Anti-Globalization Movement Quieter
By BRAD CAIN, Associated Press Writer
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - Before Sept. 11, the anti-globalization movement
had caused considerable turmoil, sending armies of noisy and
sometimes-violent protesters onto the streets of Seattle, Philadelphia
and Quebec City and setting its sights on Washington.
But the movement has been mostly quiet since terrorists hijacked four
U.S. airliners and crashed them into the World Trade Center, the
Pentagon (news - web sites) and a Pennsylvania field, killing thousands.
``After Sept. 11, I don't think the public is going to identify with people
running around in masks and vandalizing property,'' said Randy
Newnham, 26, who participated in the 1999 World Trade Organization
(news - web sites) protests in Seattle in which 50,000 people caused an
estimated million in damage during four days of rioting.
Across the country, words of caution are now coming from activists
known for protesting what they say are large corporations' efforts to
increase their power over people's lives worldwide.
``We don't want to do or say anything that would be perceived as
insensitive or uncaring to family members of the victims,'' said Jody
Dodd of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom in
In the view of many anti-globalization activists, greed among Western
corporations is at least partly to blame for producing a climate in which
someone like Osama bin Laden (news - web sites), the government's
prime suspect in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, can be seen as a savior.
``If you go to the Middle East, you see that the invasion of Western
corporate culture raises anger. They sense that their societies are being
torn apart by this invading Western culture and economics. Out of that
sense of dislocation and desperation, scary things can develop,'' said
Mark Andersen, a ``punk activist'' with Washington-based Positive Force.
``If you want to make the world safer, you have to change that
atmosphere,'' said Jason Mark of Global Exchange, a San
Francisco-based group that helped organize the WTO protests in
But this is not a message anti-globalization protesters are taking to the
streets in large numbers right now. There have been no major
anti-globalization protests since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Demonstrators had planned to protest the International Monetary Fund
(news - web sites) and World Bank (news - web sites)'s annual meeting
Sept. 29-30 in Washington D.C., but after the terrorist attacks, the
groups called off their protests out of respect for the victims. The IMF and
World Bank canceled the meeting the following day.
Instead of an anti-globalization rally, the few thousand protesters who
showed up in Washington those days demonstrated against war. Some
dressed as peace doves, others waved signs with anti-war sentiments
such as ``War will not bring our loved ones back.''
Andersen joined a similar anti-war march in Denver where he saw a
handful of anti-globalization protesters dressed in black and wearing
masks. The tactic struck him as overly militant and out of place when the
nation was still mourning the terrorists' victims.
``It just didn't feel good. It felt very weird,'' Andersen said.
Anti-war movements have appeared on some U.S. campuses since
President Bush (news - web sites) announced his war on terrorism.
At the University of Oregon, ranked by Mother Jones magazine as the
nation's most activist-friendly campus last year, about 200 people turned
out for a recent peace rally. Vietnam-era war protests, by comparison,
Unlike the Vietnam War, which many Americans viewed as a distant
conflict, the war on terrorism has a more immediate connection, said
political scientist Gary Malecha of the University of Portland.
``The perception is that the United States has come under attack and
that now is the time for the country to unite. So any kind of civil
disturbance would only get people agitated,'' Malecha said.
Even Eugene's anarchists, considered among the lead agitators at the
WTO riots in Seattle, seem to have mellowed since the terrorist attacks.
``Activity around here has come to a stop,'' said Joshua Frye, 24, an
anarchist who protested the WTO. ``People are afraid to do anything.''