Beijing, 15 October 2008
Taking advantage of the opportunity of so many people from movements gathering in Beijing during the Asia-Europe People’s Forum, the Transnational Institute and Focus on the Global South convened informal nightly meetings between 13 and 15 October 2008. We took stock of the meaning of the unfolding global economic crisis and the opportunity it presents for us to put into the public domain some of the inspiring and feasible alternatives many of us have been working on for decades. This statement represents the collective outcome of our Beijing nights. We, the initial signatories, mean this to be a contribution towards efforts to formulate proposals around which our movements can organise as the basis for a radically different kind of political and economic order. Please sign on to this statement at http://www.casinocrash.org.
The global financial system is unravelling at great speed. This is happening in the midst of a multiplicity of crises in relation to food, climate and energy. It severely weakens the power of the US and the EU, and the global institutions they dominate, particularly the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation. Not only is the legitimacy of the neo-liberal paradigm in question, but the very future of capitalism itself.
Such is the chaos in the global financial system that Northern governments have resorted to measures progressive movements have advocated for years, such as nationalisation of banks. These moves are intended, however, as short-term stabilisation measures and once the storm clears, they are likely to return the banks to the private sector. We have a short window of opportunity to mobilise so that they are not.
The challenge and the opportunity
We are entering uncharted terrain with this conjuncture of profound crises – the fall out from the financial crisis will be severe. People are being thrown into a deep sense of insecurity; misery and hardship will increase for many poorer people everywhere. We should not cede this moment to fascist, right wing populist, xenophobic groups, who will surely try to take advantage of people’s fear and anger for reactionary ends.
Powerful movements against neo-liberalism have been built over many decades. This will grow as critical coverage of the crisis enlightens more people, who are already angry at public funds being diverted to pay for problems they are not responsible for creating, and already concerned about the ecological crisis and rising prices – especially of food and energy. The movements will grow further as recession starts to bite and economies start sinking into depression.
There is a new openness to alternatives. To capture people’s attention and support, they must be practical and immediately feasible. We have convincing alternatives that are already underway, and we have many other good ideas attempted in the past, but defeated. Our alternatives put the well-being of people and the planet at their centre. For this, democratic control over financial and economic institutions are required. This is the “red thread” connecting up the proposals presented below.
Proposals for debate, elaboration and action
• Introduce full-scale socialisation of banks, not just nationalisation of bad assets.
• Create people-based banking institutions and strengthen existing popular forms of lending based on mutuality and solidarity.
• Institutionalise full transparency within the financial system through the opening of the books to the public, to be facilitated by citizen and worker organisations.
• Introduce parliamentary and citizens’ oversight of the existing banking system.
• Apply social ( including conditions of labour) and environmental criteria to all lending, including for business purposes.
• Prioritise lending, at minimum rates of interest, to meet social and environmental needs and to expand the already growing social economy.
• Overhaul central banks in line with democratically determined social, environmental and expansionary (to counter the recession) objectives, and make them publicly accountable institutions.
• Safeguard migrant remittances to their families and introduce legislation to restrict charges and taxes on transfers
• Close all tax havens.
• End tax breaks for fossil fuel and nuclear energy companies.
• Apply stringent progressive tax systems.
• Introduce a global taxation system to prevent transfer pricing and tax evasion.
• Introduce a levy on nationalised bank profits with which to establish citizen investment funds (see below).
• Impose stringent progressive carbon taxes on those with the biggest carbon footprints.
• Adopt controls, such as Tobin taxes, on the movements of speculative capital.
• Re-introduce tariffs and duties on imports of luxury goods and other goods already produced locally as a means of increasing the state’s fiscal base, as well as a means to support local production and thereby reduce carbon emissions globally.
Public Spending and Investment
• Radically reduce military spending.
• Redirect government spending from bailing out bankers to guaranteeing basic incomes and social security, and providing universally accessible basic social services such as housing, water, electricity, health, education, child care, and access to the internet and other public communications facilities.
• Use citizen funds (see above) to support very poor communities.
• Ensure that people at risk of losing their homes due to defaults on mortgages caused by the crisis are offered renegotiated terms of payment.
• Stop privatisations of public services.
• Establish public enterprises under the control of parliaments, local communities and/or workers to increase employment.
• Improve the performance of public enterprises through democratizing management - encourage public service managers, staff, unions and consumer organisations to collaborate to this end.
• Introduce participatory budgeting over public finances at all feasible levels.
• Invest massively in improved energy efficiency, low carbon emitting public transport, renewable energy and environmental repair.
