Wild Trashing Ordeal
Battle of Seattle

Seattle:  When, a year ago, the rumors began about going to trash the WTO in Seattle in November, many in the nonviolent movement hoped the masses would overwhelm the smash-'n'-dash contingent. We also hoped WTO would become a household acronym. After all, indigenous and environmental activists have been shouting from the rooftops about this for years, but their voices haven't been noticed much.

It seems the separation between the mass nonviolent action and the tiny band of glass-breakers was made clear for once. That was due in no small part to the media savvy of the mass nonviolent movement.

Police brutality is rampant and perhaps Seattle will be that watershed event that convinces Americans that the police need guidance, better training and, in many cases, therapy. Some of them are Just Plain Sick.

The undemocratic nature of WTO and its servitude to corporations without conscience was made abundantly clear by all the analysis surrounding the event. Now average citizens are aware that WTO stands for a borderless world for the profiteers but high walls for labor organizers. WTO panels can wipe out years of hard work achieving a balanced law in a democracy, putting environmental and labor and basic human rights law aside in the name of free trade. In the words of the labor leaders, it is a process that guarantees a "race to the bottom" of most fair trade standards.

Finally, WTO has been the vehicle favored by weaponeers to further exacerbate global arms trading. From Boeing to Honeywell/Allied Signal and on through the megaconglomerate war profiteer list, they were all in Seattle. Running shoes by Nike are bad enough; there are facilities in more than a dozen countries making components for the Lockheed-Martin F-16. The impact from those products are much worse than the impacts of many others, yet few look at this aspect.

Bottom line is the sale of weaponry to human rights abusing governments even when they have been sanctioned in the past. Thus, while we may fight for and achieve an arms embargo against, say, Indonesia or Myanmar, it will negated by WTO members who wish to sell to such regimes. Absent massive reform, WTO is a Bad Idea for those who work for peace on Earth.