Patrice Riemens on Mon, 17 Apr 2000 14:07:59 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] [ World Bank Action]

Late fwd, 'cos I was ofline... cheers, p

----- Forwarded message from Starhawk <> -----

X-XS4ALL-To: <>
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2000 06:33:14 -0700
Subject: World Bank Action
From: Starhawk <>

Dear friends, all of you have let me know that you posted my article on
the WTO.  I thought you might want to see this, blessings, Starhawk

Cutting Down the Pines:
Why We Are Taking Action Against the World Bank and IMF
By Starhawk

For the native tribes of California, pine nuts have always been an important
delicacy.  Not so long ago, their ripening was an occasion of celebration.
Young men of the tribe would earn great honor and praise for their skill and
daring by climbing to the top of the tall trees and shaking the branches to
knock the cones down.
During the Gold Rush, it often happened that a European-American man would
marry a Native woman.  When pine nut season came around, she might ask her
husband to gather some.  Letıs say that he was a kind and thoughtful
husband, who loved her and wanted to please her, but that he was ignorant of
the ways of her people and no longer young, daring, nor patient enough to
climb the trees and shake the branches.  Instead, he would simply cut down a
pine tree.
When pines were plentiful and settlers were few, this might seem like a
rational thing to do.  At first, in fact, it might create an enormous sense
of abundance and prosperity.  The woman might have more pine nuts than sheıd
ever had before‹for a while.
But in time, if this practice continued, the pines would be gone and the
pine nuts would be no more.
We are going to Washington DC this week because we see the globalized,
corporatized economy cutting down the pines all around us.  In the United
States, we are surrounded by an illusory abundance that creates great wealth
for a few, but it is the economy of the clearcut, that destroys the
resources we should be cherishing.  Globally, poverty and hunger deepen as
corporate profits rise.  Almost two billion people worldwide live in abject
poverty.  The lives, the cultures, and the lands of indigenous people are
being destroyed in the name of development as surely as the pine trees were
cut by the settlers.
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are major architects of
this situation.  In the 70ıs, they loaned money to Third World countries for
massive projects that enriched political elites and multinational
corporations while providing little for the less privileged.  In the 80ıs,
when many countries could not repay those loans, the World Bank and IMF
pushed them deeper into the cycle of debt with "Structural Adjustment"
programs that forced countries to refocus their economies on exports and
debt repayment instead of food and goods to meet their own needs.   Poor
countries were made to reduce spending on education and health care in order
to continue paying billions and billions of dollars in interest to wealthy
countries.  UNICEF and UN Economic Commission for Africa figures show that
six million children under the age of five die each year as a result of
these policies.
In the developed world, we feast among the fallen pines with a growing sense
of uneasiness.  We have seen the health of our own communities and economies
compromised as job after job is lost to lands where pay is negligible and
health and environmental standards unenforced.  We see family farms lost,
ancient forests cut down, wild lands and open spaces paved.  The interests
of trans-national corporations undermine our democracy and widen the chasms
of wealth and power that more and more divide us.
We are going to Washington this week to say that this system is wrong.  It
is unjust, unbalanced, unsustainable, and it causes untold suffering.  We
cannot challenge these institutions through our government because our
democratic institutions are corrupted by the interests of corporate wealth.
We have no recourse but the streets, no alternative but action.
The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade
Organization and the system they represent will not change from any one
action.  But they will and must transform or go down in the face of the
rising social movement these actions represent.  They will change when we
all begin to ask dangerous questions.
Some of us will ask these questions loudly in the streets of Washington, DC.
But all of us can begin to ask these questions in our workplaces, our
offices, the places where we buy the goods we need and shop for the things
we enjoy:
Are the people who produce the tools of my trade, my food, clothing and
luxuries paid a living wage?  Are their health and safety protected?  Are
their children well educated?  Can they afford to buy the products they
What is the true cost of this work, this product, this toy to the soil?  The
waters?  The air?  The complex and irreplaceable habitats of this earth?
The health of our communities?  Who pays that cost, and in what coin?
Money?  Cancer?  Extinction?  Who profits?
If we face these questions, we can begin to build an economy of true
abundance.  The sustainability and stability of our increasingly global
economy can only come from wealth widely and fairly shared.  An economy of
true abundance will favor the small and diverse over the monolithic, hold
corporations and individuals accountable for the true costs of what they
produce, favor renewable energy and insist on the preservation and recycling
of resources.  The health of that system will be measured in the health of
our communities, our soil, our waters, our air, of the habitats of the
earthıs diverse creatures.   It will be seen in the pride of workers who can
afford to buy what they produce, whose children are free to learn, whose
lives include leisure and beauty and freedom.  And it will be the source of
a global creativity that may enrich all of our lives in ways we cannot
If we cherish the pines, they will produce nuts that we can enjoy now and in
future generations.  If we continue to cut them down, we will soon have no

A Short Reading List
On Global Economics

Danaher, Kevin, ed. Fifty Years is Enough: The Case Against the World Bank
and the International Monetary Fund  Boston: South End Press, 1994

Jacobs, Jane.  The Nature of Economies.

Korten, David.  When Corporations Rule the World.

Mander, Jerry, ed.  The Case Against the Global Economy.

Shiva, Vandana.  Stolen Harvest.

Websites And Resources:
For information on the upcoming actions against the World Bank/IMF in
Washington DC on April 16: 

Public Citizen,    1600 20th Street NW,  Washington, DC 20009-1001
(800) 289-3787

Global Exchange
415-558-9486 ext. 254.

Jubilee 2000,    222 East Capitol St. N.E.,  Washington, DC 20003
(202) 783-3566

 (Primarily religious groups mobilized worldwide to cancel the debt to the
poorest countries in the world by the end of the year 2000.)

 Independent Media Center    
 (These folks were at the heart of the WTO demonstrations, putting movies,
photos, interviews  and stories out on the web as they happened, and will
also cover the A16 action)
Bioneers Conference

A great gathering of people exploring alternative technologies and economic
strategies held in year in the SF Bay Area.  Tapes available.

826 Camino De Monte Rey, A6
 Santa Fe, NM 87505

Interhemispheric Resource Center, PO Box 4506, Albuquerque, NM 87196-4506
  (505) 842-8288        
 (These folks publish many wonderful books such as:  Global Focus:  A New
Foreign Policy Agenda by Tom Barry and Martha Honey)
 Abya Yala Fund for Indigenous Self-Development
 678-13th Street, Suite 100,  Oakland, CA 94612          (510) 763-6553

----- End forwarded message -----

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