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Economic Crisis, Climate Crisis, Social Crisis: It’s Time to Change Course!

From 30th November through 2nd December, a WTO ministerial conference will be held in Geneva, a week before the climate summit in Copenhagen. Concerning both trade and the climate, policies that have been pursued in the past have failed catastrophically. Yet our leaders have not questioned them!

The WTO and “free” trade: two big failures

Thirty years of neoliberal globalisation policies and fifteen years of the WTO have done nothing but increase poverty in the South and inequality, unemployment and job instability in the North. In the end, these policies have plunged us into the worst capitalist crisis since 1929. The WTO promises to get us out of it… by beating the same drum: “liberalise” trade. This would benefit no one except transnational capital; it would impose fierce competition that would further accentuate pressure on jobs, working conditions, social security and public services.

Trade versus the environment

Those same policies have also had disastrous consequences on the climate. They have bankrupted millions of small farmers by promoting industrialised agriculture, even though the latter – highly dependent upon fossil fuels – is a major source of greenhouse gases. They have caused disastrous deforestation in the largest rainforests, the planet’s lungs and the habitat of indigenous communities. They have created a globalised production network with high energy-consuming means of transportation, simply in order to exploit labour to the highest degree. Unfortunately, in Copenhagen the players will be the same, and the same interests and false “market solutions” will be on the agenda, though their failure is patently obvious. Twelve years after Kyoto, the CO2 emissions of developed countries have risen to higher levels than ever before.

Tempted by the Titanic?

Neither the socioeconomic crisis nor the environmental crisis will be resolved by the same logic that created them. The current economic system has brought about poverty, inequalities and wars; it has thrust us into the worst crisis since World War II. Today we are confronted with the ever more pressing need to give up on the absurd idea of infinite growth on a finite planet. But our leaders, whether in thrall to the well-to-do or debilitated by tunnel vision, are not looking for a way out. For the sake of our children and grandchildren, the interests of society and the environment must trump blind profit. We can live well – and actually live better – if we do away with the unsustainable waste of a system in which the pursuit of profit forces us to either seek unlimited growth or go bust trying.

Hundreds of representatives of grassroots movements from all over the world will be in Geneva and then in Copenhagen to demand a radical change of direction. Let’s all meet in Geneva and…

Mobilise against the WTO, because building a better world is an urgent issue! Demonstration: Place Neuve, Saturday 28th November, 2p.m.

Other action will be taken during the summit.

Source: http://www.anti-omc2009.org/spip.php?article8