The two strongest economic organizations in the world, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, capitulated this week. The threat of large demonstrations, violent clashes, vandalism, injuries and even deaths - coupled with the near-impossible task of protecting the 183 finance ministers and central bankers from all over the globe - has caused the organizers of the World Bank Group IMF 2001 annual meeting, the largest economic get-together in the world, to cut its schedule to the bone, almost canceling the entire event.
Instead of a week-long international conference in a grand hotel in Washington DC at the end of September, the meet has been consolidated into a day-and-a-half. Instead of a professional-political convention with four days of seminars on international issues, followed by three days of plenary sessions, the event has been compressed into a day-and-a-half (Saturday and Sunday) in the World Bank and IMF buildings, with the seminars canceled altogether.
Does this not signify a victory for the anarchists? Is the world a better place? Will the West now transfer more money to help the poor in Africa?
The story began in Seattle, USA, in November 1999, when thousands protested and disrupted the World Trade Organization's meet. Seattle was placed under siege, while the police confronted thousands of demonstrators who destroyed, smashed and broke everything in their path. The second significant installment in the tale took place in Prague, in September 2000, when the European anarchists took control, leaving the innocent residents of Prague in a state of wanton destruction. The third round happened in July, in Genoa, Italy, at the G8 meeting, where one of the demonstrators, Carlo Giuliano, was killed by police bullets.
Make no mistake, these are not innocent protesters, but violent anarchists who are out to destroy everything. They come well armed to these organized conferences; they cover themselves in protective clothing against the police force, don masks to withstand the tear gas, wear helmets and carry clubs and knives under their clothes and off they go to wreak havoc and carnage in the host city.
If they should see a bank, a McDonald's or any fancy looking shop, they immediately take out their implements of destruction, tear up the sidewalk and then ransack the shop. Others set alight anything in their path, including the cars of the poor local residents.
The result is that a minority of anarchists run amok, while thousands of bona fide protesters seek to demonstrate non-violently against the gap between the rich West and the poor in the southern hemisphere, and in favor of caring for the environment. But thanks to the violence and destruction left behind, the world will not be a better or more just place because the important discussions on ways to split the pie more fairly across the globe - the central topic of the conference - will never take place.
Likewise, there will be no contacts made or programs put forward between the private and public sectors to advance the Third World. The violence has also stripped the African states of the opportunity to present their investment plans to the gathering. The West will not transfer more money to Africa and will not agree to reschedule the debts of the poorest countries because there will be no discussion.
So the anarchists can celbrate their victory. The whole world has lost.
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