rn> A Dozen Reasons to Come to DC for April 16


Richard Moore

Delivered-To: •••@••.•••
Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2000 17:58:13 -0400 (EDT)
From: Robert Weissman <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: [corp-focus] A Dozen Reasons to Come to DC for April 16

A Dozen Reasons to Come to DC for April 16
By Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman

The next citizen showdown against corporate globalization
will be on April 16 and 17, when thousands of people come to
Washington, D.C. to protest -- through legal demonstrations
and/or civil disobedience -- the politics of the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. For
details on events, see www.a16.org. Here's a dozen reasons
why you should join the protests:

1. IMF/World Bank structural adjustment programs have
increased poverty around the world.

Structural adjustment -- the standard IMF/World Bank policy
package which calls for slashing government spending,
privatization, and opening up countries to exploitative
foreign investment, among other measures -- has deepened
poverty around the world. In the two regions with the most
structural adjustment experience, per capita income has
stagnated (Latin America) or plummeted (Africa). Structural
adjustment has also contributed to rising income and wealth
inequality in the developing world.

2. IMF/World Bank "debt relief" for poor and indebted
countries is a sham.

Many poor countries must devote huge portions of their
national budgets to paying back foreign creditors -- often
for loans that were made to or for dictators, wasteful
military spending or boondoggle projects. The money used to
pay back debt subtracts from essential expenditures on
health, education, infrastructure and other important needs.

The IMF/World Bank plan to relieve poor countries' debt
burden will leave most poor countries paying nearly as much
as they currently do. And all of the debt relief is
conditioned on countries undergoing years of closely
monitored structural adjustment.

3. The IMF has helped foster a severe depression in Russia.

Russia in the 1990s has witnessed a peacetime economic
contraction of unprecedented scale -- with the number of
Russians in poverty rising from 2 million to 60 million
since the IMF came to post-Communist Russia. The IMF's
"shock therapy" -- sudden and intense structural adjustment
-- helped bring about this disaster. "In retrospect, it's
hard to see what could have been done wrong that wasn't,"
says Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy

4. The IMF helped create and worsen the Asian financial

The IMF encouraged Asian countries to open their borders to
"hot money" -- speculative finance invested in currency,
stocks and short-term securities. That was an invitation to
trouble. The Asian financial crisis resulted from the hot
money brokers' herdlike decision to leave Asian countries en

Once the crisis hit, the IMF made things worse by requiring
structural adjustment as a condition for IMF loans. The
result was a surge in bankruptcies, layoffs and poverty. In
Indonesia, poverty rates rose from an official level of 11
percent to 40 to 60 percent, depending on the estimate. At
one point, Indonesia's food shortage became so severe that
then-President Habibie implored citizens to fast twice a
week. Many had no choice.

5. The IMF bails out big banks.

The IMF bailouts in Asia, like those in Russia and Mexico,
directed money to those countries largely for the purpose of
paying off loans to foreign banks. Thanks to the IMF, the
banks escaped significant losses for imprudent lending
decisions. Citigroup, Chase Manhattan and J.P. Morgan were
among the beneficiaries of the "Korean" bailout.

6. IMF/World Bank structural adjustment programs devastate
the environment.

Structural adjustment demands an increase in exports and
foreign exchange earnings. As a result, explains Friends of
the Earth, "Countries often over-exploit their resources
through unsustainable forestry, mining and agricultural
practices that generate pollution and environmental

7. IMF/World Bank structural adjustment programs contribute
to the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Here's how Dr. Peter Lurie and collaborators explained the
problem in the journal AIDS: The displacement of the rural
sector under structural adjustment programs -- as imports
undermine local farmers and the shift to large-scale
plantations for exports further displaces the rural
population -- contributes to migration and urbanization.
Many men leave rural villages for work in big cities or in
mines, contract HIV/AIDS from casual sex partners or sex
workers, and then spread the disease to spouses in their
home village. The displacement of children and young women
into the cities has led to a sharp increase in commercial
sex work and heightened rates of HIV/AIDS.