• Control or subsidise the prices of basic commodities.
International Trade and Finance
• Introduce a permanent global ban on short-selling of stock and shares.
• Ban on trade in derivatives.
• Ban all speculation on staple food commodities.
• Cancel the debt of all developing countries – debt is mounting as the crisis causes the value of Southern currencies to fall.
• Support the United Nations call to be involved in discussions about how the to resolve the crisis, which is going to have a much bigger impact on Southern economies than is currently being acknowledged.
• Phase out the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Trade Organisation.
• Phase out the US dollar as the international reserve currency.
• Establish a people’s inquiry into the mechanisms necessary for a just international monetary system.
• Ensure aid transfers do not fall as a result of the crisis.
• Abolish tied aid.
• Abolish neo-liberal aid conditionalities.
• Phase out the paradigm of export-led development, and refocus sustainable development on production for the local and regional market.
• Introduce incentives for products produced for sale closest to the local market.
• Cancel all negotiations for bilateral free trade and economic partnership agreements.
• Promote regional economic co-operation arrangements, such as UNASUR, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), the Trade Treaty of the Peoples and others, that encourage genuine development and an end to poverty.
• Introduce a global system of compensation for countries which do not exploit fossil fuel reserves in the global interests of limiting effects on the climate, such as Ecuador has proposed.
• Pay reparations to Southern countries for the ecological destruction wrought by the North to assist peoples of the South to deal with climate change and other environmental crises.
• Strictly implement the “precautionary principle” of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development as a condition for all developmental and environmental projects.
• End lending for projects under the Kyoto Protocol’s “Clean Development Mechanism” that are environmentally destructive, such as monoculture plantations of eucalyptus, soya and palm oil.
• Stop the development of carbon trading and other environmentally counter-productive techno-fixes, such as carbon capture and sequestration, agrofuels, nuclear power and ‘clean coal’ technology.
• Adopt strategies to radically reduce consumption in the rich countries, while promoting sustainable development in poorer countries.
• Introduce democratic management of all international funding mechanisms for climate change mitigation, with strong participation from Southern countries and civil society.
Agriculture and Industry
• Phase out the pernicious paradigm of industry-led development, where the rural sector is squeezed to provide the resources necessary to support industrialisation and urbanisation.
• Promote agricultural strategies aimed at achieving food security, food sovereignty and sustainable farming.
• Promote land reforms and other measures which support small holder agriculture and sustain peasant and indigenous communities.
• Stop the spread of socially and environmentally destructive mono-cultural enterprises.
• Stop labour law reforms aimed at extending hours of work and making it easier for employers to fire or retrench workers.
• Secure jobs through outlawing precarious low paid work.
• Guarantee equal pay for equal work for women – as a basic principle and to help counter the coming recession by increasing workers’ capacity to consume.
• Protect the rights of migrant workers in the event of job losses, ensuring their safe return to and reintegration into their home countries. For those who cannot return, there should be no forced return, their security should be guaranteed, and they should be provided with employment or a basic minimum income.
These are all practical, common sense proposals. Some are initiatives already underway and demonstrably feasible. Their successes need to be publicised and popularised so as to inspire reproduction. Others are unlikely to be implemented on their objective merits alone. Political will is required. By implication, therefore, every proposal is a call to action.
We have written what we see as a living document to be developed and enriched by us all. Please sign on to this statement at http://www.casinocrash.org.
A future occasion to come together to work on the actions needed to make these ideas and others a reality will be the World Social Forum in Belem, Brazil at the end of January 2009.
We have the experience and the ideas - let’s meet the challenge of the present ruling disorder and keep the momentum towards an alternative rolling!!
