Norway: World Bank Oslo conference

Several demonstrations are planned to protest against the World Bank’s Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE) Conference in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, 24-26 June.

The Conference is suppose to discuss how to boost the fight against global poverty, but as ‘Oslo2002’, a network organising the biggest demonstration on 24 June, points out, "The World Bank (WB) is one institution responsible for global poverty".

Nine trade unions and 35 other organisations are part of the network. Oslo2002 is campaigning across Norway for a big turnout. The demonstration has received support from both the transport workers and the social workers in Oslo, and the TUC in Oslo has given a donation to the network. Protestors will also come from other countries and, for example, Attac in Denmark has given its support to the demonstration. The main slogan of the protests is: ‘Our world is not for sale – Stop the World Bank’s undemocratic market policies’.

The Oslo2002 platform states that, "with its dogmatic belief in the market as universal cure-all, privatisation of social welfare policies, and down-sizing of public transport, the WB has succeeded through its policies in severely undermining the educational opportunities, health-care options, and general security and well-being of millions of women, men, girls and boys". The document concludes, "The WB claims to reduce poverty around the world, yet its campaigns have failed miserably. Large portions of the world’s population face more dire circumstances today than they did 20 years ago. This development is especially devastating for woman around the world, who make up 70% of the world’s poor."

Oslo2002 is also campaigning against WB policies to undermine trade union and workers’ rights, for an unconditional cancellation of Third World debt, and against the destruction of the environment.

Authorities’ scare campaign

The authorities had organised a scare campaign against the planned demonstrations. The police have spent millions in making sure that the conference can go ahead and threaten to stop demonstrators traveling from Sweden and Denmark.

Oslo2002 is committed to the "use of non-violent tactics" and is campaigning for the right to demonstrate.

Oslo2002 is also organising a Counter Conference, an Open Forum and a music festival in and around the WB’s Conference.

All socialists should try to come to Oslo from 24-26 June. CWI members from Norway and Sweden will be there campaigning for a socialist alternative – ‘A socialist world is necessary’.

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June 2002