Police in Istanbul, Turkey fired tear gas and broke out the hose on anti-globalization protesters of the annual World Bank and International Monetary Fund (I.M.F.) meetings.
6 Oct 09 | InfoShop News
“Police in Turkey have used tear gas and water cannons to break up protests against a meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund,” the BBC reports.
Financial Times (FT) Chief U.S. correspondent Krishna Guha reports the “self-styled ‘group of 30’ leading financial figures” met on Monday where “present and former policymakers joined bankers and economists” to suggest the I.M.F. should “monitor” the global financial system on a “near-continuous basis”. The BBC adds: “The I.M.F. is urgently discussing ways to make itself more representative of the new world order where developing countries make up nearly half of the world economy, but only have about one-third of the votes in the I.M.F.”
Delphine Strauss at the FT reports up to 6,000—of whom “appeared to be largely union members or students”—showed up to demonstrate against the meeting of the oligarchs:
Protesters and passers-by took shelter in doorways as riot police and armoured vehicles cleared Taksim square, the city’s transport hub. Some wrapped scarves around their face as protection against clouds of tear gas.
About 100 people were taken into custody, some for throwing stones and petrol bombs as they tried to break through a police cordon and march towards the conference centre, a few hundred yards north of Taksim square, Turkish media reported.
“There are police everywhere, we had 20 police just on the corner,” said a receptionist at one hotel on Taksim square, adding that calm had returned with people walking around outside by noon….
Protesters were authorised to march along Istiklal Street to Taksim––a popular route for demonstrators on most weekends—but not to continue north to the secure area dubbed “congress valley”.
Like recent protests in Iran and Pittsburgh, Turkish police justify assaulting the protesters with the rationale that people are ‘only free [sic] to assemble where they’re ordered to do so’. The assault isn’t so much to subordinate demonstrators as it is to send a message to those already apprehensive to standing up for their natural rights. The message: ‘What we say goes!’
The protesters are routinely referred to as “anti-capitalist”—which isn’t a false application to a vast majority of them, but is used pejoratively and that should not be mistaken because it manufactures avatars of those who “appeared to be largely union members or students” as nothing more than reactionary teenage angst and so-called ‘union thugs’ calling for the reincarnation of Josef Stalin. The people are protesting a relative handful of oligarchs within the international banking cartel exploiting the Third World and working people in the so-called “developed” and “developing” world to enhance its power and prosperity. To simply call the protests “anti-capitalist” is a deliberate miscommunication of the protesters’ message which would not be radical in a well-informed, free society: We do not consent to a parasitic elite feeding off of what’s become their global plantation.
“The World Bank is pushing at the meetings for rich countries to give it more money so that it can increase its lending activities to poor and middle-income countries,” Mr. Guha reported with Chris Giles at the FT just before the Istanbul meeting. “The bank has already stepped up its lending and is making the case that it is in rich countries’ ‘self-interest’ to provide the bank with more money at a time when their public finances are under severe strain.”
The World Bank and I.M.F. are revenue-seeking international banking institutions that lend money from for-profit banks to Third World countries at interest. The money is initially stolen from the productive working classes of the ‘developed’ world by the State and handed over to the so-called “private” banks to lend back to the State with interest to exercise relatively more excessive usury on those already exploited most.
Monday, Professor Alnoor Ebrahim of Harvard University wrote an op-ed at the FT criticizing these two institutions for its exploitation. Prof. Ebrahim writes that the policies of the World Bank’s 65-year history are contrary to its “sole purpose of fighting poverty”.
“The bank’s sister institution, the International Monetary Fund, shares this conflict,” Prof Ebrahim adds. “The bank’s business model fails at the very foundations of its structure. Its two main sources of revenue, interest payments on loans from borrowing governments and contributions from wealthy member governments, both stand in conflict with its anti-poverty mission.”
The interest is used to virtually enslave the Third World—eliminating the growth potential—picking the winners and losers from the developing world. The so-called “contributions from wealthy member governments” are anything but contributions. They’re investments by force. Prof. Ebrahim adds:
As with any lender, the bank relies on making loans so that interest payments can provide a steady stream of income. But this breeds a persistent problem that needs to be addressed. Because the poorest countries are often unable to keep up with payments, even on low-interest loans, the bank has steadily shifted its lending to those that can—middle-income countries such as Brazil, India and China. These countries could secure financing in private capital markets, but are attracted to the bank’s more favourable terms for anti-poverty programmes. In addition, they know the bank needs them to survive. So they can push for even better conditions, such as reducing social and environmental safeguards intended to protect the most vulnerable communities and natural resources….
The second main source of revenue for the bank, contributions from its wealthiest member governments, also compromises its mission to the poor. Based on a corporate shareholder model, this arrangement gives the strongest voice to its biggest donors. This governance model has been widely criticised for creating a moral hazard problem-–the countries that wield the most voting power are not accountable to citizens who are affected by their decisions. The bank needs these infusions of money from the richest members, which support grants and interest-free loans to some of its poorest countries. But though the shareholder model may be useful for generating funds, it undermines a critical component of development—accountability to the people most affected.
Alan Beattie reports at the FT: “Most of the fund’s activity this year has concentrated on central and eastern Europe, where successive governments have struggled with capital flight and current account deficits.” But, “it issued a range of new policy guidelines and lending instruments suggesting an overwhelming imperative to get money out of the door fast with fewer strings attached”.
“By allowing a European country leeway, he said”—David Lubin, emerging markets strategist at Citigroup in London—“the impression given was ‘not of an International Monetary Fund but a Euro-Atlantic Monetary Fund’. Mr Lubin said the I.M.F. appeared influenced by the E.U., which provided 42% of the total package lent to Latvia and wanted to avoid a devaluation.”
At the Pittsburgh G-20 Summit less than two weeks ago, the Anglo-American call to the I.M.F. was for it to implement policies to force down the exchange rate of China’s currency (the renminbi) to save their own, Mr. Guha reported after the Summit. With Chris Giles, he followed up on his report that the G-20 was “unable to agree” on a currency agreement at the Summit, I.M.F. Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn “reiterated his criticism of China’s ‘undervalued’ currency… [T]he U.S. and Europe believe the renminbi needs to appreciate to help reduce China’s still large trade surplus.”
The World Bank and I.M.F. are being used by the Anglo-American factions to forcefully prevent the implosion of the intrinsically worthless greenback and euro. Nothing of relieving the odious debt inflicted upon Western workers and the Third World. Only the preservation of the “Euro-Atlantic” financial oligarchy over us.
This isn’t a wide-ranging ‘conspiracy theory’. It’s the basic truism that those most greatly affected by decisions—decisions so great as whether or not they eat that day—have the least say in said decision-making processes. This is most true in the global financial system—not a free-market, but an overt cabal by fiat.