We received hundreds of letters about the WTO and regret we don't have space to print them all. We've chosen letters that represent a number of letter-writers' points of view and only refused to consider those that misspelled "martial law." Thanks for writing.
It's a real city!
Everyone in Seattle should be very proud of what just happened in this great city. Becoming a major city, like birthing, is a painful process. Congratulations, you have a new baby with a good conscience and an attitude to back it up. BE PROUD OF YOUR NEW BABY!
Everyone involved did exactly as their roles dictated. The Mayor and Police Chief showed true leadership without pollsters in a no-win situation. The peaceful Protesters got their difficult job started; it won't be done until the moral and democratic shortfalls of the WTO are corrected. The Police did an excellent job being endurance champions of restraint. The Anarchists did what they said they would. The WTO members got work done. The Media ignored the substantive issues and gave us the violence we wanted.
In three months' time we'll look back and realize how lucky we are—Seattle is on the map. Nothing travels faster than bad news and we know that nothing bad really happened here. My prediction is that hindsight will prove this to be an almost perfect week given the hugely divergent interests involved.
No other major city could have done it better and that's now what we are—a major city. Don't deny it or fight about it, celebrate it. Hats off to everyone; ain't it great to be human!
Animals in sneakers
Who won? What exactly did they win? That may be hard to answer but I know who lost. Seattle. Free trade. Human rights advocates. Not to mention that America looks like a mob-controlled country AGAIN. I feel for the children laborers in China who will receive NO attention yet again. Thank you, mob.
For the *cough* human who I read pissed on the Nike sign in protest—I will buy ONLY Nike shoes from now in protest of you and your stupidity. As a matter of fact EVERYONE is getting Nike shoes this year for Christmas from me. How can we advise the world how to act when we behave like animals?
An anarchist weighs in
The city almost ground to a halt thanks to the civil disobedience of November 30th through December 2nd, the entire ordeal being looked upon by the globe. During all this the world watched as fellow anarchists took advantage of our city's vulnerability and of their own hasty actions.
As a member of the Mental Liberation Front, I was shocked and disgusted at my brethren's actions. Within one night the sum of what the anarchist movement was about was condensed into one word: terrorism. The ransacking of corporate outlets such as Old Navy, Starbucks, Niketown, and the Gap is something I can personally condone, but for the idiots from Eugene to blatantly broadcast to the world that this is what anarchy is about is completely wrong.
Anarchy is by no means about the onset of civil disarray. It is the only way that we as humanity can truly be free from our social and mental slavery. The only reason that the movement is called 'anarchism' today is because that is what the world leaders would like us to believe: that without their and others' ruling hands, our society would fall from its high standing overnight. Which has not been proven to be true because our belief is the only way of life that has not been remotely attempted by our society ever.
Now as to my group's responsibility for the November 1st firebombing of the Gap outlet on 3rd and Pine: We do condone acts of violence that have a purpose. Even though the bombing took place, our goal was not to burn down the establishment, but to review how much police/media response would come of the act. We believe that we cannot achieve anarchism or mental liberation through blind violence. It has to be focused and directed along with the destruction of the waste we have been led to think we need to survive.
The arrival of the anarchist group at the WTO conference was no surprise, as the November 25 Seattle Weekly forewarned their coming. What did come as a surprise was the way the group went about broadcasting their limited intelligence and cunning. Thanks to them, anarchists everywhere have lost much of their credibility, whether they be peaceful or violent. The Eugene anarchists and the WTO conference have left Seattle and will not look back.
But we have been here in Seattle long beforehand; it is just recently we have begun to realize the bullshit that society wants us to swallow is no good. In the wake of the conference and this blight on the anarchist's name, we will let the city rebuild. Then we will show the unenlightened and fascist city leaders what anarchism truly is.
MENTAL LIBERATION FRONT
I thought that the Weekly's first coverage of the WTO protests was pretty good. I was there for four days and I guarantee that heads will roll after the display of law enforcement Ramboism that was seen in our streets. There is a hidden face behind those shiny badges and clean cars that we need to deal with. And let's try to remember—a broken window isn't nearly as serious as the tear gassing of elderly citizens on their way home, the gassing and beating of a paraplegic in a wheelchair, the arresting of obvious medics, the outlawing of protective head gear, etc. There are more important things to worry about than some graffiti and the interruption of an annual shopping spree.
