newsletter on Wed, 12 Apr 2000 23:10:18 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> news from attac

Often presented by the media as "anti-globalization" movement, ATTAC
is in fact promoting globalization.  "Another world is possible" as we
said since the June 1999 international meeting in Saint Denis, France
preparing the Seattle demonstrations.  We are to meet this week in
Washington, in Paris and all over Europe.

The Tobin Tax, a global response to neo-liberal globalization, will be
a corner stone of several meetings and events in April.  The Tax is
NOT a "new issue" to be added to the already long list : environment,
sweatshops, international financial institutions, commerce,
neo-liberalism....  At a press conference on April 11 Representative
DeFazio and Senator Wellstone will be presenting the "Tobin
resolution", to be discussed in Congress during the coming year.

During the same press conference the European Deputy Harlem Desir
(Head of the "Financial taxation" Euro-intergroup of parliamentarians,
ATTAC) and the French Deputy Yann Galut (Head of the ATTAC group in
French National Assembly) will be presenting the world "Tobin
parliamentarians".  The meeting, to be held at the end of June, will
take place in a global context in which 100 parliamentarians from
several political parties are reuniting to support a resolution
drafted by Harry Barnes in the United Kingdom. The Belgium senate
already voted a resolution asking their government to officially study
the feasibility of the Tobin Tax. The voted counter-amendment to the
"Tobin amendment" discussed in the French parliament last December
will be discussed and the French presidency of the European Union will
be asked to "study and propose a specific tax on all currency
exchanges, to fight against financial speculative movements".  Strong
coalitions of parliamentarians are already at work in Italy, Portugal,
Brazil, Argentina to name a few.

The US resolution is supported in the United States by several
grass-root movements and trade unions: AFL-CIO, Center for Economic
and Policy Resarch, Fifty Years is Enough, Friends of the Earth,
Institute of Policy Research, Preamble, Steel Workers, Tobin Tax
Initiative to name just a few.  Some of them helped draft the
resolution.  You can reach this coalition through Ruthanne Cecil:

ATTAC, together with its partners, devised a "Tobin questionnaire" for
worldwide discussion on collecting and managing the tax. The first
results of this questionnaire will be discussed during the Geneva 2000
parallel summit in June (information: email),
among other topics.

It is time for all of us to take a step forward on political and
economic discussions and to prepare ourselves for the 2001 United
Nations meeting "Financing sustainable development". The main goal is
to collectively decide, with the widest possible consensus, on the
collection and management of the tax.  This will help strengthen our
proposals and arguments. In fact this questionnaire is simply a way to
rethink the global financial architecture and governance. We strongly
invite you to disseminate it as widely as possible and discuss it in
your organizations, cities, political parties, unions and so on... You
can read and download the document from: RTF and PDF versions are
also available to help you printout the document.

The city of Arcata, which voted a call for the Tobin Tax last year,
will promote this idea in other cities.  With the help of a "Fair
Trade Packet", designed also around issues such as environment,
sweatshops, fair trade,etc. will try to lobby city councils to approve
it. It is already envisaged that Berkeley, Santa Cruz, San
Francisco... may see this packet voted soon. Meanwhile in France the
"Morsang Appeal", adopted
during the national symposium organized by ATTAC in Morsang sur Orge,
France with other cities and regional governments, has several

"Let us be actors of globalization and not only victims" is an idea
that reunited already 47 cities (from villages to large cities) in all
of France and around which an international sisterhood of cities to be
developed. Let us not wait for globalization to happen, but let us
build our own : with our own agenda and concerns. A website is already
online only in French for the moment to
collect documents and information. An international discussion
mailinglist for civil servants and regional governments persons is
being created. Any information request should be mailed to

In this context ATTAC will be part of the demonstrations, teach-ins...
in Washington, D.C. on April 9-17 (any requests for information for
those of you in Washington can de send to ).
We are organizing also with "Pour l'an 2000, annulons la dette"
(Jubilee 2000 in France and in UK) a demonstration in Paris on the
April 12 on the debt cancellation, because the "Club de Paris" will
start to meet in this city on the same day. It will start at 06:00 pm
Place de la Bastille in Paris.

It is about time that we "globalize" ourselves and that our concerns
over the outcomes of the IMF, World Bank, and WTO meetings turn into
concrete and productive  proposals. Let us all participate in this
movement to make globalization happen the way we pro-actively decide,
rather than passively accept their globalization.

Laurent Jesover. Redactor


>From Bangkok to Geneva

Dear friends,

This letter contains some useful information pertaining to the
implementation of one of the priorities defined in the Bangkok Appeal
: the conference in Geneva in June.

We are sending you a general presentation of the Geneva conference
with preliminary information regarding the agenda and the working
plan. Soon we will have a Spanish translation.

The official conference will be held from June 26 - 30. Therefore we
propose to meet from June 22 - 25. We will need a good month to
discuss texts and proposals within our respective networks, fixing the
end of May for the mailing of the agenda and the final texts.
Consequently, we will have the month of May to prepare, write and
amend our projects.

At ATTAC France we will have some means to help with the preparation
of Geneva but this initiative must be as collective as possible. Thus
we propose that we use the "transattac" list to facilitate contact
between us. Please let us know as soon as possible which documents or
workshops you can take charge of.

We look forward to hearing from you shortly.

