DW Gibson presents "One Week to Change the World: An Oral History of the 1999 WTO Protests" in conversation w/Nadine Block, Mike Dolan, Han Shan, and Lori Wallach

DW Gibson presents "One Week to Change the World: An Oral History of the 1999 WTO Protests" in conversation w/Nadine Block, Mike Dolan, Han Shan, and Lori Wallach

Tuesday, June 11th 2024
7:00 pm
Red Emma's
The definitive history of Seattle’s 1999 World Trade Organization protests, featuring over 100 original interviews and timed to the event’s twenty-fifth anniversary.

One week in late 1999, more than 50,000 people converged on Seattle. Their goal: to shut down the World Trade Organization conference and send a message that working-class people would not quietly accept the runaway economic globalization that threatened their livelihoods. Though their mission succeeded, it was not without blowback. Violent confrontations between police and protestors resulted in hundreds of arrests and millions of dollars in property damage. But the images of tear gas and smashed windows that flashed across TVs and newspapers were not an accurate representation of what actually happened that week.

In the oral history One Week to Change the World, award-winning journalist DW Gibson pieces together a complex and compelling account of what _really _went down in Seattle, immersing you in the angst that defined the end of a millennium, complete with fight clubs and Y2K doomsday scenarios. In more than 100 original interviews with protestors, police, politicians, anarchists, artists, activists, union members, and many others, Gibson reconstructs the events in gripping detail; documents its antecedents and aftermath; and shows how so many of its themes remain just as pressing today, including the vitalness and difficulty of grassroots activism, the aspirations and limitations of globalization, the militarization of policing, the sensationalism of the media, and the undeniable power of the people.

Timed to the 25th anniversary of the protests, this book is a page-turning drama, an essential history, and a practical handbook for how to make one’s voice heard.

"Put aside what you know about the 'Battle of Seattle' and pick up this exciting, myth-busting account. Essential for activists and organizers." —Malcolm Harris, author of Palo Alto: A History of California, Capitalism, and the World

DW Gibson is most recently the author of 14 Miles: Building the Border Wall. His previous books include the award-winning The Edge Becomes the Center: An Oral History of Gentrification in the Twenty-First Century and Not Working: People Talk About Losing a Job and Finding Their Way in Today’s Changing Economy. He shared a National Magazine Award for his work on “This is the Story of One Block in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn” for New York Magazine. His work has also appeared in Harper’s, The Atlantic The Washington Post, The New York Times, and. Gibson’s radio work includes cohosting the podcast There Goes the Neighborhood, guest hosting various news programs for WNYC, and reading original essays for Live From Here, as well as All Things Considered. Gibson serves as director of Art Omi: Writers in Ghent, New York, and he cofounded Sangam House, a writers’ residency in India.

Back in 1999, you might have found Nadine Bloch leading direct action trainings or crafting huge paper maché puppets to expose the evils of the WTO or serve as decoys for blockade tripods. Still an activist artist and strategic nonviolent organizer, she currently works with Beautiful Trouble and many other groups exploring the potent intersection of culture and people power. Find her writings in Beautiful Trouble, SNAP: An Action Guide to Synergizing Nonviolent Action and Peacebuilding, and WagingNonviolence.org .

Mike Dolan: “SEATTLE, Dec. 1 -- In this week's Battle for Seattle, the field marshal for the global anti-establishment has been an intense, rumpled lawyer who grew up in an admiral's house in Chevy Chase and spent the past nine months building a grass-roots campaign to disrupt the meeting of the World Trade Organization … Originally trained by the United Farm Workers, he was field director for the California Democratic Party and Rock the Vote, which registered millions of young voters for the 1992 presidential campaign … Something of a cross between Lenin and Woody Allen, Dolan signed up with Nader's anti-free-trade effort in 1995 ... It was from his war room on Capitol Hill, much of it financed with union money, that the successful campaign was waged against giving President Clinton authority to negotiate new trade treaties on a ‘fast track’ basis. A year later his coalition did it again, shutting down a new round of negotiations over cross-border investments, known as the Multilateral Agreement on Investments … Although colleagues inevitably describe him as indefatigable, charismatic and driven, he remained relatively unknown outside liberal enclaves: On Monday, U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky said she had never heard of Dolan.” – Pearlstein, Steven, “Protest’s Architect Gratified,” Washington Post 12/01/99, p A1.”

Lori Wallach is the director of the Rethink Trade program at AELP and a 30-year veteran of international and U.S. congressional trade battles. She was named to “Politico’s 50” list of thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American politics for her leadership in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) debate. A lawyer, Lori is the author of The Rise and Fall of Fast Track Trade Authority and Whose Trade Organization? A Comprehensive Guide to the WTO. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Wellesley College. Before law school, she worked on Capitol Hill, in political campaigns and in television news.

Born and raised in Baltimore, Han Shan received his early political education in the local punk scene, and in 1999 was program director for The Ruckus Society, a key node in the network that organized the Seattle WTO protests. As a trainer, campaigner, strategist, and practitioner of nonviolent direct action, Han has since served for 30+ years on the front lines and behind the scenes of movements for social, environmental, and economic justice. Han has also produced award-winning social change-oriented documentaries, and co-wrote and co-produced a forthcoming feature film starring Amy Madigan. Today, he is a writer and visual artist living between Italy and the Netherlands.

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