Wednesday, January 12, 2011

BATTLE IN SEATTLE 1999

BATTLE IN SEATTLE




World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference of 1999 protest activity
Pepper spray is sprayed into the crowd.
Pepper spray is sprayed into the crowd.
Other namesN30
The Battle in Seattle
The Battle of Seattle
ParticipantsAnti-globalization movement
Direct Action Network
AFL-CIO
Jubilee 2000
anarchists
King County Sheriff's Office
Seattle Police Department
LocationSeattle, Washington
DateNovember 30, 1999
ResultResignation of Seattle police chief Norm Stamper
Increased exposure of WTO in US media
157 individuals arrested & released for lack of probable cause or hard evidence
$250,000 paid to the arrested by the city of Seattle
Creation of the Independent Media Center
Protest activity surrounding the WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999, which was to be the launch of a new millennial round of trade negotiations, occurred on November 30, 1999 (nicknamed "N30" on similar lines to J18 and similar mobilizations), when the World Trade Organization (WTO) convened at theWashington State Convention and Trade Center in SeattleWashingtonUnited States. The negotiations were quickly overshadowed by massive and controversial street protests outside the hotels and the Washington State Convention and Trade Center, in what became the second phase of the anti-globalization movement in the United States. The scale of the demonstrations—even the lowest estimates put the crowd at over 40,000—dwarfed any previous demonstration in the United States against a world meeting of any of the organizations generally associated with economic globalization (such as the WTO, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), or the World Bank).[1] The events are sometimes referred to as the Battle of Seattle or the Battle in Seattle.

[edit]Organizations and planning

Planning for the demonstrations began months in advance and included local, national, and international organizations. Among the most notable participants were national and international NGOs (especially those concerned with labor issues, the environment, and consumer protection), labor unions (including the AFL-CIO), student groups, religiously-based groups (Jubilee 2000), and anarchists (some of whom formed a black bloc).[2]
The coalition was loose, with some opponent groups focused on opposition to WTO policies (especially those related to free trade), with others motivated by pro-labor, anti-capitalist, or environmental agendas. Many of the NGOs represented at the protests came with credentials to participate in the official meetings, while also planning various educational and press events. The AFL-CIO, with cooperation from its member unions, organized a large permitted rally and march from Seattle Center to downtown.
Others, however, were more interested in taking direct action including both civil disobedience and acts of vandalism and property destruction to disrupt the meeting. Several groups were loosely organized together under the Direct Action Network (DAN), with a plan to disrupt the meetings by blocking streets and intersections downtown to prevent delegates from reaching the Washington State Convention and Trade Center, where the meeting was to be held.

[edit]Corporations targeted

Certain activists, notably a group of anarchists from Eugene, Oregon[3] (where they had gathered that summer for a music festival),[4]advocated more confrontational tactics, and planned and conducted deliberate vandalism of corporate properties in downtown Seattle. In a subsequent communique, they listed the particular corporations targeted, which they contend to have committed corporate crime:
Fidelity Investments (major investor in Occidental Petroleum, the bane of the U'wa tribe in Colombia); Bank of AmericaUS BancorpKey Bank and Washington Mutual Bank (financial institutions key in the expansion of corporate repression); Old Navy,Banana Republic and the Gap (as Fisher family businesses, rapers of Northwest forest lands and sweatshop laborers);NikeTown and Levi's (whose overpriced products are made in sweatshops); McDonald's (slave-wage fast food peddlers responsible for destruction of tropical rainforests for grazing land and slaughter of animals); Starbucks (peddlers of an addictive substance whose products are harvested at below-poverty wages by farmers who are forced to destroy their own forests in the process); Warner Bros. (media monopolists); Planet Hollywood (for being Planet Hollywood).[5]

