2008 Global Economic Justice Workshops

Plenary: Building a Just and Secure Global Economy

People of faith have been leading the way in the articulation of policies that foster trade justice instead of free trade and eliminate the onerous debts that oppress developing countries. Today, we are involved in critical struggles to realize trade justice, to defeat trade agreements that create conditions which only deepen poverty, and demand debt cancellation. Central to this struggle is the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which will likely be voted on in Congress soon. This large-group plenary will give you an inside view of these struggles through personal testimony and analysis from our Colombian activist guest. This conversation will also be in the broader context of global systems that include debt and trade, and how they are used to maintain and deepen inequality. Learn why current models aren’t working, why they need to be stopped, and concrete alternatives. Most importantly learn what you can do in your communities to stop this model and advance a new vision. This workshop will include a briefing on how to ask Congress to vote NO on the upcoming FTA.

Speakers:

  • Elizabeth Garcia Carrillo, member of the Confederation of Tayrona Peoples, Colombia, and the Lawyer for the Process for Black Communities;
  • John Cavanagh, Director of the Institute for Policy Studies and co-author of “Field Guide to the Global Economy”

Moderator: Jessica Walker Beaumont, American Friends Service Committee

 

Globalization 101

This workshop will focus on basic concepts of globalization, define common terms, and give an overview of trade and debt in the global economy. We will explore the impact of globalization on developing countries in the global south.

Speaker:

  • Jim Hug, Center of Concern; Francis Ngambi (Kenya)

 

Emerging Economic Issues in Iraq and Afghanistan

This workshop will focus primarily on the economic reality of Iraq and Afghanistan in the midst of conflict and offer a perspective on the US’s economic responsibility for ensuring the security of the people in these two nations. Discussion will center around Iraq’s odious debt, failing economy, and little-known free trade agreement as well as Afghanistan’s recent inclusion in the Highly Indebted Poor Countries initiative of the World Bank/IMF.

Speaker:

  • Simone Campbell, NETWORK A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

 

Film Screening: The Big Sellout

“When you drop bombs from 50,000 feet, you don’t see who they’re landing on, you don’t see the damage. It’s the same thing in economics when you talk about statistics and don’t think about the people that lie behind those statistics.” – Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize Winner, former Chief Economist at the World Bank in The Big Sellout

While international economic discourse is fixated on increasing efficiency and economic growth, The Big Sellout reminds us that there are faces behind the statistics using examples from: the public health budget in the Philippines which has undergone massive cuts since the 1980s, moving relentlessly towards a private health care system; Bolivian protests in 2000, following the sale of the public water company to a private corporation, which would have made water cost-prohibitive to much of the population; South Africa’s people who are unable to pay the rising prices resulting from the privatization of the formerly public owned electric company; and Great Britain’s national railway system, privatized by the Tories in the 1990s, which is reeling from service disruptions, 19th century accident rates and crippling morale among its labor force. Such evidence debunks the pervasive neo-liberal myth that private companies inevitably function more efficiently than public ones. This is an interactive “train the trainer” workshop that will focus on using film as a medium for advocacy. Participants will screen the documentary, receive training for hosting a film screening in their community and learn how to guide discussions that will turn into actions!

Moderator: Jessie Palatucci, United Church of Christ

 

New Economic Approaches in South America

This interactive workshop will look at the positive changes in South American economic policy today. We will look at regional changes such as the Bank of the South, the diminished influence of the IMF, as well as country-specific examples like the growing solidarity economy in Brazil, how Argentina recovered from economic catastrophe and exciting people’s movements in Bolivia that have successfully taken on transnational corporations and point to a new form of international trade.

Speaker:

  • Steve Judd, MM – Maryknoll priest; William LeoGrande, professor American University

Moderator: Marie Dennis, Maryknoll Global Concerns

 

Debt, Conflict and the Journey to Justice: The Cases of Liberia and the DRC

Countries in conflict or recently recovering from conflict face long journeys to justice and right relationship. Adding to the challenge is that the “resource curse” in which natural resources help to fuel conflict and injustice. Many countries in conflict or recovering from conflict often face massive economic challenges as well, such as large burdens of odious debt and massive unemployment. This workshop will consider the cases of Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, looking at the nexus between conflict, natural resources, and large and unjust debt burdens. Come learn about the challenges but also to hear stories of hope including ongoing campaigning to clear the debts of Liberia and the DRC to help these nations move forward on a path towards justice and reconciliation.

