September 8, 2000
THE MILLENNIUM SUMMIT: GLOBALIZATION & THE U.N.
One of the demands of the anti-globalization movement that grew out of last year’s protests against the World Trade Organization in Seattle was that the United Nations should take a greater role in shaping the world economy. In contrast to the W.T.O., the World Bank, and the International Monetary fund, activists saw the U.N. as more democratic and more responsive to issues of social and economic justice, human rights, and the environment. Recently, however, grassroots activists have become concerned about what they see as the growing influence of multinational corporations within the U.N. and its specialized agencies. This week, as 150 world leaders gathered in New York City for the UN Millennium Summit, several non-governmental groups came together to sponsor a teach-in on globalization and the role of the U.N. Susan Wood reports from New York.
CRACKDOWN IN THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
Ten years ago, the State Department still called the Palestinian Liberation Organization a terrorist organization, and its leader, Yasser Arafat, was not welcome in the U.S. This week in New York, however, President Clinton met with Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak in what many see as a last-ditch effort to save the peace process, which has run aground over disagreements on Jerusalem and the right of return for Palestinian refugees. Much attention has been paid to domestic political considerations in Israel, where Barak’s parliamentary coalition is hanging on by a thread. But Arafat has a home front to answer to as well — in the occupied territories. But according to a report released this week by Amnesty International, dissenters in the Palestinian-policed areas of the Occupied Territories face arrest and abuse by security forces. The report says the Palestinian Authority has detained dozens of people – including human rights workers, journalists, trade unionists, and religious leaders – because they’ve criticized the Authority or the peace process. Host Matt Martin interviewed Marty Rosenbluth, Amnesty USA’s specialist on Israel and the Palestinian Authority, about the report.
CAPTAINS OF INDUSTRY CONVERGE ON MELBOURNE
Hundreds of international business leaders will converge on Melbourne, Australia next week for the Asia-Pacific meeting of the World Economic Forum – best known for its annual gatherings in Davos, Switzerland. At the top of the summit’s agenda are the effects of globalization on the region, a subject which also makes the meeting a target for critics of unfettered globalization. A coalition of environmentalists and debt relief activists have said they’ll try to shut the meeting down on Monday. Australian unions are planning a separate action, which they expect will draw 15,000 union members. Juliette Fox, of community radio station 3CR in Melbourne, offers a preview.
DEREGULATION TRIPLES ELECTRIC RATES IN SAN DIEGO
In 1996, California set in place a plan to deregulate its electricity market. But it was only this spring that price controls began to be lifted — beginning with the San Diego metropolitan area. The results have shocked even supporters of electricity deregulation, with rates more than tripling in the last three months. Twenty-two other states and the District of Columbia have also committed to deregulation, but none have taken the final step of lifting price control. Aaron Glantz reports from Sacramento on the costs of the crisis and the solutions being put forward by California lawmakers.
JURY TO RULE IN ARYAN NATIONS SUIT
A federal judge in Idaho has cleared the way for a jury to assess punitive damages in a lawsuit charging the Aryan Nations white supremacist group with negligence in the operation of its security force. The Southern Poverty Law Center is representing a woman and her son who were shot at outside the Aryan Nations Church in 1998 — and lead attorney Morris Dees has called on the jury to assess 10 million dollars in damages, enough to bankrupt the influential white supremacist group. As Leigh Robartes reports from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, the case may be a turning point for racists which have organized in pockets of the rural northwest.
WARDS COVE WORKERS CONTINUE LANDMARK ANTI-DISCRIMINATION SUIT
Over thirty years ago, Filipino-American workers at the Wards Cove Cannery in Seattle filed the first major anti-discrimination lawsuit by Asian-Americans. After three unsuccessful trips to the Supreme Court and the passage of federal civil rights legislation which specifically excluded them from its protections, the workers are still seeking justice. Last month, they filed their sixth appeal in federal court. From Seattle, Martha Baskin has the story of their long struggle.