Mobilize against the World Economic Forum in Davos, Swiss Alps

Leaflet calling for demonstration in Davos From Alain Kessi Date Sat, 25 Dec 1999

Here's the full English translation of the German-language call (leaflet of 17 December 1999) for a demonstration in Davos on 29 January 2000. Thanks to "el desaparecido" for a first rough translation of some parts of this call (sent around on 21 December 1999). I hope I did justice to at least some of the puns in the German text. The German original of this call can be found on .

Alain ------------------- Anti-WTO Coordination Switzerland
c/o Reithalle Bern
PO Box 5053
CH-3001 Bern
Switzerland
Tel ++41-31-302 66 60; Fax ++41-31-302 78 74
e-mail:
homepage:

Mobilizing against the World Economic Forum in Davos, Swiss Alps

When the times are bad, do something.
When it works, continue.
When it doesn't work, do something else.
But don't give up: do something.
(Audre Lorde, black activist and feminist - sorry, translated back from German)

That's the limit! - Another demo against the summit!

From January 27th to February 1st 2000, the 30th World Economic Forum (WEF) will take place in Davos in the Swiss Alps. 2000 self-proclaimed "Global Leaders" will meet in the relaxed atmosphere of the winter resort to establish informal contacts between the economic lobby and political management, to draw up billion-dollar projects of exploitation and prepare far-reaching decisions over the heads of those affected. When it was founded in 1971 the WEF was but a management seminar among others. By now it has become one of the most important "think tanks" of the economic strategists of the North. From its headquarters in Geneva the WEF organizes a whole range of regional and international meetings.

WEF - it's the pits!

"New Beginnings: Making a Difference: The Annual Meeting 2000 is the first top level international meeting of the new millenium [sic!]. (...) The opinion-leaders and decision-makers who gather in Davos have both the will and the position to make a difference." After the failure of the Millenium Round in Seattle the meeting in Davos will have a special significance. The WEF could once again come to the rescue. In the eighties already the WEF provided the decisive input to the Uruguay Round of GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade). These negotiations led to the founding of the WTO (World Trade Organization) in 1995.

WTO kills people - kill the WTO!

The summit in Seattle was a debacle for the WTO, a spectacle for others. The tensions between the power blocs that had cropped up in the lead-up could not be solved at the ministerial conference in Seattle. In addition, the massive protests by opponents of the WTO on the spot led to delays that further reduced the options of the government representatives. In the end they did not agree on an agenda for the Millenium Round. This is why the global players will now do their utmost to get out of this dead-end situation. Time is pressing. In January the WEF offers an excellent opportunity to get momentum back into the WTO machinery.

WEF - meeting of murderers

On its web pages the WEF shows how the problems of the world can be dealt with in a few sentences. For instance, the point of the WEF is not to find out whether the fears about genetic engineering are well-founded but how the acceptance necessary to its marketing can be brought about ("What is the best strategy to overcome fears?"). Despite the destructive consequences of the "free" market Klaus Schwab, founder and president of the WEF, tirelessly invokes the "spirit of Davos" as a peacemaker and guarantor of prosperity. According to him the WEF works towards making "economy and politics in the 21st century more environmentally sound, more social and human. (...) The spirit of Davos tries in constructive rather than destructive or demagogical ways to build the foundations of a better world. This is why this year's discussions are dedicated to the topic of humanizing the globalization." (from a full-page ad in Swiss daily newspapers, 30 January 1999) On the same day in Davos the Russian Prime Minister Primakov met Richard Matke, the president of the US-American oil company Chevron. There, a long-standing argument between Turkey and Russia over the course of the oil pipelines was resolved, and the arrest of the leader of the Kurdish Workers Party PKK, Abdullah …calan, was planned. Trading …calan for oil - this is how they attempt to crush the resistance in Kurdistan. The WEF offers the opportunity for such back-room deals while the politicians and managers get a tan from the flashes of the press photographers and can present themselves to the public as peacemakers and world-saviors.

Davos, little big global city

Davos, the prestigious winter resort, changes into a part-time global city during the WEF - a hub of financial, communication and migration flows. Such power and business centers are predominantly in the hands of white men and function only thanks to the work of migrant that is made invisible. In global cities there is a demand for jobs that no one wants to do - cleaning, cooking, washing... Necessary jobs that cannot be cut, which reproduce the global cities and for which busy managers have no time. Migrants are acceptable only as reproducing agents of the Western business centers. Migration flows are not a consequence of globalization but an indispensable part of it. While borders are being abolished for commodities, capital and services, the mobility of people is being checked and controlled.

Homo Oeconomicus: don't feed him, cook him!

Women fulfill several functions on the world market. These functions are closely linked to the societal role assigned to them. House work is the indispensable foundation of the capitalist system. And this (unwaged) reproduction work is done mostly by women. Whether it is housewives or employed cleaners, their labor is not recognized as labor and does not have its place in the statistics of the economists. But what would a bank director be without an ironed shirt? What would an insurance agency be if it didn't get cleaned every day? And what would the world market be if women did not bear and raise children for free? How would meetings of the "global leaders" take place without devalued and belittled women's work? Only this imposed division of "labor" allows women's labor force to be exploited. There is more: in the realm of illegalized domestic servants and sex workers the societal double standards appear most clearly. Illegalized migrants are tolerated due to the demand. As soon as they become publicly visible however they are threatened with deportation.

Millenium in Seattle or Davos - the resistance continues

What would happen if not everything went so smoothly in Geneva, Cologne and Seattle or in Davos? If the high-handed "global leaders" were compelled to notice that they cannot manage things as they please... After all it could be that in Davos, which will be in the limelight during those days, resistance will stir. It could be that many people show that they do not agree with a world as defined by WEF, IMF, WTO and the World Bank. It could be that in snow-covered Davos, despite the cold temperatures and icy winds, human warmth will make itself felt. The point is - and it is entirely in our hands - to do the right thing in the right place at the right moment!

Schwabbly dialog

The Swiss anti-WTO coordination has decided to expose the myth of the peaceful spirit of Davos. Just like during the demonstration last year we will not be drawn into a dialogue with the WEF and will continue to refuse such dialog in the future. We deny international institutions such as the WEF and political and economic elites, who cause the death by starvation of millions of people, any legitimacy and do not see why we should sit at a table with them. We will go to Davos in order to resist economic policies that increase the injustice between North and South, rich and poor and especially further exacerbates the situation of women.

The demonstration will take place on 29 January 2000 in Davos; meeting point train station: 3 pm.

For more information on WEF see their web site:



Back to Global Action Reports
Back to Global Action
This page last updated January 3, 2000
Comments, questions? Send them to dennyhenke@tao.ca