Endorse the Anti-Capitalist Call for WEF Protests: http://www.ainfos.ca/01/nov/ainfos00506.html
US, GLOBALIZING JUSTICE: A Call for a National Student Mobilization Against the WEF: http://www.ainfos.ca/01/dec/ainfos00281.html
US, NY + Washington + [pga] WEF call to Action - list of endorsers: http://www.ainfos.ca/01/dec/ainfos00201.html
to meet on Feb. 2 amid swirl of protest
Transporting more bankers and industrialists to Manhattan is like hauling coals to Newcastle. But the annual meeting of the World Economic will draw 1,000 financial, corporate and media magnates, and a bevy of heads of state to the luxurious Waldorf-Astoria Hotel here on Jan. 31-Feb. 5.
And a storm of protest is gathering to confront them.
The WEF is a giant annual think tank to discuss, promote and plan capitalist expansion worldwide. The 1,000 corporations that fund the read like a Who's Who of big business.
"Annual Meeting Partners" include American Airlines, Deutsche Bank, Lehman Brothers, Mastercard International, Morgan Stanley, Nestle, PepsiCo, Pfizer, Sara Lee Corporation and Unilever.
"Strategic Partners" include Audi, The Boeing Corporation, Cisco Systems, The Coca Cola Company, Compaq Computer Corporation, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Goldman Sachs, IBM, Investcorp, Merck, Merrill Lynch, Microsoft Corporation, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Reuters, Sun Microsystems and Volkswagen.
For 30 years these WEF tycoons and their political and academic hangers-on met in Davos, Switzerland - the highest city in Europe - a posh, picturesque ski resort perched atop the Swiss Alps. And every year, this elite group tried to hold a quiet, respectable meeting in which they could discuss the forward thrust of capitalist globalization.
What better base from which to discuss such an unpopular subject than Davos, which is a tactical nightmare for those who oppose capitalism and its twin crimes of wealth and poverty. One single road leads up to the mountain resort. But annually dissenters still made their way into the high, thin altitude of wealth, power and privilege.
Last year, 3,000 police and army troops sealed off the ski resort tighter than a steel drum. Every access to the mountain was cut off. Pre-emptive deportations and arrests, suspended train service, police checkpoints, steel gates, helicopters, water cannons, bales of barbed wire, tear gas, truncheons, computer-coded badges - all the weapons of repression were securely in place.
But all the king's horses and men - and a heavy snowstorm - couldn't silence the voices of anti-capitalist activists. Protests erupted in Davos and in Zurich and other cities in which activists were stranded. Hundreds appeared in Davos and managed to get within 500 yards of the Congress Center where the WEF meeting was underway. Many held signs that read: "Justice, not profits!"
The hundreds of protesters who made their way through all the obstacles set up to keep them away from the WEF delivered their message loudly and clearly to the tony crowd in black tie that nervously sipped Moet-Chandon Champagne at a late-night soiree in the Congress Center last year.
This year they'd like to avoid the voices and demands of protesters. And so after 30 years these barons of banking and industry are making their way down the mountain to meet on the island of Manhattan.
New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and New York State Gov. George Pataki welcome the moguls. They've both told the media this is a show of support and confidence in the city after the Sept. 11 disaster in the heart of the financial center.
Professor Klaus Schwab, president of the WEF, says they'll have "Davos in New York." Opponents of capitalism and its global expansion are working hard to make Schwab's words prophetic.
Activist calendars are already highlighted for a mass march and rally to confront the WEF on Park Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets on Feb. 2. International ANSWER has called the midtown, anti-WEF demonstration.
All across the country people of all ages and nationalities, sexes and genders, abilities and sexualities are organizing to catch a ride in a car, hop the train or a bus, or board a plane to come to Manhattan and raise their voices and their clenched fists.
From the West Coast, the San Francisco Labor Council, AFL-CIO, has endorsed the mass march in New York on Feb. 2.
On Feb. 1, a teach-in will focus on U.S. war in the Middle East, defense of civil liberties, immigrant rights, corporate-centered globalization, domestic economic policies and alternative visions from the progressive communities. The event will take place at the Community Church on 35th Street between Park and Madison beginning at 9 a.m.
The coalition - Act Now to Stop War and End Racism - was forged in the heat of impending Pentagon war and racist attacks following the World Trade Center tragedy on Sept. 11. The newly formed coalition brought more than 20,000 people from many nationalities and walks of life to Washington, D.C., on Sept. 29 who agreed that war and racism and attacks on civil liberties were not the answer to the 9-11 attacks. Today, ANSWER has the support of more than 500 organizations and prominent individuals and has scores of organizing centers across the country.
And while ANSWER is organizing resistance in New York City, the World Social plans a gathering of tens of thousands of people from around the world in Porto Alegre, Brazil, to discuss alternative visions to the WEF agenda.
The WEF will intellectualize and philosophize its justification for the two fronts of the U.S. war - aggression against the people of Afghanistan and the Middle East and racist mass detentions and eradication of civil liberties in this country. Champagne corks will discretely pop over corporate tax cuts - welfare for the already well off.
