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Report # 2000/08


August 22, 2000

This paper uses open sources to examine any topic with the potential to cause threats to public or national security


1. Shock and surprise were widespread in the wake of the disruptive protests and associated violence that characterized the Seattle World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference, 29 November-3 December, 1999. Yet the demonstrations were not something new, nor was the principal target—multinational corporate power—an unexpected focus. Opposition to corporate globalization has been growing for several years, a trend underscored by increasing media attention since 1995. Security agencies at Seattle, however, were caught off-guard by the large number of demonstrators and scope of representation, combined with the use of sophisticated methods and technology that effectively shut down the Conference.

2. Prior to Seattle, the most recent associated event occurred six months earlier, on 18 June, 1999, when protests known as “J18” were organized to coincide with the G8 Economic Summit in Cologne, Germany. The focal point was the City of London, where a march of 2000 people degenerated into a riot in which 42 people were injured and damage was estimated at one million pounds sterling.(1) But the activities were not confined to London; cities in North America and Europe also were involved, and in most cases financial districts were targeted.

3. Bringing together a broad spectrum of interests and agendas, J18 incorporated both people and technology. While the former demonstrated on the streets, the latter featured in cyberattacks against business institutions. For five hours, at least 20 companies were subjected to more than 10,000 attacks by hackers(2). Adding a sense of insult to injury, the Internet was the means by which the concept of J18 originated, and by which the event was ultimately orchestrated.

4. Neither J18 nor the WTO protest in Seattle, or its counterpart, A16, the International Monetary Fund/World Bank (IMF/WB) demonstration five months later in Washington, DC, were unique, one-off events. As exemplified by further protest activity at the Organization of American States (OAS) Ministerial Meeting in Windsor, and the World Petroleum Conference (WPC) in Calgary, similar incidents can be expected to occur in various forms and with varying degrees of intensity, aiming at the same target—corporate power—for the foreseeable future. Reminiscent of the Vietnam and anti-nuclear protest era of the ‘60s and ‘70s, the activities are global in scope, international in locale, and have involved sites in Canada on several occasions.


5. Meetings of international monetary, trade and environmental organizations, which in the past incited little or no protest interest, are now drawing the attention of thousands of anti-globalization activists. Representing a broad spectrum of groups, lobbyists, and overlapping networks, including some violent extremists whose presence raises security concerns, they share a mutual antipathy—that of multinational corporate power. Often described as more influential and stronger than government, some corporations boast budgets larger than the gross domestic product (GDP) of many nations: “...of the top hundred economies, fifty-one are multinationals and only forty-nine are countries.”(3)

6. Alleged abuse of corporate power by multinationals is the basic focus of protest activity. Large corporations with international undertakings stand accused of social injustice, unfair labour practices— including slave labour wages, living and working conditions—as well as a lack of concern for the environment, mismanagement of natural resources, and ecological damage. Anti-globalization demonstrations have achieved worldwide support partly because the target, per se, its representatives, and its effects are global in nature. Major brand names, among them Nike, Starbucks, McDonalds, and Shell Oil, are principal targets, ironically because their massive advertising campaigns designed to engender public prominence have been successful—and that status is being used to highlight the charges brought against them.

7. Protest objectives extend beyond the claimed corporate impropriety, however. Multinational economic institutions, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Bank (WB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), are seen as establishing, monitoring, and rendering judgements on global trade practices, and are viewed as the spearheads of economic globalization. These institutions, considered to be the servants of corporate interests, exercising more power than elected governments and interested only in the profit motive, have increasingly become principal demonstration targets. Underlying the anti-globalization theme is criticism of the capitalist philosophy, a stance promoted once again by left-of-centre activists and militant anarchists.

8. The global parameters have encouraged disparate groups and individuals to participate in the demonstrations. In Seattle and Washington, for example, the wide variety of parading malcontents evoked the eclectic ambience of a “protest county fair.” Circumstances also have promoted the involvement of fringe extremists who espouse violence, largely represented by Black Bloc anarchists and factions of militant animal-rights and environmental activists. The melding of various elements and establishing of strange-bedfellow ties at individual demonstrations have contributed both to the impact and the unique character of the events.


