grassroots organizers were funded" This group appears very large, as it has a monthly newsletter and offices across the U.S.. in addition to being affiliated with many other activist groups.
11) Citizens Trade Campaign
Scott Nova, Director
This umbrella coalition is targeting 100 legislators, focusing on two key issues: 1) Opposition to permanent NTR; and 2) A campaign to "fix or nix" the WT0. It supports an annual review of NTR status for China.
12) Consumers International
Julian Edwards, Director General
"A global federation consisting of some 250 consumer organizations in 111 countries sent over 30 delegates from all over the world to Seattle. They call for a review of the existing agreements and their implementation before the WTO undertakes rapid liberalization. They support the continuation of attempts to resolve trade policy issues in Geneva but insist they must be met by improved transparency in the operation of the WTO and involvement in civil society. Edwards was one of the few NGO leaders asked to speak at the Ministerial. " The web site contains trade briefing papers and extensive campaign information. The group regularly monitors various governments' positions regarding the WTO. The group is based out of London and sponsors the annual World Consumers Rights Day on March 1-5.
13) Direct Action Network
Hillary McQuie, contact
"A network of local grassroots organizations and street theater groups who are mobilizing communities to creatively resist the WTO and corporate globalization. Want a new world of free and ecological society based on mutual aid and voluntary cooperation to replace the current social order."
The network appears very organized. For example, it sold "Resist the WTO" paraphernalia and even offered maps of downtown Seattle last November-The group cosponsored the Seattle protests with Global Exchange, RAN, Ruckus Society, Project Underground, National Lawyers Guild, Mexico Solidarity Project, 50 Years is Enough, CISPES, Green Party (Seattle), Earth First (Seattle), and many more. The site provides links to many web sites.
14) Earth Justice Legal Defense Fund
Patti Goldman, lawyer
"The law firm for the environment " A 501 (c) (3) organization established in 1971, it has represented more than 500 clients (national and international) at no cost, many of which are listed in this document. The group is currently representing the Sierra Club against the WTO for not protecting the sea turtle. It also represents Public Citizen in support of the EU's right to ban the import of meat containing potentially harmful additives. 'Me group has an office in Washington, D.C.
15) 50 Years is Enough
Njoki Njoroge Njeheu, Director
"US Network for Global Economic Justice is a coalition of 205 grassroots faith-based, policy, women's, social and economic justice, youth, solidarity, labor, and development organizations dedicated to the profound transformation of the World Bank and the IMF."
Based in Washington, D.C., the group organized the IMF demonstration in September 1999. The group does not seem very large, but it does receive some press coverage and collaborates with other activists. Njeheu was a participant at the follow-up seminar in Washington, D.C. last December on where the activists can go with the Seattle momentum.
16) FOCUS on the Global South
Walden Bello, Executive Director; Aileen Kwa, WTO contact
"A program of progressive development policy research and practice, dedicated to regional and global policy analysis, micro-macro linking and advocacy work FOCUS works with NGOs and people's organizations in Asia Pacific and other regions. " The group has a small staff, but has many other sister organizations such as Third World Network. Bello has authored many books and is often published in international newspapers. The organization is based out of the Philippines.
17) French Peasants Confederation
Jose Bove, Leader
Bove is a French goat farmer who tore up a McDonald's restaurant with a tractor to protest U.S. trade sanctions on Rocquefort cheese. His group claims to have 40,000 members.
18) Friends of the Earth
Brent Blackwelder, President; Andrea Durbin, Director, international programs
"... a national environmental organization dedicated to preserving the health and diversity of the planet for future generations. The largest international environmental network in the world with affiliates in 63 countries ... are already planning for the longer term [beyond Seattle}."
The group has endorsed Bill Bradley for President. It states that it is not opposed to the idea of WTO, but believes the rules need to be changed (i.e. more environmental standards). The group also believes in maintaining tariffs on forest products and is against biotechnology and OPIC.
