99% Interrupt U.S. Corporate 1% Reception at the WTO in Geneva

Original Publication Date: 
16 December, 2011

Tonight, a group of civil society from the global Our World Is Not for Sale (OWINFS) network, present in Geneva for the 8th Ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), interrupted a United States business cocktail reception using the Occupy Wall Street tactic of “Mic Check!”

Activists filed in to a gathering of representatives of corporations, many of whom are accredited as official representatives in the U.S. delegation to the Ministerial meeting of the WTO. They interrupted the cocktail-swinging executives using the “mic check!” chant popularized by the Occupy Wall Street movement around the world. They then expressed their strong opposition to the U.S. use of the WTO to set global trade rules that benefit the 1% while ignoring the needs of the 99%, such as the “standstill” on tariffs embodied in the “Pledge Against Protectionism” – which, if agreed to at the WTO, would devastate the policy space available to countries to preserve jobs in the global crisis.

They then put forward, in typical “mic check” fashion, the positive agenda of fixing existing problems with the WTO that the 99% of global civil society – along with many progressive governments around the world – have been demanding. These fixes include: preserving policy space for job growth and development; Food Sovereignty and Food Security; a full and strong package for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs); and other demands detailed in the statement WTO Turnaround: Food, Jobs, and Sustainable Development First delivered today at the Ministerial.

Video can be seen here

Tomorrow they will join local Geneva activists at the “Occupy WTO” tent across from the CICG conference center where the Ministerial is taking place, in a rally at 2pm to protest against the corporate agenda many countries are pushing through the WTO talks.

Over 50 civil society experts – trade unionists, farmers, development advocates, and consumer activists – from 30 countries have traveled to Geneva for the 8th Ministerial meeting of the WTO, working through the global OWINFS network and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). Civil society delegates are participating in OWINFS activities from: Argentina, Australia, Benin, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Italy, Korea, Lebanon, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Switzerland, Uganda, the United States, Vanuatu, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

OWINFS is a global network of NGOs and social movements working for a sustainable, socially just, and democratic multilateral trading system. www.ourworldisnotforsale.org.