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World Bank
1990 by John Seed

wb.jpg (19417 bytes)

Performed by
John Seed: guitar, vocals
Chris Johnstone; mouth harp, drums, keyboard
Ruth Rosenhek, piano
       Kylie Dodd, bass
       Redeyed Pete drums
       Bodhi Seed, rhythm and lead guitar
Recording Engineers: Cedar Anderson, Bodhi Seed, Chris Johnstone


September 3: Ruth Rosenhek and John Seed are presently editing a video clip for this song to be ready for the S11 Melbourne demonstrations against the World Economic Forum ( and S26 demonstrations against the World Bank's annual general meeting in Prague Sept 26 (

For a list of organizations mobilizing for Prague 2000, go to
For a list of electronic discussions groups related to for Prague 2000, go to




John Seed: This song was written in September 1990 in Finland as I travelled towards the demonstrations which would shadow the World Bank annual meeting in Washington DC the following weekend. There have been cosmetic changes in the organisations satirized in this song but they remain among the main causes for the destruction of nature and indigenous culture in their project areas. We hold no animosity towards the staff of these organisations. Indeed, we wish as Alan Ginsberg notes, to

" ... correct the berserk machine and liberate the inventor's mind from captivity by robot hypnosis" (Tale of the Tribe)

These institutions are literally demonic (see passage from John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath", below), beyond reform, and they have swallowed some of the finest souls of our generation. We will free them.

Emanating from expensive business suits, do you notice odours foul and rank?
                  Am                                                                Em
With his ecocide genocide numbers game, here comes the World Bank
B7                                                                          Am
Vampire needle drippin dollars, clutching his structural adjustment knife
        Em                                                                                                                       B7
Ecosystem after system is plundered laid to waste  as from the Earth he sucks the life

Teeth rip vital organs from the living Earth, spitting out cellulose chips
How generous he greases all his minions palms, his card reads:ecological collapse,
Economists from hell smooth the way, run interference quelling all your fears
Administrators, bureaucrats, "just doin my job", and all those damn engineers

World Bank's got an evil junky wife, goes by the name of IMF
Shoots up biological diversity, dispenses cultural death
Mumbling bout sustainable development, she plies her vicious trade
If you see her comin' better run for your life, there's an "s" on the end of her aid

Asian and African American Development Banks, are World Bank's ugly cronies three
With their friends the scumbag loggers from the FAO, and the mafia from the UNDP
They loot the biological register , with their Tropic Forest Action Plan
Scorched earth, transmigration, chemicals, agribusiness, logging, mines and dams

Propping up corrupt Third World elites choke the rivers with endless dams
Keeping all them foreign experts employed with their paid-for-by-your-taxes scams
Rape the Earth to meet the interest payments, it's that same old shell game
Centuries of exploitation yet they still owe us?, colonialism by another name

The time has come let's clean up this town, name names, flush out those crooks
Biological fabric in tatters, the World Bank cooks the books
Wake up now won't you hear the cries of this planet of your birth
Expose the lies, no compromise, in defense of mother Earth

Stop the lies, no compromise, in defense of mother Earth




From John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath"

The owners of the land came onto the land, or more often a spokesman for the owners came... Some of the owners' men were kind because they hated what they had to do, and some of them were angry because they hated to be cruel, and some of them were cold because they had long ago found that one could not be an owner unless one were cold. And all of them were caught in something larger than themselves... The owner men explained the workings and the thinkings of the monster that was stronger than they were... You see, a bank or a company ... those creatures dont breathe air, don't eat side-meat. They breathe profits; they eat the interest on money. If they don't get it, they die the way you die without air, without side-meat. It is a sad thing, but it is so. It is just so... When the monster stops growing, it dies. It can't stay one size... We're sorry. It's not us. It's the monster. The bank isn't like a man.

Yes, but the bank is only made of men [said the tenants.No, you're wrong there - quite wrong there. The bank is something else than men. It happens that every man in a bank hates what the bank does, and yet the bank does it. The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It's the monster. Men made it, but they can't control it.







For current information about the devestation wrought by the World Bank, IMF and associated agencies, see the excellent booklet "False Profits"  by Fifty Years is Enough -

Also check the following links to organizations who monitor the impacts of multilateral development bank lending.


Coord Organisation for Rural Development, India,

Focus on the Global South, Thailand

Friends of the Earth, Japan,

International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID), Indonesia

Narmada Bachao Andolan, India


Berne Declaration, Switzerland

BothEnds, Netherlands

Bretton Woods Project, UK

CEE Bankwatch Network

Friends of the Earth International

Campaign to Reform the World Bank, Italy

World Economy, Ecology & Development, (WEED) Germany  

Latin America/Caribbean

Amazon Watch, based in California,

Instituto del Tercer Mundo, Uruguay

RedBancos, Latin American Network

Rios Vivos Coalition, (based in Brazil)

Trasparencia, Mexico

 United States/Canada

The Bank Information Center,

Center for Economic and Social Rights

Environmental Defense <>

Essential Action/Multinationals Resource Center

50 Years is Enough <>

Friends of the Earth US <>

International Rivers Network

Interaction <>

IUCN, The World Conservation Union

National Wildlife Federation

Oxfam America/International

Pacific Environment and Resources Center

Pesticide Action Network, North America

Probe International (Canada)

Rainforest Action Network

Sustainable Energy and Economy Network (SEEN)

World Resources Institute


Contact John Seed at