Best regards,
Christophe Aguiton, for ATTAC France
ATTAC Contacts:
Christophe Aguiton
Ashleigh Searle
Christophe Ventura

Geneva 2000 June 22 - 25, 2000

General Objectives and Working Plan

This memo is intended to present information currently at our disposal
and to facilitate debate and preparation for the Geneva initiative in
different countries.

General  Objectives

The point of departure for Geneva 2000 is Seattle.  The failure of the
World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting and the mass protests in
Seattle as well as in other countries introduced entirely new
responsibilities for social movements directly implicated in the
struggle against "neo-liberal globalization".  The different movements
present at Seattle, however, were unable to explicitly define a common
stance or a coordinated international plan of action.  The Bangkok
Appeal allowed social movements to establish a preliminary outline of
the international situation after Seattle as well as to specify
convenient meeting times, specifically the large international meeting
to be held in Geneva - June 2000 dedicated to social/development
questions.  Geneva will also mark the 5-year anniversary of the
Copenhagen World Summit on Social Development.

The objectives of the Geneva meeting are three:

· to further enlarge the coordination network between international
social movements, so as to facilitate their participation in the
debates taking place during the Geneva meeting;

· to discuss the fundamental questions and problems currently marking
international debate while attempting to determine positions in common
or to, at least, clearly identify areas of difference and debate to be
expounded upon in the future;

· to elaborate a common document which emphasizes all of the points
upon which we are in agreement (the analysis of the consequences of
neo-liberal globalization and our shared concerns regarding the
social, environmental, and democratic agenda) while also identifying
differences and debates yet to be discussed between us; to elaborate a
second document which specifies the type of international
movement/coordination to be established in order to develop an
appropriate working plan for the coming months and years.

Other Initiatives

The meetings in Geneva are not only taking place in coordination with
a UN Conference addressing a theme which concerns many social
movements and Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), but they are also
coinciding with an important meeting of the International Labor Office
(ILO).  In addition, Geneva serves as the seat of the WTO!  Hence, we
will not be alone.  Making contact with other actors present in Geneva
during the second half of June 2000 is crucial.

Our information at this point:

·The UN

The Conference itself will last from the 26th until the 30th of June,
the inaugural session being Sunday the 25th around 6 p.m.  For all
movements and NGOs wishing to participate in the discussions of the
Conference, it is possible to demand accreditation.  Some of our
current partners are already accredited/ ManiTese from Italy, etc.

·The ILO

· This organization is also holding an international meeting in June
(Directional Committee or AG) which will facilitate the presence of
unions at many of our initiatives; mainly those who would be ready, in
any case, to participate in debates with "civil society" regarding
questions of particular importance to them (i.e. social norms).  One
difficulty we may encounter is the traditional hesitation of "social
partners" (unions and employers) to dialogue with structures they
consider largely unrepresentative (other social movements, NGOs).
Progress has been made regarding this point though resistance and
hesitation may still prove to be problems.

·Associations and NGOs

· A structure has already been put in place to coordinate parallel
initiatives.  Some of our partners (ManiTese, WEED from Germany, etc.)
are included in this coordination.  In Switzerland, four principal
groups are responsible for the coordination of "Geneva 2000 :
·Social Watch
· ICSW, The International Council on Social Welfare
· WEDO, Women's Environment and Development Organization
·World Council of Churches

These four groups are participating in the organization of parallel
initiatives with the NGLS (" the Non-Governmental Liaison Service ",
the UN service that links movements and NGOs).  There is also a Swiss
coalition of NGOs, " Swiss Coalition " or " The Working Community of
Swiss NGOs ", that is willing to collaborate on further parallel
initiatives.  More complicated is the creation of a " Forum " of NGOs
and civil society, financed by the Helvetic Confederation and
sponsored by many personalities, some of whom make up the Helvetic
management; the forum has the responsibility for all parallel
initiatives.  In the framework of the Forum, many things are possible;
we could have conference rooms at a reasonable price, however, there
will also be a symposium organized by the Swiss government that will
be attended by the directors of the Davos forum!

We met with these movements and structures in Geneva, with ATTAC
Switzerland and the Anti-WTO Coalition on Wednesday, March 22nd.  A
general agreement was reached with the NGOs on the possibility of
working together and on the possibility of organizing a parallel
summit.  Concerning the question of the Forum, it will be up to ATTAC
and the Anti-WTO Coalition to make the decision at their respective
meetings on April 1st and 3rd.

At this stage it is necessary to develop ideas regarding the proposals
we ought to make to them.  Perhaps it would be best to propose that we
all work on two documents (or two types of documents): one document
addressed to the "peoples of the world" or at least to social
movements, unions, and NGOs interested in the coordination of the
struggle against "neo-liberal globalization"; and one document
addressed to the UN Conference, containing the recommendations of NGOs
and social movements.

This is the separation we made at Bangkok; it is mainly operational.
Apparently certain groups will be interested in one document more than
the other will.  The common approach, however, will allow all groups
to share a common organizational structure (making, for example, the
24th and the 25th a coordinated final general assembly) while, at the
same time, showing clearly that we are able to work together and
defend similar positions.  At our meeting on the 22nd, the NGOs
present did not yet know if their working papers were going to be
presented at Geneva or not.

· A protest in front of the WTO.  This is another important facet of
our activities in Geneva: to show, when the negotiations are resuming
within the framework of the WTO, that the social movements, unions,
and associations are present and do not intend to let down their
guard. On the 22nd we decided that at noon on the 25th we would open
with a rally that would allow for the different movements present
would have the opportunity to express themselves and present the their
work.  At two o'clock, we will begin our demonstration at the
headquarters of the WTO.