8. IMF/World Bank structural adjustment programs harm women.

Cuts in budget spending, mandated by structural adjustment
programs, leave women to pick up the pieces -- with
government services eliminated, women are forced to provide
informal social supports for the sick and disabled. The
IMF/Bank emphasis on exports has pushed women farmers to
switch from growing food for family consumption to crops for
exports -- and left them poorer in the process. The high
interest rates associated with structural adjustment have
made credit less accessible, undermining the viability of
small women-owned businesses.

9. IMF/World Bank structural adjustment programs and Bank
project loans have led to deforestation worldwide.

The export orientation demanded by structural adjustment
policies has led to more forest cutting. And World Bank
forest sector loans to countries around the world have done
nothing to improve the situation.

"Although the [1991 Bank Forest] policy had dual objectives
of conservation of tropical moist forests and tree planting
to meet the basic needs of the poor, Bank influence on
containing rates of deforestation of tropical moist forests
has been negligible in the 20 countries with the most
threatened tropical moist forests." Who said that? The World
Bank's own Operations Evaluation Department, in November

10. World Bank policies have displaced millions of people
around the world.

World Bank loans for dams and major infrastructure projects
routinely require removal of massive numbers of people from
their homes and destruction of their communities. In
addition to the emotional hardship of leaving their land,
the displaced people almost always find their quality of
life diminished after the move. The Bank itself agrees. A
1994 report from the World Bank's Environmental Department
found that, "Declines in post relocation incomes are
sometimes significant, in certain cases reaching as much as
40 percent for people who were poor even before their

11. The World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC)
provides corporate welfare for environmentally destructive

The IFC finances and provides advice for private sector
ventures and projects in developing countries in partnership
with private investors. Among its private sector partners:
ExxonMobil, BP, Coca-Cola, Kimberly-Clark and Marriott.
There's no reason for a public development institution,
supposedly working to fight poverty, to lend its support to
these well-endowed multinationals. Making matters worse,
many of the private sector projects supported by the IFC,
especially in the oil and gas sector, are environmentally

12. April 16 is a chance to make history.

While massive protests against IMF and World Bank policies
are commonplace in the developing world -- from Jordan to
Indonesia, Venezuela to Zambia -- the IMF and World Bank are
not accountable to populations in those countries. In
contrast, there has never been a demonstration of more than
a few hundred people to challenge IMF and Bank policy in the
United States -- the largest and most influential
shareholder in the institutions.

That's going to change on April 16. The thousands of people
who will attend the April 16 protests will forever change
the political context of debates on IMF and the World Bank
-- the best hope for billions in the developing world who
have been subjected to the IMF and Bank's brutal policies
with no recourse.

Special bonus reason to come to D.C.: With large puppets,
colorful pagaentry, militant protests, Emcee Michael Moore
at the legal demonstration on the Ellipse, and lots of great
music, the protests will be a fun-filled festival of

Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based
Corporate Crime Reporter. Robert Weissman is editor of the
Washington, D.C.-based Multinational Monitor, and
co-director of Essential Action, one of the sponsors of the
April 16 Mobilization for Global Justice. Mokhiber and
Weissman are co-authors of Corporate Predators: The Hunt for
MegaProfits and the Attack on Democracy (Monroe, Maine:
Common Courage Press, 1999,


(c) Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman


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Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2000 12:33:44 -0700 (PDT)
From: Joe Ferguson <•••@••.•••>
Subject: WTO - Shrink or Sink! The Turn Around Agenda
To: •••@••.•••

Hi Richard,

In case you aren't on Public Citizen's list, I thought you
might be interested in this.  I know it differs from your
perspective in that it is 'reformist' rather than
revolutionary, but I think it's part of a powerful
coalition-building process, which may be more important at
this stage than trying to make the reform-or-start-over

- Joe

------------- Begin Forwarded Message -------------

Date: Wed, 05 Apr 2000 11:47:32 -0400
From: "Margrete Strand Rangnes" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: WTO - Shrink or Sink! The Turn Around Agenda
Mime-Version: 1.0
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

- please distribute widely. Apologies for crosspostings -

After civil society and activists from around the world
scored the fantastic victory in Seattle against the World
Trade Organization (WTO) last year, the question we have all
been asked is "where do we go from here?" How do we continue
to build on and expand the momentum that we enjoy, and how
do we broaden the movement and bring more people and
organizations into it?

