On Friday September 19 “Battle in Seattle”, the major-motion picture about the WTO protests, will finally open in Seattle and other cities. The film is director Stuart Townsend’s first, and stars Andre Benjamin, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Rodriguez, Channing Tatum, and Charlize Theron in a fictionalized account of the week of protests, including some archival footage. Many organizations are helping to promote the film nationally, including Citizen’s Trade Campaign and Global Exchange.
CAGJ invites you to:
*See the film – It opens at the Neptune Theater in the U-District and at the Uptown on Queen Anne. Visit the “Battle in Seattle” Film website and trailer.
*Help to create and amplify a People’s History of the Battle of Seattle told by the people, groups and movements who participated and made it happen! This project was launched at the 2007 US Social Forum to create a space where “social movements can tell our own stories, reclaim our own histories, and publicly fight damaging myths of our movements past and present” (read ”A Call to Social Movements to Reclaim Our History” below)
We need your help! You can…
1. Share YOUR story from the 1999 protests on the recently created website, “The Real Battle in Seattle”. It is easy to contribute!
2. View the Seattle WTO People’s History! You can browse postings by date, or subject or author. The website also includes information about the WTO and social movements organizing for global justice.
3. Help spread the word:
-Contact CAGJ if you would like to pass out post-cards about the project at one of the upcoming screenings: call 206.405.4600
-Tell your friends, colleagues, & families about this People’s History Project!
4. Learn more about the film and response, including the Seattle WTO People’s History Project:
-Read “The Battle for Reality”, by David Solnit, a key organizer of the protests in 1999.
-KUOW interviewed CAGJ’s Director, Heather Day, about the film the day after its world premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival. They wanted to talk to someone who had been involved in the 1999 protests who had attended the premiere. Hear the interview, and Heather’s critiques of the film (It starts about 45 minutes into the program – you can quickly fast forward to hear it). Note: this link must be pasted into the address bar in order to work!
-KPFA Hard Knock Radio in the Bay Area interviewed Heather Sept 17 (it starts about 10 minutes into the program):
-See/hear David Solnit and Stuart Townsend on Democracy Now 9/18.
-Check out “The Battle of the Story of the “Battle of Seattle”, a new book edited by David Solnit and Rebecca Solnit – Publisher: AK Press. “With the World Trade Organization in retreat globally, do we remember the seeds of the anti-capitalist movements that blossomed and, in 1999, brought Seattle to a standstill? This collection confronts the challenges of historical memory. David Solnit recounts the story of his consultation with the Battle In Seattle filmmakers…Rebecca Solnit tells of her battle with the NY Times, challenging their repeated misinformation about the Seattle protests.” Read more, and order the book here: http://www.akpress.org/2008/items/battleofseattleakpress
5. Watch “This is What Democracy Looks Like”, an excellent documentary that captures the 1999 WTO protests, cut from the footage of over 100 media activists. Call CAGJ to borrow a copy, or order the film here.
The Battle for the Story of Seattle: A Call to Social Movements to Reclaim Our History
“Until the lions have their own historians, tales of hunting will always glorify the hunter.”
In the fall of 2009, a major motion picture called “Battle in Seattle” will come out in cities across the country. The movie is a fictionalized account based on real events, featuring extensive archival footage. It may shape what most people in the US and around the world think happened for decades to come—unless we speak up. We call for social movements to take action: to reclaim our history, our stories, and our future.
The story of popular resistance to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Seattle in 1999 is a story of how people power can change the world. It is a dangerous example for the global elite, and a powerful one for movements.
For eight years, the US corporate media, global elites, and their police have been twisting and marginalizing the truth, in order to invent their own story of Seattle 1999 and the stories of social movements’ resistance and victories. These lies and revisions of history have been used in an attempt to criminalize and repress our protests, movements, and mobilizations.
The movie will be released on the eighth anniversary of the 1999 Seattle anti-WTO uprising and shutdown [note: this release date was planned but did not happen]. It was written by a well-meaning actor-director, but is unlikely to reflect the motives, experience, or thinking of the movements behind the shutdown of the WTO. The potential is high and the possibilities are infinite to interrupt this narrative and claim the history that we helped create.
“The struggle of people against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.”
It’s time that we in the social movements tell our own stories, reclaim our own histories, and publicly fight damaging myths of our movements past and present. We must intervene in the public understanding of what happened, what is happening, and what it all means. Stories are how we understand the world and thus shape the future—they are part of our fight against corporate power, empire, war, and social and environmental injustice and for the alternatives that will make a better world.
The real story of Seattle 1999 is of tens of thousands of people rising up, taking direct action, and changing history; standing up to corporations and governments and winning; joining with movements around the world in our common struggle against the WTO.
“When it’s truly alive, memory doesn’t contemplate history, it invites us to make it.”
—Eduardo Galeano, Upside Down: a primer for the looking-glass world
Let’s link the 1999 resistance to the WTO in Seattle and globally with building support for today’s resistance that is continuing the fight for global justice on many fronts; against war and occupation for environmental and climate justice; for workers, immigrants, women, and farmers rights, etc. We call for commemorations, public events, performances, media, interventions, interruptions, educational events, performances, screenings, gatherings, and celebrations.