Transnational Institute, Netherlands
Focus on the Global South
Red Pepper magazine, United Kingdom
Institute for Global Research and Social Movements, Russia
Ecologistas en Acción, Spain
JS - Asia/Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (JS APMDD), Asia
RESPECT Network Europe, Europe
Commission for Filipino Migrant Workers (CFMW), Netherlands
The Movement for a Just World, Malaysia
Nord-Sud XXI, Switzerland
Europe solidaire sans frontières (ESSF), France
Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), Inadi
Movimiento Madre Tierra, Honduras
Asian Bridge, South Korea/ Philippines
Center for Encounter and Active Non-Violence, Austria
The Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL)
Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER), Pakistan
Pambansang Katipunan ng Makabayang Magbubukid-PKMM (National Federation of Patriotic Peasant), Phillipines
Proresibong Alyansa ng mga Mangingisda-PANGISDA (Progresive Alliance of Fisher), Philippines
Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KPD), Philippines
Fisherfolk Movement Philippines
Democratic Socialist Perspective, Australia
Resistance & Alternative, Mauritius
Observatori del Deute en la Globalització, Spain
African Journalists on Trade and Development
Centre for Education and Communication (CEC), India
ESK-Basque Land, Basque Country
Common Frontiers, Canada
Finnish Asiatic Society, Finland
Red Constantino, Philippines
Intercultural Resources, India
Women’s March Against Poverty and Globalization (WELGA)
FDC Women’s Committee
Bharatiya Krishak Samaj (Indian farmers organization)
Peace for All International Development Organization, Canada/Uganda
Foundation for Media Alternatives, Philippines
The Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement , Philippines
The Freedom from Debt Coalition-Iloilo, Philippines
Jubilee Eastern Cape, South Africa
SdL intercategoriale, Italy
Foro Ciudadano de Participación por la Justicia y los Derechos Humanos, Argentina
APRODEH (Asociacion Pro Derechos Humanos), Peru
Attac Spain, Spain
HealthWrights, Workgroup for People’s Health and Rights, US
Ander Europa, Netherlands
Enlightening Indonesia, Indonesia
AITEC (Association Internationale de Techniciens, Experts et Chercheurs), France
Red Venezolana Contra la Deuda/CADTM Venezuela
Movimiento Unido Socialista Haitiano por el ALBA (MOUSHA), Venezuela
IPIAT (Instituto para la Investigación de la Agricultura Tropical), Venezuela
ECOPEACE Party South Africa
Jubilee Kansai Network, Japan
Ecuador Decide, Ecuador
Transnationals Information Exchange (TIE) – Netherlands
Popular Education for Peoples’ Empowerment, Philipines
International Gender and Trade Network, Brazil
Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt (CADTM), Begium
Friends of the Earth Finland
European Left Party Network, UK
Center for the Study of Democratic Societies, USA
European Social Forum Activists News Agency.
Cymru Europa Press (Social Forum Cymru/Wales), UK
Sudptt (SOLIDAIRES), France
Attac 44 France
International Debt Observatory, Belgium
Ligue communiste révolutionnaire (LCR), France
Anti Debt Coalition (KAU), Indonesia
Africa Europe Faith and Justice Network
The Corner House, UK
Climate and Capitalism (Canada)
Centro Studi Monetari, Italy
The Network Institute for Global Democratisation (NIGD) , Finland
Justice and Peace Commision, Mexico
Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB), US
Grasroots Policy Project, US
Habitat Net, Germany
Metta Center for Nonviolent Education, US
Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC/Friends of the Earth), Philippines
Foundation for Gaia, UK
Alianza Social Continental, Americas
Red Colombiana de Acción Frente al Libre Comercio-RECALCA, Colombia
World Development Movement, UK
Confederación Latinoamericana de Cooperativas y Mutuales de Trabajadores - COLACOT
Fundacion Solon, Bolivia
War on Want, UK
Habitat International Coalition
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council
NEUE, Another Society is Possible
Berne Declaration, Switzerland
Fiona Dove, South Africa
Walden Bello, Philippines/Thailand
Hilary Wainwright, United Kingdom
Boris Kagarlitsky, Russia
Achin Vanaik, India
Dot Keet, South Africa
Brid Brennan, Ireland
Pietje Vervest, Netherlands
Cecilia Olivet, Uruguay
Ramon Fernandez Duran, Spain
Tom Kucharz, Spain
Pierre Rousset, France
Rodney Bickerstaffe, United Kingdom
Von Francis C Mesina, Philippines