People like letter writer Mark Taylor complain about "riots" and "confrontation." He thanks "nonviolent protest and civil disobedience" for the abolition of slavery and child labor. Am I missing something? If I'm not mistaken, it took a civil war to destroy the old slave industry. Slaves were property and as such had to be taken by force from their "owners." No great change of progress that I am aware of has been won by peaceful means alone. And it's not because the progressives don't want peace, but because the forces of reaction and power refuse to give up what they think is rightfully theirs, even if it's a human being. The Revolutionary War was illegal and so was shutting down the WTO. But they were both necessary and just.
And one more thing about those windows—I've been in Seattle long enough to remember what used to be there before the various Gaps and Niketowns took over. I remember the low income apartment buildings being condemned and the tenants being evicted. I've felt like doing some damage myself sometimes. So maybe before we overly condemn the actions of rage we should investigate the causes of rage. It's for our own good. There's a lot of it stored up out there.
World Traitor Organization
If we could democratically control the World Trade Organization, it would be a tool; but if the World Traitor Organization dictatorially controls us, it's a weapon. We need to use organizations, not have them use and abuse us. Therefore, the political economy needs to serve people's needs, not the other way around. The corporate elite and their lackeys in government are traitors to democracy. We know that the elite are continually trying to privatize their profits while socializing their costs. We also know that through the WTO the elite are trying to roll back the decades of gains made by consumer, environmental, labor and other activists. We can not let ourselves be slaves to global capitalism. We're not against international trade and economic interdependence, of course, but we are adamantly against corporate and authoritarian globalism. We must be free citizens with full human rights. We can vote intellectually by learning as much about politics, economics, trade, etc., as we can; we can vote politically by endorsing candidates that support fair trade and social justice; we can vote economically by directing our consumption towards the small, local, and renewable rather than the global, wasteful, and greedy; we can vote with our feet by rallying, demonstrating, and protesting; we can protest with our pens by writing letters to editors and politicians, drawing pictures, and by signing petitions; we can vote socially by talking to our friends, families, neighbors, and co-workers about these vital issues; and we can vote organizationally by building and supporting the alternative, democratic, and progressive organizations, institutions, and networks that will eventually replace the old, obsolete, and odious ones. The Battle of Seattle is wherever you are.
Non-fat double tall
Sunday morning I was in my neighborhood espresso joint—OK, my neighborhood has 12 espresso joints—but I was in one of them, and, after all the activities of the week the couple standing in front of me was just a tad more than I could take. For one thing, they were one of those PERFECT couples, you know, one of those impossibly young and beautiful couples that make the rest of us just want to chuck ourselves off the Aurora bridge. For another thing they were dressed head to foot in Nike jogging gear—Nike Nike Nike as far as the eye could see! Nike shirts, shorts, and probably Nike sports bra and codpiece for all I know. And then I saw that they both had sleigh bells on their Nike shoes. Of course! They had been on the "jingle-bell" run, which they had apparently just run without breaking a sweat! I said to the young man: "Gee—maybe Santa will bring the good little girls and boys in China and Indonesia a nickle an hour raise—what do you think?" He looked over at me but did not really see me, if you know what I mean. And then his pocket rang. He took out his cell phone.
He had to go.
Rebel finds cause
Comrades! Victory is ours! We have succeeded in showing the world that the spirit of true, creative rebellion is alive and well in Seattle, our fair city. Tuesday was a phenomenal celebration of life, a loud proclamation that our city is not just a place to consume, but to be fully alive. We must repel this assault by the powers that be to reduce our humanity to the meager role of passive consumer. Not only is this assault the ultimate insult, it is hardly sustainable since there is only so much of our natural resources left to consume.
Thanks to the protesters, organizers, police, anarchists, artists (aerial and otherwise), the mayor, delegates, the unions, and the WTO—the list goes on and on—for making this event the high point in the life of your humble commandante.
As you were,
THE SLO-MO BRIGADE
The Mayor is playing the old "Schell game," trying to recoup, making nice. But it is too late! We all lost: beautiful Seattle lost respect and the merchants lost money and damage to property.
However, it did prove how much we the citizens and voters really care about our rights and are ready and willing to suffer to protect and maintain them. Hooray for the protesters!
