S11 — world TNC jackals gather in Melbourne
Trade unions, environmental and other community organisations are plannning a range of activities to voice strong opposition to the World Economic Forum to be held in Melbourne September 11-13. It was a meeting of the World Trade Organisation in Seattle that brought thousands onto the streets in protest last year and, together with the strong opposition of Third World countries, prevented the WTO from making more decisions to advance the interests of the transnational corporations (TNCs) which would inflict more poverty and unemployment on the world's working people. The World Economic Forum is bringing 2,000 leading businessmen and other invitees to Melbourne. It will take place in the Melbourne Casino and will undoubtedly be protected from the anger of demonstrators by thousands of police and private security agents. The World Economic Forum says that its foundation members were the 1,000 "foremost global companies in the world today, which are driving the world economy forward". Those who constitute the Forum "are members of the different clubs established to bring together individuals committed to strengthening international cooperation in their particular fields. Each group is private and admission is limited in order to preserve their peer character." Industry Governors are another part of the forum structure and are "exclusive groups made up of the chief executives of the most important companies in key industrial sectors." Not only does the Forum pay attention to the elite among the business world of today, it is planning for tomorrow by including "some 600 men and women, under 45 years of age, who constitute the new generation of global decision-makers." Media and cultural figures are not forgotten as they play an important part. Media leaders are said to be "those with most influence within the world's media groups whose inclusion in our activities both guarantees credibility and impartiality (sic) and adds value for participants." The cultural leaders are "100 distinguished figures from the world of arts" who, so the Forum leaders hope, will prostitute their art to paint the corporate leaders in rosy colours. The Forum says that it "is the foremost global partnership of business, political, intellectual and other leaders of society committed to improving the state of the world." Rubbing shoulders at the Melbourne Forum are many of the biggest of the big Chief Executive Officers of the TNCs and their local political "collaborators" — John Howard, Peter Costello, Alexander Downer, Bob Carr, Richard Alston, John Fahey and Ian Macfarlane (Governor of the "independent" Reserve Bank of Australia). Among the celebrities are numbered Microsoft's Bill Gates who has been charged with corporate mal-practice by a US Court. The Forum claims that its strength lies in the strength of its "communities". The reference to "communities" has nothing to do with the people who walk the streets, or do the work in offices, shops and enterprises. "Communities" means the business communities who have a common interest in keeping the overwhelming majority in society "in their place" as meekly compliant wage-labourers to be exploited and cast aside whenever they can no longer be useful. Activities A range of activities are in the course of preparation to voice opposition to the agenda of the World Economic Forum. In Melbourne, forums, rallies, vigils, pickets and street demonstrations are being planned. Various organisations including the Victorian Trades Hall Council are involved. In Adelaide the United Trades and Labor Council is planning to hire buses to carry participants to Melbourne. Perth has an S11 committee. In Sydney the Communist Party of Australia is preparing to hire a bus and it is to be hoped that student organisations will also participate. There will be a diversity of interests and organisations, all of whom have common interests in opposing the anti-people agenda of the big corporations. The demands being made by protesting groups include the cancellation of all IMF and World Bank debt; the democratisation of these organisations; the reversal of government policies attacking trade union rights; the imposition of binding environmental codes on the TNCs; cancellation of laws discriminating against Third World countries; the implementation of a democratic and fair trade system which is to the mutual benefit of all countries; full payment for working people for the work they do. Through this Forum, world capitalism, whose image has been undermined by the universal poverty, unemployment, wars, environmental devastation its programs have brought about, is attempting to put a "human face" on its real avaricious and bestial character.