News Release

Pittsburgh and G-20 Protests

McCollester, author of The Point of Pittsburgh: Production and Struggle at the Forks of the Ohio, just wrote the piece “There are plenty of reasons to protest the G-20: The global economic system has deindustrialized America, despoiled the Earth and marginalized working people everywhere” for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

McCollester writes: “When the announcement was made in Washington that Pittsburgh would be the site of the G-20 summit, reporters laughed. Clearly, the significance of the city in the nation’s history is poorly understood.

“There is something symbolic in the holding of this potentially watershed event in Pittsburgh at a moment when America’s global leadership is being seriously challenged by rising Asian economic superpowers as well as by numerous political revolts in the hemisphere it once dominated. The industrial collapse of Pittsburgh and American manufacturing in the 1980s propelled the crushing trade imbalance and indebtedness of the United States vis-a-vis the rest of the world. In a sense the chickens are coming home to roost.

“The American global agenda in the triumphant capitalist expansion that followed the disintegration of the Soviet empire proved to be disastrous for the American working class, as well as for workers and the environment around the world. Free trade, privatization and deregulation pursued with varying degrees of ardor by both Republicans and Democrats over the past 30 years has concentrated wealth and increased the poverty of the majority of humanity by undermining local, traditional and indigenous economies — all while polluting and degrading the natural world at an extremely dangerous pace. God knows there are reasons enough to protest.

“The United States, the prime purveyor of this toxic cocktail of economic dogmas, has seen its productive capacity collapse, its governmental and individual debt obligations increase exponentially and its once muscular and productive economic engine reduced to an increasingly untenable global military presence. Our best defense is not endless foreign war, but a sustained reinvention of our economic life at home.”

McCollester is a retired professor of industrial and labor relations at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167