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Five Years Ago In Seattle

It was five years ago today that Seattle ushered the battle against global exploitation of people and resources by the WTO to the mainstream vocabulary. What have activists and progressives gained in the last five years in this ongoing struggle?
I remember it like it was yesterday. The flush feeling of joy and progress as thousands upon thousands of concerned activists, labor organizers and students shut down the powerful WTO warmed me in the cold Seattle air. And then, a couple of pieces of broken glass later, the Seattle police and the Mayor made it clear that in the face of profits the people were of secondary concern.

It was a watershed week. Activists globally had been fighting in Mexico, Korea and many other places against the IMF and other corporate masters for years. Finally, it seemed, the people of this nation were waking up. People were taking notice. A new wave of energy permeated the movement. It was an exciting time that seemed so promising. All too soon, of course, came the mockery of an election in 2000 and the ascension of Bush II. Not long afterwards, September 11 ushered in a new age of advanced American imperialism. From the Patriot Act to the endless war in Iraq, I wonder how many miles I have marched in protest since November 30, 1999.

I can't help but wonder about the relative gains and losses of our movement in the last five years. I wonder how other people feel. Certainly I realize our struggles echo the courageous actions of social justice advocates that have fought oppression since our nation's inception. I know there have been periods of gains and losses. But this new American era seems so dark. So foreboding.

And so I'll toast the 50,000 who made a powerful statement that week in Seattle. And wonder once more where we go from here.
Wondering times are over ... you know... just GO!! 30.Nov.2004 08:11

zcb

No one has all the answers but one thing is for sure, as the demon in the White House approaches his death hour *(actually when we march him off to jail), he will become more desperate and lash out with ever wider swaths at anything that moves so as to keep all from moving. We, in the meantime, have been basking in the uncertainty of cowardice for a long time and need to shake off our insecurities that stiffle action. It is this action that Demon I fears most so lets go for it - we have known for decades what is right and what is wrong but have allowed the wrong to take priority and first place because it gave us material wealth. Now we are wealthy but REALLY poor in spirit and we continue to wonder what to do... as a nation we are now collectively guilty and need to make ammends to the rest of the world. The longer we wait the harder it gets to do anything and the more ammends we have carry out. Let us all resolve to begin with serious impeachment proceedings NOW.

See Youself as a Chapter in Our History 30.Nov.2004 09:31

Fenbar

attending the protest against the WTO in Seattle N30, 1999 is indeed a highlight in the contemporary struggle against colonial/global economic/politics. it is also good to remember it because lots of us locals were there to participate. but the struggle has been happening for centuries. on N30 some of us were anticipating/organizing to make an effective statement and direct action. the strategy of preventing the delegates to enter the convention center worked because the robocops' orders were to keep the protesters out. ha ha! the convergence of multiple cause activists into a coalition for global justice was also noteworthy-- history making. learning to work together on the big issues was one of the big morals of that day. depending on the Earth timeline, i hope to share our victories of consciousness raising that day to my children. i am, we are the change we want to see in our human history.

peace out happy N30!

thanks for the memories 30.Nov.2004 14:28

anon

no longer a part of that scene, i will forever remember fondly those tear-gas filled streets and battles with the police. may all out struggles on every front be waged with such vigor.

thanks for a future 01.Dec.2004 16:07

Red neck

Yeah you are, you're still commenting on the imc.