Guest Essay:

My Three Days in Seattle: 
Deep Ecumenism 
Meets the WTO

by Paul Burks 
United Methodist Minister 

    It's the same old struggle: the rich and powerful vs the poor and weak; tyranny vs democracy. It's another turning of the wheel, but now it has risen to new levels. The multinational corporations are beyond the control of any nation, and are now moving to control the nations. The profit margin is, of course, the motivating factor. 
                                     -  Jill Davies, Seattle protester against WTO 
                                        Dressed as a genetically engineered BT corn cob 

    The lights of Seattle sparkled as I flew in from San Francisco on Sunday evening the 29th of November. Called the Emerald City,  Seattle is an extraordinarily beautiful town in an incredible setting. By day you see Puget Sound and the full Olympic Range to the West. Lake Washington and the mighty Cascade Mountains are to the East. And snow-covered Mt Rainier stands out boldly to the Southeast.  Port Seattle is the busiest on the West Coast, bringing the benefits of global trade to the city and the state: fruits, grains, aircraft, and software among others. Boeing and Microsoft are known around the world. 

    There was an electric excitement in the air as the World Trade Organization was coming to town, its first meeting in the United States since its founding in 1995. WTO is a powerful but little understood body which regulates some 80% of all global trade. History was to be made this week, but not the kind of trade-enhancing history anticipated by the city officials, the mayor, the governor of Washington State, and the WTO leaders. Over 3000 delegates from 135 member nations and another 33 observer countries were arriving for the opening on Monday evening. But, grossly underestimated by the city, state, and WTO, some 50,000 activists from across the US were also arriving with the firm intent of challenging an organization which they saw as undemocratic, operating in secrecy, dominated by multinational corporations, and very willing to remove trade barriers at the expense of labor, the environment, third world nations, etc, etc. 

    We had our rallies in the symphony hall and the churches and they were packed every time, with overflow crowds outside. We had marches every day, organized by different groups. And who were the people in these rallies and marches? This was the magic of the moment. There were labor unions, consumer groups, environmentalists, farmers' groups, citizens' rights groups, students, and churches. Coalitions have been formed that are uniting people from all over the world. Seattle was just the beginning. 
                     -Jill Davies, Seattle protester against WTO 
                     Dressed as a genetically engineered BT corn cob 

    These thousands came well prepared and disciplined, determined to see either radical change in the WTO or complete abolition thereof. And they would not be denied a powerful voice, speaking on behalf of millions of working men and women, our fragile and ravished blue planet Earth, and the people of third world countries exploited by the profit-at-any-cost approach of global corporations. 

    As I entered the twin-towered St. James Cathedral on a hill overlooking downtown Seattle that Sunday evening, my eyes adjusted to an amazing sight: all four wings of the sanctuary were filled to overflowing, with the outer aisles accomodating hundreds standing-a congregation estimated at well over 2000. On the eve of the WTO meeting, the Cathedral was hosting the "Jubilee 2000 Prayer Service," sponsored by the Washington Association of Churches and the Jubilee 2000 Northwest Coalition. The incredible turnout from congregations throughout Washington and Oregon reflected the power of the concept of a Jubilee year, being promoted by churches around the world, challenging the World Bank and IMF and now, in Seattle, the World Trade Organization. 

    The Jubilee 2000 movement draws its inspiration from the book of Leviticus in the Hebrew Scriptures, which describes a Year of Jubilee every fifty years. In the Jubilee year, social inequalities are rectified: slaves are freed, land is returned to original owners, and debts are cancelled. Dating back to 1982, many impoverished countries carry such high levels of debt that economic development is stifled and scarce resources are diverted from health care, education, and other socially beneficial programs to make debt service payments. Recognizing that many of these debts are unpayable and exact a great social and environmental toll, the Jubilee 2000 Campaign calls for a time of Jubilee and cancellation of the unpayable debts of the world's poorest countries by the year 2000, under a fair and transparent process.  The Jubilee 2000/USA Campaign was launched in Denver at the Summit of the Group of 8 Governments in June 1997. Other countries involved in this rapidly growing global movement include England, Canada, the Philippines, Australia, Ireland, Austria, Germany, Sweden, and South Africa. 

