Conference against capitalism
ATTACing the power of the global speculators
SOME 130 people attended a meeting in London last Saturday about challenging the power of financial speculators. The meeting, held at the Trades Union Congress headquarters, was jointly organised by War on Want and Amis UK, the English counterpart of the ATTAC group based in France. ATTAC is centred around promoting the idea of taxing the speculators, dubbed the Tobin Tax after the economist who put forward the scheme, and using the proceeds for welfare spending.
It has grown rapidly in France with thousands of members and 150 local groups. One of the speakers at the London meeting was Annick Coup of ATTAC. She is also a left wing leader of one of France's postal workers' unions. The kind of movement they were trying to build, Coup argued, was like that which came together in the protests against the World Trade Organisation in Seattle last year.
Labour MP Alan Simpson also addressed the meeting and argued the need to popularise the idea of the Tobin Tax by putting it in simple terms: "You pay tax when you bet your own money, why shouldn't the speculators pay tax when they gamble with other people's money?" A third speaker gave an insider's view of the money markets. Gary Bresley used to be a currency speculator for NatWest bank. He resigned in disgust at what he was being asked to do, "and because I am a socialist". ATTAC plans further meetings and activities.