Members from XRPDX went up to Seattle in September to protest some of the working sessions of the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation—a horrific lineup of governments and corporations working behind closed doors to weaken environmental and labor laws under the umbrella of so-called “free trade” which in reality creates impoverished, indentured servitude in labor camps with multiple human rights violations.
November was the culmination of organizing to expose APEC and bring it to the realm of public consciousness at the finale in San Francisco. In both cases, local events organized by Kalikasan (a local Phillipines climate justice support group) had for weeks been educating, organizing, and training a contingent along with People over Profit a coalition of groups working against neocolonial policies that negatively affect the global south and workers here in the US.
XRPDX was also in support of West coast chapters of Extinction Rebellion who had also been preparing in coalition for APEC for months. In both Seattle and San Francisco, a large-scale summit with educational workshops was held on Saturday followed by public marches throughout town of thousands (between 8- 10K in San Francisco). In San Francisco, one could see the benefit of affinity group organizing at work.
During the week, different groups chased Marcos and other dictator’s limousines around town. Every day there were huge Palestinian cease fire rallies. The Tibetans and Chinese human rights groups dogged Xi. On Wednesday, over 1000 climate activists participated in coordinated groups of 30-40 blocking various intersections and turning back delegates’ vehicles from the conference. We showed up for visual projections and loud protests at Biden’s dinners. And basically because of the numbers, even the thousands of law enforcement that had been brought in by the City stayed mostly calm as SF did not want to have it turn into a fiasco and draw even more attention and because the protests were within our civil liberties.
We were able to educate everyday people about the injustices going on and it was inspiring to see what a large group could accomplish when organized by Affinity groups. The actions were not without risks, there were few arrests, but one activist was seriously injured by an irate bystander and there was some ‘intimidation by vehicle’ that transpired. On one of the last day of APEC meetings, a large Palestinian support contingent shut down the Bay bridge by driving on, blocking with their vehicles and throwing their keys dramatically into the Bay!