Friday, February 6, 2009

My Not-So-Secret Past: WTO Protester


I wanted to share a blast from the past with you. This shot was taken in Seattle whilst I was attending a rally before marching to protest the WTO. That's World Trade Organization.

YES, I WAS THERE! Yes, I smelled the tear gas. Blech.

Professor X and I had gone up with a group to participate in the People's Rally and March for Fair Trade on Tuesday, November 30, 1999.

I made my own special sign to carry. It read "WTO - Do your mothers know what you're up to?"


I am so clever.

Because you are my special friends, I will tell you a little something more. Something about the terrible destructive rioting that went on that evening. I was not part of it. I was headed home with my group, eager to see my two children. I'd left them home just in case things got a too wild. Little did I know.

Amazing Girl Child was a small baby then. I'd hated being away from her that day, mostly because I loved every minute of being with her. But also because she was breastfeeding. And by the time I got home that evening, I was swollen to bursting. Ouchies. Big ouchies! Boy, was I glad to see that baby. Too personal? Sorry.

I'd gone to the rally because I thought it was important to show support for those who had organized it. I'd joined 50,000 environmental, human rights, labor, and church activists in a peaceful and legal demonstration.

With our current economic crisis, the WTO is again in the news, but the focus is on resistance toward US protectionism. Articles like this show that media attention is not on abusive labor practices around the world or environmental degradation caused by low standards from WTO policies. I'm concerned that we might forget it's important to protect our air and water and workers because of concern for the economy.

I haven't forgotten. We can't sacrifice precious health and physical safety of workers - and ultimately, of ourselves - because we're scared about this downturn.

After all, what would our mothers say?

8 comments:

Dave King said...

I took part in a protest one - only once, at the time of the Suez crisis. I was chased round a lion in Trafalgar Square by a policeman. But I got away. We have something in common!

phd in yogurtry said...

I confess to be out of touch with WTO and all of it's causes, but I certainly support trade policies that insist on healthy work environments.

Often I am shopping, I see some small widget and think, "how can this be manufactured, assembled, and shipped across the world for 59 cents?" And then I assume workers in Asia are being exploited.

Lisa said...

Good for you for being part of the peaceful demonstrations!

I'll bet you were glad to see your baby. I remember those days. Who knew breasts could solidify to be hard as rocks?

Fantastic Forrest said...

PIY - I'm sure you're right, sadly. What makes it even worse is lack of environmental protections means that those workers may be getting poisoned by toxic materials in their air and water.

Lisa - Oh, yeah. After that many hours, the slightest pressure against my chest turned me into a sprinkler. From that day on, you can bet I kept that baby VERY close until she was weaned.

khaye said...

When I was in college, I joined protests to oust our corrupt president. The feeling of denouncing what you believe is wrong is so good especially when you see the results. President Estrada of the Philippines was then ousted!


And since you are also my special friend, I left something for you on my site. :)

khaye said...

When I was in college, I joined protests to oust our corrupt president. The feeling of denouncing what you believe is wrong is so good especially when you see the results. President Estrada of the Philippines was then ousted!


And since you are also my special friend, I left something for you on my site. :)

Emm said...

This was a great post! Thanks!

Fantastic Forrest said...

Khaye - That must have been a wonderful feeling, to have that success. I love being part of an effort where we're using our free speech rights. My daughter's first political act was a protest against W. She probably has a thick FBI file already.

Thanks for the love on your blog!

Emm - thanks!