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A Call To The Global Days of Action in Prague Against The IMF/World Bank In September!

In recognition that a new form of international resistance to capital is taking shape, we call on European people, movements and organisations to join the campaign against the International Monetary Fund(IMF)/World Bank summit in Prague from 21st-28th September 2000, and support the global day of action on 26th September.

Some 20,000 representatives of capital are expected to come to Prague in September to attend the 55th annual summit of the IMF and the World Bank. This prestigious meeting will be the first of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe, and will definitely be of great importance. The delegates will meet to propose a scheme of further liberalisation of the world economy by defining new loan priorities and structural adjustment conditions. They present further liberalisation of the global economy as the sole solution to the world's problems. But, on the contrary, this will only deepen the problems, since it is capital which caused them in the first place.

Therefore, this summit is a challenge for those who are concerned about the destiny of today's world. The influence of the IMF and World Bank has had a negative impact for more than 50 years. More and more people are realising this. The events in Seattle at the World Trade Organisation meeting last November, and in Washington in April, showed that a huge wave of global resistance is rising against the expanding power of global capital. The IMF/ World Bank summit in Prague will be our next big opportunity to continue the fight for global justice and equality.

The IMF and World Bank are led only by economic interests and thus willingly support various authoritarian or dictatorial regimes.

Within the framework of the so-called Structural Adjustment Programmes, the IMF and World Bank determine strict conditions for providing loans to the developing countries. These measures strengthen the position of capital but worsen the situation of the majority of the world's population. The removal of social and environmental regulations and cuts in public spending result in the inaccessibility of healthcare and education, sharp increases of living costs, job reductions, unemployment and curtailment of union rights. The impact on agriculture is especially devastating, since production aimed at local self-sufficiency is suspended and the countries are compelled to grow single cash-crops for export, which leads to food shortages and in some countries even to famine. The impacts of the IMF and World Bank activities on the environment are also devastating - the megalomaniac projects of the World Bank result in the destruction of local eco-systems as well as in the forced displacement of millions of people.

As a result of these policies millions have become refugees. They will have no place to stay in their native countries and are criminalised and treated with contempt by the very powers which have caused their displacement. We are opposed to the racist restrictions on immigration across Europe and defend the freedom of movement of all people.

Let's take the Czech Republic - where the meeting will take place - as one example. In 1990 a Czech government accepted a structural adjustment programme (SAP) and accepted a $3.9 billion loan from the IMF. From that time on, all governments implemented, with greater or lesser intensity, a policy of liberalisation, deregulation, privatisation, high interest rates and cuts in public spending - a policy which is in the interest of corporations and formulated by states, and which is imposed by the IMF/ World Bank on developing countries. Its outcome is a continual impoverishment of those who have the least anyway - like everywhere, this is also the case in the Czech Republic.

In recent years real incomes of working class families and agricultural workers have dropped dramatically. The value of basic social benefits has fallen by 44 percent since 1997 and has fallen by 60 percent in comparison with GDP since 1991. Women's lives are becoming harder and harder as they suffer disproportionately from exploitation, sexism and unemployment. The environment suffers from becoming a pool of cheap raw materials for the West. Racism against Roma and Sinti minorities has increased, because this is used as a handy way of diverting people's attention from their real problems and enemies.

Capitalist globalisation is just a continuation of neo-colonialism, in order to steal enormous wealth from the so-called Third and the Second world (including Eastern and Central Europe). At the same time anti-social neoliberal policies force workers in industrial countries to compete with workers in so-called developing countries.

More than 4 billion people live on a daily income of less than $2. About 17 million children die every year because of easily curable diseases. One third of the inhabitants of the Southern hemisphere will not reach the age of 40. And 250 million children in so-called developing countries have to work as slave labour for transnational corporations to support their families.

Meanwhile, there are 50 million people living in poverty and 5 million homeless in the European Union. There are 30 million people in the US suffering malnutrition.

We won't accept this (capitalist) system as the way for progress in society. On the contrary, we are witnessing the daily mass murder of tens of thousands of people and a daily crime against the human right to live in dignity and happiness.

This situation cannot be changed by anything less than a global and internationalist movement.

We do not think we can oppose this development by lobbying institutions like the IMF and World Bank. Rather, we rely upon a movement that has to be built at a grassroots level, promoting the unity of the many and diverse everyday struggles against the consequences of a global capitalist system - including groups like trade unionists, the unemployed, small or landless peasants, ecological initiatives, migrants, radical democratic political organisations, etc. Finding an alternative to the current social model is in our view an urgent necessity. The so-called democracy of 'negotiation and critical dialogue with civil society' offered by the IMF/ World Bank cannot and does not represent true democracy.

We do not think that globalisation can be opposed by the protectionist policy of nation states. We believe that the alternative is a society which is not based on profit for a few but on the genuine needs and desires of everybody, on the principles of solidarity, mutual assistance and sustainable living, a society which rejects all forms and systems of domination, discrimination and all forms of oppression.

It is the capitalist system which is responsible for the social and environmental disasters of today. Therefore it is necessary to organise protests to shut down the IMF and the World Bank. For it is only by mass direct actions, civil disobedience and practising direct grassroots democracy that such a movement can be created. Resistance must be as global as capital - and much more creative.

We call upon as many diverse groups and individuals to both support this call and to organise for the global action in September in Prague. There will be a week of action from 21st to 28th September, with a global day of action on 26th September. We call upon you to join the protests in Prague and organise actions in your own country.

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