Socialism Today                     The monthly journal of the Socialist Party

Issue 47

About Us

Back Issues



Contact Us



Issue 47, May 2000

A16, Washington DC

AROUND 10-15,000 people rallied against the IMF/World Bank meeting in Washington DC on 15-17 April, protesting against the exploitative role of the big corporations in the globalized economy.

As in Seattle for the WTO meeting in November, there was a broad spectrum of protesters, overwhelmingly young people. Banners included 'Free Political Prisoners', 'No World Bank/IMF Loans for Nukes', 'Get Green', 'Abolish IMF/World Bank' and 'Smash Capitalism'. Unlike Seattle, however, there was hardly any union presence.

The police were out in force to protect the IMF/World Bank meeting, reportedly spending $5 million on the operation. They were well-prepared, making over 600 arrests on Saturday. Police and fire marshals raided the protesters' headquarters and closed it down. They also forced Kinkos 24-hour photocopying stores to close down in an effort to prevent protesters producing leaflets.

DC was basically under an informal martial law. On Sunday, police used smoke canisters and pepper spray to disperse protesters a few blocks away from the meeting, and made more arrests. Dozens of streets were shut down, with roadblocks and heavy police patrols. Monday, when many government employees had been told to stay at home, the police went berserk and smashed any illegal blocking of the roads.

On Saturday, six members of Socialist Alternative were among those arrested, held until Sunday. Members of Socialist Alternative, which played a prominent part in the mobilisation at the University of Washington in Seattle for the anti-WTO protests last year, were selling their pamphlet, Global Capitalism and the Socialist Alternative. After the arrests, SA members took the initiative in organizing a rally in solidarity for all the arrested protesters. SA also organized a public meeting to discuss the next steps necessary to take the movement forward.


The consciousness of the protesters is very mixed. Nevertheless, an anti-capitalist mood is emerging amongst a significant layer of young people.

Philip Locker

Home | Issue 47 | About Us | Back Issues | Reviews | Links | Contact Us | Subscribe | Search | Top of page