The Issues

9. The growing trend toward anti-globalization activism is directed, first, against “big business”—multinational corporate power—and, second, against “big money”—global agreements on economic growth. Allegations of exploitive labour and human-rights abuses reach back to the mid-1990s when a number of corporations producing major brand name products, such as Nike sneakers, Gap jeans, and Starbucks coffee, were accused of union-busting, sweatshop working conditions, and child labour practices on a global scale. Among other well-known multinationals, McDonalds, Monsanto, and Shell Oil were indicted for similar faults. The litany of castigation ranges across a broad spectrum, including paying low wages, offering minimal health benefits, depleting old-growth and rain forests, using unsafe pesticides, bio-engineering agriculture crops, violating animal rights, and colluding with violent and repressive regimes.

10. Accusations against the multinationals continue—students still gather in Eugene, Oregon, the home of Nike, to protest the corporate giant’s Third World labour practices—but increasingly they are being supplemented by demonstrations against such institutions as the World Trade Organization (WTO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank (WB). Protagonists claim these establishments promote and facilitate corporate power and that elected governments are being overshadowed in the political arena by global economic institutions and their efforts to direct and expand economic growth. Activists, however, are divided in their anti-globalization position. The larger segment supports restructuring corporations to reflect accountability and transparency; the smaller segment, while also supporting these objectives, actively promotes the total demise of global structures including the WTO. Anarchist activists and some environmentalists fall in the latter category.

11. The philosophy of capitalism also is under attack, facing charges that it is ignoring the social welfare of individuals, and destroying cultures and the ecology in the quest for growth and profit. As prominent corporate names come under fire, making for good publicity and media attention, groups such as animal-rights activists and environmental protection advocates vie for an opportunity to share the spotlight, many making similar claims about exploitation. Some observers term the situation the “rise of the New New Left”(4) and draw comparisons to the 1968 Parisian “summer of the barricades.” The unifying elements on this occasion, however, are the powers of the corporations, name-brands, globalization, and the interests of capital, in opposition to the welfare of workers, exploitation of the ecology, and a range of collateral issues. Many factors are involved, with certain incidents cited as triggers, among them the death of Nigerian activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, and the campaigns against Kathy Lee sportswear, Wal-Mart, Mattel and Disney, and Shell and Chevron Oil Companies, which draw attention to the claims of the protesters and give substantive meaning to the demonstrations.

12. In her book, No Logo, Canadian Naomi Klein claims

...corporate investment in the Third World was seen a key to alleviating poverty and misery. By 1996, however, that concept was being openly questioned, and it was recognized that many governments in the developing world were protecting lucrative investments—mines, dams, oil fields, power plants and export processing zones—by deliberately turning a blind eye to egregious rights violations by foreign corporations against their people.(5)

Further, she states:

At the heart of this convergence of anticorporate the recognition that corporations are much more than purveyors of the products we all want; they are also the most powerful political forces of our time....So although the media often describe campaigns like the one against Nike as “consumer boycotts,” that tells only part of the story. It is more accurate to describe them as political campaigns that use consumer goods as readily accessible targets, as public-relations levers and as popular-education tools.(6)

13. Although multinational corporations and international trade institutions are the subjects of criticism, not all observers share a negative perspective. Many commentaries are published which speak in favour of beneficial and positive accomplishments, especially in relation to the international institutions. The concept of free trade is just one topic which has been favourably addressed:

Global free trade promotes global economic growth. It creates jobs, makes companies more competitive, and lowers prices for consumers. It also provides poor countries, through infusions of foreign capital and technology, with the chance to develop economically and, by spreading prosperity, creates the conditions in which democracy and respect for human rights may flourish.(7)

14. One relatively small but vocal and violent protest element is the militant anarchist faction, often identified as the Black Bloc. Considered to be exponents of a virtually defunct philosophy, anarchists received a fillip for their cause in 1995 when the Unabomber’s political manifesto was published. Paradoxically, the manifesto identified technology as a major source of the world’s ills and called for the violent destruction of the system, especially the Internet, which in large measure has contributed to promoting the anarchist message worldwide. Although some members of the anarchist milieu believe that a peaceful, ethical approach should be followed, many defend the use of violence as the only means to achieve the classic anarchist society based on small independent communities that function without elected leaders.

