ILPS International Coordinating Committee
After the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 and the global banking system seizing up, workers were laid off, families saw their houses repossessed and banks teetered on the brink of collapse. Since then, the major capitalist powers have wantonly used public money to bail out the big banks and corporations. The use of public money to provide relief to the so-called troubled assets of the big banks and corporations has resulted in huge fiscal deficits, a public debt bubble that has begun to burst and an undeniable depression that can no longer be euphemistically termed as a mere recession.
When the G-20 was set up after the so-called Asian financial crisis in 1999 it was mainly a forum for finance ministers and central bankers. With the strategic decline of the G7 economies, the G20 includes other big economies such as China, India, Brazil and South Africa to reflect a multipolar world order but at the same time divide the ranks of poor and oppressed countries. As the global economy descended into its worst crisis in a century in 2008, the G20 was elevated to the status of “premier forum for global economic coordination” to resuscitate the global monopoly capitalist system.
In the immediate aftermath of the financial meltdown of 2008-2009, the G20 made much of financial regulatory reform in the center of its agenda allegedly to prevent a repeat of the crisis. Three years down the line, no real measures have been adopted to curb financial speculation and the casino economy. Instead, the G20 has allowed financial speculation to continue, facilitated the massive bailouts of big banks and finance institutions, revitalized the IMF, transformed the private debt crisis into a sovereign debt crisis and imposed wage cuts and stiff austerity measures in order to squeeze more blood from working people to pay off the big bankers.
Over the last few Summits, the G20 has expanded its mandate to promoting balanced and inclusive growth, fighting food insecurity, promoting job creation and social protection, dealing with the climate crisis, etc. But these are only the latest rationalizations for promoting profit-seeking private sector interests in energy, natural resource and infrastructure sectors, and for pushing so-called regional integration. The G-20 seeks a return to the pre-crisis ‘globalization’ era when, as capitalist exploitation and plunder became more aggressive, poverty did not just endure but worsened.
This year, the G20 under Mexico’s presidency has identified as its priorities: (1) Economic stabilization and structural reforms as foundations for growth and employment, (2) Strengthening the financial system and fostering financial inclusion to promote economic growth, (3) Improving the international financial architecture in an interconnected world, (4) Enhancing food security and addressing commodity price volatility, (5) Promoting sustainable development, green growth and the fight against climate change.
In all of these, the G20 persists with peddling the illusion that promoting private investments and trade are the solutions. The G20’s supports the accumulation of wealth by the powerful minority through scaling up of their operations in developing countries.
The G-20 is not and can never be about radically overhauling the world and national economies to meet the needs of the people. It has in fact worsened unemployment and homelessness, the brutal attacks on the rights of the working people, the decline of incomes and the erosion of hard-won social benefits for the working people, the austerity measures to further exploit and impoverish the people, climate change and corporate environmental destruction.
As the imperialist powers redouble their efforts to preserve global capitalism then more so must the people become ever more resolute and effective in waging our militant struggles. It is only through mass struggles that the people can effectively resist imperialism and all reaction, liberate themselves and bring about fundamental social change.
IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED TO call on all ILPS members and allied organizations to organize public forums, study groups and assemblies to discuss the real roots of the crisis of the global capitalist system and expose the false solutions and new attacks on the people by the G20, the international financial institutions and the US and other imperialist states.
IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED THAT THE ILPS MEMBERS IN MEXICO will take the lead in mobilizing protest actions in El Cabo, Mexico during the occasion itself and all ILPS members and chapters will lead the broad masses in our respective countries in mobilizing against the G20 during its upcoming Summit on June 18-20, 2012.
On the Rio+20 UN Conference
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development will take place in June 20-22, 2012 marking two decades since the first “Earth Summit” was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992 and forty years since the United National Conference on Environment and Development in Stockholm, Sweden. The Stockholm Conference was the first gathering of heads of state that acknowledged the problem of social and ecological destruction brought upon by the dominant model of development. Forty years on, the same global capitalist system remains intact and continues to destroy people’s lives and the natural environment on a massive scale.
Despite the vast amounts of wealth being produced by the toiling masses of the world, they are even more exploited and oppressed today. Half of the world’s population live on less than $2.50 a day, nearly 1 billion live in hunger, and close to 2 billion are trapped in multidimensional poverty. The bottom 20% share only 1% of world income but suffer the worst consequences of the ecological and climate crisis generated by this global capitalist system. The wealthiest 20 per cent of humankind are responsible for nearly 80% of greenhouse gas emissions while enjoying over 70% of total world income. Humanity’s ecological footprint now exceeds the planet’s biocapacity by over 50%, and three of nine planetary boundaries that define the safe operating space for human life on Earth have been breached.
Widening social and economic disparities, widespread injustice, dispossession and exclusion are the seedbed of growing social unrest today. Contemporary events offer ample proof with the uprisings in the Arab region; mass demonstrations by the hundreds of thousands in Asia, Latin America and Africa; general strikes and peoples assemblies in many parts of Europe; riots in London; occupations in the US spreading out to scores of other countries; and countless other workers strikes, people’s protests or community struggles throughout the world.
Caught in the grip of the worst crisis of the global capitalist system since the Great Depression of the previous century, the ruling classes are now scrambling for new means to extract more superprofits and overcome protracted stagnation. They are taking away social entitlements, imposing wage freezes and new austerity measures to extract more surplus value from working people. Monopoly capitalists are directly taking over what little remains the public sector and social services through privatization (under the guise of public-private partnerships). They are also taking over lands, forests, water, and natural environments in order to generate new sources of superprofits. They are converting common resources into private property; assigning market prices to natural resources and ecosystem services; and trading them as assets in financial markets. Peasants, indigenous peoples and communities directly dependent on nature for their livelihoods and community life especially in unindustrialized countries are dispossessed, displaced and even killed n the process.
The upcoming Rio+20 Summit is a big festival to sell this agenda in the guise of promoting sustainable development. Green growth is trumpeted as the solution to poverty and joblessness. Business innovations (“green technologies”) combined with corporate social responsibility and green consumerism incentivized by investor-friendly government policies are marketed as solutions to the environmental crisis. At the same time, government commitments are reduced to providing the proper enabling environment to the private sector and setting voluntary targets — denying the responsibility of TNCs and advanced capitalist countries in causing all these crises. Even the principle of common but differentiated responsibility, polluter pays principle, and precautionary principle which are core principles of the 1992 Rio Declaration are being whittled down in Rio+20.
The upcoming Rio+20 in June therefore serves as an opportunity for the workers, women, indigenous people and other dispossessed and marginalized groups to come together and expose the failings of the current modes of production, distribution and consumption that are keeping vast swathes of the world’s population in dire poverty, furthering the gap between the rich and poor, and damaging the environment and ecosystems.
IT IS RESOLVED THAT all ILPS members and allied organizations mobilize in in their own communities, countries and in Rio itself to expose the false solutions being peddled by TNCs and their governments; to expose imperialist countries and transnational companies as the biggest contributors to the degradation of the environment and depletion of natural resources; and the dispossession, exploitation and impoverishment of the people.
IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED THAT ILPS calls on the people to resist imperialist-led, pro-corporate and anti-poor development schemes and continue their collective fight for their rights, defend national sovereignty, people’s control over productive resources and collective stewardship of the natural environment. The Rio Summit should be used as an occasion to educate the people that the real solution to the crisis of the social, economic and environmental crisis, the only path to sustainable development is the path of socialism.
Approved by the International Coordinating Committee
of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle
March 11, 2012