============================================================================ 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 Research. 4. The IMF helped create and worsen the Asian financial crisis. 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 masse. 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 destruction." 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 1999! 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 displacement." 11. The World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC) provides corporate welfare for environmentally destructive projects. 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 destructive. 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 resistance. 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, http://www.corporatepredators.org) (c) Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman _______________________________________________ Focus on the Corporation is a weekly column written by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman. Please feel free to forward the column to friends or repost the column on other lists. If you would like to post the column on a web site or publish it in print format, we ask that you first contact us (•••@••.••• or •••@••.•••). Focus on the Corporation is distributed to individuals on the listserve •••@••.•••. To subscribe to corp-focus, send an e-mail message to •••@••.••• with the text: subscribe Focus on the Corporation columns are posted at <http://www.corporatepredators.org>. Postings on corp-focus are limited to the columns. If you would like to comment on the columns, send a message to •••@••.••• or •••@••.•••. ============================================================================ 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 decision. - 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 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 represents. 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 peoples. 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 governments. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= 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: Australia Friends of the Earth Chile Programa Chile Sustentable Fundacion Sociedades Sustentables Finland Finnish NGO Campaign on WTO Friends of the Earth Finland Finnish Association of World Shops The Communist Party of Finland Socialist Association France Droits devant!! Ecoropa Institut pour la relocalisation de l'économie Observatoire de la mondialisation Holland Corporate Europe Observatory Towards a Different Europe Japan Friends of the Earth Japan Malaysia Third World Network New Zealand Friends of the Earth Phillippines Legal rights and Natural Resources Center-Kasama sa Kalikasan/Friends of the Earth Philippines Ibon Foundation Bayan-Phillippines (New Patriotic Alliance) UK Friends of the Earth (England, Wales and North Ireland) U.S. 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 represents. 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 list) ------------- End Forwarded Message ------------- ============================================================================ Richard K Moore Wexford, Irleand Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance email: •••@••.••• CDR website: http://cyberjournal.org cyberjournal archive: http://members.xoom.com/centrexnews/ book in progress: http://cyberjournal.org/cdr/gri.html A community will evolve only when the people control their means of communication. -- Frantz Fanon Permission for non-commercial republishing hereby granted - BUT include and observe all restrictions, copyrights, credits, and notices - including this one. ============================================================================ .