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by Bud Buck, 12/03/99

Dc: As everyone is well aware, the international trade talks of the Better Barter Board have drawn some protesters, but there are some protesters protesting the protesters. Bud Buck Reports.

(sfx: group chanting)

Group: When you were there, we were here. Out of towners to the rear!
We're already in the way. Make your point another day!

Bud: The sound of protesters upset about others taking their place. The market for creative non violence has gone global, and some American activists are feeling marginalized. Candy Starflower is a seasoned performer of "street theater."

Candy: We have a thing where we portray the Better Barter Board as a huge Godzilla trampling the rights of workers and the environment? I play Tokyo. It's really powerful. And we were going to do it on that street corner there ... it's our corner, you know? But when we showed up to stage our protest, there was already a street theater group from Peru doing a dramatic re-enactment of the Conquest of the Incas by Pizarro with helmets and everything. The parallels were really ... mighty.
I was moved.

Bud: And how did they like your street theater?

Candy: We never got to do ours. They kinda held the stage. They've got a lot of stamina ... they didn't need to break for lunch or anything. I felt kinda ... useless. Obsolete, even.

Bud: Increasingly, the issues that shape our world and the forces that influence them are global ... meaning protesters from everywhere have a stake in what happens in our towns. Too often, angry local protesters and activists are left out in the cold, making them more angry that lower maintenance non violent demonstrators from overseas have taken over their protesting jobs.

Protester 1: This is what I do. I'm good at it. I need to eat, sure, but nothing extravagant. But you get these protesters from really poor countries and they'll come sit on a picket line and argue with corporate oppressors all day long for, like, five grains of rice! How can I compete?

Protester 2: I went to get arrested and they said the jail was full of people from France and Australia! And those are my local jail cells. If I can't get arrested in my own town, what's the world coming to?

Bud: It's become so bad there's a proposal on the table to impose tariffs on foreign demonstrators to create more domestic opportunities for homegrown activists to hone their craft. One lawmaker looking at it closely is Congressman Loomis Beechly.

Beechly: (phone) I think it's shameful that here in the land of the free to get in the way and the home of the brave enough to go limp in the street, our people are being replaced by these activists from other countries. We need to really support our anti-whatever forces and make sure that when they go out there to be against something, we're standing behind them.

Nigel: Oh I don't want to say Americans aren't tough enough.

Bud: Nigel Polfuss coordinates civil actions for Bothering Over Borders.

Nigel: But I have noticed that after we've been engaged for 15 hours or so in an action to thwart the evil machinations of corporate greed, my activists from the poorer countries are eager for more, while my people from the U.S. would like to go have a cappuccino and watch themselves on TV.

Bud: So you're saying we're "soft?"

Nigel: I'm saying that when the police come to round us up, some of us go limp, and some of us already are limp.

Bud: Will we be able to lead the world into a new era of Global protest, or will American activists be relegated to a secondary role, as the also sat?
Time Will Tell. This is Bud Buck.

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