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Santa Cruz Indymedia

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The Miami Model: Free Trade Police State

Police across the country -- from San Francisco to New York -- have embraced the Miami model, an evolving set of police tactics deployed with ferocious force during the Miami FTAA protests last year. Join us for the Santa Cruz premier of "The Miami Model" -- a new Indymedia documentary about what happened in Miami, what may be coming to a city near you, and what steps activists are taking to tackle this new threat to dissent.

Thursday, July 22
Indymedia Space
Barrios Unidos (1817 Soquel Ave.)

Collectively, Indymedia activists and friends shot hundreds of hours of video footage documenting the FTAA protests in Miami. This footage has been edited by the FTAA Miami Video Working Group into a documentary that cuts through the mass media blackout to reveal the brutal repression and assault on civil liberties that took place, as well as the life-affirming and inspiring alternatives to capitalist globalization that were also in full effect in Miami.

Audio PSA and Flyers for "The Miami Model"
Trailer for The Miami Model (Quicktime 4.3megs)
Indymedia presents:

THE MIAMI MODEL: Free Trade Police State

Thursday, July 22
Indymedia Space
Barrios Unidos

dontation requested

In November, 2003, trade ministers from 34 countries met in Miami, Florida, to negotiate the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). FTAA threatens to devastate workers, the environment, and public services like health care, education, and water, and to destroy indigenous rights and cultural diversity across North, Central, and South America.

Thousands of union members, environmentalists, feminists, anarchists, students, farm workers, media activists, and human rights activists who gathered in Miami to struggle against the FTAA were brutally attacked with rubber bullets, pepper spray, electric guns and shock batons, embedded reporters and information warfare, all coordinated by the new United States Department of Homeland Security.

Against Capital’s model of paramilitary oppression, information warfare, and corporate rule, we offered models of grassroots resistance, creative action and solidarity.


Barrios Unidos is located at 1817 Soquel Avenue. It is on the left side of Soquel Ave., just before Capitola Rd., if you are coming from downtown Santa Cruz.


Article from Fault Lines #2

The Miami Model by Video Working Group-SF Node

"Florida is a place where dreams come true, where dreamers come… we dream a lot here. And my dream for our state is that we take full advantage of our geography."

These were the opening remarks Florida Governor Jeb Bush made to the participants of the American Business Forum that met prior to the second round of negotiations of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). These are also the opening lines to the new Indymedia documentary, The Miami Model, which chronicles events surrounding the FTAA summit, the hemispheric free trade zone (all 34 countries in the Americas except for Cuba) being pushed by neo-liberal strategists of consecutive US governments. For more than 20 years free trade policies have been disastrous for the global south. The implementation of such policies has led to greater destruction of the environment and increased exploitation of workers in the name of “removing trade barriers? which benefit multinational corporations.

Although Jeb Bush probably wishes otherwise, corporate dreamers weren't the only ones who converged upon Miami last November during this summit. Thousands of protesters ranging from the younger generation with direct action in their mind, to grassroots organizations representing communities of color in Florida to the mainstream unions of the AFL-CIO flooded the streets to oppose the FTAA.

The confrontation between the corporate dreamers and those dreaming of another world was also the debut of a violent and highly mobile method of sophisticated crowd control. This method, The Miami Model, will likely be implemented during the political conventions this summer and was already successfully used against demonstrators at the G8 summit in Georgia. This documentary does not only focus on the police crackdown during the FTAA summit. It also addresses issues of environmental urban racism and the corporate media’s manipulation of the events. Activists countered this with tactics of grassroots organizing, independent and autonomous media networks and creative resistance. One example of this occurred in the Overtown neighborhood of Miami, one of the manycommunities that has been destroyed by the policies of the multi-national corporations who are looking to benefit from the FTAA. In the week leading up to the demonstrations activists visited the community garden in Overtown and planted 50 cherry trees and worked on a variety of projects to show solidarity with the residents.

Another outcome of this interchange of methods, was the creation of the new feature length Indymedia movie, The Miami Model, featuring footage shot by more than 50 Indymedia video activists, who came from all over the world to document this brutal and unjust repression and to initiate the project. Once the convergence came to an end, videomakers from distant locations such as San Diego and Ashville, North Carolina produced segments and sent it to be assembled in San Francisco.

One of the most shocking images in the video is the police assault on Elizabeth Ritter, a Miami lawyer. Dressed in a business suit, wearing high heels, and carrying a sign that reads “Fear Another Totalitarian Administration?, she was pelted by rubber bullets and suffered an injury to the head. In the soon-to-be released DVD of The Miami Model, which includes post-riot interviews, Ritter puts what happened to her in a larger context.

Those who participated in the activities against the FTAA in Miami will forever be affected by the experience. The extremity of police repression and the range and sophistication of their tactics left scars on us all. The terror created in Miami was painfully obvious with rumors we heard from city residents that “The Anarchists? had collected billiard balls to throw at the police or that they were going to inject shit into civilians. The corporate media was at the helm of thepropaganda machine as they pumped the climate of fear into downtown Miami. The marriage between the media and government isn’t mereconspiracy: several reporters, officially “embedded,? in an arrangement similar to that which emerged during the invasion of Iraq, are interviewed in The Miami Model and freely discuss their hand-in-glove relationship with the police.

We are putting this video out at this critical time as a heads-up to the hundreds of thousands who are preparing to go to New York City to directly confront the Republican National Convention. We are fighting for a better world and struggling to create it day by day, just as we did in Miami. For all of us, The Miami Model will be helpful tocomprehend the reality of the system that we are up against.

The Miami Model: Free Trade Police State will be premiering in Santa Cruz on Thursday July 22, 7:00pm, at Barrios Unidos.

For more information or to order a DVD, visit

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