Press release

As Dominique Strauss-Kahn takes up his post in Washington...

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, by CADTM

As Dominique Strauss-Kahn takes up his post in Washington, CADTM demands
full acknowledgement of the consequences of IMF operations since its

Today, November 1 2007, Dominique Strauss-Kahn takes up his post as managing
director of the the IMF after a long, skilfully orchestrated process:
nomination by Nicolas Sarkozy in order to further weaken political
opposition in France; swift approval of his nomination by the 27 countries
of the EU so as to silence criticism of the tacit rule that systematically
awards the directorship of the IMF to a European (in exchange for
directorship of the World Bank by an American); a campaign through dozens of
countries driven by a costly communications agency on the theme of the
“reform” of the IMF and its support of poor countries; the surprise
appearance of another candidate (the Czech Josef Tosovsky) who had not the
slightest chance of being selected but who helped create the semblance of a
democratic process; and finally, the selection by unanimous agreement of
Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

CADTM denounces this much-publicized hat trick aimed at concealing the IMF’s
very real legitimacy crisis. The countries of the South no longer want to
call on the IMF because of the inevitable and brutal after-effects they will
have to suffer. Many of these countries (including Brazil, Argentina and
Indonesia) have even paid off their debt to the IMF in advance to rid
themselves of its burdensome protection – to such an extent that the IMF can
no longer cover its operating expenses and sees its very future at risk.
This explains the necessary “reform” which, rather than bring democratic
change that would benefit the poorest, is designed to ensure the IMF’s
survival and counter the strong opposition now being voiced all over the

For CADTM, there is no doubt than an exhaustive audit of the IMF is long
due. As an institution, the IMF has, for over 60 years, been co-ercing the
heads of so-called “developing” countries to implement economic measures
that serve the interests of rich creditors and major corporations. For
several decades, the IMF has given vital support to many despotic and
corrupt regimes, from Pinochet in Chile to Suharto in Indonesia, from Mobutu
in Zaire to Videla in Argentina, and still today from Sassou Nguesso in
Congo-Brazzaville to Idris Deby in Chad, to mention only some. Since the
debt crisis of the early 1980s, the IMF has ruthlessly imposed structural
adjustment programmes with dramatic consequences for the people of the
South: drastic cuts in social spending and subsidies for products of basic
necessity, the opening up of markets and the introduction of unfair
competition between small producers and multinationals, export-oriented
production, forfeiture of the principle of food sovereignty, massive
privatization, taxation that widens the gap between rich and poor, etc.

The time has come for the IMF to be called to account. No institution can
place itself above the authority of international documents and treaties,
and yet the IMF, through its Articles of Agreement, grants itself total
legal immunity. No reform of the IMF can be undertaken without the approval
of the United States, which possesses an absolutely unacceptable power of
veto. Therefore any proposed reform that would modify the international
balance of power will be blocked by those who represent the financial
heavyweights. In the view of CADTM, these factors preclude any possibility
of acceptable change within the IMF.

In this context, there can be only one solution: since the IMF has clearly
demonstrated its failure to deliver in terms of human development, but
cannot be made to account for its actions over the last 60 years, CADTM
demands its abolition and its replacement by a transparent and democratic
institution whose mission will center on the guaranteed respect of
fundamental rights.


Damien Millet, president of CADTM France, france

Eric Toussaint, president of CADTM Belgium, international

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