Volume , Number 0
There are no articles.Commentary
There are no articles.Culture
There are no articles.Features
Ustan b. Reinart
Law & Order
John M. Laforge
Press The Press
Dru Oja jay
Lee Siu hin
Z Papers on Vision
An interview with Betsy Leondar-Wright
Gay & Lesbian Community Notes
Herbert P. Bix
European Union News
Eleanor J. Bader
There are no articles.
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
Another World Is Under Construction
O n April 16, 2000 protests at the spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) began five years of major demonstrations against these institutions in the United States. Five years later, on April 16, 2005, protesters again gathered in the seat of the world’s economic and military power to speak truth to the power of these institutions. The protests in Washington were the focal point of a weekend of action organized by the Mobilization for Global Justice (MGJ), a Washington-based, non-hierarchical, and nonviolent association of individuals and organizations that works on issues of global economic and social justice and sustainability.
Taking place during the Global Week of Action, the mobilization in Washington acted in solidarity with over 10 million people in 80 countries around the world raising their voices against an unjust international economic system. In addition to hundreds of actions in the U.S., protesters in Washington joined students in South Africa, unions in Egypt, workers and schoolchildren in Bangladesh, women in Chile, farmers in the Philippines, social workers in Kenya, fisherfolk in India, and millions of others around the world in calling for an end to the institutions that have, for the past half-century, employed the mechanisms of oppression, debt slavery, and imperialism in the service of corporate and elite power.
Borrowing from the World Social Forum, the theme of the weekend was “Another World Is Under Construction,” highlighting community alternatives and resistance to externally-imposed policies in DC and around the world. Another primary focus of the protests was MGJ’s demands of the World Bank and the IMF, demands that are informed and supported by grassroots social movements around the world.
The Group of 7
R eflecting their coordination in the global economy, the finance ministers of the Group of 7 (G7) countries (U.S., UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan) met the day before the Spring meetings of the World Bank and the IMF. On the agenda of the G7 was debt cancellation for impoverished countries, which had undergone protracted debate. Whereas last year’s G7 proposals for debt cancellation included debt owed to both the World Bank and IMF, this Spring the U.S. Treasury stopped talking about cancelling IMF debt, a critical component of debt cancellation.
To reiterate the demand for 100 percent debt cancellation for all impoverished countries with no harmful economic conditionalities and using the World Bank and IMF’s own resources, MGJ—along with co-organizers Jubilee USA Network, 50 Years Is Enough Network, Religious Working Group on the World Bank and IMF, Africa Action, and American Friends Service Committee—held a rally in advance of the G7 meeting, urging the ministers to make the right choice.
A lively crowd of about 150 people gathered on the sidewalk in front of the U.S. Treasury building in downtown Washington, while speakers made the case for debt cancellation, citing the illegitimate origins of these debts, the prior repayment of the principal, and the destructive effects of debt servicing and loan conditions imposed by the World Bank and IMF on indebted countries. MGJ staged street theater that examined the foundation of the G7.
also sponsored a teach-in for activists in the U.S. to share insights
and strategies with activists from the Global South. The teach-in
highlighted the similarities between economic policies in Washington,
DC and in the Global South, which are based on the same neo-liberal
philosophy that privileges the market and the economic interests
of the wealthy few over the lives of the majority of people in this
The teach-in featured a panel of organizers from the Global South, including Virginia Setshedi of the Anti-Privatization Forum (South Africa), Victor Geronimo of COMPA/Coordination of Popular, Union, and Drivers Organizations (Dominican Republic), and Lidy Nacpil of the Freedom from Debt Coalition/Jubilee South (Philippines). U.S. speakers included Devin Walker from the DC Health Care Coalition, an organization fighting for affordable health care for all residents of Washington, DC, and Basav Sen from MGJ.
The over 70 participants at the teach-in shared stories of struggle, experiences, and strategies on issues they had in common, despite their diverse geographical origins. The group focused on the privatization of essential services; gentrification and displacement; affordable housing; forced immigration; worker’s rights; and the need for increasing access to public health care and education.
On Saturday April 16, the first day of the World Bank and IMF meetings, over 1,000 protesters gathered in front of the headquarters of the two institutions in a spirited rally featuring Setshedi, Geronimo, and Washington’s Reverend Graylan Hagler, a longtime leader in the struggle for economic, social, and racial justice and the peace movement in the U.S. Emceed by human rights activist and World Bank critic Dr. Vineeta Gupta, the speakers presented damning evidence against the two financial institutions, pointing to their dismal records and their roles in exacerbating the poverty, health, education, environmental, and economic crises in debtor countries.
The protesters then turned their backs on the World Bank and IMF—in solidarity with millions around the world who are rejecting their policies—and marched out of downtown Washington, led by colorful puppets and the energetic music of the Rhythm Workers’ Union and the Rude Mechanical Orchestra. The march culminated at a rally with more speakers, music, and spoken word performances.
Emphasizing resistance to the neo-liberal policies of the IMF and World Bank, the speakers included Nacpil and Jonah Gokova (Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development) who gave stirring accounts of the international movements for debt cancellation. Mario Cafiero, a member of the Argentine parliament, spoke of his country’s struggle against IMF policies. Giving a local perspective were peace activist Katy Nelson of the DC Anti- War Network and Vanessa Dixon of the DC Healthcare Coalition.
T he days of action concluded with an MGJ-sponsored community action project, co-organized with a local senior group, We Are Family. On Sunday, volunteers visited seniors in Washington residences, building intergenerational solidarity and connecting the dots between global struggles against neo-liberalism and corporate greed and local struggles against the same destructive policies in our own communities.
MGJ continues to build relationships and coalitions with groups in Washington and internationally. In the past year, MGJ has supported Washington-area movements working for fair labor practices, including the Georgetown Students’ Living Wage Coalition, which recently won a living wage for Georgetown University employees, and solidarity actions with local parking lot workers.
Looking beyond the April mobilization, MGJ is committed to organizing around a myriad of other social justice issues while maintaining a focus on the World Bank and the IMF, including:
- A campaign to tax the World Bank and IMF, which own over $1.4 billion in property and who make $4 billion in profits, but which currently pay the cash-strapped city of Washington no taxes
- Free trade agreements, including rallies during the meetings of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), the U.S.-Andean Free Trade Agreement (AFTA), and the World Trade Organization (WTO)
- Participating in many events highlighting global processes and their effects locally, including Bio-democracy events protesting the annual meeting of the Biotechnology Industry Organization in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Hope Chu has worked with the Mobilization for Global Justice for the past two years and is on staff at the 50 Years Is Enough Network in Washington, DC .
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; firstname.lastname@example.org; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; email@example.com; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.