It’s 3 a.m. on Nov. 30 in San Francisco. Riot cops just raided Occupy Philly and Occupy Los Angeles tonight and the live streams are running on my laptop. We are preparing for a possible raid of Occupy San Francisco tonight or tomorrow. I’m talking back and forth with other occupiers and labor, community and faith allies, deciding whether to call for a mass mobilization tonight and to prepare for mass civil disobedience.
On the same date twelve years earlier thousands of us got up before dawn to blockade and shut down the 1999 World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle. As dusk fell the city declared a “state of emergency” in the downtown section of the city and drove people out with volleys of teargas and charges of riot cops. The next day, Dec. 1, thousands of us defied their martial law and took to the streets and hundreds were arrested and attacked. People stayed in the streets all week until Dec. 3, when the WTO talks collapsed as representatives from poor countries, bolstered by public rebellion in the streets and pressure from movements in their home countries, refused to buckle under. It feels like a similar moment now with political space and possibility breaking wide open — a time of public and global uprising — only bigger.