On Friday October 10 Our Land Our Business, a campaign now endorsed by 260 organizations from around the world, organized the WorldvsBank day of action.
Groups from many cities mobilized to tell the World Bank they don’t want Doing Business (DB) rankings to dictate their policies and project such as the Benchmarking the Business of Agriculture (BBA) to impose opening of markets to importation of modified seeds and chemical fertilizers.
In Belgium, activists organized a teach-in for civil society organizations on October 6th and staged a satirical award ceremony (organized by SOS Faim) on October 10th. They rewarded countries which malpractices have benefitted big corporations. The groups also did great press and radio work:
In Sierra Leone, where the state of emergency didn’t allow any gathering or WorldvsBank protest, partners (Green Scenery) did great media work with press releases and radio shows and sent letters to World Bank representatives and ministry of finance to demand the end of the DB and BBA. http://standardtimespress.org/?p=5454
In London, protestors (from Occupy London) occupied Millers Towers (where the World Bank has its offices) to protest against land grabbing driven by the Bank’s policies. This captured attention and created a stir internally at the Bank. Watch the land grab at http://vimeo.com/108951489 & speeches at http://vimeo.com/108943574. Given London was a Northern city and not a it was a good turn out (60/70 people), the tactic of the land grabbing gave them a lot of media attention, even if they lost people when the police came (around 30 people stayed).
World Bank’s offices at Millers Towers were the venue for the protest in London.
Protestors occupied a part of the World Bank’s office in London
In South Africa a teach-in informing communities about the effect of Doing Business rankings was skype-casted in Durban, Johanesburg, Cape Town on October 10th:
Great contextualizing and media work advertised specific impact of the World Bank programs in SA: http://sacsis.org.za/site/article/2161
In Kenya, activists (from Kenyans for Tax Justice) did teach-ins in two locations outside of Nairobi and did graffiti work and printing of posters to get the conversation started about the World Bank. They also recorded of two songs about the WB. Groups did great social media work and advertised the WorldvsBank action on the Ghetto Radio:
In Sonora Mexico and Milan Italy roundtables and teach-ins were organized by WOTS? (Walking On The South?) to present the goals of the Our Land Our Business campaign:
In Kinshasa DRC, after a teach-in that informed NGOs and civil society representatives in September, partners (from CEDEN Circle for Environmental Protection) did media work and radio shows on October 10th.
In Delhi, activists from various civil society and grassroots groups in India got together to discuss impact of the DB rankings on land rights, tribal rights, environment and Indian labor laws.
India: Activists from various civil society and grassroots groups in India got together to discuss the impact of these rankings on land rights, tribal rights, environment and labour laws in India. Image: Apoorv Tiwary
Image: Apoorv Tiwary.
In Lagos, gathering of WorldvsBank protestors from said “Nigeria is not for sale”.
“Nigeria is not for sale,” said protestors in Lagos.
In Dhaka Bangladesh activists gathered on October 10th to condemn the World Bank for manufacturing poverty and did media work around the campaign:
In Bangladesh activists condemned the World Bank from manufacturing poverty.
Activists in Bangladesh.
In Washington D.C. a panel discussion held at the World Bank Civil Society Policy Forum started the day of action, giving a powerful overview of the impact of the World Bank’s programs and business indicators in developing countries. Panelists came from various countries to give their experience of the Bank’s policies: Ibrahim Sidibe (National Coordination of Peasant Organizations – Mali), Ruth Nyambura (African Biodiversity Network – Kenya), Okok Ojulu (Ethiopian activist against land grabbing and violation of Indigenous Peoples rights), Obang Metho (Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia) and Jeff Furman (chair of the Board of Directors of Ben&Jerry’s). The discussion was very well attended, not only by NGOs and activists but also attended by Bank officials who gave their point of view in the Q&A discussion.
The roundtable was followed by a street mobilization at Rawlins Park at 4pm where speakers from the panel were joined by other activists and performers, including Kymone Freeman of Washington’s We Act Radio, Medha Patkar of the National Alliance of People’s Movement (India), and the Reverend Billy and Stop Shopping Choir. The Reverend and the Choir then led a singing march to the front of the World Bank offices, where the Reverend performed the eulogy of the World Bank, a 70 years old institution that “should never have been born.”
The protest in Washington DC took place outside the World Bank’s office. Reverend Billy led the World Bank’s mock funeral ceremony. Image: Amberjade Mwékali-Tsering.
Protest outside the World Bank’s office in DC.