    With widespread support from Protestant and Catholic organizations, being recently joined by Muslim and Jewish communities, this predominently faith-based movement now includes strong representation from labor and environmental groups. All were very visible in the moving Sunday evening service at St. James Cathedral. The keynote speaker, Rev. Jim Wallis, Sojourners magazine and community, brought the 2000 plus worshipers to their feet in applause when he observed that the Jubilee 2000 movement (J2K) for global human rights and economic justice is today's successor to Martin Luther King's civil rights movement of the sixties. The endorsement of J2K by Pope John Paul, the Dalai Lama, the National and the World Councils of Churches is empowering this Millennium Movement. 

    All other considerations, besides profit margins, are being swept aside: labor standards, citizens' rights, farmers' issues, local and global ecologies, especially in poor countries. Now, due to mergers, just a few corporations are controlling the world's life-support systems....seeds, agri chemicals, pharmaceuticals. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is their vehicle for expansion of power. But in Seattle, the turtles and the Teamsters held hands, chanting: 'Hey Hey, Ho Ho, WTO has Got to Go!' and the churches called for a year of Jubilee for the poor countries.          -Jill Davies, Seattle Protestor against WTO 
                     Dressed as a genetically engineered BT corn cob 

    I was proud to have been arrested with Jim Wallis (and hundreds of others) protesting nuclear bomb testing at the Nevada Test Site some years ago. In addition to  his powerful message, there was moving music by noted area choirs, prayers by leaders of various religious traditions, an offering for financial support of Jubilee 2000 organizing, a candle light ceremony and call to join the human chain to be formed around the hall in which WTO delegates were meeting on Monday night. Highlighting the global nature of the Jubilee 2000 movement, similar human chains were formed by faith-based communities in Birmingham, England in 1998 and Cologne, Germany in June of this year, 1999, both at the Summit of the world's economic powers, the G-7. 

    In Birmingham, over 70,000 Jubilee 2000 supporters formed a chain which encircled the entire city! And in Cologne, some 50,000 persons formed a similar chain, calling for a breaking of the chains, cancelling the unpayable debt of the 40 poorest nations. And under this pressure from church groups and human rights activists, at Cologne the G-7 announced an initiative which asks the IMF and World Bank and the G-7 nations to write down debt for 41 of the world's poorest natons. Ninety billion dollars is small compared with the $300 billion owed by the 20 poorest nations, but it would be a beginning. In September, President Clinton offered to cancel all the debts the world's 36 poorest countries owe the US-some $100 million with a face value of $5.7 billion-as long as their governments agree to channel the resulting budget savings into human services like health and education. The US House of Representatives recently passed HR1095 to grant poor countries some debt relief and will now consider Clinton's proposal in the Banking Committee chaired by Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa, a strong supporter of debt cancellation. 

    At this extraordinary ecumenical worship service, on the eve of the WTO meeting, I was excited to see leaders I know from ecumenical and faith-based earthcare groups from across the US, including key organizer of this event, Rev. John Boonstra, executive minister of the Washington Association of Churches, Catholic priest and activist Bill O'Donnell from Oakland, recently retired executive of the New York State Council, Rev. Arleon Kelley , and several leaders of Earth Ministry, based in Seattle. Some of us there from the South Bay and Santa Cruz area, including Rev. Sharon Delgado, United Methodist leader, gathered after the service for an all-too late attempt to form a faith-based affinity group to participate in nonviolent civil disobedience the next day. 

