Re: [OPE-L] Wolfowitz as the president of the World Bank

From: Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM
Date: Sat Mar 19 2005 - 08:10:35 EST

Michael L sent his OPE-L message to PEN-L, a list that I am 
not subscribed to.  I already  replied to Michael; Patrick Bond's reply 
to his post (and my 1st OPE-L post, which appears below) is: >
In his post to PEN-L, Patrick calls attention to <>.
He inquired: 

> I hope he's in full agreement that efforts now to defund and indeed shut 
> the BWIs -- and promote boycotts of everything they do -- are of a much 
> greater priority.


> This is a new site of unity between global justice and anti-war movements that 
> we must re-energize ourselves to take full advantage of, surely?


That is as much as I can say for now since I have to log off and get ready to
head to Harlem for an anti-war demonstration.

In solidarity, Jerry

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: michael a. lebowitz 
  Sent: Friday, March 18, 2005 12:35 PM
  Subject: Re: [OPE-L] Wolfowitz as the president of the World Bank

          Your description of the independent reaction of Patrick and me to the petition calling for a protest of Wolfowitz's selection because it 'risks the Bank becoming seen as a tool of the current controversial US foreign policy, with aid flows becoming more dependent on strict adherence to US Administration priorities' as similar to the idiocy of the 'after Hitler, us' comment is way off base. Consider the following from today's Krugman column in the NYT:

  The Ugly American Bank 

  You can say this about Paul Wolfowitz's qualifications to lead the 
  World Bank: He has been closely associated with America's largest 
  foreign aid and economic development project since the Marshall Plan. 
   I'm talking, of course, about reconstruction in Iraq. Unfortunately, 
  what happened there is likely to make countries distrust any economic 
  advice Mr. Wolfowitz might give. ... 

  Moisés Naím, editor of Foreign Policy, says that the Wolfowitz 
  nomination turns the World Bank into the American Bank. Make that 
  ugly American bank: rightly or not, developing countries will see Mr. 
  Wolfowitz's selection as a sign that we're still trying to impose 
  policies they believe have failed.

          Maybe Patrick and I responded the way we did because we're in South Africa and Venezuela and see the importance of that sign and of (as Patrick said) linking 'our critique of neoliberalism to that of imperialism' and having ' the anti-war and global-justice movements unite in increasingly militant protests'. I think Patrick's closing note to the petition circulator was worth quoting:

    (And please, my old friend, don't tell us all what our 'duty' is if it 
    involves giving the WB bogus legitimacy. Your statement b) is especially 
    nauseating, given the WB's ongoing role in financing imperialism, as if you 
    can't see that.)

          So, Jerry, is that what you are proposing--- we need to fight for a 'good' head of the WB?
                   in solidarity,

  At 09:36 18/03/2005, Jerry Levy wrote:

    See for some other related stories 
    on this topic.
    Over on PEN-L, Patrick Bond wrote:
    >  [...] what about those of us -- I'm surely not the only one -- who consider this
    > appointment a delightful turn of events?
    > There are plenty of us:
    > * who would delegitimize the World Bank and will have a much easier time of it now;
    Patrick even went on to claim that Wolfowitz was an "excellent choice for WB 
    Easier time of it now?  This strikes me as fanciful thinking reminiscent of the 
    "Nach Hitler, Uns!" ("After Hitler, Us") 1932  KPD policy.  The idea is that the 
    selection of Wolfowitz allows for  greater "transparency" and therefore helps to 
    build resistance to the WB and Neo-Liberalism.  This was similar to the KPD 
    policy which thought that after people were exposed to fascism and see its
    iron fist in practice then this will lead to increased resistance to fascism and 
    the KPD will be elected into power. It didn't work in Germany.  Why should we 
    think it will work now?  (NB: Of course there are differences and thus this
    analogy is not entirely accurate: e.g. bourgeois democracy nowhere directly 
    enters into the picture in the WB or the selection of its president.)
    But Mike L agreed with Patrick:
    > Exactly, Patrick! Now, what about the ILO being headed up by someone
    > from Coca-Cola or Walmart?  Not quite the same, of course [...]
    If the WB now actively and publicly supports "regime change" in Cuba and
    Venezuela will that also be an excellent development since more people
    will see the "transparency" of WB policies?  I doubt that the Cuban and
    Venezuelan masses or their leadership would view it in such a positive
    What do you and others on the list think?  Is it a good thing for the working-
    class that the Neo-Con Wolfowitz was selected to lead the WB?
    In solidarity, Jerry

  Michael A. Lebowitz
  Professor Emeritus
  Economics Department
  Simon Fraser University
  Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6

  Currently based in Venezuela. Can be reached at
  Residencias Anauco Suites
  Departamento 601
  Parque Central, Zona Postal 1010, Oficina 1
  Caracas, Venezuela
  (58-212) 573-4111
  fax: (58-212) 573-7724

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