Last year we rallied under the slogan "No New Round - Turn
Around." The international sign-on letter demanding a
moratorium on further trade and investment negotiations
through the WTO had more than 1500 groups signed on to it by
the time of the Ministerial.

People representing a variety of country-based campaigns
worldwide came together in March to strategize and discuss
next steps. Like everyone, we were eager to find a way to
discuss "next steps" with international allies. When we
heard that several of the activists highly involved over the
past three years in the campaigns against the Multilateral
Agreement on Investment (MAI) and WTO   -- from India,
Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Chile, Europe -- were coming to
the US for several other overlapping meetings, we reached
out to colleagues from other countries -- Philippines,
Cameroon, Ghana, France, Ecuador, Japan, New Zealand --
which were active in these past campaigns but would
otherwise not be in the U.S. at that time.

At this strategy meeting, a consensus document -- inspired
by the success of the "No New Round, Turnaround" letter --
was created with the goal of launching a new international
NGO campaign. The document, attached & included in the body
of the e-mail, is called: "WTO - Shrink or Sink! The Turn
Around Agenda."

As with last year's successful international campaign, the
"WTO - Shrink or Sink!" campaign aims to incorporate the
approaches and issues of a variety of organizations and
networks. It offers a fundamental critique of the WTO and
the system of corporate managed trade that we are currently
living under, and sets forth a set of demands on our
governments to roll-back the power and authority of the WTO.

The idea is to pass this statement around and build up an
even larger and more diverse list of signatories than
previous statements. With thanks to Friends of the Earth
International for taking on this function last time, Public
Citizen's Global Trade Watch has agreed (at least for now)
to take responsibility for collecting the names of the
groups who sign on. Some of the groups that helped draft the
statement have already signed it, and we are hoping for many
many more! All we are doing is keeping track of the names,
so it is on everyone who gets this email to spread it around
and find groups to sign on.

We should set an international Day of Action (for later this
spring/summer) to launch the campaign with press events,
teach-ins, demonstrations, etc. in cities and capitals
around the world, similar to the September 15, 1999 Days of
Action on the WTO around the world.

Here are the details for how an organization can sign the

1) This is an organizational sign-on letter only. We will
not be adding individuals to it.

2) In the subject line type  in "Shrink or Sink signatory"

3) In the body of the e-mail list the organization and
country (contact information such as address, phone & fax is
also appreciated) that you are signing on. Those who wish
should also mention how many people the organization

4) Send the e-mail to •••@••.•••

5) You can also sign the letter by going to
www.tradewatch.org - click on WTO on the globe.

We will be sending out regular updates with the signatories.
Please circulate this amongst your colleagues and networks.


WTO - Shrink or Sink!
The Turn Around Agenda

It's time to turn trade around. In November 1999, the World
Trade Organization's (WTO) Third Ministerial Meeting in
Seattle collapsed in spectacular fashion, in the face of
unprecedented protest from people and governments around the
world. We believe it is essential to use this moment as an
opportunity to change course and develop an alternative,
humane, democratically accountable and sustainable system of
commerce that benefits all. This process entails rolling
back the power and authority of the WTO.

The GATT Uruguay Round Agreements and the establishment of
the WTO were proclaimed as a means of enhancing the creation
of global wealth and prosperity and promoting the well-being
of all people in all member states. In reality, however, The
WTO has contributed to the concentration of wealth in the
hands of the rich few; increasing poverty for the majority
of the world's peoples, especially in third world countries;
and unsustainable patterns of production and consumption.