Speakers:

  • Dr. Benjamin Lartey, General Secretary, Liberian Council of Churches;
  • Rees Warne, Catholic Relief Services; Neil Watkins, National Coordinator, Jubilee USA Network.

Moderator: Emira Woods, Co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus, Institute for Policy Studies;

 

Water for All

This workshop will explore the issues of commodification and privatization of water in the context of Africa and Latin America, with discussion on how to best ensure safe, accessible, affordable, and sustainable water and sanitation services in poor communities.

Speakers:

  • Deborah Katina(Kenya), coordinator of Yang’
  • Elias Szczytnicki (Peru), Director of the Latin America/Caribbean chapter of Religions for Peace

 

*Interactive* Globalization Games

Do you find it difficult to explain the problems associated with globalization to groups you are involved in? Are you looking for dynamic ways to start up conversations about globalization and how to make it more humane and sustainable? Dynamic interactive games can help people understand how globalization and various aspects of the global economy work. This workshop will present a variety of games and tools that you can use to talk about globalization. Be prepared to play one of the games and discuss other materials that can be useful for groups you are involved in. This will be an interactive “train the trainer” workshop.

Speakers:

  • Abiosseh Davis, Center of Concern;
  • David Kane, Maryknoll Global Concerns

 

Root Causes of (Im)Migration

This workshop will explore the effects of economic issues such as trade and debt on the migration of peoples. Those attending this workshop will gain an understanding of how the consequences of globalization often drive millions of people to seek a living in the United States and other rich countries. In addition, there will be examples of alternative economic strategies being pursued by local communities to protect their economies from the whims of globalization.

Speakers:

  • West Cosgrove works with Project Puente in El Paso, Texas;
  • Marlye Gélin-Adams, Regional Advocacy Advisor for Latin America and the Caribbean, CARE USA;
  • Colin Rajah, Program Director for International Migrant Rights and Global Justice at the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR), a U.S. network of immigrant community organizations and advocates

Moderator: Susan Thompson, Medical Mission Sisters

 

Addressing Corporate Power
(with Domestic Track)

In whatever struggle for justice we are involved, from health to ecology, workers’ rights to stopping wars, we run up against the overwhelming power and influence of corporations. Yet, when the U.S. was founded, very strict restrictions were placed on corporations and they had no political influence. What has happened since then to create these seemingly all-powerful corporations of today? More importantly, what can be done, and is already being done, to rein in corporate power in the U.S.? How can you participate in this fundamental struggle in your community? This workshop aims to answer these questions and more in an interesting look at corporations and society.

Presenters:

  • David Kane, Maryknoll Global Concerns;
  • Greg Coleridge, American Friends Service Committee

 

Debt, Conflict and the Journey to Justice: The Cases of Liberia and the DRC

Countries in conflict or recently recovering from conflict face long journeys to justice and right relationship. Adding to the challenge is that the “resource curse” in which natural resources help to fuel conflict and injustice. Many countries in conflict or recovering from conflict often face massive economic challenges as well, such as large burdens of odious debt and massive unemployment. This workshop will consider the cases of Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, looking at the nexus between conflict, natural resources, and large and unjust debt burdens. Come learn about the challenges but also to hear stories of hope including ongoing campaigning to clear the debts of Liberia and the DRC to help these nations move forward on a path towards justice and reconciliation.

Speakers:

  • Dr. Benjamin Lartey, General Secretary, Liberian Council of Churches;
  • Rees Warne, Catholic Relief Services; Neil Watkins, National Coordinator, Jubilee USA Network.

Moderator: Emira Woods, Co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus, Institute for Policy Studies;

 

Bringing it Home – Organizing for justice in your congregation

Inspire others to join the movement for global economic justice! Join this workshop to share experiences and explore creative ideas and strategies to engage your congregation and help it to become a prophetic and powerful force for God’s justice in the world.

Speakers:

  • Nathan Fishman, Grassroots Outreach, Jubilee USA;
  • Stan Duncan, Pastor, Abington United Church of Christ;
  • Midori Yoshizaki, Grassroots Team Member, Jubilee USA

 

Sponsors: