Crossposted from Axis of Logic
The world has developed into a distorted form of money market where speculation, lack of regulation of transfer of capital, accumulation of the wealth of the wealthy and letting the poor fall by the wayside has become the rule of the day. For decades nobody seemed to notice or care.
As long as the financial markets were on the rise, the poor and the starving in the third world, but also in the industrialized countries, were invisible to the Big Corporations that run the world. The speculators were thriving, Wall Street was booming and all was well with the world.
In 1998, Le Monde Diplomatique wrote an editorial denouncing neoliberalism and appealing to the world to pay attention and act against the outrageous trend in the financial world of catering to the wealthy while ignoring the masses.
Living standards have been going down steadily, even in the rich countries, since neoliberalism became the rule of the day. The so-called 'free market' was advertised as a way to save the world from hunger but all it has been doing is to further starve the poor people in the Third World and then, more recently, increase the financial and social insecurity of the poor and the middle class in the rich countries.
The money exists. It's not at all that the rich countries are becoming increasingly poor, only that the money is going from the workers to the financial elites and that the trickle-down theory was a smoke and mirrors screen all along. The free marketeers, the Milton Friedman gang of Chicago boys, knew perfectly well what they were doing. They were trying to create a world that was blind to poverty in the sole interest of the super rich. They overthrew Hugo Allende in Chile in 1973 for the profit of the gangsters supported by the U.S. It worked at first, with the heavy support of Washington, a lot longer than the attempted coup against Hugo Chavez in April, 2002, which lasted two days. But there is no way you can make a gangster rule last forever. Sooner or sometimes later, the will and the needs of the people make themselves heard and felt and the lunacy is put to rest with the lunatics.
Le Monde Diplomatique felt that the time was ripe for a radical change in the way the world was being misruled. Even from a strictly financial viewpoint, it is madness to act as if the poor people of the world can be left to quietly starve and the financial masters and speculators be allowed to thrive on the murder of the masses. Dancing on the dead bodies of their victims so to speak. It is, after all, the workers who make the world go round and not the speculators who produce nothing.
The association Attac was founded soon after the editorial appeared in Le Monde Diplomatique. Its principal goals were to put an end to money speculation by installing the Tobin* tax on capital transfers and to actively resist the spread of neoliberalism around the world. As the referendum on the Treaty for a European Constitution (TEC) approached in May 2005, Attac started a very active campaign against the neoliberal agenda that the EU advocated. We, the members of Attac, distributed leaflets and posters at open-air markets, in supermarkets, in mailboxes, from person to person and agitated in big meetings for the 'NON' to the TEC. We won, but have since then been double-crossed by our new and very neoliberal-friendly president, Nicolas Sarkozy, who has managed to make parliament refuse another referendum to the new treaty, which was signed in Lisbon in December, 2007.
"It establishes a legally new European Union in the constitutional form of a supranational European State." says Professor Anthony Coughlan in The Brussels Journal - "These Boots Are Gonna Walk All Over You"
In fact, the new treaty does not differ in any important aspect from the treaty of 2005. The big difference is that, this time around, only the people of Ireland will have the right to a referendum. The politicians bought up by the corporations will decide for the rest of us. The total lack of democracy of this new treaty is as flagrant as in the original TEC.
*James Tobin (1918 – 2002), an American economist who saw his brainchild of taxing financial transactions 'misused' by associations like Attac and who declared that his intention was not anti-capitalist, but only a means of slowing down the rate of capital transfer.
The message of Attac is very succinctly and beautifully set down in a brochure that was sent out very recently. (translated from French by Siv O'Neall)
ATTAC – "ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE"
IN 2008 THERE IS NO REASON TO HESITATE
The financial crisis is not an accident, it is the logical result of a gigantic casino which plays roulette with the future of the world for ever-increasing profits. This proves that taxation of financial transactions is essential. 1 | 2
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