In 1999, clashes between police and protesters at the World Trade Organization
(WTO) meetings in Seattle made national news with images of tear gas
and smashed windows. Seattle police tried to maintain order by establishing
no-protest zones, forcefully dispersing protesters, and conducting mass arrests.
These law enforcement tactics were reminiscent of notorious police excesses
against protesters during the 1960s, when dogs and fire hoses were turned on
civil rights demonstrators in the South, and of the Chicago police’s attack against
demonstrators and bystanders alike during the 1968 Democratic Convention.
The Seattle events marked the beginning of the newest chapter of increasingly
harsh police responses to protesters.
Voting rights advocates should explore section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act as a vehicle to combat voter intimidation.
An evidentiary privilege to protect workers' confidential communications from disclosure in federal and state court proceedings would support unions.
Labor organizing privilege is not a magic bullet that will secure the rights of workers to organize and collectively bargain. Employers will continue to resist the efforts of their workers to organize.
Mandatory arbitration for guestworkers, a uniquely vulnerable group, will result in class inequality and worse conditions for all workers.