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Protest the global fat cats

By Lee Wengraf | February 1, 2002 | Page 11

ACTIVISTS IN New York last weekend kicked off more than a week of events and actions to protest the arrival of the world's billionaires for the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Dozens of groups have endorsed the call to action to protest this corporate schmooze-fest, including Jubilee 2000, New York City Labor Against the War, Direct Action Network, School of the Americas Watch and the International Socialist Organization.

On Saturday night, poet and leading global justice activist Dennis Brutus led a panel of speakers at a forum at a West Village church. The following day, about 50 attended the New York City Social Forum, a grassroots meeting modeled after the World Social Forum at Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Many more events lie ahead:

January 30
The week's events begin Wednesday night with the International Socialist Organization's panel discussion on "War, Layoffs and Budget Cuts: Fighting Corporate Globalization After 9/11." Speakers include union and community activists, Dedrick Muhammad of Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network, and BBC investigative reporter Gregory Palast.

January 31
The next day, the AFL-CIO is sponsoring a "Working Families Economic Forum," followed by a Rally for Global Justice at a midtown Manhattan Gap store. The rally, cosponsored with Jobs with Justice, will target the Gap's notorious sweatshop conditions--with activists and unionists sending the message that the WEF's agenda is an attack on all workers.

January 31-February 1
Thursday also kicks off a two-day student counter-summit at Columbia University. Scheduled speakers include Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman, Pam Africa of International Concerned Friends and Family of Mumia Abu-Jamal, members of United for a Fair Economy and City University of New York students.

One featured roundtable discussion on "Strategies for the Movement" will be led by Canadian global justice activist Jaggi Singh, Mike Dolan of Public Citizen and Katherine Dwyer of the International Socialist Organization.

February 2
The week of activities will culminate with a march and actions on Saturday. The march will begin at the bottom of Central Park and go to several blocks from the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, site of the WEF summit. There, the plan is for marchers to choose whether they want to cross into the "frozen zone" established by New York police--to participate in direct actions.

Some activists are planning to bring pots and pans to bang at the protests--in solidarity with the people of Argentina and their mass uprisings in December.

The media and the police have been working overtime to paint protesters as "violent rioters" bent on destroying the city. But we won't be intimidated! Come out to tell the WEF that you oppose their corporate agenda.

For more information, go to on the Web.

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