Issue 243 of SOCIALIST REVIEW Published July/August 2000 Copyright © Socialist Review
We in Europe can emulate the massive anti-capitalist demonstrations we witnessed and celebrated in Seattle last November and in Washington in April.
Ten years after the revolutions in Eastern Europe, the world's bankers and the representatives of multinational capital are gathering in Prague for a summit meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
The International Monetary Fund is responsible for the austerity measures which have blighted much of eastern Europe and Russia, and which were a cause of the descent into nationalism and war in Yugoslavia. Across the globe its demands that states cut back on welfare and hold down living standards have destroyed people's lives from Accra to Jakarta. Those gathering in Prague are directly responsible for the crippling debt repayment programmes inflicted on so many of the world's countries.
Each year 17 million children die of curable diseases. The United Nations Development Programme calculates that $40 billion could be used to provide universal health care, clean water, basic nutrition, education and other necessities to the people of the world. This is the exact figure Nato spent last year on its war in Yugoslavia.
Poverty is not restricted to developing countries--21 percent of children in the US and 20 percent of children in Britain live in poverty. Yet the personal wealth of Microsoft's Bill Gates, at $85 billion, is greater than that of 40 percent of the US population.
Some 40,000 people control 80 percent of the world's trade. The Prague summit will bring together 20,000 of them. As at Seattle, their aim is to further 'liberalise' world trade in order to remove any barriers to corporate capitalism.
Their goal is shared by the governments of Blair in Britain, Schröder in Germany, Jospin in France, Simitis in Greece and Aznar in Spain, together with the governments of eastern Europe--despite whether they are formally social democratic or right wing administrations. Prague offers the working class of Europe a chance to successfully challenge this free market consensus.
Across Europe we must mobilise to turn Prague into Seattle. And like Seattle, we must aim to stop our global masters meeting.
We pledge ourselves to build the biggest possible mobilisation for Prague. Capitalism is capable of destroying humanity and our world through war or ecological disaster. Let us come together to cleanse the world of a system which benefits the few at such cost to the many.
Socialist Workers Party, Britain
Socialisticka Solidaridita, Czech Republic
Pracownicza Demokracja, Poland
Socialist Workers Party (SEK), Greece
Socialisme Par En Bas, France
Internationale Socialisten, Holland
Socialist Workers Party, Ireland
Internasjonale Socialisterr, Norway
Internationale Socialister, Denmark
Workers' Democracy, Republic of Cyprus
Izquierda Revolucionaria, Spain