Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy

By John Arquilla; David Ronfeldt | Go to book overview

Chapter Seven
NETWAR IN THE EMERALD CITY: WTO PROTEST
STRATEGY AND TACTICS
Paul de Armond

Editors' abstract. In a free society, netwar can run wild—sometimes literally. The Battle of Seattle is the best case of this to date. De Armond (Public Good Project) offers an eyewitness account, analyzing all players and their strategies and revealing how and why the Direct Action Network did so well. This struggle featured a rich mix of activists and anarchists, from around the world, who were intent upon disrupting a gathering of governmental and international institutional actors that were assembling to launch the World Trade Organization. The chapter is largely condensed from a longer paper titled “Black Flag Over Seattle,” Albion Monitor, No. 72, March 2000, www.monitor.net/monitor/ seattlewto/index.html. Reprinted by permission.

Seattle, like many American cities, has self-appointed nicknames. One of Seattle's nicknames is “The Emerald City,” a reference to its perpetually soggy evergreen vegetation and to the mythical Land of Oz. On November 30, 1999, Seattleites awoke to the reality of an emerging global protest movement. This movement was not created in Seattle. Other protests with similar motives, participants, and strategies had been happening in the United States and around the world for a considerable time. What made the “N30” protests remarkable was the shock that we, like Dorothy and Toto, were no longer in Kansas.

For the next year, roving protests continued the agitation that exploded in Seattle. In the United States, Boston (Biodevastation), Washington, D.C. (A16), numerous cities on May Day (M1), Milwaukee (animal rights), Detroit and Winsor, Ontario (OAS), Philadelphia (Republican Convention), and Los Angeles (Democratic Convention) were visited by what protesters called the “spirit of Seattle.” Around

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