From Seattle to Washington After last fall's anti-WTO protests rocked Seattle and the world, activists asked, "What next?" The answer is a week of teach-ins, lobbying, marches, rallies and nonviolent civil disobedience leading up to the April 16-17 spring meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Alliance for Democracy
took the lead in coordinating efforts by more than 400 organizations ranging from the
Progressive Librarians Guild
DC Lesbian Avengers
Anabaptists for Community Transformation
. After initial hesitation, the AFL-CIO endorsed the A16 action.... "We're going to participate in every teach-in, every rally, every action we can be a part of," says
, a 24-year-old San Diego college student, who is active in the local anti-WTO group. With other activists, she raised money from churches and peace organizations to help fly fifteen local people of modest means to DC, convinced a documentary filmmaker to follow the group, arranged to update a website (activistsandiego.org) daily, set up press conferences and organized an April 24 forum at San Diego's City College. "We're determined to get our message out--not just in Washington but at home,'' she says. "We want people to know that the demonstrators in Washington are their friends and neighbors."
Pastors and Plumber The April 9
rally to cancel debts owed by poor nations will have an international flavor, with speeches by Archbishop
of Honduras, AFL-CIO vice president
, Sojourners editor
Friends of the Earth
and the African band
will perform before the crowd forms a human chain on the National Mall to symbolize the chains of debt. Monday morning citizen lobbyists will deliver handmade "chains" of paper and cloth to Congressional offices. On Tuesday the
Religious Working Group on the World Bank and the IMF
will mark the biblical "Stations of the Cross'' with dramatizations of economic oppression at downtown DC locations.
No Blank Check for China Union buses roll into DC April 12 for the labor movement's rally on Capitol steps against Bill Clinton's plan to grant permanent most-favored-nation status to China. Expect major contingents from
. The rally will accompany a day of lobbying on the Hill, where there is already support from the Congressional
, which says that permanent MFN for China would be "a serious defeat for the cause of worker rights."
Don't Leave Home Without It The booklet "False Profits: Who wins, who loses, when the IMF, World Bank and WTO come to town'' is packed with info, contacts and a glossary. Get it from
Campaign for Labor Rights:
(541) 344-5410.... Check out the Washington mobilization website (www.a16.org) and a new website from Representative
(http://bernie.house.gov/legislation/economy) that has useful policy information. Also on the site is a transcript of Sanders's clashes with Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers. Sanders told him during a Congressional appearance in late March that "the IMF as an institution is in desperate need of some structural adjustment of its own."
has a DC souvenir for activists: Sample legislation that commits local governments, universities and other institutions to stop buying World Bank bonds. "The bank tells developing countries: Change or we'll stop giving you money,'' he says. "We want municipalities to tell the Bank: Change or we'll stop giving you money.'' Berkeley's City Council passed the model legislation on March 28.
Grounds Against Starbucks Starbucks stockholders booed
when she accused the chain of purveying sweatshop coffee and urged the chain to buy Fair Trade coffee beans, for which farmers earn living-wage pay. Now Global Exchange is organizing April 13 "Roast Starbucks'' demonstrations in LA, San Francisco, Buffalo and two dozen other cities. In Washington activists will march to the Starbucks nearest the World Bank HQ. "Starbucks will be known as the purveyors of sweatshop coffee,'' says Benjamin.
Speaking of Sweatshops Fresh from college sit-ins and a hunger strike at Purdue, student activists will join the "Sweatshops: Globalizing the Resistance'' teach-in April 14 at DC's St. Stephen's Church, featuring speeches by
of El Salvador and
, who worked in a Gap sweatshop in Saipan. "We want to give antisweatshop activists a chance to meet people they're working in solidarity with,'' says
Melinda St. Louis
Campaign for Labor Rights
Carnival Against Capital "Some people call it a Festival of Resistance. Some call it a Carnival Against Capital,'' says
of the April 16-17 World Bank/IMF protests. The streets will be filled with art and revolution--everything from Palm Sunday services to lockdowns. There's going to be dancing and singing, puppets and props. And the sea turtles are coming back, just as in Seattle. TV Nation's
will emcee Sunday's rally, but most action will be offstage. Trained at the convergence headquarters on Florida Avenue, activists will step out with "mass movements for mass movements'' dance steps.
The Harmonic Intervention
chorus will sing a
poem that goes, "We have come too far/We won't turn around/We'll flood the streets with justice/We are freedom bound.''