rn> Starhawk: Why we’re going to DC


Richard Moore

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"  

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From: Starhawk [mailto:•••@••.•••]
Sent: Monday, April 10, 2000 11:15 PM
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Subject: [RWTO] Why we're going to DC

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:

Public Citizen,    1600 20th Street NW,  Washington, DC 20009-1001
(800) 289-3787

Global Exchange
415-558-9486 ext. 254.

Jubilee 2000,    222 East Capitol St. N.E.,  Washington, DC 20003
(202) 783-3566

    (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

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

 Abya Yala Fund for Indigenous Self-Development
 678-13th Street, Suite 100,  Oakland, CA 94612          (510) 763-6553

Shortcut URL to this page:

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

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