How dare they come to celebrate their victories on the battlefield or in the workplace in this of all cities, activists demand to know. They aren't welcome here, march and rally organizers make clear.
The poor of this and so many other cities in the United States have been driven out of their jobs and homes, and off the bare subsistence of welfare, by the relentless drive for corporate and banking profits. As the rich roll into town in their stretch limos and BMW's, some of their economic victims may be watching the spectacle from the sidewalks they are forced to live on.
"Since Sept. 11, hundreds of thousands of workers from the airline industry have lost their jobs," the ANSWER call reads in part. "Unemployment and mass layoffs are now sweeping through all sectors of the U.S. economy. The corporate and banking elites that dominate the U.S. government have crafted legislation and emergency aid to bail out corporate investors and insurance companies, while providing little assistance to working people who have lost their income and are now facing evictions, foreclosures and deepening poverty."
The International ANSWER coalition is calling for jobs, health care and education. And the coalition call stresses, "Immigrants and those who are struggling against the corporate agenda are in for a double whammy as Attorney General Ashcroft curtails basic civil liberties and constitutional rights. Today the attacks are against immigrants - incarceration without charges and racial profiling. Tomorrow the target will be U.S. citizens, as Ashcroft pushes to legalize surveillance of religious and political groups."
And very prominently, this anti-WEF mobilization calls for an end to the U.S. wars against the people of Afghanistan and the Middle East.
What does the anti-globalization movement and anti-war forces have in common? Imperialism. U.S. imperialism to be more precise.
From the emergence of the anti-globalization movement out of the clouds of tear gas in Seattle in 1999, militant youth activists fighting against the worst corporate crimes against the workers of the world and the environment have found themselves shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of union workers demanding the same kind of economic and social justice. And these many anti-capitalist frontline battles - from D.C. to Davos to Austria to Genoa - took place during a period in which the U.S. economy was still on an upswing, riding high on profits extracted like blood from the world's laboring class.
But today's battles take place in a new political climate shaped by deepening world capitalist recession. The just battle against the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the World Trade Organization is inextricably bound to the fight against U.S. military aggression around the world and repression at home.
The cry of "free trade!" is in reality a demand by U.S. finance capital for untrammeled access to the land, labor and resources of the world. The aim of globalization is to break down any barriers that stand in the way of that goal.
The IMF, World Bank and WTO are the vehicles. U.S. capital is behind the wheel. And the Pentagon rides shotgun.
Thomas Friedman, a leading mouthpiece for U.S. imperial power, described that symbiotic relationship very eloquently in his March 28 New York Times column just four days after the start of the 1999 NATO bombing war against Yugoslavia.
"For globalization to work," he wrote, "America can't be afraid to act like the almighty superpower that it is. The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15, and the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley's technology is called the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps."
That's why the movement resisting U.S. economic domination of the planet must also resist its wars of aggression and intervention. The anti-Pentagon demands of the movement cannot be viewed as tacked on, as side issues.
The ANSWER call puts opposition to the U.S. war drive front and center. "Internationally, the Bush administration wages war in Afghanistan and encourages expanded war in Palestinian territories," the Feb. 2 leaflet emphasizes. "Now Bush is preparing the public for prolonged war in Iraq and perhaps other nations. The deaths of thousands of civilians in the Middle East, both from direct military action and the resulting refugee crisis, is nothing short of state-sponsored terrorism."
As the U.S. war to win hegemony over a sea of oil in Central Asia appears to wind down, it becomes clearer to many in the movement that the U.S. "proxy" war against the Palestinians is becoming bloodier every day. There are no sidelines in this battle. Those who oppose predatory U.S. globalization must stand up against the war that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is waging against the Palestine liberation struggle with the political, military and economic support of the White House, Wall Street and the Pentagon.
Arab and Muslim peoples see that the bombs that blow up Palestinians and their villages are made in the U.S.A. The illegal economic sanctions against Iraq that have taken the lives of hundreds of thousands are led by the United States. Pentagon generals take center stage in news briefings to name Somalia, Sudan, North Korea, the Philippines or Colombia as possible next targets in this "endless" war.
The forces against the economic and social crimes of capitalism must meld with those who oppose its military might to achieve those ends.
The inequities of the world trade system grow out of inequalities in the ownership of the mighty tools of production, transportation and communication. The answer is not going back to laissez-faire capitalism. That's about as possible as rolling back the clock from old age to teenage.
Globalization has merely expanded the network of socialized labor. If the vast web of working people who built and operate the levers of the economy take them over, they can use them to produce what people need, not to enrich the good old boys who today call the shots at the WEF, WTO, IMF and World Bank. Ultimately, really fair trade depends on eradicating unfair private ownership of all that has been produced with collective sweat and labor.
Globalization of a planned, socialized economy that meets the needs, wants and desires of the many who do the work of the world every day is the answer. And Feb. 2 will be a powerful effort in the struggle to birth that better world.
Emanzipation Humanum, version 12. 2001, criticism, suggestions as to form and content, dialogue, translation into other languages are all desired