News Release

“Battle of Seattle”: One Year Later


A policy analyst with the Institute for Public Accuracy, Toler said today: “Although, with the notable exception of Ralph Nader, trade was a ‘non-issue’ in the recent U.S. presidential election, trade issues are extremely hot in virtually every other country, particularly in Third World countries that suffer the most from World Trade Organization regulations. The Seattle demonstrations brought more Americans’ attention to the myriad ways the secretive and fundamentally undemocratic WTO functions on behalf of corporate global interests to the detriment of the economic, social and political interests of the world’s working and poor majority.”

Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch and co-author of Whose Trade Organization? Corporate Globalization and the Erosion of Democracy, Wallach said today: “The challenges to the ‘trade über alles’ zealots come from a global coalition of citizens demanding that public interests in human rights, living wages, safe food and the environment are prioritized over the special interests of the world’s largest transnational corporations.”

Political action director for the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), Townsend said today: “We have been hammered by the corporate forces and the two major political parties which both condone — and actually encourage — the transfer of whole industries to sweatshop economies. The U.S. trade deficit is approaching $400 billion a year; it has increased tenfold under the Clinton administration.”

Author of Soul of a Citizen: Living With Conviction in a Cynical Time and associate scholar at Seattle’s Center for Ethical Leadership, Loeb said today: “The fundamental issue is about whether or not there’s the possibility of real democracy in this country or globally. Once you start removing the ability of local and national governments to act and giving that ability to an unelected and unaccountable body like the WTO, it becomes much more difficult for citizens to act on a wide variety of issues, which is why you saw a convergence of labor, environmental, human rights and other activists in Seattle. You see similar concerns about the assault on democracy from the controversy around the Florida election.”

Director of the recently released documentary “Trade Off,” Mercer said today: “We set out to capture the week of protests in Seattle, concentrating on the issues that brought people to the streets of Seattle.” The producer of “Trade Off,” Thomas Lee Wright, will be at demonstrations this week in Seattle.

Co-director of another recent documentary, “This Is What Democracy Looks Like,” Freidberg said today: “The film was partially inspired by a large archive that the Independent Media Center had after the Seattle protests. We wanted to tell the story of people feeling powerful by forming unprecedented coalitions.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167