There must be something in the late September air that brings out thousands of 20-year-old politically savvy students clad in their favorite anti-capitalist T-shirts and following a 30-foot paper-mache replica of a greedy politician down Washington streets. But many wonder why these thousands of people crowd up the streets to the point where GW cancels classes.
While some arguments against the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have a sound basis, the circus surrounding these protests hide any real issues. The practices of the IMF and World Bank are so enormously complex that one could write a doctoral thesis explaining every detail. But the basic purpose of each organization is succinct and clear: to help those in need. In the end, underdeveloped nations find themselves better off because of the work of these two organizations.
Everyone has the right to speak out against either group. But what this last weekend in September boils down to is a worldwide cry to any and all people to come and show the world their opinion on whatever they wish.
You want to disagree with U.S. policy in China? Come on over two blocks from the White House. You do not agree with capitalism? Step on up to the front of the line. At the protest two years ago, there was a sign protesting the America’s role in the Elian Gonzalez affair.
There may be problems with the IMF and World Bank, but steps have been taken to improve the structure of both. The United Nations University in Tokyo recently suggested that steps be taken to monitor both organizations to ensure that funds and resources reach their intended destinations. Domestically, Congress passed a bill scrutinizing the IMF and World Bank, asking that the United Nations place them under a more watchful eye.
The international community has responded to the criticism of protests across the globe. Why call a legion of students to descend on two small city blocks? Even in D.C., this is going overboard.
While there are some who make the trek to D.C. shouting their disgust for the practices of the World Bank and IMF, the majority simply come along for the ride..
Two years ago, a few days before the first protests, C-SPAN aired special training sessions where protesters learned how to protest. But if these people were so staunch in their beliefs, if they truly only wanted to be heard among the many, do they really need people to show them how to stand up for what they believe in?
-The writer is a sophomore majoring in international affairs and Judaic studies.