This rough agenda addresses our broad concerns and objectives.  Other
initiatives and debates will surely be organized by one of the
structures interested in the UN.  When we meet with them, we must list
what we are able to eventually organize together, and we must find the
clearest and most coherent manner possible to present this

If we reconsider the objectives presented at the beginning of this
note, we can define a list of themes and hence workshops to organize.

· To enlarge the participation of the movements, it is necessary to
have agendas that correspond with the concerns of the participants and
which facilitate debate.  Concretely speaking, this can take the form
of meetings and working groups divided according to continent, social
sector, and specific militant concern.  The meetings by continent have
proven very positive thus far, for example at the June 1999 Paris
meetings.  The European-ATTACs plus partner associations have already
decided to meet again at Geneva in June.  With respect to all that is
social sector or militant concern, we must consider specific demands,
though it seems pertinent to organize meetings that address: women
(around Beijing +5 and mainly the world march), farmers (with Via
Campesina), unions, the unemployed and/or "urban movements".  These
meetings allow us to exchange insights and ideas and to discuss the
heart of the debates.  For example, a meeting around the World March
of Women would allow a discussion about globalization, women and
gender at large.

· The second objective includes debating seriously the questions posed
at the international level.  Here is a preliminary list of themes that
seem particularly important to consider :
· The debt: the poorest countries and other countries from the Global
South / ways to control debt accumulation / attitude to adopt
regarding the initiatives of the G7.
· Social standards/norms : should strict rules and demands be defined,
like the refusal of child labor or union rights / the best way to
present and implement these demands
·Environmental standards
· Pension funds / their role in financial speculation and the
deregulation of the economy, an exchange between countries where
pension funds exist and countries where various movements are fighting
against the introduction of pension funds
· The protection of social rights / the role of public services and
the public sector
·The appropriation of living matter
· The growth of multinational and what kind of action we can take to
fight the expansion of their power
· Financial speculation, the Tobin Tax, and tax havens
· Post-Seattle and financial crisis, the restructuring of
international institutions, the development of new responses
· The third objective is to produce a document that defines the points
upon which we are in agreement as well as a list of debates to pursue
so that a working plan and a definition of the international network
can be established.  For this, it will be necessary to unite a
"Resolutions Committee " early on to work on and enrich the text with
the contributions of the various working groups.  It will also be
necessary (this is true for the working groups as well) to present
pre-projects before June that will allow the different delegations to
better prepare for the conference.

Concretely, it will be necessary to start, at the latest, on the
morning of Thursday, the 22nd with a plenary assembly, which will
present and discuss the agenda and the challenges ahead.  This
discussion will continue in the thematic working groups on Thursday
afternoon and all day Friday.  The evenings will be reserved for
informal discussions (in order to finalize the final resolution).
Moreover, the continental meetings can begin on Wednesday afternoon
and evening to maximize the time of those coming from far away.  The
plenary assembly for the adoption of resolutions will last all-day
Saturday and Sunday.

Working Plan

· End of March: two letters / one to the original signatories of the
Bangkok Appeal to consider, together, how to organize and handle the
parallel summit (who is responsible for what, division of labor/tasks,
etc.) and the other to the rest of our contacts worldwide;
· Beginning of April: Set-up of a centralized information network and
responses to our contacts: a specific Web site (or at least pages and
a logo) for "Geneva 2000", telephone and fax lines, etc.   Paris and
Geneva will both play an important role in this centralization.
· Mid-April: elaboration of the preliminary texts on the points of
debate, thanks to email it is possible to divide this responsibility;
· Meeting on the 26th of April in Geneva, of the core team responsible
for the parallel summit; adoption of an agenda and the mailing of the
first series of fundamental texts; beginning of the elaboration of the
final resolution;
· During all of the month of May: verification of the presence of the
principal continental movements; circulation of texts and the passing
back and forth of the final resolution;
· Beginning of June: mailing of the final resolution.


Prague 2000, need urgently your active solidarity

Dear Friends,

In the forwarded mail you can read that we'll have problems with
"legal" protests against the IMF/WB meeting in Prague in September.
tell us, please, if you have any idea to help us actively!

all the best,
Andreas Rockstein <>

The City of Prague has told 4 times NO to people wanting to  legalize
demos in September. So after four attempts we don't know  what might
happen, lets hope they will be more reasonable... If CZ authorities
are so stupid to so obviously provoke violence  then, we are all
helpless-there will be violence-of which the  dimensions will be
different than we might expect. People will  finally see how the
eastern mafia is a big political actor where  there is trade of oil,
water, land, alias WB/IMF way of  repression...
But we have to wait  more before making conclusions. Maybe we will
have to  internationally press on them with letters of  complaints
signed  internationally , if they will  make any legal demo
impossible.. if not making them legal  ourselves anyway..!!

In the meanwhile CZ police are sending their experts to  Washington
FBI in order to train them how to deal with extremists  and they are
successfully  listening to some organizers trough  mobile phones at
this stage ,which is not a new thing...... Besides, all the media in
CZ are already propagating violence in all  possible way, as if they
wanted violence. But nobody from the  Czechs spoke about it of course.
That is why the alternative media  groups  will have to be really well
equipped and numerous to report   this fake propaganda. This is the
central  task- the most important  for people in Prague and for the
outside activists, and finely for CZ  citizens who are already now
being told that terrorists will come to  destroy the town. Also to
report the so expected police violence a lot of activists with
reporting skills and equipment will be needed here in Prague!

