IMF and World Bank in Japan

Communique for GlobalNoise against International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Tokyo

Occupy IMF/WB Tokyo
10/7/2012

This coming October 12th to 14th, Tokyo is going to host the annual meetings of International Monetary Fund and the World Bank as well as the conferences of Finance Ministers and presidents of central banks from G7/G20 countries. More than ten thousand bureaucrats and officials will gather in several locations including Tokyo International Forum in Marunouchi district. Originally the location of the 2012 meeting was assigned to Cairo, Egypt, but the administration change by the democratizing impetus of the people ousted the plan. Thereafter, Japan’s Ministry of Finance intervened to push the idea of hosting the meeting, with the intention to appeal to the world the nation’s recovery after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Japan’s proposal was accepted. The reality however is that the recovery from the disaster, let alone the ongoing nuclear catastrophe, has made little progress.

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Global Noise: A short report from Berlin

On October 13th, 2012, several hundred people joined the international Global Noise Day with a rally at Hermannplatz in Berlin, following a performance in the morning. There even was an assembly before the demonstration started out to meet the people from Kotti und Co who have been protesting regularly, making lots of noise, for several months in Kreuzberg. They have set up a protest camp called Gecekondu at Kottbusser Tor against higher rents and gentrification.

Together with Kotti und Co., the Berlin Global Noise demonstration joined the Refugee Protest March. The refugees had already organised a huge long distance march all the way from Bavaria to Berlin to fight for their rights, to protest against deportations in Germany and to demand the abolition of the “Residenzpflicht”, a residence obligation for refugees. Several thousand people (8000 to 10000) came to this large demonstration from the refugee camp at Oranienplatz all the way to the centre of Berlin.

Global Noise Berlin

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Mass Protests in Portugal, Spain, Greece

Portugal:

The mass protests were even able to celebrate a success: the government was forced to cancel the latest austerity measures.

Spain:

On 25th September, movements called to Occupy the Parliament (Ocupa el Congreso) by surrounding the building, well, to surround the police lines around the parliament. The police brutally charged the protesters, there were many injuries. They even followed protesters into the subway and train station at Atocha in Madrid.

Greece:

In Greece, there was another general strike on September 26th, thousands took to the streets again to protest against austerity measures imposed by the Troika (European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund).

There was a solidarity demonstration in Berlin with the protests in Spain and Greece:

http://griechenlandsolidaritaetberlin.blogsport.eu/2012/09/27/demonstration-in-berlin-und-spanien/

25.9.2012: Ocupa el Congreso:
https://coordinadora25s.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/notas-tras-los-hechos-del-25s/

 

Berichte zu Griechenland bei Labournet:

http://www.labournet.de/internationales/gr/krisenstreiks.html

Spanien:

http://www.labournet.de/internationales/es/empoerung.html
http://www.labournet.de/internationales/es/krisenstreiks.html
http://www.labournet.de/internationales/es/krise.html

Press reports:

El Pais:
25 S: http://politica.elpais.com/tag/manifestacion_25_septiembre_2012/a/

“¡Estáis locos! ¡Estáis locos!”
26 Sept. 2012
30 antidisturbios bajaron a los andenes de Atocha en busca de un grupo que estaría rompiendo el mobiliario, según la versión de la policía. No detuvieron a nadie.
http://politica.elpais.com/politica/2012/09/26/actualidad/1348687650_075542.html
Video: La policía entró en la estación de Atocha porra en mano y disparando salvas:
http://politica.elpais.com/politica/2012/09/26/videos/1348678161_695382.html
Espagne:
http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2012/09/27/en-espagne-un-patron-de-cafe-devient-un-heros-national_1766790_3214.html

Occupy Wall Street Anniversary

First Anniversary 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012:
Occupy’s Protest Is Not Over. It Has Barely Begun
by Frances Fox Piven

“A good many observers wonder, is Occupy over? After all, the encampments that announced the movement a year ago have largely disappeared, and no obviously similar protest demonstrations of young people have taken their place, at least not in the United States.”

Conitnued at:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/17/occupy-protest-not-over

See also:
Occupy Your Victories: OWS’ First Anniversary
by Rebecca Solnit

“Occupy is now a year old.  A year is an almost ridiculous measure of time for much of what matters: at one year old, Georgia O’Keeffe was not a great painter, and Bessie Smith wasn’t much of a singer. One year into the Civil Rights Movement, the Montgomery Bus Boycott was still in progress, catalyzed by the unknown secretary of the local NAACP chapter and a preacher from Atlanta — by, that is, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. Occupy, our bouncing baby, was born with such struggle and joy a year ago, and here we are, 12 long months later.