Al D. Senturias, Jr., Philippines
Sammy Gamboa, Philippines
Fe Jusay, Philippines
Nonoi Hacbang, Philippines
Lidy Nacpil, Philippines
Seema Mustafa, India
Kenneth Haar, Denmark
Wolfram Schaffar, Germany
Christa Wichterich, Germany
Isabelle Duquesne, France
Adhemar Mineiro, Brasil
Benny Kuruvilla, India
Aehwa Kim, South Korea
Manjette Lopez, Philippines
Bonn Juego, Philippines
Rasti Delizo, Philippines
James Miraflor, Philippines
Miquel Ortega Cerda, Spain
David Llistar, Spain
Alpo Ratia, Finland
Mira Kakonen, Finland
Hilary Chiew, Malasya
Celeste Fong, Malasya
Tatcee Macabuag, Philippines
Teodoro M. de Mesa, Philippines
Uwe Hoering, Germany
Asad Rehman, UK
Andy Rutherford, UK
Debbie Valencia, Greece
Petra Snelders, Netherlands
Etta P. Rosales, Philippines
Pete Pinlac, Philippines
Ute Hausrnann, Germany
Alain Baron, France
Hanneke van Eldik Thieme, Netherlands
Dorothy Guerrero, Philippines
Ric Reyes, Philippines
Herbert Docena, Philippines
Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, Malaysia
Ahmad Soueissi, Switzerland
Elias Davidsson, Germany
Juan Almendares, Honduras
Hyowoo Na, South Korea
Sung-Hee Choi, Korea
Marko Ulvila, Finland
Matthias Reichl, Austria
Orsan Senalp, Turkey/The Netherlans
Tamra Gilbertson, Unites States
Prof. Kamal Mitra Chenoy, India
Prof Anuradha Chenoy, India
Gilbert Achcar, UK
Richel “Ching” M. Borres, Philippines
Helen Mendoza, Philippines
Sukla Sen, India
Olli-Pekka Haavisto, Finland
Amira Armenta, Colombia
William K. Carroll, United States
Gigi Francisco, Philippines
Sylvia Estrada Claudio, Philippines
Pablo Rosales, Philippines
Alice Raymundo, Philippines
Maris dela Cruz, Philippines
Terry Townsend, Australia
Ashok Subron, Mauritius
Ko Ko Thett
Einar Ólafsson, Iceland
Anjani Abella, Philippines
Gianni Alioti, Italy
Dr Michael Williams
Peter Lavina, Philippines
Gina Cantano-Dela Cruz, Philippines
Cecilia Jimenez, Philippines/Switzerland
Thierry De Coster
Sushovan Dhar, India
Krishan Bir Chaudhary, India
Bruno Ciccaglione, Italy/Austria
Haydi Zulfei , Asia
Adam Davidson-Harden, Canada
Al Alegre, Philippines
Elâabadila Chbihna, Morocco
John A. Fitzpatrick
Ted Aldwin Ong, Philippines
Romero P. Gerochi, Philippines
C.P. Vinod, India
Berend Schuitema, South Africa
Francesco Martone, Italy
Asbjørn Wahl, Norway
Teodolita S. Lopez-Suano, Philippines
Hans Schäppi, Switzerland
Anna Camposampiero, Italy
Lorenzo Pellegrini, Italy/Netherlands
Rashmi Shetty, India
Wahyu Susilo, Malaysia
Fabrizio Tomaselli, Italy
Rayhan Rashid, Bangladesh
Saskia Poldervaart, Netherlands
Pierluigi Tedeschi, Italy
Gladys Baldew, Netherlands
Francisco Soberon, Peru
Erik Eriksson, Sweden
Luigia Pasi - Italy
Maximo Kinast Aviles
Paul R. Woods
Antonio Carlos Diegues, Brazil
Luis David Saraiva Grivol, Brazil
Nick Dearden, UK
David Werner, US
Håkan Danielsson, Sweden
Wouter F.A.Snip, Netherlands
Valdimar Jóhannsson, Iceland
Vida Viktor, Hungary
Edgardo Lander, Venezuela
Yvon Thea Young-Ang, Philippines
Khristine Alvarez, Philippines
Hayri Kozanoglu, Turkey
Manfred Schiess, Germany
Antonio Gomez Movellan, Spain
Enrique Baigorri Remirez, Spain
Gunilla Andersson, Sweden
Matyas Benyik, Hungary
Kathia Ridore, France
Willem Bos, Netherlands
Irendra Radjawali, Indonesia
Jean Batou, Switzerland
Hector de la Cueva, Mexico
Maurizio Casetta, Italy
Adriana Nicoleta Filip, Italy
Kathia Ridore, France
Susana Barria, Suiza
Julia de Souza, Brazil
Paulino Núñez, Venezuela
Borsos Dóra, Hungary
Fco. Javier Benítez Morales, Spain
Diego Luís Castellanos
Daniel Kollmer, Netherlanda
Daniel Chavez, Uruguay
Jayatilleke de Silva, Sri Lanka
Carolina Parada, Sweden
Filippo Incorvaia, Italy
Lilia Claudia Jaramillo-Guerra, Austria
Bram Büscher, The Netherlands
Ikrame Moucharik, Morocco
Oscar Revilla Alguacil, Spain
Adriano Garassino, Italy
Brissaud Jean-Bernard, Morocco
Franny Parren, The Netherlands
Lisa Clark, Italy
Donatella Biancardi, Italy
Davide Buoncristiani, Italy
Martin Pigeon, Brussels, Belgium
Jo Versteijnen, Netherands
Eric Toussaint, Belgium
Daniel Gomez, Netherlands/Argentina
Panos Vlachakis, Greece
Natalia Sansón Moreno, Spain
Moustakbal Jawad , Morocco
Dr. Magdolna Csath, Hungary
Piero Stella, Italy
Tamara Pearson, Venezuela
Mark Barrett, USA
Kenneth Haar, Denmark
Fred Moseley, USA
Bo Jansson, Sweden
Ingegerd Jansson / Sweden
Charles Quist-Adade, Canada
Marko Ulvila, Finland
Andrew Stevens, UK
Edlira Xhafa, Albania
Robley E. George, USA
Cristina Civale, Argentin
Sebastian Job .
