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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Protest on Ellipse draws active students, groups

Rally cries filled the Ellipse Sunday afternoon as thousands gathered to protest the meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Many of those were college students, who have taken a strong interest in the labor practices of the two international organizations.

The protesters are spending the weekend attempting to block the entrance of finance ministers and central bankers into the World Bank and IMF meeting.

The two organizations assist governments in debt or experiencing credit problems. They only provide money to governments that agree to allow corporations free access to resources and labor.

Emcee Michael Moore, political activist and the filmmaker of Roger and Me, spoke to the crowd.

Today is a sign that there is a movement in this country, he said. Working Americans are fed up with the abuse that they have endured.

The message of the protests struck a chord with the United States Student Association, a national lobbying group that sponsored the rally.

There seems to be a relationship between the increase of corporations and decrease in educational resources, said Treston Faulkner, USSA student labor activist coordinator.

USSA President Kendra Fox-Davis expressed the need for IMF reform for the benefit of college students of today and tomorrow.

There is a connection between privatization and education, she said.Fox-Davis said the USSA works with student unions from all over the world.

(The organization) is against any policies that would limit education, she said.

Ali Fischer, USSA vice president, said she was impressed by the turnout of college students from throughout the country.

There are students here in so many capacities, she said. It’s an illustration of how many facets of life that students fall into.

On the Ellipse, Moore gave updates from protests around the city. Groups of protesters sat in downtown intersections, blocking traffic and confronting police.

I’ve just been told that because of the demonstrations in the street today, the IMF was unable to start their meeting, he said. But IMF meetings continued throughout the day.

Environmental groups believe IMF loans and benefit packages have damaging effects on natural resources, according to a press release from Jobs with Justice, an organization for workers.

International unions are protesting because workers in the United States are losing jobs in large corporations when the companies move their factories to third-world countries. The workers in these underdeveloped countries are then exploited for cheap labor and poor working conditions, according to Jobs for Justice.

Moore said more Americans lost their jobs because of downsizing last year than in the entire decade.

According to the Mobilization for Global Justice Web site, more than 100 organizations endorsed the rally, including the AFL-CIO, Friends of the Earth and the United States Student Association.

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