AFL-CIO on WB/IMF week

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Mon Aug 13 06:48:56 PDT 2001

A Call to Action to Globalize Justice Global Justice Week of Action Sept. 26-Oct. 1, 2001 Washington, D.C.

This fall, Americas unions will unite with a broad range of activists from around the world to insist on transforming the rules and institutions of the global economy to ensure that they work for working people.

The international union movement, student organizations, women's groups, human rights advocates, faith-based activists, solidarity groups, immigrants, environmentalists, unemployed people, small farmers and business people will come together in a week of action to reject the global economic system that values profits over people.

As the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank hold their annual joint meetings in Washington, D.C., during the week of Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2001, we will come together for a massive march and rally and related events in the nations capital. As we approach the November meeting of the World Trade Organization in Qatar, we also will be joining together with unions from around the world in global solidarity actions being planned by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU). And, also in Washington, D.C., from Sept. 24-25, the National Council of Women's Organizations will hold its Women's Equality Summit, Congressional Action Day with a focus on Social Security privatization - another item on the World Bank's agenda.

The fall meetings of the IMF and World Bank will be among the most significant gatherings of the proponents and decision makers of corporate-led globalization in 2001. We cannot stand by as these institutions continue to structure global economic rules for the benefit of corporations and the wealthy and deny basic justice to the majority of the worlds people.

The IMF/World Bank are forcing national structural adjustments that include privatizing, downsizing and slashing spending by governments; recklessly opening trade doors to exploitative foreign investment; and promotion of so-called labor flexibility moves, such as reducing the minimum wage and weakening workers protections. Some countries are spending more each year trying to repay loan debts to these institutions than they are able to spend to meet the basic health, sanitation and education needs of their people. Both domestically and abroad, the World Bank continues to promote privatization of our public systems with dangerous consequences for the well-being of workers.

The struggle against the IMF and World Bank is about much more than trade. It is the struggle to address the inequalities of the global economy through the institutions that perpetuate them.

Global justice activists are making three demands:

Opposition to the granting by the U.S. Congress of "Fast Track" trade negotiating authority to President George W. Bush. Fast Track would bar Congress from more than a minimal review of trade agreements Bush negotiates, and would not require protections for workers rights and the environment in the core provisions of the trade agreementsdespite extensive protections for business interests.

Support for the call to unconditionally cancel the debts owed by the poorest countries to the IMF and the World Bank, using the institutions own resources.

Opposition to the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) agreement aimed at extending the terms of the disastrous North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) throughout the Western Hemisphere.

We call on people of conscience and good will to Be There for a Global Justice Week of Action:

* Women's Equality Summit, Congressional Action Day: Sept. 24-25 * March in defense of the rights of immigrants: Wednesday, Sept. 26 * Teach-in on the World Bank, IMF and the Global Economy: Thursday evening, Sept. 27 through Saturday, Sept. 29 * Forum on the impacts of international financial institution policies on women in the global economy * Behind the Label retailer actions with UNITE, protesting sweatshop conditions: Friday, Sept. 28 * Interfaith Service for debt cancellation and global justice: Saturday, Sept. 29 * Massive rally and march Sunday, Sept. 30, demanding:

* IMF/World Bank debt cancellation * A fair trade agenda and no Fast Track/FTAA * Priority treatment for combating HIV/AIDS * Support for local labor struggles (including parking lot attendants fight for the right to organize with Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Local 27) * Preparation for the ICFTUs Global Unions Day of Action by the Workplaces of the World to be held Nov. 9 around the meeting of the WTO in Qatar.


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