By Jason Vest
As In These Times goes to press, thousands of protesters are streaming into Washington to protest the neoliberal and neocolonial policies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. With this event, the coalition that came together in Seattle should cement its status as a bona fide movement, one with greater potential to effect truly global change than any of its predecessors.
Part of what's so inspiring about the movement is the passion it has for thinking globally. At a time when the American government (by design) and most Americans (by complacency) revel in the country's status as Sole Remaining Superpower, it's rousing to see scores of people - especially the younger ones - speaking out zealously and cogently about injustices committed by multinationals in distant corners of the world. But as the movement continues to build momentum, it would be well-served to consider injustices closer to home, starting with one of the places that needs and deserves actual democracy the most: the District of Columbia.
Lord Cromer once famously said of Great Britain, "We do not rule Egypt, we rule those who rule Egypt." Much the same can be said of the federal government and its distinctly imperialist approach to the overwhelmingly African-American Colony of Columbia. While the past 30 years have seen some progress - since 1974, Washington residents have elected their own mayor and City Council members - the subjects are still taxed without representation. Despite having a population as large as half a dozen states, and paying more federal taxes than some of those states, the colony still only has one non-voting "delegate" in the House of Representatives. Its two "shadow senators" (both lobbyists for statehood) are allowed into the Senate dining room, but never onto the Senate floor.
Jason Vest is a contirbuting editor of In These Times.