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ASIA PACIFIC CITES SUMMIT ACTIVIST ALERT!

APC Summit In Seattle Draws Regional Opposition From Activist Groups - Protests Planned
Major Demonstrations Scheduled For
Asia Pacific Cities Summit 2001
(May 6 -12th)

Groups From Vancouver BC, Bellingham, Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia and Portland Plan To Protest In Seattle
Against Privatization of Public Education, Public Services and Biotechnology

Students For Fair Trade, the People's Assembly, the Committee For Government Accountability, students from Fairhaven College in Bellingham, Simon Fraizer University in Vancouver BC, Western Washington University, University of Washington, Seattle Central Community College, University of Puget Sound, Evergreen State College, Portland State University, local high schools and regional Green Party chapters have formed the APC Summit Anti-Corporate Globalization Coalition. These groups have organized for demonstrations and have initiated an intensive regional education campaign. Representatives have traveled to cities around the Northwest to mobilize many of the same activist groups who marched against the WTO and the FTAA.

In addition, many groups who oppose the APEC Asia Development Bank conference in Honolulu have joined in solidarity with the mass mobilizations scheduled to begin on May 9th in Hawaii and in other cities in the US and Asia. We see a direct link between the two conferences, with many of the same players taking part in both, including representatives from the World Bank and APEC.

The APC Summit Anti-Corporate Globalization Coalition is very concerned that the rights of working people, especially public service employees and teachers, are threatened by the agreements which will be made at the APC Summit in Seattle. Given that international media coverage is assured once the conference begins, we feel that labor organizations have an extremely important opportunity to bring attention to their issues, to further the international labor movement and to force accountability upon our local, regional and state officials who will be making these backroom deals with major multi-national corporate interests.

The coalition will consider the efforts successful if we can oppose the privatization schemes with a large mobilization against this form of corporate globalization. Our goal is to bring so many people out to the demonstrations that our concerns will have to be addressed by international traders, politicians and public officials.

This is definitely a local/global effort to educate the Northwest community and the world and to make it difficult for the delegates to accomplish their goals in secret without the full disclosure and open public scrutiny that a democracy requires.

Background:

The Asia Pacific Cities Summit protests in Seattle are designed to oppose the privatization of public services, public utilities and education and the promotion of biotechnology.

The APC Summit (May 6 -12th) is a major international conference sponsored by Microsoft, Weyerhauser, Immunex, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Boeing, and Preston/Gates/Ellis. APC Summit events will take place at the Westin Hotel, the University of Washington, the Boeing Facility in Everett and the Microsoft Campus in Redmond.

In the last few days, the APC Summit has been promoted under various guises by the city. It has been descrtibed as a "cultural exhchange conference", then, within 24 hours it became a "sister cities meeting". The organizers of the summit have gone out of their way to deny that it is a an international trade conference. Meanwhile, the local news media reports that the vast majority of trade at the Port of Seattle is with Asia Pacific nations. The city admits that trade with these countries generates billions of dollars worth of income for corporations in the Northwest region. Local reporters on King 5 television speculated about the huge sums to be gained from business which will be created at the APC Summit. Portland and Vancouver are also sending major delegations to the summit.

the APC Summit in Seattle is clearly another example of the increasing push towards corporate globalization through public/private partnerships and the privatization of public services and education. The Port of Seattle and the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle are being promoted by city officials in the APC Summit literature being distributed to delegates. Major corporate interests are attempting to expand their markets into the public sector to increase profits for executives and stockholders. During closed door sessions and back room meetings, representatives from multi-national corporations will be making deals with our local, regional and state officials without public scrutiny.

The City of Seattle's trade expert and organizer of the summit, Clifford Traisman claims that "on his honor" there are no ties to international trade at this conference. He also claims that the City of Seattle is the official sponsor of the events. Unfortunately, both statements are completely wrong. In the information packets provided to delegates and registrants, and on their own APC Summit 2001 website(apsummit.org), the Port of Seattle and the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle are highly promoted.

Also, the summit sponsors are actually all multi-national corporations and the City of Seattle is listed only as a "supporter" of the APC Summit. Traisman also stated that no APEC representatives will be attending the meetings, when in fact, the main speaker at their plenary session on "forming partnerships with the World Bank" is a senior APEC official.

The APC Summit Anti-Corporate Globalization Coalition maintains that the results of this summit will be the further erosion of the separation between corporate interests and our democratic forms of government. Corporate influence on our electoral process is already out of control due to large campaign contributions to candidates for local, regional and national office. Consumers fear that public/private partnerships will adversly effect taxpayers who will be forced to subsidize multinational business projects. Members of our communities who rely on public services will lose their rights to affordable mass transit, education, energy and social services.

Public/private partnerships and privatization have already resulted in enormous energy cost increases for consumers in our region. Privatization of education and public services, is a threat to our communities due to the lack of accountability of corporate interests and because of their bottom-line profit motive which disregards the rights of the people to affordable public services.

Groups opposed to corporate globalization from Vancouver BC, Bellingham, Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia and Portland will be converging on the summit at the Westin Hotel to demonstrate against their corporate agenda. Students, environmental organizations and community and neighborhood groups have been mobilized to counter the summit through a series of events, including a teach-in, press conferences, a march, and a "People's Summit" reception. It is very important that labor unions participate in these protests, since the privatization of education, public services, mass transit, etc., represent a direct threat to union organizing.

The City of Seattle has made a conscious effort to keep information about this international summit out of the public domain and away from any public scrutiny. The media has been very quiet about the APC Summit and it has been a challenge for activists to educate the community about it's privatization agenda. Several months ago community activists began to research APC policy and we have found that many of the same corporations who are promoting the WTO, APEC and the IMF/World Bank are involved in putting together this summit.

According to the official APC Summit 2001 website, the purpose of the conference is to allow corporate representatives from these and other multi-national corporations to "gain access to key decision makers from both government and business sectors. Mayors and senior government officials - especially at municipal and state levels; public officials responsible for sustainable economic development, information technology and public services." The focus of the summit is to "Explore methods to improve coordination between business, local government and educational institutions..."
Participants will include over 600 delegates from 70 Pacific Rim cities.

Non-governmental organizations have not been invited to the meetings which will include major plenary sessions on high-tech industry labor issues, the promotion of biotechnology, and "how local municipalities can form partnerships with the World Bank and other international organizations. " Invitees include business leaders representing Chambers of Commerce, business associations and corporations in high tech sectors and sectors related to urban public services; educators, scholars, and business representatives. Registration for the APC summit requires a $650 fee.

homepage: homepage: http://www.apsummit.org(Corporate Site)