Ever since activists from around the world successfully blockaded the World Trade Organization ministerial meeting in downtown Seattle in 1999, most global summits have taken place in rustic sites that are fortified into dystopias of guards, guns, helicopters, and surveillance technologies. The enforced seclusion of these settings demonstrates the power of protest in the twenty-first century, but it also demonstrates the continued ability of the elite to insulate themselves from the masses. The isolation is particularly strange in a case like the climate summit, when the bureaucrats in the banlieue are supposed to represent “us”—that is, the general public, humans, even all life on earth.

Rebecca Solnit, “Power in Paris”