Jane Wto Women And Civil Disobedience


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An overview of my ethnographic research on the global justice movement and high-risk direct action participants.

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  • Jane Wto Women And Civil Disobedience

    1. 1. Jane WTO: Women and Civil Disobedience Beverly Yuen Thompson, Ph.D. Women’s Studies & Sociology Presentation Florida International University Miami, 2007
    2. 2. Genesis <ul><li>Globalization, social movements, and women </li></ul><ul><li>Globalization and women </li></ul><ul><li>Global Justice Movement fieldwork </li></ul><ul><li>Focus: female leadership, mass protest episodes, civil disobedience, and jail resistance </li></ul>
    3. 3. Gender and Globalization <ul><li>Women are the global poor </li></ul><ul><li>Development money doesn’t trickle down to women </li></ul><ul><li>Gender-specific migration </li></ul><ul><li>Gender-specific industries </li></ul><ul><li>Cuts in social programs (school/health) severely impact women and children </li></ul>
    4. 4. The Global Justice Movement <ul><li>Long history in the global south “IMF riots” </li></ul><ul><li>Free trade v. Fair trade </li></ul><ul><li>World trade meetings are closed to the public </li></ul><ul><li>The street is the only place for the people to voice their concerns </li></ul><ul><li>They are arrested en mass on charges that are later dropped </li></ul><ul><li>This intimidates civil participation and silences the people </li></ul>
    5. 5. Social Movement Theory <ul><li>Sidney Tarrow: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Protests have a life-cycle. There is a “high point of the wave” that produces the appearance of spontaneous collective action. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Charles Tilly: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>New tactical innovations are created during these high points, created on the margins. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Women and Leadership in Social Movements <ul><li>Women have always been involved in social movements </li></ul><ul><li>Historical representations more lacking than the reality </li></ul><ul><li>Male leadership emphasized </li></ul><ul><li>Definitions of leadership normalizes male models </li></ul><ul><li>Women participate in high-risk direct action </li></ul>
    7. 7. Methodology <ul><li>Historical Lineage </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Civil Rights </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Anti-nuclear </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Global Justice </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Ethnography </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Field research at all major U.S. protests: 1999-2004 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Worked with three law collectives during demonstrations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Participated in jail solidarity in DC and in LA </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Interviewed 50 people (arrestees and legal workers) </li></ul></ul></ul>
    8. 8. History <ul><li>The IWW “soap boxing” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Emma Goldman and Mother Jones arrested </li></ul></ul></ul>
    9. 9. History <ul><li>Civil Rights Movement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rosa Parks arrested </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. History <ul><li>Anti-nuclear movement </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Women’s Peace Camp </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Katya Komasaruk arrested </li></ul></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Present <ul><li>The Global Justice Movement </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Appears in global north in Seattle 1999 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“Teamsters and turtles together at last” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mass demonstrations at each summit </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mass arrests </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>jail solidarity used </li></ul></ul></ul>
    12. 12. “ Jane WTO” and Jail Solidarity <ul><li>WTO protests in Seattle, 1999 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Around 600 protesters arrested </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They used “jail solidarity”: or continued direct action to achieve demands of charges dropped, immediate release, all equal charges </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Refused to provide names </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Physical non-compliance </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hunger striking </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Demand lawyers and jury trials </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Outside support/publicity </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Sarah Kerr: “Jane and John WTO” </li></ul><ul><li>Jail Solidarity succeeds </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Released after five days </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Nearly all charges dropped </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>City loses court battle two years later and pays fine </li></ul></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Jail Solidarity <ul><li>Jail Solidarity became the successful new tactic </li></ul><ul><li>It is utilized at the following national protests: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ A16” IMF/World Bank in DC April 2000 (156 arrests) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Republican National Convention in Philly 2000 (~420 arrests) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Democratic National Convention in LA 2000 (~56 arrests) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>School of the Americas in Georgia 2001 (~40) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>World Economic Forum in NYC in 2002 (~201) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Another round of national protests stops using jail solidarity, becomes less successful and repressed by police </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Anti-war protest in DC 2002 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>IMF/World Bank in DC 2002 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Republican National Convention in NYC 2004 </li></ul></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Jail Solidarity Questions <ul><li>Is our freedom of speech really protected? </li></ul><ul><li>Are women and racial minorities represented in leadership positions? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the jail solidarity experience? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the final outcome? </li></ul>
    15. 15. Freedom of Speech <ul><li>The state’s response to large-scale demonstrations at globalization summits has been to mass arrest, clear the streets, and then release protesters and drop the charges. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pre-emptive arrests </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sweeping arrests </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Designated “free speech zones” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Charges later dropped/cities lose civil suits </li></ul></ul></ul>
    16. 16. Police Violence <ul><li>Weapons on the streets </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Tear gas </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Rubber bullets </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Concussion grenades </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Batons </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Philly—Eli: “Brutality in the jails” </li></ul><ul><li>LA— Jane Doe Statement: “Ramparts Police Station action” </li></ul>
    17. 17. The Women’s Jail Experience <ul><li>Vanessa: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ It was the first time we went into the holding cell for court and it was standing room only, so packed. We walked in there…” (2001). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Eli: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ We’re developing amazing communication skills for being in isolated cells. The women were really trying to communicate…” (2002). </li></ul></ul>
    18. 18. Law Collectives <ul><li>Law collectives: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Are comprised of volunteer activists </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Provide a liaison between lawyers and arrestees </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Provide pre-protest trainings on civil disobedience, jail solidarity, and “know your rights” trainings. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Provide legal support during the protest, in the streets, establish an office to take calls from jail </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Assist in organizing the legal defense and court visits </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Conduct the follow-up work, often taking years with court dates of defendants and filing civil suits against the city and police. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>From mobile legal collective to social movement of law collectives </li></ul></ul></ul>
    19. 19. Gender and Race <ul><li>Global Justice Movement has good representation of women in all levels of involvement. </li></ul><ul><li>Global Justice Movement has poor representation of racial/ethnic minorities. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Martinez (2002) estimates 5%. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Globalization disproportionately affects people of color, yet northern movement mostly white. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Movement refers to itself as white. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Interviewees mostly white. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    20. 20. The Future of Jail Solidarity <ul><li>Participation Outcomes </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Brought attention to Global Justice issues </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Often life transforming experience for activists </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Education on prison industrial complex </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Potentially provides links between prisoners and activists with resources </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>May cultivate connection between Global Justice and prison abolitionist movements. “Chris” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>End of Cycle </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Authorities are able to counteract jail solidarity </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Social movements become more grassroots, community based, move away from summit hopping. “Dee” </li></ul></ul></ul>
    21. 21. Have you ever been to the D.C. jail At the very, very bottom of the justice system? There you’ll find quite a few resisters, Who go by the name of Jane. If you do, that’s us, We’re Jane Doe. We crossed the line, got pepper sprayed and now we’re in cell 48 , Solidarity. It’s working! --Jane Doe (Washington DC 2000)