Socialist Worker

Protests gather pace as G20 talks stall

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2143

Trade unions, NGOs, climate campaigners and anti-war activists are gearing up for a week of protests when the G20 summit of world leaders comes to London on 2 April.

But while the protests have gathered momentum, the G20 summit itself is looking to be increasingly fractious as world leaders bicker over how to deal with the global economic crisis.

Many politicians pinned their hopes on the outcome of a pre-summit meeting of G20 finance ministers that took place in Horsham, Sussex, last Saturday.

But the meeting ended in failure. Britain tried to convince France and Germany to sign up to its recovery plans, but both countries declined and preferred to follow their own course.

Most of the finance ministers paid lip service to the idea of tighter global controls over financial markets. But again, no detailed plans have yet emerged.

There was also a general agreement that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should provide funding to developing economies – but no definitive figure was reached.


Besides, people in countries such as Hungary and Ukraine know that IMF bailouts come at a price. The fund insists on governments implementing austerity measures as part of the conditions for its loans.

The ultimate aim of the G20 world leaders is to protect profits and rule of the wealthy.

That makes it all the more important that people pour onto the streets of London to protest against the summit and put forward an alternative set of priorities.

But the scale of the economic crisis poses a challenge for any movement seeking to protect jobs, advance social justice and demand serious measures to stop climate change.

Unemployment is rocketing across the globe as production slows and export markets grind to a halt. The International Labour Organisation estimates that up to 50 million people could lose their jobs worldwide by the end of the year.

These conditions mean that ordinary people’s lives can go in one of two directions.

The bosses and governments could continue to prioritise and protect big business – and trample on workers.

The alternative is for the people of the world to join together in struggle and build a united, radical and effective movement against the recession and for jobs, justice and a sustainable world.

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Tue 17 Mar 2009, 18:45 GMT
Issue No. 2143
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