[mgj-discuss] Group takes over World Bank Lobby;
Celebrates Capitalism and the Benefits of Exploiting Poor People
phipco at riseup.net
Thu Jul 1 13:59:51 EDT 2004
JULY 1, 2004 Washington, DCA group calling themselves the Party Liberation
Front (PLF) took over the lobby of the World Bank Headquarters this morning
and threw a party to celebrate the 60th birthday of the World Bank and the
success of its global capitalist agenda. 60 years ago finance leaders from
the major world powers met in Bretton Woods, NH to establish the World Bank
and IMF. Since then wealthy elites in the US and elsewhere have reaped
billions of dollars from countries forced to abide by World Bank policies.
The group brought with them a cake, champagne, party hats and horns, and a
large card to present to Bank President James D. Wolfensohn, thanking the
Bank for their excellent work in helping replace colonial rule with free
market exploitation to ensure the wealthy stay on top.
The Bank is a wonderful institution. Since 1944, we can see that the Bank
truly has helped thousands of global corporations and wealthy elites to
realize their potential for profit in peace, said Matthew Kavanagh, one of
the organizers with the PLF.
The party organizers distributed champagne to Bank employees on their way
into work, toasting the Banks excellent record promoting global domination
by corporations based in the US and other wealthy nations. Each year, the
World Bank awards some 40,000 contracts to private firms. The US Treasury
Department calculates that for every US $1 Washington contributes to
international development banks, US corporations receive at least twice that
amount in bank-financed procurement contracts.
Party goes were questioned about the Banks rather poor record of
accomplishing its stated goal of eliminating povertypeople from nations
that have followed IMF & World Bank prescriptions generally face incredibly
poor education and health systems, environmental disasters, and widespread
poverty. But the organizers of the party challenged that view.
We love the Bank, said, Rachel Moshman, another party organizer. It may
have devastated the lives of millions in the Global South, but the Bank's
special brand of global capitalism has helped the wealthy and corporate few
in unprecedented waysand they get away with calling it all poverty
Party goers were encouraged to make toasts celebrating aspects of the Banks
work. Some of the especially impressive accomplishments that were celebrated
§ The promotion of privatization of basic serviceseven water! In places
like Argentina, the Bank has pushed governments into selling off public
water rights to private corporations who make millions. The population then
ends up getting more polluted water and paying more for it (almost double in
§ The Banks ability to put billions of dollars into the pockets of oil and
mining corporations for projects that have destroyed the environment,
displaced whole communities, and resulted in violent repression and human
rights violations. The Chad-Camaroon pipeline, for example, will make
billions for Exxon-Mobil and Chevron-Texaco, but even the World Bank's own
reports question whether it will do anything to alleviate poverty.
§ How the Bank has lined the pockets of corporations while failing to even
approach the stated goals of poverty reduction. The Bank watched as the
absolute number of people living in poverty rose through the 1990's in
Eastern Europe, South Asia, Latin America the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan
Africaall areas that came under the sway of the Bank and Fund's adjustment
§ The Banks excellent idea of charging of the poorest people in the world a
user fee for basic services like going to school or getting healthcare!
Though it meant millions didn't go to school (according to UNICEF) and
people died after being turned away from hospitals because they couldn't
afford the services (according to the WHO), it surely saved lots of money
(though some studies have showed it saved almost nothing).
§ The impressive policy of forcing the people of the countries where the
World Bank works to pay for their own exploitation! Tanzania, half of whose
population is illiterate, spends a third of its budget on debt payments and
spends four times more on debt than it does primary education. Niger, where
life expectancy is only 47 years, spends more on debt payments than it does
on health and education combined. Altogether sub-Saharan Africa spends four
times as much on debt repayment as she does on healthcare.
The Party Liberation Front, a group of activists from Washington, DC, said
they threw the party to call attention to the excellent record of the World
Bank in generating profit through encouraging exploitation of people poorer
than they are.
The Party ended when the PLF formed a conga line to lead employees out of
the Bank. Strangely, none of them followed.
The PLF plans to return to the Bank in the near future, suggesting that the
Bank truly does not receive enough attention for its impressive work.
Photos to follow.
"We have fed you all for a thousand years! If blood be the price of your
lawful wealth then my god we have paid in full!"
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