In 1999, representatives from some of the world's largest and most powerful economic forces met in Seattle, WA, for the World Trade Organization summit. They were met by a diverse group of activists, ranging from youthful peace-punks to veteran trade union members, who intended to publicly air their concerns about issues of economic justice, Third World labor policies, and environmental safety that were being ignored by many of the WTO's affiliates. Police soon clashed with the protesters, the vast majority of which were gathered peacefully and had obtained permits for their gatherings. While Seattle authorities attempted to portray the protesters as a violent rabble in statements to the media, a number of activists armed with film and video cameras were on hand to document the protests, who then used the Internet and independent media outlets to bring their side of the story to the public. This Is What Democracy Looks Like was compiled by directors Jill Friedberg and Rick Rowley from material shot by more than a hundred "media activists" who captured a side of the WTO protests largely ignored by the mainstream news media. This Is What Democracy Looks Like is narrated by actress Susan Sarandon and Michael Franti, leader of the leftist hip-hop group Spearhead; radical rock band Rage Against the Machine also appears in the film.
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