The Battle of the Story of the Battle of Seattle
"...A fascinating account of what really happened in Seattle."--Naomi Klein
"This book is a great read for any activist."--The Progressive
"If you think it's time we shut down the empire at the heart of the WTO with tactics so effectively used to weaken the WTO, pick up a copy ofThe Battle of the Story of the Battle of Seattle."--David Swanson
From dawn to dusk on November 30, 1999, tens of thousands of people shut down the World Trade Organization meeting, facing cops firing tear gas and rubber bullets, the National Guard, and the suspension of civil liberties. An unexpected history was launched from the streets of Seattle, one in which popular power would matter as much as corporate power, in which economics assumed center stage, and people began envisioning who else they could be and what else their economies and societies mightlook like.
David Solnit lived and organized in Seattle in 1999 with the Direct Action Network, which the Art and Revolution Collective he was part of co-initiated. He has been a mass direct action organizer since the early '80s, and in the '90s became a puppeteer and arts organizer. He is the editor ofGlobalize Liberation: How to Uproot the System and Build a Better World and co-author, with Aimee Allison, ofArmy of None: Strategies to Counter Military Recruitment, End War and Build a Better World. He currently works as a carpenter in Oakland, California and organizes with Courage to Resist, supporting GI resisters, and with the Mobilization for Climate Justice West.
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Copenhagen: Seattle Grows Up
by NAOMI KLEIN THE NATION
The other day I received a pre-publication copy of The Battle of the Story of the Battle of Seattle, by David Solnit and Rebecca Solnit. It's set to come out ten years after a historic coalition of activists shut down the World Trade Organization summit in Seattle, the spark that ignited a global anticorporate movement.
The book is a fascinating account of what really happened in Seattle, but when I spoke to David Solnit, the direct-action guru who helped engineer the shutdown, I found him less interested in reminiscing about 1999 than in talking about the upcoming United Nations climate change summit in Copenhagen and the "climate justice" actions he is helping to organize across the United States on November 30. "This is definitely a Seattle-type moment," Solnit told me. "People are ready to throw down."
There is certainly a Seattle quality to the Copenhagen mobilization: the huge range of groups that will be there; the diverse tactics that will be on display; and the developing-country governments ready to bring activist demands into the summit. But Copenhagen is not merely a Seattle do-over. It feels, instead, as though the progressive tectonic plates are shifting, creating a movement that builds on the strengths of an earlier era but also learns from its mistakes.