WSJ on A16

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Fri Apr 7 22:02:00 PDT 2000

>From Doug to Chuck0:

>>What's the pallor of the World Bank directors these days?
>My impression is that while the WB/IMF senior management is very
>pale, the professional staff is quite diverse ethnically, though
>still fairly male.

Doug is right. Left orgs & movements can't afford to do worse than capitalists, but as things stand now, many of them are less racially & ethnically diverse than the governing elite. First of all, we got to acknolwedge the problem, without rationalizing it away as ruling-class propaganda.

John Kawakami says that people of color can't afford to go because we have to work & don't have money & time to get to Seattle, D.C., etc. That may be true for some, but for the most part it can't explain the scarcity of people of color in the anti-WTO & A16 movements.

I think that the rhetoric of protecting "American" jobs, keeping China out, stopping cheap labor abroad from bringing "our" living standards down, etc. has not appealed to activists of color. It's not just coincidence that the most vocal critic of AFL-CIO's China focus on this list here has been Rakesh (an Asian-American), is it? The loudest message from the movement's media-chosen spokespeople has been that imports made by foreign workers of color are threat to American workers (even though, as Rakesh notes, most imports from, for instance, China don't compete with products made in America). This message does not resonate with people of color in America. The rhetoric and more importantly political program underlying it have to change.

>Wall Street Journal - April 6, 2000
>Movement Fighting for Oppressed
>Struggles to Recruit Some of Them
>WASHINGTON -- The self-flagellation begins like this: "Dear Sisters
>and Brothers of European origin."
>In the meantime, protest organizers, who have neither, continue their
>quest. One balmy afternoon, hundreds of African-American students
>socialize on the campus of Howard University, a historically black
>school. Inside, signs advertise a meeting of the "Howard University
>Students for April 16."
>Perhaps the use of the plural is in error. Of the 13 people who
>listen to an Indonesian labor leader excoriate World Bank and IMF
>policies, only one is an African-American. She is Warlesha Ryan, a
>sophomore from Burnsville, Minn., whose teacher organized the event.
>"Issues like that aren't foremost among African-Americans," she says
>a little sadly. Then she brightens: "We're having a police-brutality
>forum at 6 o'clock -- I'll bet that will be packed."

We need a political program that links fight against police brutality, wars on crime, drug, etc. with critiques of IMF, WB, WTO, etc. That's what's missing -- hence the fragmentation of the Left (and vice versa -- the fragmented Left = the fragmented program).


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