Revolt in September|
2002-08-01, 4:53 p.m.
The People's Strike:
A Day of Non-Compliance and Resistance
September 27, 2002
Shut Down the City!
Convergence on DC - Skillshares, Spokescouncils and Orientation - September 25-26
In the city where George Bush rules from the lap of luxury...where over 12,000 people sleep on the streets just outside the White House doors while 29,000 units of housing remain abandoned yet are still private property...where 40% of children live in poverty while a dinner with the elite can cost over a thousand dollars a head...where immigrants have few rights and resources ... where the powerful launch wars, bombings and sanctions ...where more people per capita have HIV than any other US city... where the World Bank and IMF dictate policies to developing countries forcing millions to live and die in poverty…in the nation where citizens do not have voting rights and live under taxation without representation…We call for a People's Strike to shut down this machine and take back our freedom on September 27, 2002!
In direct opposition to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and all they represent we will shut down Washington DC. These institutions exemplify how global capitalism promotes poverty, racism, sexism, environmental destruction, and the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of a few. We are calling for confrontational opposition to capitalism and the crippling effects it has around the world. This time around we are not just shutting down the meetings but extending our protests to disrupt all of the institutions that play a part in this system.
The US Treasury with the backing of the White House, Congress and other bodies of government are the primary decision-makers in the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. In turn, the government is influenced by multinational corporations with powerful lobbies, many headquartered on K St in downtown DC. To exploited people around the world the capital of the US is a symbol of global domination, and all that is wrong in the world. Taking back this city for one day in a spirit of resistance will be an act of self-determination to bring hope to ourselves and express solidarity to those struggling for freedom across the world - from Afghanistan to Argentina, South Africa to Iraq, Palestine to the Philippines.
We are calling for NON-COMPLIANCE with the system-a stoppage of normal activity to protest objectionable conditions, a halting of our participation in the system. We are calling for RESISTANCE to force the system to shut down. Refuse to go to work or school on September 27, or stay on the job and give everything out for free, slow down production, stick a wrench in the gears! Be in the streets, reclaim public space, discuss your ideas! Businesses, governmental institutions, schools and streets, will be shut down, and in many senses reopened to new uses. What will you take back?
We demand a change in the miserable conditions and exploitation enforced by these institutions and demand a world based on freedom and compassion. We demand:
* That the World Bank and IMF be abolished!
* An end to privatization.
* An end to all debt.
* Housing and food for everyone.
* Freedom for everyone - Immigrant Rights, Civil Liberties, Women's liberation.
* An end to the prison system.
* An end to imperialism and terrorism.
* An end to colonialism.
We are striving toward the abolition of capitalism! No longer should ones survival and access to human needs be determined by ones economic means.
Our resistance must be visible and confrontational. Our last two demonstrations in Washington DC have been ineffective. We cannot allow the state to dictate our protests against them or simply use our legitimate resistance as a P.R. building tool. The state allows a place for "protest as usual" within "business as usual" and we must move outside the box, do the unexpected and truly challenge the system.
We hope to organize an action that is accessible to everyone who wants to participate, at many risk and experience levels. We will help however we can to provide information and a framework for actions to affect the overall plan of shutting down the city. But we will depend on individuals and affinity groups preparation and encourage everyone to come with their own ideas, supplies, and plans. This will not be a standard march and rally! Don't wait till the last minute to prepare.
In order to pull this off it will take a massive organizing effort from every city, town and person who believes in a better world free from capitalism. Almost all of the organizing that can be done in Washington, DC can be done from anywhere so we are encouraging and depending on broad involvement in the organizing.
Here are some of the many things you can do NOW to prepare for September:
* Form a group in your area to be the local contact for organizing The People's Strike or take on this task as a project of your existing group or collective.
* Organize an affinity group and be prepared for a large decentralized direct action.
* Organize road shows, teach ins, or workshops in your region.
* Bring outreach materials to bookstores, colleges, community spaces, local organizations or anywhere else.
* Organize buses, caravans or other transportation to DC from your area.
* Find housing in DC for people from your area.
* Fundraise for materials, travel and logistics. Donate to the DC ACC.
* Do artwork - make posters, and public art for the protest.
* Do direct action, legal, medical and other trainings in your area.
* Incorporate into your local organizing for The People's Strike how the problems created by capitalism and institutions like the IMF and World Bank manifest themselves in your town.
* Contact us for more ideas and information: [email protected]
The World Bank and IMF abolished! The World Bank and IMF are never going to reform themselves and abolish or even lesson poverty. To do so, would mean putting themselves out of a job, as their business is making money off loans to indebted countries. Structural Adjustment Programs, which are the strings attached to Bank and Fund loans, keep countries and their people impoverished by prescribing policies which have not in over 50 years improved economies and to the contrary have worsened the situations of people in poverty, created dependence rather than sustainability and ruin the environment.
We demand an end to privatization and structural adjustment everywhere. We want healthcare, education, and clean water for everyone. Currently the few public services that are provided are being taken away. In DC, the federal government mandated the closing of our only public hospital, leaving many people without jobs and many more people with no where to go for healthcare. Through structural adjustment the World Bank and IMF mandate the privatization of public hospitals or impose fees for health services in developing countries where mere pennies could provide life saving drugs and treatment. The privatization and de-funding of welfare, education, and electricity has sentenced millions to death around the world, while the privatization of prisons gives corporations a slave labor force. We need services based on need not on corporate greed.
An end to all debt! From debt owed by developing countries to personal debt. Debt cripples countries and continues the cycle of IMF / World Bank loans and structural adjustment. Personal debt, through credit cards, high mortgages and other bills, takes away personal freedom and dignity. Personal debt is created through unfair credit and lending schemes designed to make the poor poorer and the rich richer.
