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5 Days That Shook the World: Seattle and Beyond Paperback – December 17, 2000

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; First Printing edition (December 17, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185984779X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859847794
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,601,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The 1999 World Trade Organization protests will forever be associated with violence. But, outside of Seattle, where the event has been debated ad infinitum, the cause, victims, and perpetrators of that violence have been lost to a haze of media-generated moments that simplified an inspired, multifaceted, and generally nonviolent event. Through eyewitness chronicles of the events in Seattle and demonstrations in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, muckrakers Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, as well as a handful of other contributing journalists, vividly relive the opening salvos of a new radical movement in America. While they are understandably effusive about the success of the actions, which clearly placed the issues of anti-globalization and economic justice onto the national and international political agendas, the book's emphasis--and its impact--is on what they see as a national trend towards the violent criminalization of protest and the increasing use of paramilitary forces in law enforcement.

In Seattle, which was transformed from a street festival to a police state in a matter of hours, St. Clair mingles at the cafés and warehouses that acted as staging areas for direct actions, and walks the streets where dancing, drumming, and peaceful sit-ins were punctuated by shocking acts of police brutality--unprovoked attacks with rubber bullets and concussion grenades, a waitress pepper-sprayed while leaving her shift, her boyfriend beaten and arrested, copies of the Bill of Rights confiscated, Christmas carolers tear-gassed. In D.C., the police break into homes of opposition leaders, spy on their activities, pressure print shops to close, and make illegal sweep arrests. But Cockburn and St. Clair are not satisfied with excoriating the police; they also turn their vitriolic pens against those within the protest movement who aren't as radical as they, from labor unions to "establishment greens." The authors would have done better to devote the space to a more articulated explanation of exactly why they were protesting against the WTO than to causing divisiveness between those on the same side. --Lesley Reed


This is movement reporting on a par with Norman Mailer's Armies of the Night. -- Peter Linebaugh, author of The Many-Headed Hydra

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book by two of America's top lefty journalists takes you right onto the streets of Seattle during the five days of protests that rocked the WTO and grabbed the attention of the world media. It documents in first-hand accounts the vicious police assaults on nonviolent protesters, the calls by the Clinton administration for action by the Delta Force and the National Guard, and the violations of civil rights both on the streets and inside jail cells, where hundreds of protesters were beaten, denied medical attention and meetings with their lawyers. But the book goes beyond the events in Seattle to record a year's worth of demonstrations: in DC against the IMF and in Philly and LA against the two national political parties. Cockburn and St. Clair edit the investigative newsletter CounterPunch ..., known for its fiesty and no-nonsense reporting. And that's exactly what you get with this small, but invaluable book: redhot prose and unconventional expositions. Plus, there's the bonus of lefty photographer Allan Sekula's chilling photos of the action on the streets of Seattle. This is a book for all of those who were in Seattle for that amazing week and for all of those who weren't but wish they had been....
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J.W.K on June 17, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A wonderful blend of first-hand, eye-witness reporting and even-handed analysis. Jeremy St. Clair's 40 page "Seatle Diary" alone makes the book worthy of reading. Perhaps the best piece of journalism to emerge from the growing body of Seatle stories. Two clips involving WTO delegates (one pounching a black lady in the face, another waving his revolver at a protestor baracade) utterly blew me away. And in the spirit of the lively and diverse protesters, the book is also funny at times, as when a South Central LA youth named Thomas replies to St. Clair's question, "Why are you here?" He answers: "I like turtles and I hate that ... Bill Gates." To which Sinclair replies, "Good enough for me." You won't be able to put the book down. It has a very genuine, honest and human feel. Along the way, you will run into Brower, the famous French cheese-maker Jose Bove, some interesting college professors, Sierra Club's Carl Pope, many of the so-called "anarchists" which every major media venue categorized all protestors as, and many other important people who turned out for the "Battle in Seatle." The book will not only give you a comprehensive understanding of the issues surrounding the protests and the subsequent media storm, it will also make you feel like you were there. St. Clair's writing is that good.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By T. G. Hermach on September 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
America had never seen anything like the mass movement that took over Seattle to confront the World Trade Organization in the fall of 2001: environmentalists, religious & human rights groups, farmers, civil rights organizations, ordinary people. They came with a message of peaceful protest. They were met with shock troops, billy clubs, rubber bullets and tear gas. 5 Days that Shook the World takes you onto the streets of Seattle and the protests in Washington, Philly and Los Angeles that followed during that remarkable year. But this book isn't about illusions or myths, but about the hard truths. St. Clair and Cockburn were eerily prescient in their prediction that the vaunted coalition of labor and greens would be difficult to hold together as the demands of political reality set in and as the corporate press and the government moved to counter and undermine the movement(s). Big labor and the big greens soon abandoned the cause by endorsing the campaign of pseudo-Democrat, Al Gore, the chief broker of NAFTA and the WTO treaties. Other leaders turned away from the protests following the bloody reprisals of the police in
Quebec and Genoa. But that doesn't mean the anti-globalization movement is dead. Cockburn and St. Clair point out the fakers, but they also show you where the true heart of the movement for global social and environmental justice beats. This book is a a much needed guide to what just may be the most important struggle of our times...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Chris on January 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a relatively brief collection of essays not only by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffery St. Clair but by JoAnn Wypejewski (on A16) and Laura Flanders (three pages on on the creation of Indymedia). The essays discuss the state of activism not only relating to free trade but also of the type that occured at the Repulicrat conventions last Summer, the tensions within these movements and the increasing efforts of the state to harras and destroy them, within the context of the increasing power of the police and other government agencies to violate our constitutional rights, within the context of the fraudulent"war on crime" and the even more worthless "war on drugs."
I very much liked St. Clair's day by day diary and analysis of the events in Seattle in late 99'. He paints a stark picture of how police handle civil disobedience, especially relating to matters so crucial to status quo as the WTO. That is, when protestors practicing civil disobedience block an intersection, instead of going the least expensive route of arresting them and dragging them away, attack them with tear gas and rubber bullets and then rush at them and beat them, and any innocent bystanders, up with batons and then when a few gang members get attracted to the ensuing mayhem and break a few windows, use that as an excuse to place the city under martial law and arrest and beat up everyone from protestors to people handing out leaflets to observors from the National Lawyers Guild to ordinary, patriotic Americans doing their Christmas shopping or coming home from their jobs and then drag 631 of them, 607 of them on misdemeanor charges, to jail and beat them up some more, while charges against 511 of them are dismissed and 14 of them go to trial, twelve of which were plea bargained or aquitted.
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5 Days That Shook the World: Seattle and Beyond
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