The Battle in Seattle

Its significance for education

Glenn Rikowski

from the Hillcole Group

Why did over 40,000 people demonstrate against the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Seattle in late 1999? What do struggles against the WTO have to do with education? What is the significance of education for post-Seattle anti-capitalist struggles? These questions are at the heart of this booklet.
Drawing on newspapers, business magazines, websites and Left journals, Glenn Rikowski gives an exciting account of the Battle in Seattle in late 1999. He sees the main significance of Seattle for the anti-capitalist movement as the substantial numbers of protesters supporting the abolition of capitalism, not just its taming. He summarises the main political debates flowing from Seattle, urging a 'socialist vision' in its aftermath.
In his quest to establish the importance of Seattle for education, Rikowski maintains that education was a core element of the WTO agenda, and outlines the WTO strategy for opening education up to corporate capital. Describing the significance of education for anti-capitalism, Rikowski draws on the ideas of Karl Marx, arguing that education and training in capitalism help constitute the social production of labour-power, the unique commodity upon which capitalism rests.
The conclusion draws attention to alternatives to education and training constructed to reduce humanity to labour-power. A preface on Prague and a postscript on Nice illustrate and support the power of the arguments put forward here.

Read the introduction (you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader)

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"It's a wonderful outline of the new anti-capitalist activity It pulls together all aspects of changes to all levels of education, as it is drawn into the profit business ­ and ever further away from wider concepts of education."
- Caroline Benn, Hillcole Group of Radical Left Educators, and President of the Socialist Education Association

"This is essential reading for all those the world over who have been driven to the margins of existence by forces of the current phase of capitalism - globalisation. It helps to understand the forces hiding behind bodies such as the World Trade Organisation that drive us relentlessly towards giving up control over our minds and bodies. This booklet looks particularly at the dangers facing education systems from the global search for mega profits. It also shows that people's resistance can make a difference in snatching control over their lives."
- Shiraz Durrani, Information for Social Change

"Glenn Rikowski vividly demonstrates the centrality of education in capitalist globalisation. With precision and utmost clarity, he also details the historical background to 'The Battle in Seattle' as well as the other mass demonstrations against global capitalism and its agents of destruction. Rikowski's seminal text is destined to become essential reading for critical/radical educators and political activists, but it should be read by everyone who is concerned with, and about, the future of education indeed, the future of humanity."
- Paula Allman, Honorary Research Fellow, University of Nottingham, and author of Critical Education Against Global Capital: Karl Marx and Revolutionary Critical Education

"Glenn Rikowski has produced a brilliant and I believe historical landmark in Left education."
- Peter McLaren, University of California, Los Angeles, and author of Che Guevara, Paulo Freire, and the Pedagogy of Revolution

"I felt compelled to grab the red flag and take to the streets as I worked through Glenn Rikowski's well documented exposé of what the World Trade Organisation is up to and its plans for education. But Glenn's analysis is much more than a clarion call. It anchor's that call in solid theory and critique so that my immediate response can now be matched by informed and focused action. An activist's true handbook."
- Helen Raduntz, University of South Australia

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