    As I left the Cathedral I was aware that the San Francisco-based International Forum on Globalization was just concluding its two-day comprehensive Teach-In on The Economic Impact of Globalization at the Symphony Hall, attended by several thousand and led by activists, economists, and researchers from some 25 countries, speakers such as Vandana Shiva of India's Third World Network and David Korten, author of When Corporations Rule the World. I was thankful that I had attended these highly educational forums in both San Francisco and Berkeley as early as 1995, forums that had their roots in the struggle against the US NAFTA legislation passed in 1993. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness outside, they were immediately drawn down the hill to the striking illuminated beauty of the many tall, modern buildings that have become the mark of Seattle, built in significant part by corporation profits from world trade-a city which had little idea what was about to occur as it hosted the WTO. 

    For some reason, the role of the faith-based organizations was nearly blacked out in the press that I read.  Church services and congregational marchers in the thousands got little ink. These ecumenical events often focussed on canceling third world debt or concern for workers' rights-Jubilee 2000 and The Preamble. The development of a powerful faith-based movement in support of workers' rights and a just international economy is a key story of the '90s, and was very evident in Seattle. 

                Jeff Crosby, IUE Local 201 President, Massachusetts 
                Reflections on a week in Seattle with 15 of his local 
                Protesting the move of GE and Amtek jobs to Mexico 

    Monday morning dawned cool and damp with a mixed cloud cover-not unusual for Seattle. It was a long walk from my motel to First Methodist Church in the heart of the business district, some 12 blocks. But after a quick breakfast I enjoyed the exercise. But I was not prepared for the mass of humanity that I found outside and everywhere inside this church. The now-famous Sea Turtles were assembling both outside and in, with anti-WTO signs everywhere. Meetings were occurring in all parts of the church, even in the Bishop's Room.  Educational display tables were set up all over the Fellowship Hall, filled with activists, browsers, and marchers. But it was in the sanctuary upstairs that the main event was taking place, The People's Tribunal on "The Human Face of Trade: Health and the Environment." The pews, aisles, and vestibule were jammed and overflowing. The pulpit and choir area, converted into a well-lit wide stage, had the "tribunal" on stage left including East Bay congressman George Miller, MP Bill Blaikie of Canada, Magda Aelvoet, Belgium's Minister of Consumer Protection, and US Rep. Maxine Waters from Los Angeles. On stage right were persons from Mexico, Malaysia, Canada, the Philippines, and the US. They were to comment on WTO's impact on forestry, endangered species, energy and climate, and culture and indigenous peoples. 

    The atmosphere was electric with excitement on the part of elected representatives, international people, and the full house of attenders-people of all ages. This event was put together by Dan Seligman, Sierra Club Responsible Trade Program in Washington, DC and Mary Bottari of Ralph Nader's Public Citizen organization, among others. The church sanctuary, seating 1200, was beautiful in Christmas greens and banners on both sides of the panelists, proclaiming "Glory to God" and "The Word Became Flesh." 

    Oregon congressman Peter de Fazio looked at the overflowing sanctuary and the sea of anti-WTO signs and cried out: "I never thought this day would come, but it has!" Church people, labor union members, and environmentalists arose as one with a great cheer and gave him (and themselves) a standing ovation. He added: "The WTO is a bill of rights for corporations but not for labor, the environment, and health." Canadian MP Blaikie saw WTO as the Americanization of the world, including Canada. "It is great to see so many in the US who oppose this homogenizing trend," he said with obvious joy. "The pendulum is swinging, however, with the defeat of MAI (the Multilateral Agreement on Investment) and the denial of Clinton's request for fast track status on  NAFTA, not just once, but twice. And now Seattle may be strike three and you're out for the WTO." Another standing ovation, this time for MP Blaikie. In closing he said, we don't want a world run by multinational corporations; we want global sustainability. 