19) Global Exchange
Kevin Danahar, Co-Founder; Medea Benjamin, Co-Founder
"A non-profit research, education, and action center dedicated to promoting people-to-people ties around the world. Working with Fair Traders across North America and throughout the world to increase awareness of Fair Trade issues and to translate that awareness into consumer activism in the global marketplace. Part of the Fair Trade Federation, an association of producers, wholesalers, and retailers, that is launching a major consumer education campaign in the U.S. The challenge is to make fair trade and corporate globalization an issue in electoral campaigns, especially in the upcoming presidential race. Another goal is to block congressional approval of China's entry into the WTO." The group advocates normal relations with Cuba, and is critical of the IMF, World Bank, NAFTA, MAI, the African Growth and Opportunity Act, and the WTO. The group appears very well organized and its web site contains many links to other organizations.
Kristen Engberg, Executive Director
This group has offices in more than 40 countries and claims to have more than 2.4 million supporters worldwide. Its web site contains links to numerous environmental organizations. Among the group's major issues are:
Bio-diversity of oceans and forests, climate change, nuclear power, toxic pollution, genetic engineering and ocean dumping.
21) Humane Society
Patricia Forkan, Executive Director
This group plans to begin an effort to collect 2001 signatures by the end of 2001 calling on all governments to stop the WTO from interfering with national environmental and health safety laws. Its web site offers educational publications, public-awareness campaigns, and activist alerts. It is an international and well-known group with headquarters in D.C. Among its major issues are: Dolphin and sea turtle conservation laws and hormone-treated beef.
22) Indigenous Environmental Network www.alphacdc.com/ien/subject.html
Tom Goldtooth, coordinator
"Coalition of grassroots Native organizations provides national, regional, local, advocacy on indigenous grassroots and tribal issues concerning environmental protection, natural resource management, and environmental health issues. Speak for themselves and are not represented by environmental groups. Indigenous environmentalists have received a mixed response on the federal level. " The coalition is in contact with the media and appears well organized. It has a U'wa Defense Working Group Action Alert on its web site, as well as links to many other WTO protest groups and indigenous groups. Its WTO link is: www.alphacdc.com/ien/intellectual_property.html#letters.
23) Indigenous Peoples' Network for Policy Research and Education
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Philippines
24) Institute for Local Self-Reliance
Neil Seldman, President; David Morris, Vice President
"Since 1974, ILSR has been dedicated to helping a broad range of citizens - including grassroots community groups, government leaders, and business entrepreneurs - develop and implement environmentally sound economic development strategies. Through research, policy initiatives, coalition building, and technical assistance, they lay the groundwork for developing humanity-scaled, sustainable economic systems. " Morris is the author of many publications and has a regular column in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The group's national headquarters is in D.C.
R.Thomas Buffenbarger, International President
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Professes the need to incorporate internationally recognized labor standards into the rules of the WTO. The IAM will lead the fight for fair trade that includes basic, fundamental human and labor rights. " IAMAW is a large union with more than 535,000 members in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Panama Canal Zone. It has recently merged with UAW and USWA and is affiliated with many other organizations such as: AFL-CIO, Canadian Labour Congress, Railway Labor Executives' Association, International Labor Organization, International Metalworkers Federation, and International Transport Workers' Federation. The organization has its headquarters in Washington, D.C. The IAM cable TV network has, " . . . more than 60 cable TV public access channels airing the 10-part series Working in America. The latest to join the IAM network is the Prince Georges County Cable TV System in Largo, Maryland".
26) International Brotherhood of Teamsters
James P. Hoffa, President
This organization is one of the largest labor unions, with 1.4 million members in the U.S. and Canada. It is committed to defeating MFN and is planning to lobby Congress and the government extensively against the WTO. The organization is headquartered in Washington, D.C.
Bill Jordan, General Secretary
The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, "has 214 affiliated organizations in 143 countries, cooperates with the International Labor Organization and the UN, in addition to having contacts with the WTO, World Bank and IMF". Some of the organization's issues are: Employment and international labor standards, tackling the multinationals, trade union rights, equality, race and migrants, trade union organization and recruitment. The organization offered a 30-page WTO strategy on its web site.
