Kathryn O’Donnell Howard Besser


Showdown in Seattle Part 3: Occupied Seattle



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Showdown in Seattle Part 3: Occupied Seattle (1999, 28min)

“The Steelworkers' rally/march is met with Police teargas when they venture too close to other protesters. Mary Reeves (National Lawyers Guild) and attorney Amy Kratz examine the legal issues posed by the Police abuse of civil liberties. A segment on Filipino Labor History with Dr. Carol Pagaduan (Araullo-BAYAN) and activist Liza Largoza-Maza Gabriela. A look at Indigenous issues and the WTO with Tom Gold Tooth (Indigenous Environmental Network), Ciprianna Jurapo (Center for Investigation and Worker Solidarity), and Carol Kalafatic (International Indian Treaty Council). A critical look at how the media has covered the protests and a revealing video verite walk with a WTO delegate” (Deep Dish TV 6).

I have chosen to screen Showdown in Seattle Part 3: Occupied Seattle last because it is the most recent video and in some ways is remembered as one of labor’s last great shows of support. Additionally, it revisits a lot of the issues raised in the first three videos. Members of various labor unions, environmentalist organizations, and human rights organizations, from America and the international community come together to protest the WTO ("Showdown in Seattle Part 3: Occupied Seattle”).

This video opens with a voiceover saying, “The WTO – “the only international organization dealing with the global rules of trade between nations. Its main function is to ensure that trade flow as smoothly, freely, and predictably as possible. The result is a more peaceful, prosperous, and countable economic world” ("Showdown in Seattle Part 3: Occupied Seattle”).

Through interviews with various people, the audience learns about the negative effects that Free Trade and the policies promoted by the WTO have had on workers and the environment. The effects of U.S. Imperialism in the Philippines is explored. There, the minimum wage is $4.85 a day and the cost of living is $10.92 a day. Many women leave to become domestic workers or sex slaves. The Philippines is the number one exporter of human labor. It is estimated that 2,000 workers leave every day and that three dead bodies return daily. This shows how we are all connected even more now through Globalization ("Showdown in Seattle Part 3: Occupied Seattle”).

The contradiction between mainstream media coverage and the coverage of this video are shown. Showdown shows footage of police using teargas and rubber bullets on the peaceful protestors. Legal observers from the National Lawyer Guild are appalled and say that it was “completely unprovoked.” The protestors shout, “The whole world is watching, the whole world is watching” ("Showdown in Seattle Part 3: Occupied Seattle”). Sadly, the mainstream media in America is only focused on the negative aspects of the protest, i.e. the few people who looted, and doesn’t discuss why the people are protesting in the first place. In India, however, the shut down of the WTO is celebrated. This leaves the audience with the idea that they can’t believe everything they are told in the media and gets them thinking about the effects of Globalization. Hopefully it will get more people to research these issues and support all those workers who suffer injustices around the world ("Showdown in Seattle Part 3: Occupied Seattle”)


At the exhibition I will screen the following excerpts:

00:31-05:20: This excerpt shows background info on the WTO, the steelworkers and environmentalists protesting together, and protestors looking forward to a peaceful, successful protest ("Showdown in Seattle Part 3: Occupied Seattle”).

15:53-24:55: This excerpt shows the peaceful protestors being shot at, tear gassed, and beaten, legal observers express their sadness and anger at the way the protestors are being treated, and the treatment of the protests by the mainstream media is examined ("Showdown in Seattle Part 3: Occupied Seattle”).




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