A Call for Unity on Economic Justice & Peace Issues
by Steve Staples
- Mobilization for Global Justice, April 9-17, Washington, D.C. & nationwide
Many of us have worked on a variety of trade issues and peace issues in the past year, and the events in Seattle and Kosovo became a wake-up call for people around the world. Next month, a series of actions taking place in Washington, D.C. and in cities across the nation is bringing trade and peace issues together in a "Mobilization for Global Justice," providing a significant opportunity to strengthen the ties between the Fair Trade and Peace movements and to broaden the "post-Seattle" coalition into a stronger unified people's movement to turn the tide of Corporate-Military Globalization.
Organized as a sequel to Seattle, the Mobilization for Global Justice coincides with the start of the Spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank in Washington. The week-long series of activities from April 9-17 features teach-ins and rallies focusing on the IMF and World Bank, the "star wars" missile defense system and the arms race in space, culminating in a rally on IMF/World Bank issues at the Treasury on April 16 and a day-long "Keep Space for Peace" vigil on the steps of the Capitol on April 17.
As we head into the first election of the new millennium, in a nation that prides itself on its ideals of democracy, with "liberty and justice for all," where "all men are created equal," the world that our "leaders" are designing looks more like a cross beween "Brave New World" and the galactic Empire of "Star Wars!"
The intertwining tentacles of corporatization, militarization and globalization were celebrated most eloquently by Thomas Friedman last March in the New York Times, when he wrote: "For globalism to work, 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 technologies is called the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps." ("What the World Needs Now," Thomas Friedman, New York Times, March 28, 1999)
The International Network on Disarmament and Globalization reports "In many respects, the WTO has marginalized the United Nations and has become the main venue for international relations and diplomacy. ... The WTO's agenda of promoting unfettered capitalism at the expense of a government's ability to control its economy for the benefit of its people contributes to poverty, human rights violations, environmental degradation - all of the root causes of war. ...
"The result is the creation of the 'global war system.' In the emerging economies of the south, corporations demand weak labour and environmental standards to extract natural resources or build goods destined for northern markets. The economic interests of transnational corporations are protected by the technologically advanced militaries of their allies in northern governments. And occasionally, 'cruise missile diplomacy' is used against a non-conforming nation." ("The WTO and War: Making the Connection", http://www.indg.org)
50 Years Is Enough describes the IMF and World Bank as "the architects of the world economy" and says that the Structural Adjustment Programs they impose on third world nations as loan conditions serve the interests of multinational corporations and business elites, while increasing poverty, suffering and starvation, decreasing access to basic services, promoting sweatshops and exploitation, devastating the environment, increasing the concentration of wealth and restricting the ability of third world governments to control their own economies. ("World Bank / IMF Fact Sheet", http://www.globalexchange.org/wbimf/facts.html)
The U.N. Development Program characterized the widening gap between rich and poor as "grotesque," but a joint statement by the U.N. and the International Chamber of Commerce called for a "Global Compact between the United Nations and the private sector" to promote "sustainable global prosperity" and cooperation "to enable the benefits of globalization increasingly to spread to all people ..." (http://www.indg.org/UN.txt)
A report issued by the U.S. Army War College actually suggested the need for a joint military command to address "regional economic and security concerns" in North America and to "co-ordinate military action on terrorism, insurgency, security threats and drug trafficking." The report states: "If we fail to change our current strategy, the country could become less stable, thus jeopardizing the viability of NAFTA and the Free Trade Area of the Americas." The report's author, Lt.-Col. Joseph Nunez, "said a joint North American command would expand as free trade involved more countries in the hemisphere. If, for example, the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas becomes reality, the military command would stretch from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego." (http://www.indg.org/NAFTA.txt)
Canadian economics professor Michel Chossudovsky, the author of "The Globalization of Poverty: Impacts of IMF and World Bank Reforms" wrote: "... What happens to countries which refuse to deregulate trade and foreign investment and provide "national treatment" to Western banks and MNCs [(multinational corporations)]? The Western military-intelligence apparatus and its various bureaucracies routinely interface with the financial establishment. The IMF, the World Bank and the WTO --which 'police' country level economic reforms -- also collaborate with NATO in its various 'peacekeeping' endeavours, not to mention the financing of 'post-conflict' reconstruction under the auspices of the Bretton Woods institutions...
"At the dawn of the Third Millennium, War and the 'Free Market' go hand in hand. ... Outright colonisation through war and the installation of Western protectorates is tantamount to providing 'national treatment' to Western banks and MNCs in all sectors of activity. 'Missile diplomacy' replicates and emulates the 'gunboat diplomacy' used to enforce 'free trade' in the 19th Century. ... The 'Seattle Round' purports to 'peacefully' recolonise countries through the manipulation of market forces, --ie. through the 'invisible hand'. ... [T]he 1994 Marrakesh Agreement ... formally instates a 'triangular division of authority' between the WTO, and its sister organisations the IMF and the World Bank in a system of 'global surveillance' of developing countries' economic and social policies. ... The only promise of the 'free market' is a World of landless farmers, shuttered factories, jobless workers and gutted social programmes with 'bitter economic medicine' under the WTO and the IMF constituting the only prescription." ("Seattle and Beyond: Disarming the New World Order" by Michel Chossudovsky, http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/chuss/seattle.htm)
And what of Kosovo? We were told that the war in Kosovo was a "humanitarian" intervention to stop "ethnic cleansing," but President Clinton was quoted in an article in The Nation last April as saying: "If we're going to have a strong economic relationship that includes our ability to sell around the world, Europe has got to be a key... That's what this Kosovo thing is all about." ("The Case Against Intervention in Kosovo" by Benjamin Schwarz and Christopher Layne, The Nation, April 19, 1999)
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright claimed: "We all would have liked to have solved this diplomatically," but BBC foreign correspondent Allan Little reports that the Kosovo "peace" negotiations at Rambouillet were "so managed that they paved the way for war." State Dept. spokesman James Rubin admitted: "Obviously, publicly, we had to make clear that we were seeking an agreement, but privately we knew the chances of the Serbs agreeing were quite small." Albright said: "I remember telling the Europeans that I was not going to come to any more meetings ... until you give me your word that we will have a Nato activation order authorising the threat of the use of force." Veton Suroi, a political rival of the KLA involved in the talks, described Albright's message to the KLA: "She was saying, you sign, the Serbs don't sign, we bomb. You sign, the Serbs sign, you have NATO in. So it's up to you."
