Brian Holmes on Mon, 12 Aug 2002 00:00:22 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Unmask the W$$D in Johannesburg

Unmask the W$$D in Johannesburg and around the world!

(A Call To Action from the Social Movements Indaba in South Africa -- 
please forward wide and far)

On the 31st of August, tens of thousands of South Africans will swarm 
the World $ummit on $ustainable Development (W$$D) in Johannesburg. 
We call on all people concerned about our planet and its people to 
join us in saying "Enough!" - enough empty promises and lies, enough 
neoliberal destruction of the commons, enough impoverishment of 
people for profit! Join us for international days of action from 
August 28 through September 2! Show solidarity by organising local 
actions in your town or city and roar to the "leaders" of the globe:


The "World $ummit" on "$ustainable Development":
w e  w i l l  n o t  b e  f o o l e d !

The world plunges into an abyss of economic desperation and 
environmental catastrophe.  In response, as in Rio ten years ago, the 
global caretakers of the status quo clamour for "sustainable 
development." The W$$D is a grand spectacle of promising ideas and 
powerful rhetoric, designed to manufacture an image of positive, 
dynamic action.  Yet the dry details and technical implementations of 
the pretty words have revealed the rotten core behind the mask: the 
same old neoliberal prescription for a world dominated by corporate 
capital and ruled by an unaccountable elite.  This is the 
uncomfortable truth: a world devoted to profit can't sustain people 
and the planet.  The international financial institutions (like the 
WTO, IMF, World Bank) enforce a world order of the bottom line while 
the "war on terrorism" justifies growing US aggression against 
dissent.  The W$$D will only reinforce this system.  It cannot be 
rehabilitated.  Its logic is clear.  If we don't oppose it, we 
legitimise its power.

South Africans, host to this year's summit, experience directly the 
ugly truth behind the lies.  The ANC (and our increasingly despised 
president, Thabo Mbeki) have maintained a stranglehold on power by 
conjuring the image of liberation and socialism in every popular 
campaign, while reassuring the financial sectors with their 
single-minded pursuit of neoliberalism, privatisation, and popular 
demobilisation.  Despite its nominal commitment to "redistribution," 
GEAR, the neoliberal macroeconomic policy unilaterally implemented in 
1996, has resulted in a million jobs lost, massive social 
dislocation, water and electricity cut-offs, home evictions and 
demolitions.  In fact, the government is explicit (to the financial 
press) that it is sacrificing the masses to build a black capitalist 
class.  Eight years after apartheid's official end, South Africa has 
moved from third to first on the list of the world's most unequal 
societies.  This is Mbeki's "African Renaissance." This is the 
"better life for all" he promises with a continent-wide plan called 
NEPAD (to be consolidated at the W$$D), which is more GEAR for 
Africa, NAFTA Africanized, subservient to the G8 big boys, 
neoliberalism run amuck.

This ideological doublespeak extends to the W$$D itself.  Not only 
has the official decision-making body been dominated by power players 
behind the scenes, but forces aligned with the South African state 
have attempted to coopt the parallel NGO "Global Peoples Forum," 
silencing dissent and maintaining the illusion.  But the spectacle 
cannot hold.  Here, in South Africa, the lies become obvious.  As the 
government and the banks invade communities, destroying the 
infrastructure of bare life, the poors of South Africa have arisen in 
defiance.  From the Concerned Citizens Forum in Durban and the 
Anti-Eviction Campaign in Cape Town, to the Anti-Privatisation Forum 
in Jo'burg and the Landless Peoples Movement around the country, 
communities have militantly defended their lives and exposed the 
deception and repression beneath the pretty words.  In the face of 
police dogs and bullets, so reminiscent of the Apartheid era, peoples 
power and self-organisation has withstood the might of the state, 
beginning the difficult process of building a new liberation movement 
to catalyse the boiling frustration of the country's majority into 
active seizure of control of our lives.

Now, we're going on the offensive.  As the NGO globetrotters descend 
on the glitziest rich suburb of our most unsustainable city, tens of 
thousands of the usually ignored will seize the moment to express our 
outrage, propose truly democratic alternatives, and to place our 
bodies in the way of business as usual.  We call on the people of the 
world to join us: in Johannesburg if you can, or in the streets of 
your own city in solidarity.  Let us make these days of international 

Moreover, as poor people we have few resources to coordinate action 
and transport even a fraction of those who wish to come.  For 
thousands the inability to raise one euro or one dollar for bus fare 
will prevent attendance. Fundraising and pledges of support from our 
comrades around the world will help our young movement in struggle.

Join us in our fight against a world of lies and despair.  We need 
you.  Join us!

             Our World is Not For Sale!
              Rise up! Resist! Revolt!

For more information, to pledge support, or to offer funds, please 
email  See also

Social Movements Indaba
Anti-Privatisation Forum
  Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee
  Kathorus Concerned Residents
  Working Class Communities Co-ordinating Committee
  Ikageng Community Crisis Committee
  Themelihle Crisis Committee
  Mandelaville displacees / Durban Roodepoort Deeps
  United Civic Organisation of South Africa
  Soldiers Forum
  Vaal Community Forum
  Far East Bank forum
  Riverpark forum
  Braam Fischer forum
  Inner City Community Forum
  Keep Left
  Democratic Socialist Movement
Palestinian Solidarity Group
Environmental Justice Networking Forum
Rural Development Services Network
Jubilee 2000
Youth Against Crime and Poverty
Landless Access Movement of South Africa
First People
Friends of the Earth
Trust for Community Outreach and Education
Municipal Services Project

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