15. While most demonstration participants and members of protest groups seek to conduct their activities in a peaceful, legitimate manner, militants and extremists have other ideas. The radical, extremist participants represented at the demonstrations—whatever their cause—believe the standard forms of protest—marching, rhetoric, and placard-waving—have failed to achieve anything of importance. They believe it is necessary to undertake “direct action” by inflicting damage on those corporations that extend the reach of global trade and technology at the expense of the Earth and its poorest citizens. Some of the more aggressive frequently resort to climbing and rapelling techniques to scale buildings and other lofty sites to conduct sit-ins or hang banners for publicity purposes. Extremists—often anarchists, animal-rights supporters, or environmentalists—indulge in such violent actions as smashing windows, setting fires, or trashing shops and fast-food outlets.

16. No matter the fundamental viewpoint, pro or con, involving globalization, concerns on the part of law enforcement and security agencies are very real. While individuals and groups have a right to legitimate protest, including non-violent demonstrations whatever their size, they do not have the right to close down political meetings. Writing in the The Ottawa Citizen, two professors from Carleton University have said:

Democracies have the right and the responsibility to protect free expression and lawful assembly. This includes rights for activists and critics. It also includes the rights of elected officials to assemble and express their views. The tyranny of small groups, minorities or even majorities to prevent the exercise of such rights by trying to shut down meetings is unacceptable in a democracy.(8)


17. Diversity is a major characteristic of anti-globalization protests and demonstrations, which are often described as “multi-generational, multi-class, and multi-issue”(9). Participants represent a variety of issues and not all are pursuing globalization as their primary target. For some protesters, anti-globalization is a principal concern, but for others it is merely a shared goal, with the demonstrations simply a means to an end. That is, the combination of groups and participants coming together creates a powerful impression and an impact out of all proportion with their individual strengths. The melding of the various groups into one large body implies power, and attracts attention and publicity, which, in turn, draws more and more participants. Many groups and individuals take part largely because of the attention and publicity which are generated, almost in the manner of self-generating growth. Seattle and Washington reflect how large the antagonistic audience has become, and the lengths to which participants will go in their desire to shut down or impede the spread of globalization. It is an issue with significantly more supporters from the left than the right, and features a large component of youth.

18. To some degree, participation at protests and demonstrations depends upon the subject of the targeted meeting or conference. Labour had serious concerns about the proposals scheduled to be discussed at Seattle’s WTO Meeting—consequently labour was well represented, well organized, and contributed to the protest funding arrangements. The WB/IMF Meeting in Washington, however, was of less interest to labour, drew a much smaller number of labour supporters, and prompted a much lower labour profile. The OAS meeting in Windsor also raised labour’s concerns, but when it became evident that some of the more contentious issues were not on the agenda, interest waned. As well, because Windsor is largely a labour town , it did not behoove labour organizers to create a bad impression. Differences of opinion do exist and schisms do impact on attendance and activity at demonstrations; during the OAS Conference in Windsor, for example, labour representatives attempted to prevent the more violent protesters from storming police barricades.

19. Protesters represent a broad spectrum of causes and goals—environmentalists, animal-rights supporters, union members, human-rights activists, anarchists, even the White supremacist milieu. But with the exception of large and prominent organizations, e.g., Greenpeace, the names or titles of groups are not significant. Many groups are merely splinters, have few members, are formed briefly for the need of the moment, change their names frequently, or are located in a specific region; in many cases, individuals are members of several groups at the same time or espouse various causes. Of more importance are the causes and motivations, per se, which are represented by the various groups and which provide an indication of the likely type of protest activity that might be expected at a demonstration.

