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From Seattle to Phoenix: A 10 Year Movement Update

This essay, written by B. Loewe in the Fall of 2010, is included in the astonishing anthology We Have Not Been Moved available at PM Press.

In 1999, following the massive demonstrations in Seattle against the World Trade Organization, Betita Martinez shook things up with the simple question: “Why were most of the demonstrators white?”

After the state of Washington ran out of tear gas, after the echoes of bucket drums faded, after the teamsters and the “turtles” (environmentalists) parted ways, and global capital appeared momentarily derailed by a city full of barricades, her short article circulated listservs and email inboxes with penetrating questions for the debut showing of the newly born “anti-globalization movement.” Martinez highlighted the ways in which people of color did participate but asked us to reconcile the apparent divide. If “we are to make Seattle’s promise of a new, international movement against imperialist globalization come true,” she wrote, we must understand and learn from the low-level of participation from people of color.

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