There has been much finger-pointing by Seattle officials (who will soon be looking for new jobs) and the mainstream media. Whether you were an eyewitness to the protests downtown, a resident of Capital Hill, or just watched the news between Tuesday and Thursday (Nov. 30 - Dec. 2), it should be clear that one group of black-clad thugs were responsible for all but a couple isolated acts of violence. Their weapons of choice were clubs, rubber bullets, teargas grenades, concussion grenades, fists, steel-tipped boots, vehicles, and pepper spray, among others. They were, of course, the Seattle police and others brought in to "keep the peace" by any means necessary.
In contrast, the "violence" the media kept talking about and using to demonize anarchists was a relatively small amount of grafitti and broken windows (the estimated cost of the property damage was a small fraction of the cost due to losing a couple of shopping days).
Read two different anarchist perspectives on the property damage:
N30 Black Bloc Communique -- A communique from one section of the black bloc of N30 in Seattle
Reply to the ACME Collective -- A response by Michael Albert, co-editor of Z Magazine
Read further discussion on this issue.
Of course, the real issue isn't the property damage or the police violence, but the fact that We Won. After decades of protests with victories few and far between, the lefty scene had largely resigned itself to symbolic protests with little hope for victory. But Seattle was different. Tens of thousands of people used direct action to achieve their goal of shutting down the WTO meeting in Seattle. It was a modest goal, but we've shown that by collectively standing up for ourselves, and using direct action, we are not powerless victims that must beg for handouts from the powers-that-be. Instead, we can stand up and take back what is rightfully ours. Just a few weeks away from the new millenium, the Battle in Seattle will set the stage for things to come.