archives of global protests


Building Bridges in Jackman, Maine
by Sterren 2:00pm Sat Apr 21 '01

Despite police coming out in full force to the Jackman, and rumors of activists from away coming in and trashing the town, interactions between activists coming in and locals have been overwhelmingly positive. On Friday night, Perpetual Motion Machine, a rock/funk/jam band from Augusta who came up for the border festivities played at Northland Lounge in town. The owners of Northland (a very nice lounge and hotel by the way) were really happy to have a live band play since it only happens once every couple of months or so, and the band and activists were happy to have a space to hang out, get good drinks, relax, and dance.

As the night went on, people began to mingle between groups and get out on the dance floor. Some also went across the street to hang out by a giant bonfire which was happening as a result of neighbors (purposefully) burning down their old garage.

People loosened up and talked that night. Activists who had come up to Jackman repeatedly mentioned how great and open local people had been, and locals expressed their support for the organizing at the convergence center, commented on how they saw many of their jobs (largely logging in Jackman) had been directly affected by NAFTA, and that they were proud and heartened to see people caring and are trying to attempt to do something to stop NAFTA's expansion and build some alternatives. People repeatedly mentioned how silly it was that the police and Feds were being such an overwhelming presence, and that people had been spreading around stories of some outsiders coming into trash the town when, not surprisingly, it was pretty obvious that many activists coming in came from very similar backgrounds, had the same problems to deal with, and all seemed to be normal honest people. Activists in return found that the townspeople were well aware of the issues, were interested in learning about the FTAA and how it would affect their lives, and were also honest, friendly, open people.

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