: It will take some time to sort out the ramifications of Seattle. The idiotic rambling of this post betrays the desperate lengths to which spin attempts to recast events. I suspect it will comfort those who need comforting - especially in a season of commodity hypnosis and comfortable stupefaction.
: I'm certain that many found Seattle a learning experience. Here are two lessons that were imposed on a population.
: 1. The power of relatively small groups (some 70 individual organizations) collectively unified for a single action can bring to general consciousness issues that had been effectively ignored or suppressed by the "establishment" media.
It's great, isn't it?
It did take a lot of behind-the-scenes work, but I think the end result was well worth it; the feelings buzzing around RTS's mailing list at the moment are along the lines of "geez, we nearly started a revolution"...
To be honest, it wasn't the protestors who stopped the WTO meeting. We made things difficult for the delegates and we brought the existence of anti-WTO feeling right into their heads, but we didn't ruin the talks; the national governments did that.
What the protests did do was to bring the anti-WTO ideas to the entire world. The WTO can't now meet up in some quiet corner of the world and do deals; because we use the 'net to set up welcoming committees wherever they go. Anyone care to lay odds that the next WTO meeting is held in space?
: 2. The rude awakening to many of the unleashed power of State police apparatus.
Again, a great thing to show the world.
Regardless of how much the free-trade bodies insist that free trade benefits everyone, the abiding image of Seattle is of stormtroopers gassing protestors. It's rough being teargassed (speaking from experience!); but it builds opposition. Even the libertarian G'mint-haters can see what happens when you actually try and complain to the WTO...and the police forces; ostensibly tools of law and order are in fact hired goons of the elite classes.
: Personally I was encouraged by many things in Seattle, not least of which was the huge numbers of young people who were quite (surprisingly) sophisticated largely due to the internet.
It's also a good thing. Computers are luxury goods and only available to the rich few; they are environmentally destructive and reinforce the West's hegemony; but they can be used to bring about a fairer world; much of the data available on climate change has come through a computer at some point. If computers can be used to raise the consciousness of the young, we could see a real working sustainable political system sometime before too long; although it will have to be pronto; we're running out of time and materials.
: I left Seattle on Saturday evening. There were still a couple of hundred of us sitting in front of the jail demanding the release of fellow protestors. (they had all been booked as "John WTO"). The days headline for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer was: "Summit ends in Failure. These young people can justly claim they played a part.
And how. It's put the WTO's agenda squarely on the table of everyone with access to any form of news media; they can't hide any more.
And any attempts to see people up the river *will* be opposed.
: For those who think the police were "just doing their job" you might check out http://www.emperors-clothes.com/ - with particular attention to an observer's letter.
The last two RTS protests in London have turned violent; we know there are some plain-clothes policemen involved in it; see my account of the Euston demo.
And here are some interesting quotes to mull over;
"In the final analysis, what really matters is how effectively the surrender of governments to the global market is carried out" - Washington Centre of Strategic and International Studies.
"...the de facto role of the US armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault - to those ends we will do a fair amount of killing" - Maj. (now Lt. Col.) Ralph Peters, the office of the US Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence.