Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Email

Yesterday, The Atlantic published an article that declared “Seattle’s 1999 Protesters Were Right.” Author Noah Smith correctly explained that they were mocked and maligned. He writes “the Seattle protests came to seem as not only silly, but also misguided.”

But Smith explains that nonetheless history has shown the WTO protesters were “mostly right.” “Almost everything the Seattle protesters have warned us about has come to pass, much of it a direct result of the WTO’s actions in 2000,” he writes.

So what are the reasons we didn’t succeed and they did?

We didn’t get the message right?

We didn’t speak to the people?

Our study of radical political theory wasn’t sufficiently rigorous?

We didn’t know our history?

We didn’t have any history?

We didn’t forge a mass movement?

We didn’t have social media soon enough?

We broke too many store windows?

We didn’t break enough store windows?

We weren’t well-funded?

We weren’t sufficiently connected with large established political action organizations and unions?

We weren’t connected to elected officials?

We didn’t have a party?

We didn’t have an agenda easily transformed into legislation and other policy?

We were intensively targeted by a coast-to-coast, local to Federal policing campaign to squash radical political organizing?

The chilling effect on radical politics caused by 9/11?

The rise of post-9/11 patriotism sapped our base and politically isolated us?

Capitalisms is total, yeah?

The end of the world is more imaginable than the end if capitalism?

The only force strong enough to combat something the scale of climate collapse is the same global institutions we opposed?

Because responsible capitalism grew since then?

Because the poor in the underdeveloped world would die without the institutions we were combatting and we had no alternative to offer them?

Because we didn’t listen to the pacifists?

Because we didn’t make total war?

Because they had all the guns and we didn’t have enough?

Because many of us realized we like Nike shoes more than breaking Nike’s windows?

Weed legalization means more to many of us?

Weed is legal for many of us?

Too many of us smoked too much weed despite its legal status?

We didn’t smoke enough weed?

Obama offered us hope and delivered it?

Obama offered us false hope and we are now hopeless?

Listening to George W Bush caused a reduction in intelligence equal to collective lobotomization?

Because of the rightward surge in American political culture?

Because capitalism, duh?

The protest wasn’t big enough?

The protesters were permitted?

The protesters violated the permit?

Political protest is infantile and obnoxious?

Political protest is a mode of politics unsuited for this era?

We didn’t start occupying soon enough?

We started occupying?

Not enough people dressed in business casual for the protest?

Too many liberals?

Too many nutty commie parties selling papers?

There was too strong an anarchist element that won’t commit to the discipline of the party or recognize the necessity of the state?

The anarchist needed to bathe?

There weren’t enough women in leadership positions?

There were leadership positions?

There weren’t enough topless radical feminists?

There weren’t enough topless hotties?

Because heteronormativity?

Because we didn’t set the terms for success in advance, reach agreement on these and together assess our progress?

There are no terms by which to measure success?

We never wanted to win?

We wanted to win too badly?

There was no way to win?

The very idea of winning is nonsensical?

Because we did win?

This blog exemplifies a cynicism that pervades the radical left, and this cynicism has crushed our ability to think the problem and adequately respond to it?

One Response to “If the WTO protesters were right, why didn’t they win?”

  1. MikeDonnelly

    They failed to understand votes don’t matter, only money matters. Until significant campaign contribution reform takes place (federal funding) the side with more money will always win. My favored solution is an amendment to the US constitution. and others are pursuing this goal

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


1 2 3 7
September 6th, 2017

Teaching in the Time of Adjunctification

I am now in my second year as a contingent, adjunct instructor. For those not familiar with this terminology, it […]

September 17th, 2015

Police: The Strong Blue Thread

Facebook user, Anthony Welichko posted the picture above with the following message about “The Safe Harbor Initiative.” “To all law […]

September 16th, 2015

What will we take away from the Ahmed Mohamed controversy?

On Monday, August 14, a 14-year-old ninth grade student, Ahmed Mohamed, was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to Irving […]

December 21st, 2014

Challenging Police Union Leadership in the War on the Poor and People of Color

Police Leadership in Manufacturing ‘War Zones’ Police increasingly describe the communities they occupy as war zones, their inhabitants as enemy combatants, […]

December 4th, 2014

The Reason Mike Brown Can’t Get Justice Has Nothing To Do With Cameras

  Cops killed #EricGarner #OscarGrant #TaneshaAnderson #TamirRice #JohnCrawford #ErnestoDuenez #KellyThomas on camera. — Ben Brucato (@BrucatoBen) December 4, 2014 […]

December 3rd, 2014

A Short Script on On-Officer Wearable Cameras and Civilian Complaints

The scene is an interrogation room. A small room with brick walls, painted in light green-grey. A two-way mirror is […]

December 3rd, 2014

Cameras on Cops and Junk Science in Rialto

Those of us who don’t confront the potential wide diffusion of on-officer body-worn cameras with excitement and hopefulness have already […]

December 1st, 2014

Police Violence Is Not A Problem Because Of Its Invisibility

  For months, in response to the killing of Michael Brown, Ferguson and Saint Louis have been sites of ongoing […]

November 12th, 2014

Civilians Less Violent, Cops More Violent, All More Visible

Police are safer than ever, civilians are less violent than ever, and violent force and imprisonment is more often to […]

June 21st, 2014

US Policing and the State

In this blog, I synthesize multiple theories in order to produce an approach to policing sufficient to understanding police violence […]