BRIEF MESSAGES & LETTERS, 2001 - Present
ON THE L'AQUILA G8 SUMMIT
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples' Struggle
06 July 2009
Another catastrophe, this time man-made, descends upon earthquake-devastated L'Aquila this week as the leading imperialist heads of state convene the 35th G-8 Summit from 8 to10 July in this central Italian city.
This year's summit departs from its usual format by inviting more than 30 other heads of state and international organizations to discuss a wider range of economic, political and security issues. This is a sign of the relative weakening of the leading imperialist powers as well as an attempt to divide and rule the rest of the G-192 nations. Nevertheless, the overall objective persists: to secure the interests of monopoly capital and stabilize the world capitalist system now being wracked by the most severe crisis since the Great Depression.
Even as the global depression deepens further, the G-8 leaders are expected to play up false indicators of recovery in order to buoy up speculative investors’ confidence and revive the flow of credit. The finance oligarchy represented by the G-8 governments has consistently misrepresented the current capitalist crisis as a problem of liquidity that can be resolved by bailing out the biggest banks and failing financial institutions that are weighed down by toxic assets and debts. If at all done, any discussion of "systemic problems", is reduced to regulatory failure which can be easily addressed by adopting new "global standards" for financial regulation, such as the new charter on financial regulation being proposed by the summit host, Silvio Berlusconi.
All this is to deny that the capitalist system is fundamentally flawed and crisis-bound. Indeed, the G8 summit is scheduled to start discussions on "exit strategies" that would ensure the eventual phase-out of "emergency" fiscal and monetary measures that blatantly contradict the myth of neoliberalism except war spending. This is to forestall any attempt at instituting even a modest shift in the basic thrust of economic policies away from market liberalization which has greatly accelerated capital accumulation in the hands of the monopoly capitalist elite. The G-8 summiteers are blind to the fact that the crisis continues to deepen and worsen precisely because no determined measures have been taken to stimulate consumer demand by stemming unemployment, raising employment and reviving production.
As if engaged in a religious ritual or in comedic repetition, the G8 summit will again call for the speedy conclusion of the Doha Round of negotiations for global trade and investment liberalization as the way out of the current economic slump. In fact, the protectionist practices of the imperialist powers are increasing. The call for further liberalization is aimed at further shifting the burden of crisis to the working people, especially in the underdeveloped countries. These countries are bearing the main brunt of the crisis. For decades under the policy of “neoliberal globalization”, their economies have been grossly distorted and degraded despite previous claims of growth, actually bloated by debt financing and consumption.
More than 30 countries are facing imminent balance of payments crises because new credit has dried up for third world countries that are chronically dependent on foreign capital inflows to pay for older debts, sustain imports from the advanced capitalist countries and paper over chronic deficits they incur as imperialist states plunder their economies. The tightening of international credit and the drastic fall in demand by imperialist countries for raw materials and semi-manufactured products have combined to depress and devastate the economies of the underdeveloped countries.
Global unemployment is expected to rise further and precarious forms of employment will spread even further as capitalists compete on the basis of reducing labor costs and intensifying their exploitation of workers. The number of undernourished is expected to rise at an accelerated rate as poor people lose their livelihoods and food systems are further captured by agrochemical and trading monopolies. Millions more are denied access to health, housing, education and basic services as state budgets are spent on bailing out big banks and other favored corporations.
The imperialist states are using both the economic crisis and climate change as pretext for channeling more public funds towards monopoly firms including energy corporations that seek to commercialize new technologies such as carbon capture and storage, "clean carbon", renewable energy and other techno-fixes with dubious ecological integrity but with clear opportunities for monopoly profits. In line with this, the G8 leaders seek to remove barriers to trade for all "eco-friendly" goods and services via the WTO's Doha Round so that their monopoly firms can gain control and rapidly expand their markets.
They are also pushing for a post-2012 climate protocol that would further obscure the historical and current responsibility of monopoly capitalists based in the industrialized countries for dumping greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere and polluting the environment in pursuit of superprofits. The G8 leaders are trumpeting the goal of limiting the average global temperature rise to no more than 2 degrees Celsius in order to appear committed to combating climate change. But they shift the burden of reducing actual emissions to underdeveloped countries like China and India where their multinational corporations locate their labor-intensive and pollution-intensive operations. They are also seeking to expand carbon trading and carbon offset schemes for this purpose as well as to create more opportunities for financial speculation and profit-taking for finance capitalists.
