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International anti-IMF conference held in Port-au-Prince

From This Week in Haiti,
Vol. 13, no. 11, 7-13 June 1995

PORT-AU-PRINCE, May 31 (Haiti Info) - Hundreds of participants from diverse sectors attended the International Conference Against the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and Neoliberalism from May 25 to 28 at the state university put together by a committee and dedicated to exposing the IMF's neoliberal agenda here and throughout the world.

At lectures, a concert and in workshops, the attendees listened to songs, plays and lectures from Haitian, Mexican and U.S. professors, labor and peasant leaders, artists and writers. The three days were dedicated to: The New World Order and the Neoliberal Project, Consequences of the Application of the Neoliberal Project and What Alternative?

The conference erupted into a spontaneous demonstration against President Aristide on Sunday morning when the assembly learned he was at the General Hospital across the street. Chanting Down with IMF! and Down with Aristide, about 200 people took to the street. People in front of the hospital, some say with encouragement of Haitian police, launched a counter- demonstration.

Highlights of the conference included two talks from Professor Pablo Motezuma on the history of the peasant movement in Mexico and the effects of neoliberalism on that country, presentations from Dominican and Guatemalan delegates and an analysis by Professor Alix Rene, who spoke on The New World Order, Neoliberalism and the American Plan for Haiti.

Rene explained that IMF pressure on developing countries is meant to remedy the problems of entire capitalist system and help transnational corporations continue to generate profits.It's not a 'new system, he explained. The 'new world order' is the same old system that keeps the domination of capital over production, the domination of the bourgeoisie over the workers, the domination of the imperialist countries over the dominated countries.

After two-and-one-half days of lectures, the assembly divided into nine groups to consider: What alternative do you propose to the IMF neoliberalism? and What form of battle do you propose to continue the mobilization against neoliberalism?

The resolutions were mostly specific to combatting neoliberalism, and included calls to strengthen state-run enterprises and national production, improve social services, reorganize the economy to benefit peasants and workers, and fight for a participatory democracy. They criticized the role of non- governmental organizations in demobilizing people and organizations, and called for mobilization against neoliberalism and the government through demonstrations, sit-ins and education campaigns.

The students' workshops called for an institution for continued education for workers, an anti-occupation movement and an international tribunal to judge the IMF. Down with the puppet government! Down with 'non-governmentalist' militants! Long live the struggle for the poor masses! one student concluded.