28) International Forum on Globalization
Jerry Mander, Director; Victor Mcnotti, Dir. Envirorunent Program
"Founded in 1994 of over sixty activists, scholars, economists, researchers, and writers formed to stimulate new thinking, joint activity, and public education in response to economic globalization Most of us view the process of globalization as the most extreme restructuring of the planet's social, economic and political arrangements since the Industrial Revolution, bringing with it profound effects on human life and the natural world " The group believes the WTO is " . . . one of the world's most powerful, secretive, undemocratic and dangerous bodies that weakens democracy". The group's web site offers publications and teach-ins against the WTO and has links to the sites of many other activists groups listed here.
An apparently well-organized anonymous group of radical anarchists opposed to the WTO and capitalism. It organized a massive demonstration in Seattle last November and coordinated many other activists around the world during the same time. The group's various corporate targets include: Bank of America, U.S. Bancorp, Key Bank and Washington Mutual Bank, Old Navy, Banana Republic and the GAP, NikeTown and Levi's, McDonald's, Starbucks, Warner Bros., Planet Hollywood, and Fidelity Investments (" ...major investment in Occidental Petroleum, the bane of the U'wa tribe in Colombia"). They are now planning a four-day worldwide general strike against capitalism on May 1, 2000 to be held across the city of London.
30) National Labor Committee
Charles Kemaghan, Executive Director
"A human rights advocacy group, dedicated to promoting and defending the rights of workers. Through establishing long standing working relationships with non-governmental, human rights, labor and religious organizations, primarily in Latin America, the NLC puts a human face on the global economy. The NLC educates and actively involves the public in actions aimed at ending labor abuses, improving living conditions for workers and their families and promoting the concept of a living wage and true independent monitoring." The group targets large corporations such as The Gap, Nike, Liz Claiborne, Wal-Mart, etc. "A crowded cluttered bunch of offices in the Garment District consisting of 6 people, direct a militant, low-budget, much-criticized campaign against the use of sweatshop War by large companies." -The New York Times
31) National Lawyer's Guild
Steve Goldberg, Chair, International Committee
"An association dedicated to the need for basic change in the structure of our political and economic system. Aim to bring together all those who recognize the importance of safeguarding the rights of workers, women, farmers, and minority groups." The group provided legal materials to the WT0 activists in Seattle last November. Its web site has links to the government, legal groups and associations.
32) Oxfam International
Penny Fowler, member
"An international group of 11 autonomous non-governmental organizations sharing the commitment of working for an end to the waste and injustice of poverty as well as debt relief Works primarily through local organizations in more than 100 countries. The WTO needs radical institutional reforms in order to remain credible as a multilateral organization" The group has a small staff of four in Washington, D.C. that lobbies international institutions and claims to have influenced House Banking Committee Chair Jim Leach and Congressman John LaFalce.
33) People for Free Trade
Jeremy Simer, contact
"A voluntary net-work of individual people, churches and other organizations in Victoria and Tasmania committed to fair trade with producers of goods, through the support of education and alternative trade." This group is very interested in selling tea and coffee in Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea. It has links to other fair trade advocacy organizations.
34) People's Decade for Human Rights Education
Malina Mehra, Director; Peter Leuprecht, President; Shulamith Koenig, Founder
"Develop and advance pedagogics for human rights education relevant to people's daily lives in the context of their struggles for social and economic justice and democracy." This group is pivotal in lobbying the United Nations and has many influential endorsers and advisors, including former President Jimmy Carter.
35) Peoples' Global Action
"A gathering of peoples' movements fighting corporate globalization."
This group organized a caravan of about two dozen international activists to protest the WTO in Seattle.
36) Project Underground
Danny Kennedy, Director, Steve Kretzmann, Oil Campaigner
This is a non-profit organization in Berkeley, CA that supports communities "threatened" by the mineral industries. "Working at the nexus of the environmental, human rights, and indigenous movements, they are redefining proactive public interest solidarity work for the 21th century." The group was contracted to work in defense of the U'wa Indians against Occidental Petroleum. Colleague and fellow activist, Terry Freitas, was murdered by Colombian rebels. The group appears to be very well organized and respected. It has been described by The Financial Times as "a pressure group." Its web site offers many links to sites of activists, companies, governments and associations.
37) Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch
Joan Claybrook, President; Lori Wallach, Director; Ralph Nader, Founder
"Fights for international trade and investment policies promoting government and corporate accountability, consumer health and safety, and environmental protection through research lobbying, public education and the media." Among the group's issues are: The WTO, Fast Track, AGOA, CBI, NAFTA, China and MAI.