    As dynamic and powerful representative Maxine Waters stood to speak, beaming in a bright red dress, she declared: "I was at the Cathedral last night and a movement began there!" Maxine addressed her remarks to the belligerent WTO Director-General Mike Moore. "We want fair trade, green trade, democratic trade. Democratic institutions don't make decisions in secrecy with nameless, faceless people. We have fought for labor justice, clean water, fresh air, clean soil; and we are not going back." And she closed with two exclamations targeting slick advertisements of prime multinationals: "Damn Chiquita Bananas; damn ADM [Archer, Daniels, Midland]!" Maxine brought the house down. 

    Longtime Bay Area Representative George Miller, with silver hair and silver tongue, closed the morning panel with his remarks to WTO and Mike Moore: "You know our agenda; we don't know yours. And we know we are on the outside of the WTO assembly, but we also know we are in the hearts of the people." After responses from members of the worldwide panel and the audience at this People's Tribunal the conclusion was unanimous. The WTO has harmed public health and the environment. And the WTO must be reformed, repaired, or abolished to address these concerns. 

    At noontime, under the banner "Make Trade Clean, Green, and Fair," thousands marched the eight blocks from the church to the Seattle Convention Center for a rally and demonstration as the WTO Ministerium was preparing to meet. Colorful green Sea Turtles, huge red puppet actors, Asian long-horned beetles (invading the US on imports), and sign-bearing citizens from north  America and beyond were expressing themselves in a powerful and peaceful way. The rally, viewed by thousands in the Seattle business and commercial center, concluded with a "Boston WTeaO Party," proclaiming "No Globalization without Representation!" 

    With many workshops on WTO being held at downtown churches during the afternoon, this 68-year-old United Methodist Minister took time off from the drama,  excitement, and marching for lunch and some rest back at the motel, where I joined others from the Bay Area in sharing the morning's events (WILPF peacemaker women from Santa Cruz, labor union members, Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition staff and board, other Protestant ministers, even some Third World WTO delegates). Then around 4pm I hiked the 12 blocks back to First Methodist Church, where the sanctuary and fellowship hall were jammed full, overflowing to the streets ourside, as the two hour International Interfaith Service to Break the Chains of Global Debt was just getting under way. I was only able to get into the sanctuary by using my EarthLight Magazine press credentials. By now it was raining lightly outside, but the thousands preparing to join the march to form a human chain around the Seattle Exhibition Center were undeterred. The Opening Gala for the WTO Ministerium was set for the Exhibition Center at 7:30pm. 

    Under the title "A debt-free start for a billion people," the Jubilee 2000 Northwest Coalition and the Washington Association of Churches had organized these highly visible events. After opening comments by NAACP's Earl Shinhoster and powerful music by "Sweet Honey in the Rock," moving invocations were intoned by representatives of eight religious traditions: Native American, Jewish, Unitarian, Muslim, Buddhist, Baha'i, Hindu, and Christian. A colorful and dramatic performance of "Seeds of Liberation" followed, a ritual that expresses participants' refusal of corporations' claim to own seeds, medicinal plants, and other forms of traditional and indigenous knowledge. Flowing throughout the sanctuary and up onto the stage, distributing packets of seed, the two-dozen dancers, mostly women, affirmed that all creation is sacred, that life forms cannot be owned, and that "seeds are the source of life and people's movements are the source of resistance." My packet contains Red Orach seeds, an heirloom which tastes like spinach. 

    Before the closing and sending-out to form the human chain to cancel the debt, motivational addresses were given by Vandana Shiva of India (leading the worldwide battle against WTO's Intellectual Property Agreement-patenting lifeforms); John Sweeney, President of the AFL-CIO, and Congresswoman Maxine Waters in her bright red dress. Sweeney's memorable one-liner was this: "There is something terribly wrong with a system that rewards those who run sweatshops and locks up those who protest." And Maxine said: "Jubilee 2000 is a defining moment in world history. Jubilee 2000 came through like a brilliant light, with moral authority. J2K is everywhere. The WTO didn't figure on Jubilee 2000." After the closing some 2000 persons flowed out of the church to join thousands of others who had been waiting, singing, and chanting outside in the light, but steady, rain. I saw so many people that I know as we moved out: Mark Dubois of Earth Day 2000 staff, Kurt Hoelting (and his family) of Whidbey Institute, who had led an eco-spiritual kayak trip for Bay Area folks, and Justine Cooper, formerly staff of Bay Area Action, just to mention a few. 