The rank and file police officers did their job under ORDERS. They were taunted and had objects thrown at them and worked 16-18 hours under horrible conditions. Trying to keep order during TWO (2) worrisome times: the WTO convention and having to protect the President during his visit.
Enjoy your news; thank you.
MRS. A. G. SMITH
A gun owner weighs in
Now that you've experienced how the Seattle city government limited, suspended, or just ignored various First Amendment rights and other civil liberties of masses of peaceful demonstrators and law-abiding citizens in response to the destructive actions of very few hoodlums, perhaps you can appreciate how the masses of peaceful, law-abiding gun owners feel when people want to limit, suspend, or abolish our Second Amendment rights in response to the violent actions of very few criminals.
EDWARD LEROY DOVE
Tuesday, November 30 will be remembered as Seattle's "Kristallnacht," a date in our own time on which so-called liberals stood by unwilling to stay the mob-rule violence of the politics of resentment. Just as German liberals stood by while National Socialist thugs rampaged smashing shop windows on November 9, 1938, Seattle's city & state government socialists were unwilling to plan for, prevent, or publicly object to the same thing happening here this week. The two faces of socialism, National Socialism & Communist socialism, are united in their hateful willingness to use brutal force & cynical manipulation of idealistic "useful idiots" (in V.I. Lenin's charming phrase) to destroy both the property & the freedoms of lawful constitutional democracy as championed by tolerant libertarian & conservative opinion. Congratulations on your reporting & commentary on the WTO fiasco.
While drinking my shade-grown coffee and reading the Seattle Weekly, which was late due to the curfew, I believe, I was shocked to read about lawless gangs of predominantly male, black clad, emotionless bullies afraid to show their faces (for fear that they might be sued?) so they covered them up with gas masks, wearing funny looking, menacing, appropriate for Star Wars or Halloween clothing, gang emblems displayed prominently on their clothing, carrying clubs and other weapons, beating up innocent bystanders, and engaging in drive-by shootings during the WTO riots.
Then I realized from looking at the photo that the articles were talking about the police; you know, the folks who are supposed to serve the people and protect the constitution (you know, that annoying piece of paper with references to the right of free speech and assembly).
But as Dorothy Parker would have said, "How could you tell the difference?"
The Midwest weighs in
Here I sit in comfy, neutral Eau Claire, WI, cheering for you folks in Seattle. I am excited that the younger generation is not "null and void"! Though I regret the ones who broke windows and acted stupidly in other manners did not even know what was going on, I say "Hail to Seattle!" We did not fight in vain those many years ago!
EAU CLAIRE, WI
Alaska weighs in
I just wanted to say I am absolutely appalled that this story of protesters run amok was so skewed and whacked. I cannot believe our government has become so full of itself that they can spin this thing so LARGE! Why the lie? I am watching all this from Alaska, and it still reeks of bull.
What's become of our rights as a free nation? Are we about to meet the Antichrist? Are we heading for a police nation? Oh Lord, take me in the Rapture, because it looks like it's just beginning here. I pity those in Seattle. I thought we had the freedom to peacefully protest. From what I understand, a small band was responsible (probably set up by the government so as to excuse their treatment of the rest of the people in that city) and then our troops started turning on everyone in sight. For SHAME!
TRACI L. SOMMERVILLE
Tuesday's WTO news coverage saddened me more than the rioting. I saw the rally not through the sensationalism of violence but through the beauty of thousands of protesters peacefully encouraging the evolution of a better wold for life on this planet.
Thirty thousand people in a kaleidoscope of colorful costumes, all marching to an assortment of chants, bongos, and body gestures, should have been sewn into a vivid 60 minute TV tapestry of excitement. The imagery was a sight to behold—an opportunity lost to the dark side of journalism. Yes, the violence was ugly, but it still should not have been the only event in the limelight on Tuesday. The media picks and chooses the footage, not the vandals.
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The URL for the Washington News Council, listed incorrectly in last week's Quick & Dirty ("Slade slays 'em"), is firstname.lastname@example.org.
In "Save the rave" (12/2) the club DV8 was described as "formerly Club FX"; they are in fact separate entities that are both still in operation.
In the story "Seattle's hip-hop riddle," (12/2) we mistakenly identified the home base for the group da Grassroots as Vancouver. They are from Toronto.
We apologize to disgruntled news readers, ravers, and Canada.