Seattle WTO Shutdown ’99 to Occupy: Organizing to Win 12 Years Later

From The Indypendent:   http://www.indypendent.org/2011/12/05/seattle-wto-shutdown-99-to-occupy/

By David Solnit
December 5, 2011

It’s 3 a.m. on Nov. 30 in San Francisco. Riot cops just raided Occupy Philly and Occupy Los Angeles tonight and the live streams are running on my laptop. We are preparing for a possible raid of Occupy San Francisco tonight or tomorrow. I’m talking back and forth with other occupiers and labor, community and faith allies, deciding whether to call for a mass mobilization tonight and to prepare for mass civil disobedience.

On the same date twelve years earlier thousands of us got up before dawn to blockade and shut down the 1999 World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle. As dusk fell the city declared a “state of emergency” in the downtown section of the city and drove people out with volleys of teargas and charges of riot cops. The next day, Dec. 1, thousands of us defied their martial law and took to the streets and hundreds were arrested and attacked. People stayed in the streets all week until Dec. 3, when the WTO talks collapsed as representatives from poor countries, bolstered by public rebellion in the streets and pressure from movements in their home countries, refused to buckle under. It feels like a similar moment now with political space and possibility breaking wide open — a time of public and global uprising — only bigger.

On Monday I was at University of California Davis as students and workers defiantly took over the University of California Regents Meeting at Davis (and simultaneously at other campuses) with a “People’s Regents Meeting” facilitated as a directly democratic general assembly which the two Student Regent representatives participated in — while outside the meeting other students occupied the Hahn administration building overnight.

In England millions of public sector workers are striking. In Egypt port workers refuse to unload shipment of tear gas from the United States.

On Sunday we met to develop a plan for mass action in San Francisco’s financial district in January. This Saturday an Occupy Housing mass march and actions will mark a deepening of the occupy movement in our city, as well as the powerful involvement of tenant and homeowner groups from four neighborhoods — Bayview, Castro, Mission and Tenderloin — will take action with their neighbors facing foreclosure or eviction against the neighborhood branch of the big banks that profit from evictions and foreclosures. Then all four groups will converge on Occupy San Francisco in the financial district (nicknamed for many decades, “Wall St. West”) for a mass march and action.

Continue reading at:   http://www.indypendent.org/2011/12/05/seattle-wto-shutdown-99-to-occupy/

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