Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Seattle WTO Shutdown 9 Year Anniversary: 5 Lessons for Today"

By David Solnit. The article is so good that I wish I could permanently post it on the website. Here are some highlights:

"We can't afford to just fight the numerous symptoms of the system or organize around single issues. We need to constantly articulate the systemic root causes of of those symptoms. The WTO and corporate globalization provided a clear anti-systemic framework for a movement of movements around the world to converge, take action and understand ourselves as a global counter-power standing up to global corporate capitalism.

The 100,000 color postcards and broadsheets that invited people to "Come to Seattle" each read: "Increasing poverty and cuts in social services while the rich get richer; low wages, sweatshops, meaningless jobs, and more prisons; deforestation, gridlocked cities and global warming; genetic engineering, gentrification and war: Despite the apparent diversity of these social and ecological troubles, their roots are the same-a global economic system based on the exploitation of people and the planet. A new world is possible and a global movement of resistance is rising to make it happen. Imagine replacing the existing social order with a just, free and ecological order based on mutual aid and voluntary cooperation.""

...

" * Mass Organization and Mass Training: hundreds were directly involved in coordination and making decisions, and thousands participated in trainings to prepare. * Widely Publicized: Both movement folks and the public knew what we had planned, when and where, allowing for thousands to join. * Decentralization: Everyone involved in organizing understood the strategy, groups were self-organized and self-reliant, and the action allowed for a wide range of groups to take action in their own way.

As movements, can we develop strategy frameworks for our region, nationally or internationally, not just for one day but over time?

Most who shut down the WTO in Seattle were involved in local groups and campaigns, but some who only participated in big actions and mobilizations and saw that as the movement were lost when mobilizations became less frequent or movements switched to other tactics. Organizing for one-time actions or mobilizations or repeating our favorite or most familiar tactic (marches, conferences, direct action, educational events, etc) without ongoing campaigns that have clear long-term goals as well as short term, winnable, along-the-way-milestone goals can lead to burnout and does not build long-term movements to make change."

Fuck yeah...

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