Page 29


POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE BATTLE IN SEATTLE. Nationwide plans proceed for protests and related educational activities about globalization during the World Trade Organization’s Ministerial Summit in Seattle later this month. The official W.T.O. sessions, hosted by the Seattle Host Organization, run from November 29 to December 3. Opponents are planning events beginning with an International forums on Women and Globalization \(DeMarch” November 30, which opponents have organized to bring thousands of people into the streets of Seattle, to march against the international corporate and political push for more arbitrary rights for capital under the guise of “free trade.” For more information, consult the Mobilization website at , or the Global Trade Watch home page at There will likely be a considerable Texas contingent of activists in Seattle, and plans also continue for local actions around the state in solidarity with the Seattle events. Educational forums and related actions are being organized in Houston and Dallas, and a major rally and march will take place in Austin November 30. Activists will gather at 3 p.m. and march to the Capitol at 4 p.m., with stops at various W.T.O.-friendly businesses and banks along the way. There will be speeches, songs, and street theatre at the Capitol from 5 to 6:30. At press time, scheduled speakers include Rebecca Harrington of the Texas AFL-CIO, Erin Rogers of the Austin Coalition for Fair Trade, Dick Richardson of the University of Texas, Susana Almanza of the Austin environmental organization PODER, among others. For more information, contact James Scott of Locke of the Texas Network for Economic PRECARIOUS. With the lukewarm exception of Bill Bradley, the bi-partisan campaign consensus maintains that welfare reform has worked wonders across the country, the rolls are miraculously down, and all we have to do to make the rest of those freeloaders get jobs is to withhold their checks. According to a new report announced by Austin’s Center for Public Pol icy Priorities, the reality is not so rosy. Close to a third of current welfare recipiin returning to work, and are likely to be without either assistance or jobs when time limits expire. And when the number includes those who are already looking for work, the percentage of clients at risk rises to 38 percent. That was the conclusion of the National Survey of America’s Families, which found that 27 percent of T.A.N.F. \(Temporary Asleast three barriers to work and were not participating in any work activity including a job search in 1997. Barriers to work include less than a high school education, a poor work history, caring for a child under one year of age, caring for a disabled child, language barriers, mental or other health problems, or lack of transportation. Predictably, in Texas the situation is worse. In 1998, over 65 percent of singleparent recipients in Texas had worked fewer than six months in the previous two years; 55 percent had less than a high school education; and 15 percent were caring for children under age one. In South Texas, over 70 percent had poor work histories; 66 percent had less than a high school education. And in 1998, regional unemployment ranged from 6.7 percent in Nueces County to 27.7 percent in Starr County. C.P.P.P. analyst Elizabeth Mueller notes that current Texas welfare policy strongly emphasizes “work first,” whether or not employment is a realistic possibility for a particular client. Since many clients find themselves sanctioned for failing to comply with program demands or cycling back onto T.A.N.F. when they are unable to hold down a job, Mueller said, “Without greater attention to these issues, when the economy slows down and recipients hit their time limits, they will have nowhere to turn.” ANGELS IN KILGORE. The play has closed, but not the controversy. The decision to stage Tony Kushner’s Angels in America at Kilgore College has generated local outrage and national support, and the Texas Shakespeare Festival may never be the same. When Raymond Caldwell, head of the Kilgore College theatre program, chose to produce Kushner’s epic dramatization of American history and gay life \(which won both the Pulitizer Prize for Drama and the ticipated some protest. “I knew there would be some objection, but it never crossed my mind that people would react by withholding money from the college,” Caldwell told 16 THE TEXAS OBSERVER NOVEMBER 26, 1999 4.’ _