20. Some relatively well-known organizations and causes often are represented at anti-globalization demonstrations: the AFL-CIO, appearing on behalf of labour’s interests, and People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), one of several animal-rights support groups. Similarly, Rainforest Action Network, Earth First!, and the Sierra Club advocate environmentalism, and Global Exchange, Direct Action Network, Nader’s Group, Radical Roots, and Global Trade Watch uphold the human-rights banner. Two organizations which have materialized in recent years and play a significant role are the California-based Ruckus Society, and the Calgary-based Co-Motion Action. Both specialize in training protesters and organizing and managing demonstrations, aspects discussed in greater detail below (see: Tactics and Technology).

21. The more militant and violent protesters belong to extremist elements associated with many of the causes, especially environmentalist, animal-rights, and anti-abortion activists. Extremists currently achieving the most notoriety are found among anarchists and members of the Third Position. The former are represented in part by the Black Bloc, the Anarchist News Service, the Black Army Faction, and Anarchist Action Collective. Individuals identified as members of the Black Bloc were believed responsible for much of the violence in Seattle and, to a lesser extent, in Washington. The Black Bloc is a loosely organized cluster of anarchist affinity groups and individuals, estimated in North America to number a few hundred, who come together to participate in protests and demonstrations(10). The Third Position, largely a European phenomenon but spreading rapidly to the USA, is a curious mixture of extreme Left and Right political motivations which include the use of violent means of protest(11).

Tactics and Technology

22. While diversity has contributed to modernizing and strengthening protests and demonstrations, new tactics and technology, collectively and individually, have radically changed the face of protest activity and generated renewed life in the reality of demonstrations. Gone are old-style gatherings confined to waving placards and banners, declaiming speakers, and moderate, controlled marches in specific locations. Not unlike the massive and often vigourous Out of Vietnam and Ban the Bomb protests of the ‘60s and ‘70s decades, today’s demonstrations, resurrecting the anarchist theme of “direct action,” employ a host of novel methodologies that have given a whole new complexion to the nature of the protests. The development and implementation of new tactics are a direct result of the impact of new technology and the ability of organizers to use it to their best advantage.

23. Creating the foundation for dramatic change, the Internet has had a profound impact—in part by enabling organizers to quickly and easily arrange demonstrations and protests, worldwide if necessary. Individuals and groups now are able to establish dates, share experiences, accept responsibilities, arrange logistics, and initiate a myriad of other taskings that would have been impossible to manage readily and rapidly in the past. International protests and demonstrations can be organized for the same date and time, so that a series of protests take place in concert. The Internet has breathed new life into the anarchist philosophy, permitting communication and coordination without the need for a central source of command, and facilitating coordinated actions with minimal resources and bureaucracy. It has allowed groups and individuals to cement bonds, file e-mail reports of perceived successes, and recruit members.

24. Anti-globalists aim by force of numbers to shut down targeted meetings and, in the process, paralyze free movement in a host city. In the short term, they carry an economic impact, a form of sabotage long endorsed by environmental activists. In the months prior to a campaign, activists attend extensive training and educational courses associated with proposed protests and demonstrations. By organizing counter summits to run concurrently with international events, as was done during the June, 2000, World Petroleum Congress in Calgary, activists ensure involvement. Pre-event lectures include highly emotive subjects, such as the execution of activist Ken Saro-Wiwa by the Nigerian government in 1995, and human-rights conditions in Bolivia and Guatemala. Idealism plays a large role, with protesters becoming more and more knowledgeable about their subject and sophisticated in their methodology, using travelling “road shows” and teach-ins to increase their effectiveness.

25. The new protest phenomenon has been characterized by the broad range of interests which have come together to conduct the demonstrations with minimal dissension. “Reclaim The Streets,” a UK-based initiative that originated with street parties or “raves” in the mid-1990s, is a tactical concept that protesters have adopted to promote their causes en masse(12), and which gave rise to the massive gatherings at Seattle and Washington. The methodology has been remarkable in terms of organization, especially because a central “director” is not evident and, in part, the resulting lack of infighting has been the secret of success. Like the Internet itself, the anti-globalist movement is a body that manages to survive and even thrive without a head. However, radical elements and extremists are taking advantage both of the absence of a controlling element and the events themselves to indulge in violence, which is not the stated intent of demonstration participants.

