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One seventeen-year-old girl

grabbed by an aging trucker for

“mindlessly” smashing a GAP

window subjected him to a thirty
second diatribe: “Immigrant Asian
women are lured to Saipan to work

a seven-day week fenced in with
barbed wire, they’re forbidden to
even take a piss while they
sew these fucking clothes!”
she yelled.

“Teenage girls in Honduras work
14-hour shifts for 50 cents an hour and
Chinese migrant women in Russia earn less than
a quarter of that making this stuff. Chief Executive
Millard Dexter earns $24,000 an hour—that’s $47
million a year—and GAP Chairman Donald Fisher
is worth $8 billion. This company spends over $500
million a year advertising this shit while its workers
starve. Don’t call me fucking mindless!”

He stood in stunned silence as glass rained
down around him. “Pick up a brick, asshole!”
someone shouted. For a minute he looked
like he was considering it.                              The People’s Republications of CrimethInc.
November 30, 2006
Fourteen years ago, many of us didn’t even know we were
anarchists. We made tentative steps to change our lives,
without a clear idea of where we were going or why. We
joined environmental organizations and formed punk rock
bands. We experimented with cooperative living, confronta-
tional unemployment, and politically motivated crime. We
occupied trees; we traveled around the planet as witnesses
and volunteers; we developed new traditions and codes of
ethics. In the course of these adventures, we found each
other, one by one; but we still felt isolated, still doubted our
own strength, still wondered how to approach the revolu-
tion some of us dreamed of.

Seven years ago, some of us participated in a demonstration
in Seattle against the World Trade Organization. Seeing each
other there, we discovered that we were part of a worldwide
movement. This infused us with an incredible momentum
and sense of purpose: suddenly, we knew we were going to
change the world, and we had a model for how to do so. The         fought amongst ourselves. We ran into walls, ran out of
events of that one week in Seattle were more real to us than       steam, ran around and around in circles. We renounced
all the years that had led up to them—even for those of us         our visions like jilted lovers, and along with them many
who were not there.                                                of the tactics and strategies they had taught us. We tried to
                                                                                                                                               From the Archives
                                                                   forget the whole thing ever happened. Some of us finally
Over the years that followed, we rode that momentum like           succeeded.                                                         This flier advertised the convergence point for
a wild horse, pursuing the visions we had glimpsed in the                                                                             the black bloc that carried out all that famous
streets of Seattle. We tried again and again to recreate that      Today, it has been seven years since the WTO protests in             property destruction. Looking at it now, it
moment, succeeding only in creating other moments. We              Seattle. Rumor has it that every seven years, every cell in
redefined what had happened, revisiting that point of origin
                                                                                                                                      seems to support the thesis that the ones who
                                                                   our bodies regenerates: every seven years, we are born anew
again and again, finding that each time it had changed. We         and begin a new phase of life. If this is true, then today          triumphed in Seattle were not possessed of
                                                                   we should finally be able to reflect on the WTO protests           any extraordinary skills or organization—that
                                                                   without nostalgia, glorification, or defensiveness and derive        is, unless the designer deliberately made it
                                                                   lessons from them to apply to our current efforts. Today, we
                                                                   are finally free of this specter that has haunted us, and it can
                                                                                                                                        amateurish in order to fly under the radar.
                                                                   finally become our own.

                                                                   Here we present for posterity two texts that stand out in the
                                                                   veritable ocean of material on the subject. They could not
                                                                   be more distinct: one is an impassioned personal account
                                                                   of participation in direct action, the other a dispassionate
                                                                   strategic analysis. It is our hope that together they will
                                                                                                                                                                                        The People’s Republications of
                                                                   provide a sense of what took place that week in 1999—and
                                                                                                                                                                                               P.O. Box 2133
                                                                   more importantly what is possible now, along with an                                                                         Greensboro
                                                                   inkling of how to make it happen. To this purpose we also                                                                     NC 27402
                                                                   humbly append a brief afterword of our own.
                                                                               – CrimethInc. World Tirade Organization                                                             

What Next?                                           WTO protests were not an unrepeatable miracle,

                                                                                                          The Power is
The presidential campaign of 2008 will be the        but rather an example of how powerful we can
next backdrop against which major mass actions       be whenever we find ways to work together.
can be expected to take place. Whatever misgiv-
ings some of us currently have about them, for       Suggested Reading

anarchists not to have a powerful presence in        We Are Everywhere: The Irresistible Rise of Global
mass actions in 2008 would be tantamount to          Anticapitalism—Through testimony, photos,
our disappearance from the national arena of         tactics, and history, this book provides an
social struggle.                                     excellent context for anticapitalist organizing
      The essential challenge of the mass action     in the years up to and immediately following
model is that its greatest strengths and weak-       the WTO protests.
nesses are identical. Working from the physics
equation tension=force/area, this model brings       “Five Years After WTO Protests” by Chuck
together a great number of people in a small         Munson—In this article, one of the adminis-
space so their coordinated actions can have ex-      trators of refutes corporate
ponential effects—but with sufficient warning,       media reports that the movement behind the
the state can also concentrate its forces to neu-    WTO protests had come to an end by 2004.
tralize their efforts. Consequently, successful
mass actions must either come as a surprise          “N30 Black Bloc Communiqué” by the Acme
themselves or employ an unexpected strategy.         Collective—Some of the participants in the
At the G8 protests in Scotland in 2005, for          Black Bloc in Seattle released this excellent and
example, participants outwitted the authori-         nuanced defense of anarchist property destruc-
ties by dispersing into the countryside to block     tion at the WTO demonstrations immediately
roads outside the areas where police forces were     afterwards.
      Effective mass action necessitates that        “Demonstrating Resistance,” the feature article
people from a broad range of perspectives            in the first issue of Rolling Thunder—This
work together without limiting each other. In        extensive analysis follows the anarchist experi-
that regard, mass actions are good practice for      mentation with mass action and autonomous
building the symbiotic relationships funda-          action models that occurred between 2000 and
mental to an anarchist society. The mobiliza-        2005, drawing conclusions about what factors
tions that succeeded in Seattle, Quebec City, and    must be present for each approach to succeed.
elsewhere succeeded because a great number
of people simultaneously engaged in a diverse        A simple Google search should turn up online                    This account was originally
array of complementary tactics. Regardless of        versions of the last three of these texts.                       published in the thirteenth
                                                                                                                   issue of Inside Front, a now-
the success of a particular action, the ability to                                                                  defunct anarchist magazine
do this itself constitutes a victory over the seg-                                                                covering underground music,
                                                                                                                         culture, and resistance.
regation, isolation, and conflict promoted by
the capitalist system. In that regard, the Seattle
I can’t do it. I can’t. I can’t tell you what it felt like any                                                         Seattle phase of struggle is not how to handle      request. This enabled the police to concentrate
more than a bird could tell me what it feels like to fly.                                                              repression, but how to sustain morale.              on beating and pepper-spraying people before
I can tell you my story, but it’s only my head talking.
                                                                                                                             After anticapitalists lost the initiative,    the union march, controlling the streets during
My heart can’t write, and my guts don’t have lips. I
                                                                                                                       it was inevitable that the partisans of willful     it, and then viciously brutalizing and arresting
cannot truly explain how it felt to taste ecstasy in
every breath as the invincible forces of privilege and                                                                 impotence would regain it. Proportionate            everyone who remained in town after it. The
coercive power finally lost control, how it felt to stare                                                              to the number of participants, the antiwar          police tactics in Miami, which were significant-
down the world’s most ruinous and abusive bullies                                                                      movement of 2002 to 2003 was incredibly in-         ly more aggressive than those of the police in
and watch them blink, how it felt to fall in love with                                                                 effectual, largely due to the machinations of       Seattle, showed that the fluke in Seattle was not
tens of thousands of people at once, to not know what
                                                                                                                       liberals and communists who did their best to       that the police were so aggressive but that the
would happen next, to become dangerous.
                                                                                                                       prevent anyone from taking effective action.        corporate media were caught off guard and acci-
And that is a tragedy that haunts me as I write every                                                                  And once the legend of Seattle ceased to be the     dentally reported on their violence.2 Finally, the
one of these words. Because if somehow I could                                                                         origin myth of an existing, vibrant movement,       strategy of the demonstrators in Miami, which
share with you what I felt for ten days in Seattle,                                                                    it became a burden upon everyone who tried to       consisted of a largely symbolic assault on the
you would never settle for anything less again. You                                                                    apply the mass action model. Even though many       fence surrounding the meetings, had no hope of
would kick in your TV, run outside buck naked,
                                                                                                                       anarchist demonstrations between 2002 and           actually interfering with them. The protests in
tear up the freeway with your bare hands, flip tanks
upside down, and dance with panda bears through                                                                        2005 put everything that happened in the mid-       Miami only succeeded in disrupting business as
the streets. The barbarians would emerge from exile                                                                    1990s to shame, they seemed stunted and disap-      usual and giving the FTAA a bad name because
to knock down heaven’s door and the dead would                                                                         pointing compared with the Battle of Seattle.       the authorities, still transfixed by the specter of
rise up from their coffins and cubicles. And once you                                                                  Past accomplishments always cast a shadow           Seattle, went to such lengths to repress them.
got a taste of the sublime joy of reclaiming control                                                                   over the present, and shadows loom bigger the             As of this writing, the Miami FTAA min-
of your life and your world, of regaining your lost
                                                                                                                       further the object casting them recedes.            isterial is itself three years behind us, and there
kinship in a human community of which you are an
integral component, of realizing your wildest dreams                                                                         The FTAA ministerial in Miami four years      have been no major mass actions in the US
and desires, you would do whatever it takes to make                                                                    after the Seattle WTO protests showed how           since Bush’s second inauguration almost two
it happen again.                                                                                                       much ground anticapitalists had lost and how        years ago. Paradoxically, the good news is that
                                                                 Monday, November 22 through                           much their adversaries—both those in uniform        enough time may now have elapsed since the
                                                                 Thursday, November 25                                 and those carrying protest signs—had learned.       WTO protests that a mass mobilization with
    I can tell you                                               On Monday I leave for Seattle from Columbus,          While there were probably almost as many            a clever strategy could catch the powers that

    my story, but                                                Georgia on a Greyhound bus, alone, already
                                                                 hungry, with no money and nothing to eat. Six
                                                                                                                       committed anarchists in Miami as there were in
                                                                                                                       Seattle, far fewer other protesters showed up—
                                                                                                                                                                           be by surprise again—but the bad news is that
                                                                                                                                                                           anarchists, demoralized from so many years
     it’s only my                                                hours later in Atlanta my bag is whisked away to
                                                                 a different bus, leaving me with no warm clothes
                                                                                                                       partly because Miami is so far from the rest of     of trying to “repeat Seattle,” may not yet be

    head talking.                                                and nothing to read, either. I stare blankly out
                                                                 the window at the bleak, diseased wasteland of
                                                                                                                       the US, partly because it has the most reaction-
                                                                                                                       ary Latino population of any US city, and partly
                                                                                                                                                                           ready to stake everything on another attempt.

    My heart can’t                                               concrete and smoke and cars, at the trees and         because the ability of anticapitalist networks to

