When word came that Representative Patsy Takemoto Mink of Hawaii had died at age 74, National Organization for Women president Kim Gandy declared, “Every woman today who is enjoying the fruits of her education and job opportunities, and every girl who has a chance to play sports in school, owes a nod of thanks to Mink.” That was not hyperbole. Co-author and prime advocate for the 1972 Title IX education legislation that opened academic and athletic doors for women, Mink was the first minority woman ever elected to the House and did battle against the sort of discrimination that prevented her from entering medical school as a young woman. Mink linked her advocacy for gender equity to broader struggles for economic and social justice and peace. Most recently, she voted against the USA Patriot Act and challenged the Bush Administration’s attempts to use 9/11 as a pretext for military adventures. She also found time to join a NOW celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of Title IX, telling the delegates to see it as just another step in the march toward equality. “You have a chance to speak up for poor women and defend poor children!” she said. “Open the doors of opportunity to all women!”
CONFRONTING THE IMF
Robert Weissman writes: At the end of September more than 10,000 protesters descended on Washington during the meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, at a time when faith in these institutions and the policies they espouse has dipped to an all-time low. US corporate scandals have generated a new public recognition of the need for economic regulation. IMF policies in Argentina and Brazil have failed totally. HIV/AIDS-decimated Africa continues to send more than $14 billion in debt payments out of the continent a year. The sham IMF/World Bank debt relief program will leave half of the first two-dozen “beneficiary” countries with debt levels that the institutions themselves consider “unsustainable.” The meeting produced an agreement to push for an international bankruptcy arrangement, but there is every reason to fear that the IMF hopes to use bankruptcy to tighten its grip on poor countries: Not only could it serve as the bankruptcy judge; it could also condition eligibility on another round of structural adjustment policies. Meanwhile, on the streets of DC, a September 27 protest by a grouping called the Anti-Capitalist Convergence was met by hundreds of pre-emptive arrests, including passersby. And the police greeted demonstrations conducted with permits (including a September 29 antiwar demonstration) with a display of overwhelming force designed to intimidate and to chill the exercise of speech. Still, the US wing of the global justice movement demonstrated its staying power, which it will need. Shrinking the power of the IMF and World Bank is going to be a long process.