The WTO and GATT Uruguay Round Agreements have functioned
principally to pry open markets for the benefit of
transnational corporations at the expense of national and
local economies; workers, farmers, indigenous peoples, women
and other social groups; health and safety; the environment;
and animal welfare. In addition, the WTO system, rules and
procedures are undemocratic, un-transparent and
non-accountable and have operated to marginalize the
majority of the world's people.

All this has taken place in the context of increasing global
instability, the collapse of national economies, growing
inequity both between and within nations and increasing
environmental and social degradation, as a result of the
acceleration of the process of corporate globalization.

The governments which dominate the WTO, especially the
United States, the European Union, Japan and Canada, and the
transnational corporations which have benefitted from the
WTO system have refused to recognize and address these
problems. They are still intent on further liberalization,
including through the expansion of the WTO, promoting free
trade as a goal in itself.  In reality, however, free trade
is anything but "free".

The time has come to acknowledge the crises of the
international trading system and its main administering
institution, the WTO. We need to replace this old, unfair
and oppressive trade system with a new, socially just and
sustainable trading framework for the 21st Century.

We need to protect cultural, biological, economic and social
diversity; introduce progressive policies to prioritize
local economies and trade; secure internationally recognized
economic, cultural, social and labor rights; and reclaim the
sovereignty of peoples and national and sub-national
democratic decision-making processes.  In order to do this,
we need new rules based on the principles of democratic
control of resources, ecological sustainability, equity,
cooperation and precaution.


In light of the above, we make the following demands of our governments:

No WTO expansion
We reiterate our opposition to continued attempts to launch
a new round or expand the WTO by bringing in new issues such
as investment, competition, government procurement,
biotechnology and accelerated tariff liberalization.

WTO Hands off: Protect Basic Social Rights and Needs
It is inappropriate and unacceptable for social rights and
basic needs to be constrained by WTO rules. Thus WTO
Agreements must not apply to issues critical to human or
planetary welfare, such as food and water, basic social
services, health and safety, and animal protection.
Inappropriate encroachment by trade rules in such areas has
already resulted in campaigns on genetically modified
organisms, old growth forests, domestically prohibited goods
and predatory tobacco marketing.

Gut GATS: Protect Basic Social Services
In particular, areas such as health, education, energy and
other basic human services must not be subject to
international free trade rules. In the WTO General Agreement
on Services (GATS), the principle of "progressive
liberalization" and the implications of foreign investment
in service sectors has already led to severe problems.

Take TRIPS Out: Restore National Patent Protection Systems
We demand the removal of the Trade Related Intellectual
Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS) from the WTO. There is no
basis for inclusion of intellectual property claims in a
trade agreement. Additionally, the TRIPS agreement promotes
monopoly by transnational corporations; prevents access to
essential medicines and other goods; leads to private
appropriation of knowledge and life forms; undermines
biodiversity; and keeps poorer countries from increasing
their levels of social and economic welfare and developing
their technological capacity.
No Patents on Life
The patenting of life forms must be prohibited in all
national and international regimes.
Food is a Basic Human Right
Measures taken to promote and protect food security and
sovereignty, subsistence farming, humane farming practices
and sustainable agriculture must be exempt from
international free trade rules. There must be a prohibition
on export subsidies and other forms of dumping of
agricultural products, especially on third world countries.
The trading system must not undermine the livelihood of
peasants, small farmers, artesinal fishers and indigenous
No Investment Liberalization
The WTO Trade Related Investment Measures (TRIMS) Agreement
must be eliminated.  All countries and especially third
world countries must have the right to use policy options
(such as local content policy) to increase the capacity of
their own productive sectors, especially small and medium
enterprises. Obviously, the TRIMS review must not be used to
extend the investment issue in WTO.
Fair Trade: Special and Differential Treatment
Special and differential rights for third world countries
must be recognized, expanded, and operationalized in the
world trading system. This is to take into account the weak
position of third world countries in the international
trading system. Without the enforcement of special and
differential rights, there can be no possibility of third
world countries benefitting from world trade.
Prioritize Agreements on Social Rights and the Environment
Actions taken to implement multilateral agreements dealing
with the environment, health, development, human rights,
safety, indigenous peoples' rights, food security, women's
rights, workers' rights and animal welfare cannot be
challenged at or undermined by the WTO.
Democratize Decision-Making
People must have the right to self-determination and the
right to know and decide on international commercial
commitments. Among other things, this requires that
decision-making processes in negotiations and enforcement at
international commercial bodies be democratic, transparent
and inclusive. The WTO operates in a secretive, exclusionary
manner that shuts out most third world country Members and
the public. It is dominated by a few powerful governments
acting on behalf of their corporate elites.