      write, and                                                 fields and hills and rivers, at all the cities I’ve
                                                                 never seen before—Chattanooga, Nashville,
                                                                                                                       bring out protesters had been sapped by demor-
                                                                                                                       alization and competition with antiwar organ-
    my guts don’t
                                                                                                                                                                           2 Likewise, as the dramatically militarized police force in Miami
                                                                 Louisville, Indianapolis, Gary, Chicago.              izing. The AFL-CIO duplicitously coordinated        consisted of at least six times as many officers as protected the
                                                                                                                                                                           WTO in Seattle, and they faced off against crowds perhaps a fifth
                                                                        I scrounge what little food I can at bus
      have lips.                                                                                                       with the police while asking demonstrators not      the size of those that had gathered in 1999, they could not fall back
                                                                 stations, but by Tuesday night I am hungry                                                                on the excuse of being “overwhelmed” and forced into violence.
                                                                 enough that I’m starting to get mean. In Chicago      to carry out direct action during their march,      If anything, the police in Miami were more violent than those
                                                                                                                                                                           in Seattle, thoughtlessly attacking demonstrators, retired union
                                                                 a grizzled old man gives me a sandwich, which         and the demonstrators—insanely—agreed to            members, and corporate media reporters alike.
3                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             60
      In addition to giving the WTO a public         attention, the thrill of victory, and the effective-                                                          outside of the 420 Denny Space, a nerve center
image makeover and successfully forcing con-         ness of the new model were taken away, many                                                                   of sorts where I find dozens of people bustling
cessions from it, the militancy of the demon-        anarchists felt they were back at square one.                                                                 around with saws and paint and walkie-talkies,
strators in Seattle pushed its supposed critics                                                                                                                    plotting and planning and building. This is a
                                                                                                                                                                   very good sign, but after seventy-eight hours
to adopt a more uncompromising stance.               A Complex Legacy
                                                                                                                                                                   of Greyhound time it’s also pretty jarring. I’m
Organized labor and segments of the Democrat-        In reflecting on the mobilization in Seattle,                                                                 utterly exhausted, ravenously hungry, and
ic Party have to present the illusion of being op-   people often overlook the years of failure that                                                               in no condition to conspire yet. I catch a ride
positional in order to justify their existence. As   had preceded it. What happened in Seattle was                                                                 south from downtown to the Roasted Filbert,
was frankly acknowledged in the RAND report,         possible precisely because it had been years, if                                                              a cavernous, dusty, unmarked warehouse with
they hoped to maintain this illusion and simul-      not decades, since so many people joined in dis-                                                              concrete floors, no windows, and a purple door:
                                                                                                                                                                   which is serving as a refuge for everyone who
taneously absorb and neutralize any radical          ruptive action against a capitalist institution in
                                                                                                                                                                   shows up at 420 with nowhere to stay. I find a
tendencies by putting in an appearance at the        the US. As noted in the RAND analysis, police                                                                 space inside, curl up in my bag, and pass out
Seattle WTO protests. Once they found them-          expected symbolic arrests à la the anti-nuclear                                                               listening to warm bodies breathing all around
selves caught up in a huge, obviously popular        demonstrations of the 1980s, not the coordinat-                                                               me.
demonstration against the WTO, they had to           ed obstruction and rioting they got. Subsequent
feign at least some sympathy or else reveal their    mass actions were much more difficult to pull                                                                 Friday, November 26
“opposition” to be a mere pretense. Thus we can      off, as the authorities mobilized every resource                                                              At dawn I ride back up to Denny with four
see that direct action is the most effective means   to ensure that what happened in Seattle would                                                                 others from Filbert. None of us know each other.
                                                                                                                                                                   Downtown the towers glitter in the distance
both for putting pressure on adversaries and for     not happen again.
                                                                                                                                                                   like decorated tombs, spectacular monuments
exerting leverage on supposed allies. Even if               Despite this, Seattle was followed by a                                                                to wealth and power that loom overhead just as
you don’t want to overthrow the government,          series of demonstrations unlike anything in the                                                               the institutions they embody loom over every
forget about voting and petitioning—the only         preceding decade: Washington, D.C. was shut                                                                   aspect of our lives. I know that we are flying
hope for change is in the streets.                   down the following April by protests against                                                                  under their radar, and that we are not alone. For
      Finally, the successes in Seattle brought      the International Monetary Fund, and a year                                                                   the first time in my life those almighty towers,
                                                                                                                                                                   and all that they stand for, look vulnerable to
US anarchists worldwide visibility, along with       later the FTAA ministerial in Quebec City oc-
                                                                                                            eat, and a dollar, which I give to another grizzled    me.
a needed morale boost, and provided a format         casioned the most intense street fighting since        old man. I stare and think and try to sleep.                  Up at Denny the bustle and activity of
for future actions. The “summit-hopping”             the Los Angeles riots of 1992. All the teargas in      Milwaukee, Madison, Eau Claire… Wednesday              Thursday night has multiplied exponentially.
model made a virtue of the transience that has       the country was no match for the enthusiasm            morning, Minneapolis. Haggard young women              I help out with the kitchen and the dishwash-
been such a stumbling block for anticapitalist       of the anticapitalist movement once people             with kids, disgruntled truckers, teenage               ing, finally get some food, and spend most of the
organizing in North America; like it or not, a       had a model to work from and a structure to            runaways. Fargo, Bismarck, Billings. The North         day getting my bearings. Around dusk Critical
                                                                                                            Dakotan whose car broke down in Minnesota              Mass issues out of 420. I ride with somebody
movement must make the best of its weakness-         plug into. It was not until after September 11,
                                                                                                            who can’t afford to fix it. Butte, Missoula, Coeur     on the back of her bike since I don’t have one.
es, and if many anarchists couldn’t be counted       2001 that the tide finally began to recede, and        d’Alene, Spokane. The grizzled young man who           Later I just run. We ride around and around the
on to stay in one place long enough to do            this occurred primarily as a result of the wide-       buys me a waffle in Montana because he hasn’t          upscale shopping districts downtown, taking
effective local organizing at least that mobility    spread self-fulfilling prophecy that the high          seen me eat in a day and a half. I fall asleep a few   over whatever streets we want, whenever we
enabled them to come together occasionally at        point of anticapitalist mass actions was over.         hours past Spokane in the Cascades and wake            want, without any authorization or permis-
capitalist summits.                                  The momentum that followed Seattle was not             up, Thursday November 25, at about midnight,           sion, singing, dancing, howling, and conversing
                                                                                                            in Seattle.                                            with anyone who will listen. Someone begins
      The breakthroughs in Seattle that affected     destroyed by the government response, it was
                                                                                                                  I stagger off the bus, meet my mysterious        chanting “We’re gonna win! We’re gonna win!”
the anarchist community turned out in the long       abandoned by those who had maintained it:              liaison Ms. J, and am miraculously reunited            and for the first time in my life I believe it.
run to be dangerous gifts: as soon as the media      the most significant question presented by the         with my long lost bag. Fifteen minutes later I                Much to my surprise and delight, I chance
59                                                                                                                                                                                                                 4
upon Mr. X in the midst of Critical Mass. I have       complete with giant puppets, street theater,
only seen him once since I spent much of the           radical cheerleading, and an anarchic marching
summer of 1998 in a van with him. He is in             band rolls out of Seattle Central Community
Seattle with Ms. X and X-Dog. Our reunion is           College (SCCC). The street party is a roaring
cut short, however, when a psychopath in a             success, reclaiming downtown for hours and
fancy car tries to run us over. Mr. X screams like
a banshee, jumps onto the hood, slips a piece
                                                       railing fiercely at all manifestations of corporate
                                                                                                                Plagiarists’ PostscriPt
of cardboard under the wipers and over the                   Unfortunately I miss it. I go back to Hitco
entire windshield, pounds three big ass dents in       around five to finish the lockboxes, unaware
the hood with his fist, and disappears into the        that the festival is still bumping. I get back to
night.                                                 420 around eight and run across Ms. C. We are
      Later we invade the Washington Trade and         eating dinner when we hear that a mass public         From this vantage point, it is possible to           tactics that succeeded in Seattle be as effective
Convention Center, where the WTO summit is             squat is about to be opened on Virginia St. The
                                                                                                             interpret the WTO protests according to any          today, or are they subject to a law of diminish-
supposed to be held, and ride in circles through       word is free shelter downtown for anyone who
the foyer for quite some time before a security        needs it during the protests, and for Seattle’s       number of frameworks. They were a watershed          ing returns?
guard punches someone in the face and the              homeless after. About forty of us steal through       in the development of the contemporary anti-
police finally manage to chase us away.                the night to recover a fragment of the world that     capitalist movement, at which thousands of           What Happened in Seattle
                                                       has been stolen from us.                              disparate groups discovered each other and the       Immediately following the Seattle WTO
Saturday, November 27                                        913 Virginia Street. The door opens, and        power they could wield together. They were           protests, some reformists moaned that the
I spend all morning and early afternoon at             two masked heads emerge from the darkness.
                                                                                                             the point at which, a decade after the fall of the   confrontational tactics and far-reaching goals
Denny. The 420 Space is serving as a welcome           “GET IN!” I run through the door, up the stairs,
mat, training grounds, mess hall, and nerve            through a wooden hatch, onto the second floor.        Berlin Wall and the end of the old “democracy        of militant participants alienated people and
center, and it is turning into a complete              The door closes behind me. The building is            versus communism” opposition, the funda-             ruined any chance of concretely affecting
madhouse. Countless meetings and workshops,            enormous. This floor could harbor a horde of          mental dichotomy of global politics was recast       national policy. Yet by reformist standards, the
endless training and skill sharing, and ceaseless      barbarians. The power is running. Androgy-            as corporate capitalism versus the common            so-called anti-globalization movement 1 associ-
cooking, cleaning, eating, and welding all rage        nous ninja elves scamper about everywhere             people. They were, as the researchers of the         ated with the Seattle protests achieved practi-
perpetually and simultaneously under Denny’s           around me, hammering away furiously on a
                                                                                                             RAND corporation self-servingly discovered,          cally unprecedented triumphs, and the credit
roof. More and more people pour in throughout
the day, and it is beginning to get difficult to                                                             the substantiation of theories about how new         for this must go at least in part to the militants.
move around inside.                                                                                          communications technologies would shape              The next WTO meeting had to be held in
      I leave late Saturday afternoon for the                                                                social conflict. They were simultaneously the        Qatar, cementing the image of the WTO as an
Hitco space to make lockboxes. Hitco is every                                                                beginning and the high point of a “movement          anti-democratic, oppressive elite. Many of the
bit as wild as Denny. While others hammer                                                                    of movements” which ended when terrorists            proposals that had most outraged activists were
away at mammoth puppets and matching sea
                                                                                                             hijacked the global stage on September 11th, or      immediately dropped; likewise, the Free Trade
turtle suits we set up an assembly line and build
hundreds of lockboxes out of PVC pipe, chicken                                                               when communist splinter groups hijacked the          Area of the Americas (FTAA) agreement is now
wire, framing nails, tar, sand, yarn, and duct                                                               anti-war movement a year and a half later, or        essentially dead in the water. Some analysts
tape. We turn them out late into the night. I ride                                                           which continues so long as certain anthropol-        have concluded that the mobilization against
to 420, walk to Filbert, and sleep covered with tar.                                                         ogy professors require a subject for inquiry.        corporate globalization peaked early because
                                                                                                                   The only thing that matters for us an-         its goals were not ambitious enough.
Sunday, November 28
                                                                                                             archists, of course, is what we can learn from
Sunday morning Denny is an utterly unfathom-
                                                                                                             the past to act effectively in the present. Does     1 Ironically, the “anti-globalization movement” was perhaps the
able zoo. I learn that Saturday night banners                                                                                                                     most globally interconnected movement in the history of protest
were dropped all over downtown, one from                                                                     it make sense to pursue “another Seattle,” or is     movements. The corporate media christened it with that misnomer
                                                                                                                                                                  because identifying it for what it was—a movement opposing capi-
the top of a crane over I-5. At noon a parade                                                                that just a will-o’-the-wisp? Could any of the       talist globalization—would acknowledge the existence of capital-
                                                                                                                                                                  ism, and thus the possibility of other social and economic systems.
5                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 58
these weapons. The widespread use of “non-             thousand different projects. I board up windows      by dismantling the contraption that braces
lethal” weapons increased the aggressiveness of        at a breakneck pace with a tireless Danish           it. The latter, where Mr. N has constructed a
police and the increased combativeness eroded          carpenter. Plywood, two-by-fours, chicken wire,      virtually impregnable barricade out of toilets,
                                                       black plastic, anything. Next room.                  concrete, rebar, plywood, and an iron fire door,
strategic control.
                                                                                                            could only be opened by a tank. The doors
        The flexible and improvised communica-         The cops are coming. They’re about to fire tear      are adjacent to two stairwells, one in front
tions infrastructure used by the Direct Action         gas through all these windows.                       and one in back, which lead to either end of a
Network was a significant feature in the protests.     No they’re not.                                      long winding hallway that connects about ten
One of the dictums of netwar is that netwar            More rooms.                                          rooms. The rooms are vast and spacious, with
actors have a much greater interest in keeping         Yes they are. Cover all this up so they can’t tell   25’ ceilings, gigantic windows, and giant stages
                                                       how many of us are in here.                          and lofts of various shapes and sizes. One has
communications working, rather than shutting
                                                       No they’re not.                                      been furnished with an ample supply of food,
them down. The dense and diversified commu-            “WHO THE FUCK LET IN PHOTOGRAPHERS?”                 water, and medical supplies. Someone runs out
nications used by the Direct Action Network            “I’VE GOT FELONY WARRANTS IN WASHING-                of another, arms raised in triumph, a crescent
could not have been significantly harmed by            TON STATE!”                                          wrench in one fist and a plunger in the other.
any action less than a total media and communi-        The cops are coming.                                 “THE TOILET WORKS!” In yet another Ms. I
cations blackout in Seattle. Not only is such an       Two rooms left.                                      and Ms. S arm a security team with short wave
                                                       No they’re not.                                      radios. Every window on this floor is boarded
action impossible for the economic and social
                                                       “KEEP THOSE FUCKING PHOTOGRAPHERS IN                 up except for those in the front room—where
costs which would result, but a blackout of the        THAT FRONT ROOM!”                                    earlier we gave a full fledged press conference
required magnitude would be the information-           “SOMEBODY GO TALK TO THEM!”                          before banishing the blow-dried talking heads
al equivalent of unconditional surrender by the        Yes they are.                                        of the corporate media altogether—and nothing
establishment. Because the ultimate prize in a         We’re done.                                          inside can be distinguished from below. The
netwar conflict is understanding, not opinion,         No they’re not…                                      third floor is essentially identical to the second,
                                                                                                            except that none of the windows are boarded
it is the quality of information, not the quantity,
                                                       There are two doors, one in front and one in         up and there is a ladder to the roof in the back
which determines the final outcome.                    back. The former can be opened from inside           stairwell. There is no way to approach the
        Netwar is nothing new as a form of conflict.                                                        building that is not visible from the roof, where
It is a new concept, but the underlying reality of                                                          someone stands guard with a short-wave radio,
it has been around for a long time. What is new                                                             waiting for the inevitable. Here come the cops,
is the richer informational environment which                                                               this time for real…
                                                                                                                  We assemble in The Spiral Room and send
makes the organization of civil (and uncivil)
                                                                                                            Mr. G outside to negotiate, agreeing that he will
society into networks easier and more efficient.                                                            not accept, refuse, offer, or request any proposal
        The essential conditions for victory in a                                                           before we have all consensed to do so. The
netwar conflict are also the conditions which                                                               cops say we need to let in a fire inspector. They
make waging netwar possible: the shared under-                                                              need to know if we are posing a fire hazard to
standing of a situation which demands direct                                                                ourselves. After much discussion we consense
                                                                                                            that this is complete bullshit. They don’t know
action. In many ways, the victory of the Direct
                                                                                                            the layout of the building, they or how many
Action Network was implicit in the fact that so                                                             of us are inside, how sturdy our barricades are,
many people understood the conflict and were                                                                or for that matter if we all have machine guns
willing to act on that understanding.                                                                       or not. They want to inspect the building to
                                                                                                            determine how difficult it will be to raid. When
                                                                                                            we refuse they cut the water, then the power.
57                                                                                                                                                           6
      By this time a bizarre circus has gathered                                                           and tactical openness. The three key phases of         Implications
below. Reporters, feds, and undercover agents                                                              the street actions were: the Tuesday morning           The most profound outcome of the WTO
film us, and our friends from 420 and the In-                                                              “swarm” which blockaded strategic intersec-            protests was the appearance of the netwar
dependent Media Center film them. We hang                                                                  tions; the collapse of the police strategy to          construct in American politics. The “Battle in
banners and signs from the roof and windows.                                                               suppress the Direct Action Network protests            Seattle” was fought not only in the streets, but
Mine says “RESISTANCE IS FERTILE.” Outside
                                                                                                           while allowing the AFL-CIO parade; and the             also in the infosphere. The WTO protests were
Mr. G wrangles with the cops. Inside we are
embroiled in an absolutely endless meeting                                                                 failure of the AFL-CIO parade to engulf the            the first to take full advantage of the extremely
regarding their ever-changing promises and                                                                 Direct Action Network protests into a form ac-         dense and wide-reaching alternative media
threats. As it gets later and later we are left                                                            ceptable to the Clinton administration.                network which uses the internet. The use of
with less friends and more enemies, who make                                                                      The failure of the police strategy was          “media special forces” is one of the hallmarks
less promises and more threats. The situation                                                              almost instantaneous with the success of the           of netwar and informational conflicts. With
becomes increasingly tense, but they never
                                                                                                           blockade. Non-violent civil disobedience usually       the rise of the alternative media, the internet
move in on us. Around four they finally leave,
swearing that they will return at eight with the                                                           succeeds when the numbers of protesters is suf-        and other unmediated mass communications,
landlord to chase us out. I sleep with one eye                                                             ficiently large. The use of force to disperse such     it is no longer possible for the establishment
open, and wake up four different times to false                                                            demonstrations is a moral victory for the pro-         to control the information reaching the public.
alarms.                                                                                                    testers if it succeeds and a double victory if it      Attempts to distort the news for propaganda
The cops are coming.                                                                                       fails. In Seattle, the attempts to forcibly disperse   or public relations purposes will enhance
No they’re not.
                                                                                                           the demonstrations not only failed, but also           movement recruiting and create a “credibility
Yes they are.
No they’re not.                                                                                            set into motion a chain of events which under-         gap” for establishment policies.
                                                                                                           mined the legitimacy of the police actions.                  The WTO protests were the Chiapas in-
Monday, November 29                                                                                               The critical instances in which the police      surrection come to America. Like the Zapatista
Throughout the morning a crowd from 420 and                                                                lost control of their own strategy began with          netwar, the conflict was one of civil society
everywhere else gathers outside, beating drums                                                             the initial use of tear gas. The circumstances         networks versus markets. The role of insti-
and singing. The cops return at eight with the                                                             surrounding the decision to use gas are still          tutions, be they police or military forces,
landlord, block the doors, and refuse to let
                                                                                                           unknown, as is where the decision originated.          NAFTA, WTO, or political administrations, was
anyone in or out. Around noon we manage to           our “last chance.” Nearly everyone opts out at
get a lawyer inside. He tries to cut us a deal. We   this point, understandably having no desire to        The pursuit of demonstrators up Capitol Hill           secondary to the conflict. Institutions interme-
will occupy the building until Friday, then hand     spend the 30th in jail. They promise to tear ass      on Tuesday and Wednesday nights accelerated            diate netwar conflicts involving markets, but
it over to Share/Wheel, a homeless advocacy          up to Denny and return with as much backup as         the collapsing strategy of forcible dispersion.        they are not the primary actors. In Seattle, the
group, who will convert it into a free shelter.      they can scrape together. I know that whether         On Wednesday night, the failure of civilian            police could not decide the issue; they could
The landlord claims he will get sued if someone      this is our “last chance” or not, there are nowhere   officials to control the police dramatically un-       only determine the level of violence.
gets hurt in his building. We write up a waiver      near enough cops outside to actually raid the
                                                                                                           derscored the breakdown of political control.                As it turned out, the introduction of new
clearing him of any liability for anything that      building, and I cannot fathom why. Later I learn
happens inside. He refuses to sign it. This all      that crowds have amassed all over downtown.           On Thursday, the refusal of the City Council           “non-lethal” armaments such as chemical
takes hours.                                         Some have surrounded The Gap, some the                to ratify the mayor’s emergency declarations           irritant sprays and pellets, guns firing a variety
