RN: HELP needed to transform the killer economy


Jan Slakov

Dear RN list,    Feb. 11

Knowing, as we do, that the current world financial system is unfair and
even genocidal, we are faced with deciding what to do about it.

In general, I favour a multi-pronged approach. Simply informing people about
the reality of market forces helps de-legitimize them. But obviously, that
is not enough. 

Making lifestyle choices to personally dissociate ourselves from the killer
economy is also important, but this too is only part of the solution.
(Examples of lifestyle choices: making sure any investments we have,
including pensions, are invested "ethically". Also avoiding the use of
fossile fuels in general, especially when they come from companies which
have terrible records in human rights. "LIVE SIMPLY SO OTHERS MAY SIMPLY LIVE.")

While it is true, as Mark Whitaker points out below, that the legal system
often works against those with less money and power, still, laws have been
and still can be used to protect those who are most in need of protection.
And the legal system can sometimes provide a sort of stage for activists to
get the truth out. Personally, I am going to the UN for a WILPF (Women's
International League for Peace and Freedom) training session on using
international law to work for a better world from March 20 - 27. If people
on this list know of ways Imight use that trip to New York to further our
cause, do let me know, ok?

Now, onto Mark's message:

Date: Sun, 07 Feb 1999 18:20:30 -0600
To: •••@••.•••
From: Mark Douglas Whitaker <•••@••.•••>
Subject: re: RN: using law to stop economic genocide

>Note: Chossudovsky writes:
>"Similarly, in the context of the global financial crisis, (eg. the brutal
>onslaught of currency speculation in Brazil), it is also important to
>challenge the legality of international rules, financial mechanisms and
>other regulations governing the movement of capital, including speculative
>capital. The latter are largely responsible for the collapse of national
>currencies in all major regions of the World with devastating economic and
>social consequences."

        With what power? if activists are unable to get together, much less
existing parties? One has to change systemic power relations (i.e. adding
different economic, cultural, political bases) to make any headway to
balance an unrepresentative system or to move towards sustainability. 

>If some such action was able to commence, I'm sure that other aggrieved
>peoples would join in - eg from SE Asia.  The effect would be profound and
>far-reaching.  Not only would it expose what has been going on, for the
>whole world to see, and enable a fight-back by the people, but also it
>would act as a deterrent in regard to future action of a similar kind.
       The 'world' only wants to say 'sorry' and keep importing cheap
gasoline, raw materials, etc. 

        There is supposedly a team of Unites States lawyers filing such a
suit on behalf of (I forget) Hondurans, or was it Bolivians? Jan, do you
have any information on this? [Sorry, no.] I feel it is a great idea. Keep
in mind that corporations have billions of dollars to waste in deliberations and
stalling, and the news will likely leave such a story alone. Besides, Exxon
still has yet to pay for Valdez, and the money it uses for the case in the
event of it eventially going against them gains interest in a bank account
to the tune of millions each year EARNED for Exxon.
        Laws are rarely recourses to justice unless you have some power.


Mark Whitaker
Laurence Court, who initiated this thread of discussion on how or whether we
might use legal means to transform the killer economy, is concerned that we
on this list go beyond merely calling for action and actually DO something:

Date: Thu, 11 Feb 1999 22:37:14 +0000
To: •••@••.•••
From: Lawrence Court <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Another means of counter-attack

Dear RN,

I have been reading Michel Chossudovsky's highly informative article "The
G7 "Solution" to the Global Financial Crisis - A Marshall Plan for
Creditors and Speculators".

He makes a key statement that" the financing of the bailouts .... will
largely come from the public purse requiring the issuing by G7 governments
of vast amounts of public debt."

This suggests to me another means of counter-attack, of 'financial

I interpret this statement as implying that all citizens/taxpayers in G7
countries will be the ones who ultimately pay.  And of course the money
will end up going, not to help people in the countries under attack, but
rather to the speculators and private institutions.

It occurs to me citizens of the G7 countries could conduct a massive
letter/e-mail campaign directed principally at their central governments
and politicians.  The campaign would be concerned primarily with stopping
the current speculator funding practices.  Politicians are not unresponsive
or insensitive to public demands, especially when their re-election could
be in jeopardy.

Such campaigns could be started on a local activist level and expand
regionally and nationally.  There are also activist groups who already have
extensive experience of mail campaigns and maybe some of them would be more
than  happy to get involved in such an enterprise.

Perhaps RN subscribers could be polled as to their views on such a campaign
and their potential involvement.

It would also be helpful to know what coverage of G7 countries we have in
the subscriber list.


Lawrence Court

Jan's initial comments: Indeed, when I realized that these IMF "bail-outs"
end up using taxpayers' money to pay off the banks and other financial
institutions which made the rotten loans to "Third World" governments, I
decided that merely calling for forgiving debt is maybe not enough. I
contacted the Jubilee 2000 campaign to ask them if they have taken this into
account in their call for debt forgiveness. The man I spoke with assured me
that the idea is to use IMF reserves to forgive the debt and that it would
be the porrest people who would benefit from this plan. (I think that
governments which accepted the debt cancellation would be required to do the
oppoiste of a Structural Adjustment Program or SAP: instead of slashing
social spending, they would have to agree to spend money on health care,
environmental protection, education and so on in order to have their debts

However, when I e-mailed the US Jubilee 2000 campaign to get the same
information in writing, I got no reply.

Laurence, I think there is no need for us to poll RN subscribers on whether
or not they would be interested in a campaign focused on stopping current
speculator funding practices. I think we still need to discuss various options.

Also, since this list has only about 240 people on it, it is unlikely that
we could succeed with a campaign we initiated. What we could do though, is
look at the various efforts we know of to reform the economy and help
bolster those which have a real chance of doing what needs to be done.

At this stage, we need subscribers who have knowledge of campaigns such as
Jubilee 2000, the GERC initiative (Global Economic Reform Campaign), the
Tobin tax idea and other efforts to reform or revolutionize the global
economic system to send us more information on the usefulenss of these
efforts and how we can contribute to them.

In order to get the ball rolling, I will repost an article on the GERC
proposal because it dates from quite a while ago and people are ulikely to
still have it on hand to refer to. 

But let's all of us focus our attention on this problem: Who is working
effectively to transform the killer economy and how can we contribute to
those efforts?

All the best, Jan