Approximately 150 Cornell students, faculty and local activists gathered on Ho Plaza at noon yesterday to protest what they consider to be negative polices of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The protest was held to show solidarity with demonstrations taking place in conjunction with the meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Prague, according to Koralie Hill grad.
Hill is a member of the Coalition for Global Justice, also commonly known as the Ithaca Sharks, which is comprised of students at Cornell and Ithaca College as well as local community members.
The protest entitled “Global Day of Solidarity Capitalism,” was co-sponsored by the Committee on United States and Latin American Relations (CUSLAR) and the Ithaca Sharks.
Other student groups such as the Cornell Greens and Earth Rise, two campus environmental groups, also showed their support for the protest. They set up tables on Ho Plaza and gave out pamphlets drawing attention to a specific pipeline being built for Exxon by the World Bank which cuts through rainforests and villages in Africa, according to the two groups.
“In theory, the projects that the World Bank and IMF choose could be beneficial, but the reality is that the projects benefit the government and corporations rather than the people who need the help the most,” Emily Cikanek ’04, a member of Cornell Greens and Earth Rise, said.
Keynote speakers included Cornell professors as well as local and national activists. Although the content of each speech varied, all of the speakers dealt with the negative social and economic consequences of globalization and injustice.
Prof. Tom Hirschl, rural sociology, spoke about the need “to reorganize the society in order to deal with the poorest and the most oppressed” while other speakers like Carolyn Byerly, a media activist, spoke about the adverse effects of globalization the media.
Byerly stated that “the media portrays serious issues as light entertainment.”
Gino Bush, another speaker and activist, spoke about jail privatization, which has begun to be implemented in several U.S. states.
The speeches were intended “to inform and bring awareness to Cornell students about the existence and problems with the two major organizations,” said Ayca Cubukcu ’01, a student who attended the rally.
“The problem with the World Bank and the IMF is that they are not accountable for their mistakes and they ignore the needs of the people [the policies] are directly affected,” Hill said.
“The speeches opened up my eyes. This is a subject I didn’t know much about,” said Louis Rivera ’02, who attended the speeches.
Katie Sawicki ’02 also said she saw the protest as positive. “It is good to keep people informed [about these issues],” she said.
Archived article by Jamie Yonks