      The negotiations break down complete-          Westin Hotel so that the WTO delegates can’t          began the process of regaining political control       of rubber, wooden or “bean-bag” projectiles,
ly by late afternoon. The landlord wants us          get in to sleep, and some have attacked a Mc-         of the police. And the January dismissal of            “robocop” armor, and all the rest were not
disposed of. The cops slaver in anticipation.        Donald’s, breaking some windows.                      charges against demonstrators underscored the          only ineffective but actually counter-produc-
Around 5:30 they swear that in thirty minutes               About fifteen of us remain inside. There
                                                                                                           tenuous legality of the city’s actions against the     tive in dealing with non-violent protesters.
they will kick down the doors, beat ass, break       a lot of people out front, but not enough. The
heads, and arrest everyone inside. They will let     situation looks bleak. At 6 p.m. the riot cops        protesters.                                            In most cases, protesters were only infuriated
anyone who is willing to leave out now. This is      show up. We decide that there is no longer any                                                               and stiffened in their resistance by the use of
7                                                                                                                                                                                                                 56
ments said that the decisions had been made           protesters, an act that would normally be con-
before the WTO protests. Chief Stamper stated         sidered assault with a deadly weapon. As the
that one purpose of announcing his resignation        guard threatened the protesters, some tried to
was to “de-politicize” the investigations into        grab the guard’s gun arm. Coombs sprayed the
police actions during the protests. The depar-        protesters with pepper-spray and hustled the
tures of the other polices officials were virtually   delegation away from the protesters. His quick
ignored in the media, though they represent           thinking probably saved lives, said Lt. Neil Low,
the departure of three out of seven of the chief’s    who is writing the commendation letter. The
highest-ranking assistants.                           actions by other officers deserving commenda-
      The Seattle police organizations launched       tion have not been disclosed.
a massive public-relations blitz. In one of the              The American Civil Liberties Union, the
more bizarre actions, police officers began           National Lawyers Guild, and Amnesty Interna-
shaking down local merchants through the              tional announced that they were investigating
sales of T-shirts—as if the police had won some       the events in Seattle. Amnesty International
sort of a major victory. Uniformed officers           looked into “widespread police abuses” against
delivered boxes of the shirts to Dutch Ned’s Bar      protesters, including “indiscriminant use” of
in Pioneer Square. The shirts show the Space          chemical agents, rubber, and wooden projec-
Needle engulfed in a tornado and say “Battle          tiles, “flashbang” grenades, beatings of prisoners
in Seattle WTO 99.” The Guild also organized a        in jail, threats of rape during strip searches,
rally to show support for the police. State Rep.      and the use of “four-point restraint chairs” in
Luke Esser, R-Bellevue, a conservative “law and       the jail. The mayor’s office issued a statement
order” advocate, issued a statement saying that       saying, “At this time, we have no indication that
he would attend the police rally “commend-            any events such as those described by Amnesty
ing those brave men and women for working             International ever occurred.” The Seattle Weekly
around the clock in treacherous conditions to         published stories substantiating reports of          way to defend the building, and that there is no      to give us an order or command we just dance,
maintain law and order during the WTO riots.”         jail beatings and other charges by Amnesty           point in making martyrs of ourselves—except           but when they try to charge their van across the
The Seattle Times ran a variety of pro-police         International.                                       for Mr. B, who says he will hide in the rafters       block to disperse us we surround it and slow it
articles, including one front-page headline an-                                                            and hold out alone if he has to. We dismantle         down to a crawl, then beat and kick and rock it
nouncing the retirement of a police dog.              Aftermath                                            the barricade at the front door and run outside.      while the couple inside squirms. It is all they can
                                                                                                                We are greeted with a wondrous sight. The        do to limp their wounded warhorse through to
      And the police department began writing         The WTO protests in Seattle were the largest
                                                                                                           cavalry has arrived from 420. Somehow hordes          the other side before all the little elves flip the
letters of commendation for actions during            left-wing demonstrations in America since the        of people have slid in between the cops and           damn thing over. The cops leave.
the protests. “We’re hearing stories from             [first] Gulf War. They were also the most suc-       the door, and more stream in from all around.                Pandemonium reigns. Up on the roof Mr.
throughout the department of heroism and              cessful American political demonstrations of         Everyone goes berserk. We pound and bang on           B roars in triumph, and the walls tremble at the
courageousness,” said Lisa Ross, a spokeswom-         the decade, if success for a demonstration is        everything we can get our hands on, howling           tops of the tombs. I suspect that the cops are not
an for Chief Stamper. Seattle Post-Intelligencer      measured by the degree of congruence between         and dancing and taking up most of the block.          prepared to start a riot on Virginia Street when
                                                                                                           Mr. B is up on the roof, roaring at the top of his    so much of their force is downtown protecting
reporter Kimberly Wilson described some of            the protesters’ goals and the effect on public
                                                                                                           lungs with his arms raised to the sky as if all the   the world’s most ruinous and abusive corpora-
these stories as “surreal,” citing the case of Sgt.   policy issues.                                       indomitable power of the avenging squatter            tions and the delegates who represent them. A
Mike Coombs. Coombs saw a guard escorting                    The WTO protests succeeded in the             demon is running through the marrow of his            fragment of the world has been recovered, and
a foreign dignitary draw a handgun when con-          streets by a combination of strategic surprise       bones. The cops are at a loss. Every time they        it is safe for now. About forty people run inside,
55                                                                                                                                                                                                                8
and I run back up to Denny. A few hours later,          concrete, dumpsters, cars. We begin to form a
right before I leave 420 for the night, I run into      human chain around the convention center.
Ms. X and X-Dog. She tells me that Mr. X is in jail.          In an amusing display of either arrogance
She is trying desperately to bail him out before        or stupidity the delegates all wear matching
the state discovers exactly who he is and what          beige suits and big ID tags that say “DELEGATE.”                   Jail Blockade & release : Police officials resign
he has done. I promise to keep in contact with          Whenever they try to approach the building
                                                                                                                                       aftermath : imPlications
her and to do all I can to help. Before I fall asleep   we stop them and chase them off. Without the
back at the squat, beneath a window with the            protection of their armed servants they are as
glittering banks looming over me, I remember            powerless as a brain without a body, and their
the time Mr. X told me that there were only two         expressions are priceless as they run away.
things that he would never do. He would never           Before long the chain is complete, and the only
hurt anyone, and he would never take anyone’s           ways in are through parking garages, hotels,
                                                                                                             Jail Blockade and Release                           protesters would now begin cooperating with
food. His captors do both, and some day they will       and underground tunnels. We cut these off one
                                                                                                             By Thursday, the success of the Direct Action       the courts and properly identify themselves.
suffer the consequences. They have locked Mr.           by one. I dart around by myself, patching up
X in a cage, and tomorrow it’s time for payback.        holes where blockades need help and trailing         Network protests was undeniable. The WTO            Many had refused to provide their names and
                                                        delegates to their secret entrances. I dog one       conference was prevented from holding its           addresses, giving their names only as “Jane
Tuesday, November 30                                    for blocks, grinning malevolently at him as he       opening ceremonies on Tuesday. On Wednesday,        WTO,” “John WTO,” or in one case “Emiliano
I wake up before dawn and walk to SCCC,                 searches in vain for a way into the convention       the conference began to come unraveled when         Zapata.” As they were processed for arraign-
where the festivities begin. Before long I am sur-      center. He finally gives up and asks a cop for                                                           ment, they would be released on personal
                                                                                                             President Clinton made repeated statements
rounded by thousands of friends, and at 7 a.m.          advice, and I listen in, rubbing my hands with
                                                                                                             supporting the demonstrators—although               recognizance. Nearly all of those jailed were
we set out for the Washington Trade and Con-            glee. “How do we get inside?”
vention Center, where the summit is supposed                  “Well, sir… right now there is no way to get   it appears he was referring only to the AFL-        released by Sunday. After the jailed protesters
to be held. As we near it we fan out, taking            inside.”                                             CIO—and announced a U.S. policy initiative          were released Seattle City Attorney Mark Sidran
over the surrounding streets and blockading                   The opening ceremonies of the summit           which guaranteed that major consensus at            issued a statement to the press denying that any
entrances to the building. Everything you can           are postponed, then canceled altogether. This        the WTO conference would be impossible. On          agreement had been reached and promising to
imagine turns into a barricade. Bodies, puppets,        is when the cops begin to riot. They have failed                                                         prosecute all cases.
                                                                                                             Wednesday night, police attacked local residents
lockboxes, a fifty foot tripod, barrels full of         their masters miserably and they are pissed.
                                                                                                             in the sort of breakdown of command and disci-            In early January, Sidran moved to dismiss
                                                                                                             pline shown by defeated troops. Graffiti began      over ninety percent of the cases, disclosing
                                                                                                             appearing around Seattle reading: “Remember,        that virtually none of them could be pros-
                                                                                                             We Are Winning!” On Thursday afternoon,             ecuted because police had not bothered to file
                                                                                                             police finally came to an accommodation with        the necessary reports or identify the arresting
                                                                                                             Direct Action Network protesters and provided       officers during the mass arrests.
                                                                                                             a police escort for a march.
                                                                                                                   The focus of the Direct Action Network        Police Officials Resign
                                                                                                             strategy now shifted from the WTO to support        The final act of the WTO protests was the
                                                                                                             for those still in jail as a result of the mass     announced departures of Seattle Police Chief
                                                                                                             arrests. For two days, vigils were held at the      Norm Stamper, strategic commander Assistant
                                                                                                             Public Safety Building, at times completely sur-    Chief Ed Joiner, Nancy McPherson, civilian
                                                                                                             rounding the building.                              director of the Community and Information
                                                                                                                   On Friday evening, after meeting with         Services, and Assistant Chief of Investigations,
                                                                                                             city officials, Direct Action Network legal staff   Harve Fergusson. Those who made public state-
                                                                                                             announced an agreement with the city. Jailed        ments regarding their resignations or retire
9                                                                                                                                                                                                              54
then immediately firing a shotgun within               ‘Jingle Bells,’ and when they started singing            I run up to the barricade at 5th and Seneca,   pours water on my face and rubs life back into
inches of the young man’s torso. Police officials      ‘Silent Night,’ the tear gas started. Something    which I hear is about to be attacked. The cops,      my eyes. I am born again in their hands. We all
initially described the officer’s conduct as “ap-      hit me in the back, and there was pandemonium      sporting Darth Vader suits and unmarked              tear ass back up Seneca towards 5th to make out
                                                                                                          raincoats, have formed a line across Seneca.         what the cops are doing and how to stop them.
propriate.” At a parking lot near Broadway,            there, and so we left the area,” Derdowski said.
                                                                                                          Behind them there are five or six more on horses     I realize that my friends are not all just going to
two journalism students were videotaping the                                                              and a couple with big ass guns. We push a line       bail when things start to get ugly.
action. A King County deputy went up to their                                                             of dumpsters in front of them so that they can’t            And here come the cops, storming through
car and motioned for the young women to roll                                                              trample us, and form an enormous immovable           the sickly clouds, ejaculating toxic gas as fast as
down a window. When they did, the deputy                                                                  knot so that they can’t drag us away and arrest      they can stroke their triggers. They open up on
pepper-sprayed them both, shouting “Tape                                                                  us. The cops flip on gas masks and begin to fire     us with rubber bullets and concussion grenades,
                                                                                                          tear gas into the crowd. Others blast us with        and we stampede back down Seneca and around
this, bitch!” This footage has also been repeat-
                                                                                                          jumbo tanks of pepper spray. One throws a can        the corner. The stampede becomes a fairly
edly aired on national television. The deputy                                                             of gas into my lap. Ronald McDonald and his          orderly retreat as we book down 4th Avenue,
remained publicly unidentified and on duty                                                                band of merry devils run amok through my             hurling everything we can get our hands on out
while an internal investigation was conducted.                                                            organs, burning plastic bonfires in my windpipe      into the street to protect ourselves from their
These and other incidents resulted in civil suits                                                         and hacking at my lungs with chainsaws dipped        cars and horses. Trash cans, newspaper stands,
filed against the Seattle Police as the agency in                                                         in DDT. Vampire fangs sunk down to the gums          concrete tree planters, dumpsters, construc-
                                                                                                          suck the soul from my skull, and all that remains    tion barricades, anything that will stop them or
charge, as well as the officers involved.
                                                                                                          in the hellish wasteland between my ears is fear     slow them down. The gas is inescapable but we
      Around midnight, the disorder had drawn                                                             and hatred.                                          grab the cans and throw them back. The rubber
several local government officials, who tried to                                                                Everyone around me starts to run. While        bullets are legitimately scary but we chuck
get the police and demonstrators to disengage.                                                            I am getting up a cop bucks me in the face with      sticks, stones, and bottles and hope for the best.
They included King County Councilman Brian                                                                pepper spray. Tony the Tiger is scouring my          I find myself on top of a newspaper stand in the
Derdowski, City Councilmen Richard Conlin                                                                 eyes with his chemical claws, my nostrils are        middle of 4th Avenue, unleashing a psychotic
                                                                                                          searing, and I can’t see a damn thing. I scramble    stream of invective at the interchangeable
and Nick Licata, and Councilwoman-elect Judy
                                                                                                          down Seneca stone blind and finally collapse in      bullies who are approaching through the smoke.
Nicastro.                                                                                                 the street, gasping and convulsing. Someone          “FUCK YOU, COWARDS!, I’M INVINCIBLE!”
      “Those council members tried to work                                                                                                                            This is happening all over town. They can
through the chain of command of the Police De-                                                                                                                 move us but they cannot disperse us. At 4th and
partment and they were unable to get anybody,”                                                                                                                 Union the worm is beginning to turn. The cops,
Derdowski said. For two hours, the civilian                                                                                                                    facing thousands and thousands of us now, are
                                                                                                                                                               a little less gung ho than they were at 5th and
officials tried to get the police to cease attacking
                                                                                                                                                               Seneca. They form a line across 4th and we come
the crowd. Finally, around 2 a.m., the crowd                                                                                                                   to another standoff. Only this time no one is
began to leave. The police responded with                                                                                                                      going to sit down for them. I find myself on top
volleys of gas and rubber projectiles.                                                                                                                         of another newspaper stand in the middle of 4th
      “I asked the police to be professional                                                                                                                   Avenue, roaring at the top of my lungs. “I can’t
and just take one step back. That would be the                                                                                                                 TELL you how THRILLED I am to BE here right
                                                                                                                                                               now. I LOVE every ONE of you, like a SISTER or a
sign that these folks needed, and they would
                                                                                                                                                               BROTHER. There is NOWHERE, in the WORLD,
disperse,” Derdowski said. “The police said they                                                                                                               EVER, that I would RATHER BE then WHERE
couldn’t do that, so we went back and told the                                                                                                                 I AM right now. There is NOTHING I would
people that they needed to leave the area. And                                                                                                                 RATHER BE DOING than WHAT I AM DOING
a lot of them did, but a few persisted. And they                                                                                                               right now. I would RATHER be OUT HERE than
started singing Christmas carols. They sang                                                                                                                    spend another FUCKING SECOND in my CAR,
53                                                                                                                                                                                                             10
                                                                                                      Lambrecht said. “One of the officers pulled him       of celebration rather than protest.
                                                                                                      out of the car and not gingerly.”                            The crowd was predominantly residents of
                                                                                                            “I don’t want to aid the hooligans who are      Capitol Hill, many of whom had been angered
                                                                                                      raising hell and I don’t want to take on specific     by police the previous night when bystanders
                                                                                                      officers… But there are huge flaws with the           and people on their way home from work had
                                                                                                      officers when it comes to people of color. I’m        been indiscriminately attacked by the police
                                                                                                      58 years old. I had on a $400 suit, but last night,   who had pursued demonstrators up the hill. At
                                                                                                      I was just another nigger,” said Councilman           about 9 p.m., police and National Guard forces
                                                                                                      McIver. A few days later, Councilman McIver           began arriving in the area. By 9:30 p.m., police
                                                                                                      stated that he was not pursuing the matter and        closed several blocks of Broadway between East
                                                                                                      wanted it dropped.                                    Republican and East John. Tensions were high,
                                                                                                                                                            due to the residents resentment of the police
                                                                                                      Street Battles for the Hell of It                     presence and police fears of violence. KIRO
                                                                                                      The final incident of Wednesday night dem-            TV reported that the people opposing police
                                                                                                      onstrated the police strategy for clearing the        that night consisted entirely of Capitol Hill
                                                                                                      streets was not only ineffective, but that civilian   residents. Afterwards, police claimed there were
                                                                                                      control of law enforcement ceased to exist for a      reports of agitators carrying gasoline bombs and
                                                                                                      time. The “Battle of Capitol Hill” degenerated        throwing rocks and bottles. They said some pro-
                                                                                                      into a “police riot,” perhaps the only time during    testers charged officers. No gasoline bombs were
                                                                                                      the WTO protests that police temporarily lost         thrown that evening and news videos show only
                                                                                                      control of their forces on the street.                police charging, not civilians attacking police.
                                                                                                            As the demonstrators withdrew from                     Police began using pepper spray, tear gas,
                                                                                                      downtown curfew area at around 7 p.m., a              and concussion grenades shortly after 9:30 p.m.,
                                                                                                      group of several hundred protesters moved             first at John Street and Broadway to the south,
or at my JOB, or WATCHING TV. I DON’T think       the blockades, the wily and mobile Black Bloc       north on Fourth Avenue, followed at a distance        moving north, and near Harrison, moving
these cops can say that. I DON’T think those      dealt with their masters in kind. Masked little     by police. The group withdrew in an orderly           south. More police blocked side streets, prevent-
delegates can say that. I would rather EAT MORE   elves armed with slingshots, sledgehammers,         manner, stopping several times along the              ing the crowds from dispersing.
TEAR GAS than any more of their FUCKING           mallets chains, and crowbars attacked The           way to vote on where they were going. They                   “The protesters looked completely calm to
fast food. I would rather DRINK MORE PEPPER       Gap, McDonald’s, Niketown, Bank of America,         moved east on Denny Way into Capitol Hill             me… They were not instigating this,” said Erin
SPRAY than any more of their FUCKING soft         Starbucks, Levi’s, Fidelity Investment, Old Navy,
                                                                                                      and reached Broadway and East Harrison Street         Katz, a Capitol Hill resident who watched from
drinks. I would rather DEAL WITH THAT than        Key Bank, Washington Mutual, Nordstrom’s, US
ACCEPT THIS SHIT for another FUCKING              Bankcorp, Planet Hollywood, and other mani-         at about 7:45 p.m., where they joined another         behind police lines near Pine Street. “I heard
SECOND. And I would rather DIE LIVING than        festations of corporate dominance, smashing         group which was already at the intersection. By       absolutely no warning and they started to gas
continue to LIVE DYING…”                          windows and redecorating facades. I am ecstatic.    now the group numbered approximately 500.             them.”
      Somebody hugs me. It has been so long       Those glittering towers are not invincible after    As they passed through the neighborhood, they                For the next two and a half hours, police
since anyone has touched me that I nearly melt    all. The greatest trick the vampires ever played    were greeted by cheering residents and honks          rampaged along Broadway. It was during this
in their arms. Someone else jumps up and roars,   was convincing us that garlic did not exist. Let
                                                                                                      of support from motorists. The crowd marched          period that some of the week’s worst instances
and then someone else, and then someone else.     their facade be torn to pieces, and may the walls
I rest for a minute while a stout Chicano man     come tumbling down.                                 back and forth along Broadway for about an            of police misconduct occurred. National tel-
recounts some interesting news. While the               The stout Chicano man tells me that           hour, carrying banners and accompanied by a           evision repeatedly aired footage of a Tukwila
servants were busy terrorizing us and the rest    during the L.A. riot he and his friends burned      band playing music. The atmosphere was one            officer kicking a young man in the groin and
11                                                                                                                                                                                                         52
P-I interview, they took it to mean that the US      curfew and then withdraw to Capitol Hill.             down police stations and nothing else. We             always been designated as a barbarian, savage,
proposal of a WTO body to consider worldwide               As the curfew went into effect at 7 p.m.,       freestyle from the newspaper stand until my           communist, jap, criminal, gook, subhuman,
core labor standards was the first step toward es-   the streets were mostly empty. As if to celebrate     larynx is throbbing. Eventually the cops get          drug dealer, terrorist, scum; less than human
                                                                                                           impatient and one of them bucks my man full           and therefore legitimate prey. I try to make
tablishing compulsory international sanctions        their “control” of the streets, a column of a dozen
                                                                                                           in the face with pepper spray. I kiss him on the      it impossible for him to label me as a faceless