Chossudovsky reveals the outcome a year later: "In occupied Kosovo under the mandate of UN peace-keeping, State terror and the 'free market' go hand in hand. ... the self-proclaimed KLA administration has committed itself to establishing a 'secure and stable environment' for foreign investors and international financial institutions. ... Article I (Chapter 4a) of the Rambouillet Agreement stipulated that: 'The economy of Kosovo shall function in accordance with free market principles.' ... In close liaison with NATO, the Washington based financial institutions had already analyzed the consequences of an eventual military intervention leading to the occupation of Kosovo ... [T]he leaders of the Provisional Government of Kosovo (PGK) have become 'the brokers' of multinational capital committed to turning over the Kosovar economy at bargain prices to foreign investors." ("State terror & the free market: Opening Kosovo to foreign capital" by Michel Chossudovsky, http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/chuss/opening.htm)
In a speech in Seoul, South Korea last June, Dr. Joseph Gerson, Director of Programs for the American Friends Service Committee said: "I want to quote two lessons taught by the faculty of Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service when Bill Clinton and I were students there in the mid-1960s. ... When we were second year students, Professor Ello began his course on international relations by saying that 'the study of international relations is akin to studying the rules of the game among Mafia families.' And, in our last year, international law Professor O'Brien repeatedly emphasized that 'International law is what those who have the power to impose it say it is.' "
And we can add to that the vision of the U.S. Space Command. A Space Command report titled "Vision for 2020" calls for "dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect U.S. interests and investment" and "[i]ntegrating Space Forces into warfighting capabilities across the full spectrum of conflict." General Joseph Ashy, former commander-in-chief of the U.S. Space Command, has said: "We're going to fight from space... We will engage terrestrial targets someday -- ships, airplanes, land targets -- from space." ("Waging War in Space: The US Military Plans for Space Warfare" by Karl Grossman, http://www.globenet.free-online.co.uk)
So we progress from national security and "gunboat diplomacy" to a Corporate-Financial World Government and "Death Star diplomacy" of the 21st century.
Chossudovsky concludes: "War and globalisation are not separate issues. The citizens' campaign against the WTO must be integrated with the anti-war movement against the bombing of sovereign countries by the US and its European allies. ... There can be no other alternative but to reject the WTO as an international institution, ... citizens' movements around the World must pressure their governments to withdraw without delay and cancel their membership with the WTO. Legal proceedings must also be initiated in national courts against the governments of member countries, underscoring the blatant violation of domestic laws and national constitutions. ... [T]he citizens' platform in Seattle and around the World must be geared towards disarming this economic system and dismantling its institutions. ... We must question the legitimacy of a system which ultimately destroys people's lives. ...
"Concurrently, we must also build the conditions for a lasting World peace. The military-industrial and security apparatus which sustains these financial interests must eventually be dismantled, which also means that we must abolish NATO and phase out the arms industry. "We must combat the 'media lies' and 'global falsehoods' which uphold the WTO and the powerful business interests which it supports [and] restore a meaningful freedom of the press. The global media giants fabricate the news and overtly distorts the course of World events. In turn, we must break the "false consciousness" which pervades our societies, prevents critical debate and masks the truth. Ultimately, it precludes a collective understanding of the workings of an economic system which destroys people's lives. ...
"Beyond Seattle, unity of purpose and Worldwide coordination among diverse groups and social movements is crucial. A major thrust is required which brings together social movements in all major regions of the world in a common pursuit and commitment to the elimination of poverty and a lasting World peace." ("Seattle and Beyond: Disarming the New World Order" by Michel Chossudovsky, http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/chuss/seattle.htm)
So it's encouraging to see that trade activists and peace activists are coming together in organizing the Mobilization for Global Justice. The mobilization and events are being organized by many groups, including:
-- 50 Years is Enough, http://www.50years.org
Some of the major events scheduled for the Mobilization for Global Justice are:
-- a rally for the cancellation of debts of impoverished countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America on Sunday, April 9.
Local events are also being held in many other cities across the U.S. and Canada, and a group of activists is on the road with a 22-stop East Coast roadshow tour featuring political theater, a globalization teach-in, video, musical performances and non-violence training to help spread the message of global justice and "the magical Spirit of Seattle."
For full information on the Mobilization for Global Justice, go to: http://www.a16.org
For a calendar of all the events to be held in Washington, go to: http://www.a16.org/action.html
For a calendar of events being held in cities all over the U.S. and Canada, go to: http://www.a16.org/calendar.cfm (local solidarity events can also be posted on this calendar)
For further updates on corporate-military globalization and the global grassroots renaissance of democracy, liberty, peace and human values, contact: Ron Rowe, Citizens' Alliance of Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara Alliance for Democracy) Rowe Communication Services -- personal/business/non-profit co-op P.O. Box 2170 Simi Valley, CA 93062 (805) 581-3250 Fax: (805) 579-3825 E-mail: email@example.com
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