The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which serves as a kind of secretariat for the G20, openly advocates: increase the age of retirement; de-fund medical treatments; freeze public sector wages; introduce means-testing for all social programmes; cut back agricultural supports for farmers; increase value-added taxes; hike gasoline taxes and introduce a carbon tax on greenhouse gas emissions.
Clearly such measures do not address catastrophic poverty or life-threatening climate change. They would force the world's working masses to pay for the system crises not of our making. Recall that deficits and debt went through the roof when governments decided to bail out big banks and giant companies. Capital engineered a credit balloon, designed literally to paper-over the central contradictions of capitalism: the relentless competition for profit and the overproduction of useless and wasteful commodities.
Capitalist politicians scowl at even the most modest reforms, like cutting the military, or putting energy company mega-profits to work for conservation and green energy alternatives, or taxing the rich to support public health care, education, good nutrition, public transportation and decent, affordable housing.
The Conservative minority government in Ottawa, in its 'free market' zeal, campaigned internationally to block a special tax on financial speculation and 'excess' bank profits – a self-serving tax touted by European powers and Washington as a hedge against the next big bank meltdown. At the same time, Ottawa sabotages maternal health by refusing to fund safe, legal abortions abroad (68,000 women die of botched abortions annually, and 5 million suffer infections and complications, mostly in poor countries). Washington and Ottawa bear disproportionate guilt for the failure of the Copenhagen Climate Conference and for subverting the weak Kyoto Accord. They continue to dump surplus grains into Mexico, Haiti and other less developed countries. They drive poor farmers to desperation, and then exploit, harass and deport migrant workers.
The great fear of the world's ruling rich is “the Greek disease”, which the capitalists label 'overspending', but is actually a sterling example of working class solidarity against the bosses' agenda of impoverishment and disenfranchisement.
Socialists hail the fight back of workers across Europe. We embrace the current strike wave in China for decent wages and benefits. We salute the mass resistance to imperialist war and occupation in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine. We heartily endorse the declaration of the Cochabamba (Bolivia) Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, which calls for an end to militarism, pillage of the planet for profit (capitalism), and denial of the rights of indigenous peoples. We identify with revolutionary Cuba, and with the revolt against neo-liberalism sweeping Venezuela and Latin America.
For a world where all can 'live well', workers and oppressed peoples must expropriate industry and plan the economy democratically, in concert with nature. Not a bank tax but nationalization of the banks and big business under workers' and community control is needed. Join us in the fight for a world without exploitation and war. It is urgent for everyone to choose: Economic democracy or corporate tyranny! Eco-Socialism or extinction!
This statement is issued jointly by Socialist Action/Ligue pour l'Action socialiste (Canadian state), Socialist Action-USA, and Socialist Unity League (LUS)-Mexico.