IMF and World Bank prepare to meet
Protest against killer policies
Support is growing in all parts of Europe for the protests against the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank meetings in Prague this September.
The press in Britain, the Czech Republic and elsewhere say protesters are planning violence and riots. But these are scare stories designed to deter people from protesting.
The real violence is organised by the leaders of the IMF and the World Bank. Some 20,000 delegates to the IMF and World Bank's conference will gather in Prague in September to push for more of the policies which kill 19,000 children in the Third World every single day.
MARTIN EMPSON went to a recent planning meeting in Prague for the demonstrations planned on 26 September (S26). He told Socialist Worker, "Some 100 people from across the world gathered last weekend to finalise the details of S26. The activists came from a wide range of political groups-socialists, anarchists and environmental campaigners. Many people reported on the large mobilisations of protesters from their countries. Across Greece trade unions are sending coaches and the telecom workers' union is trying to organise a plane to Prague. There are at least ten coaches coming hundreds of miles from Sweden, and some 500 people are mobilising from Norway. Just one organisation in Italy, the 'Ya Basta' group, is mobilising 1,000 people. In Germany there are groups set up in 20 towns to build for Prague. There are also around 400 people coming from Spain, and transport from Hungary, Ireland, Poland, Finland and a host of other countries. In every country the mobilising groups involve anti-racist groups and trade unions, environmental campaigns and women's groups. Across Europe there is a spirit of unity in organising for S26. The Czech press are playing the violence card really heavily, with stories in the papers every day. But we are emphasising that the protests on 26 September will be a celebration of the unity and diversity of our movement in opposition to the top bankers and businessmen who destroy the lives of the poor. Throughout the day different groups will be organising protests and actions to highlight the different issues arising from the policies of the IMF and World Bank. Every activist in Prague recognises that the scale of the mobilisation means that S26 will be a magnificent celebration of the anti-capitalist mood."
- Campaigners in nearly every major city and town in Britain are organising protests in solidarity with those in Prague on Tuesday 26 September.
Protesters plan to demonstrate outside banks and offices of the World Bank. Protests so far planned include ones in Glasgow, Nottingham, Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham, London, Leeds, Bradford and Sheffield.
'People don't matter'
"Globalisation is destroying our planet. It turns everything into money and people don't matter. I think that it is possible for people to change things. A lot of people are disaffected and don't realise how much power they have as a group."
These are the words of Viveka, one of the people who came to a lively Prague Collective meeting in Hackney, east London, last week. Over 130 people packed into the meeting to hear speakers from the Hackney Green Party, Christian Aid, the London Socialist Alliance and the Socialist Workers Party.
Fourteen different groups supported the meeting, including Jubilee 2000 and the Justice for Harry Stanley Campaign. The Hackney bin workers, who had just won their dispute with the local council, sent a representative to thank the collective for its solidarity.
Yomi Oloko from Christian Aid said, "Globalisation isn't working. Everything is weighted in the favour of the rich countries. The poor are getting poorer. People have the right to determine their own future. The IMF does not allow this. Christian Aid will support all the people in Prague demonstrating against the IMF and the World Bank."
- Some 80 people attended a similar meeting in Glasgow last week. They heard Brian Quail from Scottish CND and Chris Harman, editor of Socialist Worker, talk about the destructive policies of the IMF.
- Around 70 people joined a meeting in Manchester last week and several people, including a building worker, bought tickets for the coach to Prague.
A COUNTER-conference on "Globalisation and resistance" is taking place in Brighton on 24 September as New Labour's conference meets. LIZ DAVIES from the Labour Party NEC is supporting the event. She says:
"There cannot be a more important campaign than that to abolish Third World debt. Millions of lives are at stake. The Brighton counter-conference will be a stark contrast to New Labour's, where there will be no debate and a series of set-piece speeches by cabinet ministers. New Labour's conference will be festooned with corporate logos of the major arms dealers and other companies like Nestl�. The counter-conference will deal with humanity and need while New Labour's will deal with big business and corporations."
- For more information or requests for speakers contact the London Prague Collective on firstname.lastname@example.org
- Contact INPEG, the organisers of the Prague S26 demonstration, on email@example.com
Globalisation and resistance
S24 counter-conference in Brighton Solidarity with Prague
OPENING RALLY: Globalisation and resistance George Monbiot journalist and author Rob Newman comedian and activist Lindsey German editor of Socialist Review Jose Villa Bolivian Union Solidarity Committee
WORKSHOPS INCLUDE: The politics of globalisation; Can we stop the market destroying the environment? Refugees and scapegoating; How can we make them drop the debt?; Why we don't need the IMF and the World Bank; Can the media help the fight for change?
SPEAKERS INCLUDE: US journalist Greg Palast, Mark Thomas, Paul Foot, a French striker, a Ford worker, Jubilee 2000, Jeremy Corbyn MP, African Liberation Support Campaign, War on Want, Bruce Kent
FINAL PLENARY: Fighting for our future Susan George author and campaigner Chris Harman editor of Socialist Worker Tony Benn MP
Sunday 24 September, 10am Hove Town Hall Tickets �10 waged, �5 unwaged. For more information or to book your ticket phone Brighton 2000 Committee on 020 8981 9241 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
FOLLOWED BY DEMONSTRATION TO LABOUR'S CONFERENCE