[edit]Lead-up months

Activists of the successful 1998 campaign against the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) were convinced that the WTO would be used by transnational corporate influencers[clarification needed] as a forum in which to advance the global corporate agenda to the detriment of worldwide civil society and especially the interests of third-world countries.
As a token of the effectiveness of democratic lobbying at local level, Seattle declared itself an MAI Free-Zone by unanimous vote in the City Council on Monday, April 12, joining numerous cities in the US and around the world.[6]
On 12 July, the Financial Times reported that the latest United Nations Human Development report advocated "principles of performance for multinationals on labour standards, fair trade and environmental protection. . . needed to counter the negative effects of globalisation on the poorest nations". The report itself argued that "An essential aspect of global governance is responsibility to people — to equity, to justice, to enlarging the choices of all".[7]
On 16 July, Helene Cooper of the Wall Street Journal warned of an impending "massive mobilization against globalization" being planned for the end-of-year Seattle WTO conference.[8] Next day, the London Sunday Independent savaged the WTO and appeared to side with the organisers of the rapidly developing storm of protest:
The way it has used [its] powers is leading to a growing suspicion that its initials should really stand for World Take Over. In a series of rulings it has struck down measures to help the world's poor, protect the environment, and safeguard health in the interests of private—usually American - companies. "The WTO seems to be on a crusade to increase private profit at the expense of all other considerations, including the well-being and quality of life of the mass of the world's people," says Ronnie Hall, trade campaigner at Friends of the Earth International. "It seems to have a relentless drive to extend its power."[9]
On November 16, a fortnight before the conference, President Bill Clinton issued Executive Order 13141—Environmental Review of Trade Agreements[10] —a bombshell which committed the United States to a policy of "assessment and consideration of the environmental impacts of trade agreements" and stated "Trade agreements should contribute to the broader goal of sustainable development."
A spectacular coup was staged against Seattle's daily paper the Post Intelligencer on Wednesday 24 November. Thousands of hoax editions of a 4-page front-cover wrap-around were printed and inserted into piles of newspapers awaiting distribution in hundreds of street boxes and retail outlets. The spoof front-page stories were "Boeing to move overseas" (to Indonesia) and "Clinton pledges help for poorest nations".[11]The byline on the Boeing story attributed it to Joe Hill (a union organizer who was executed by firing squad in Utah early in the century). On the same day, the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development reported that:
"...developing countries have remained steadfast in their demand that developed countries honour Uruguay Round commitments before moving forward full force with new trade negotiations. Specifically, developing countries are concerned over developed countries’ compliance with agreements on market access for textiles, their use of antidumping measures against developing countries’ exports, and over-implementation of the WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs)".[12]
This ominously foreshadowed the impending conflict of the North-South divide which was to result in the collapse of the forthcoming WTO talks, an event in which the contingent protest actions, massive though they were, played hardly any part at all[clarification needed].

[edit]"N30"


Seattle police on Union Street, during the protests.
On the morning of November 30, 1999, the Direct Action Network's plan was put into action. Several hundred activists arrived in the deserted streets near the convention center and began to take control of key intersections. Over the next few hours, a number of marchers began to converge on the area from different directions. These included a student march from the north and a march of citizens of the developing world who marched in from the south. Some demonstrators held rallies, others held teach-ins and at least one group staged an early-morning street party. Meanwhile, a number of protesters still controlled the intersections using lockdown formations.
The control of the intersections, plus the sheer numbers of protesters in the area, prevented delegates from getting from their hotels to the Convention Center. It also had the effect of cutting the police forces in two: the police who had formed a cordon around the convention center were cut off from the rest of the city. The police outside of the area eventually tried to break through the protesters' lines in the south.
That morning, the King County Sheriff's Office and Seattle Police Department fired pepper spraytear gas canisters, stun grenades, and eventually rubber bullets at protesters at several intersections in an attempt to reopen the blocked streets and allow as many WTO delegates as possible through the blockade.[13] At 6th Avenue and Union Street, the crowd threw them back.
The situation was complicated around noon, when black-clad anarchists (in a formation known as a black bloc) began smashing windows and vandalizing storefronts, beginning with Fox's Gem Shop. This produced some of the most famous and controversial images of the protests. This set off a chain-reaction of sorts, with additional protesters pushing dumpsters into the middle of intersections and lighting them on fire, deflating the tires of police vehicles,[14] non-black bloc demonstrators joining in the property destruction, and a general disruption of all commercial activity in downtown Seattle.
Other protesters tried to physically block the activities of the black bloc. Seattle police, led by Chief Norm Stamper, did not react immediately, because they had been convinced by protest organizers during the protest-permit process that peaceful organizers would quell these kinds of activities.[15]
The police were eventually overwhelmed by the mass of protesters downtown, including many who had chained themselves together and were blocking intersections. Meanwhile, the late-morning labor-organized rally and march drew tens of thousands; though the intended march route had them turning back before they reached the convention center, some ignored the marshals and joined what had become a street-carnival-like scene downtown.
The opening of the meetings was delayed, and it took police much of the afternoon and evening to clear the streets. Seattle mayor Paul Schell imposed a curfew and a 50-block "No-Protest Zone".
Over 600 people were arrested over the next few days. One particularly violent confrontation occurred the evening of November 30, when police pursued protesters fleeing from downtown into the bohemian neighborhood of Capitol Hill, using tear gas, pepper spray, and physical force.[16] A police order that day also banned the use or sale of gas masks downtown, provoking criticism.[17]

