There are 80,000 stories about what happened in Seattle in 1999 . . .
On November 30, 1999, a public uprising shut down the World Trade Organization and transformed downtown Seattle into a festival of resistance. Tens of thousands of people joined the nonviolent direct action blockade which encircled the WTO conference site, completely preventing conference meetings from dawn till dusk. We held the blockade in the face of an army of federal, state, and local police making extensive use of tear gas, pepper spray, rubber, plastic and wooden bullets, concussion grenades, and armored vehicles.
After five days of protests and resistance, the talks at the WTO conference collapsed in failure.
For every organizer, community member, student, artist, and worker who participated in those five days, there is an important detail about how these demonstrations shaped our world. We all have a story to tell.
WHY REMEMBER THE BATTLE IN SEATTLE
An essential method of dismantling social movements is to erase our shared history of collective action. We have a responsibility to remember, to learn from our successes and mistakes, and to contribute our lessons from Seattle 1999 to today’s movements for social, economic, racial, and gender justice across the globe. Organizers need guidebooks from our experiences, and Seattle provides lessons in mass organizing, direct action, strategy, and counter-movement backlash.
SOCIAL MOVEMENT IMPACT
The 1999 WTO shutdown was a turning point on the cusp of the 21st century.
Today’s movements and generations have centuries of organizing history to draw from. The 1999 WTO Shutdown is one of many movement turning points to analyze and understand. We are proud to offer our experiences and reflections in that spirit.