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NEW YORK -- Motivated by a growing concern that the United
Nations is in danger of becoming an engine for corporate globalization,
leading opponents of globalization will hold a Teach-In in New York
coinciding with the United Nation's Millennium Summit -- expected to be the
largest-ever gathering of Heads of State. On Tuesday, September 5th, while
the Global Leaders gather at the UN to begin three days of meetings "to
address the challenges of the 21st Century," prominent scholars and
activists will stage a series of panel discussions at Town Hall (123 W.
43rd Street, 1 pm to 11 pm) in midtown Manhattan where they will address
the challenge of effectively articulating the dangers of the unchecked
power of global corporations and develop strategies to restore the UN's
historic mandate placing human needs and the environment above the profit
The Teach-In is sponsored by the International Forum on Globalization
(IFG), an international alliance of sixty leading activists, scholars,
economists, researchers, and writers that was formed in response to the
increasing dominance of corporate globalization. The IFG played a key role
in challenging the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Seattle and educating
the activists who participated in the mass demonstrations that occurred in
Seattle and in Washington, D.C. earlier this year. According to the IFG,
the recently inaugurated Global Compact (an alliance between the U.N., some
non-governmental organizations and multi-national corporations -- including
some implicated in human rights abuses such as Nike and Royal Dutch Shell)
signals a worrisome trend:
"The UN's mission is being compromised by the encroaching power of global corporations," said John Cavanagh, Executive Director of the Institute for Policy Studies and an IFG board member.
He added: "For the United Nations to mimic the free trade model that
motivates the WTO, the World Bank and the IMF undermines the UN's potential
to serve the needs of peace, security and the interests of the global poor.
IFG associate Vandana Shiva, internationally acclaimed as one of the most
passionate and articulate critics of globalization, cautioned that by
aligning itself with the purveyors of corporate globalization, the UN is in
danger of becoming a vehicle for "the new colonialism of the Third World
that rests on free trade and liberalized rules for investment and
privatization and de-regulation." Both Cavanagh and Shiva note that the
historic antagonism of the U.S. toward the U.N. -- as manifested by the
massive U.S. debt -- has played a role in the world body's increased
interest in cooperating with multinationals.
The Teach In will feature four panels. The panelists will review the
status of the battle against globalization in the wake of the Seattle and
Washington, D.C. protests and analyze the increasing influence of
corporations and the free trade model on the UN. Panelists will also
articulate alternative economic models and institutions based on values
favoring human welfare and the environment over corporate interests.
Co-sponsors of the event include: Institute for Policy Studies,
Transnational Resource and Action Center, The Nation Institute, and the New
York Open Center
- 101 Alliance for a Corporate-Free UN