26. One of the more impressive innovations has been the method of organizing, arranging, and directing the operational and administrative activities associated with the demonstrations—accomplished effectively without the obvious influence of central authority, command, or control. In many ways, the system is very similar to that advocated by anarchists of the libertarian socialist philosophy. Activities begin with like-minded individuals who gather in affinity groups across the country, plan their roles, and travel to the site of the demonstration. Once at the site, they join with other like-minded affinity groups to form clusters and to select a spokesperson who attends the daily spokescouncil. At the latter, discussions are held and information passed concerning operational and administrative activities—arrangements for accommodation, feeding, legal advice, types of actions to be implemented. Locations are chosen for certain activities and agreements reached concerning the types of protest actions to be undertaken, although complete agreement is not always achieved—the more militant or extremist elements usually do as they please.

27. Some clusters undertake specific taskings and responsibilities, such as securing food, transportation, and accommodation, making legal arrangements, and forming into working groups to cope with the range of logistical, administrative, and operational requirements necessary for a successful protest (e.g., media, training, legal, transportation, issues, permitted actions, scenarios, propaganda, medical, fundraising, communications). Prior to the Washington IMF/WB demonstration, a number of affinity groups met several months in advance, as did representatives of the spokescouncil and the working groups. Some sponsors, representatives of labour organizations, and a broad range of causes formed coalitions for the purpose of “mobilizing” participants. Again, the availability of the Internet permitted them to share ideas, experiences, and problems from a global perspective.

28. Cellphones constitute a basic means of communication and control, allowing protest organizers to employ the concepts of mobility and reserves and to move groups from place to place as needed. The mobility of demonstrators makes it difficult for law enforcement and security personnel to attempt to offset their opponents through the presence of overwhelming numbers. It is now necessary for security to be equally mobile, capable of readily deploying reserves, monitoring the communications of protesters, and, whenever possible, anticipating the intentions of the demonstrators. In some cases, the extremist elements, e.g., Black Bloc anarchists, have used the ranks of moderate protesters as shields to prevent law enforcement personnel from viewing violent activities and from getting into position to stop the damage.

29. Protesters have learned to employ both kerosene and vinegar-soaked rags for anti-tear gas and anti-pepper spray purposes, and to use a combination of chicken wire, PVC pipe, and linked arms to create almost immoveable street barricades. As well, a technique which harks back at least three decades to anti-nuclear and Left and Right Wing demonstrations in Great Britain, the renewed use of ball bearings and marbles against police horses has been suggested. Among the use of new technologies, Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) is the preferred means of encrypting communications on the Internet. As well, the anti-globalists have adopted media-savvy techniques developed and refined by environmental activists. For example, during the 26-30 March, 2000, BIO 2000 biotechnology conference held in Boston, protestors against genetically modified food set up the ‘Boston Independent Media Centre,’ which posted photos, stories and audio clips on its Web site throughout the week of protests.

30. The Ruckus Society, a Berkeley, California-based group formed in 1995, has made a specialty of training protesters to meet the challenges encountered in demonstrating effectively, e.g., the placement of banners and individuals in critical locations, overcoming obstacles, and evading security controls. Ruckus played a leading role in preparing demonstrators participating at Seattle and Washington, and previously trained environmentalists in civil disobedience in Alberta and British Columbia. Representatives were present in Windsor and Calgary, prior to the OAS and WPC conferences, to teach demonstrators various improved protest techniques(13). An offshoot Canadian group, Co-Motion Action, conducted a training camp in Banff to prepare protesters for the World Petroleum Congress. Among direct action and civil disobedience lessons taught are use of the Internet, cellphones, video cameras, scaling walls, climbing trees, creating human blockades, scouting sites, and forming plans to combat police tactics(14).


31. Financial and material support of protesters and demonstrations, partly self-generated and partly raised by contributions from interested parties, is fundamentally a matter of initiative and imagination. Again, the Internet facilitates protest activities, offering a fast, simple, and inexpensive method of communication for organizing, motivating and encouraging attendees, sharing experiences and ideas, and soliciting funds. Many participants make their own way to demonstration sites, securing their own transportation, food, and accommodation; frequently, attendees share their capabilities and facilities and are assisted by like-minded groups and individuals at the demonstration location. Some funding originates with the large and better-known protest organizations such as the Direct Action Network and the Alliance for Global Justice(15). Protesters attending demonstrations considered to be in the interest of labour are often provided funds, transportation, meals, and lodging by labour unions and affiliated groups.