    Then began the long, solemn walk, six-to-eight abreast with banners, the many blocks down to the Exhibition Hall, next to the Kingdome and near Puget Sound.  The spirit was good, some even carried candles in the light rain, but the steady drizzle and wet feet did not lessen the expected 10,000-police even estimated 12,000-for this dramatic call for to the WTO for cancellation of the debt sapping the life out of the world's poorest nations. I was quiet and tired on the walk, but uplifted by seeing Vandana Shiva walking not far ahead of me-probably her tenth event in the last four days, with four more to come. In a foretaste of what was to come on Tuesday, the Seattle police refused to allow the human chain to be closed around the entrance to the Exhibition Center as the WTO delegates were arriving for their grand and dry Gala Opening inside. 

    I was there all week, and I want people to know that there were around 75,000 nonviolent protestors and maybe 100 violent anarchists. The anarchists stole the show, and we were very unhappy about that, but in the end, because of sheer numbers, good organization and persistence, our message did get heard. 
                    -Jill Davies, Seattle Protestor against WTO 
                     Dressed as a genetically engineered BT corn cob 

    Seattle's fateful Tuesday dawned gray and overcast. The streets were wet but the rain had ceased. It was cool. On the first day of "The Battle of Seattle," when police used tear gas, pepper pellets, and rubber bullets on several thousand demonstrators non-violently blocking entrance to the WTO meeting, the vast majority of protesters were involved in the Big Rally and March for Fair Trade-estimated at 30,000 to 50,000 participants.  As with coverage of the faith-based events on which I have reported, the press has given little ink to the central events on Tuesday and thereafter. 

    In raincoat and wet shoes, I walked to the nearby Denny Park where environmentalists were mobilizing for the Big March. I could hear a chant as I approached the speakers tent, set up on a truck. "We're here, we're wet; cancel the debt!" Speakers that morning included Seattle Councilman Richard Cowan, Native American Elder Calvin Hecata, world-famed environmentalist David Brower, Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope, California legislator Tom Hayden, who knows a lot about protest from Vietnam War days and as one of the Chicago Eight at Richard Daly's Democratic Convention. 

    Calvin Hecata, who organized the "Touch the Earth Environmental School," referred to WTO as the World Terrorist Organization, pointing particularly to the decimation of world rainforests and the indigenous peoples who depend on and care for them-the lungs of the planet. Councilman Cowan said "Seattle is the most trade dependent city in the United States. We must take the lead in finding ways to trade that are fair, green, and sustainable. At 87 years of age, having built the Sierra Club into a national power, having founded the international Friends of the Earth, and launched the Earth Island Institute, David Brower is still the most well-known fighter for the Earth and a sustainable way of life for humankind. After his brief remarks many came up to give him their greeting and support. It was my privilege to serve on the FOE Board of Directors for ten years while he was the chairman. I learned so much from him. Those who joined me in greeting him were Tom Hayden and Ollie and Henry Mayer (both in their eighties), longtime activists of the Loma Prieta Chapter of the Sierra Club in the Bay Area's Santa Clara Valley. The assembled environmentalists then marched to the nearby Memorial Stadium at the former Olympics site. 

