After Seattle - What Next

In Feb., 250 people turned out to an open forum on globalisation. Three speakers made the jour-ney to share their experiences. Ed Cox from Jubilee 2000 told us about his experiences working with the single issue campaign group for a year. He talked about his time in Zaire and the effects of third world debt on the people, including the lack of medication for malaria and the choice of the farmers between growing tobacco or starving. He talked about the necessity for "noisy" lawful protest but also the partnerships that such a wide ranging and complex single issue as debt managed to raise. He said that direct action could be effective but did not always attract widespread support. He praised the cancellations of debt made by Britian and the US but said that there was much more to do, particularly in Germany, France, and Japan. Also the world bank hasn't cancelled any debt.

Next, Charlie Kimber from the SWP spoke about his experience at Seattle on 30 November last year at the anti-WTO protest. He spoke about the union march and how it was diverted by the union leaders from the city centre where demonstrators were coming under attack from the police. A small group of workers broke off from the diverted march and headed for the city centre where the police backed off from confrontation. He said the police didn't want to attack the workers directly as this would instigate widespread protest from the rest of America. He stated that capitalism was the enemy and socialism the answer.

Lastly, Mike from the World Development Movement spoke about the problems caused by free trade and the rank imbalance of powers within the World Trade Organisation. Citing issues such as hormone injected beef and bananas as examples of how the WTO's system of advocating free trade over all other considerations does not work. He said that over 1500 organisations have called for reform of the WTO. In particular, he mentioned that the US has 250 reps in Geneva at the WTO headquarters, while some of the poorest countries have none. He called for a change in the dispute mechanisms of the organisation as well as a reduction in corporate lobbying.

The speakers were followed by discussion from the floor. While there was much division of opinion between more radical individuals, reformists and left wing political parties, the general consensus was that, following last year's 30 November and June 18th protests wordwide, May Day would be a good time to arrange a Manchester event as part of a global day of action, resistance and carnival against capitalism.

MayDay Arrangements

Events are taking shape for Mayday actions in Manchester. The meeting point on the day is at 3pm in Piccadilly Gardens, and the idea is to stage a mock revolution, and try to focus on alternatives to the current system that we would have if we could overthrow it. There will be lots of props, propaganda, music, street theatre, workshops & the chance to do whatever takes your fancy. Prop-making and planning will be happening every day nearer the time - phone 226 6814 for details on how to get involved or to offer a workshop or display for inclusion.

CyberJedi


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(c) Networking Newsletter (April/May 2000)