[edit]Media response

The New York Times printed an erroneous article that stated that protesters at the 1999 WTO convention in Seattle threw Molotov cocktailsat police.[18] Two days later, The New York Times printed a correction saying that the protest was mostly peaceful and no protesters were accused of throwing objects at delegates or the police, but the original error persisted in later accounts in the mainstream media.[19]
The Seattle City Council also dispelled these rumors with its own investigation findings:
"The level of panic among police is evident from radio communication and from their inflated crowd estimates, which exceed the numbers shown on news videotapes. ARC investigators found the rumors of "Molotov cocktails" and sale of flammables from a supermarket had no basis in fact. But, rumors were important in contributing to the police sense of being besieged and in considerable danger." [20]
An article in the magazine The Nation disputed that Molotov cocktails have ever been thrown at an anti-globalization protest within the US.[21]

[edit]Aftermath

Controversy over the city's response to the protests resulted in the resignation of Seattle police chief Norm Stamper,[22] and arguably played a role in Schell's loss to Greg Nickels in the 2001 mayoral primary election.[23][24]
Similar tactics, on the part of both police and protesters, were repeated at subsequent meetings of the WTO, IMF/World BankFree Trade Area of the Americas, and other international organizations, as well as the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in the U.S.
To many in North American anarchist and radical circles, the Seattle WTO riots, protests, and demonstrations were a success and are thought of as the most recent victories in the U.S. Prior to the "Battle of Seattle," there was almost no mention of "anti-globalization" in the US media, while the protests are seen as having forced the media to report on why anybody would oppose the WTO.[25] However, this was only the second phase of these mass demonstrations. The first began on 12 December 1997 in which newly formed grass-roots organizations blockaded MelbournePerthSydney and Darwin city centers.[26]
On January 16, 2004, the city settled with 157 individuals arrested outside of the no-protest zone during the WTO events, agreeing to pay them a total of $250,000.[27]
On January 30, 2007, a federal jury found that the City of Seattle had violated protesters' Fourth Amendment constitutional rights by arresting them without probable cause or hard evidence.[28][29]
The massive size of the protest pushed the city of Seattle $3 million over their estimated budget of $6 million, partly due to city cleanup and police overtime bills. In addition, the damage to commercial businesses from vandalism and lost sales has been estimated at $20 million.





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RAY CHARLES: LOOKING BACK

As his 80th birthday approaches, a look at the life and legacy of the late Ray Charles.


"I just do what I do." That's what Ray Charles told Billboard in June 2002 when asked to assess his role in music history. Of course, Charles' self-effacing response belies a groundbreaking career and a legacy that endures today, as fans look toward celebrating what would have been the legendary artist's 80th birthday Sept. 23. Looking back at Charles' storied career, what comes to mind is the phrase "musical genius." In Charles' case, that's no hype.


Rare & Unseen Ray Charles Photos | Charles on the Charts

80th Birthday Year Events | Charles Charity


In 1954, the artist's melding of gospel and blues yielded the pioneering hit "I've Got a Woman"-and forged an indelible imprint on R&B, rock and pop. His earthy, soulful voice graced a steady stream of classics after "Woman," including "Drown in My Own Tears," "What'd I Say," "Hit the Road Jack," "Unchain My Heart," "I Can't Stop Loving You" and "Georgia on My Mind."

Video below: Ray Charles performs "Hit The Road Jack" in São Paulo, Brazil on September 22, 1963.


Video below: Ray Charles performs "Then I'll Be Home" in Montreux, Switzerland on July 19, 1997.


Just as at home on the Hammond B-3 organ as he was on the piano, he also landed at the top of Billboard's R&B, pop, country and jazz charts-and even the dance chart, collaborating with childhood friend Quincy Jones and Chaka Khan on "I'll Be Good to You."

His final recording, 2004's "Genius Loves Company," made history when it won eight Grammy Awards, including album and record of the year for his pairing with Norah Jones on "Here We Go Again."

But what many may not know is that the inimitable Charles was also a genius when it came to the business side of music. In the early '60s he negotiated a rare feat after leaving Atlantic Records to sign with ABC-Paramount: ownership of his own master recordings. He also established his own labels. Tangerine (his favorite fruit) came first, which later evolved into CrossOver Records.

A songwriter who penned nearly 200 songs, Charles also operated his own publishing companies, Tangerine Music and Racer Music. For these entities, Charles and longtime manager Joe Adams designed and built the RPM International office and studios on Washington Boulevard in Los Angeles. The Ray Charles Memorial Library will open in the building this fall.

Charles also found time to manage the careers of other acts, including Billy Preston and '70s R&B group the Friends of Distinction. And way before it was de rigueur for artists to do, Charles set up what became a foundation to help needy children with hearing disabilities and later on support education.


He was an amazing human being," says Jones, 77, who became friends with Charles when both were scrappy teenagers in Seattle. "A true innovator who revolutionized music and the business of music," he adds. "Growing up, we only had the radio; no Michael Jackson, Diddy or Oprah. So it was hard to imagine today's entrepreneurial world. But that didn't stop us. We spent a lot of time talking and dreaming about things that brothers had never done before."

