Occupy France: Calling for Change at the G20 Summit

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CommonDreams.org

Occupy France: Calling for Change at the G20 Summit

This week marks the beginning of the G20 summit in Cannes, where representatives from the 20 richest countries will gather to discuss global economic policy. The G20 has been meeting since the late 1990s to respond to global financial crises. But the policies they espouse—from cutting back on government spending to deregulation—have only led to more poverty, inequality and instability.

Ahead of this week’s meetings, MADRE, an international women’s human rights organization, calls on the G20 states to take effective action to address financial crisis. One important step is to stabilize the market by creating a ‘Robin Hood’ tax on currency exchanges and financial transactions. MADRE stands with economic justice advocates worldwide in endorsing the call for such a tax.

In a global economy wracked by speculation and rapid-fire trading, the ‘Robin Hood’ tax would tame the profit-driven speculation that has made our world financial markets so volatile. It would curb short-sighted trading practices that move trillions of dollars each day, generating huge profits for a tiny few without reinvestment in social services, infrastructure and other necessities for the global 99 percent. By taxing these financial transactions, money could be funneled into critical social services such as health care and education.

The practices of traders and speculators in global markets have also turned basic rights like food, water, health care and education into commodities, pushing these resources out of reach for many of the world’s people. For example, this year’s famine in the Horn of Africa is in part the result of rampant speculation on grains—the world’s staple food.

Today, grassroots protests against economic injustice are growing around the world. The Occupy Wall Street movement was born in downtown New York City, but it has links that span geographies and time.

MADRE joins our allies worldwide in calling on the G20 to recognize the fundamental and unjust imbalances of the global economic system and endorse the creation of a ‘Robin Hood’ Tax.

Correction: This post was updated on 11/3 to reflect that the G20 meeting is being held in Cannes, not Paris.

Yifat Susskind

Yifat Susskind is the Executive Director of MADRE, an international women's human rights organization. She has worked with women’s human rights activists from Latin America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa to create programs in their communities to address women's health, violence against women, economic and environmental justice and peace building. She has also written extensively on US foreign policy and women’s human rights and her critical analysis has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy in Focus and elsewehere.

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