The city newspapers are  announcing 20000 demonstrators and on  the
other hand the visa procedures are made complicated to large  part of
the  demonstrators that will want to come. The visa procedure is
indeed very complicated. Will require a lot of  money for people
coming from the developing countries.A nd  besides the visa procedure
will change again in June, so please  start sending us details of
people that wish to come to Prague. A good side of it is that we have
the Geld Oder Leben coming to  Prague, this is a strong presence ,
appropriately radical to  additionally scare the city police.. and the
IMF/WB officials.. Unfortunately the local NGOs have resulted more
than  disappointing, including the local Jubilee 2000(!!)in coming to
terms  of non violent direct action participation. Are we surprised?

Yesterday there was a panel discussion with NGOs ,WB  representatives
and Eric Toussaint-in the name of CADTM(ATTAC  branch)-representing
the Initiative... arguing with WB on the issues  that have for  years
been  "on the table" The results of it should have been on the
official web of Prague  people- -which will
hopefuly serve us with  some  english translations of the panel
discussion and the press  release soon.

Lets see what  people tell us.


Please help

Tunisian ATTAC members were arrested by Tunisian police.

Fathi Chamki and Mohamed Chourabi were arrested by the police Saturday
9th April in Slimane. Fathi Chamki is the President of the RAID and
Mohamed Chourabi is one of the active members of this organization
(ATTAC Tunisia).

Please email to the Ministry of Justice and to the Ministry of
Interior: and (and copy and ) to express in a polite

1- your concern about the arrest
2- your need to know more about the reasons of the arrest
3- your hope to see them freed soon

Note: the Tunisian constitution is protecting the freedom of being and
making a NGO. (at least it is written in it)


Taking Action for Change

Action for effective change.  Using expertise to back up our
proposals.  Making the abolition of debt a reality, getting all,
absolutely all, of  the third world debt cancelled.

On April 12th, Jubilee 2000 in collaboration with ATTAC invites us to
demonstrate in favour of solidarity, of a decent future for billions
of people in the world.  The Club of Paris, which will be meeting in
Paris in April, is one of the biggest creditors of third world debt.
We must use this opportunity to take action and propose that the debt
be cancelled.  The demonstration will leave from the Place de la
Bastille at 18h 30 (local time) on April 12th.

The public debt of the third world (including countries of the South
and the East) amounts to  1 500 billion dollars. That of the Quad
(US - EU - Canada - Japan) amounts to 15 000 billion dollars, and that
of American households  to 5 500 billion dollars (figures for 1998).

The absolute value of third world debt is therefore trifling with
regard to total world debt.

The debt due to the International Monetary Fund and to the World Bank
(the other creditors being either private - Pension Funds, Mutual
Funds, banks - or the States themselves) is what enables Structural
Adjustment Plans to be rigourously imposed by the intermediary of
these institutions, which flatten public services and put obstacles in
the way of any concerted effort towards development and progress. They
keep the peoples in a state of chronic under-development.

The debt is used as a form of colonialism.

There exists a market for debt.  That is where the holders of
countries' debts speculate.  The bonds of debt are exchanged just as
though they were "goods". Their value depends entirely on stock market
brokers (who give marks to countries' debts), and hence on speculators
in a "financial bubble" system.

Debt is looked upon as an object for speculation, disregarding all
other considerations.

To keep up payments on the debt, countries have to export, so as to
acquire foreign currency. What they produce (more often than not raw
materials) is subject to the willingness of the importing countries
(which are also the creditors).  These countries can impose their
price, via the value attributed to the raw materials, and make their
own rules.  A good example of this was a recent EU directive, altering
the regulations about the amount of cocoa to be contained in
chocolate. The result of lowering this amount is social, economic and
human catastrophes in countries which produce cocoa. This whole
process deviates the creative energy of the economy from the
fulfilment of urgent and primordial internal needs, to the
satisfaction of needs which are external, and foreign to the welfare
and development of the peoples.

Debt is used as a commercial weapon to perpetuate a chronic state of

To help create the conditions for billions of people on this planet to
have a future, we invite you to sign the petition For Citizen Control
of the WTO at:

To obtain information on the demonstration on April 12th in Paris,
contact .

Barbara Strauss.


Canada Draws Lessons from Jubilee Debt Campaign

The Canadian Jubilee campaign  agrees with our  partners in Jubilee
South who say "There can be no effective redressing of North South
relations or effective debt action if the people of the South are not
directly involved."

The G7's Köln Debt Initiative is totally inadequate. The HIPC
Initiative was a creditors' initiative - it came from creditors who
knew they could never collect about half of low-income countries'
debts. Eric Toussaint correctly describes the Köln terms as offering
"a drop of reduction in an ocean of debts" since the new debt
reduction only amounts to at most 2.6% of  developing country debt.

How do we account for our failure to make more progress at Köln?

The vague wording of the Jubilee petition was both a strength and a
weakness of the campaign. How to define "poorest countries"?
"unpayable debts"? Different national campaigns had different
definitions. Our understanding of "unpayable" evolved.