We want housing and food for everyone. There is more than enough food and housing available for everyone yet capitalism creates a tier system where only those who can pay can receive their basic needs while houses remain empty and food goes to rot and waste. In Washington DC there are over 29,000 empty units of housing yet, families are put on waiting lists for years to get into houses and meanwhile must sleep on the streets or in overcrowded shelters and if the city has its way another 15,000 families will be put on the streets next winter with a reduction in Section 8 public housing. Just this winter 11 people froze to death in DC, within miles of the White House and Congress. A few large corporations control the majority of the world's food supply and are working to commodify seeds, which farmers have saved for centuries, through genetic modification and force people in developing countries to move from self-sustainability to supermarkets.
Freedom for everyone: Immigrant Rights and Civil Liberties. Under global capitalism corporations and money can move freely around the world yet, people are persecuted and denied their humanity when they move in search of a better life. People from around the world immigrate to DC, hoping for more freedom, many from countries devastated by war or decades of World Bank/ IMF policies. Upon arriving though, they often encounter racism, xenophobia, and poverty and find themselves with few rights and little control over their lives. With Bush's "war on terrorism" immigrant rights are being further eroded and many people are being taken from their families and put behind bars without explanation or justification - merely because of the color of their skin or country of origin. The "war on terrorism" is also used as an excuse to crack down on dissent and civil liberties. DC has installed an intricate surveillance system to monitor people and the FBI and CIA have extended powers to invade people's privacy and personal space.
Women's liberation. Though women have fought for and achieved many rights in most countries there continues to be an attack on women's freedoms in the US and around the world. Bush is leading an assault on women's reproductive rights and heath with attacks on abortion while birth control and prenatal care continue to be accessible only to privileged women. Women, particularly women of color, are often the most exploited people in the global economy, they are the first to lose jobs under downsizing and face constant harassment and exploitation in export processing zones. Much of women's labor, including caring for the household and family and work outside of the formal job market, remains unrecognized and unappreciated leaving women overworked and oppressed.
An end to the racist prison industrial system. Laws make it so that it is virtually illegal to be poor - there are numerous laws to lock people up for loitering, panhandling, shoplifting, 'vagrancy' and using drugs, all actions that are come from a lack of options or desperation and lack of hope created by capitalism. Racial profiling and institutionalized racism ensure that people of color are targeted, to ensure the marginalization and oppression of people of color. Corporations profit off of the labor of people in prisons, where people are legally considered slaves. People who do not fit it into the capitalist system and could pose a threat to its existence are locked up - in particular black men, Native American, and single moms. All prisoners are political prisoners!
An end to imperialism and terrorism by the US government and all other states. The US government is currently involved in numerous brutal wars around the world. Yet, due to the collusion between the government, corporations who benefit from war and the corporate owned media few citizens know the real extent of the "war on terrorism" and the war waged in the name of 'free' trade. Soon the US has stated that it will launch a ground war in Iraq which is already decimated by US bombings that occur more than once a week and sanctions which cause Iraq's children to die of hunger and easily preventable diseases. This year the US will spend over a billion dollars to protect US oil interests in Colombia and pave the way for free trade zones there - in the process thousands of Colombians will loose their homes, their way of live will be destroyed and many will be murdered. The US uses sanctions against Cuba to attempt to get the country to bend to the US governments and corporations will and recently sanctions against the country have been increased. These are just examples, the US and its partners which include other governments, corporations and banks, are engaged in endless war to enforce the system of third world debt and the exploitation of people for cheap oil, designer clothing and global domination.
End colonial status of DC and developing countries. DC is a colony of the US government, citizens in the District have no elected representatives in Congress and live under taxation without representation. Like developing countries where the World Bank and IMF dictate policies to the national governments the US Federal government dictates policies to local DC government. DC epitomizes the sham of representative democracy in the United States which does not represent peoples interest even when elites are 'elected' as 'leaders'. Like most colonies DC has an extreme system of racial and economic separation thousands of people are homeless, 40% of children live in poverty, wealthy suburbanites who work in DC use the cities resources for free and leave residents, who are a majority black, with some of the worst air quality in the country, poor schools and very few services.
An end to capitalism! No longer should ones survival and access to human needs be determined by ones economic means. Capitalism thrives on the misery and impoverishment of the many for the luxury and wealth of the few. Capitalism relies on and uses racism and sexism to enforce economic and social inequalities. Capitalism is unsustainable, it creates discontent, it kills the environment and it is characterized by constant financial crisis and implosions. Workers, who create the economy, are left unemployed with worthless retirement plans and few recourses when companies like Enron and WorldCom go under and when manufacturing jobs move from country to country constantly seeking locations where they can exploit people, usually women and people of color, and the environment the most to obtain higher profits for CEOs and celebrity endorsers. Washington, DC, the capital of the most economically powerful country in the world, exemplifies the gluttony and misery of capitalism. Downtown is showy and rich while 7 blocks away there is extreme poverty, illness and discontent. DC displays on a small scale the great divides that capitalism creates.
Endorsers of call:
* Enrag'es Collective, Louisville, Kentucky
* Left Turn
* Pittsburgh Organizing Group
* Seattle Anti-Capitalist Convergence, Seattle, WA
* Guilford Action Network, Greensboro, NC
* Burning River Revolutionary Anarchist Collective, Cleveland, OH
* Direct Action Network, Chicago, IL
* Portland Anti-Capitalist Action, Portland, OR
*Federal Library of Carthage
*Red Alert Collective of Des Moines, IA
"Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation." - Martin Luther King, Jr.