Mark the IMF/WB Annual Meetings September 26:

Localize the Fight for Global Justice!

[Slightly modified from Jobs with Justice call to action. See contact information below.]

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will hold their semi-annual joint meeting on September 26, 2000 in Prague, Czech Republic. The World Bank and the IMF, two of the cornerstones of the international financial system, claim to be working to eliminate poverty, but their real purpose is to force developing nations to embrace corporate globalization. The result is rampant abuse of workers' rights and the environment and the further impoverishment of the very people the World Bank and IMF are supposedly there to help.

Tens of thousands will take to the streets in Prague on September 26 to protest these harmful institutions and their advance into Eastern Europe. In cities across the U.S., coalitions of labor, community, student and faith-based activists will organize actions against local targets to highlight the same issues that our sisters and brothers will be protesting in Prague. Here is what some are planning in the U.S. on September 26:

On the occasion of the 55th annual meetings of the governing bodies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, we call for the immediate suspension of the policies and practices that have caused widespread poverty and suffering among the world's peoples and damage to the world's environment. We oppose those policies that have encouraged the suppression of basic human rights and freedoms, especially those specific to women, workers and the poor. We assert the responsibility of these institutions, together with the World Trade Organization and multi-national corporations, for an unjust world economic system.

We issue this call in the name of global justice, in solidarity with the peoples of the Global South struggling for survival and dignity in the face of unjust economic policies. We seek to create just societies, where governments are accountable first and foremost to the will of their peoples for equitable economic development. Only when the coercive powers of the international financial institutions are rescinded can such a society exist. Only when international institutions are no longer controlled by the wealthiest governments for the purpose of dictating policy to the poorer ones shall all peoples and nations be able to forge bonds - economic and otherwise - based on mutual respect and their common needs. Only when the well-being of all, including the most vulnerable people and ecosystems, is given priority over corporate profits shall we achieve genuine sustainable development and create a world of justice, equality and peace.

Endorsing Organizations Include:

Jobs with Justice * 50 Years is Enough Network * International Brotherhood of Teamsters * Witness for Peace * AFL-CIO * Essential Action * Communications Workers of America * Center for Economic and Policy Research * Continental Direct Action Network * United Students Against Sweatshops * Alliance for Global Justice * Rainforest Action Network * Eighth Day Center for Justice * Just Act: Youth Action for Global Justice * Global Exchange * Center for Economic Justice * Nicaragua Network * Campaign for Labor Rights * Citizens Trade Campaign * United for a Fair Economy * Alliance for Democracy * Mexico Solidarity Network * The Shalom Center * Pride at Work AFL-CIO.

Cities Planning Actions Include:

Albany, NY * Asheville, NC * Atlanta, GA * Baltimore, MD * Blacksburg, VA * Bloomington, IN * Boston, MA * Buffalo, NY * Burlington, VT * Chapel Hill, NC * Chicago, IL * Cleveland, OH * Dallas, TX * Denver, CO * Detroit, MI * Durham, NC * Erie, PA * Greenville, SC * Helena, MT * Indianapolis, IN * Ithaca, NY * Knoxville, TN * Lancaster, PA * Los Angeles, CA * Louisville, KY * Miami, FL * Nashville, TN * New York, NY * Oakland, CA * Orange County, CA * Philadelphia, PA * Pittsburgh, PA * Portland, ME * Portland, OR * Providence, RI * Raleigh, NC * Richmond, VA * Salt Lake City, UT * San Diego, CA * San Fernando, CA * San Francisco, CA * Seattle, WA * Springfield, MA * Syracuse, NY * Trenton, NJ * Tucson, AZ * Washington, DC * Wilmington, DE.

If you are organizing a local event for September 26 or if you would like to learn who in your community is organizing an event, contact Campaign for Labor Rights at 202/544-9355 or .

To receive a September 26 organizing packet, contact Jobs with Justice at 202/434-1106 or . The Jobs with Justice web site and the 50 Years Is Enough web site have information on September 26 activities.

Localize the Movement for Global Justice Issues we can all understand:

UNION BUSTING: A constant IMF/World Bank prescription for countries where they operate is increasing "labor market flexibility." In practice this means opposing increases in the minimum wage, weakening trade unions and workers' bargaining power and opposing any social protections that would make workers less willing to work for low wages. In the U.S., working people face similar campaigns to erode their power. Thousands of workers are fired each year by American employers for joining together to organize unions.

PRIVATIZATION: As a condition of lending money to poor countries, the World Bank and the IMF often demand that governments privatize state-run enterprises providing services such as university education, health care, electricity and water. In Bolivia last year, the World Bank encouraged the government to privatize the water system, making water rates triple and making water unaffordable for many families. Local labor, student, community and indigenous groups fought back against the government's plan and reversed the privatization. The drive for the privatization of health care and social security in the U.S. reflects the same economic policies here at home.

DEBT: The World Bank and the IMF continue to force poor countries to pay back their debt despite the fact that many lack the funds to properly care for their own people. The IMF/World Bank's control of the debt issue preserves their power to impose unpopular austerity policies. Sub-Saharan African countries spend more on debt payment than on primary education and health care combined.

HEALTH: Debt payments and neoliberal structural adjustment policies have a negative impact on health in both developing and developed countries. In most Sub-Saharan African nations, governments spend four times as much on debt repayment as on health care, despite the frighteningly quick spread of HIV and AIDS. In the U.S., 42 million Americans are without health care coverage.

ENVIRONMENTAL ABUSE: Policies of the World Bank and the IMF have had a devastating impact on the environment. After granting Nicaragua a loan in 1994, the IMF supported the expansion of the logging industry, causing an increase in Nicaragua's already high rate of deforestation (370,000 acres/year). At this rate, the few forests that remain in Nicaragua will disappear quickly. In the U.S., corporate toxic-waste dumpers benefit from similar policies.

CORPORATE CONTROL: IMF/ World Bank policies have paved the way for U.S. corporations to exploit the human and ecological resources of developing countries. The WB/IMF encourage "free trade zones," or "export processing zones," where a countries' tax and labor laws are suspended to attract foreign corporations. Companies like Nike and the Gap benefit enormously from such programs. Oil companies like ExxonMobil have benefitted from World Bank- sponsored pipeline projects that harm the environment and displace longtime residents.

WORLD BANK BONDS: Universities, faith-based organizations, unions, governments and other institutions that we control buy the bonds that finance the World Bank. The World Bank Bonds Boycott is an international campaign using grassroots economic power to demand an end to structural adjustment lending and other environmentally and socially destructive World Bank policies.

WOMEN: Extensive data from around the world show that IMF-imposed austerity and economic reform programs have stripped many women of what meager health and education benefits were once available to them. Women's formal sector unemployment has increased due to IMF-induced recessions, privatizations and government cutbacks.