Why is demonstrating in Nice against the G20 the 1st to 3rd November 2011 essential ?

30 October 2011 by Eric Toussaint

In the context of global crisis, what is at stake at the G20 G20 The Group of Twenty (G20 or G-20) is a group made up of nineteen countries and the European Union whose ministers, central-bank directors and heads of state meet regularly. It was created in 1999 after the series of financial crises in the 1990s. Its aim is to encourage international consultation on the principle of broadening dialogue in keeping with the growing economic importance of a certain number of countries. Its members are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, USA, UK and the European Union (represented by the presidents of the Council and of the European Central Bank). meeting under French presidency?
The crisis is worsening, especially for the most industrialized countries. The governments of the so called “emerging” countries such as Brazil, China, India and Russia wish to gain greater hearing in international institutions like the IMF 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.

and 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 G20 is an illegitimate club created in 2008 by the G7 (equally illegitimate club made up of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and USA) to convince these emerging countries to bring their help to resolving the crisis, without success. This G20 reunion is first international reunion since the enormous success of the ’Indignés’ movement of the 15 th October 2011 [1]. Although it had little echo in France, this movement mobilized a million demonstrators all over the planet, principally in Spain, Italy and Portugal, not to forget the Occupy Wall Street movement. [2]
So this is an important event for all anti-liberal globalization activists. It is important either to demonstrate in the streets of Nice or to attend the People’s forum in Mali [3], to clamor our opposition to the policies adopted by those who claim to be the worlds rulers.

In what way has the European crisis become a global issue? What roles are the United States and the emerging countries to play?
The very important economic slowdown that is affecting Europe, the bankruptcy of banking institutions like Dexia could have a knock on effect on the world’s economy [4] : a domino effect on the financial and banking institutions of the United States on the one hand, and a reduction of exports of China and other countries exporting to Europe on the other hand.
The European Union and in particularly the eurozone is effectively the central element of the current world crisis, the way these winds blow in the next few months will have an impact on the whole of the world’s economy.
So much are European and north American banks and institutions interconnected on both sides of the Atlantic, the United States is very concerned over possible chain reactions beginning with the bankruptcies of European banks going on to touch their banks. These concerns are not strictly political, they are first and foremost economical.

What are the converging campaigns organized in Europe on public debt issues? What is the role of the Greek campaign?
Everywhere in Europe, debt repayments are the pretext used to harden the austerity policies that rain down on the working people and the majority of the population. Making progress in the creation of a European campaign for the suspension of debt repayments and the realization of a citizen controlled audit, is the step to be accomplished in the coming weeks and months. Greece has started this process during the month of May 2011, with the constitution of a citizen’s commission for a Greek debt audit. This process has spread to Ireland, Spain and recently to France where a citizen’s committee for a debt audit has been created. It will soon exist in Belgium, Italy and Portugal.
There is here a real solid possibility to assemble the social forces which question the neo-liberal order as well as the capitalist system itself. To gather them around a uniting theme. If we manage, by street demonstrations, to obtain a debt repayment suspension for several countries, the balance Balance End of year statement of a company’s assets (what the company possesses) and liabilities (what it owes). In other words, the assets provide information about how the funds collected by the company have been used; and the liabilities, about the origins of those funds. of power will radically shift in favor of the social majority. This justifies the effort of struggle.

From an interview by Flavia Verri and Gilles Pagaille
Published in ’Tout est à nous’ ! n° 121 27th October 2011 http://www.npa2009.org/content/%C3%A0-nice-face-au-g20%E2%80%89

Translated by Mike Krolikowski


[3Tenth People’s forum « From Siby to Niono, the people reclaim auto determination ! » this will be the African counter G20 summit, in Niono, Mali, from 31st October to 3rd November 2011.

Eric Toussaint

is a historian and political scientist who completed his Ph.D. at the universities of Paris VIII and Liège, is the spokesperson of the CADTM International, and sits on the Scientific Council of ATTAC France.
He is the author of Debt System (Haymarket books, Chicago, 2019), Bankocracy (2015); The Life and Crimes of an Exemplary Man (2014); Glance in the Rear View Mirror. Neoliberal Ideology From its Origins to the Present, Haymarket books, Chicago, 2012 (see here), etc.
See his bibliography: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89ric_Toussaint
He co-authored World debt figures 2015 with Pierre Gottiniaux, Daniel Munevar and Antonio Sanabria (2015); and with Damien Millet Debt, the IMF, and the World Bank: Sixty Questions, Sixty Answers, Monthly Review Books, New York, 2010. He was the scientific coordinator of the Greek Truth Commission on Public Debt from April 2015 to November 2015.

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