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DW Gibson / One Week to Change the World

July 24 @ 6:00 pm

DW Gibson


One Week to Change the World: An Oral History of the 1999 WTO Protests

Published by Simon & Schuster

with special guests Celia Alario, four waters, and David Solnit

One week in late 1999, more than 50,000 people converged on Seattle. Their goal: to shut down the World Trade Organization conference and send a message that working-class people would not quietly accept the runaway economic globalization that threatened their livelihoods. Though their mission succeeded, it was not without blowback. Violent confrontations between police and protestors resulted in hundreds of arrests and millions of dollars in property damage. But the images of tear gas and smashed windows that flashed across TVs and newspapers were not an accurate representation of what actually happened that week.

In the oral history One Week to Change the World, award-winning journalist DW Gibson pieces together a complex and compelling account of what really went down in Seattle, immersing you in the angst that defined the end of a millennium, complete with fight clubs and Y2K doomsday scenarios. In more than 100 original interviews with protestors, police, politicians, anarchists, artists, activists, union members, and many others, Gibson reconstructs the events in gripping detail; documents its antecedents and aftermath; and shows how so many of its themes remain just as pressing today, including the vitalness and difficulty of grassroots activism, the aspirations and limitations of globalization, the militarization of policing, the sensationalism of the media, and the undeniable power of the people.

Timed to the 25th anniversary of the protests, this book is a page-turning drama, an essential history, and a practical handbook for how to make one’s voice heard.

DW Gibson is most recently the author of 14 Miles: Building the Border Wall. His previous books include the award-winning The Edge Becomes the Center: An Oral History of Gentrification in the Twenty-First Century and Not Working: People Talk About Losing a Job and Finding Their Way in Today’s Changing Economy. He shared a National Magazine Award for his work on “This is the Story of One Block in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn” for New York Magazine. His work has also appeared in Harper’s, The Atlantic The Washington Post, The New York Times, amongst others. Gibson’s radio work includes cohosting the podcast There Goes the Neighborhood, guest hosting various news programs for WNYC, and reading original essays for Live From Here, as well as All Things Considered. Gibson serves as director of Art Omi: Writers in Ghent, New York, and he cofounded Sangam House, a writers’ residency in India.

Celia Alario is a communications strategist, media coach and facilitator, working at the intersection of campaigning, grassroots organizing, media and marketing. In the last 20 years Alario has helped spin groundbreaking media campaigns, provided one-on-one trainings for dozens of incoming Communications Directors, trained hundreds of grassroots spokespeople and placed thousands of stories about critical social justice and environmental issues in media outlets worldwide.  Celia Alario has also worked as a journalist and producer.  She was a field producer on Michael Moore’s Emmy-nominated television show “The Awful Truth” and produced and hosted news programming at Pacifica Radio’s KPFA in Berkeley, California and KZMU in Moab, Utah.  She has served as an Engagement Producer, designing outreach campaigns for a number of award-winning documentaries and television programs, including Firestorm, On Coal River, Sir! No Sir!, The Greater Good, Bowling for Columbine, Trade Off and Building Green.

four waters is a life long activist and political consultant. four waters spent several years as the Chair of a PAC which supported Democratic organizers in rural communities. She then had the privilege of serving for eight years under California Democratic Party Chair John Burton as Special Projects Consultant, where she developed and helped to implement a statewide strategic training program.
four waters continues to train across California and serves on the board of the Yolo Basin Foundation.

David Solnit is co-founder and was a core organizer with the Direct Action Network, the organization that shutdown the WTO conference twenty five years ago, and is part of the Shutdown WTO Organizers History Project (n30history.org) collective.
David is the co-author/editor of ‘Globalize Liberation: How to Uproot the System and Build a Better World’ (City Lights) and ‘The Battle of Story of the Battle of the Seattle. David is an artist, carpenter and arts puppeteer, who cofounded Art and Revolution collective and currently works with Climate Justice Arts Project.

Made possible by support from the City Lights Foundation


July 24
6:00 pm


City Lights Bookstore
View Organizer Website