against ‘violators.’”                                police cars raced through the empty downtown          head, they club me and everyone else they can         protester, the enemy. I pull off my ski mask and
      On the streets, Wednesday afternoon was a      core with emergency lights flashing and sirens        reach, and back down 4th Avenue I go, a phalanx       continue to stare into his eyes. I tell him that
repeat of Tuesday. The police pulled back for the    blaring. Police officials explained to reporters      of crocodiles in ankylosaurus suits at my heels       I am from the south, about fixing houses and
four hours that President Clinton was in public      that this “wild weasel” operation was a “show         wreaking havoc and pain.                              laying floors and loading tractor trailer trucks,
view, just as they had pulled back as the AFL-CIO    of force to clear the streets.” The news videos of           Yet another standoff at 4th and Pike. The      about nearly getting killed in a car wreck in
                                                                                                           cops form a line across 4th Avenue. This is           October, about carrying my dog around crying
parade approached downtown. In the words of          the stream of cars are one of the more surreal
                                                                                                           getting repetitive. I have inhaled so much tear       to all the bushes that she loved to root around in
one TV reporter, “The streets were strangely         images from the entire week. Things would get         gas, ingested so much pepper spray, and ducked        the day she died of cancer. I tell him that we all
quiet.” At 1 p.m., Washington Governor Gary          even stranger that night.                             so many concussion grenades and rubber                have our stories, that there are no faceless pro-
Locke gave a live interview on local television.           At about the same time as the “wild             bullets that running the bulls on 4th Avenue          testers here. Nothing.
Locke stated that order was restored to Seattle      weasels” were racing through the streets, police      is no longer novel or fun. It’s just frustrating.            “Can you look me in the eyes, O’Neil? I
and told local shoppers to “come downtown”—          assaulted Seattle City Councilman Richard             We outnumber them almost immeasurably, yet            am a human being, and I refuse to let you evade
                                                                                                           they still attack us with impunity. They hold         that. I won’t let you label me as a protester, and I
inside the perimeter of the “no protest” zone.       McIver. McIver said city police officers yanked
                                                                                                           all the cards, they make all the rules, and they      don’t want to have to label you as a cop. I refuse
Unfortunately, the governor hadn’t heard about       him from his car, pulled his arms behind his          cheat all the time. I am terrified. We are in no      to accept that they have broken you completely,
police plans for a 4 p.m. crackdown to drive pro-    back and started to cuff him as he drove to a         way seriously prepared to defend ourselves.           that there is not something left in you which is
testers out of the downtown core, a time which       World Trade Organization reception event at           All it would take would be for one dumb ass           still capable of empathizing with me. I want to
coincided with the downtown rush hour.               the nearby Westin Hotel. The council member           aggro cop to decide to get his rocks off and open     be able to treat you as an equal, but only if you
                                                     had been stopped shortly before by police who         fire for all the rest to follow suit. It would be a   prove to me that you are willing to do the same.
                                                                                                           massacre. Kent State. Bonfires smolder behind         And the only way you can do that is by joining
Post-Presidential Disorder                           let him continue after identifying himself. The
                                                                                                           my eyes, and the smoke rises out of my mouth.         us, or walking away.”
As Clinton’s motorcade departed, the streets         second time he was stopped and identified                    I choose one—at random, for they all                  I remain dead still, staring into his weak
were once again blanketed in tear gas, and           himself, a policeman threw McIvor’s city council      look exactly the same. Every inch of his body is      cow eyes. He is blinking excessively and is
police fired pepper-spray at anyone who got          business card on the ground and assaulted him.        hidden under black cyborg armor. He is armed          visibly uncomfortable. “Can you look me in
in their way. At the Pike Place Market, tear gas           The incident was witnessed by a U.S. Con-       to the teeth. His face is hidden under a gas mask,    the eyes, O’Neil? The difference between me
was severe enough that produce merchants put         gressman, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and           face shield, and full helmet. “O’Neil” is embroi-     and you is that I want to be here and you don’t.
                                                                                                           dered on his bulletproof vest. I plant myself         I know why I am here. I am enjoying myself. I
out signs the next day announcing they were          Bill Lambrecht, Washington, D.C.-correspond-
                                                                                                           squarely in front of his face and I stare dead into   am reveling in this. I am rejoicing. I have been
closed because their fruits and vegetables were      ent for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.                  his eyes. He won’t look at me. He blinks con-         waiting for this to happen since I was a little
contaminated.                                              “What he [McIver] describes is what I saw,”     stantly, looks down, left, up, right; anywhere        kid. There is nowhere, in the world that I would
      As on Tuesday, the police failed to move       Kucinich said. “Four to five policemen converged      but at me. It infuriates me almost beyond words       rather be than where I am right now. There is
the crowds of protesters and the main axis of        on him and kind of spun him around. I thought         that this coward has the impudence to attack          nothing I would rather be doing than what I am
protest movement once again became Pike and          the people who handled it were overly aggres-         me when I am unarmed but lacks the courage            doing right now. It has never been so magnifi-
                                                                                                           to even look me in the eyes. “Can you look me         cent to feel the sublime power of life running
Pine Streets. After two hours, police were only      sive. I’m sure given the tension that existed in
                                                                                                           in the eyes? CAN YOU LOOK ME IN THE EYES?             through the marrow of my bones. I know that
able to move two blocks, up to Second Avenue.        the city, there might be many cases where in          LOOK ME IN THE EYES, O’NEIL.” Nothing.                you don’t want to be here. I know that you don’t
A protester blockade at Third and Pine stayed in     hindsight they might do things differently but               I know why he won’t look at me. When           know why you are here. I know that you are not
place until voluntarily dispersed at 6:45 p.m. It    that seemed excessive.”                               he was halter-broken he joined his trainers in        enjoying yourself. I know that you don’t want
appears likely that the Direct Action Network              “It was clear that he was telling them          a companionship stimulated not by love, but           to be doing this. And no one is holding a gun
had decided to hold the streets until the 7 p.m.     who he was. They seemed unpersuadable,”               by hatred—hatred for the “enemy” who has              to your head and forcing you to. Wherever you
51                                                                                                                                                                                                                12
want to be, go there, now. Whatever you want              Brigade appears. For the first time since I began      Secret Service in Seattle, Special Agent Ronald          a working group on labor within the WTO, and
to be doing, do it, now. Go home and get out              this surreal monologue I look behind me. A             Legan, estimated that the parade numbered                then that working group should develop these
my way. Go make love with your girlfriend or              small man wearing a gas mask and fatigues is           20,000 and the total number of demonstrators             core labor standards, and then they ought to be
boyfriend, go snuggle with your kids or dog, go           prancing about in front, dancing lustily with two
                                                                                                                 was 50,000. As the excerpts from Clinton’s state-        a part of every trade agreement, and ultimately I
watch TV if that’s what you want, but stay out            oversized black and green flags. Behind him two
of my way because this is a lot more important            women wearing gas masks and fatigues march             ments clearly show, some understanding that              would favor a system in which sanctions would
to me than it is to you.”                                 side by side, each bearing an oversized black          the AFL-CIO would control the protests existed           come for violating any provision of a trade
        I have not moved my feet or my eyeballs at        and green mock wooden rifle. Two columns of            between the President and the labor leaders:             agreement, but we’ve got to do this in steps.
all. I have been trying to blink as little as possible.   about fifteen march behind the women with                    “I think certainly if we’d had it [the protests]          “I do think it is worth noting that the
O’Neil’s eyes are quivering and squirming to              the guns. They are all wearing gas masks and           any place in the continental United States we            strongest opposition to this position, however,
avoid me beneath the mask.                                fatigues, and they are all playing drums and
                                                                                                                 would have had the same thing and even if                comes from the leaders of developing countries,
        “O’NEIL! CAN YOU LOOK ME IN THE                   horns and all sorts of other noisemakers. They
EYES? CAN YOU DO THAT FOR ME, O’NEIL?                     are making the most glorious uproar that I have        we’d gone to Honolulu there might have been              including a lot of developing countries who
CAN YOU LOOK ME IN THE EYES. Basically                    ever heard.                                            thousands of people there. What I regret is not          have left-wing governments, not right-wing
this whole ‘Battle of Seattle’ boils down to the                The Infernal Noise Brigade marches all the       that there are protesters there… What I regret is        governments, who believe that this is a strategy
relationship between you and me. And really,              way to the front where we are standing. When           that a small number of people have done non-             by the American labor movement to keep them
there are only two kinds of relationships that            they reach the line the columns transform into         peaceful things and have tried to block access           down and keep them poor and keep them from
we can have anymore. If you can either join us            a whirling circle. We form more circles around
                                                                                                                 and prevent meetings. That’s wrong. It’s not             selling products that they’d otherwise be highly
or walk away then you will be my brother, and             them, holding hands and leaping through the
I will embrace you. If you cannot then you will           air, dancing around and around in concen-              only illegal, it’s just wrong.                           competitive in the American market. It certainly
be my enemy, and I will fight you. The relation-          tric rings like a tribe of elves. We dance with              “I regret very much that a few people              could be used that way.
ship that we are not going to have is the one             absolute abandon, in possibly the most unre-           have given the protesters a bad name, because I                 “…Again, if we can just get by the few people
where you are dominant and I am subservient.              strained explosion of sheer fury and joy I have        think the fact that the protesters are there, were       that aren’t being peaceful and the people that
That is no longer an option. That will never be           ever seen. On one side of the line across 4th          it not for those stopping meetings, stopping             are trying to stop people from meeting, I think
an option again.                                          Avenue there is a pulsating festival of resistance
                                                                                                                 movements and not being peaceful, would be a             the presence of others with legitimate questions
        “Which kind of relationship do you want           and life. On the other side there is a blank wall
to have with me, O’Neil? Look around you. Look            of obedience and death. The comparison is im-          positive.                                                about the WTO process, the environment and
at all of these people singing and dancing and            possible to miss. It hits you over the head with a           “…And then I think finally there are               labor and how poor countries are treated, I
making music. Don’t you see how beautiful                 hammer.                                                people who question whether these trading                think this can be a net positive, because we’re
this is? Don’t you see how much more healthy                    When the dance is over I return to my            rules are benefiting lower income countries,             going to have to build a much deeper consensus
and strong and fulfilling and desirable and fun           post up in O’Neil’s face. I stare into his eyes        poor countries, and question whether there               for global trade to carry it forward.”
relationships that rest on mutual respect and             and invoke all the love and rage I can muster
                                                                                                                 is damage to the environment from certain                       This interview had a very direct effect on
consent and understanding and solidarity and              to fashion an auger to bore through his mask
love are than ones that rest on force and fear            and into his brain. And Cow Eyes cries crocodile       trading arrangements that wouldn’t otherwise             the WTO negotiations. The Post-Intelligencer
and coercion and violence and hatred? Don’t               tears. His eyes are brimming, with red veins           be there, and who question whether this is               interview was read by many WTO delegates on
you see that the life and the world that we are           throbbing. His cheeks are moist. He won’t look         a race to the bottom or the top. So that labor           Wednesday morning. Roger Downey captured
beginning to create out here is superior to the           at me. “O’Neil, I don’t care if you cry or not. I      unions and wealthier countries want to have              the impact of Clinton’s statements in a Seattle
one that you have been trained to accept? Don’t           don’t care what you’re thinking right now. I           certain basic core labor standards observed in           Weekly article titled “Clinton Throws Brick”:
you see that we are going to win? Don’t you               only care about what you do. Before long you
                                                                                                                 poorer countries because they think it will be                  “When Clinton got up in Seattle and told
want to be a part of this? I know you do because          will get orders to attack us, or one of you will get
you still can’t look me in eyes. If you want to           impatient and provoke another confrontation.           better for average people so that the trading            the ministers that WTO had to clean up its act
remain my enemy then so be it. But if you want            What are you going to do? When that happens I          system actually benefits. So I think that’s what         if it wanted American support, home folks may
to be my brother all you have to do is join us or         am going to be standing right here. If you choose      is bringing all those people out.                        have nodded sagely in agreement; the delegates
walk away.”                                               to remain our enemy then you are going to have               “…I think that what we ought to do first           could only goggle speechlessly at his hypocrisy.
        At this exact moment the Infernal Noise           to hit me first. You are going to have to hurt me      of all to adopt the United States’ position on           When he dropped the sanctions brick in his
13                                                                                                                                                                                                                         50
of arrests was around sixty. On Wednesday           did not end with the arrest of protesters. The        first. I dare you to look me in the eyes when you
morning, somewhere around three hundred             target simply shifted from the streets to the jails   do it. You may be able to hurt me and not look at
arrests were made at two locations. Wednesday       and then the courts. The second reason for the        me. You may be able to look at me and not hurt
                                                                                                          me. But you won’t be able to look me in the eyes
evening, two hundred more arrests were made         police withdrawal was the demand by the Secret
                                                                                                          while you hurt me, because you are afraid you
at First Avenue and Clay Street, near the Seattle   Service that the presidential motorcade route         will lose your nerve. You are afraid of me, and
Center. Another dozen or fewer people, mostly       and speaking locations be given top priority by       you should be.
residents of Capitol Hill, would be arrested        police.                                                       “O’Neil, you all have been terrorizing us all
during the night. Approximately five hundred              The preceding day, as police and federal        day. If this goes on all night we will have to start
and forty of the arrests were for misdemean-        security officials had milled around in an            fighting back. And you and I will be standing
                                                                                                          right here in the middle of it. I have no illusions
ors and eleven were for felony charges such as      atmosphere of panic at the Multi-Agency
                                                                                                          about what that means. Neither should you.
vandalism or looting. One of the felony arrests     Command Center in the Public Safety Building,         We may get killed. But I would rather deal with
occurred in the Greenwood district, miles from      Ronald Legan, the special agent in charge of the      that than accept this one second longer. I would
the downtown area.                                  Seattle office of the Secret Service, laid down an    rather die than give in to you. I don’t think you
      The arrests ended for two reasons. First      ultimatum to Seattle officials about the presi-       can say that, can you, O’Neil? Would you rather
and most importantly, the police were running       dential visit. “I remember saying that unless         die than be my brother? Who are you dying
                                                                                                          for? Where are they? Whoever gives you orders
out of transportation to remove those arrested      we could get control of the streets, we would
                                                                                                          is standing behind you, man. Whoever gives
from downtown. As the city busses arrived at        recommend that he not come,” Legan said. “Now         them orders is relaxing down at the station,
Sand Point, protesters refused to leave some        the problem there is that, with this president, he    and whoever gives them orders is safe in some
of the busses. Others obstructed the booking        sets his own agenda and goes where he wants.          high rise somewhere, laughing at your foolish
procedures by refusing to identify themselves.      And we did not want to have to battle a 30-car        ass! Why isn’t your boss, and their boss, out here
Many of the “arrest” affinity groups carried no     motorcade in and out of Seattle.”                     with you, O’Neil, risking their lives and crying
                                                                                                          in the middle of 4th Avenue? Why should they?
identification for this very purpose.                     Seattle Assistant Chief Ed Joiner said he
                                                                                                          You do it all for them! What are you thinking?
      Kelly Quirke, executive director of the       would not characterize the discussion as “threat-     I just don’t get it. They don’t care about you,
Rainforest Action Network, was arrested at          ening… but it was clear that if the situation was     hell, I care about you more than they do. You’re
Westlake center. “They drove us to a converted      going to be the following day what it was then,       getting used, hustled, played, man, and you will
naval base, where we spent the next 15 hours on     there was no way you could bring the president        be discarded the minute you become expend-
the bus, eating and drinking only the food and      of the United States into Seattle.”                   able. Please look me in the eyes. I’m serious,
                                                                                                          O’Neil, come dance with me…”
water we had on hand (they gave us none), doing
                                                                                                                  Someone whispers in my ear that another
interviews and organizing the next morning’s        Presidential Appearance                               cop is crying down the line to my right. For a
press conference until our cell phones went         President Clinton admitted the coordinated            fleeting moment I can feel it coming, the fiery
dead (we were quite adept at getting out of the     strategy between the AFL-CIO and the White            dragon breath of the day that will come when
plastic cuffs), singing, meeting (of course), and   House in an interview with Seattle Post-Intelli-      the servants turn their backs on their masters
demanding to see our lawyers,” he said.             gencer reporter Michael Paulson. The interview        and dance…
                                                                                                                  …And then it’s gone. Because O’Neil is not
      Police arrest procedures were so chaotic      occurred on Tuesday evening, as the President
                                                                                                          dancing. He is completely beaten. His lifeless
and slipshod that over 400 cases were dropped       was between Washington D.C. and San                   eyes don’t even quiver or squirm. And he won’t
by City Attorney Mark Sidran due to the             Francisco. It is clear that Clinton was either not    look at me. I could whisper in his nightmares
absence of arrest reports and the failure of        aware or chose to deny that the Direct Action         for a thousand years, I could burn my face onto
arresting officers to identify themselves. The      Network protests were nearly equal in size            the backs of his eyelids, I could stare at him
Direct Action Network strategy of blockade          to the AFL-CIO parade. Clinton’s chief of the         every morning from the bathroom mirror, but
49                                                                                                                                                          14
he would never look me in the eyes. He is too        away.
well-trained, too completely broken, too weak              There are no words that are poisonous
to feel compassion for the enemy. His eyes are       enough to convey the venom that I hold for
dead. There is nothing left. The magic words         O’Neil and all of the rest of his kind. These
that could pierce his armor and resurrect him        wretched scabs, these Uncle Toms, these despi-               mass arrests a day late : Presidential aPPearance
elude me, if they exist at all.                      cable bullies, these hellish machines, these dead
                                                                                                             Post-Presidential disorder : street Battles for the hell of it
      “O’Neil, I know that you have been broken      bodies are utterly beneath contempt. I look at
and trained. So have I. I know that you are just     their faces and I feel nothing but hatred. I run
following orders and just doing your job. I have     down 4th Avenue, ducking gas and grenades,
done the same. But we are ultimately respon-         my eyes brimming with red veins throbbing.
sible for our actions, and their consequences.       Training has dehumanized me in O’Neil’s eyes,
There is a life and a world and a community          and O’Neil in mine.
                                                                                                         Mass Arrests A Day Late                            apparent that Westlake Center, rather than
waiting for you on this side of the line that can
                                                                                                         At 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, the police      the WTO conference location, was the focus
make you wild and whole again, if you want
them. But if you prefer to lay it all to waste, if                                                       began mass arrests. Direct Action Network          of Wednesday’s blockade. The Direct Action
you prefer death and despair to love and life,                                                           protesters began assembling at a few locations     Network had correctly identified the shopping
if all of these words bounce off of your armor                                                           and others made their way into the downtown        and business district as being the vulner-
and you still choose to hurt me then FUCK you,                                                           core. Some of the arrests occurred at Denny        able point in the new police strategy. By 9 a.m.
because the Nuremberg defense doesn’t fly.”                                                                                                                 Westlake Center was clogged by a peaceful sit-
                                                                                                         Park, well to the north of the downtown. Police
      I have nothing left to say. I sing the last
                                                                                                         handcuffed some demonstrators and put them         down protest as protesters patiently waited for
verse of my beaten heroes’ song, softly, over and
over and over again, staring into O’Neil’s eyes                                                          on city busses which moved the arrestees to the    police to arrest them. The crowds, consisting
and waiting for the inevitable. “…In our hands is                                                        temporary jail at the former Sand Point Naval      of demonstrators waiting to join the sit in and
placed a power greater than their hoarded gold,                                                          Air Station. Other demonstrators had their signs   spectators from business district, continued to
greater than the might of armies magnified                                                               taken away from them, but were not arrested.       swell. As one protester was arrested more would
a thousand fold—we can bring to birth a new                                                                                                                 leave the crowd and sit down. Once again, the
                                                                                                         These proceeded downtown.
world from the ashes of the old…”
                                                                                                               According to Kelly Quirke, Executive         netwar tactic of “swarming” the target by
      Eventually a cop down to my right either
gets impatient or gets orders. He grabs a guy,                                                           Director of the Rainforest Action Network, the     stealthy approach succeeded.
completely randomly, pulls him across the line,                                                          police mass arrest strategy included targeting           By 10 a.m. it was becoming evident that
and starts beating him. The crowd surges to                                                              protest leaders. “At the police chief’s and        the police tactics were not going to halt the sit-
rescue our friend, and O’Neil makes his choice.                                                          mayor’s press conference we had watched on         in and that the police were creating a situation
“LOOK ME IN THE EYES, O’NEIL!” He clubs the                                                                                                                 which they could not control. At 10:30 a.m., the
                                                                                                         TV late the night before, they announced that
person standing next to me, and the cop standing
                                                                                                         they were going to go after the ringleaders,”      police commander stepped between his men
next to him clubs me. “LOOK ME IN THE EYES,
MOTHERFUCKER!” But he never does. I ram                                                                  Quirke said. The counter-leadership targeting      and the protesters. He walked to the seated
into him as hard as I can, praying that the sea                                                          was as ineffective as other police tactics, due    protesters, leaned down and said, “We’re outta
behind me will finally break through the wall,                                                           to the Direct Action Network’s decentralized       here.” He then motioned to his men to leave
drown the both of us, and carry my friend away                                                           decision-making process, which operated by         the area and the police withdrew in an orderly
to safety. But I am not strong enough, and the                                                                                                              manner. The protesters, both seated and among
                                                                                                         group consensus. In effect, a network has no
wall of death beats us back once more. Over
                                                                                                         “ringleaders.”                                     the crowd, were jubilant. They had prevailed.
my shoulder I watch one cop walk up to a very
small older woman and unload a tank of pepper                                                                  Protesters converged on the Westlake               The disengagement of the police at
spray into her eyes. Her indomitable and bitter                                                          Center and arrests there began at approximate-     Westlake Center marked the failure of mass
face is the last thing I see before I have to run                                                        ly 8 a.m. As the morning wore on, it became        arrests as a police tactic. On Tuesday, the total
15                                                                                                                                                                                                          48
who rode to town on union busses were gone.
The conditions on Wednesday were far more
favorable to the police than anything which
could possibly have been arranged on Tuesday.
      Assistant Chief Ed Joiner said Seattle
police and their law enforcement partners
initially looked hard at a plan based on prepara-
tions for the NATO conference in Washington,
D.C. This plan was similar to the strategy which
was put in place after the declaration of civil
emergency: “We considered it and basically
rejected it as something that, in a perfect world,
we’d like to do, but in a real world is a less
viable option. Can you imagine me going to the
mayor and the governor, before the conference
even happened, and saying ‘I need to create
this security perimeter from Seneca to Lenora
Streets, from Fourth Avenue to the freeway, and
I need to shut all the businesses down for five
days the week after Thanksgiving?’ Can you
imagine the kind of response I’d get, besides

