The week of Nov 28 – Dec 3, 1999 found government negotiators from around the world in Seattle attempting to negotiate a major expansion of the WTO. They were met by 50,000 citizens of the world who came together to stand for fair trade during these negotiations.
The week was a great success, with active and thoughtful protests, teach-ins, and other events occurring each day of the negotiations. The largest event was a high-energy labor rally and sit-in on November 30th, 1999. Although press reports focused on a very, very small contingent of activists that broke windows, etc., the overwhelming majority of protestors were peaceful and non-violent.
As a result of “outside” pressure and an “inside” rebellion by WTO members from developing countries, the WTO Ministerial was terminated without any agreements being reached.
In the words of Seattle’s own Jim Page, from his song Didn’t We:
“don’t let ’em tell you that it can’t be done
’cause they’re gonna be the first ones to run
just take a little lesson from Seattle town
WTO and how we shut it down
yeah, didn’t we
shut it down
didn’t we “
(Full lyrics to Didn’t We)