Imperialist Agenda and Popular Resistance

- AS

The holding of the second G20 summit in less than four months comes as a measure of the importance the original G7 and its later incarnation G8 now attaches to the "emerging economies" of the third world. Being trade-surplus countries, the latter hold huge dollar reserves and can play a major role in tackling the international financial and economic crisis. The Global North is keen to manipulate that capacity to its own advantage, but itself remains a house divided. Not insignificantly, the November summit last year was held in Washington and this year's April gathering in London, but both failed to adopt the US-UK plan of coordinated global fiscal stimulus. Nor was the European bloc demand of international regulation of major financial institutions accepted, with the US in particular rejecting any international regulation of its banking system. At the end of the day the G20 meeting produced little more than run-of-the-mill platitudes on the need of concerted international action for recovery, and the like.
Playing to the gallery, the summit agreed to an additional “$1.1 trillion programme of support to restore credit, growth and jobs in the world economy." It is doubtful whether the promise will be kept in full; it will prove grossly inadequate even if it is. This is a trivial amount compared to the $12.8 trillion already spent, lent or committed in US alone to bail out the US banks, with no discernable effect so far. It may be noted that on an world scale the meltdown of international stock markets, the fall in commodity prices and the collapse in real estate values have already wiped out an estimated $50 trillion in wealth. World Bank President Robert Zoellick was right when he said, talking to the BBC on the sidelines of the summit, that the world was already in a great depression. As an indication of the likely extent of the impending cataclysm, he said that the downturn will lead to some 200,000 to 400,000 babies dying this year.

Bail Out from the Sinking Imperialist Ship

“Apparently India will contribute some $4 billion to IMF funds. Could not these funds be better utilised to help finance India’s infrastructure? India will be increasing its borrowings from the World Bank but mainly for recapitalisation of banks etc. and not for real expenditures...Altogether it is doubtful if the outcome of G-20 Summit will help India reverse its slowdown and facilitate recovery and job creation.
Instead of joining in the game of rearranging chairs on the deck while the Titanic is sinking, India should get some lifeboats out before it is too late.”
- Ramgopal Agarwala, Economic Times, 16 April 2009
‘Entrusting sheep to wolves’
On the decision of the April 2 G20 summit to inject more than US$1 trillion into the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Bolivian President Evo Morales said “It's like giving money to the wolves, or entrusting it with the care of the flock: the wolf is not going to keep the sheep, it will devour them.”

Even as the heads of state assembled in London proved clueless about ways to end the crisis, they were outperformed by agitating masses. 35,000 protesters gathered in a rally to "Put People First" on 28 March, bringing together more than 100 trade unions, aid agencies, religious groups and environmental organisations to call on world leaders to commit to real reforms. The protests culminated on 1 April -- the "Financial Fools' Day" -- with a rally called "Storm the Banks" focusing on the Bank of England. These were preceded and followed by marches in Berlin, Vienna, Paris and other European cities to demand action on poverty, job losses and climate change.
After waxing eloquent on peace, stability and international cooperation, the top war mongers among G20 flew over to the Franco-German border to hold the NATO Summit on the 60th anniversary of the military alliance. In a clear indication that militarism and war are very much on the agenda, the meeting welcomed two new members, Albania and Croatia, while France, which had walked out of NATO’s strategic military command in 1966, returned to the fold as a full member. Here too the imperialists and their allies met with more militant popular protests organised by about 600 international organizations from 43 countries. Demonstrators campaigning to have NATO disbanded following the end of the Cold War clashed violently with thousands of French and German troops and police forces.
Demonstrations were organised simultaneously in New York too. One was dubbed "The March on Wall Street: Bail Out The People Not The Banks". Many protesters criticized the capitalist system, which they said helped AIG and other companies "steal" money from "poor Americans." Banners saying "Capitalism is Dead" and "Go to the Hell, Capitalism" were quite conspicuous. Another was organised by the "United for Peace and Justice" on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. Reverends led the march holding a banner that read “Beyond War, A New Economy Is Possible,” followed by another large banner “End Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” On this occasion several thousand people surrounded the NY Stock Exchange in what they called a “Peace Fair.”
Coming on top of an infinite series of strikes, factory-occupations, rallies etc by workers, students, youths, women and others in almost all countries, the latest international demand-and-protest marches are truly remarkable in terms of mobilisation of broader social forces and new slogans that clearly reflected higher levels of consciousness. We in India are also fighting the same battle -- according to our own conditions and in all possible forms including the current electoral struggle -- against the Indian agents of neoliberalism and imperialism. We must further intensify the movement, confident that the united might of world people will definitely emerge victorious.