The Battle in Seattle: The Story Behind and Beyond the WTO Demonstrations by Janet Thomas.
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman memorably described the tens of thousands of activists who surfaced in Seattle to protest the World Trade Organization in November and December of 1999 as "A Noah's ark of flat-earth advocates, protectionist trade unions, and yuppies looking for their 1960s fix." Janet Thomas is an authentic voice of that movement, and she's confident enough in her views to cite Friedman, and then cast him aside: "The dominant media is entirely a voice for corporate interests." The Battle in Seattle is intended to inspire members of the burgeoning movement who took Seattle by surprise and now seem to show up at every city holding international trade talks to register their disapproval.
Thomas was a participant in the protests and has a wonderful story to tell: "WTO week in Seattle was a global tailspin at the end of the century." Much of her account is impressionistic and written in the first person, but she also attempts to provide an overview of the controversy and explain why it matters. "There was shocking violence perpetrated against peaceful protesters, against unwitting city residents simply doing what they do every day, against demonstrators trying to get home and ordinary citizens trying to get to work, against the unruly and the otherwise," she writes. Thomas is opinionated and never shy about her anticorporate stance: "It's a corporate illness that pervades our culture, and we're all part of the equation." Readers of The Nation and Mother Jones surely will enjoy The Battle in Seattle. Thomas's convictions may represent a growing force as the United States and the rest of the world wrestles with globalization. As the author says in the final words of her book, "Stay tuned." --John J. Miller
From Library Journal
Professional journalist and amateur activist Thomas gives a breathless eyewitness account of the 1999 anti-World Trade Organization protests in Seattle. Like the demonstrators themselves, this book combines postmodern media savvy and a seemingly načve belief in the power of individuals to combat economic globalization. Thomas writes in impassioned prose about the Battle in Seattle the clash between those protesting the economic and social costs of unrestrained global trade and the Seattle police. While not objective, Thomas's account provides an alternative to the mainstream media view of the protestors as mindless anarchists and economic malcontents. Recommended for public libraries with current events collections and academic historical collections. Duncan Stewart, State Historical Society of Iowa Lib., Iowa City - Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
John Nichols, author of The Milagro Beanfield War
If you wish to develop a macroscopic overview of our planet and also want to work toward a better future, this book will be an inspiration.
Vine Deloria Jr., author of God Is Red and Red Earth, White Lies
Thomas creates a breathtaking vision of issues and people all coalescing in Seattle and demonstrating to the WTO that people, not corporations, must be served.
David Suzuki, author of Inventing the Future
At last, with Thomas's book, we get a serious and inspiring look at the people and issues that sparked the protests against the WTO in Seattle.
Between 40,000 and 60,000 people protested against the World Trade Organization's Third Ministerial on November 30, 1999. They converged on Seattle to express their concerns about the power of corporations, globalization, and the gap between fantasies of the good life and the real lives of working people everywhere.
Energized by her own participation in the protests, Seattle writer Janet Thomas was determined to present a view of the events that went beyond the facile coverage of the media. She interviewed many of the participants and has created portraits of modern civil disobedience that will serve as an inspiration for all people concerned about the homogenization of daily life and the disparity between rich and poor around the globe.
By concentrating on both the personalities and the issues, The Battle in Seattle serves as a corrective to all those who believe that the protesters expressed their beliefs in vain. Janet Thomas is a published author and a playwright, and has a long history of participation in civic and environmental issues. She lives on San Juan Island in Washington.
All the news the media didn't let us see, May 12, 2001
Reviewer: A reader from Templartreasure.com
Informative detail of just what the agenda of the Seattle and later, the Ottawa protestors wish to accomplish. The TV news doesn't tell us about WTO rules supercedeing laws enacted in Massachusetts. The TV news does not tell the story of the prison-factories in El Salvador. The TV news avoids telling us about the man that makes $104,000 per hour while his Haitian workers make 13 cents per hour. Janet Thomas does. And she also tells us why the TV news skips the real story, because it is controlled by the same people.
While the TV news avoids the story of thousands of peaceful demonstrators attempting to make sure sovereignty and democracy survive the WTO, it concentrates on a handful of violent demonstrators who get out of hand. Janet Thomas tells the story straight.
The truth behind the media's version of WTO protests, December 13, 2000
Reviewer: A reader from Friday Harbor, WA USA
The truth is hard to take when you realize you are part of a system that does not serve the basic needs of so many around the globe. This book seeks to go beyond the media's focus on a small number of anarchistic acts in Seattle's WTO week. It both reveals and explores in depth the real issues at the base of this 50,000 person protest. Thomas' approach is both scholarly and undogmatic. Individual sketches serve to break down denial in readers such as myself, readers who start out not really wanting to hear the truth. The bonus: at the end, you are not left feeling hopeless. Thomas has compiled a rich and extensive list of resources to further research the information and ideas expressed in her book. If you are interested in learning about world economic justice, read this book.