The G8 summit will take cognizance of the global food crisis only to use this as the rationale for more agri-trade liberalization and a new green revolution that favors multinational agrochemical corporations that monopolize the seeds, plant varieties, fertilizers and other farm inputs. This will lead to further dispossession of peasants, more unsustainable agricultural practices and greater food insecurity.
The plight of the people of Africa will once again be used to demonstrate the humanitarian pretenses of the G8 leaders. They will once again make pledges which they do not fulfill even as these are mere tokens and are meant to facilitate the imperialist expansion of capital. They have not met their pledges of canceling a small part of Africa's debt and providing trifling amounts of aid for realizing the so-called Millennium Development Goals.
They do not even consider canceling the illegitimate debts of underdeveloped countries let alone acknowledge and provide restitution for centuries of imperialist plunder of the colonies and semicolonies in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Indeed, the imperialist states collude to exploit and oppress the African people and at the same time compete for control over Africa's energy reserves, mines, other raw materials and agriculture.
This is the first G8 Summit for the new US President who has beguiled people with the promise of change. Yet Barack Obama clings to the deceptive dogma of neoliberalism and is continuing the War of Terror previously carried out by Bush and the neoconservatives. With Iraqi oil now controlled by Anglo-American oil monopolies, the Obama administration has promised to withdraw US troops from Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009. Yet over a hundred thousand US troops remain on Iraqi soil in strategic military bases aside from over a hundred thousand private military contractors in the payroll of the US Pentagon. In fact, the US is building more military bases in the Iraqi countryside, indicating the US' intention of extending its occupation of Iraq well beyond the 2011 deadline for complete withdrawal.
In Afghanistan and Pakistan, the US is escalating its military campaigns against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, using drones purportedly to target armed militants but in fact massacring the civilian population and forcing their mass displacement. None of these atrocities -- like war crimes by US-Israeli forces against the Palestinian people -- will receive condemnation by the G8 leaders and will even be lauded as acts of counter-terrorism, humanitarian conduct and democratization. Indeed, the G8 promotes aggressive wars and state terrorism. They are stepping up efforts at "terrorism prevention" by resorting to increased surveillance, cyber-intelligence, propaganda, recruitment and training of civilian-military operatives and repression, especially in areas where people's resistance is resurgent.
The G8 summiteers will insist on adding teeth to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty which reserves the privilege of having huge stockpiles of nuclear weapons to the US, Britain, France, Russia and China. They condone the US occupation and nuclearization of South Korea but they raise hell about the Democratic People's Republic of Korea for exercising national sovereignty and self-defense in developing nuclear weapons and missiles. They are also perturbed with the nuclear energy program of Iran. But they are positively pleased with the nuclear weapons of Israel and they are reconciled with those of India and Pakistan.
US intervention is also on the rise in Latin America where US-inspired military adventures have recently targeted governments that are dramatically critical of or opposed to US hegemony. The generals who have ousted and ejected Honduran President Manuel Zelaya were all trained in the US-run School of the Americas (now named WHINSEC) and seem to have followed basically the same script used by the generals who attempted to oust Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in 2002 and the soldiers who kidnapped and ejected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from Haiti in 2004. Nevertheless the US has been forced to distance itself from the coup plotters in Honduras after the entire Organization of American States roundly condemned the coup. Elsewhere in the region, US military intervention masquerades as operations against narcotics producers, traffickers or transnational organized crime syndicates.
The 35th G8 summit will once again be an occasion for the leading imperialist powers to unite behind their common determination to preserve and profit from the world capitalist system at the expense of the proletariat and peoples of the world. But the worsening socioeconomic and political crisis in the world today is sharpening all major contradictions, including those between the imperialist powers and the oppressed peoples and nations, between the working class and the monopoly bourgeoisie, and among the imperialist powers. Inter-imperialist rivalries are intensifying in terms of competition for captive markets, cheap labor, raw materials, fields of investment and spheres of influence.
The crisis of the world capitalism is inflicting intolerable suffering on the broad masses of the people. Social discontent and people's resistance are widespread and deepgoing. Various forms of militant mass struggles have broken out in the industrial capitalist countries and in the underdeveloped countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. The people are fighting back against the escalating levels of exploitation, oppression, discrimination and all forms of social injustice.
The International League of Peoples’ Struggles calls on all its member-organizations and other people's organizations in Italy, in all other member-states of the G-8 and throughout the world to conduct campaigns of information and mass protest actions against the G-8. Our campaigns must be resolute, militant and effective against imperialism and reformism. We encourage the broad masses of the people to further develop the revolutionary forces and mass movements to fight for the national and social liberation of the peoples of the world. #