This week marks the 20th anniversary of the WTO protests in Seattle. The event was a spark set to dry kindling, and the flames that raced across the nation afterwards danced for a few years before they were smothered. As a moment, it was transformative for many people, myself included; my own life trajectory took a sharp leftward turn, definitely for the better.
I was working a temp job in an office in Stamford, Connecticut, when the news broke and my reaction was immediate: “It’s here! It’s here!” I exclaimed jubilantly in my head. By “it” I meant the Sixties-style uprising I’d been waiting for seemingly all my life.
Less than six months later I had broken up with my lover, moved to Minneapolis, and dived headfirst into activism. The Nader campaign and Indymedia introduced me to a wide array of people including Greens, socialists, anarchists, anti-police brutality activists, vegans and polyamorous pagans. Everyone seemed to be experiencing the positive jolt of Seattle. Change was in the air. Within a year, I had ridden the wave to Portland, Oregon, just in time to enjoy its last decade of radical politics before gentrification swept much of that culture away.