Seattle - We Won

The press summed up the momentous week in Seattle on Dec 4: WTO summit ends in failure. We could add a lot, but for the time being we'll restrict ourselves to a few triumphalist cliches.

Whatever our differences, full marks to the Seattle Direct Action Network for the organization. They squatted buildings and provided mattresses for people to sleep on, made sure that everyone knew what was what and where to go. They coordinated activities via the Internet and cellphones. They showed that thousands of people can organize efficiently and effectively without a managerial hierarchy. These young people are the seeds of the future. The World Trade Organization conference, hosted by the US government and defended by the police and the National Guard, was a shambles by comparison.

As we predicted, this was a blow to moralistic anti-imperialism. The protests forced Clinton to try to recuperate them by proposing such radical measures as abolishing child slavery and prostitution. This is hardly likely to satisfy even the most timid campaigners for the abolition of the child labor which ruins childhoods in Pakistan and Indonesia and makes Phil Knight and his fellow vermin rich, but was radical enough to provoke some of the delegates from African and Asian countries into halting the conference. How dare this patronizing white liberal tell us what we can do with our own children! In other words, the ruling classes are scum all over the world. There are no oppressed countries, only an oppressed class.

The police were made to look vicious and ineffective. A black councilman on his way to the WTO meeting was dragged from his car by the police. His complaint was that the police were too racist to notice he was wearing a $400 suit. He wants the police to do their job -- defending the rich, not persecuting people for their color.

The main weaknesses weren't caused by the anarchists, as we said in the previous article, /wto.html, but the peaceniks. It was nauseating to see demonstrators standing in front of corporate America's shopfronts trying to stop revolutionaries smashing the windows, shouting "no violence", as if damage to property is violent.

More disturbing was the success of liberals in making the demand of the demonstration outside the prison "Release all non-violent demonstrators". After the Trafalgar Square riot in London in 1990, the fluffies did not dare divide the class war prisoners up in this way -- even they had to call for the release of all prisoners.

Another problem with the opposition to the WTO and the other institutions of the New World Order is nationalism. Many of the opponents want to restore the power of national governments, thinking these are an expression of the people. But nationalism helps the New World Order, by dividing workers while the bosses unite. If you want to see the logical consequence of this, look at Yugoslavia. And of course, there was a lot of noise about democracy. What is wrong with the WTO is not that it is undemocratic. Democratically-elected institutions like the US government exploit and kill just as much as unelected bureaucrats do.

Still, whatever the weaknesses, this was a turning point. It showed that the world's most powerful acronyms are no match for concerted resistance. It will be more difficult now for the globalizers to turn the world into one huge sweatshop. The demonstration was the coming out party for the radical environmental movement, with the direct-action primitive communists in the - dare we say it - vanguard. The publicity was welcome. Mainstream publications like Seattle Weekly published calls for the destruction of industrial civilization. Thousands of people have rediscovered the power of mass action. Seattle was just the beginning. We have a world to win.