Another world is necessary and possible

3 November 2008 by World March of Women

Financial Crisis Declaration, approved on the 20th October 2008, during the
VII World March of Women International Meeting at Panxon, Vigo, Galicia

In a context of patriarchy and neoliberal economics, the banking and finance system is in collapse. Attempts at recovery to improve its functioning only worsen the situation. The stock markets of the world are in free-fall; the crisis is growing and cannot be hidden. The consequence of the non-redistribution of wealth is massive impoverishment of populations, and of women in particular. This system favours the development of war as a tool to acquire the resources of the South and to develop the arms industry. In the midst of these military conflicts, women suffer unacceptable and inhuman violence.

The colossal gains of the speculators and stockholders have been privatised while the enormous losses of the system have been nationalised, i.e. paid for by all us, men and women, through our States.

We, women of the world, are the first to be affected by run-away unemployment, by the loss of food autonomy, by the commercialisation of common goods Common goods In economics, common goods are characterized by being collectively owned, as opposed to either privately or publicly owned. In philosophy, the term denotes what is shared by the members of one community, whether a town or indeed all humanity, from a juridical, political or moral standpoint. . This financial crisis is closely linked to all the other crises: climate change, and the food, energy, and work crises.

The countries of the South are pillaged for their riches; their food habits modified to benefit the agro-food transnational corporations. They have been suffocated by the weight of debt and by the lack of transparency in the use of loans from international organisations.

In the face of the bankruptcy of the only model of globalised economic organisation, we activists of the World March of Women, gathered in Vigo, Galícia, from 14th – 21st October 2008, re-affirm our anti-liberal position and demand the transformation of the International Monetary Fund IMF
International Monetary Fund
Along with the World Bank, the IMF was founded on the day the Bretton Woods Agreements were signed. Its first mission was to support the new system of standard exchange rates.

When the Bretton Wood fixed rates system came to an end in 1971, the main function of the IMF became that of being both policeman and fireman for global capital: it acts as policeman when it enforces its Structural Adjustment Policies and as fireman when it steps in to help out governments in risk of defaulting on debt repayments.

As for the World Bank, a weighted voting system operates: depending on the amount paid as contribution by each member state. 85% of the votes is required to modify the IMF Charter (which means that the USA with 17,68% % of the votes has a de facto veto on any change).

The institution is dominated by five countries: the United States (16,74%), Japan (6,23%), Germany (5,81%), France (4,29%) and the UK (4,29%).
The other 183 member countries are divided into groups led by one country. The most important one (6,57% of the votes) is led by Belgium. The least important group of countries (1,55% of the votes) is led by Gabon and brings together African countries.
, the World Bank World Bank
The World Bank was founded as part of the new international monetary system set up at Bretton Woods in 1944. Its capital is provided by member states’ contributions and loans on the international money markets. It financed public and private projects in Third World and East European countries.

It consists of several closely associated institutions, among which :

1. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, 189 members in 2017), which provides loans in productive sectors such as farming or energy ;

2. The International Development Association (IDA, 159 members in 1997), which provides less advanced countries with long-term loans (35-40 years) at very low interest (1%) ;

3. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which provides both loan and equity finance for business ventures in developing countries.

As Third World Debt gets worse, the World Bank (along with the IMF) tends to adopt a macro-economic perspective. For instance, it enforces adjustment policies that are intended to balance heavily indebted countries’ payments. The World Bank advises those countries that have to undergo the IMF’s therapy on such matters as how to reduce budget deficits, round up savings, enduce foreign investors to settle within their borders, or free prices and exchange rates.

, the European Central Bank Central Bank The establishment which in a given State is in charge of issuing bank notes and controlling the volume of currency and credit. In France, it is the Banque de France which assumes this role under the auspices of the European Central Bank (see ECB) while in the UK it is the Bank of England.

and the World Trade Organisation WTO
World Trade Organisation
The WTO, founded on 1st January 1995, replaced the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT). The main innovation is that the WTO enjoys the status of an international organization. Its role is to ensure that no member States adopt any kind of protectionism whatsoever, in order to accelerate the liberalization global trading and to facilitate the strategies of the multinationals. It has an international court (the Dispute Settlement Body) which judges any alleged violations of its founding text drawn up in Marrakesh.

, as well as the Development Banks. We vigorously denounce all free trade agreements, especially the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) – such as the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) – and the General Agreement of Trade in Services (GATS). We demand the end to fiscal paradises that hide drug money and corruption; we demand control of all movement of capital.

It is clear that we need another economic system; we need to develop the creation of economic solidarity structures, autonomous production cooperatives, as well as a Bank of the South to support development that is ecological, egalitarian, and sustainable.

We want transparency regarding the use and administration of public funds. We want the resources of the people to be allocated to meet their essential needs first and foremost.

Our States are responsible; they owe us accounts. It is their duty and obligation to regulate the economic system and protect citizens from financial sharks. The costs of the crisis should be assumed by the stockholders and by those who have grown rich from the speculation.

Other rules for the distribution and use of money should be defined in a democratic and participatory manner, together with the populations, social movements, and feminist organisations. The definition of budgets should take into account the preservation of common goods and the development of public services. All of us, all men and women of the world, have the right to a healthy diet, decent housing, health care, education, a decent job, transportation, and culture.

Together we can build a world where our values of justice, peace, equality, solidarity, and freedom are given priority.

Other articles in English by World March of Women (25)

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