Here's another thing I never thought I'd say: I wish I'd attended the Walk for Capitalism.
Not for the exercise—the Seattle Post-Intelligencer may have been gracious enough to include it in the outdoor sports calendar, but a several-block tramp on hard surfaces isn't much of an aerobic workout.
Still, after last week's Seattle City Council hearing, during which the organizers of the N30 no-to-WTO anniversary march and the Walk for Capitalism compared their treatment by city government, I'd wager that the capitalists burned megacalories stewing over the taunts of counterprotesters. Only about 40 capitalists and an equal number of people mocking the altogether sacred concept of a market economy made it down to Westlake Park on Sun., Dec. 2 (three days after the N30 march).
Police protected the pro-capitalism demonstrators and herded critics across the street for fear that debate might break out. Counterprotester Vince Halloran complained that police issued him a parks exclusion notice for refusing to leave the demonstration. "They didn't believe you were a capitalist?" asked council member Nick Licata incredulously. Halloran apparently stood out by carrying an American flag with corporate logos stitched on in place of stars—an icon that should have been welcome at any true capitalist rally.
Actually, there was also a ton of stirring testimony about police overreaction to the N30 march, which featured hundreds of cops shoving and intimidating demonstrators as they struggled from Seattle Central Community College to Westlake. But even the angriest of the N30 marchers had to laugh as Walk for Capitalism frontman Tym Parsons accused counterprotesters of nihilism and intellectual thuggery, while proclaiming the success of his puny march. (Next time, he could improve those unimpressive turnout numbers by noting that all downtown shoppers are "walking for capitalism.")
Based on the ease with which the capitalists got their rally permit, and the difficulty N30 organizers faced (including a court hearing), council member Peter Steinbrueck suggested one method of ensuring equal treatment next time. He wants to declare Nov. 30 as All Freedoms Day, close Pine Street, "and let them all have a party together."
OK, just so long as the capitalists bring the munchies.