"Battle Of Seattle" A Fight For Self-Determination


I am a 1982 graduate of Payson High School, a Navy veteran of the Iran/Iraq War, the Persian Gulf War and a survivor of the USS Iowa explosion. I am currently a high school teacher and member of the Industrial Workers of the World.

From Nov. 29 through Dec. 3, I had the distinct honor of being one of the 60,000 or so demonstrators in Seattle, (Wash.) calling attention to the policies of the World Trade Organization.

I do not know if the Roundup has had much coverage on the way the WTO has been able to bypass and overturn American laws in the name of "free trade," but it is the belief of many that we should not let these corporate giants run roughshod over the democratic process of this or any country.

One of the most beautiful things that I saw while being tear gassed, pepper-sprayed and shot at with rubber bullets -- all for peacefully gathering -- was (the moment when) conservative elements and radical elements were of one mind set. I saw facially pierced, tattooed anarchists helping older women from a church group get away from the tear-gas throwing police. I saw black, white, Asian, Latino and Native Americans standing side by side, physically blocking ministerial members trying to enter the WTO meetings to overturn laws created by the people.

For whatever coverage the people of Payson see in the large corporate press, I encourage you all to question who owns that mass media, and consider why so many people from so many walks of life came to Seattle to say "no" to the WTO.

Most news reports merely cover the spectacle of police overreacting to peaceful demonstrators or to the handful of rock throwers, and they give hardly a mention to the real issues of loss of sovereignty.

We are standing on a cusp of history -- one in which the nation's states, representative to the people or not, are being replaced by the multi-national corporation whose only loyalty is profit.

I am proud to have been in Seattle for the "Battle of Seattle," but we need to continue this throughout the country and the world. We must buy from local shops, support local economies and self-determination for all communities and quit giving our monies and lives to the corporate giants.

Eric Chase , Olympia, Wash.

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