old saying, "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw
stones?" Well, global capitalism is throwing stones at
people world wide, making life hell for billions of them, and here
in Honolulu the bankers of the Asian Development Bank -- the ADB
--are meeting in a glass house, this Honolulu Convention Center.
Ironic, isn't it. Imagine all of the poor this place
could house, but it sits empty most of the time.
have the right of free speech, we had to sue to the City and County
of Honolulu to get the right to protest publicly at this ADB meeting.
It's a typical picture showing just how far even local governments
sometimes go to protect transnational corporations and their banks.
is a famous all over the world, so its visitor industry --
part of the worldwide visitor industry -- is just one piece
in the pattern of globalization -- and it shows us the terrible
gap in the distribution of wealth around the world.
Here you see
people wealthy enough to come to the islands to enjoy vacations,
but meanwhile these ADB bankers are loaning money to transnational
firms that pay workers as little 20 to 40 cents an hour, and displace
many of them with huge dams and public works..
protests are about social justice, about protecting the environment,
and stopping transnational corporations from taking control of governments.
But the banks
and transnationals influence even local governments. Honolulu closed
nearby parks to keep us from organizing, and we had to sue to get
a simple parade in Waikiki.
at the protests in Seattle, Washington D.C., and Quebec, but I couldn't
get to the demonstrations in Genoa, Italy. I can tell you
that the anti-globalization
demonstrators are much more than just a bunch of idealists
throwing rocks at capitalists. And the globalization protest
movement is not really harboring terrorists, as the Italian police
have claimed. The movement to stop globalization has real substance
and purpose, with organizations in countries all over the world.
Transnational corporations and these international lending agencies
continue to ignore the hardship and disasters they create. They're
the ones creating the opposition to globalization that's picking
up momentum around the world.
By the time
we got to Quebec in April of 2001, there were more than 350
international citizens organizations protesting -
The same is
pretty much true here in Honolulu. There is a whole political spectrum
of protestors non-violent to violent.
For the first
time in history global capitalism has found itself in a fight wherever
it goes, and those of us who oppose globalization are educated,
well funded, and relentless.
we need to stop the exploitation of people and environments around
we have many millions more living in abject poverty than we did
global warming is raising the oceans and 50% of the earth's
species are threatened with extinction in the next 50 years. Worse,
the rate at which they are dying out is accelerating.
at the numbers:
corporations just claim its phony science, and go on searching the
for the cheapest labor and the least effective environmental regulations.
They create a race to the bottom for both people and nature.
has what human rights and what control over national laws and their
enforcement has subtlety shifted. The World Trade Organization
has silently become an un-elected world government controlling how
national governments will protect their environments or trade. Elected
government officials in democracies have silently given up their
power to make and enforce national laws, and have been replaced
by appointees in international organizations such as the World
Trade Organization.(WTO), and the Asian Development Bank.
We believe that the ADB is heavily influenced by transnational corporations,
and that it has no accountability to countries or voters.
investors at the expense of governments and poor people, international
organizations such as the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) and ADB create crises instead
of solving them. The Asian Development Bank is essentially a regional
branch of the World
Bank, one of the institutions that has to change its practices.
In Asia in
1997-8 international banking organizations nearly set off a worldwide
currency crisis that could have led to a worldwide depression. They
set off crises that destroyed the middle classes in Thailand, Indonesia,
and elsewhere in Asia. Read Robin Hahnel's short book on it,
movement is people like you and me who want to force businesses
to serve, not exploit the people who work for them and buy from
them; force them to save the earth's environments, the plants, animals
and natural processes that support all human life.
If we don't
succeed, our children and grandchildren won't have much of a world
to live in.