============================================================================ From: "Janet M Eaton" <•••@••.•••> To: •••@••.••• Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000 22:27:37 +0000 Subject: Starhawk on IMF/WB " Why we're going to DC" -----Original Message----- From: Starhawk [mailto:•••@••.•••] Sent: Monday, April 10, 2000 11:15 PM To: •••@••.•••; •••@••.•••; •••@••.•••; •••@••.•••; •••@••.••• Subject: [RWTO] Why we're going to DC www.reclaiming.org/starhawk/ Cutting Down the Pines: Why We're Taking Action Against the World Bank and IMF By Starhawk For the native tribes of California, pine nuts have always been an important delicacy. Not so long ago, their ripening was an occasion of celebration. Young men of the tribe would earn great honor and praise for their skill and daring by climbing to the top of the tall trees and shaking the branches to knock the cones down. During the Gold Rush, it often happened that a European-American man would marry a Native woman. When pine nut season came around, she might ask her husband to gather some. Let1s say that he was a kind and thoughtful husband, who loved her and wanted to please her, but that he was ignorant of the ways of her people and no longer young, daring, nor patient enough to climb the trees and shake the branches. Instead, he would simply cut down a pine tree. When pines were plentiful and settlers were few, this might seem like a rational thing to do. At first, in fact, it might create an enormous sense of abundance and prosperity. The woman might have more pine nuts than she1d ever had before<for a while. But in time, if this practice continued, the pines would be gone and the pine nuts would be no more. We are going to Washington DC this week because we see the globalized, corporatized economy cutting down the pines all around us. In the United States, we are surrounded by an illusory abundance that creates great wealth for a few, but it is the economy of the clearcut, that destroys the resources we should be cherishing. Globally, poverty and hunger deepen as corporate profits rise. Almost two billion people worldwide live in abject poverty. The lives, the cultures, and the lands of indigenous people are being destroyed in the name of development as surely as the pine trees were cut by the settlers. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are major architects of this situation. In the 70's, they loaned money to Third World countries for massive projects that enriched political elites and multinational corporations while providing little for the less privileged. In the 80's, when many countries could not repay those loans, the World Bank and IMF pushed them deeper into the cycle of debt with "Structural Adjustment" programs that forced countries to refocus their economies on exports and debt repayment instead of food and goods to meet their own needs. Poor countries were made to reduce spending on education and health care in order to continue paying billions and billions of dollars in interest to wealthy countries. UNICEF and UN Economic Commission for Africa figures show that six million children under the age of five die each year as a result of these policies. In the developed world, we feast among the fallen pines with a growing sense of uneasiness. We have seen the health of our own communities and economies compromised as job after job is lost to lands where pay is negligible and health and environmental standards unenforced. We see family farms lost, ancient forests cut down, wild lands and open spaces paved. The interests of trans-national corporations undermine our democracy and widen the chasms of wealth and power that more and more divide us. We are going to Washington this week to say that this system is wrong. It is unjust, unbalanced, unsustainable, and it causes untold suffering. We cannot challenge these institutions through our government because our democratic institutions are corrupted by the interests of corporate wealth. We have no recourse but the streets, no alternative but action. The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization and the system they represent will not change from any one action. But they will and must transform or go down in the face of the rising social movement these actions represent. They will change when we all begin to ask dangerous questions. Some of us will ask these questions loudly in the streets of Washington, DC. But all of us can begin to ask these questions in our workplaces, our offices, the places where we buy the goods we need and shop for the things we enjoy: Are the people who produce the tools of my trade, my food, clothing and luxuries paid a living wage? Are their health and safety protected? Are their children well educated? Can they afford to buy the products they produce? What is the true cost of this work, this product, this toy to the soil? The waters? The air? The complex and irreplaceable habitats of this earth? The health of our communities? Who pays that cost, and in what coin? Money? Cancer? Extinction? Who profits? If we face these questions, we can begin to build an economy of true abundance. The sustainability and stability of our increasingly global economy can only come from wealth widely and fairly shared. An economy of true abundance will favor the small and diverse over the monolithic, hold corporations and individuals accountable for the true costs of what they produce, favor renewable energy and insist on the preservation and recycling of resources. The health of that system will be measured in the health of our communities, our soil, our waters, our air, of the habitats of the earth1s diverse creatures. It will be seen in the pride of workers who can afford to buy what they produce, whose children are free to learn, whose lives include leisure and beauty and freedom. And it will be the source of a global creativity that may enrich all of our lives in ways we cannot foresee. If we cherish the pines, they will produce nuts that we can enjoy now and in future generations. If we continue to cut them down, we will soon have no more. (Please feel free to send this on and to post it. If you do post or publish it, please refer people to my website at www.reclaiming.org/starhawk/ and do let me know where it ends up.) A Short Reading List On Global Economics Danaher, Kevin, ed. Fifty Years is Enough: The Case Against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund Boston: South End Press, 1994 Jacobs, Jane. The Nature of Economies. Korten, David. When Corporations Rule the World. Mander, Jerry, ed. The Case Against the Global Economy. Shiva, Vandana. Stolen Harvest. Websites And Resources: For information on the upcoming actions against the World Bank/IMF in Washington DC on April 16: www.a16.org www.50years.org Public Citizen, 1600 20th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009-1001 (800) 289-3787 www.citizen.org Global Exchange 415-558-9486 ext. 254. www.globalexchange.org Jubilee 2000, 222 East Capitol St. N.E., Washington, DC 20003 (202) 783-3566 www.j2000usa.org (Primarily religious groups mobilized worldwide to cancel the debt to the poorest countries in the world by the end of the year 2000.) Independent Media Center www.indymedia.org (These folks were at the heart of the WTO demonstrations, putting movies, photos, interviews and stories out on the web as they happened, and will also cover the A16 action) Bioneers Conference A great gathering of people exploring alternative technologies and economic strategies held in year in the SF Bay Area. Tapes available. 826 Camino De Monte Rey, A6 Santa Fe, NM 87505 505-986-0366 www.bioneers.org Interhemispheric Resource Center, PO Box 4506, Albuquerque, NM 87196-4506 (505) 842-8288 •••@••.••• (These folks publish many wonderful books such as: Global Focus: A New Foreign Policy Agenda by Tom Barry and Martha Honey) Abya Yala Fund for Indigenous Self-Development 678-13th Street, Suite 100, Oakland, CA 94612 (510) 763-6553 Shortcut URL to this page: http://www.onelist.com/group/RWTO ============================================================================ Richard K Moore Wexford, Ireland 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. ============================================================================ .