                                                       Netwar iN the
them asking me for my resignation then?”
      “It was impossible,” Joiner said. “Politically
it was impossible. The damage to the downtown
business core would have been substantial.”

                                                       emerald City:
      Once again, the Direct Action Network
prevailed. The victory on Tuesday was re-
affirmed Wednesday, and Chief Stamper’s
concerns about bringing outside law enforce-

                                                       Strategy and tacticS
ment into the city were realized in full that
night when police rioted on Capitol Hill.

                                                       in the WtO PrOteStS
                                                             themselves leaderless when the dust settled,           window, enabling others to enter and destroy          After
     This report was published shortly after the WTO                                                                the inside of the Starbucks,” according to a          With the departure of the AFL-CIO parade par-
                                                             and Seattle Mayor Paul Schell, who was left
     protests by the RAND Corporation, a think tank
                                                             standing alone amidst the political wreckage in        police report. “Babcock entered the store and         ticipants, the Direct Action Network assumed
     that touts its “objectivity” and purports to “improve
                                                             the aftermath.                                         was arrested as he emerged from the crowd             total control of the protests in Seattle. With their
     policy and decision-making through research and
     analysis.” Any perspective advanced by such a                 The central fact of the protests is the utter    carrying several bags of coffee from the display      one brief appearance, the Black Bloc presence
     dubious entity should obviously be taken with a         surprise and confusion that occurred during            inside of the store,” the report said. The criminal   in the streets subsided. The media, however,
     grain of salt. That said, this analysis is noteworthy   the initial confrontation on Tuesday morning.          complaint against Babcock states that he handed       directed considerable attention to the Eugene
     for its comprehensive scope. Aspiring revolutionar-                                                            a one-pound bag of coffee to a police detective       contingent. The media coup for the Black Bloc
                                                             “It was a classic example of two armies coming
     ies will be hard-pressed to find a better summary of
                                                             into contact and immediately experiencing the          outside the store. Of the four people arrested        created an unprecedented amount of attention
     what took place on the other side of the barricades
                                                             total collapse their battle plans,” said Daniel        at the coffee shop and charged with felonies,         for the philosophy of “autonomist” anarchism.
     that week. The text can be found online at http://               Junas, a Seattle political researcher.                 none were “Anarchists from Eugene.” One was                 The Direct Action Network strategy of
                                                                   What exactly happened during the                 from Seattle, two appeared to be from Portland        non-violent civil disobedience clearly had
                                                             crucial hours of the Battle in Seattle is shrouded     (although they gave the address of a Seattle          succeeded against the AFL-CIO’s strategy of
Seattle, like many American cities, has                      in confusion and controversy, but the broad            homeless shelter), and Babcock’s residence was        controlling and marginalizing protests in favor
self-appointed nicknames. One of Seattle’s                   outlines can be discerned. The street action falls     not disclosed in news reports.                        of a symbolic parade, the attempts of the Seattle
nicknames is “The Emerald City,” a reference to              into three distinct phases: first, the Direct Action         The process of the protesters’ withdrawal       police to clear the streets with tear gas, and
its perpetually soggy evergreen vegetation and               Network (DAN) protesters seized and held a             from downtown coincided with the arrival of           the media effort to frame the issue in terms of
to the mythical Land of Oz. On November 30,                  handful of strategic intersections, immobilizing       additional police reinforcements, the declara-        “violent protesters.” The DAN plan remained
1999, Seattle awoke to the reality of an emerging            the police. Second, the police strategy                tion of a 7 p.m. curfew, and the fall of darkness.    one of direct action by civil disobedience and
global protest movement. This movement                       fragmented over two contradictory goals:               The WTO had announced the cancellation of             deep, multi-layered support for autonomous
was not created in Seattle. Other protests with              suppressing the DAN protests and allowing the          activities around 1 p.m., although word of the        affinity groups. The DAN strategy to emphasize
similar motives, participants, and strategies had            labor parade. Third, the labor parade failed in        cancellation did not become widespread until          the failure of the WTO to allow democratic par-
been happening in the United States and around               its goal of controlling and diverting the DAN          late afternoon. Based on the videos and photo-        ticipation in international trade discussions
the world for a considerable time. What made                 protesters away from the Convention Center.            graphs of the move up Pine Street, the protest-       would now be tested against the hard-line strat-
the “N30” protests remarkable was the shock                  The influx of reinforcements who abandoned             ers appear to have decided to leave downtown          egies advocated by federal security officials.
that we, like Dorothy and Toto, were no longer               the labor parade and joined the DAN protests           and were followed, not “swept,” by police. The              Mayor Paul Schell’s declaration of civil
in Kansas.                                                   left the streets more firmly in control of the         police decision to follow up the hill, firing tear    emergency dramatically altered the police
      The World Trade Organization protests in               protesters, despite the use of tear gas by police      gas and rubber bullets, is inexplicable in terms      strategy for suppressing the protests. As the
Seattle marked a turning point in national and               since around 10 a.m.. By approximately 3 p.m.          of clearing downtown. Of all the police actions       hard-liners inside and outside the Seattle Police
international trade policy. The biggest outcome              Tuesday, the battle was decided and the Direct         during Tuesday, only the initial deployment of        Department had wished, law enforcement
of the protests was the resurgence of the                    Action Network had prevailed in their goal of          tear gas at 6th and University and the pursuit up     was now “prepared.” For the entire month of
American Left’s influence on the international               shutting down the conference.                          Capitol Hill suggest a breakdown in command.          December, the wail went up from law enforce-
trade issue. All in all, it was a stunning surprise                After that time, the outcome was                 The police decision not to disengage continued        ment “we weren’t prepared.” On Wednesday,
to many of the parties involved: the Direct                  certain. The battle continued for several              the disturbance late into the night. The clashes      the police were prepared with more troops,
Action Network coordinating the protests, the                days, spreading into other areas of the city. By       with police at the top of Capitol Hill were           more gas, more barricades, a declaration of civil
AFL-CIO’s new foray into grass-roots politics,               Thursday, the World Trade Organization had             simply echoes of the earlier police defeat in the     emergency complete with a “no protest zone”
the federal administration trying to steer a                 capitulated and the police ceased attacking            day-long “Battle in Seattle.”                         enclosing downtown, a curfew, and the sus-
new course in national and multinational                     civilians, thereby recognizing a conclusion                                                                  pension of civil liberties. The AFL-CIO parade
trade policies, the Seattle Police who found                 reached before darkness fell on Tuesday.                                                                     was over and done with and the “day-trip”
17                                                                                                                                                                                                                         46
blockade was still intact, immobilizing the           projectiles, and accompanied in some instances
police and preventing movement through the            by vehicles. The police did not maintain close