"He really was a genius," says singer Solomon Burke, a former Atlantic labelmate. "He did things the way he wanted."

Charles was born Ray Charles Robinson Sept. 23, 1930, in Albany, Ga. As many learned through actor Jamie Foxx's Academy Award-winning portrayal in the 2004 film "Ray," Charles became blind by age 7 and orphaned at 15 while growing up in northwest Florida.

In eight years at a state school for the blind, the young Charles learned how to read and write music. Leaving Florida in 1947, he headed for Seattle ("Choosing the farthest place he could find from Florida," Jones says), where he notched his first hit two years later as a member of the Maxin Trio, "Confession Blues."

Even then, Charles was an enterprising individual. "He had his own apartment, record player, two pairs of pimp shoes, and here I am still living at home," Jones recalls with a laugh. "His mother trained him not to be blind: no cane, no dogs, no cup. His scuffed-up shoes... that was his guide and driving force. He was the most independent dude I ever saw in my life. Ray would get blind only when pretty girls came around."

Signing with Atlantic Records in 1952, Charles as a West Coast jazz and blues man recorded such songs as "It Should've Been Me" and label co-founder Ahmet Ertegun's composition, "Mess Around."

Then he connected in 1954 with "I've Got a Woman," which set off a chain reaction of more hits capitalizing on his bold gospel/blues fusion. But Charles was just getting started. In 1958, he performed at the Newport Jazz Festival, accompanied by a band that featured such jazz cats as saxophonists David "Fathead" Newman and Hank Crawford. Further bucking convention, he recorded "The Genius of Ray Charles," a 1959 release offering standards on one side (including "Come Rain or Come Shine") and big band numbers on the other, featuring members of Count Basie's orchestra and several arrangements by Jones.


Video below: Charles' 1966 Coke commercial, "So Tired."



Leaving Atlantic for ABC-Paramount, a fearless Charles recorded the seminal "Genius + Soul = Jazz" album in 1961. A year later, his earlier dabbling in country music grew serious with the release of the million-selling "Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music."

Complemented by lush strings and a harmony-rich choir, he scored with covers of Don Gibson's "I Can't Stop Loving You" and Ted Daffan's "Born to Lose"-and spent 14 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.




For a black man to do this in 1962 was unheard of," says Tony Gumina, president of the Ray Charles Marketing Group, which handles the late artist's licensing affairs. "He was trying to sell records to people who didn't want to drink from the same water fountain as him. But this was one of his greatest creative and business moves: to not be categorized musically and cross over. Though he never worried about it, he was resigned to the fact that he might lose some core fans. But he thought he'd gain far more in the process."

Gumina was operating his own promotion company working with state lotteries when he met Charles in 1999. The two teamed up on a series of commercials for various state lotteries and also introduced a line of Ray Charles slot machines also accessible to the blind.

"Everything he did had a business acumen to it," says Gumina, who cites Charles' liaison with manager Adams as a pivotal turning point. Originally hired to be Charles' stage announcer, former radio DJ Adams segued into overseeing production of the singer's shows, lighting and wardrobe.

Together the pair designed and built Charles' L.A. business base, RPM International (Recording, Publishing and Management) studio. When he began recording there in 1965, the label rented the studio from him, so he made money on his recordings before they were even released.

To save money on travel expenses, Charles purchased an airplane to ferry his band around to gigs. A smaller plane was also acquired so that Charles could wing in to, say, New York to record a couple of songs before flying back out in time for a show.

"He understood the entertainment business enough to know that you may not be popular forever," Gumina says, "and you need to maximize your product. At the same time, he had as much fun as any rock star but without the sad money stories. There was a time to work and a time to play, and he knew the difference. He didn't have a bunch of homes or a large entourage. That's why he was able to save $50 million before he died."

Calling Charles an "incredibly smart man," Concord president John Burk says he learned a lot from the ailing singer while he was recording his final studio album, "Genius Loves Company."

Video below: Ray Charles performs "It Ain't Easy Being Green" in Trentnton, NJ on Nov. 7, 2002.


Going through "some sticky deal points, he was amazing," Burk recalls. "He had the whole agreement in his head. Without referencing any material, he knew all the terms we proposed and had the deal done for the album in two discussions."

Creatively, Burk says Charles was an artist dedicated to delivering "a true performance from the heart. Part of his creative legacy was his approach to singing. He opened the door to vocal improvisations, changing how people perceived you could sing a song. Many singers today are influenced by him and they don't even know it."


Rare & Unseen Ray Charles Photos | Charles on the Charts

80th Birthday Year Events | Charles Charity

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