Dancing on the Grave of Apathy

So, four weeks from now, you join 100,000 people by converging on Washington, DC, to protest and expose the illegitimacy of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund as they hold their Joint Annual General Meetings on Sept. 29-30. You face police brutality in the forms of pepper spray, tear gas, billy clubs, rubber bullets, and possibly live ammunition. But your friends and family hear little about the neo-liberalism against which you protest. Rather, they are inundated with pictures and video of black-clad anarchists who are not afraid to resist police brutality.
Your friends believe that only middle-class suburban white kids resist corporate globalization, because the cameramen turn their backs on the people of color and the citizens of “developing” countries who are out in the streets next to you.

This makes you angry, but you won’t give up. You’re glad you were there. You were radicalized. You remain firm in your belief that (hey hey! ho ho!) the IMF has got to go, because you took the time to do your research before you packed your bags for DC.

Through you research, you learned that the World Bank and IMF provide funding to economically struggling countries, which sounds like a good idea at first. But once you consider the fact that these loans are all contingent upon the countries’ acceptance of Structural Adjustment Programs, the rose-colored glasses start to fog up. Structural Adjustment Programs cut “third-world” spending on education, health, and human services while reorienting economies towards the benefit of multi-national corporations, and this makes you mad.

It’s a good thing you took the time to come to the Direct Action Training Workshop (Founders Lawn on Saturday, Sept. 8th from 10am-5pm) where you learned confrontational nonviolent tactics, de-escalation techniques, and how to defend yourself against police brutality. And thank heavens you paid close attention when the film Life and Debt (Leak Room on Thursday, Sept. 12th at 9pm) told you how The World Bank, IMF and WTO have destroyed Jamaican agriculture and industry by substituting sweatshops and cheep imports.

Thanks to your newfound experience, you will go on to fight for your own vision of the future. You’ll choose to fight the corporate brand of globalization, and replace it with a grassroots globalization based on people instead of profit.

Then again, maybe you won’t. I could be wrong when I assume that you care enough to educate yourself about the biggest movement since Vietnam. Maybe I’m placing too much faith in the collective conscience of Guilford College. But I’m hoping I’m not.

For more information, go to www.abolishthebank.org and www.globalizethis.org.

Editor’s Note: The IMF, World Bank and WTO all have websites describing their organization. Go to www.imf.org, www.worldbank.org, and www.wto.org respectively to see how these organizations describe their roles.