Puppetistas at the Spring meetings of the World Bank and IMF, April 16, 2005


Letter from Abi:

it's almost two weeks since i got back from dc, where i joined up with a
couple thousand others at the world bank on april 16th. five years ago, A16
was the first anti-globalization rally of size since the legendary seattle
demonstrations against the WTO in november of 1999. there were 60,000
people there (in dc) and it was another success, in that it interrupted meetings
and 'business as usual' pretty effectively. someone asked me recently why 'you
all' don't do that anymore-- meaning why don't we shut down meetings, why
don't we protest at those meetings of the globalization masters, the IMF,
the World Bank, the WTO. the answer is that we still do. the meetings are
still held under wraps, it's still hard to find out what happens there, and the
police are much more prepared for an onslaught of activists to attempt to
disrupt meetings and normal city life. so this year there were only 2,000
people or so there. small. successful? maybe not in the same way that
seattle was in november of 99 or dc was in april of 2000, but there was a positive
energy there that i haven't felt in some time. this small group of people
had a power within that was energetic and cohesive... i felt like rather than
looking outward, challenging the police and the city of dc, we were looking
inward, toward each other and towards a common goal. i felt as tho the
energy of the crowd echoed my own goals and visions: rather than being
anti-globalization, we have to be pro-world, pro-democracy (true democracy),
pro-sustainable agriculture, pro-peace, pro-people. it's easy to articulate
what we're up against. our list of anti's is long and well-established.
but what are we for? the theme of the demonstrations two weeks ago was 'a
better world is under construction'. if it's not, then what will we do when we are
successful at changing this system?
i went down to dc with friends from cardboard chaos, the puppet group that's
mostly worked on puppet pageants against the School of the Americas in
georgia. four of us from cardboard chaos (bonnie, jake, jorge and i-- and
ben-- and kath and sue on saturday-- and we lobbied hard for some of those
folks in dc to join us in georgia this year) decided we would create a
lively creative beautiful colorful and big representation for 'a better world is
under construction.' check out the attached pictures (i won't send them
here because i feel like most of you have seen them, but if anyone wants to see
what i have, let me know and i can send a couple), and here's the basic
bad guys (the ones wearing grey top hats and looking very tube-like that you
see in the pictures) come in, making loud evil noises and carrying pieces of a
building. they come on to stage and set the building up, piece by piece.
IMF! says one pillar. World Bank! says another pillar. G7! says the third
pillar. together, they make the empire building. oh no! they are proud of
some crazy woman with a mic (that's me!) says: "These are the
of the empire. Who are they? They're the... (here i list off corporations
and institutions that are effecting the globalization system). They're
working hard to build the empire out of the blood and tears of the peoples
of the world.
Are we going to let them do this?"
Here, you say NOOOO!!!
" Are we, the people, going to let them build their empire safely and without
" Are we, the people, going to let them empire have power over the people?"
" Who has the power?"
The people!!!!
Here, the people come up-- some puppets representing successful people's
movements in the world (like the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in this
country and the Landless Peasants' Movement in Brazil), some real people,
all colorful and wearing yellow and orange headbands that say 'democracy',
'justice' or 'unity'-- chanting 'Ain't no power like the power of the people
and the power of the people don't stop'.
The bad guys are getting nervous and the people get louder and closer. At
this the crowd gets into it too and the people's voice is quite loud.
" What will we do?"
Take it down!
At this, the empire building begins to quake.
The people wearing the headbands bring extra headbands up with the same
message and transform the bad guys into good guys by placing the positive
messages over the names of the corporations and institutions that the 'tube
heads' represented before.
" Look at this! The people's collective power has transformed the empire's
minions! I bet if we all worked together we could topple the whole empire!
With our voices together, let's try it!"
The people begin to call out a joyful cry (a ULULATION) that the crowd takes
up. The building shakes and quakes until it falls to the ground.
" The people's power has taken down the empire building. The mother of hope
is on the move. The mother of hope is moving!"
At this, the Mother of Hope puppet rises out of the crowd. She's nine feet
tall and has huge red arms that stretch across and read "A Better World is
Under Construction". She leads the way, followed by all the people and
puppets and a rhythm machine and a marching band and the whole crowd dancing
and singing and carrying flat cardboard painted to look like tools (the
under construction theme) and vegetables and noise makers.
it was great to be part of such a positive and focused crowd. people really
responded well to the puppets and the theatre, and i was happy to be part of
something so beautiful yet again. the pageant was essentially a
mini-georgia-2004 so i thank you for all of your ideas and work in
can't wait to see y'all again!


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