Twenty years ago this November, the world’s attention turned to Seattle where a meeting of the World Trade Organization was disrupted by thousands of protesters who filled the city’s streets. The conflict that followed shook Seattle and laid bare deep frustrations with the excesses of globalization and fears about the impact of free trade.
While it failed to stop the WTO, the three days of conflict did renew the power of grassroots political protest in the U.S. It set the course for Occupy Wall Street and other populist movements, and helped to shape the dialogue around economic equity in the 21st century.
Joined by prominent figures from the events, historians and today’s political analysts, we look back at the WTO with the benefit of hindsight to revisit those dramatic days, and to consider what the protests, responses and anxieties of those times may have foretold about our economic and political reality today.