38) Rainforest Action Network www.ran.org
Randy Hayes, President and Founder
"Works to protect the Earth's rainforests and support the rights of their inhabitants through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. " The group claims to have 25,000 active members working with environmental and human rights groups in 60 countries. This group is working to stop "destructive' fossil fuel development by Shell Oil on U'wa homeland in Colombia.
39) Ruckus Society
John Sellers, Director, Han Shan, WTO coordinator
"A non-profit California corporation organized in 1995 to provide training in the skills of non-violent civil disobedience and direct action to help environmental and human rights organizations achieve their goals- "The group's action-camp cosponsors include: International Campaign for Tibet, Project Underground, RAN, RFK Center, Friends of the Earth and Native Forest Network. The society does not necessarily advocate issues, it provides training and support to those who do. Ruckus activities have been covered and featured by media worldwide.
40) Sheet Metal Workers Union
Michael J. Sullivan, President; Vincent A. Panvini, Director of Government Affairs
The union consists of 140,000 members in 200 affiliated local unions in the U.S. and Canada. The headquarters are in Washington, D.C.
41) Sierra Club www.sierraclub.org
Carl Pope, Executive Director
The group's stated mission: "To explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth, to practice and promote the responsible use of the earth's ecosystems and resources, to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environments." The group's web site contains a "Vote Watch", newsletters, daily updates, and a magazine.
42) Sierra Club's Responsible Trade Program
Dan Seligman, Director
This group's issues include: Forests, invasive species, rainforests, sea turtles, food safety, no NAFTA or MAI for Africa. It is located in Washington, D.C. and its officials have testified before Congress. Its web site features many books and links to many organizations listed in this document, in addition to: www.jimhightower.com (a progressive populist radio commentator), www.rtk.net/preamble (The Preamble Center) and mai.flora.org.
43) Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice
Richard Moore, contact
This group represents low-income, rural minorities. "Objects to the sweeping powers of the WTO to over-ride the laws of nations, states, and tribes." The group states that it wants fair trade and "... a WTO with principles."
44) Third World Network
Martin Khor, Director
"An independent non-profit international network of organizations and individuals involved in issues relating to development, the Third World and North-South issues. They represents southern interests and perspectives at international forum such as the UN conferences and processes." The group's issues include: The WTO, UTNCTAD, biotechnology, biodiversity, the environment, human rights, gender issues, health, agriculture, UN/peace and security, economics, and third world resurgence.
Ann Hoffman, Legislative Director Chris Chafe, Political Action contact Union of Needle Traders, Industrial and Textile Employees. "Has fought aggressively for workers' rights, against sweatshops, and against corporate greed " This union represents workers in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. UNITE is against the WTO and has started telephoning members of Congress opposing permanent NTR status for China, and CBI (has said it will try to "kill" the bill in 2000). The web site has links to the AFL-CIO and Congressional sites. The union appears very organized and offers extensive information on how workers can mobilize to lobby Congress.
46) United Automobile Workers
Steve Yokich, President
This group states that it stands for justice for working people. It has an extensive web site devoted to contacting members of Congress. The union has joined forces with the Steelworkers and Machinists unions. It is against MAI, the WTO and MFN.
47) United Farmworkers of America
Rudy Arredondo, Manager in Washington, D.C.
This group advocates "... bringing justice to farm workers". The group seems to be relatively organized. Its web site provides information on how to lobby Congress as well as many links to labor unions, the government, media, contract companies and Hispanic groups.
48) United Steelworkers of America
George Becker, President
"Represents over 700, 000 workers in the U.S. and Canada. One of the most diversified and effective unions in the nation." The union states that it will continue to challenge the WTO and supports an annual review of NTR status for China instead of a permanent one. It has recently merged with IAM and UAW. Its web site includes information on how to contact members of Congress.
49) United Students Against Sweatshops
Eric Brakken, organizer
"An international coalition devoted to stopping sweatshop labor. Demand that their universities take responsibility for the conditions under which their licensed apparel is made by adopting Codes of Conduct to regulate the behavior of their manufacturers." The group works to raise awareness about sweatshops on college campuses across the U.S.