                                                                                                              the Players
strategic triangle northeast of the AFL-CIO           contact with the crowds and followed—not
parade route and the downtown shopping                drove—them into Capitol Hill. The turning
district. As a result, most of the police action      movement of the police—from a northern
took place south and west of the Convention           push to an eastern one—was not according to
Center. Starting from the south along Union           the plan outlined by Assistant Chief Ed Joiner.
and University Streets, the police moved north        According to political researcher Daniel Junas,
along Third to Seventh Avenue to sweep the            the Direct Action Network overheard police
demonstrators north into the route along which        radio messages in which units in the East             WTO Opponents
the parade had retreated.                             Precinct on Capitol Hill frantically demanded         The Direct Action Network (DAN) represented         distinction between offensive and defensive.
      The police sweep northwards compressed          that the police downtown cease pushing dem-           an emerging species of political organization       The overall strategic goal of the Direct Action
the crowds into the east-west corridor running        onstrators up the hill. The central command           based on networks rather than institutions. The     Network was to “shut down” the World Trade Or-
along Pike and Pine Streets. Here, the police         replied that they were pushing the crowds north       primary networked organizations in the Direct       ganization meeting in Seattle. The “shut down”
again stalled against the large size of the crowds.   (i.e., along the route of the AFL-CIO retreat from    Action Network were a coalition of groups such      was accomplished by a variety of independent
The compression halted the police movement            downtown), not east.                                  as the Rainforest Action Network, Art & Revolu-     but strategically congruent actions summing
for several hours, as dumpsters which had been                The loose contact between police and          tion, and the Ruckus Society. Through the Direct    up to a street blockade in the immediate vicinity
pushed into the streets to block the center of        demonstrators permitted the last act of serious       Action Network, these groups coordinated non-       of the WTO conference. Once the blockade
intersections began to burn. These bonfires           vandalism of the day. Police were not con-            violent protest training, communications, and       came into being, the emphasis would shift to
slowly spread in an irregular way as the crowds       trolling the intersection at Sixth Avenue and         collective strategy and tactics through a de-       defending the blockade for as long as possible in
withdrew west, not north as the police wished,        Stewart Street, near the Westin Hotel. Protest-       centralized process of consultation/consensus       the streets. In the spotlight of media attention
and moved up into Capitol Hill in the early           ers had built a bonfire in the center of the inter-   decision-making.                                    created by the blockade, DAN hoped to launch
evening.                                              section. At approximately 7:15 p.m., a group of             The strategy and tactics of these new—        a variety of informational operations emphasiz-
      The Mayor’s declaration of civil emergency      vandals smashed the window of the Starbucks           and primarily information-based—networks of         ing the anti-democratic, neo-colonial, and anti-
at 3:25 p.m. set in motion the reinforcements         coffee shop. This was the same coffee shop from       non-governmental organizations evolved from         environmental tendencies of trans-national
from the King County Sheriff’s Department, the        which Washington State Patrol Chief Annette           trends represented by the ad hoc mobilization       trade agreements.
Washington State Patrol, and local police de-         Sandberg saw the Direct Action Network                committees of the Viet Nam protest era, the               The Direct Action Network’s goal was suf-
partments from surrounding cities and towns.          affinity groups at 5:30 a.m., as they moved into      “alternative summits” at recent world environ-      ficiently broad to join together two major WTO
The arrival of the reinforcements in the streets      position and seized the strategic intersections       mental and human rights conferences, and the        opponents. The DAN factions can be distin-
occurred relatively slowly over the next three        surrounding the WTO conference site. Events           loose coalitions which formed in opposition         guished by their varying focus on environmen-
hours, impeded by the discord which dominated         had come full circle.                                 to U.S. policy during the Gulf War. Networks,       tal or human rights issues.
the relations between the Seattle Police and the              As in the morning, the police presence        as opposed to institutions, are shaped by de-             The second major WTO opponent was
King County Sheriff Dave Reichert.                    was not visible to the protesters, although the       centralized command and control structures,         American organized labor, the AFL-CIO. The
      By 5:30 p.m., the police lines—now              evening response was quicker. Prosecutors             are resistant to “decapitation” attacks targeting   AFL-CIO represents a hierarchical institu-
increased by the arrival of Sheriff’s deputies—       alleged that Danny Babcock and an uniden-             leaders, and are amorphous enough to weld           tion which emphasizes unitary, top-down
had reached the corner of Fourth and Pike. The        tified accomplice took a USA Today vending            together coalitions with significantly different    command. There is little participation by rank
protesters began withdrawing west along Pike          machine and hurled it through a window of             agendas while concentrating forces on a single      and file in union decision-making, though
and Pine Streets, towards Capitol Hill, followed      the Starbucks store. “Defendant Babcock then          symbolic target.                                    ceremonial elections are sometimes held to
by police firing tear gas and rubber and wooden       kicked and pulled away the glass from the                   Conflicts involving networks blur the         legitimize leadership decisions. Essentially na-
45                                                                                                                                                                                                             18
tionalist in outlook, the AFL-CIO policy goals       ized nations. To a lesser extent, the WTO deliber-   meeting until Thursday, by which time the           The mayor immediately agreed and authorized
are directed more at American politics and less      ations would broaden the scope of existing trade     street protests had ceased to disrupt the city      [the emergency declaration],” said Joiner. “There
at international issues. Simply stated, the AFL-     agreements to include developing countries.          and protest marches were being escorted by          was never any hesitation.” The period between
CIO’s strategic target was supporting and legiti-    Prior to the Seattle conference, the WTO was         police instead of being attacked by them. Even      the mayor’s arrival at the MACC and issuing the
mizing President Clinton’s actions at the con-       dominated by the three major trading blocs: the      so, the council meeting was canceled because        proclamation of civil emergency was less than
ference through purely symbolic displays by a        western hemisphere block organized around            of “security” concerns. The press reports are       half an hour. At 3:24 p.m., the mayor issued the
loyal opposition.                                    the NAFTA treaties, the European Economic            not clear, but suggest that the council never       emergency declaration.
      As will be seen, Clinton indicated in an       Community (EEC), and the Asian industrialized        ratified the emergency ordinance before it was            What the declaration of civil emergency
interview on Tuesday afternoon that there was        nations. The Seattle talks were the first which      rescinded by the mayor.                             meant became a source of constant confusion
strategic coordination between his administra-       included developing countries. The complex                 Mayor Schell spent most of the day at the     during the period it was in effect. The mayor
tion and the AFL-CIO in regards to the parade        tensions inside the WTO were reflected in its        WTO conference site, waiting for the opening        banned the possession of gas masks, but it
and protests. In his remarks, President Clinton      structure: on one side, the “green room” discus-     ceremonies to begin. He did not arrive at the       continues to be unclear what law was violated
reinforced and repeated the false distinction        sions dominated by the more powerful WTO             Multi-Agency Command Center in the Public           by their possession. The “no protest” zone
between the AFL-CIO parade as “legitimate”           members; on the other, and the general meeting       Safety Building until about 3 p.m., two hours       was open to some people and closed to others.
and the DAN protests as “criminal dissent.” This     where the entire body—including developing           after the ceremonies had been canceled.             Police took to enforcing an informal dress code,
false distinction underscores the very reason for    nations—would attempt to ratify the “green                 Beginning around 1 p.m., Governor Gary        arresting people based on their appearance. In
the protests in the first place: the exclusion of    room” decisions.                                     Locke had set in motion a series of unilateral      one case, an arrest was made for possession of an
dissenting opinion from trade policy decisions.            The tensions surrounding this meeting          actions including starting the call-up of the       anti-WTO button. Conflicting statements were
      Overall, the advantage went to the Direct      were considerably greater than previous. The         National Guard and authorizing the movement         made by police officials about what was or was
Action Network, since their informational            trade disagreements between the NAFTA                of Washington State Patrol units from around        not allowed in the downtown area. Protesters
strategy effectively enclosed the coordinated        nations (led by the U.S.), the EEC (led by France)   the state to Seattle. He arrived at the MACC        had signs taken away from them in areas outside
strategy of the AFL-CIO and the federal govern-      and the Asian nations (led by Japan) promised        at 2:50 p.m., about ten minutes ahead of the        the “no protest” zone, but were not arrested.
ment. As will be seen, at the critical moment        to be major stumbling blocks. At the same time,      mayor. “Almost immediately upon arriving at         Others were arrested both inside and outside the
in the street actions, the balance shifted to the    the failure of the WTO consensus process would       the command center, there was no doubt in my        zone. On Wednesday afternoon, the governor
Direct Action Network as non-union protesters        maintain and extend the dominance of the in-         mind that we needed to call up the National         made a statement on television that order had
and a dissenting union members left the AFL-         dustrialized nations over the newer members.         Guard,” Locke said.                                 been restored to downtown and invited people
CIO parade and joined the street protests, effec-    Even in the absence of protests outside the                Upon Schell’s arrival, officials from the     to come shopping, implying that the downtown
tively sealing the success of the Direct Action      meeting, the tensions inside made it very likely     SPD, Secret Service, FBI, State Patrol, Depart-     was open and the curfew was lifted. Wednesday
Network’s day-long blockade.                         that the Seattle round of negotiations would         ment of Justice, State Department, King County,     night, residents of Capitol Hill were arrested on
                                                     be off to a rocky start. All in all, the American    the governor’s office, and the White House          their doorsteps when they asked police what
The World Trade Organization                         posture consisted of blocking agreements while       moved into a back room and engaged in a heated      was going on. The ACLU went to federal court
and Allies                                           giving the appearance of support.                    discussion. While the argument continued, U.S.      and was turned down on the first of several legal
On the other side of the conflict, the World Trade         President Clinton’s strategy was concen-       Attorney General Janet Reno called the governor     challenges to the emergency ordinance.
Organization and its allies composed a much          trated around his appearance at the conference,      and insisted that the National Guard be called
more divided picture. The purpose of the WTO         rather than the success of the conference itself.    up.                                                 Battle Resumes
conference was to produce a new framework            If the talks failed to produce a new framework,            After speaking with Reno, Locke met with      By 3 p.m., the belated attempt by police to push
for the next round of negotiations on interna-       then the existing agreements (which heavily          the mayor. Schell then spoke with Assistant         the protesters away from the triangle of key in-
tional trade. If successful, the “Seattle round”     favored the shared interests of industrialized       Police Chiefs Joiner and Pirak. “By that time, we   tersections surrounding the Convention Center
would resolve some of the disputes between           countries) would continue to provide the basis       had a chance to look at what was happening.         was in full motion. The Direct Action Network
19                                                                                                                                                                                                           44
police tactical team would break through the        area looked like the three blocks in which the        for international negotiations. In terms of           ability organization which reported separate-
crowd and violently assault the Black Bloc.”        vandalism occurred.                                   the protests, the federal strategy and national       ly to the Chief and the City Council through
       This same source was very clear that the           Later, news reports echoed police claims        prestige hinged simply on getting Clinton into        two separate boards. The road to community
“Anarchists from Eugene” were only one faction      that the tear gas and subsequent disorder             the conference.                                       policing had been rough and rocky, particular-
among the Black Blocs: “While I know they were      followed, rather than preceded, the Black Bloc              Next on the list of WTO allies is the City      ly in light of the resistance from rank and file
there, the black bloc had a few hundred people      attack. The “Anarchists from Eugene” became a         of Seattle and Mayor Paul Schell. The City of         cops. These frictions heightened the tensions
in it. I know there were people there from all      convenient, if totally misleading, media hook         Seattle, as host of the conference and lead ju-       surrounding the contract negotiations between
over the country. The Eugene people have just       on which to hang the distinction between the          risdiction, was the center of responsibility for      the City and the police union.
been very open about violent demo tactics.          “peaceful parade” and the “violent protests.” In      containing the demonstrations. Aside from                   The total size of the Seattle Police Depart-
The 60 Minutes episode really does disfavor to      fact, the media’s distinction between the two         this hospitality, Schell’s political concerns         ment was roughly 1,800 officers, of whom about
revolutionary anarchism, in that it portrays all    hinged entirely on whom the police attacked,          were complex. First of all, the primary reason        850 were available for street duty throughout
anarchists through the eyes and mouths of the       not who attacked the police.                          for Seattle hosting the WTO conference was to         the city. Of these, 400 were assigned to the WTO
primitivists—who in my mind make up a small                                                               promote regional trade interests: principally         demonstrations. Seattle had about the same ratio
minority of anarchist activists. The primitivists   Declaration of Emergency                              timber and forest products, wheat, and a variety      of police to population as Chicago, but Seattle’s
put anti-technology and environmentalism at         Before noon, security officials had been re-          of high tech industries, of which Microsoft           smaller size limited in the number of officers
the forefront of their politics, and downplay, in   questing the mayor issue a declaration of civil       and Boeing were the best known examples.              it could field against the protesters—unless, of
my opinion, the real social and class struggle      emergency. Seattle’s civil emergency ordinance,       Secondly, Schell was a liberal Democrat and had       course, the SPD entered into some sort of joint
that has to take place.”                            officially titled Seattle Municipal Code 10.02,       strong ties to the Democratic Party and its main      WTO operation with other police agencies in
       Much has been made of the connection         dates from 1973, when it was passed in response       source of financial support, the AFL-CIO. Third       the region. By Wednesday, the second day of
between the Black Bloc and Eugene, Oregon. Of       to Viet Nam war protests. After the Gulf War          and last, Schell was deeply beholden to the pro-      the protests, more than 500 state and regional
the eleven people charged with felony crimes in     protests in 1992, some sections were revised. It      gressive Democrats and environmentalists who          police, plus some 200 National Guard would be
connection with the protests, only one is from      is a sweepingly broad ordinance, which author-        were a key political constituency in Seattle,         deployed.
Eugene. Five are from Seattle, one from Olympia,    izes “extraordinary measures,” including decla-       though mostly excluded from the Democratic                  The largest two outside police forces
Washington, one from Portland, Oregon, one          ration of curfew, commandeering of property,          Party by the labor interests. Schell’s attempts to    available to Seattle were the King County
from Maryland, and two places of residence are      closure of businesses, prohibition of alcoholic       satisfy all of these interests were so riddled with   Sheriff’s department and the Washington
not reported. All of the five people charged with   beverages, bans on the carrying or posses-            contradictions that he became unable to control       State Patrol. Sheriff Dave Reichert was a con-
looting are from Seattle.                           sion of firearms, and “any other measures” the        events and was ultimately left to twist slowly in     servative Republican and political foe of Mayor
       The vandalism and looting occurred in        mayor deems necessary. Under the ordinance,           the wind, abandoned by nearly everyone.               Schell. This reflected the long-standing division
the area evacuated by police to create a buffer     the mayor may issue orders “requesting federal              The direct point of contact between the         between Seattle and the King County govern-
zone between the Direct Action Network pro-         and/or state assistance in combating such civil       Direct Action Network and the WTO was the             ment. The suburban fringe surrounding Seattle
testers and the AFL-CIO parade. The center of       emergency” and “closing to the public any or          Seattle Police Department (SPD). Under the            was the traditional political battleground in
the vandalized area coincides with the turning      all public places including streets, alleys, public   leadership of Chief Norm Stamper, the SPD             which statewide elections were fought. The
point of the parade, the corner of 5th and Pike.    ways, schools, parks, beaches, amusement areas,       had become a national laboratory for a progres-       outlying areas went to the Republicans and the
As the parade entered downtown, the protest-        and public buildings.”                                sive philosophy of law enforcement known as           heavily urbanized areas went to the Democrats.
ers who left the march for the street protest             The power of declaring a civil emergency        “community policing.” Recently, the relations         The suburbs swung back and forth between the
were immediately confronted by the results of       rests entirely with the mayor. The City Council       between the police and Mayor Schell’s adminis-        two. The State Patrol chief was responsible to
anarchist property destruction. This led some       is directed to meet at the “earliest practicable      tration had not been good. One of the outcomes        Gov. Gary Locke, a nominal Democrat who rose
of the participants in the parade who joined the    time” for “ratification and confirmation, modi-       of Chief Stamper’s community policing initia-         to the governorship through the King County
protests downtown to assume that the entire         fication, or rejection.” The council avoided          tive had been the formation of a police account       Council. The governor also controlled the
43                                                                                                                                                                                                              20
National Guard, although these forces couldn’t      control of the informational conflict in which         of the Black Bloc only at the beginning and end.    which dominates the picture, are “tagging” sig-
be committed without the declaration of a state     the media was both the battleground and the            The majority of the vandalism occurred around       natures, the incomprehensible glyphs common
of emergency by the governor and the request of     prize.                                                 4th and Pike, a corner that the Black Bloc          throughout urban areas. The other photo shows
the mayor. Neither the King County police nor             The first of these groups were the so-           avoided while being videotaped by KIRO TV. It       two teenagers and the right foot of a third, as
the State Patrol were supporters of community       called “Anarchists from Eugene,” more correctly        is possible that the TV news crews missed the       one breaks off the “T” in the Nike Town sign.
policing policies, which meant that outside as-     known as the “Black Blocs.” The total number           early stages of the vandalism and erroneously       None of the teenagers are masked and all three
sistance would entail Chief Stamper presiding       of Black Bloc participants numbered between            reported the vandalism as beginning later than      wear light-colored clothing.
over a joint command divided by fundamental         one and two hundred people. The appearance of          was actually the case. The discrepancy between            The Black Bloc engaged in property de-
policy differences.                                 Black Blocs at protests is a relatively recent phe-    reports is partly due to the chaos which gripped    struction numbered no more than thirty to forty
      Mayor Schell decided that he and Chief        nomenon. The purpose of Black Blocs is to show         the downtown, but is also due to the fact that      people, all dressed similarly in black and hooded
Stamper would deal with the demonstrations          a visible presence of the more radical anarchist       large numbers of teenagers who were not part        or masked to prevent their identification. They
without the direct support of other law en-         factions. A Black Bloc consists of protesters who      of the Black Bloc took advantage of the situation   moved at a brisk pace, occasionally stopping in
forcement agencies. Most critics have claimed       wear black, carry anarchist flags and banners,         and likewise engaged in vandalism.                  small groups to break windows or spray-paint
that this decision was the reason the protests      and take a more confrontational approach to                  It was this second group, estimated to        anarchist and anti-corporate slogans. Early in
succeeded. There are strong reasons to believe      protest.                                               number at least one hundred or more, who            the raid, they twice attacked KIRO TV news
that this is not so. The Tuesday protests would           In an interview in Active Transformation, an     engaged in looting some of the broken store         crews, spraying the camera lenses with paint
have succeeded in attaining their goals (though     anarchist journal, one participant in the Seattle      windows, as well as occupying the awning            to stop the crews from taking pictures. After
in a less spectacular fashion) even if the police   Black Blocs explained it this way: “…Anarchists        over the Nike store. In addition to the damage      these attacks, news crews withdrew half a block
presence had included the outside agencies.         were not isolated in the black bloc. There were        to commercial property, police cars and limou-      to avoid further attacks. The Black Bloc main-
      One of the considerations which weighed       anarchists involved in every possible way. There       sines were vandalized with spray paint and by       tained cohesion and moved along their route
against the employment of outside police            were anarchist labor activists, puppeteers,            having their tires slashed.                         in a determined manner, several times scuffling
on Tuesday was the strong possibility that          non-violent lockdown blockaders, marching                    Jeff Boscole, an eyewitness who was on        with the non-violent protesters from the Direct
they would attack the union parade and city         musicians, medics, communication people,               Sixth Avenue, described how the two groups          Action Network. A handful of plainclothes
residents. The deployment of outside police         media people, whatever—as well as a group of           could be distinguished by their dress and the       police and FBI shadowed the group, reporting
reinforcements was delayed long enough to           about two hundred in black masks who had               different slogans which they spray-painted on       their movements. Police made no effort to halt
protect the union parade. But the police attacks    prepared, also in affinity groups, to do as much       buildings and windows. According to Boscole,        the vandalism, but in several instances Direct
on city residents occurred on Capitol Hill, on      symbolic physical damage to multi-national             the Black Bloc graffiti consisted of legible        Action Network protesters stopped or interfered
Tuesday and Wednesday night. This was an            capitalism as possible. I have seen black blocs        political slogans, while the “wilding teenagers”    with members of the Black Bloc, while others
area in which Schell’s political support was        used in protests in the U.S. a lot but never so suc-   were “tagging” with illegible individualized        chanted “no violence” to little avail.
strongest and also where many of the protesters     cessfully. It is important to note that the black      symbols which were not slogans.                           One anarchist described the action in the
were staying while in Seattle.                      bloc was not the result of some conspiracy. It               Three of the “wilding teenagers” are          following terms: “When the large-scale window
                                                    too happened quite spontaneously, with people          clearly shown in two photographs published in       breaking began it was quite awe-inspiring. All
Wild Cards                                          who came from all over the country—with                the December 1 Seattle Times. One picture shows     of a sudden people we were walking with pulled
Two more players deserve examination, es-           similar desires.”                                      a lone teenager, standing on a deserted sidewalk    out all sorts of tools: nail pullers, hammers,
pecially since one ended up dominating the                The media’s tag-line of “Anarchists from         and reaching through a broken window. Under         crowbars. They then proceeded to very quickly
national media coverage. Neither of these two       Eugene” was one of those lazy half-truths which        one arm, he is holding a skateboard. The            knock windows out of every bank, upper class,
groups was numerous nor strategically signifi-      sums up to a conscious lie. The half-truth was         windows and front of the store are defaced with     or multi-national clothing store. I even saw
cant in terms of the overall outcome of the WTO     that people from Eugene participated in the            graffiti, some of which are anarchist slogans       a woman smashing an ATM machine with a
protests. However, both ended up effectively in     Black Blocs. The other unreported half of the          and others, particularly the one center-left        sledge hammer. I was afraid at any moment a
21                                                                                                                                                                                                            42
                                                                                                        truth was that people from Seattle and the          sought to disrupt the chain of command and
                                                                                                        surrounding region committed much of the            force the initial confrontation with demonstra-
                                                                                                        vandalism and nearly all of the looting. These      tors into chaos. To put it bluntly, these officers
                                                                                                        people were not part of the Black Blocs, nor were   comprised the faction within the police depart-
                 the Black Bloc : declaration of emergency                                              their actions politically inspired. The lie was     ment that had been most threatened by Chief
                           Battle resumes : after                                                       that the Black Bloc faction engaged in property     Stamper’s reforms—the criminal element.
                                                                                                        destruction—which numbered perhaps 40               “Organized crime is the continuation of busi-
                                                                                                        people at most—caused the police violence in        ness by criminal means,” says Dr. Phil Williams,
                                                                                                        the streets. The violence began hours before the    international expert on organized crime. And
                                                                                                        window-breaking spree.                              criminal business, just like legitimate business,
The Black Bloc                                     closely monitored by the police and FBI since              When literature captures a concise image      requires the active support and participation of
While the police were regrouping and preparing     the preceding day. Early Tuesday morning, the        which accurately portrays a larger whole, it is     law enforcement.
to force the Direct Action Network protesters to   FBI had briefed Seattle Police on the Black Bloc’s   known as an archetype. When that process fails            In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Seattle
join the AFL-CIO parade, several groups took       whereabouts and activities. The close observa-       and the dominant image obscures the truth, it       went through a series of scandals involving
advantage of the lull in the battle. They’ve all   tion of the Black Bloc included undercover FBI       is stereotyping. In the middle of December, the     organized crime and police corruption. The
been lumped together into a nameless anarchist     agents dressed to blend in with the anarchists,      Seattle Weekly and KPLU Radio sponsored a panel     popular view of organized crime as an “under-
horde, but the fact remains there were two         right down to wearing masks to hide their faces.     on media coverage of the WTO. The consensus         world” operation, totally divorced from everyday
distinct groups acting out different agendas,      Also present in the streets were members of          emerged that both local and national media had      business and politics was seriously challenged
not one “organized” anarchist conspiracy as the    the Army’s Delta Force, a paramilitary counter-      succumbed to “lazy media shorthand” and failed      by the work of William J. Chamblis, a sociolo-
myth would have it.                                terrorist group, also dressed to blend in with the   to report the overall story in either a balanced    gist at the University of Washington. Chamblis’
      At approximately 1 p.m., the police tempo-   protesters.                                          or accurate way. The message which still hasn’t     study of organized crime in Seattle, On the Take:
rarily stopped trying to push corridors through          According to KIRO TV, The Black Bloc           penetrated the media is that the Black Blocs ac-    From Petty Crooks to Presidents, showed that “crime
the protest area. The “Black Bloc” anarchists      rampage started on 6th Avenue between Pine           complished an international coup of “culture        is not a by-product of an otherwise effectively
had entered into an understanding with the         Street and Olive Way. Vandals smashed the            jamming” by selectively targeting a handful         working political economy, it a main product
Direct Action Network that they would refrain      windows of a Starbucks coffee shop in the            of retailers and banks for broken windows. In       of that economy. Crime is in fact a cornerstone
from vandalism at least as long as the protests    middle of the block, then moved north towards        committing this vandalism, they conformed to        on which the political and economic relations
remained peaceful. This is another way of          Olive Way. Turning west on Olive Way, they           pre-established media stereotypes of “violent       of societies are constructed.” Rather than a “few
saying that they were loosely following the lead   attacked the SeaFirst bank, then turned south        anarchists” and effectively hijacked several        bad apples,” corruption is the normal state
of the DAN organizers. How loosely is shown by     on 5th Avenue. Two or three stores along this        weeks of coverage in a manner that served their     of affairs. Chamblis’ work and other research
the fact the Black Bloc arrived downtown armed     block were vandalized. Emerging onto Pine            propaganda goals admirably.                         shows that “organized crime really consists
with hammers, crowbars, spray paint, M-80          Street, the Black Bloc turned again, moving west           The primary target of the Black Blocs was     of a coalition of politicians, law-enforcement
firecrackers, and paint bombs. Their goal was a    and attacking three or four more stores in the       neither the WTO nor the businesses whose            people, businessmen, union leaders and (in
“propaganda of the deed” centering around van-     next two blocks. Reaching Third Avenue, the          windows were broken. The Black Blocs were in        some ways least important of all) racketeers.”
dalizing chosen stores—Nike, Starbucks, the        Black Bloc turned south and dispersed.               Seattle to radicalize the WTO opponents. And              Seattle’s police history has been as color-
Gap, Old Navy and others—which they saw as               The Seattle Times reported that the            that is precisely what they did—with the sig-       fully sordid as any other American city’s.
fitting targets.                                   vandalism centered mainly along Pike Street,         nificant assistance of the media and second wild    The criminal economy of drugs, prostitu-
      The Black Bloc were simply biding their      between Third and Sixth Avenue. A map                card group.                                         tion, gambling, and the financial apparatus
time and waiting for an opportunity to vandalize   showing the location of vandalized and looted              The other wild card group was that            which such large-scale businesses require is
these stores and then get away. They had been      stores published in the Times overlaps the route     segment of the Seattle Police Department which      no different in Seattle than elsewhere. From
41                                                                                                                                                                                                           22
Seattle’s beginnings around the “Skid Road”            If the mayor and police chief could be maneu-       own hands” to obtain new supplies of gas and
at the Denny sawmill to the current flap over          vered into declaring a civil emergency, then        pepper spray. Later reports suggest that the
“police misconduct,” police morale has been            the regional, state and federal agencies would      new supplies were part of Joiner’s “messy” post-
a reliable indicator of the level of corruption.       be able to enter the conflict and the hard-liners   parade attack plans.
Recently, morale had been low, which meant             strategy would prevail for a while.                       Things quieted down while the police
that the crooked cops were on the defensive.                                                               organized new supplies of gas and pepper spray.
The focus of the criminal element’s displeasure                                                            Officers sped to Auburn, Renton, and Tukwila
had been Chief Stamper and his Senior Leader-                                                              police departments, as well as the King County
ship Team—or, as the department’s rank and                                                                 Jail and Department of Corrections, emptying
file pronounced it, the “sluts.” The criminal                                                              munitions stores and ferrying the supplies back
element among the Seattle Police Department                                                                to downtown. Other officers bought additional
had only one goal: embarrass Mayor Schell and                                                              chemical agents from a local law enforcement
Chief Stamper.                                                                                             supply business. Meanwhile, a police captain
      The initial approach by the opponents                                                                flew to Casper, Wyoming to pick up a large
of police accountability was the circulation                                                               quantity of gas, “stinger shells,” and other para-
of mutinous talk regarding the “softness” of                                                               phernalia from Defense Technology Corp., a sub-
the official strategy for dealing with the dem-                                                            sidiary of Armor Holdings. The locally-obtained
onstrators. During an October crowd control                                                                gas and pepper spray were driven as close to the
training session, Assistant Chief Ed Joiner                                                                street action as possible. The munitions were
answered questions about protester violence                                                                transferred into gym bags and knapsacks which
by saying that there was nothing to worry                                                                  were then run through the streets by plain-
about and the protests would be non-violent.                                                               clothes detectives.
SPD Officer Brett Smith and others claim the                                                                     Other preparations did not go as well as
FBI and Secret Service had briefed King County                                                             the deliveries of tear gas and pepper spray. The
Sheriff’s officers to “fully anticipate that five to                                                       declaration of civil emergency was delayed until
six officers would be lost during the protests,                                                            3:24 p.m., preventing police reinforcements
either seriously injured or killed,” as Smith told                                                         from other law enforcement agencies and the
the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter Dan Raley.                                                         National Guard from being legally deployed
When Officer Smith and others spoke with                                                                   until long after the AFL-CIO march had
their commander about the stories coming                                                                   withdrawn. Assistant Chief Ed Joiner’s “messy”
from the King County police, they were told not                                                            plan was also thwarted by the flat refusal of the
to spread rumors. It appears likely that state-                                                            Seattle Fire Department to turn fire hoses on
ments predicting violent attacks were part of                                                              demonstrators, a detail which was not reported
the Sheriff’s training and it is certain that the                                                          in the press until long after the protests were
predictions were hysterical and provocative.                                                               over.
      The success in undermining Chief
Stamper’s command depended on the
breakdown of law and order in the streets.
Whose law and what order was the question.
a perimeter connecting the hotels, the Conven-           up the National Guard. An hour earlier, State
tion Center and the Paramount Theatre were               Patrol Chief Annette Sandberg had ordered
blocked all day by the size of the protest. The          State Patrol troopers in Eastern Washington on
police command retained strategic cohesion,              higher alert and dispatched a 22-member Civil
despite the discord at the top and the chaos in
the streets. Tactical orders from the command
                                                         Disturbance Team from Spokane to drive the
                                                         400 miles to Seattle. Traveling at top speed, they       downtown seattle
continued to be executed by the officers in the          would not arrive before dark.
front line—they charged when ordered and                       Shortly after Locke set the National Guard                                                                                       Capitol Hill
reformed after each charge. Much attention               in motion, his office in Olympia received a
has been given to excessive violence by officers,        telephone call from a furious Secretary of State
including repeated attacks on reporters. These           Madeline Albright. Albright demanded the
incidents were relatively commonplace, but               Governor immediately take action to release
did not involve loss of control by the upper             her from her hotel where she was trapped by
command. Seattle political researcher Dan Junas          the demonstrators. The Governor would later
cites the police ability to regulate the tempo of        get strong pressure from Attorney General Janet                                                                                                 ST
                                                                                                                                                                                      Ay       PI
the street battles as strong evidence that the           Reno to crack down on the protests.                                                                                  E


political leadership remained in control. “As the              Governor Locke was able to claim that
labor marchers approached, the police got off            he was taking action—preparing to call up the
the gas,” said Junas.                                    National Guard, moving State Patrol troops over                                                       H
      From about noon on, the Multi-Agency               long distances, and pressuring Mayor Schell
Command Center in the Public Safety Building             to declare a civil emergency—but all of these
began filling with top-ranking officials from            things would take time. What he did not do was                                                                                    H

government and law enforcement. Federal                  accept full responsibility and declare a state of



officials were speaking loudly about the conse-          emergency. That was reserved for Mayor Schell.