32 The San Francisco-based human-rights group, Global Action, provides an example of the cooperative and collegial relationships which exist in support of demonstration organizers and participants. A nine-person protest team conducted a 20-city tour using shared and borrowed vehicles prior to the Washington IMF/WB demonstration. The tour was arranged by e-mail correspondence, which also facilitated the team’s housing and food during the journey. In return, the team conducted meetings, teach-ins, rallies and promotional activities to encourage attendance in Washington.

33. Funds are raised variously by solicitation, sales of badges, T-shirts, and other paraphenalia which publicize the range of protest movements. Other sources of funding are training courses, such as those run by The Ruckus Society and Co-motion Action, which charge $125.00 per attendee but request that participants pay as much as they can afford(16). Fundamentally, the protesters and the actual demonstrations do not of themselves require huge financial support. Much of what is undertaken is improvised and ad hoc, and does not result from the efforts of large self-interested lobbies or conspiracies. The closest approximation to organized support is that represented by labour’s activism, which has included publicity and the provision of buses to transport participants.

Implications for Canada

34. A member of many of the organizations that have been subjected to, or are targeted for, protest actions (WTO, IMF, WB, OAS, WPC) at home and abroad, Canada is a favoured venue for international conferences. Governments at all levels in Canada make a practice of inviting and encouraging organizations to hold their meetings and conferences at various locations across the nation. The concept is good for business and serves to raise Canada’s democratic profile in world affairs. Paradoxically, however, Canada’s positive image could be marred by the occurrence of protests and demonstrations, and especially by associated unfavourable media coverage. Similarly, some authorities suggest Canada’s reputation and interests abroad could suffer if the country is identified as a member of institutions targeted by foreign protests and demonstrations.

35. Although the majority of demonstrations are intended to be pacific, violence does occur and protests can be disruptive and expensive. While security agencies must know the nature of the opposition they are facing and be prepared, they must be careful of the form and extent of their response. Excessively draconian procedures could have a deleterious effect and provide the protesters with propaganda material to be used against the government and security elements. Further, care must be taken that security does not create the atmosphere of an armed camp which restricts and inconveniences the movement of conference attendees and irritates local business interests. Ultimately, security forces and policy makers also must recognize the possibility of increased levels of violence on the part of some extremists who may become frustrated by the protective measures in place at targeted conferences and meetings.


36. Anti-globalization protests and demonstrations will continue. In fact, many non-associated groups will seize on the anti-globalization theme as a convenient rationale to participate in demonstrations, making it difficult to accurately forecast security needs. Conference organizers, security agencies, and law enforcement personnel will have to accept that reality and the inherent challenge, which will demand adequate contingency planning. Sound intelligence arrangements will be crucial to the successful implementation of precautionary measures, especially to avoid errors of over- or under-commitment of resources and to preclude draconian responses or steps which would promote violent reactions from protesters. Extremist fringe elements will seek any excuse to indulge in aggressive tactics or resort to destructive activities. Clashes amongst demonstrators and between protesters and security peronnel have become a standard feature of many conference demonstrations, and some anarchist groups are calling for more violent involvement.

37. North America, Europe, and the United Kingdom will likely be the most affected areas, largely because the majority of targeted meetings and conferences are scheduled there. Prominent locales such as London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, and Prague are attractive to delegates, media, and protesters alike, as were Washington and Seattle. Within relatively easy travel distance, even for trans-atlantic journeys, they are readily accessible, offer a wide range of amenities, and possess excellent communications. As well, such major capital cities have a cachet that enhances the impact of media coverage and encourages the presence and extraordinary actions of demonstrators.