Occupy didn’t seem remarkable on September 17, 2011, and not a lot of people were looking at it when it was mostly young people heading for Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park. But its most remarkable aspect turned out to be its staying power: it didn’t declare victory or defeat and go home. It decided it was home and settled in for two catalytic months.”
Continued at: http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175593/

More information: http://s17nyc.org

www.occupywallst.org

Timeline: http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/09/occupy-wall-street-anniversary-timeline

Meanwhile in Europe…

Mass protests in Spain and Portugal

On September 15th, hundreds of thousands took to the streets in several cities in Portugal. Simultaneously, there was a huge march to Madrid in Spain. The protests will continue on September 25th when activists plan to surround the parliament: Ocupa el Congreso.

Meanwhile in Germany…

Preparations are underway for a continuation of Blockupy Frankfurt on October 20th/21st 2012.

See: www.blockupy-frankfurt.org

Occupying Grannies in Berlin

Retirees aged 67 to 96 have occupied their community centre in Pankow, North-East Berlin. They have moved into their community centre with mattresses and camp-beds when the authorities announced that their social club would no longer be financed by the local municipality of Pankow due to budget cuts.

The community centre exists since 1998 and offers a variety of leisure activities for about 300 retirees, including painting courses, English language courses, chess and card games. It was to be closed by the end of June 2012 so the elderly decided to occupy the building and stay until the authorities find a financing solution. The angry retirees are determined: “We will stay until the bulldozers come”. The community centre is located in a neighbourhood near the Chinese embassy, and various luxurious town houses have recently been built.

This unusual squat has received a huge amount of media attention, even abroad, and the Grannies and Granddads of Berlin have been compared to Spain’s old-age pensioners who are fighting austerity, the Iaioflautas.

On August 7th, as they were celebrating their 40th day of occupation, they even received a visit from Spanish activists from the 15M movement in Berlin. They were given a banner: “Nos quedamos todos” (We will all stay).

Under pressure, the local authorities are now looking for financing options like charity organisations or social institutions to secure the future of the community centre.

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Euro Crisis and Debt

Euro Crisis and Debt in Europe

estafa

From the Pocket Guide on EU Crisis

http://www.tni.org/briefing/eu-crisis-pocket-guide

October 2011, Transnational Institute (TNI), Amsterdam:

The economic crisis that has shaken the world may have started in Wall Street but it has been made much worse by the actions of both the European institutions and European member states.

Much of the so-called debt crisis was caused not by states spending too much, but because they bailed out the banks and speculators.

EU government debt had actually fallen from 72% of GDP in 1999 to 67% in 2007. It rose rapidly after they bailed out the banks in 2008.
Ireland’s bank bailout cost them 30% of their national output (GDP) and pushed debts to record levels.
http://www.voxeu.org/index.php?q=node/5062

By blaming the crisis on government spending, politicians and bankers argued that the only solution was to cut public spending, but this has actually worsened the debt crisis.

Austerity measures have led growth to collapse across the EU. In Greece, GDP fell by 7.3% in the second quarter of 2011. Austerity has reduced governments’ capacity to pay back spiraling debts, leading to even higher debts. And, as speculators encouraged doubts on certain countries’ abilities to pay, the rates of interest soared – as happened to Greece, Ireland and Portugal – making the debts completely unaffordable.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-13361930

EUROPEAN BANKS: Bailouts*

Bradford & Bingley 24 billion
Royal Bank Scotland 52,5 billion
Lloyds TSB 23,5 billion
Northern Rock 26,3 billion
Commerzbank 9,8 billion
Fortis 11,2 billion
Hypo Real Estate 52 billion
BayernLB 9,3 billion
Dexia 10,4 billion

*These are partial figures from the initial 2008/2009 bailouts and do not include the more than €210 billion Euros lent by the US Federal Reserve to prop up European banks.

The European Union, more than 3 years after the crisis, still has not re-regulated the banks!

No restrictions have been imposed on the size of banks. Little attempt has been made to separate high street retail banking from investment banking – which exposed ordinary people to the enormous risks taken by gambling investors. Prohibitions on the speculative trading instruments that caused the crisis in the first place are not yet in place or agreed. Finally, watered-down measures that will force banks to lower their borrowing and increase capital reserves will not be in place until 2018!

Devastating Consequences

Unicef has warned of the “irreversible impacts” of wage cuts,
tax increases, benefit reductions and reductions in subsidies
that will bear most heavily on the most vulnerable in low-income
nations – particularly children.
http://www.unicef.org/socialpolicy/files/Austerity_Measures_Threaten_Children.pdf

Unemployment in Greece is approaching 900,000 and is projected to exceed 1.2 million, in a population of 11 million.
In Spain, youth unemployment is running at more than 40%!
These are figures reminiscent of the Great Depression of the 1930s.

