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Postcards from Seattle
Dr. Menlo

Date: Tue, 07 Dec 1999 23:07:50 -0700
Subject: Excerpts from my Report of the Battle in Seattle
From: "Doctor Menlo"


I quickly type this out already hours late to my temp gig at the Nordstrom's product office downtown, where I am using every iota of self-discipline to even finish this week out (for this damn thing called rent, or something) because the managers there are protester-bashing idiots!  I was there, too, last week, for every damn day of it, and it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen!  I was there on Monday when the French Farmer Bouvet (msp?) talked atop a bus parked in an intersection the people took over and an impromptu march began led by a man on stilts who helped in faking the police out when they tried to stop us by saying "Right!" when the police blocked the left, and so on . . . all the way to Niketown where people pounded on the windows until a few blocks more (passing under a billboard sponsored by Adbusters) when the whole thing broke up and  a guy on the bullhorn said, "Thanks, guys, see you tomorrow!"

    And Tuesday, what a day it was!  I made the rounds downtown, checking out the rave in front of Barnes & Noble and all the brave lines of Direct Action Networkers blocking the paths of the delegates, then went to Memorial Stadium and joined that group of 40 or 50 thousand or so which all came downtown again, stood by the drum circle in front of Niketown when they were kicking down the Niketown letters . . . the second wave of tear gas (after the initial, unprovoked attack around ten a.m. which set
off the vandals) happened down the street toward the Pike Place Market . . . the next day I awoke to visions on tv of those very brave souls getting arrested on 8th and Lenora--not even in the "no protest zone"!  [Note, of course, the rampant use of Orwellian newspeak last week: "no protest zone" is actually "no democracy zone", and "curfew" is a "Leave it to Beaver"-esque term ("See ya before curfew Dad!") to describe nothing less than martial law.]  I quickly got ready and went downtown and infiltrated the "zone", passed by 3 people arrested on a corner just sitting there hands tied behind their back (they called out, "Citizens, we are being unlawfully detained . . . ") . .  and several more sudden sit-ins in the Big Store/No Protest district.  One lady and her friend were walking away from one of the scenes which had amassed some onlookers and in response to a question her friend may have asked, she said, "Naw, I can see it on tv when I get home."  Buying my latte that morning I overheard 2 delegate-looking people talking: "Steel!  Nobody cares about steel!" They proceeded to guffaw. A woman lamented to the SBC cashier: "That is so terrible what they did to Starbuck's!"  Down the street I came to an interview happening, it was Kevin Danniger (msp?) of Global Exchange, who was very passionately and eloquently expounding on the kids today who knew what was going on, who were all wired up, and knew "that the old fat white men in Washington have got to go!"  The interview mostly over, he got a cell call and excused himself . . . I eavesdropped: "The police are rounding up all the leaders, man [me: what they did in China when Clinton visited] . . . because they're morons, man!"  Another block away in the new downtown police state a woman let out a cry . . . there was a scuffle and a guy sez, "He hit a girl man!"  A red-faced man angrily walks away.  I have a personal thing against wife-beaters so I got hot on his tail for 3 blocks until I came up to him stopped at an intersection.  I took a slightly mendacious approach, "Hi, I'm a member of the press," I said.  "Did you hit a girl?"  "No!" he said.  "She was wearing a bandanna over her face and I just reached out and slipped it off her.  I shouldn't even have come down here today!"  I let him go.

    Another impromptu demonstration started up across from Nordstrom's, clearly in the "no democracy zone".  This time I joined in.  "This is what democracy looks like!" became the primo chant, directed with passion at the onlookers who may have been brainwashed by the moronic local media who called the protester "mobsters" (Fox), and generally attempted to ostracize the protesters in all the weeks leading up to the event and at least half the week into it.  We marched east to the water to join the labor march already in progress and went down to the docks where we watched speakers in the cold and drizzly rain but warm inside with fire and democratic gusto.  I broke to get coffee and a big cookie and when I came back a big group was on it's way back west to the Convention Center and the "no-democracy zone".  I helped lead them up the stairs because I knew the way and when they were going to go right I stepped in and suggested going left because that would take us by Victor Steinbrueck (msp?) Park and the Pike Place Market, which they did.  We then took a right skirting the market and up the hill.  I wanted to take a right on 2nd, saying we couldn't go straight because that led to the Westin (where Clinton and others were staying which would bring out the heavy heat), but they didn't go right until 3rd.  On 3rd I stood in the doorway of Beatty's Books with the old couple who run it, friends of mine, and we watched the procession go by.  When I went to join them 2 blocks away the tear gas bombs were already going off in front of McDonald's, on 3rd and not in the no-democracy zone.

    I managed to not get arrested and that night when I thought I was done for the night having  called everyone I knew across the country to tell them what was going on over here . . . I heard bombs going off in my neighborhood, Capitol Hill.  I rushed up to the Broadway where many of my neighbors had amassed to protest the invading Darth Vaders up here.  We shouted, "Go Home" to them and they pepper-sprayed us and concussion bombed us long into the night.  After a few rounds of the gas I came back here to my home and heard the bombs going off till 2 am.  I couldn't sleep, I was so enraged.  I felt somewhat guilty for not being arrested with the group I had a small part in leading (the steelworkers, mostly, from the dock) earlier that day and decided to get arrested the next day.  The Direct Action Network and others met at the Community College on Broadway on Capitol Hill but by that time a lot must have hit the fan in the mayor's office and we were given a police escort which led us down around the "no-democracy zone" to the Victor Steinbrueck park where Ralph Nader and Vandava Shiva and Jim Hightower, among others, roused us up with their words and the crowd split off into 2 more demonstrations--I went with the one going downtown to Weyerhauser, where we were stopped by another battalion of Vaders.  A man walked by me, "Are you Tom Hayden?" I asked.  "Yes," he said.  "Nice to meet you," I said.  "Nice to meet you, too," he said.  We then went to the King County Jail where we circled it and shouted "Let them go!" and the first sit-in there began.  By Thursday the People had won.  On Friday I joined the labor march from Labor Temple and back but the People's victory had already decidedly happened by Thursday . . .

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