The 30th November of this year will mark 10 years since the protests at the WTO summit in Seattle. The so-called direct action movement in Britain had a significant role in the cycle of protests which found its high point in Seattle. Here we tell its story. By Leo Vinicius.
In the late 1990s large street demonstrations and attempted blockades of summits of the World Trade Organisation, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, G8, and other organisations managing global capital, won significant TV news coverage and ensured that these meetings would have to be protected by enormous police contingents and removed to remote locations. In a general sense we saw the contours of a new movement opposed to the management organisations of so-called ‘globalisation’. The blockade of the first day of the WTO ministers’ meeting on 30th November 1999 in Seattle was the moment when this movement attained worldwide visibility, in the mainstream media and principally on TV, coming to be known in these same media as ‘anti-globalisation’. In truth it was a ‘movement of movements’ or further still a confluence of movements. The point of identification bringing together was a common recognition of the systemic organisations to which they were opposed (although for some of them this system appeared as ‘capitalism’ for others ‘neo-liberalism’ and so on). Continue reading “the british direct action movement of the 1990s: part I”