    Flowing into Memorial Stadium from many parts of the city that morning were an estimated 30,000 labor union members from all over the US, now joined by thousands of environmentalists, faith-based earthcare people, Jubilee 2000 folks, and high school, college, and university students. The union members were gathered on the field and in the bleachers by type of work in identifying colored panchos, United Steel Workers, United Auto Workers, International Union of Electricians, AFSCME municipal employees, ILWU longshoremen, only to mention a few. (ILWU shut down the ports in Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles on that day.) This assemblage, filling the stadium and field, was colorful, powerful, and reassuring. But they repeatedly said they felt empowered by this unity with environmentalists, faith-based groups, youth, etc. And the brief speeches that day included union chiefs from the US but also persons from locals in the US and overseas who have been abused by actions of the WTO. From Huffy Bicycles in Salina, Ohio to GE in Lynn, Mass. to South African gold miners, East European workers, Southeast Asians, even from China where famous, long-jailed human-rights activist Wei Jing Chang was present and spoke in Chinese. 

    On the front their ponchos said "The Protest of the Century" and on the back their union name and logo. But speakers also included church leaders, Public Citizen, Global Exchange, farmworkers, a priest who organizes fishing workers in India, a GAP worker fired from the Saipan plant, Mexican machiadores workers, India's Vandana Shiva (again!), and on and on.  A common demand by labor was an international minimum wage and enforceable labor rights, human rights, and environmental rights. "We must show our solidarity across borders." And the Sierra Club's Carl Pope said it for many when he declared: "Let the message go forth from Seattle this day, we are united! We have done it before and we will do it again. The power of the people shall overcome." 

    At one o'clock, we assembled beneath the space needle and began our march to the downtown WTO meeting at the Seattle Trade and Convention Center and then back to the Memorial Stadium. That mass march, 50,000 strong, was entirely peaceful and filled with Sea Turtles, union members, street theatre, puppet shows, commitment, good humor, drama, and great signs. One of the best was this: "Sea Turtles and Teamsters: together at last!" As we marched near the Convention Center we became aware of the police action against demonstrators who that morning had sat nonviolently to block entrances to the WTO meeting. Readers know the rest of the story because the press covered it in detail. The real outcome, in my opinion, is that people throughout the US and around the world know there is something called the WTO, and that thousands feel its unfair trade policies and undemocratic practices must be challenged and changed.  And they are beginning to inform themselves. And those who were in Seattle have gone back home and begun to organize there. An example is student picketing of GAP stores in Palo Alto, a known sweatshop operator. Jeff Crosby of the IUE in Massachusetts, who was in Seattle for the full week with 15 others from his local, sums up Seattle this way. 

    A year's worth of political discussion was compressed into six days: the role of different movements; the role of folks from other countries; the question of violence and civll disobedience, etc.  The kid are alright and have much to teach us. The labor movement basically piggy-backed on the courage of the young environmentalists and anti-sweatshop  and church activists.  Without the direct action, which disrupted the WTO, the labor march would have received a 90-second clip on the nightly news. Then again, without the tens of thousands of union members, it would have been easier to write off the young protesters as flakes, people who aren't worried about basic issues like having to earn a living. 

    And Jill Davies, the genetically engineered BT corn cob, who has been quoted several times earlier in this story, says in her summary of Seattle: "Kudos to you, young people; you opened the door for all of us to regain a toehold on democracy and pride in America. Shame on you, anarchists, bragging about how you concealed yourselves among the others and avoided arrest. You are cowardly and disgustly stupid." 

    What do I feel Seattle means for the future?  My observations come out of what has happened since I left on Tuesday evening, November 30. On Friday, December 3 the religious community of Seattle and the state of Washington responded by issuing a statement at the beginning of a Peaceful Rally and March at noon, with participants including labor, environmental, religious, civic, community, and students groups. It was presented by Rev. Tom Quigley, President-Director of the Church Council of Greater Seattle. Observing the beginning that night of the Chanukah festival of the dedication and light-one of the first struggles for liberation recorded in history-the statement said: "Tonight we travel from the circle of protest into the time of dedication, to carrying on this struggle throughout our communities, our workplaces, our towns and countries." It went on to say: "We have been brought together by many, many issues, and by one cause: to stop the course of the WTO." Observing the diversity of those who came together in Seattle, resisting "the commodification of our lives", the statement sees "One big movement! One Struggle for freedom." And affirming a common commitment to a Jubilee Year (Leviticus 25), it concluded: "We call for a halt to new trade negotiations until the member countries of the WTO agree to give priority to accountability, human rights, ecology, and sustainable development, over trade liberalization and privatization." 

