"This is what democracy looks like” was a chant at the protests of the World Trade Center Ministerial Conference in Seattle, Washington in December 1999. The protests have been called the “Battle in/of Seattle” and a 2000 documentary was titled This Is What Democracy Looks Like.
“This is what democracy looks like” was also chanted at the Wisconsin protests and the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011. The saying is popular with politically left and anti-capitalist protest groups.
Wikipedia: WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999 protest activity
Protest activity surrounding the WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999, which was to be the launch of a new millennial round of trade negotiations, occurred on November 30, 1999 (nicknamed “N30” on similar lines to J18 and similar mobilizations), when the World Trade Organization (WTO) convened at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle, Washington, United States. The negotiations were quickly overshadowed by massive and controversial street protests outside the hotels and the Washington State Convention and Trade Center, in what became the second phase of the anti-globalization movement in the United States. The scale of the demonstrations—even the lowest estimates put the crowd at over 40,000—dwarfed any previous demonstration in the United States against a world meeting of any of the organizations generally associated with economic globalization (such as the WTO, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), or the World Bank). The events are sometimes referred to as the Battle of Seattle or the Battle in Seattle.
Google Groups: flora.mai-not
From: (Viviane Lerner)
Subject: From The Seattle Indy Media Center
The crowd sang and chanted for most of the march including a hip-hop inflected chant which stated, “THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!” The focus of the protest was both anti-WTO and pro-democracy/First Ammendment rights, although other advocacy groups were present as well, including a group of Mumia Abu-Jamal advocates. The march was entirely non-violent and protesters were non-confrontational with Police and bystanders (with minor exceptions).
The Observer (UK)
Real battle for Seattle
‘This is what democracy looks like,’ chanted protesters as they confronted armies of police firing tear gas canisters and plastic bullets.
The globalisation debate
The Observer, Saturday 4 December 1999
‘The democratic system is not working,’ said Martin Khor of Third World Network. ‘It’s bust. It needs more than WTO reform.’
It was a refrain taken up on the streets. ‘This is what democracy looks like,’ chanted the crowds who had encircled the city’s prison and were demanding the release of the 500 ‘political prisoners’ arrested last week.
Google Groups: misc.activism.progressive
Subject: Seattle: “This is What a Police State Looks Like!”
Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the Dec. 16, 1999
issue of Workers World newspaper
SEATTLE: “THIS IS WHAT A POLICE STATE LOOKS LIKE!”
By Key Martin
After the WTO had to shut down because most delegates couldn’t get through protests on Nov. 30, the demonstrations continued throughout the week.
Police carried out mass arrests on Dec. 1, jailing some 500 people. National Guard troops buttressed police lines used to blockade streets for blocks around the Convention Center and posh hotels like the Four Seasons.
Pointing toward their own protests, activists chanted, “This is what democracy looks like.” Pointing toward the lines of troops and riot-clad cops, demonstrators chanted, “That is what a police state looks like.”
OCLC WorldCat record
This is what democracy looks like
Author: Jill Freidberg; Rick Rowley; Michael Franti; Susan Sarandon; Seattle Independent Media Center.; All authors
Publisher: [Cambridge, MA] : Big Noise Films, 
Edition/Format: DVD video : English
Summary: Composed of segments shot by media activists during the 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle, Washington (edited from over 350 hours of video footage) and Interviews with a cross-section of Seattle participants which reveal fundamental differences in tactics and ideologies.
New York (NY) Times
It’s a Protest. What’s the Cause?
By ROBBIE WOLIVER
Published: May 14, 2000
The rally was sponsored by the Long Island Direct Action Network, a loose coalition of activists inspired by the recent Seattle and Washington demonstrations against the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund, which attracted more than 70,000 protesters and resulted in more than 1,000 arrests.
Within seconds, a 25-foot metal scaffolding tripod was erected in the street and Connor Cash of Sound Beach scurried to the top, unfurling a 25-foot red banner that proclaimed, ‘’This Is What Democracy Looks Like.’’ The demonstrators banged on makeshift drums, chanting ‘’Our streets!’’
OCLC WorldCat record
“This is what democracy looks like!”: Strengthening advocacy in neoliberal times
Author: Beth Blue Swadener
Edition/Format: Article : English
Publication: Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, v24 n2 (2003): 135-141
OCLC WorldCat record
This is what democracy looks like : the genesis, culture and possibilities of anti-corporate activism
Author: Jen Couch
Dissertation: Thesis (Ph. D.)--Victoria University of Technology, 2004.
Edition/Format: Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : English
OCLC WorldCat record
This is what democracy looks like : Wisconsin’s worker uprising.
Publisher: Madison, WI : Workers Independent News, ©2011.
Edition/Format: Audiobook on CD : CD audio : English
Charleston (SC) City Paper
Haire of the Dog..Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Prepping for Occupy Charleston: This is what cynicism looks like
Coddled campers begin protest in Brittlebank today
Posted by Chris Haire on Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 5:08 PM
The Occupy crowd has a chant they like to repeat. It’s got a good rhythm. You can dance to it.
You may have heard it. It goes a little something like this: “Tell me what democracy looks like. This is what democracy looks like.”
Well, if that’s the case, judging by a newly posted video of an Occupy Charleston march this past weekend, democracy looks an awful lot like a tour group, wandering the street of the Holy City trying to find Rhett Butler’s house.
Miguel Del Valle On Occupy Chicago: ‘This Is What Democracy Looks Like’
First Posted: 10/20/11 04:24 PM ET Updated: 10/20/11 04:30 PM ET
This is What Democracy Looks Like? Vanquished Khadafy on Car Hood
October 21, 2011
RUSH: (...) According to reporters on the ground in Libya, Colonel Khadafy’s body was put on the hood of a car and driven around the town of Misurata yesterday. Some of the rebels even posed with the corpse of Colonel Khadafy. This, ladies and gentlemen, apparently is how democracy works. Well, this is a Democratic movement here. We’re told this is the blossoming of democracy here in Libya and this is what happens in a democracy, you put the corpse on the hood of your car and you parade around the capital. (interruption) On the hood of the car he’s alive in the first video?
New York City • Government/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Friday, October 21, 2011 • Permalink