50 years is enough

US network for Global Economic Justice

50 Years Is Enough: U.S. Network for Global Economic Justice is a coalition of over 200 U.S. grassroots, women’s, solidarity, faith-based, policy, social- and economic-justice, youth, labor and development organizations dedicated to the profound transformation of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Network works in solidarity with over 185 international partner organizations in more than 65 countries … (full text about 1/2).

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About 2/2: … We call for the immediate suspension of the policies and practices of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group which have caused widespread poverty, inequality, and suffering among the world’s peoples and damage to the world’s environment.

Substantial responsibility for the unjust world economic system lies with those institutions and the World Trade Organization (WTO). We note that these institutions are anti-democratic, controlled by the G-7 governments, and that their policies have benefited international private sector financiers, transnational corporations, and corrupt officials and politicians.

We further call for the creation of a neutral and credible “Truth Commission,” composed of individuals with a demonstrated commitment to poverty eradication and the health of the world’s ecosystems, to investigate the actions and impacts of the IMF and the World Bank. The Truth Commission’s findings must be respected and acted on by the governments, institutional officials, and civil society organizations concerned with economic development and international financial policies.

We issue this call in the name of global justice, in solidarity with the peoples of the Global South and the former “Soviet bloc” countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia who struggle for survival and dignity in the face of unjust, imperialistic economic policies. We stand in solidarity too with the millions in the countries of the Global North who have borne the burden of “globalization” policies that mirror those imposed on the Global South.

Only when the coercive powers of the international financial institutions are eliminated shall governments be accountable first and foremost to the will of their peoples. Only when a system that allocates power chiefly to the wealthiest nations for the purpose of dictating policies to the weaker and impoverished ones is reversed shall peoples be able to forge bonds — economic and otherwise — based on mutual respect and the common needs of the planet and its inhabitants. Only when integrity is restored to economic development, and both the corrupter and the corrupted held accountable, shall the people begin to have confidence in the decisions that have impacts on their livelihoods and their communities. Only when the well-being of all, including the most vulnerable peoples and ecosystems, is given priority over corporate profits can we achieve genuine sustainable development and create a world of justice, equality, peace, and ecological values, where fundamental human rights, including internationally-recognized social, cultural, environmental, and economic rights, are respected.

With these ends in mind, we make the following demands of the management, executive directors, and Governors of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund:

1. DEBT CANCELLATION: We demand that the IMF and World Bank cancel 100% of all claimed debts without imposing any form of external conditionalities. We concur with the position of Jubilee South that holds these debts to be illegitimate. Any funds required for this purpose should come from positive net capital and assets held by those institutions. Should other institutions, such as the African Development Bank, require assistance to write off the debts owed them, we call on the World Bank and IMF to make such funds available. We believe that civil society in the indebted countries should take the lead in determining how savings realized through cancellation are utilized.

2. END STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT: We demand that the IMF and World Bank immediately cease imposing the economic austerity measures known as structural adjustment and/or any other macroeconomic “reform” as conditions of loans, credits, or debt relief. This requires both the suspension of those conditions in existing programs and an abandonment of “poverty reduction strategy papers” (PRSPs) and any version of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, which conditions debt relief on policy reforms.

3. TRANSPARENCY: We demand that the IMF and World Bank Group make all board meetings public and all documents in its possession freely available to the public (with exceptions to protect confidentiality to be decided on by a neutral body). This includes all project and program agreements, board meeting minutes, evaluations of program failures and successes, etc. All documents must be made available in the local languages of project- and policy- affected peoples.

4. REPARATIONS FOR STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT: We demand that the IMF and World Bank accept responsibility for the disastrous impact of structural adjustment policies, as determined by a neutral and credible Truth Commission, by paying reparations to the peoples and communities who have borne the consequences. These funds should come from the institutions’ positive net capital and assets, and should be distributed through democratically-determined mechanisms.

5. REPARATIONS FOR SOCIAL AND ECOLOGICAL DEVASTATION: We demand that the World Bank Group pay reparations to peoples relocated and otherwise harmed by its large projects (such as dams) and compensate governments for loan repayments made on projects which World Bank evaluations rank as economic failures. A further evaluation by a neutral and credible Truth Commission should determine which World Bank projects have failed on economic, social, cultural, and environmental grounds, and see that appropriate compensation is made. The funds for these payments should come from the institutions’ positive net capital and assets, and should be distributed through democratically-determined mechanisms.

6. STOP AID TO PRIVATE SECTOR: (a) We demand that the World Bank Group immediately cease providing advice and resources to advance the goals associated with corporate globalization, such as privatization and liberalization; (b) We demand that the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guaranty Agency (MIGA) be closed, and that private-sector investments currently held by these World Bank agencies be liquidated to provide funds for the reparations demanded above.

7. ACCOUNTABILITY FOR CORRUPTION: We demand that the agencies and individuals within the World Bank Group and IMF complicit in abetting corruption, as well as their accomplices in borrowing countries and in private banks, be prosecuted, with full cooperation from the institutions, and that those responsible, including the institutions, recover and return stolen wealth and provide compensation for unrecoverable stolen resources. We call for a neutral and credible Truth Commission to assess the culpability of the various parties to corruption and stolen wealth.

8. ASSESSMENT OF INSTITUTIONS’ FUTURE: We demand that the future existence, structure, and policies of multilateral institutions such as the World Bank Group and the IMF be submitted to a re-evaluation conducted through a democratic, participatory and transparent process, building on the findings of a neutral and credible Truth Commission. The process must accord full participation to the peoples most affected by the policies and practices of the institutions, and include a significant and influential role for all parts of civil society, including farmers’ associations, trade unions, women’s organizations, non-governmental organizations, faith-based groups, and student/youth organizations.

The accession to these demands would require the institutions’ directors to accept and act on the need for fundamental transformation. It is possible that the elimination of these institutions will be required for the realization of global economic and political justice.

We commit to work towards the defunding of the IMF and World Bank by opposing further government allocations to them (in the form of either direct contributions or the designation of collateral) and supporting campaigns such as a boycott of World Bank bonds until these demands have been met.

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