Monday, September 21, 2009

G20 Summit: Putting Profits and Monopolists Above the People: IMA

Press Statement
of the International Migrants Alliance on the G20** Meeting
September 20, 2009

If the G20 will have their way, there is no hope that the people can cope with the current depression gripping the world. Worse, there can never be a future where social justice prospers and where the dignity of all workers – including (especially) migrant workers – is upheld. Saving the neoliberal globalization still is the major agenda of member countries of the powerful G20. The group is a champion of the very same policy that has put the world in the worst financial crunch in recent history.

People around the world are reeling from the impacts of the financial crisis that stemmed from the crisis of overproduction inherent in the monopoly-ruled global economy. Though the G-20 projects its meeting in the United States as one that will find ways to get the world out of the economic rut it is now in, it is without doubt that the priority of the G-20 will be on how to save the big monopolists and banks that have been the ones cornering profit and production at the expense of human lives. Meanwhile, the people of the world are left with a worsening social, economic and political condition.

Millions of people have lost their jobs or have been made insecure and temporary in their employment. Agriculture, a pillar for our livelihood and right to food, has also suffered with the worst impact to landless peasants already living under severe feudal and semi-feudal exploitation. The number of people going hungry has reached over one billion. Even so-called middle class is rapidly finding it hard to cope with the rising prices of goods. Access to education, health and public services has become even narrower than before with compelled privatization of these services. States continually slash budgets for services while giving unprecedented leeway and perk to businesses especially the monopoly-capitalists.

The people’s discontent is on the rise. To curb any form of dissent, policies have been enacted that curtail the civil and political rights of the people such as the right to protest and assemble, the right to unionize and even the right to free expression. Migrant workers around the world are some of the first to feel the brunt of the global crisis. Even before the crisis, migrants have already been made vulnerable to exploitation by the various laws set by host countries to limit their rights. Now with the crisis, hundreds of thousands are laid off from their jobs and summarily deported back to their home countries. After years of benefiting from migrant labor, businesses and labor-importing states now have no hesitation in letting go of migrant laborers.

Undocumented migrants are also hard hit by the economic slump. Border control of host countries are made even tighter and thousands of undocumented are regularly rounded up and are arrested, detained and eventually deported. They are treated as no more than criminals despite the fact their economies have benefited much from their cheap labor. The EU Return Directive is exemplary of the draconian methods used by states to violate the basic social and democratic rights of migrants.

The million-strong protest action of immigrants and undocumented workers in US in 2006 showcased the dire condition of undocumented migrants that is expected to get even worse in the near future. Xenophobia and racism is also fanned to shift public opinion in favor of mass termination of migrant workers and the crafting of labor policies that are detrimental to the rights of migrants. As what happens every time economic crisis sets in, migrant workers are made scapegoats for the rising unemployment among local workers that causes a divide among the working class – migrants and locals – in many countries.

In labour-exporting countries, migration has become the main industry that sustains their economies. Migrant remittances and income from government charges have been the steady sources of dollars and funds for these countries. On top of the economic gains, labor export has also helped in stopping the social volcano that is always on the brink of exploding in crisis-ridden countries that export workers.

Currently, even migration is being integrated in the framework of neoliberal globalization. Through the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) that is in the grip of powerful countries – considering that it is a product of the OECD – migrant workers are transformed into commodities and migration is molded to produce the biggest profits for host countries, sending countries and monopoly-capitalist banks.

Remittance is the main concern of the GFMD. The billions of dollars that migrant workers remit is an irresistible well of funds sorely needed by monopolists in their relentless drive for capital accumulation. Though the GFMD coats itself with motherhood statements on the rights of migrants, its major concern is still unmasked by its very own aim of “making migration work for development” – it is using remittances and other income from migration for the kind of development that is actually not for the grassroots.

IMA stands with the migrants and all the toiling people of the world in further exposing and opposing neoliberal globalization and those that push for it like the G20. We call for jobs in our homeland, we call for equality and livelihoods for social justice for the oppressed and exploited. Such will not be had with the G20. Such can only be achieved through struggle and people’s international solidarity.

Jobs in our Homeland!
Livelihoods for Social and Democratic Justice!

Reference: Teresa Gutierrez, IMA Deputy Secretary General, May 1st Coalition Co-Coordinator

** What is the G 20? -- On September 24-25, 2009 the city of Pittsburgh will host the next summit of the G20, a group of finance ministers and central bank governors from the world’s largest economies who meet twice yearly to discuss and coordinate the international financial system. Around 1,500 delegates, including heads of state, will be attending along with more than 2,000 members of the media, and thousands of police and security agents tasked with squelching dissent.

This summit, and the predecessor meetings in April 2009 in London, occurs on the heels of the worldwide financial meltdown that has been severely impacting hundreds of millions around the world. Since its inception, the G20 has been a tool used to promote a world vision based on the ability of capital to move as it pleases, at the expense of labour, human rights and the environment.

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