My feet are sore, my voice is scratchy, my dishes are piled high. I’ve just completed another fantastic weekend to give voice to global justice.
I’d been organizing these actions with Global Justice Action, a fantastic and spirited group in the Washington DC area, for five months. We planned a weekend of action April 24-26 to oppose the neoliberalist agenda during the bi-annual meetings held between two very destructive organizations, the IMF and the World Bank. I helped with some of the more colorful tasks, such as throwing a fundraiser and driving around to “liberate” sign-making materials, but my main role in the group was to help with the media outreach.
About three weeks before our actions, G20 decision-makers met to address the global economic crisis. Ridiculously, they decided that they would address the crisis by prescribing more of the bad medicine that got us into this mess in the first place. They decided they would work to give the IMF another $1.1 trillion in funds – sort of like deciding to give a drug dealer control of the rehab.
Neoliberalist policies that the IMF is built upon push countries’ economies further into the hole, and make the lives of people in the Third World a lot harder. Whether in the name of economic growth or human development, the IMF’s fundamental role is highly problematic. Most countries would be better off if the IMF had never stepped in at all.
The IMF’s failings are one reason not to choose them to bail us out. But there are other absurdities in choosing to fund them in our time of need. The IMF is a bank like any other, not a charity organization. It makes its billions off of the interest it collects when it makes emergency loans to countries who find themselves in crisis… why would it be to the IMF’s benefit to try to help countries toward long-term sustainability?
This proposed boon of $1.1 trillion to the IMF, as frustrating as it was, gave our planned actions that much more significance. We were able to quickly pivot our messaging to include not only broad condemnation for these institutions, but to oppose the $1.1 trillion. We incorporated these concepts into messaging for all of our creative forms of resistance – the 5K Run on the Bank, the punk show, the roving exercise-themed dance party, the People’s Economic Forum (eight hours of our own solutions to the economic crisis!), the family-friendly march, and more.
We wound up with a very high volume of press coverage for the weekend, including several major print outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, and all major TV news outlets such as ABC, CNN, and Fox News. It was nice to know that our impact was enhanced through these venues.
The outcome? Global decision-makers and the world got a clear message that the global justice movement is back.
~ Lacy MacAuley
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