Canada took it to mean all of the debt of 50 plus low-income countries
and a portion of the debt of middle income countries  Other Northern
campaigns took different perspectives reflecting positions which took
into account historical precedents and/or human development

At the first international meeting of the Jubilee movement held in
Rome in  1998, participants struggled with the word "unpayable".  "The
Jubilee Call for  Debt Cancellation" issued in Rome linked four kinds
of debt to this malleable word: · debt which could not be serviced
without placing a burden on impoverished people · debt that in real
terms has already been paid · debt for improperly designed projects
and programs · odious debt and debt incurred by repressive regimes.

We in Canada came late to the Jubilee campaign after it was already
launched in the UK. The UK petition was already circulating in Canada
when we held our first meeting. We were critical of the narrow focus
of the UK petition - for debt remission for low-income countries only
and its lack of specific criticism of Structural Adjustment Programs

In retrospect we see that we should have been bolder - limiting our
demand for debt remission to 50 countries identified as "the poorest"
enabled the Canadian government to get off too easy. Currently we are
asking the Canadian government to announce in the  federal budget at
end of February an extension of its offer of 100% bilateral write-offs
to all low-income countries

Challenges for the Next Stage of the Jubilee Debt Campaign

IMF solutions  and "progressive conditionality"

The next stage of our campaign must reject all conditions as
undemocratic violations of sovereignty. We see ourselves as marching
forward in step with the Jubilee South Summit which "rejected all
policies derived from the ... neo-liberal paradigm. Delegates demanded
an end to Structural Adjustment Programs, at the centre of neo-liberal
imposition and co-optation, and all new versions of SAPs including
those encompassed in the ... IMF Poverty Reduction Facility, as well
as the notion of external conditionality in all of its dimensions or
forms."  Jubilee South's explicit rejection of all forms of external
conditionality challenges us to stand with them in demanding an end to
Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs ) and not just their

The IMF's Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility ( PRGF)  must be seen
in the context of efforts by the international financial institutions
to maintain and enhance their power. While the rhetoric of the PRGF is
about poverty reduction its actual documents on operational issues
tell us otherwise. In attempting to explain how the Fund and the Bank
will collaborate on implementing the PRGF, the IMF reveals the wide
extent of the conditionality it intends to maintain:

The Fund staff will take the lead in offering advice to the
authorities in the areas of its traditional mandate and
responsibility. This would include promoting prudent macroeconomic
policies; structural reforms in related areas, such as exchange rate
and tax policy; and issues related to fiscal management, budget
execution, fiscal transparency and tax and customs administration.

The same document then adds:

The Bank staff will take the lead in advising the authorities in the
design of poverty reduction strategies, ... the design of sectoral
strategies, reforms that assure more efficient and responsive
institutions, ... and in other structural reforms such as
privatization and regulatory reform.

As if these conditions were not sufficient, the document goes on to
add that the government that is nominally responsible for the Poverty
Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP) will receive advice from both the
Bank and the Fund on many other areas. These include the
"establishment of an environment conducive to private sector growth,
trade liberalization and financial sector development."

Elsewhere the same document makes it clear that the Boards of the Bank
and the Fund can veto assistance to these countries under the HIPC
Initiative or other Bank or Fund programs if they are not satisfied
with the policies outlined in the country's Poverty Reduction Strategy

Is this really a new direction? The words of the Netherlands Executive
Director to the IMF commenting on the PRGF to NGOs are very clear:
"It's not about abandoning conditionality ... The IMF still leads on
macro, the World Bank on social. In reality it's not that big a
departure; it's in our interests to make it seem like a big deal."

Is the World Bank really able to advise on poverty reduction?

An internal World Bank study leaked to the Financial Times found "a
disconnect between Bank policy and practice."  The internal study
reviewed 54 structural adjustment and sectoral loans made between July
1997 and December 1998. The Bank's review concluded: "The majority of
loans do not address poverty directly, the likely economic impact of
proposed operations on the poor or ways to mitigate negative effects
of reform."

A major problem is the incompatibility of the Bank's two roles - as a
lender and as a poverty fighter. The former role too often overshadows
the latter. The World Bank functions much like a private lending
institution where the staff advance their careers by successfully
persuading clients to take on new loans. The poverty alleviation or
poverty aggravation effects of those loans don't show up until years
after the money has been spent and the lending officer has moved on.

As Martin Khor has written "The IMF practices double standards... On
the one hand it insists that the governments play by strict market
rules and not put in money to aid ailing local financial institutions
and companies. But on the other hand it wants the governments to pay
back all the external loans contracted from international banks,
including the huge debts of the private sector that have gone sour."

A major challenge for the Jubilee campaign is to confront this
practice whereby the IMF and the US Treasury, in consort with other
governments and International Financial Institutions, use public money
to bailout private foreign investors, burdening peoples with ever
higher debt loads. In the absence of any kind of standstill mechanism
or capital controls, private investors are free to take their money
and run at the first sign of trouble.

While bailout loans nominally go to the governments of the
crisis-stricken countries, the money often ends up in private coffers.
When the IMF provides a central bank with more foreign exchange
reserves and at the same time prescribes austere fiscal and monetary
policies, speculators know they can bet against that country's
currency with a high degree of success.

This is scandalous. Michel Chossodovsky cites the Wall Street
Journal's succinct description of what happened in Brazil: "the $41.5
billion of foreign currency that the IMF marshaled to back Brazil's
currency, was doomed to end up with the speculators, leaving Brazil
with its foreign currency debt increased by that amount. So often has
this scenario been played out... [for] other currencies kept at
artificial heights with interest rates, that by now the ploy should be
known to schoolboys. The government whose currency is attacked draws
on foreign loans arranged by the IMF, and turns over the foreign
currency to buy back its own paper. The 'assisted' country ends up
with the foreign debt to the amount of the 'aid' while the speculators
pocket the proceeds of the loans, and move on to the next replay of
the scam."