quences of not regaining control of the streets.         Locke’s staff counsel, Everett Billingslea, began


State Patrol Chief Annette Sandberg described            compiling a chronology of the Governor’s
the federal officials as in a “kind of panicky           actions for the now-inevitable inquest.
mode.”                                                         SPD Assistant Chief Joiner prepared more
      The decision—never seriously questioned            immediate action. The police attacks on the pro-
by those in charge—to guarantee the AFL-CIO              testers reached a peak shortly before the parade
parade took place had several requirements               departed from the Seattle Center. According to
attached to it. First of all, the declaration of civil   police sources, nearly all of the available tear
emergency was already in motion. There wasn’t            gas was expended before the parade approached
                                                                                                                                            PARADE ROuTE                                       W              WESTLAkE
really a question of whether it was going to             downtown. In the preparations for the protest,
happen, but only if the crackdown would catch            Mayor Schell and Chief Stamper had laid in                                         BLOCkADES
the AFL-CIO parade before it withdrew from               stocks of about $20,000 worth of gas. This was                                                                                        P              PARAMOuNT
downtown.                                                one-fifth the amount recommended by federal                                        vANDALISM                                                         THEATRE

      At 12:45 p.m., Governor Gary Locke au-             officials. According to the Seattle Post-Intelli-
thorized his chief of staff to begin preparing to        gencer, police officers “took matters into their                                   CONvENTION                                         H              HOTELS
                                                                                                                                            CENTER                                                                        24
                                                                                                             Center—due to both political and logistical          carried several blocks beyond the parade’s pivot
                                                                                                             reasons. If the police tried and failed to prevent   at 5th and Pike. Gaard and her friends found
                                                                                                             the march, things would clearly take a turn for      themselves at 6th and Pike, one of the most
                                                                                                             the worse. Third, if the parade was canceled,        fiercely contested intersections of the battle, but

     terrain of the Battlefield                                                                              the AFL-CIO would be denied any credit for the
                                                                                                             outcome of the protests. Finally, whoever was
                                                                                                                                                                  temporarily an island of relative calm due to the
                                                                                                                                                                  absence of police. Behind them, the labor parade
                                                                                                             going to be gassed or pepper-sprayed in Seattle,     moved away from downtown and back towards
                                                                                                             it wasn’t going to be the labor leaders.             the Seattle Center, unmolested by police.
                                                                                                                   Greta Gaard had ridden to the rally on a             Though Gaard didn’t know it, the unsuc-
                                                                                                             labor bus from Bellingham, one hundred miles         cessful police push was timed to herd people
The geography of the WTO conference site               northeast/southwest through the downtown.             to the north of Seattle. She reports in Belling-     into the parade. However, as had been the case
played a central role in determining the success       The Market is built on a steep bluff which            ham’s Every Other Weekly that the “rainbow           all day, the size of the crowds blocked movement
of the protests. The accompanying illustra-            formed Seattle’s original shoreline. The bluff        flag” (non-union) participants at the rally          and the police ceased advancing when the now-
tions show the field of battle and its significant     forms a geographic barrier which stops all            decided around noon that they were going             expanded and enlarged crowd could not fall back
features.                                              movement towards the waterfront. Capitol              to leave the stadium and march downtown.             any further. As shown by Gaard’s relatively easy
      First and most importantly, the Washing-         Hill is a dense residential neighborhood—the          The word of the street battles had reached the       progress to within a block of the Convention
ton Trade and Convention Center is located on          densest in the city. Broadway, the main street        stadium only minutes after the first gas was         Center, the reinforcements strengthened the
the edge of downtown. It is built over the I-5         which forms the backbone of the Capitol Hill          released at 10 a.m.. It took an hour before the      moving blockade ringing the WTO conference.
freeway and is accessible from only two sides.         commercial district, runs north/south along the       crowd was lined up in the streets, chanting “We            The AFL-CIO parade delivered crucial
As a site for a blockade, it is perfect. The area is   crest. There is a steep change in elevation along     want to march!” The walk towards downtown            reinforcements to the protesters instead of
triangular, with the freeway side inaccessible.        Seattle’s east-west axis running from the crest of    was oddly quiet. “There were no police, media,       sweeping them out of downtown. As marchers
The Direct Action Network blockaded the area           Capital hill to the waterfront.                       or crowd-watchers in sight,” wrote Gaard. “Then      left the parade, this completely crushed any
along the north and west streets. The blockade               The area immediately to the north of            the answer hit me: we weren’t a threat.”             police fantasies that the demonstrators would
was several blocks deep and concentrated on a          the convention center is predominantly open                 A sheet-metal union member, Mike               abandon the downtown and return control of
dozen intersections.                                   parking lots and small buildings, compared to         Ottoloino, got into a confrontation with the         the streets to the police.
      Secondly, the sites of two major skirmish-       the more densely built-up downtown. To the            AFL-CIO marshals, saying, “This isn’t a march,
es which dominated media attention, Capitol            west, the long blocks of the downtown avenues         this is a parade!”                                   Pause to Regroup
Hill and the Pike Place Market, had nothing to         (7th, 6th, 5th, ending in 1st Ave) form a barrier           As the parade arrived at 5th Avenue and        The police plan to reorganize for an attempt to
do with conducting the conference or moving            which channels movement into a few streets            Pike Street, AFL-CIO marshals began blocking         force the Direct Action Network protesters out
delegates between the Convention Center, the           (Pike, Pine, Union, and University). Blockades        progress towards the convention center, saying       of the downtown area and into the AFL-CIO
Paramount Theatre or the downtown hotels.              on these streets effectively shut off the area. The   “The route has been changed. Circle around           parade set in motion several different actions
Likewise, the area in which the Black Bloc             east and south sides of the Convention Center         here.” Police were massing several blocks away,      which had a dramatic effect on perceptions of
vandalism occurred is outside the blockade area        are cut off by the freeway.                           but were not visible to the people arriving from     the Battle in Seattle. In order to understand how
and not part of the streets directly connecting              To maintain effective control of the area,      the Seattle Center. Gaard and several thousand       these actions converged it is necessary to step
the Convention Center with the Westin Hotel            the police would have needed a perimeter              others turned away from the march, just in time      back in time to around noon, when Assistant
or the Paramount Theatre.                              roughly on the order of Thursday’s “no protest        to run into the renewed police push to move          Chief Joiner was turning down requests to
      Capitol Hill and the Pike Place Market           zone.” Given the decision to rely on the Seattle      people away from the convention center. The          declare a civil emergency and cancel the AFL-
form two poles along the major axis of crowd           Police alone, this lengthy perimeter was impossi-     momentum of the thousands leaving the march          CIO parade.
mobility, the named streets which run                  ble to control with 400 officers. The additional      and moving towards the Convention Center                   The repeated attempts by police to
25                                                                                                                                                                                                                 38
able guess that much of the mayor and chief’s         strategy, he said, was for the peaceful march to   resources of county, state, and federal forces
time between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. was devoted to        sweep the other demonstrators into its ranks       would have been hard pressed to maintain
negotiations with the labor leaders.                  and deposit them several blocks away.              such a perimeter in the face of the approxi-
      The final decision was to allow the AFL-CIO            The march was supposed to wheel away        mately 40,000 protesters, demonstrators, and
parade from the Seattle Center to downtown.           from the Washington State Convention and           parade participants present on Tuesday. On
This sealed the fate of the street actions as a       Trade Center at Fourth Avenue and Pine Street      Wednesday, these additional police forces were
victory for the Direct Action Network. If the         [several blocks from the Convention Center]        available and the number of protesters was ap-
march had been canceled and the additional            and turn north and west toward a “dispersal        proximately halved. Even with this sizable shift
protesters had been prevented from joining in         point” near Republican Avenue [back near the       in the numbers on opposing sides, the police
the chaos downtown, the city stood a better           Memorial Stadium]. The police intended to          were unable to control downtown effectively.
chance of restoring order. Instead, the strategy of   move in behind the demonstrators and expand              Amidst all the criticism—mostly coming
using the AFL-CIO to contain and neutralize the       the perimeter around the hotels and conven-        from law enforcement agencies which failed
Direct Action Network protests was drastically        tion center.                                       even more disastrously than the Seattle Police
modified. The city’s capitulation to the protests            Instead, thousands of the demonstrators     Department in maintaining order—about the
was underscored at 1 p.m. by the announce-            turned into town and chaos ensued.                 police’s “lack of preparedness” for the demon-
ment from the WTO that it was canceling the                  “I still believe we could have controlled   strations, the larger perimeter, increased security
opening ceremonies.                                   what we were dealing with at that time had the     troops, and suspension of civil liberties which
      The decision by Mayor Schell and Chief          march turned,” Joiner said. “It was not going to   accompanied the mayor’s declaration of civil
Stamper to allow the march was so bizarre that        be clean. It would have been messy. But I think    emergency failed miserably in the face of much
it is worth quoting the December 16 story by          we would have been able to open a corridor to      smaller numbers of protesters on Wednesday.
Seattle Times reporters Mike Carter and David         get delegates in and out.”                               The geography of Seattle’s downtown
Postman:                                                     In other words, the Direct Action Network   favors protesters. In the last decade, two major
      About 11 a.m., SPD Assistant Chief              protesters were expected to abandon the streets    civil disturbances—accompanying first the
Pirak—watching events unfold from the city’s          and leave downtown when they saw their re-         Gulf War protests and the “Rodney King” riots—
emergency operation center—called Joiner at           inforcements arrive. Assistant Chief Joiner’s      followed much the same path over the same
the MACC [Multi-Agency Command Center]                explanation is simply not credible, as the         streets, as did the numerous protests during the
and “asked whether we wanted to ask the mayor         WTO ceremonies had been canceled before the        Vietnam War. Given sufficient numbers and
if we wanted to declare a state of emergency,”        parade began. Whatever the level of chaos and      even the most hare-brained strategy, protest-
Joiner said.                                          unreality at the command center, it is unlikely    ers have the ability to dominate the streets of
      Despite the fact “we were getting hit with      that anyone thought a column of twenty             Seattle.
much larger numbers of protesters than we had         thousand people would march downtown and
anticipated,” Joiner refused.                         then “sweep the other demonstrators into its
      Instead, he opted to let the AFL-CIO march      ranks.”
proceed, a move that aimed as many as 20,000                 Several factors affected the decision to
more people toward downtown as skirmishes             allow the AFL-CIO parade to proceed. First of
between police, demonstrators and anarchist           all, the police were running short of tear gas
vandals were escalating.                              and needed time to obtain new supplies and
      Joiner believed the march would actually        deliver them downtown. Second, they were
work in favor of his stretched police lines. The      not prepared to arrest marchers at the Seattle
37                                                                                                                                                             26
                                                                                                        Society’s WTO action coordinator, his organiza-       Meanwhile, back at the police command center,
                                                                                                        tion and other protest groups that formed the         Assistant Chief Ed Joiner was turning down
                                                                                                        Direct Action Network used the Nextel system          demands from his field commanders to declare

