Join the weekend of protest
THE DATES Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 September should be prominent in everyone's diary. They promise to be a fantastic weekend of protest against neo-liberalism, privatisation and the priorities of global capitalism.
On Saturday 29 September the anti-capitalist group Globalise Resistance has organised a counter-conference in Hammersmith, west London. This will be a packed day of debates, forums, rallies and workshops about the issues behind neo-liberalism and the way forward for the anti-capitalist movement.
Many of the leading figures of the movement will be there. Vittorio Agnoletto from the Genoa Social Forum, which organised the protests in Genoa, is one of the speakers. Since the protests Agneletto has been thrown to the forefront of politics in Italy. He is interviewed in national newspapers as the leader of the biggest left wing movement in the country since the 1970s.
Caroline Lucas, a Green Party MEP, and journalists John Pilger, George Monbiot and Gary Younge are just some of the other speakers. The next day, Sunday 30 September, people from across Britain will be converging in Brighton, where New Labour is holding its conference. Just like ruling parties around the globe, Blair and New Labour leaders will be trying to push their free market ideology.
That means ever greater profits for multinational companies and their hangers-on, and cuts and privatisation for the rest of us. But New Labour leaders will be greeted by a chorus of opposition-from pensioners and students, trade unionists and environmentalists, peace activists and refugees.
People from across Britain are booking and selling tickets for coaches, and making banners and costumes for a festival of resistance against neo- liberalism. They will be in Brighton at midday for a host of different protests-against Son of Star Wars, against scapegoating refugees, against privatising hospitals and schools. But all of them will be united in their opposition to Blair's neo-liberalism, and everyone will come together to demonstrate outside Labour's conference centre.
At the same time thousands of people will be sending the same message to the capitalist institutions, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), which are meeting in Washington in the US. There will be mass marches in Washington on the Saturday and Sunday. The planned protests have already forced the World Bank and IMF to scale back their meetings from a week to just two days.
As the organisers of the protest, Mobilisation for Global Justice, say, "Since the watershed Seattle WTO meeting in November 1999, the voices demanding change have grown stronger and stronger. "The finance ministers and international bureaucrats who shape the world economy to make the rich richer and the poor poorer need to know that these past two years have not just been a bump on their road to global domination."
In Washington, as in Brighton, trade unionists, environmentalists, anti-debt campaigners, refugee organisations, campaigns against US imperialism in Colombia and many others are all coming together to protest. The protests in Washington and Brighton are part of the same struggle. Make sure you are part of it.
- For more information phone 020 8980 3005.
"The phase of civil disobedience has been exhausted. Now that needs to change into social disobedience."
- Luca Casarini, leader of the White Overalls Movement in Italy, and one of the speakers at the counter-conference
"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 world's people."
- US trade union federation the AFL-CIO, calling on all its members to join the protests against the World Bank and IMF