'Today We Have the Power': A Spiritually Radical Documentary
In his debut documentary feature "Today We Have The Power: Spirituality and The WTO Seattle Protests," filmmaker Christopher Timm deftly presents a vital meditation on the bridge between spirituality and social justice, through the prism of the seminal demonstrations at the 1999 World Trade Organization (WTO) meetings in Seattle, Wa. His film is an incredibly timely look at how the issues and concerns that caused such a tumult in Seattle are even more resonant and relevant today.
Timm goes to great lengths to present a diversity of messages which present a clear and vivid outlook at the question of what globalization means to the past, present and future conceptions of the human experiment on this planet. We hear from such voices as environmental activist and author Vandana Shiva, Tom Goldtooth, the director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, anarchist and primitivist philosopher John Zerzan, and David Korten, best-selling author and leading light of the critical movement against corporate globalization.
Timm impressively and honestly gathers perspectives from other poles in the debate over globalization, as he also interviews Jagadish Bhagwati, an economics professor from Columbia University and avid supporter of free trade, Mike Moore, who was the director-general of the WTO at the time of the Seattle protests, and Norm Stamper, who was the chief of police in Seattle at the time of the demonstrations.
The film has two dynamic layers that fit together. First, Timm provides an excellent and thorough overview of the influences behind the events of the "Battle of Seattle." The cross-currents of issues that brought so many diverse peoples together to Seattle, including concerns over free trade agreements that would increase destructive logging practices in Mexico, and damage to native turtle populations through insensitive fishing methods, as well as the upwelling of concerns over genetically modified foods, are all presented in a powerful panoramic. The effect upon the contemporary activist is powerful, for it calls into clear focus how many of these issues, and the fundamental problems they present to the sustainability of our humanity, have only become more pressing over the course of the last twelve years.