Chossodovsky concludes the IMF, the G7 and 14 other countries that
co-financed the bailout "bear a heavy burden of responsibility in
endorsing a multi-billion dollar scam conducive to the brutal
impoverishment of the Brazilian people."

Decommissioning the IMF

Addressing the IMF's practice of bailing out private creditors
necessarily takes us onto the wider challenge to "decommission the
IMF" to use Walden Bello's evocative comparison with the
decommissioning of a nuclear power plant.

The Jubilee South Summit concluded that the IMF and the WTO cannot be
reformed "So Shut them down!"   But it won't be an easy or simple
process to abolish them.   Walden calls for "an immediate dismantling
of all SAPs; an immediate reduction of the IMF professional staff
[and] major cuts in both capital expenditures and operational
expenditures of the institution".

As we debate ways of decommissioning the IMF, we must keep in mind the
need to also propose alternatives to fulfill one of its origin
functions - dealing with financial crises. Instead of having to turn
to the IMF at times of financial crisis, all countries must have the
option of declaring a standstill on their debt payments and turning to
a neutral adjudicative body that does not impose conditions on the
write-down of unpayable debts. Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of Cape
Town, speaking at the Jubilee South Summit, describes the need for "an
independent arbitration process, a form of insolvency procedure which
will ensure that creditors no longer call all the shots when countries
run into difficulties."

The World Bank can afford to write off low income debts out of its
reserves worth some US$3.24 billion. The Bank has another US$16.7
billion in "retained earnings" (or what a private bank would call
profits). These could be used without seeking more contributions to
the HIPC Trust Funds which legitimize HIPC itself and its Structural
Adjustment conditionality. Forcing the World Bank to use its own
reserves would make it take responsibility for its imprudent lending
in the past.

Similarly the IMF has loan loss reserves worth some US$18 billion.
Forcing the Fund to use its own reserves to write off illegitimate
debts could also be a step towards its decommissioning

Genuine South-North Dialogue

We in the Canadian Jubilee campaign take the position that the agenda
for future Jubilee debt campaigning must be worked out in dialogue
with Jubilee South. I repeat that we agree with our  partners in
Jubilee South who say "There can be no effective redressing of North
South relations or effective debt action if the people of the South
are not directly involved."

It is unacceptable for northern campaigners to set priorities for
Southern groups to follow. Solidarity demands a genuine dialogue
between Southern and Northern groups to develop complementary
responses wherein campaigns can be adapted to different national

We need to dialogue concerning how we can build the case for canceling
middle-income country debt through highlighting actionable issues.  We
need to show how the 40 million Brazilians who live below the poverty
line are as oppressed by debt as are the poor in Malawi.

In this same spirit we have suggested that UNCTAD or the UNDP could
play a role in auditing the origins of all LDC debt.   We may not have
the capacity to do everything all at once but we certainly intend to
move beyond lobbying G7 leaders to campaigns that recognize the
social, political and ecological debts owed by North to the South.

Genuine partnership requires dialogue. We embark on this dialogue in
the spirit of the words of Samora Machal who once counseled that
"International solidarity is not an act of charity. It is an act of
unity among allies fighting on different terrains towards the same

Resource Center for People's Development #24, Unit 7, Mapang-akit St,
Pinyahan, QC, Philippines telefax- (632)4361831 tel - 4350815 email:


The US spends more on arms...

"The United States spends more on arms annually, $275 billion
presently, than the rest of the Security Council combined. U.S. arms
expenditures are approximately 25 times the gross national product of
Iraq. The U.S. has in its stockpiles more nuclear bombs, chemical and
biological weapons, more aircraft, rockets and delivery systems in
number and sophistication than the rest of the world combined.
Included are twenty commissioned Trident II nuclear submarines any one
of which could destroy Europe."

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark,  Letter to the UN, November

 "Today, the United States spends more on military arms and other
forms of "national security" than the rest of the world combined. U.S.
leaders preside over a global military apparatus of a magnitude never
before seen in human history. In 1993 it included almost a
half-million troops stationed at over 395 major military bases and
hundreds of minor installations in thirty-five foreign countries, and
a fleet larger in total tonnage and firepower than all the other
navies of the world combined, consisting of missile cruisers, nuclear
submarines, nuclear aircraft carriers, destroyers, and spy ships that
sail every ocean and make port on every continent. U.S. bomber
squadrons and long-range missiles can reach any target, carrying
enough explosive force to destroy entire continents with an overkill
capacity of more than 8,000 strategic nuclear weapons and 22,000
tactical ones."

Michael Parenti Against Empire, 1995

 "[Nearly 70% of the military budget] is to provide men and weapons to
fight in foreign countries in support of our allies and friends and
for offensive operations in Third World countries... Another big chunk
of the defense budget is the 20% allocated for our offensive nuclear
force of bombers, missiles, and submarines whose job it is to carry
nuclear weapons to the Soviet Union... Actual defense of the United
States costs about 10% of the military budget and is the least
expensive function performed by the Pentagon..."

Rear Admiral Gene LaRoque, United States Navy (retired),  explaining
the nature of the U.S. "defense" budget.