38. Distance and remote location remain factors in curtailing the presence of demonstrators to some degree, but are not sufficient to ensure security or constrain the influence of pressure groups. For example, early in May, the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank at Chiang Mai, Thailand, was overwhelmed by 4,000 protesters demanding an end to policies they claimed punished the poor. Inspired by events in Washington and Seattle, protesters caught police by surprise when they stormed security barricades.(17) The July G-8 Summit on Okinawa was peaceful, largely because heavy security precautions combined with high costs for transportation, accomodation and logistic support to deter the presence of large numbers of protesters. Nonetheless, a day prior to the conference, thousands of people staged protests across Japan and students marched in Tokyo, shouting “Smash the summit.” (18)

39. While location will have an influence on the number and type of demonstrators present at a conference, the purpose and nature of the gathering will be a much more decisive factor. Significant meetings, especially those featuring senior government or corporate leaders, such as G-8 Summits and IMF meetings, will attract large numbers of peaceful protesters, as well as those predisposed to violent activities. As well, the lack of obvious achievement by principals during a preceding conference, such as failure to approve debt relief for poor countries, may serve to mobilize thousands more protesters and trigger a wave of anger and outrage at subsequent events. Representatives of lobby groups who were present on Okinawa voiced their disatisfaction with the outcome and claimed their frustration will lead to protests “that will eclipse events in Seattle.”(19)

40. The Internet will continue to play a large role in the success or failure of globalization protests and demonstrations. Groups will use the Internet to identify and publicize targets, solicit and encourage support, organize and communicate information and instructions, recruit, raise funds, and as a means of promoting their various individual and collective aims. The Internet remains a major source of protest motivation and planning; it will require careful monitoring by conference planners to determine the intentions and goals of demonstrators, and to forestall unexpected incidents.

41. Continued presence and use of large numbers of security forces, fencing, and similar restrictive measures could dampen the enthusiasm of protesters and might gradually reduce the size of some gatherings, as could adverse weather conditions. But, as demonstrated by extremist animal-rights and environmental activists, security measures could prompt a rise in the scale of violence from smashing windows to arson attacks, the use of explosive devices, and even physical threats against individuals, including posting warning letters purported to contain contaminated razor blades. The situation is paradoxical: the interest of targeted institutions and their membership in holding meetings on Canadian soil could wane if faced with stringent security precautions and movement restrictions. Conversely, Seattle-type disturbances and interference could similarly engender a loss of interest in using Canadian venues for international conferences and meetings which might prove attractive to demonstrators. Nonetheless, it has been established that antiglobalists are organizing against a number of international meetings in Canada, including the April 2001 Summit of the Americas in Quebec City. Given the virulent anti-globalization rhetoric directed against the Organization of American States (OAS), the threat of Summit-associated violence in Quebec City cannot be ruled out.


1. The Globe Mail, 1 Dec 1999.

2. The Sunday Times, 15 Aug 1999.

3. The Ottawa Citizen, 20 Apr 2000.

4. Minneapolis Star Tribune, 21 May 2000.

5. Naomi Klein. NO LOGO. Alfred A. Knopf, Canada, 2000, p.338.

6. IBID, p.339.

7. “After Seattle”, William Finnegan. The New Yorker, 17 Apr 2000, p42.

8. The Ottawa Citizen, 1 Jun 2000.

9. Time. 26 Apr 2000, p.21.

10. “NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND”, David Samuels. Harper’s Magazine, May 2000, p.37.

11. ‘Neither Left, Nor Right’, Southern Poverty Law Center Intelligence Report, Winter 2000, p.40.

12. Klein, Op. Cit., p.311.

13. Calgary Herald, 15 Apr 2000.

14. The Globe Mail, 12 May 2000.

15. Time, 24 Apr 2000, p.21.

16. The Globe Mail, 12 May 2000.

17. The Globe Mail, 8 May, 2000.

18. CNN.Com, 21 July, 2000.

19. Reuters, 23 July, 2000.

Perspectives is a publication of the Requirements, Analysis and Production Branch of CSIS. Comments concerning publications may be made to the Director General, Requirements, Analysis and Production Branch at the following address: Box 9732, Stn. “T”, Ottawa, Ont., K1G 4G4, or by fax at (613) 842-1312. 

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