WASHINGTON - April 8 - Mobilization for Global Justice (MGJ) announced plans for five days of events April 21-25 to mark the 60th birthday of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). Speakers representing MGJ affiliated organizations condemned what they called "oppressive" and "exploitative" policies and practices of these and other corporate-dominated global institutions in a news conference at the National Press Club.
- With larger-than-life puppets of President Bush, World Bank President James Wolfensohn and IMF Managing Director Horst Kohler in the background, speakers gave four key demands MGJ makes of the two 60-year-old Breton-Woods institutions:
- Open all World Bank and IMF meetings to the media and the public.
- Cancel all impoverished country debt to the World Bank and IMF, using the institutions' own resources.
- End all World Bank and IMF policies that hinder people's access to food, clean water, shelter, healthcare, education and the right to organize. (Such "structural adjustment" policies include user fees, privatization, and so-called economic austerity programs).
- Stop all World Bank support for socially and environmentally destructive projects such as oil, gas, and mining activities, and all support for projects such as dams that include forced relocation of people.
"The World Bank and International Monetary Fund are secretive, unaccountable and undemocratic," said David Levy, an organizer with MGJ who moderated the news conference. "They are guilty of the abuse of power in the worst sense of the term. The World Bank and IMF's increasing influence has coincided with a massive economic failure in the majority of developing countries."
Njoki Njehu, Director of the 50 Years Is Enough Network said, "For decades the IMF and World Bank have served as powerful tools of coercion, using debt and economic vulnerability to force developing countries into roles that serve the interests of foreign corporations and investors before the interests of their own peoples. The movements for global justice continue to call for systemic change, a re-ordering of values to put people and the planet before economic ideology."
Press Conference Speakers: .Marie Clarke, Director of the Jubilee USA Network, which works to cancel the debt burden crushing Global South countries. .Chris Doran, Chris Doran, PressurePoint Campaigns Coordinator, working with indigenous and Afro Colombian communities in Colombia facing forced relocation due to expansion of the world's largest open pit coal mine. .David Levy, and organizer with Mobilization for Global Justice (see organization description at bottom). .Roger Newell, executive committee member of DC Jobs with Justice, a community-labor organizing coalition. .Njoki Njoroge Njehu, Director of 50 Years Is Enough: U.S. Network for Global Economic Justice, a coalition of over 200 organizations dedicated to the fundamental transformation of the IMF and World Bank.
PARTIAL SCHEDULE OF APRIL GLOBAL JUSTICE EVENTS IN WASHINGTON, D.C. .
April 21: World Bank and IMF 60th "Unhappy Birthday" Party: 12 noon @ IMF/WB - 18th & Pennsylvania N.W.
April 22: "Cry of the People, Cry of the Earth: Will the World Bank & IMF Respond?" - Religious Working Group on the World Bank & IMF: 4 pm @ IMF/WB - 18th & Pennsylvania N.W.
.April 22-23:Conference: "Resist Market Fundamentalism: Retirement Planning for the IMF and World Bank at 60"
.April 24: Rally, March and Festival of Resistance with speeches, music, games, puppets and pageantry
.April 25: Global Justice for Women contingent marches in the "March for Women's Lives."