Shutdown DC Spoofs IMF Debt Cancellation Announcement

repost from Shutdown DC

Earlier today we sent around an email with an almost unbelievable announcement: the International Monetary Fund and other international financial institutions were canceling ALL of debt for 111 countries that were experiencing a moderate or high risk of debt distress. Payments on these debts take essential resources out of the budgets of many of the world’s poorest countries. The structural adjustment policies that accompany these loans act as a tool of colonial domination, allowing rich countries to mandate that the world’s poorest nations make painful cuts to vital social programs.

Throughout the day, dozens of people reached out to ask if we had been duped. Some even asked if this was the work of the notorious laughtavist pranksters, “The Yes Men.”

The truth is, this is not real. The IMF did not cancel all debt. #ShutDownDC activists created the IMF2020.org website and announcement (but we’re humbled to be compared to the Yes Men). But it is also true that canceling all debts for low and moderate income countries is not only the right thing to do, it’s essential at this moment.

The IMF and other financial institutions did announce some small debt relief measures at around the same time as we sent out the email. But these measures are disgustingly inadequate. The IMF’s Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT), for instance, provided less assistance than the US Federal Government provided to large corporations in the most recent bailout package.

We are in the midst of a global pandemic, and the world’s poorest countries need to be able to mobilize every available resource to provide for the health and wellbeing of people who have been made vulnerable to this virus. And when we emerge from the pandemic, there is no going back to the old normal. We need to build to a new normal where we’ve dismantled the interlocking systems of oppression that created this incessant stream of climate, public health and economic crises.

So the IMF has not canceled all debt yet. But they are responding to the pressure and we need to keep up the pressure! Our friends at Jubilee USA are campaigning for much needed reforms among the international financial institutions like the IMF. Sign their petition and support their work!

And today’s action also shows that we CAN take disruptive action during the global pandemic both online AND in person. Over the next several months, physical distancing and wearing face covering is going to be essential to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe. We all have a responsibility to act responsibly. But we also can’t afford to sit on the sidelines while people die, the corporations line up to fill their pockets and the government quietly rolls back protections. We need to be responsible and keep each other safe and healthy, but we also need to continue to fight a just and sustainable future.

Between Earth Day and May Day, we’re going to take bold action (both online AND in person) to take aim at the interlocking systems that are creating the crises our communities are suffering from and build a collaborative framework for a healthier, more just and more sustainable world.

We’re working on some exciting action plans for those 10 days–imagine using lots of eco-friendly paint to paint a mutual on a side street in front of an evil billionaire’s home, or hanging massive banners in iconic locations around the district, or using bicycles to haul solar powered PA system around town bring the voices of front line communities to the institutions that are facilitating the destruction of their communities.

Join our next organizing conference call– the last weekly call before Earth Day to find out what the plans are and how YOU can plug in! Thursday, April 16 at 7pm eastern.

Talk real soon!

#ShutDownDC

Over a thousand Rising Tiders, Powershifters, and Supporters leave permitted Powershift March Route to Support Direct Action in Pittsburgh

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Monday, Oct. 21 – At around 12:30pm, 10 protesters began a sit-in at the Allegheny County Courthouse, blocking the main hallway in County Executive Rich Fitzgerald’s office suite. The protesters called on Fitzgerald to drop plans to open up Allegheny County Parks for fracking.  The County Executive’s office is currently reviewing proposals from natural gas drilling companies to lease the oil and gas rights under Deer Lakes Park for fracking.

The sit-in is part of a day of action against dirty energy to culminate the Power Shift conference.  Over a thousand supporters from Power Shift participated in an un-permitted march to the County Courthouse to support the sit-in, following a rally on the North Shore’s Allegheny Landing earlier this morning.  The marchers arrived shortly after the sit-in began and filled the courthouse courtyard, with dozens joining the occupation of the County Executive’s office.  No one was arrested.

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“Fitzgerald is trying to cut a deal with the natural gas industry without seeking formal input from the residents of Allegheny County on this issue. There is no public participation process, so we have to create it and that’s what we’re doing today with this sit-in. We are bringing our message straight to Fitzgerald that the residents of Allegheny County do not want fracking in our parks.” said Ben Fiorillo of O’hara Township.

Keith Brunner of Rising Tide Vermont was part of the support rally, “We stand in solidarity with the Protect Our Parks campaign, knowing that this fight is part of a much larger movement against all forms of fossil fuel extraction which are devastating local communities and the climate.”

Opponents to the plan to frack the parks highlight the health and safety risks associated with shale gas development.

“This plan will bring many more wells to the Deer Lakes area, and with it heavy truck traffic, noise, stadium lighting, and air pollution, all of which will impact park-goers and nearby residents, whether the well pads are in the parks or not,” according to Jessica McPherson of Pittsburgh who also joined the sit-in.

The three lakes, which give Deer Lakes its name, are all fed by springs, which could also be impacted by fracking under the parks.

McPherson continued, “What I’m most worried about is that fracking under the park will contaminate the groundwater which feed these three lakes these lakes are a destination for hundreds of local residents. An accident like that could ruin this treasured fishing hole and expose park-goers to dangerous fracking chemicals.”

The day of action also included civil disobedience led by the Earth Quaker Action Team at PNC bank branches throughout the city, who are calling on the bank to stop financing mountaintop removal coal mining.

At Least We Know We’re Getting Under Their Skin

At Least We Know We’re Getting Under Their Skin


Frackers See Town Folks as ‘Insurgency,’ Deploy Psy Ops
www.readersupportednews.org
‘Natural gas fracking companies are treating the campaign to expand drilling in Pennsylvania like a military campaign, using ‘psy ops’ to quell the insurgency’ of environmental, economic, and health concerns. Audio tapes … reveal the wartime mindset of the frackers.’ Brad Johnson, ThinkProgress