“The social implications in Greece have been catastrophic.
Entire communities have been devastated by unemployment, losing the means to live as well as the norms, customs and respect of regular work”. – Costas Lapavitsas, SOAS/ Research for Money and Finance.

As austerity cuts swept Europe, the numbers of the wealthy in Europe with more than $1 million in cash actually rose in 2010 by 7.2% to 3.1 million people.
Together they are worth US$10.2 trillion.
The five biggest banks in Europe made profits of €28 billion in 2010.
There are 15,000 professional lobbyists in Brussels, the vast majority of them representing big business.

“Today only the foolhardy would dismiss a movement reflecting the anger and frustration of ordinary citizens from all walks of life around the world … the fundamental call for a fairer distribution of wealth cannot be ignored. The consequence [of the crisis] has been growing inequality, rising poverty and sacrifice by those least able to bear it – all of which are failing to deliver economic growth. … The cry for change is one that must be heeded.” – Financial Times, Editorial, 16 October 2011.

European Union’s answers to the problem?
More austerity.

In the UK, 490,000 public sector jobs are being cut; in Ireland, wages for low paid workers have been reduced; in Lithuania the government plans to cut public spending by 30%. The EU is planning to impose requirements by 2013 that means that no European member state countries can have a budget deficit of more than 3% of GDP or a public debt of more than 60% of GDP which will mean even more austerity.

http://www.europeaninstitute.org/April-2011/eu-austerity-country-
by-country-updated-421.html

“The European Commission’s new economic governance plans … go further than a fresh call for austerity: it is a recipe for much deeper liberalisation of the European economy than has yet been seen.” – Leigh Phillips, EU Observer.

More privatisation of public services.

Greece is selling off its railways, postal and water services; Portugal is privatising 17 enterprises; Spain is selling off state assets such as airports and the lottery.

“Thanks to this legislation (recent EU economic governance ‘6-pack’ rules), elected officials are dispossessed by appointed, non-accountable ones of their right to draw up their own budgets. Most Europeans have not the slightest inkling that any change has taken place, much less a savage attack on their governments’ capacity to govern.” – Susan George, President of the Transnational Institute, author of “Whose Crisis, Whose Future?” (2010).

Less democracy.

Without any national public and parliamentary debate, the European Parliament and the EU Council of Finance Ministers rushed through a decision in Autumn 2011 which will mean all national budgets must now first be approved by the Commission, before they are even seen by each country’s parliament. If countries do not reduce their debts fast enough or refuse the budgetary “suggestions” from Brussels, enforcement measures will kick in. In the case of France, with a GDP of about €1.900 billion, the Commission could demand a deposit or a fine of between €20 to €100 billion!

Alternatives from the 99%
Clearly, there is a strong need to break with the dangerous free market fundamentalism that has created and worsened a social crisis of vast proportions. There are some proposals for alternatives – put forward by many civil society groups – that could create a fairer and more just world… (…).

Pocket Guide on EU Crisis

For further info:
http://www.tni.org

End financial control of European governance
http://www.tni.org/interview/end-financial-control-european-governance

Greece’s woes: so goes the Euro
http://www.tni.org/article/greece%E2%80%99s-woes-so-goes-euro

Greece: same tragedy, different scripts
http://www.tni.org/article/greece-same-tragedy-different-scripts

Corporate EUtopia: how new economic governance measures
challenge democracy
http://www.corporateeurope.org/publications/corporate-eutopia-how-
new-economic-governance-measures-challenge-democracy

Where did our money go? UK case study of bank bailout
http://neweconomics.org/publications/where-did-our-money-go

EU Financial Reforms Dossier
http://somo.nl/dossiers-en/sectors/financial/eu-financial-reforms

Proposal for a fair and transparent debt workout procedure
http://www.eurodad.org/whatsnew/reports.aspx?id=3946

http://www.taxjustice.net
http://www.researchonmoneyandfinance.org
http://www.basicincome.org
http://justinvestment.org
http://www.waterjustice.org
http://www.municipalservicesproject.org
http://www.transitionnetwork.org

see also:

Ramon Duran:

The Breakdown of Global Capitalism: 2000-2030

http://www.corporateeurope.org/news/breakdown-global-capitalism-2000-2030

PDF file: http://www.corporateeurope.org/sites/default/files/attachments/Breakdown_Capitalism%20FINAL.pdf

Kleptocracy: debt as a method of legalized robbery
by Raimundo Viejo, July 26, 2012
http://roarmag.org/2012/07/raimundo-viejo-kleptocracy-debt-crisis/