G-20 Protesters Call for Alternatives to Austerity

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Common Dreams

G-20 Protesters Call for Alternatives to Austerity

G20 to fixate on Europe and 'forget about the rest of the world,' say protesters

by
Common Dreams staff

Oxfam activists wear masks representing some of the G20 world leaders along the shore in Los Cabos. Andres Stapff/Reuters

World economic leaders began meeting today at the G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico.

The two day meeting is expected to focus on the global debt crisis with a push to save the Euro currency and to avoid further economic turbulence after Greek elections failed to ease tensions in financial markets.

The G20 leaders are expected to adopt a 'Los Cabos Action Plan', which is slated to 'promote economic growth and jobs', while pledging to bring down budget deficits. The strategy for this is yet to be announced but may include an increase in funding for the International Monetary Fund in order to continue bailout plans for hurting countries.

However, critics say that IMF led austerity bailout policy is not the solution to economic hardships around the world.

Thousands of protesters marched in Mexico City over the weekend to protest the summit, according to Democracy Now(!).

A protester who came to Mexico from Spain’s indignado movement said the anti-austerity struggle is worldwide: "As far as my personal participation, it’s a matter of resistance to the politics of neo-liberalism, to criminal policies of the G20, the IMF, the World Bank, the European Union, and our own Spanish government and other governments of the world, such as the one we are protesting today in Mexico".

A group of demonstrators staged a mock G20 plenary session protest over the priorities of the summit, wearing masks, mocking world leaders for worrying about European banks instead of issues such as food security.

"Europe’s crisis must be fixed because it is becoming a serious drain on developing countries already reeling from volatile food prices and aid cuts. But it’s not good enough for the G20 to fixate on Europe and forget about the rest of the world," stated Steve Price-Thomas of Oxfam International.

"More than half the world’s poorest people live in G20 countries, and leaders have a responsibility to them as well. The G20 needs to take urgent action to curb commodity speculation. Food volatility is out of control, and is a serious threat to the livelihoods of billions across the globe."

“The G20 must use their power to address fundamental economic issues beyond Europe. Whether or not they do so is a political choice."

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Reuters: Protest in Mexico over G20 priorities

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Reuters: Sigh of relief at G20 summit turns to angst

World leaders' relief at Greek voters rejection of an anti-bailout government that could have forced the country's exit from the European currency union had evaporated by early Monday on the continued severity of Europe's economic problems.

Stocks and oil prices fell. Spain's borrowing costs climbed past levels where Greece and two other European countries had been forced to seek bailouts.

Heads of state began bilateral meetings ahead of the G20 summit with the crisis facing Greece, Spain, Italy and other European economies at center stage.

Financing the Spanish government would likely be too expensive for the eurozone bailout funds to handle. Spain's €1.1 trillion ($1.39 trillion) economy is bigger than those of Greece, Ireland and Portugal combined.

"It is simply the result of the market reflecting once again the notion that a comprehensive solution regarding containing the financial crisis in Europe hasn't come forward yet and that still much work has to be done in order for investors' confidence to return," said Ishaq Siddiqi, market strategist with ETX Capital. [...]

There were, however, clear signs of deep divisions over this relatively straightforward measure.

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Reuters: Business leaders cry for "action" at G20 meeting

CEOs and senior executives from about 350 companies, including Nestle, Zurich Insurance Group and Walmart Stores Inc, pushed leaders at a Group of 20 summit in Mexico to take firm measures to lift the economic gloom.

Jean-Guy Carrier, head of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) business lobby group, said the economic uncertainty was affecting companies "in quite a dire way".

"For the people we talk to, small and medium-sized or large companies involved in trade, the instability is just scaring them," he told Reuters at the summit on Sunday.

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Oxfam: G20 must not allow Euro crisis to sideline the rest of the world

Speaking ahead of the G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, Oxfam spokesperson Steve Price-Thomas said:

“Europe’s crisis must be fixed because it is becoming a serious drain on developing countries already reeling from volatile food prices and aid cuts. But it’s not good enough for the G20 to fixate on Europe and forget about the rest of the world.

“We’re hoping for progress on crises countries outside of Europe are grappling with. More than half the world’s poorest people live in G20 countries, and leaders have a responsibility to them as well. The G20 needs to take urgent action to curb commodity speculation. Food volatility is out of control, and is a serious threat to the livelihoods of billions across the globe.

“The G20 must use their power to address fundamental economic issues beyond Europe. Whether or not they do so is a political choice.

“The G20 is failing to address the most important drivers of the food price crisis: increased demand for biofuels, financial speculation on commodities, and climate change. In the Sahel alone 18 million people face a severe food shortage and donors have so far failed to come up with adequate funding to help those going hungry.

“Three years ago, the G20 launched a framework for “strong, sustainable and balanced growth”. They meet in Los Cabos not having achieved this and having done very little about the causes of the crisis which the rich world has inflicted on poor countries.”

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