Michael Moore in ’99: “Just back from rioting”
Thirteen years ago, long before Occupy Wall Street, massive street protests and riots erupted outside meetings of the World Trade Organization in Seattle, Washington on November 30th, 1999. The crowd of 40,000 dwarfed any previous demonstrations in the US against a meeting of organizations associated with capitalism or globalization.
Planning for the demonstrations began months in advance and included anarchists, national and international NGOs (especially those concerned with labor and the environment) and organized unions, including the AFL-CIO. In one of the first uses of “black bloc” tactics in America, anarchists smashed windows and vandalized storefronts.
Additional protesters pushed dumpsters into the middle of intersections and lit them on fire while deflating the tires of police vehicles. The widespread property destruction and total disruption of commercial activity in downtown Seattle prompted the riots to be dubbed “The Battle in Seattle”.
More than 500 people were arrested and costs from the anarchy pushed the city of Seattle $3 million over its $6 million budget. The damage to commercial businesses from vandalism and lost sales topped $20 million. (via: Wikipedia)
Appearing on Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher that same week, Michael Moore enthusiastically shared he was “just back, fresh from rioting” and dismissed one of the most destructive riots in American history as being due to “too much coffee”.
I had a slightly different perspective.