The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday May 27th

Roadshow Endorses Activism

Chain your neck to the chancellor's leg.

The Turning Point Roadshow addressed this and other techniques during its visit to UNC, part of a nine-state, 30-stop tour of the Southeast protesting economic globalization and international trade pacts such as the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Such agreements, its members say, drive "a race to the bottom" that has companies setting up shop in countries where regulations for working conditions, wages and the environment are the lowest.

The Roadshow's three representatives held a series of workshops on topics ranging from "Stopping the Next Round of Globalization" to "Direct Action 101" on Wednesday afternoon. They also gave a keynote speech at Franklin Street's Internationalist Books on Tuesday night and met with members of campus activist groups in Ehringhaus Residence Hall on Wednesday night.

In the "Direct Action 101" workshop, participants were instructed that when some protesters chain themselves in a standing position, make sure others are available to give backrubs and act as police liaisons.

Participant John Johnson recalled mass arrests and protests in which demonstrators chained themselves to the access road used by loggers.

Johnson said the anti-globalization movement is centered on the belief that corporate power is extending across the planet.

He blames the domination of American politics by large corporate campaign contributions, the use of government subsidies to wage economic warfare, and free-trade agreements for poor working conditions and wages in developing nations. "We try to generate discussions through issues-based workshops," Johnson said.

"We want to use the Roadshow to provide education and inspiration."

The anti-globalization movement received national attention in November 1999 when protests outside a World Trade Organization convention in Seattle forced opening ceremonies to be canceled and might have emboldened representatives from Third World countries.

Although none of the Roadshow presenters attended the Seattle protests, all participated in subsequent ones in Washington, D.C., a particularly exciting experience for speaker Solomon Lawrence.

Lawrence spoke at the workshop "Stopping the Next Round of Globalization."

"At the height of the 1960s Vietnam protests, they got 20,000 people in the streets," he said. "We did that last year and this is by no means the height of our movement."

Senior Gwen Foisbie-Fulton, a member of Earth First, attended the conference because her organization's philosophy matches that of the presenters.

"We're a direct action-based environmentalist group, and we're very concerned with free trade in general," she said. "It causes a total overriding of environmental laws in this country and every country."

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