FROM DETROIT TO TORONTO: INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL MOVEMENT LEADERS CHALLENGE THE G-20


What:   Press conference, 12:15-1:00 PM
        Social movement leaders from South Africa, Honduras, Canada and Mexico challenge
        the G-20‘s empty promises and devastating policies

Where: United States Social Forum
       Cobo Center, 1 Washington Boulevard, Detroit, MI 48226-4420
       People's Media Center,  Ambassador Dining Room W2-60, 2nd floor Cobo Hall
(the last room at the end of the hallway overlooking the Detroit River)

Speakers:
Liepollo Pheko, Gender and Trade Network for Africa, South Africa
Rafael Alegría,  Via Campesina, Frente Popular of Honduras
Barb Dolan,  Vice President of the Communication Energy and Paperworkers Union, Ontario Canada
Alejandro Villamar,  la Red Mexicana de Acci’on Frente al Libre Comercio (RMALC), Mexico

It’s a tale of two cities and their two gatherings.  One is bringing together international leaders who are largely isolated from their people, to discuss free market solutions to the current free market crisis.  The other is bringing together international people’s movement leaders who together with 20,000 people from across the country are developing grassroots solutions for a transformed world.

The difference can be seen in the streets - in Toronto, police dominate with a one billion dollar mayoral mandate to protect the rulers of capital from the people who dare to have their voices heard.  In Detroit, communities rule the streets through peaceful, colorful and powerful marches   voicing organized movements for jobs, health, education, and respect for human rights.

The cause of the effective police state in Toronto is the gathering of the G-20, who will be meeting this weekend to discuss bank taxes, trade balances, and severe budget cuts or “austerity measures” as proposed remedies to the global economic crisis.  Also on their agenda is a Canadian-driven plan to eliminate funding for abortion services.  

The G20 meeting has already been greeted with dozens of protests, demonstrating growing dissent against a body that enriches the elite at the expense of women, children and poor and working class people around the globe.  This dissent will be echoed in Detroit, which many local residents call the “ground zero” of our failed economy.  

“The G-20‘s empty promises have exhausted their credibility and moral authority before the G194 and before the people of the world,” said Alejandro Villamar of RMALC.  “The global crisis requires real, just and timely solutions.   Their rhetoric does not stop the climate crisis, it does not stop the voracity of financial speculators, and it does stop the hunger of millions of people. Instead, we need immediate solutions that meet our demands for social justice.”