Anti GMO demonstrators

Sacramento Demonstration Against World Trade Organization MeetingIt was a cool day for summer and at first I thought there was an unseasonable fog bank over Sacramento as I drove down from the foothills. But, when I reached the county line, I saw it was brown. Walking toward the Capitol, where about 2,500 demonstrators against the World Trade Organization agricultural ministers’ meeting were gathered, I noticed, through the brown smog, helicopters dodging among tall bank buildings, like hawks among houses of cards.Although I didn’t associate the demonstrators with the capitol, I enjoyed the social disjunction and was amused watching an overweight legislative staffer wend his way through the crowd, babbling cynically into his cell phone. I worked in the capitol before the invention of the cell phone. Later, I lived in Mendocino County, took an interest in the Timber Wars from Redwood Summer in 1990 to my arrest fro trespass at Headwaters in 1995, so the crowd looked to me as normal as a north coast Saturday night dance. And the cops looked as normal as martial law in Round Valley during the manhunt for Bear Lincoln.The banners behind the speakers sported Rasta colors -- green, yellow, red -- and the signs were suitably belligerent to the situation: Globalization is a fraud, Corporate Agribiz=Poison for Profit, I was arrested for peace, The Christian Right and the Business Right: An Alliance Made in Hell.Strolling in the crowd, I noticed: tie-dye, organic cotton, sandals, very Third World straw hats; the vaguely goat-eyed look young men get on vegan diets and whole, pure thoughts; the cock-certain, us-and-you look of the older true believers; drum circles everywhere; someone’s little daughter dressed like a White Fly, dancing; exhortations from the speakers: come on folks, we know all this American political economy is a fraud, we’ve always known it is a fraud, America is a fraud.What I wasn’t prepared for was my sense of the banality of anger. It’s everywhere It have been for so long it seemed more familiar, certainly, than a legislative committee room full of lobbyists, which is mainly calculated hypocrisy.Here is a new counter culture, on the street, still largely white, better educated at least scientifically than their elected officials, but containing the really beautiful people, the both-and Americans -- black-and-white Americans, latino-and-chinese Americans, filipino-and-black Americans. Call them the mulitcultural hippie environmentalists, the tree-huggers, the seed eaters, the radicals. Call them whatever you want and you won’t have named them. Surround them with their parasites, the police, whose attire was truly Swartzneggerian -- even their horses have TAC squad visors now. Watch their leaders try to control them. Nobody will quite get it right because it is alive and the beat goes on.I asked a man carrying a tom-tom drum what drums meant to him. He said drumming had become a symbol for opposition to corporate power. Drummers form circles and the drums build community, he said and they did.