Wireless inaugural beep beep

From Nick Mamatas <nillo@agoron.com>
Date Fri, 19 Jan 2001 13:14:18 -0500

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Activists use high-tech in inaugural protests

Associated Press Newswires
Copyright 2001. The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Forget peace signs and burning draft cards. The
malcontents of 2001 are tuning in with handheld computers, cell phones and
Web cameras ready to broadcast any police abuses to the world.
Though disparate in their causes, the thousands of activists protesting
President-elect Bush's inauguration this weekend are unified in using the
latest technology to challenge the establishment.
And that means that, unlike their 1960s forebears, they may be more
concerned with battery power than flower power.
Ricardo Dominguez, a supporter of the Zapatista rebels in Mexico, boasts
that his role is to spread "information about electronic civil
Dominguez plans to use a new Web-based bulletin board system, called Upoc,
to send short messages to fellow activists in the crowd and around the
- who can receive them on laptops, cell phones, handheld computers and
He's also offering tools to help "hacktivists" disrupt or deface Web sites
with anti-Bush slogans.
"I think some of the folks on this list would like the information,"
Dominguez said.
Many of the protesters cut their teeth at a major protest at world trade
talks in Seattle in 1999. The technology has improved since then.
For instance, Brian Goldman, 29, a Web designer and self-described
anarchist, is using his handheld Handspring Visor computer hooked to a
wireless modem to track police movements, send instant electronic alerts
fellow protesters and make records of any police actions he believes
civil rights.
His wireless modem came onto the market just a few months ago.
"I plan to spend Saturday standing in solidarity with fellow workers
the entrenchment of corporate tyranny, ... marching and documenting civil
rights abuses and procedural mistakes by the various police agencies,"
Goldman, part of a group that calls itself the Revolutionary
Anti-Authoritarian Bloc.
Sarah Sloan, staff organizer at the International Action Center in New
said her group has been using e-mail lists to coordinate nationwide
inaugural protests and keep members abreast of details such as their fight
with Washington authorities to get protest permits.
"It's been crucial to keep in touch with people all over the world who
come to the demonstration and support us in a public pressure campaign,"
Sloan said. "We'll be sending updates right up until the last minute."
The action center will be demonstrating at Washington's Freedom Plaza, on
the inaugural parade route. Sloan said they also have used live chats and
discussion lists to share ideas about the protest.
Several members of the Upoc "Resistance" list said the instant access is
useful for tracking police movements and violent incidents.
"Since I plan to document the protest, I'm planning to use the Resistance
list to monitor the situation around the city," Goldman said. "I'm also
planning to use it to keep others apprised of the situation wherever I am,
should the need for a broadcast message arise."
Upoc spokeswoman Loren Pomerantz said she knew about the list but stressed
that her company neither "condones nor condemns" any particular group, and
it caters to all interests, from sports to the latest dot-com company
Other groups will be using their tools to keep an eye on the authorities.
The Independent Media Center, a self-proclaimed "alternative" news
plans live audio and video broadcasts on the Web.
The group's members will call in on cell phones or pay phones, and
worldwide will be able to hear their reports.
"If the police are going to arrest some people who are blocking an area,
want definitely to have crews out there," said staff member Eddie Becker.
"We feel it's our duty to report on what the police are reacting to and
whether the use of force is an overreaction."
In case audience members don't have the fast Internet connections capable
seeing video, Becker said the audio broadcasts will be tailored to
television coverage.
On their Web site, they encourage listeners to turn the sound down on
televisions and listen to IMC broadcasts for an "alternative sound track."

"If you see a podium filled with powerful people, we'll talk about who's
the podium and who they get money from," Becker said. "And then about the
influence of money on politics."
Becker said he knew the possible pitfalls of live broadcasts, warning his
listeners that anything could happen on Saturday.
"It could be very exciting, or very boring," Becker said. "Just people
chanting. You never know what's going to happen."
On the Net: Upoc: http://www.upoc.com


> International Action Center: http://www.iacenter.org
> Independent Media Center: http://www.indymedia.org
> Presidential Inaugural Committee 2001: http://www.inauguration-2001.com

"It's important for us to explain to our nation that life is important. It's not only life of babies, but it's life of children living in, you know, the dark dungeons of the Internet." - George W. Bush, Arlington Heights, Ill., Oct. 24, 2000

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