The elegance of protest

One of my favorite political pictures comes from the infamous 1999 WTO conference, usually called the Battle in Seattle for those that protested against the neoliberal trade organization. In a high point for post-New Left protest, the police estimate of 5,000 protestors was wrong by an order of magnitude. Despite negative media coverage due to violence by supposed “black bloc” anarchists, the end results of the action were successful. The talks failed, the Seattle police chief resigned in disgrace, and the networking of groups created alternative forms of organization like the Independent Media Center.

Though there were many arresting photos of protestors barring buildings shut with hand-made barricades and protestors standing up to excessive police force, my favorite picture is a huge banner unrolled over the train yard.

The elegance of protest

Some signs and banners require background knowledge, but this needs no explanation. How could you explain the main point of the protest action in fewer words?

Author: AJM

Writer, sociologist, Unitarian Universalist.

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