Co-author David Solnit asks, “who has the power and resources to define our history and thus shape what people think?” It is a premise that shapes the awkwardly titled AK Press offering The Battle of the Story of the Battle of Seattle, a primer for activists concerned not only with the principles of movements, but how those movements’ stories are told to broader audiences.
Making good on that premise is sadly what proves to be elusive.
As many movements take stock and try to make sense of what was gained from the 1999 anti-World Trade Organization protests in Seattle, many books analyzing the anti-globalization movement have come to pass. This one indirectly examines the subject of how a movements deals with its own successes.
While it is impossible to quantify the anti-globalization struggle in policy or trade wins, authors David and Rebecca Solnit relate tasks few organizers on the ground ever really deal with. Yet those reputed dilemmas are symbolic of victories all their own. What are the problems of celebrities representing you, or the New York Times covering your effort? Though these things may seem surreal to most, movements can suddenly explode into the public consciousness, as they did in 1999. An organizer’s awareness of how quickly things can change to where one deals with even the surreal is necessary.