Activists organizing to take on the IMF/World Bank
by NIHAR BHATT | September 14, 2001 | Page 14
WASHINGTON--D.C. is alive with activism in the run-up to the week of action at the end of September targeting the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings. The largest group organizing for the September 30 convergence is the Mobilization for Global Justice (MGJ), with as many as 100 people attending meetings for the last four months.
Activists in the group Anti-Capitalist Convergence (ACC) are also organizing several actions. MGJ organizers spent the summer attempting to connect the policies of the neoliberal World Bank and IMF to the experiences of working people locally--organizing teach-ins and press conferences and touring community organizations and churches.
Their first neighborhood meeting drew 50 mostly Latin American D.C. residents. The mobilization has brought leaders in the struggle for democracy in D.C. and against the recently privatized D.C. General Hospital on board. Activists have also made important links to parking attendants in HERE Local 27 who are demanding better wages from the multinational conglomerate Security Capital Group which owns Interpark, a D.C. parking attendant service.
Global justice activists will join the workers on the picket line on September 28. Several major teach-ins are planned for the week of convergence, including a "People's Summit" organized by the MGJ which will link global issues with local struggles such as police brutality and privatization.
A September 28 panel featuring Noam Chomsky, Walden Bello and others will wrap up the summit. Several other teach-ins-including one sponsored by 50 Years is Enough and other organizations, as well as one targeting the Free Trade Area of the Americas organized by the Alliance for Responsible Trade--will take place in conjunction with the summit. More than 100 speakers are flying in from around the world to speak at various teach-ins.
Activists have built large organizing meetings at most area schools in the first week in session. The biggest impact has been at George Washington University (GW), where a wall protecting the IMF meetings will cut the campus in half and administrators plan to kick students out of their dorms. The GW Action Coalition plans a series of actions. "Ironically, it's a huge boost to us," said Nathan Lord Converse, a recently graduated GW student involved in the coalition. "What would have been indifferent people are now hearing about and engaging with the issues we are protesting."
Fifty people came out to a meeting organized in three hours, by word of mouth, on one of the first days of school. Students called a packed press conference and major teach-ins are planned for every week until the protest. "Our school motto is 'Something happens here.' Now that something is finally happening, they're trying to kick us out," GW student Mac Liman said.
A concert is being planned for September 30, which will most likely feature the first appearance of the re-formed Rage Against the Machine. Activists have joined forces with the AFL-CIO and Jobs with Justice to call several actions in the lead-up to the demonstrations focusing on stopping fast-track legislation.
A group of activist women belonging to the MGJ, ACC and other organizations is planning a torch-light march for female victims of capitalist globalization for September 27. Activists from other cities are already arriving a month ahead of time to help organize.New York
New York--The New York City Committee for Global Justice, along with several groups across the city, are organizing 14 teach-ins for the week of September 10 to build support for the protests against the IMF and World Bank in Washington, D.C.
Locations include Fordham University, the Center for Workers Education, ACORN, SUNY-Stonybrook, SEIU 32B/J and Make the Road by Walking, a meeting that will be held in Spanish.
Twenty buses are expected to travel to D.C. from New York. Activists made a big push at the Labor Day Parade to encourage rank-and-file union participation in the teach-ins and protests.
Visit the committee's Web site at www.globaljusticeny.com.Back to the top
Boston--Activists representing 17 different organizations came together on September 4 to plan for the D.C. protests. Groups included the Boston Global Action Network/BankBusters, Jobs with Justice, Latin-American Action Coalition, Immigration and Legalization Committee, Student and Labor Action Project, Northeast Labor Committee for Global Justice, and the ISO.
The 50 Years is Enough tour will stop at Harvard University on September 15. At least eight buses are expected to travel to D.C. from Boston.Back to the top
Chicago--Activists here have organized teach-ins at colleges, coffeehouses, high schools and community centers to spread the word about the deadly impact of IMF and World Bank policies. A teach-in to be conducted in Spanish with special emphasis on the IMF's impact in Latin America is being organized in the largely Mexican Little Village neighborhood.
Four buses and multiple car caravans are arranged to take hundreds of Chicagoans on the 14-hour trip to D.C., but more may have to be added given the incredible response activists have encountered so far.Back to the top
Northeast--In Burlington, Vt., about 45 people attended a teach-in organized by Students for Global Justice at the University of Vermont on September 6. At Brown University, 20 people attended the first Students for Global Justice meeting. Classes have just begun at UMass-Amherst, where students are organizing their first teach-in.
Activists with the group Essential Action will appear in several cities in the Northeast, including Providence, R.I., on September 16, Burlington on September 18 and Amherst on September 19.
Visit www.essentialaction.org.Back to the top
South--In Atlanta, activists in Mobilization for Global Justice have planned five teach-ins to prepare for the D.C. protests. The first North Carolina planning meeting for the IMF/World Bank protests brought together 40 people who are helping to coordinate buses to travel to D.C.Back to the top
San Francisco--Bay Area activists are bringing the protests against the IMF and World Bank meetings in Washington, D.C., home. In "10 Days of Action" leading up to a convergence protest on September 30 in solidarity with demonstrators in D.C, groups here plan to fight the local faces of corporate greed.
Their targets include the Alameda County Supervisors, who want to build one of the largest juvenile prisons in the country, and the Marriott Hotel, where workers are fighting for a union contract.
Activists plan to take their solidarity march on several stops that highlight the fight against global corporate greed--Bechtel and Chevron headquarters--and local struggles that the movement can build upon--PG&E headquarters and the Sony Metreon Theaters, the site of a recent police murder.
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Dao Tran, Geoff Bailey, Kirstin Roberts, Ashley Smith and Rebecca Weston contributed to this report.