Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Nearly a decade ago I was watching TV, watching riots on the streets of America. I turned off the TV, logged on (via dialup... argh the memories) and started getting the real picture. To this day I think the real success of the Battle in Seattle was not that thousands of protesters were able to successfully organize and shut down the WTO and their first attempt to hold meetings on North American soil. The success was not that millions of people were shown the true nature of a truly oppressive global organization whos only real goal is lining the pockets of elites at the expense of the everyman. The real success of this protest was that it was one of the first, probably the first in a long time, that was seen by millions of people outside of the media filter imposed by corporate America. This could be the first real protest of the digital age.

We knew that NBC, CBS, and ABC were all lies, and we didn't care. We didn't need them anymore. We had handheld digital camers uploading unedited digital video footage of police instigating the violence and corporate media feeding the public their lies. We could turn on CNN and see a headline stating the protestors had turned violent in front of some swank hotel, then login to IndyMedia to see unedited footage the same street corner and seeing peaceful folks who crossed four generations sitting in the street with their arms linked being pepper sprayed without warning.

We heard on the television about violent protestors trashing a Starbucks or a McDonalds, but could turn around and see a video of thousands of folks NOT engaging in any violence. We also had concrete evidence that nobody busted up that Starbucks until AFTER the police shot pepper spray and rubber bullets into the peaceful crowd.

It is hard to say how this all will be portrayed in the upcoming film, Battle in Seattle. Will it attempt to re-frame history via the lense of either corporate or counter-culture America? Or will it tell the human side of the story? I don't want to spoil it for you. You can find out for yourself on October 17th when Battle in Seattle opens in theatres in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.

Not only did the protests manage to shut down the planned meetings, a few other great things came of this world-changing event.

For starters we had the pleasure of former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra getting together with Krist Novoselic of Nirvana and Kim Thayil of Soundgarden and record an awesome live album under the banner "The No WTO Combo". What can I say? I have a soft spot in my heart for all things Jello.

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