Al Campbell, USA
Mirjana Joksimovic Bohlin, Serbia
Johannes Lauterbach, Germany
Carol Bergin, Germany
Alain Mouetaux, France
Gábor Vinnai, Hungary
Jorge Marchini, Argentina
Johannes Dragsbaek Schmidt, Denmark
Etienne Funck, France
Urantsooj Gombosuren, Mongolia
Jaume Francesch Subirana
Djilali Benamrane, France
Eric Goujot, France
Brigitte Queck, Germany
Bastiaan van Apeldoorn, Netherlands
Robert Jasmin, France
Jang, Seok-Joon, South Korea
Gabor Vida, Hungary
Emanuela Donat-Cattin - Italy
Brian McDonough, Canada
Henry van Maasakker, The Netherlands
Marc Torres Ciuró
Sean Thompson, UK
Jaume Francesch i Subirana
Elvis Mori, Peru
Míriam Grande Vallugera
Matteo Messori, Italy
Roberto Cortese, Italy
Lorenzo Palumb, Italy
Ján Lenc, Slovakia
Greg Gerritt, US
Peter Gelauff, Netherlands
Ulla Lötzer, Member of Parliament, DIE LINKE, Germany
Joana Ricart Sala, Barcelona
Concha Martinez, Spain
Boykin Reynolds, Germany
Jose Luis Aguilar, Mexico
Alessandra Galie’, Italy
Dr. Greg Kleis, New Zeeland
Marie-Claire Picher, US
Klaus Starke, Germany
Renau Marty, France
Jerise Fogel, Germany
Knut Unger, Germany
Kathy Clark, US
M. Channa Basavaiah, India
Linda Provenza, US
Philippe Mühlstein, France
Stefano Puddu Crespellani, US
Chris Brandt, US
Johanna Voß, Germany
Jesús Ortega Rodríguez,Mexico
Klaus Bosselmann, US
Barry K Gills, UK
Boyd Reimer, Canada
Germán Guillot, Germany
Pablo Guerra, Uruguay
Guillermo Díaz Muñoz, Mexico
Margaret Willig Crane, US
José Antonio Durand, Mexico
Chamnan Yana, Thailand
Debra Evelyn Armet
Mertens Jean-Pierre, Belgium
Jiten Yumnam, India
Isabelle Perron, Canada
Michael Büsgen, China
Josep Just, Spain
Elizabeth Peredo, Bolivia
Ben Leeman, Australia
Yu Xiaogang, China
Mechthild von Walter, Germany
Dipac Jaiantilal, Ph.D, Mozambique
Mike Nagler, Germany
Marie-Dominique Vernhes, Germany
Brigitte Holzner, Germany
Costa Constantinides, Cyprus
Jure Lesjak, Slovenia
Neil Osborne, Canada
Bridin Ashe, Ireland
Martin Zeis, Germany
Ximena de la Barra, Chile
Hamid Hashtroudian, Germany
Guido Dalla Casa, Italy
Hubert Pichler, Germany
Lucia Goldfarb, Argentina
Geoffrey Payne, UK
Kiersty Caesar, UK
Josep Just, España
AngelL F. Furlan
Ma. Teresa Moreno
Tim Mavrič, Slovenia
Josnar Dionzon, Philippines
Martin Rožej, Slovenia
dr. alfred daniels, Germany
Rainer Grauer, Germany
Tomaž Štumpfl, Slovenia
MR Iwuoha Chima Iwuo, Nigeria
Tomaž Flajs, Slovenia
Alan L. Maki
B. L. Wagner
Mohammed Zulfekhar Ahmed
Dhinendra Lohmor, UK / India
Christine Pagnoulle, Belgium
Titia Roesems, Belgium