Jamie McCallum, This is What Democracy Looked Like: The Long Shadow of Radical Politics Since the Battle of Seattle
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The talk is a critical reflection on the 20thanniversary of the Seattle WTO protests and those immediately in their wake around the world, still a hallmark of political activism decades later. It was a rare clear victory for radical organizers, who championed fair trade, ecological sustainability, labor rights, and anti-war causes all at once. The movement quickly rippled across the world, causing an upsurge of protest activist not seen since the late sixties. For a moment, a new anti-corporate social movement promised to construct a new kind of globalization, one that promoted labor rights, ecological security, civil society, and social equality. Yet by late 2001 the movement was only a memory, gone seemingly as quickly as it appeared. Nonetheless, for the last two decades the Seattle moment has cast a long shadow far beyond its brief lifespan—via Occupy and the revival of U.S. socialism.
I was an active organizer of the movement then and am now co-authoring a book on the subject. I'll focus on the meaning of this movement today.