 This is the free Political Literacy Course from Common Courage Press:
A backbone of facts to stand up to spineless power.


European Trade Commissioner Seeks Consensus

The international community will be eagerly awaiting the outcome of
Pascal Lamy's visit to India. And why shouldn't they be? The outcomes
of the Seattle Ministerial Conference and the UNCTAD X which recently
concluded at Bangkok have brought India back into the forefront of
international economic policy making. It is not only the EU's trade
supremo, Mr Lamy who visits India soon after these two events. His
visit was preceeded by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) director
general, Mike Moore and will be followed by the US president, Bill
Clinton who will be also be testing out the waters in India on the
stalled process at the WTO.

Unlike Mr Moore, Mr Lamy decided to meet with the civil society, in
addition to business and the government. He also spoke at the Indian
Institute of Foreign Trade. At the end of his visit, one wonders
whether he was able to sufficiently engage India into agreeing to the
EU-proposal for a 'comprehensive trade round' with some innovative
selling techniques and/or offer chips that India would bite.

Even if it is too early to judge the outcome of Mr. Lamy's
India-visit, it needs to be mentioned that he was not quite successful
in giving a positive signal in this direction during his interaction
with civil society organisations. The meeting, chaired by Mr. Pradeep
S. Mehta of the CUTS Centre for International Trade, Environment &
Economics, was organised by the Delhi office of the European
Commission. The fact that Mr Lamy met with civil society groups
separately was indeed very valuable. He took the opportunity to
announce the setting up of an Indo-EU network of think tanks, which
would be a track-II process of resolving differences between the two
trading partners.
His initial remarks reflecting EU's concern on the differential and
negative impact of unfettered globalisation and liberalisation, a
position similar to India's, set the discussion on the right tone. Mr
Mehta raised the issue of the strained North South relations in the
trade arena as a deep reflection of the lack of required balance and
equity. This was evident at Seattle, he said, where the third world
united on several issues.

        Disappointingly, the rest of his interaction did not really
reflect EU's willingness to set the ball rolling. On the contentious
issues of labour standards, environment et al, he continued to parrot
his old line. One found it a bit difficult to digest such programmed
reactions given his elaboration on the lessons that EU had learned
from what happened at the Third Ministerial in the area of procedures
and substance of discussions during negotiations.

Plagued by questions from NGO-representatives on the EU-position
vis-ŕ-vis labour standards, especially after the Seattle fiasco, Mr.
Lamy had nothing new to convey. "A Joint Working Forum between the WTO
and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) would help to raise
the profile of the labour issues", was his answer to questions in this
context. He said that they are under huge domestic pressure to address
this issue under the WTO umbrella. He reiterated that EU was not in
favour of sanctions, and to that extent the EU position was quite
different from that of the USA. However, he was hopeful that the US
would come around to the European position.

On environment, he was categorical that environment had a natural
relationship with trade, and that it is already there and therefore
has to be discussed at the WTO. He was on the target, while expressing
his concerns about the increasing importance of dispute settlement
panels which was interpreting the interface between trade and
environment. According to him it is the membership who should define
the relationship and the direction of the debate on these issues at
the WTO.

During their interventions Dr Sanjaya Baru of the Indian Council for
International Economic Relations (ICRIER), Dr. Nitish Sengupta, MP,
and others highlighted the positive change in the perception of Indian
policy makers and a broad consensus among political parties towards
'open' policies. This in turn required a positive response from the EU
and the US, the two big powers. Mr. Lamy, instead of using this
opportunity to express his eagerness to engage Indian policy makers,
mundanely emphasized that India needs to agree on investment and
competition, if it actually wanted to reflect its support towards
'open' policies. Again reflecting that EU was only interested in
pursuing a 'one-way traffic' approach with India.

On the linkage between trade and development, Lamy said that it was
the developing countries who are blocking progress. This is because
they do not like the coherence approach of getting all international
institutions to work together. What he does not appreciate is that the
poor countries do not have faith in such an approach given the fact
that both aid and trade are declining. They would rather see
improvements in terms of trade, tariff escalation and tariff peaks,
and adherence to the special and differential treatment, which would
enable them to increase their exports.

Such views raise a question mark with respect to EU's commitment to be
prepared "to adjust to each others (i.e. India's) position" as well as
to articulation of these positions. Such contradictions will only add
to the confusion with respect to the objectives of Mr. Lamy's visit.
Furthermore such comments also reflect the lack of appetite of the EU
about effectively engaging influential developing countries like India
in the area of international economic policymaking, an issue which
they themselves have been preaching for a long time.

Reportedly India's Commerce Minister, Mr Murasoli Maran after meeting
Mr. Lamy, has taken a stand that one need not embark on a new round,
as there is no convergence in perception of players involved in the
process. Which of course does not mean that India is opposed to a new
round, a subtle shift from its stand at Seattle. However Mr Maran was
firm that non-trade issues and even investment would have to be
removed from the agenda if India's support is required for a new deal.
This was also the view that was expressed by both the civil society
and the business chambers that Mr Lamy met the same day.

It is also reported that Mr. Lamy and Mr. Maran have decided to engage
in bilateral discussions for an acceptable agenda, simultaneously
holding parallel consultations with other WTO members. However these
talks will only be successful if the EU realises that it will have to
give up several demands for anything to move  at the WTO. In response
to its posture that it would not engage on the in built agenda on
agriculture and services, India and other developing countries have
already pointed out that the necessary trade offs and concessions were
delivered during the Uruguay Round negotiations, therefore to expect
more concessions is patently unfair.

CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment, Jaipur


Washington - Paris

International demonstrations and proposals.

In the United States a wide range of groups, NGOs, unions will be
starting to demonstrate in Washington from the 9th to the 17th, for
the debt cancellation, against the International Monetary Fund and the
World Bank policies to propose a new world. On the 11th a press
conference will be held in the Congress to present the resolution on
the Tobin Tax drafted by the Representant DeFazio and the Senator

This press conference will also introduce the world reunion of
pro-Tobin representatives organized by two Euro parliamentarians,
Harlem Desir and Glyn Ford that will be held in the coming weeks to
reunite elected persons from around the world that are currently
trying to put forth Tobin Tax resolutions in Argentina, Belgium,
Brazil, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, Swiss, United
Kingdom, United States and so on...

Many groups, movements or unions in the United States have helped this
US Congress resolution to be drafted among which some are reuniting to
build an "Tobin network": AFL-CIO, Center for Economic and Policy
Research, Preamble, Tobin Tax Initiative to name a few. Contact:

At the same time in Paris an international demonstration will take
place the 12th April.

The French Debt coalition "Pour l'an 2000 : annulons la dette" and
ATTAC France are calling for an INTERNATIONAL DEMONSTRATION on the
occasion of the Paris Club meetings on Wednesday 12th of April from 6
p.m in Paris, from Place de la Bastille to Bercy, Ministry of Finance

We need the support of every northern and southern organisations that
participate in debt coalitions.

The coming meetings of the Paris Club will allow us to reassert our
commitment to a full and immediate cancellation of the debt.

We are counting on your participation.

Campagne « Pour l'an 2000, annulons la dette !» CCFD - 4 rue Jean
Lantier, 75001 PARIS - France Tél: 33 (0) 144 828 153 - Fax : 33 (0)
144 828 145 e-mail :  web site :

What is the Paris Club ?

The Paris Club gathers the main creditor countries. They meet
regularly to re-evaluate the debt of poor countries, and possibly
offer debt relief.

Why this demonstration ?

Thanks to the international mobilization to cancel the debt of poor
countries, 20 million persons throughout the world (550.000 for
France) have signed the petition in favor of debt cancellation. At the
Köln G7 Summit in june 1999, the richest countries have decided to
cancel approximately half of the debt of the 42 Highly Indebted Poor
Countries. The measures that have been proposed are very unsufficient,
they are being applied too slowly and the conditions imposed by the
IMF are unacceptable. Early this year, countries such as Canada, the
United States, the UK, Italy and France started to show some efforts.
The time has come to get a full cancellation of the poor countries'
debt, with transparency, and strong participation of the civil


Irish politicians listening to public opinion for increased support
for the Third World

On Friday 30th March, DEFY (Development Education for Youth), who have
co-ordinated the campaign to achieve all-party support for the UN
target of 0.7% of GNP to Overseas Development Aid by 2007, invited
development agencies, youth organisations and a number of social
partners to meet and discuss the latest developments in the campaign.

They were able to announce that, as a result of the campaign, the
Taoiseach (PM) had committed the government to a target of 0.73% by
2007. The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ms. Liz O'Donnell,
stated as recently as 23rd. March, in the Dail (Irish Parliament): "I
will shortly bring proposals to cabinet which will guarantee an
incremental multi-annual budgetary allocation with a view to reaching
the target. The target for 2007 announced by the Taoiseach is 0.7%".

Liam Vegimont, director of DEFY, was delighted to announce that all
political parties, government and opposition, had agreed to the target
and he added that the campaign committee would continue to lobby,
monitor and ensure continued annual progress towards achieving 0.7% of
GNP to ODA by 2007.

On the same day, the Irish Labour Party hosted a seminar on the topic
of "Justice for the Developing World: a challenge for Ireland and

The leader of the Labour Party, Mr. Ruairi Quinn, introduced the text
of the "Ireland Aid Bill, 2000" which aims to put Ireland's commitment
to increase ODA to the UN target of 0.7% of GNP on a statutory basis.
Ruairi Quinn stated that Ireland had the finances to reach this target
and promised: "Within two years of Labour participating in any future
government, our ODA will reach 0.7% of GNP and this will be enshrined
in law to prevent any backsliding by future administrations."

He added however that ODA, while necessary, would not be sufficient to
meet all developmental needs and announced Labour Party support for a
global tax on currency transactions.

Mr. Prionsias De Rossa, MEP, reminded the audience of the thinking
behind the Tobin Tax and of the benefits which could be derived from
its introduction. He announced the forthcoming launch of a Labour
Party campaign on this issue, an announcement which is warmly welcomed
by Attac-Ireland.

He also analysed the social impact on the developing world of the debt
crisis and called for support for the Jubilee 2000 initiative. He
concluded: "There is little point in our raising our aid targets, as I
believe we must, if that aid is merely to be returned one hundred fold
to the wealthy nations of the industrialised world in the form of debt

The third session of the seminar dealt with the need to sustain
development in a global economy, focussing on the Lome agreement. The
Labour Party Spokesperson on Development, Ms. Joan Burton, who chaired
this session, made a special plea on behalf of the 125 million
children who are denied access to education and suggested that the
World Education for All campaign was an obvious and suitable focus for
new spending.

Claudine, Attac-Ireland

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