Dispute the System
The WTO dispute settlement system is unacceptable. It
enforces an illegitimate system of unfair rules and operates
with undemocratic procedures. It also usurps the rulemaking
and legislative role of sovereign nations and local


A socially just international trade system will also require
change outside the WTO. Given the attacks by multinational
corporations and governments on basic workers rights; the
reversal of the gains of workers' struggles; the undermining
of job security; and the race-to-the-bottom in wages,
workers rights must be strengthened worldwide.

Also, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and
the regional development banks must write off 100% of the
debts owed to them by poor countries.  The use of structural
adjustment conditionality to force trade liberalization in
third world countries and elsewhere must be stopped.
Governments must negotiate, through the UN system and with
full democratic participation, a binding agreement to ensure
that corporate conduct is socially and environmentally
responsible and democratically accountable.

Conclusions and Consequences

We are committed to a sustainable, socially just and
democratically accountable trade system. Thus, as a first
step, we demand that our governments implement the changes
listed in this document in order to roll back the power and
authority of the WTO and turn trade around. 

We commit ourselves to mobilize people within our countries
to fight for these demands and to defy the unjust policies
of the WTO. We will also support other people and countries
who do so with international solidarity campaigns.

We pledge to carry the Spirit of Seattle around the world.

Signed by:

Friends of the Earth 

Programa Chile Sustentable  
Fundacion Sociedades Sustentables 

Finnish NGO Campaign on WTO  
Friends of the Earth Finland  
Finnish Association of World Shops  
The Communist Party of Finland  
Socialist Association 

Droits devant!!  
Institut pour la relocalisation de l'économie   
Observatoire de la mondialisation 

Corporate Europe Observatory   
Towards a Different Europe 

Friends of the Earth Japan  

Third World Network 

New Zealand
Friends of the Earth 

Legal rights and Natural Resources Center-Kasama sa
Kalikasan/Friends of the Earth Philippines   Ibon
Foundation   Bayan-Phillippines (New Patriotic Alliance) 

Friends of the Earth (England, Wales and North Ireland) 

Animal Welfare Institute  
Alliance for Democracy  
Bay Area Jubilee 2000 Coalition  
Center for Economic Policy and Research  
Economic Justice Now  
Economic Justice Now Africa Committee  
Friends of the Earth  
Humane Society, U.S.  
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy   
Public Citizen  
Society of Animal Protective Legislation   
United for a Fair Economy 

How an organization can sign the letter:

1) This is an organizational sign-on letter only. We will
not be adding individuals to it.

2) In the subject line type  in "Shrink or Sink signatory"

3) In the body of the e-mail list the organization and
country (contact information such as address, phone & fax is
also appreciated) that you are signing on. Those who wish
should also mention how many people the organization

4) Send the e-mail to •••@••.•••

5) You can also sign the letter by going to
www.tradewatch.org - click on WTO on
the globe.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this
material is distributed without profit to those who have
expressed a prior interest in receiving the included
information for research and educational purposes.

Margrete Strand Rangnes
Senior Organizer
Public Citizen Global Trade Watch
215 Pennsylvania Ave, SE
Washington DC, 20003 USA
+ 202-454-5106
+ 202-547 7392 (fax)

To subscribe to our MAI Mailing List, send an e-mail to
•••@••.•••, or subscribe directly by going to our
website,  www.tradewatch.org (Please indicate organizational
affiliation if any, and  also where you found out about this

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Richard K Moore
Wexford, Irleand
Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance 
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