           strategies                                                                                   to create a cellular grid over the city. They broke
                                                                                                        into talk groups of eight people each. One of
                                                                                                        the eight overlapped with another talk group,
                                                                                                        helping to quickly communicate through the
                                                                                                                                                              a state of civil emergency which would cancel
                                                                                                                                                              the parade.
                                                                                                                                                                    Joiner said he overruled a recommendation
                                                                                                                                                              by Assistant Chief John Pirak to declare a state
                                                                                                        ranks.                                                of emergency Tuesday about 11 a.m. The veto,
                                                                                                              In addition to the organizers’ all-points       Joiner said, was made in consideration of plans
                                                                                                        network, protest communications were                  for the AFL-CIO march towards downtown. “I
None of the strategies employed by the three         controlled movement in the protest target,         leavened with individual protesters using cell        felt declaring a state of emergency at that time,
major players in Tuesday’s conflict was par-         and hang on until reinforcements arrived. The      phones, direct transmissions from roving in-          before the march ever got under way, was going
ticularly hare-brained, but the most unrealistic     second wave comprised protesters who had           dependent media feeding directly onto the             to send a very strong public message that we
belonged to the AFL-CIO, at least in the sense       opted for non-violent demonstration and not        internet, personal computers with wireless            already had major difficulties as a city,” Joiner
of the battle for control of the streets. The AFL-   being arrested. Their task was to protect the      modems broadcasting live video, and a variety         said.
CIO strategy was to hold a rally at the Seattle      first wave from police violence and plug up the    of other networked communications. Floating                 Joiner’s statement underscores the wide-
Center and then march downtown—but not               streets by sheer numbers and passive resistance.   above the tear gas was a pulsing infosphere of        spread fantasy on the part of city officials that
too far. Central to the AFL-CIO strategy was the     The third wave was a march by the People’s         enormous bandwidth, reaching around the               the uproar which followed the 10 a.m. deploy-
notion that if they could contain the majority       Assembly, composed mostly of environmental         planet via the internet.                              ment of tear gas was somehow a secret which
of the demonstrators and keep them out of            and human rights groups who elected to par-                                                              they could keep. This air of unreality was dem-
the downtown area, when Clinton announced            ticipated in the street protests instead of the    Labor’s u-turn                                        onstrated by Seattle’s KOMO TV, which tried to
his pro-labor and protectionist policies, the        labor parade. This group entered downtown          By 11 a.m., the rally at Memorial Stadium had         implement a censorship policy by not covering
AFL-CIO would be able to claim credit. All the       from the south at about 1 p.m. and marched         been under way for an hour. Roughly 20,000            the news as it unfolded in the streets. KOMO
AFL-CIO had to do was prevent any effective          to the Paramount Theatre inside the protest        people half-filled the stadium. The union             has received richly deserved ridicule for their
protests by groups not under their control and       zone. The first and second waves were loosely      numbers were swelled by the anti-WTO organi-          censorship of “illegal demonstrations,” but the
allow the media to spin the tale of how labor        organized into a dozen simultaneously con-         zations that had accepted the labor invitation to     attitude was not theirs alone. Anyone with an
caused a “sudden change” in national policy.         verging affinity groups, swarming the protest      protest the WTO. These groups were a mixture          internet connection could plug into live video
The AFL-CIO proved to be unequal to the task         target from all directions. Each affinity group    of environmental, social justice, and human           and audio feeds from the street battles from
of rounding up all the protesters and keeping        blockaded a specific intersection. The blockade    rights groups. Over the next two hours, the           the alternative media. The commercial media
them muzzled.                                        would be maintained as long as possible until      joint planning by the labor leaders and police        struggled to keep up, but was continuously
      The Direct Action Network planned more         police had arrested sufficient demonstrators to    to break the DAN blockade would irretrievably         hampered by their inability to understand what
effectively, and in the end more realistically,      regain control of the streets.                     split the brief alliance between labor and the        was going on. Editorial attempts to reframe the
with a “People’s Convergence” consisting of                The Direct Action Network’s strategy is a    progressive left.                                     protests as illegitimate and marginal confused
three waves of blockaders enclosing the WTO          classic example of “netwar” conflict. Netwar is          The disorder spreading through the streets      the issue further.
conference site. The first wave consisted of         a concept introduced in the early 1990s by two     downtown was instantly communicated to the                  The whereabouts and activities of Mayor
“affinity groups” who had opted for non-violent      researchers at the RAND corporation, a govern-     crowd at the rally through cell phones, radios,       Schell and Chief Stamper during this period
civil disobedience and arrest. Their job was to      ment-funded think tank which began under the       and the rest of the infosphere. Behind the scenes,    remain somewhat mysterious. Given the intense
penetrate the area close to the conference site,     auspices of the U.S. Air Force. In a now-seminal   furious activity was taking place to prevent the      concern centering on the AFL-CIO parade on the
seize the dozen strategic intersections which        paper titled “Cyberwar is Coming!”, RAND           parade from being canceled by city authorities.       part of law enforcement officials, it is a reason
27                                                                                                                                                                                                           36
confrontational are equally untrue. The more          who saw their main mission as the protection of      analysts David Ronfeldt and John Arquilla             like organisms than machines. They approach
aggressive demonstrators had moved towards            these groups. The crowds were now frightened         proposed a new framework for viewing conflict         stealthily and from many directions in offense.
the police positions and videotapes clearly           and angry, but determined to maintain control        in the information age. The essence of netwar         In defense, they can react like anti-bodies moving
show that there was no buffer space between           of the streets.                                      is the emerging forms of conflict in which one        towards points of attack. Netwar’s line between
the opposing sides in many areas. One segment               The overall strategic situation remained       or more of the major participants consist of          offense and defense can be blurred, leaving
aired on KIRO TV shows members of the Black           unchanged, despite the tactical chaos. The           networks, rather than institutions. The central       opponents unclear about what is occurring and
Bloc confronting police and being extremely           protesters numbers were sufficient to keep the       feature of informational conflicts is the struggle    how to respond. Throughout the protests, the
provocative, but not attacking anyone or com-         blockade intact, though it was now a blockade        for understanding and knowledge, as opposed           Direct Action Network were able to offensively
mitting vandalism. The police view of the             of continuous movement. The police remained          to more traditional conflicts which focus on          swarm their opponents repeatedly, as shown by
crowd was framed by these more aggressive             isolated inside the protest area without an open     controlling territories or resources.                 the seizure of key intersections on Tuesday and
demonstrators, while the vast majority of the         avenue to the outside through which arrestees               Netwar is inherently less violent than other   the easy penetration of the “no-protest” zone on
crowd was unable to see the police and was in a       could be removed. Both sides remained under          forms of conflict, particularly when it involves      Wednesday. The anti-body defense was shown
giddy, triumphant mood.                               the overall command of their respective strat-       non-governmental organizations dedicated to           when crowds moved towards police attacks
      After the first canisters were fired, the       egies, regardless of the excitement. The area        human rights and peace causes. One of the first       or mass arrests. The swarming action was also
use of tear gas and pepper spray spread rapidly       involved in the disorder—as it clearly was after     full-blown manifestations of netwar was the           apparent when numerous groups within the
throughout the protest area.                          an hour of tear gas and chaos—spread down            Zapatista conflict in Chiapas. The networked in-      AFL-CIO rally and parade successfully resisted
      With the release of the gas, mood in the        Pike and Pine Streets. The protests remained         tervention of international groups placed very        efforts by the union leadership to keep them
streets rapidly changed. The police were suc-         centered on the Convention Center. Although          real limits on the use of violence by the Mexican     from supporting the DAN blockade of the WTO
cessful in advancing against the crowd. There         the crowds expanded into the surrounding             government in suppressing the insurrection.           convention site.
were no instances where police charges were           blocks under the police attacks, they kept                  In the case of the Direct Action Network,            The network form of organization is
repulsed, or where the crowds counter-attacked        surging back to protect the “lock-down” affinity     the central prize consisted of the understanding      particularly robust and resilient in the face of
and cut off police. One major effort to re-open       groups holding the key intersections.                that the WTO multi-lateral trade agreements are       adversity. The decentralized command and
the street connecting the Paramount Theatre to              The cohesion of the Direct Action Network      intensely corrosive to democracy, at least that       control structure allows rapid shifts of strategic
the hotels moved the crowds back until running        was partly due to their improvised communi-          form of democracy which entails a knowledge-          targeting. It is highly resistant to “decapitation”
out of steam. In short, the police tactics were of    cations network assembled out of cell phones,        able public participating in policy formation in      (attacks which target leadership) and the dis-
limited success and ineffective.                      radios, police scanners, and portable computers.     meaningful ways.                                      ruption of communication channels. All three
      The net effect of the use of gas and the        Protesters in the street with wireless Palm Pilots          Netwars are fought by networks; collec-        of these features were present during the WTO
police charges was to cause the crowds to surge       were able to link into continuously updated          tions of groups and organizations guided by           protests. The diffuse communications network
from one point to another without allowing            web pages giving reports from the streets. Police    non-hierarchical command structures which             allowed protesters to continuously adapt to
police to gain control of the streets. In the midst   scanners monitored transmissions and provided        communicate through “all-points” communi-             changing conditions. The consultative form of
of the melee, the “lock-down” affinity groups         some warning of changing police tactics. Cell        cations channels of considerable bandwidth            decision-making enhanced the ability to coor-
remained in place, blocking intersections and         phones were widely used.                             and complexity. The DAN communications                dinate large-scale actions. The police attempts
anchoring the protest to the area around the                Kelly Quirke, Executive Director of the        channels blanketed the Seattle area and had           to arrest “ringleaders” on Wednesday were
convention center. Police gassed and pepper-          Rainforest Action Network, reports that early        global reach via the internet. Institutions, such     fruitless, since leadership was widely shared
sprayed the immobile groups, but could not            Tuesday, “the authorities had successfully           as corporate media, police and the AFL-CIO, tend      throughout the network of protest groups. The
arrest them and remove them from the area due         squashed DAN’s communications system.”               to depend on narrow communications channels           communications network was continuously
to the continued blockade. These tactics were         The solution to the infrastructure attack was        which are highly centralized and hierarchical.        being expanded and modified. On Tuesday,
both ineffective in getting the blockaders to         quickly resolved by purchasing new Nextel cell              Networks operate by “swarming”                 police cut off many of the Direct Action Network
move and successful in infuriating the crowds         phones. According to Han Shan, the Ruckus            their opponents like bees or white blood              communications channels, but in a few hours a
35                                                                                                                                                                                                                28
new and larger network based on cell phones          or a parade. The police put their money on             and visiting government officials, discov-           the ability to move police and delegates through
was functioning.                                     the parade and lost. The labor parade as the           ered that the streets between the Convention         the streets—had been lost.
      The competing strategies of the Direct         dominant factor of the protests was the least          Center, the adjacent hotels and the Paramount              The divisions between the rival com-
Action Network and the AFL-CIO put the police        likely of all outcomes, but the only one which         Theater—a distance of up to five blocks along        manders began to widen as the morning wore
in the classically disastrous position of dividing   the police had a chance of controlling.                some routes—were closed by protesters. “It           on. “This was not an integrated command
their forces and inviting defeat in detail. The            The current theory of controlling protests       hadn’t taken long for things not to be working       structure,” King County Sheriff Dave Reichert
AFL-CIO rally and parade was planned in con-         usually revolves around the willingness of pro-        very well.” said Ronald Legan, the special agent     said. “While everybody was at the table, it was
junction with the police. Although it would not      testers to be steered into some venue in which         in charge of the Seattle office of the Secret        made clear that the rest of us were relegated
require much more in the way of security than        the protest can be neutralized, marginalized, and      Service.                                             to supporting roles. Seattle was running the
any other parade, it still demanded adequate         trivialized. When this agreement doesn’t exist,              Though the police didn’t realize it, the       show.”
coverage at the rally and along the parade route.    the older police strategy is to treat a protest as a   Direct Action Network plan had achieved its
The security requirements at the WTO confer-         riot—gas, baton charges, assault, and occasion-        goal. They had blockaded the streets and shut        Police Go on the Offensive
ence site were subject to considerably more un-      ally arrests. On Tuesday, the first strategy failed    down the WTO. According to the agreed-upon           Shortly after 10 a.m., the Seattle Police Depart-
certainty. The DAN organizers had participated       and on Wednesday the second strategy failed.           script, the police would now arrest the protest-     ment got their show on the road. The Seattle
in lengthy negotiations with the police and had                                                             ers. Unfortunately, the protesters had been so       Police began using tear gas to clear the streets.
made their blockade strategy known, at least                                                                successful at blockading the area around the               It’s still not clear if the order was issued
in general outline. DAN had repeatedly and                                                                  convention center that police couldn’t move. It      by Assistant Chief Ed Joiner—Chief Stamper
publicly stated that their goal was to “shut down                                                           makes no sense to arrest someone if you can’t        had delegated control of the WTO operation
the WTO.” Mayor Schell and Chief Stamper                                                                    remove them from the area. The next phase of         to him and did not arrive at the commanders’
were faced with the difficult decision of allo-                                                             the protest plan was to hang on to the streets       meeting until late that afternoon—or if was a
cating forces against two different opponents                                                               as long as possible. Since the police remained       spontaneous decision made by officers in the
using markedly different strategies.                                                                        stationary for the most part, other than slowly      street. The use of gas may have been an effort
      The ultimate police decision was to rely                                                              moving single vehicles through the crowds,           to open a pathway into the protest area from
on a “tripwire” outer perimeter which would                                                                 there was little for the protesters to do but        outside, as the gas was fired at on Sixth Avenue,
trigger the arrests at the Convention Center,                                                               enjoy themselves with chants, singing, and           between University and Union Streets. This is
backed up with an inner perimeter to prevent                                                                drumming. The overall mood was festive rather        the extreme southern end of the triangular area
the Direct Action Network protesters from                                                                   than hostile. The protesters had won, though it      blockaded by the Direct Action Network. The
entering the WTO conference. Working with                                                                   was too early for anyone to know that for sure.      Seattle Times said “police used gas to disperse
the labor leaders, the police would use the AFL-                                                            Until several hours after dark, the Direct Action    demonstrators massing.” Police officials later
CIO rally as a means of containing the crowds                                                               Network would control all movement in the            explained that the gas was an attempt to expand
and keeping the majority of them away from                                                                  triangle of streets under blockade.                  and re-connect their now isolated perimeters
the Convention Center. Much has been made of                                                                      Strategic surprise doesn’t occur in the        inside the crowds. None of these explanations
the decision to rely on a close perimeter defense                                                           field so much as in the mind of the opponent.        makes much sense.
of the Convention Center, but a larger perimeter                                                            The longer it’s delayed, the more complete its             The events surrounding the decision to
and more police would have simply moved                                                                     effects. In the case of Mayor Schell, the surprise   use gas continue to be cloaked in confusion and
the line of battle and dispersed the police, as                                                             and disbelief would dominate his actions until       controversy. Later claims that the police resorted
occurred on Wednesday.                                                                                      late afternoon. By 9:30 a.m., the police command     to gas in response to widespread violent attacks
      The real question facing the police was                                                               post was being inundated by reports from the         and vandalism are now known to be absolutely
whether they would be confronting a protest                                                                 streets that control of the situation—meaning        untrue. The counter-claims that police were un-
29                                                                                                                                                                                                               34
Seizing the Emerald City                             their second wave. Meanwhile, at the Memorial
At 5 a.m. Tuesday morning, Washington State          Stadium at the Seattle Center, the gates were
Patrol Chief Annette Sandberg had coffee at the      opening for the AFL-CIO rally scheduled to
Starbucks near the Convention Center. Nobody         begin at 10 a.m. Chartered busses from around
would be having coffee there that evening, as
it would be smashed and looted. Sandberg saw
                                                     the region have been on the road for some time,
                                                     carrying a mixture of union members and pro-              intelligence failure
demonstrators moving into strategic positions        testers to Seattle. The AFL-CIO had done a mass
before any police had arrived. The converging        mailing throughout Washington State, sending
columns of the Direct Action Network began to        tasteful green postcards to non-union support-
shut down Seattle.                                   ers of a variety of liberal and progressive organi-
                                                     zations. “Join the March of the Century,” the         Underlying the failure of the police strategy         has had decades of experience being sold down
      The first Direct Action Network “arrest”
                                                     cards read. The AFL-CIO strategy of parading          for controlling the demonstrations was a              the river by organized labor and has learned that
affinity groups moved in on the strategic in-
                                                     without protesting dovetailed neatly with the         fundamental failure of intelligence. The              lesson well. If there was going to be an alliance
tersections in the vicinity of the Convention
                                                     city plans for a minuscule protest and a media-       picture which law enforcement built of the            between protesters and paraders, it was going to
Center. Afterwards, these protesters said that
                                                     genic parade.                                         developing protests was a catastrophe of              be on the protesters’ terms or not at all. The city
they were surprised by the absence of any police
                                                           As the number of protesters increased,          wishful thinking, breathing their own exhaust,        officials chose to believe the labor assurances of
presence on the streets. In many locations, the
                                                     the 400 police remained in their lines around         and the most classic of all blunders—mistaking        controlling the protesters. This led the police
“arrest” groups arrived earlier than the “non-
                                                     the Convention Center or at their positions at        tactics for strategy. The Seattle police and all      to drastically underestimate the number of
arrest” groups which were supposed to protect
                                                     the Memorial Stadium. The slow infiltration of        of the responsible federal law enforcement            protesters, who were at least as numerous as
them from removal by the police. The news
                                                     demonstrators made it difficult for the police        agencies had the information necessary to             the paraders. Neither the police nor the unions
photographs of these initial “lock-down” groups
                                                     to gauge the intentions of the crowd. Though          appraise the situation. What was lacking was          foresaw the Direct Action Network being
have a surrealistic air to them. In the empty
                                                     the police didn’t realize it, the Direct Action       a comprehensive understanding of the strategy         able to mount a successful protest. Once that
streets after dawn, groups of protesters lock
                                                     Network had already swarmed them and now              of the protests. Without that, all of the pieces of   assumption became the basis for planning, any
themselves together with bicycle locks or tubes
                                                     shifting to a defensive strategy of holding on to     the intelligence puzzle were not going to fit into    evidence to the contrary was disregarded or
covering their linked arms to prevent police
                                                     the streets that they now controlled. The flimsy      an accurate assessment and strategic plan.            misinterpreted.
from removing them individually.
                                                     rope and netting barriers, the “tripwire” at the            The wishful thinking centered on the                  The intelligence picture was further
      King County Sheriff Dave Reichert says
                                                     Paramount Theatre, went down as protesters            alliance between the police and the AFL-CIO.          confused by the claims of federal law
he got a telephone call at 8 a.m. from a county
                                                     walked towards the line of city busses next to        The plan for the labor parade to engulf the           enforcement officials that the protests would
detective. “He said, ‘Sheriff, we’re trapped…
                                                     the theater. The busses were a second line of         protests and steer them into a marginal venue         be violent. The publicly released text of one FBI
We have no backup,’” Reichert claimed. “I had
                                                     defense, separating the police from the crowd.        was never a real possibility. The Direct Action       forecast was replete with hysterical predictions:
officers barricaded in the hotel with a mob
                                                                                                           Network and their allies had no intention of          “…elements within the protest community
literally pounding on the glass, and there was
                                                     Protesters Own the Streets                            turning the protest organizing over to the            are planning to disrupt the conference…
nobody to help them. Nobody.” Reichert wasn’t
                                                     By 9:10 a.m., “crowd-control efforts were en-         unions. On Sunday, November 28, Teamsters             environmental or animal rights extremists or
on the scene, but already he was seeing “mobs.”
                                                     countering difficulty,” according to Washington       president Hoffa was trumpeting Pat Buchanan           anarchist-induced violence… computer-based
KIRO-7 television crews were at the same
                                                     State Patrol Chief Sandberg. She placed troopers      as “the only presidential candidate who               attacks on WTO-related web sites, as well as
location and show lines of grinning demonstra-
                                                     throughout Western Washington on alert. The           understands the trade issue.” This was hardly         key corporate and financial sites… Corporate
tors holding hands and blocking the street—no
                                                     day was barely started and the police plan was        the sort of analysis which would convince             sponsors… may be subject to surveillance efforts
“mob literally pounding on the glass.”
                                                     already beginning to break down. The Secret           progressive activists to submit to the unions’        from these groups… to identify the residences of
      By 8 a.m., most of the key intersections had
                                                     Service, responsible for the security of federal      nationalist and protectionist agenda. The Left        key employees of sponsoring corporations…
been seized by the protesters, now reinforced
33                                                                                                                                                                                                                30
These employees should remain alert for              fantasies of violent terrorists directing the
individuals who may be targeting them in             protests blinded and disabled the police. The
furtherance of anti-WTO activities… Recipients       more inaccurate the assessment of opposing
should remain sensitive to threats made by anti-     forces, the greater the advantage to the side                           corellation of forces
WTO groups.”                                         which possesses “topview”—comprehensive                     seizing the city : Protesters own the streets
      Buried within this froth was, “The FBI         and realistic understanding.                        Police go on the offensive : laBor’s u-turn : Pause to regrouP
assesses the potential threat of violence, to
include criminal acts of civil disturbance, as low
to medium for the Seattle area during the time
frame of the WTO Meeting.” Asked by reporters
what “low to medium” meant, FBI spokesman                                                            Correlation of forces                               battle survives contact with the opposition.
Ray Lauer refused to answer, citing the “law-                                                        By Monday evening, November 30, the forces had      This is exactly what happened on the morning
enforcement sensitive” nature of the report                                                          aligned themselves. The Direct Action Network       of November 30, 1999 in Seattle.
and the “controversy concerning planning                                                             planned to shut down the WTO conference by                The Direct Action Network protesters
over WTO.” An anonymous law enforcement                                                              swarming the streets. The AFL-CIO planned to        expected to show up, cross the “tripwires” of the
source cited by the Seattle Times stated that                                                        hold a rally and parade in an effort to influence   flimsy police barriers and be arrested, probably
“low to medium” covered anything from simple                                                         national trade policy—and the upcoming presi-       with a light seasoning of pepper spray. The
civil disobedience to an Oklahoma City-style                                                         dential elections. Police Chief Norm Stamper        police on the streets expected to disperse the
terrorist bombing.                                                                                   had decided the protests could be peacefully        protesters before noon and maybe have a little
      Nowhere in the FBI “Terrorist Threat                                                           controlled by his own forces without outside        tussle doing it. In the meantime, they were going
Advisory” was the slightest inkling of what was                                                      assistance, knowing that the price of assistance    to maintain discipline, show restraint, and “not
going to be happening in the streets beyond                                                          could be the peace. The mayor had decided to        be the spark.” The mayor and the chief of police
                                                                                                     let the AFL-CIO control his actions on Tuesday,     expected a paltry handful of demonstrators to
the fact that the conference was going to be
                                                                                                     hoping against all evidence that the unions         show up downtown and get arrested in a mutual
“disrupted.” The Direct Action Network and
                                                                                                     would swallow and control the protesters. The       display of civility. The AFL-CIO expected to
AFL-CIO plans had been trumpeted loudly,
                                                                                                     Seattle Police Department was tasked with pre-      dominate the media coverage with a colorful
widely, and in considerable detail in the
                                                                                                     venting the protests while allowing the labor       parade from the Seattle Center towards—but
press by the organizers, summing up to non-
                                                                                                     parade. The outside law enforcement agencies        not too close to—downtown. The Black Bloc
violent civil disobedience shutting down the
                                                                                                     were champing at the bit to enter into the fray,    expected to do a little graffiti and smash some
conference and an ineffectual parade designed
                                                                                                     but as long as the SPD maintained order, they       carefully selected windows just as soon as the
to keep protesters away from the Convention
                                                                                                     had to sit on the sidelines. The FBI and Secret     police got too preoccupied with the demonstra-
Center. The city officials at the top elected to
                                                                                                     Service cried doom and gloom—while signing          tors. The FBI, if their “Terrorist Threat Advisory”
pick and choose among information to support
                                                                                                     off on Mayor Schell and Chief Stamper’s plan.       can be believed, were preparing to counter
their plans. The front-line officers did the same,
                                                                                                     The Black Blocs were milling around the edges,      a terrorist onslaught in cyberspace while
if with opposite results. The rumors within the
                                                                                                     fondling their crowbars and dreaming of chaos.      combating terrorist home invasions or kidnap-
police department (fantasy or otherwise) about
                                                                                                     What would happen next was anybody’s guess,         pings. Actually, some of the FBI were dressing
federal expectations of dead and wounded
                                                                                                     but the best guessers would win and the others      up in black protester disguises, complete with
police added to the unreality.
                                                                                                     would lose.                                         masks, and getting ready to join in the street
      Netwar conflicts are struggles for
                                                                                                           It’s a hackneyed truism that no plan of       party with the Black Bloc as close observers.
understanding and information. The FBI
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