    Since returning to the Bay Area, I have been invited to speak at or participate in a number of "report-back events on Seattle." The first was in San Jose December 10 at the Teamsters Union Hall, with participation by labor, environment, religious, and students groups. The emphasis was on "next steps" to keep the momentum of Seattle alive. Over 150 people attended; the enthusiasm was high. A next meeting was set for February 3, 2000. The second was an "Oakland Community Gathering on WTO/Seattle" including a People's Media Exhibit on the Seattle/WTO Protests. Attenders were mostly neighborhood association representatives seeking to build bridges to Oakland area environmental, labor, student, and religious organizations challenging WTO policies. A sign of hope for the future coming out of that gathering was the comments by two young men in their thirties who had been in Seattle. One said: "This was a life-changing, religious experience for me." The other, unconnected to the first person, shared that for him this was "a religious epiphany." Pretty exciting stuff for a retired Methodist minister (and social change activist) to hear! 

    In between those dates I was invited to join two others from the Palo Alto area to report on our separate experiences in Seattle to interested members and friends of First Presbyterian Church in Palo Alto. About twenty attended and the question-answer session went on and on.  Then on January 18, I will participate in a panel on "The Meaning of WTO/Seattle" at a monthly Bay Area Environmental Forum to be held at the Peninsula Conservation Center in Palo Alto. Wow!  The interest is incredibly high, bringing together groups that seldom work together on social or environmental issues.  That's revolutionary. This, for me, is the meaning and promise of WTO/Seattle. And I've made e-mail contact with the two Seattle/WTO protesters who I quoted a number of times above: union leader Jeff Crosby in Lynn, Massachusetts-all the way across the country- and Jill Davies, an ecological consultant and pure food activist/educator on the dangers of pesticides and genetic engineering. She lives in the northwest corner of Montana. My community of supportive contacts is certainly growing rapidly as a result of Seattle. 

    I close with a two sobering reactions to Seattle by widely printed commentators. Joanne Jacobs, on the editorial board of the San Jose Mercury News, titled her December 3 column "Greed will defeat the 'spirit of Seattle'" and summed it up this way. "Our prosperity relies on capitalism, free trade, and the human desire for more stuff. Who wants to be a millionaire? Us. There will be plenty of greed to go around this Christmas, all around the globe." And looking toward the WTO meeting, nationally syndicated Washington Post columnist David Broder addressed Bill Clinton's legacy in his November 29 column. Pointing to Clinton's successful lobbying for passage of NAFTA in 1993, Broder opined that NAFTA (plus the 1993 Budget tax changes) "contributed significantly to the near-record run of prosperity this country has enjoyed this decade. He went on: The 1993 budget and NAFTA "made it possible for the world to cope with repeated economic challenges-in Asia, in Russia, in Mexico and elsewhere-that might have set off an international financial crisis." Broder was grossly wrong on Clinton's legacy being linked to the success of NAFTA and WTO. Seattle proved that. And Joanne Jacobs warns us about the power of greed that drives "capitalism, free trade, and the human desire for more stuff." This is what theologian John Cobb calls the philosophy of "economism" versus the "earthism" which he so strongly advocates. 

    No, the job will not be easy, but Seattle/WTO was, as many signs said: "The Protest of the Century" and it gives great hope and drives an incredible, diverse movement for just and sustainable communities and countries. So, let the Jubilee year 2000 begin. 

Resources: If you would like a list of educational resources regarding the WTO and globalization, contact the writer, Paul Burks at 1558 Mercy Street, Mountain View, CA 94041 or phone 650-960-1767 or email me at 

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