He who gets stopped at the border and runs away lives to protest another day… Despite some unfounded fears that next month’s Global Justice Action Summit in Missoula will be drawing to town a national contingent of anarchic, black bloc, motorcycle-riding, GAP window-smashing, buck-naked Rainbow family malcontents, most reasonable folks seem to have backed away from the nitrous tank and returned to their senses. Most have realized that Global JAS will have more to do with organic farming, fair trade and renewable energy than with Sticking’ it to The Man or hurling contraband Roquefort cheese at local McDonald’s outlets. It’s helped that Global JAS organizers have been traveling around explaining their true mission to local officials. People started to realize that the greatest danger posed by Global JAS is the threat of nodding off in an early-morning lecture on optimizing your shade grown vegan non-GMO rhubarb.
North of the border, however, things are looking considerably more tense. Global JAS, slated for June 20–24, was scheduled to precede the G-8 summit in the remote woods of Kananaskis, Alberta a week later. The international economic institution’s meeting is expected to draw heavy protests, including a healthy contingent from Missoula. Canadian press reports have been sounding some worrisome alarms in recent week. Activists are angry about restrictions on protest zones in and outside of the city, and a high-ranking Canadian military commander told the Calgary Herald that soldiers have been given the green light to use “lethal force” while handling protesters, raising the specter of a Genoa-like fiasco in North America. An official told the paper that “limelight seekers” and peaceful protesters who test security measures are putting themselves at risk by providing cover for terrorists seeking to kill world leaders. Meanwhile, hundreds of inmates in jails around Calgary are being transferred to federal prisons to free up space for people arrested during G-8 protests, reports the Times Colonist in Victoria. While some groups like Greenpeace have said they will avoid the summit, others are gearing up for even more intense protests.
All of which makes Global JAS, as a model for articulate and peaceful protest, more relevant than ever.
OK, so maybe taking to the streets to fight global injustice and transnational corporate greed isn’t exactly your cup of chai. Perhaps you’re looking for a more, shall we say, nonpartisan and non-lethal form of social engagement?
Well, all you bar flies and rec room types might want to mark your calendars for the upcoming Montana State Foosball Championships, scheduled for June 28—30 in Billings. Known in more elite sporting circles as “table soccer,” foosball was originally invented as a form of physical therapy, or so says Jeremy Hamilton, state director for Montana Foosball—part of the North American Table Soccer Association—and Montana’s No. 1 ranked foosball player in the state. (Now there’s a circuit worth traveling…) According to Hamilton, who claims he’s neither a drinker nor a smoker but goes to the pubs about twice a week to compete, this year’s state championship is the first to be held in Montana in more than 20 years. More importantly, this year’s tourney features a $2,000 pot—quite a bundle just for twirling some miniature plastic soccer players on a skewer. For more info on the event, visit www.bigskyfoos.com. No word yet on whether U.S. Border Patrol will be keeping an eye out for an influx of miniature plastic soccer hooligans, who always seem to spoil the games for everyone.