issue 257 - July 1994
The 50 Years is Enough campaign is a loose coalition of groups from all over the world working to expose the negative effects of the globalization of commerce started at Bretton Woods on local economies and ecologies. Some are building support through local education and challenging the policies of GATT, the World Bank and the IMF on the ground. Others are bringing leverage directly to bear against the International Financial Institutions to get them to change their overall policies and practices. Here is their five-point platform for change.
1 The IMF and the World Bank should be completely open and accountable. Affected populations must participate in their decision. making.
2 Economic-policy reform programs should support equitable, sustainable and participatory development.
3 All environmentally destructive lending must end. Lending must instead support self-reliant, resource-conserving development that preserves biodiversity.
4 The IFIs must be scaled back and financial resources rechanneled into a variety of development-assistance alternatives. In particular the International Development Association (the soft-loan department of the World Bank) should be independent of Bank control.
5 All outstanding debt owed to the IMF and the World Bank by the world's poorest countries should be cancelled. In general multilateral debt must be reduced so as to free up additional capital for sustainable development.
There are a vast number of groups campaigning to challenge and change the politics of globalization as practised by the Bretton Woods institutions. Here are a few you can contact in order to stay informed and get involved. For a more comprehensive list contact Development GAP in Washington, DC (address below).
Maori Congress Foreign Policy Committee
Corso/ GATT Watchdog Group
Australian Conservation Foundation
Action Canada Network
Third World First, Luis Reveco,
World Wide Fund for Nature - UK
Joint Ministry on Africa
Campaign on Debt and Development Alternatives
Freedom from Debt Coalition
The Development Institute, Dr Martin Atherton,
Here are a few useful educational tools which might help you get a grip on the issues and pass the word onto others.
Dark Victory by Walden Bello of the Institute for Food and Development Policy is an excellent summary of the impact of structural-adjustment policies on the Third World. This slim volume is crisply written and provides an excellent tool for study groups and campaign activists. Available from Food First, 398 60th St, Oakland, CA 94618 USA. Phone: (510) 654-4400. Fax: (510) 654-4551. The $15.50 includes shipping within North America Available from Pluto Press in the UK.
BankCheck is a lively quarterly newletter published by the International Rivers Network that uses wit and a sharp intelligence to keep on top of all the latest machinations of the World Bank. Subscriptions are highly recommended and cost $25 ($15 low income). Send cheques to: BankCheck, do International Rivers Network, 1847 Berkeley Way, Berkeley, CA 94703, USA.
Ampo A good quarterly magazine on economic issues in Asia published by the Pacific-Asia Resource Centre, P0 Box 5250, Tokyo International, Japan. Subs - $28.
The Other Side of the Story; The Real Impact of World Bank and IMF Structural Adjustment Programs. Available from Development GAP (address above) is an indispensable guide to the groups and activities of the 50 Years is Enough campaign. Full of contacts and sharp analysis. A good buy at $5 in the US and $6 for the rest of the world.
Eurodad, Vlafbriekstraat 11, Brussels B-1060, Belgium. This European charity has an excellent reproduction service of documents relating particularly to Third World debt. Phone: 32-2-539- 2620. Fax: 32-2-539-1343.
For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy Toward Community, the Environment and a Sustainable Future by Herman E Daly and John B Cobb (Beacon Press, Boston 1989). This is a more ambitious read but well worth the effort. One of the best ecological critiques of conventional economics.
To Be a Woman is a powerful presentation of the stories of women in Ghana, Uganda and Zambia as they battle the effects of structural adjustment. Available for $35 from Canada's Inter-Church Coalition on Africa (address above). Orders outside the Americas to All Africa Council of Churches (Nairobi address above).
Also two excellent videos - the witty Debt Crisis: An Unnatural Disaster (1991) from Jamaica and Hell to Pay (1990) which chronicles the effects of structural adjustment on women in Bolivia. For purchase information contact Full Frame Film and Video, 394 Euclid St, Toronto, Ont, M6G 2S9, Canada. Phone: (416) 950-9338. Fax: (416) 324-8268.
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