Peasant struggles against Neo-Liberalism to realize a ‘WORLD BEYOND THE BANKS’

The IMF-World Bank Annual Meeting is slated to take place in Bali, Indonesia from 8-14 October 2018. La Via Campesina calls upon its members and allies to mobilize in large numbers.

05 September, Harare: La Via Campesina calls upon its members, allied social movements and civil society organizations in the world to gather and move to jointly build actions against the policies of International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB), which is going to organize their “Annual Meetings IMF-WB 2018”, in Bali-Indonesia on 8-14 October 2018.

These institutions were created in 1944, with a proclaimed goal to reduce poverty. However, they have mainly served the interests of their main contributors and imposed neo-liberal agenda comprising market fundamentalism, privatization and deregulation around the world.

The loans they provide are given under strict conditions to open-up the markets and dismantle all kinds of national policies. In doing so, they have acted as global economic colonizers. Instead of alleviating poverty, as they promised in their programs, they marginalize and evict farmers from their farm land. Moreover, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are undemocratic institutions and utterly discredited, where ‘one-dollar-one-vote-decision-making’ marginalizes Southern countries.

The IMF and its safeguard policy rests on liberalization, privatization and deregulation which results in the degradation of State sovereignty, such that the State cannot play its role in implementing economic justice and welfare for its people.

Vital sectors that control the lives of many people are left to the private sector, so that the mechanism or timing of debt repayments can run smoothly. As a result, the welfare of peasants is neglected and becomes the main cause of poverty.

This impact can be clearly seen in an instance, when the signing of the Letter of Intent (LoI) between the Government of Indonesia and the IMF in 1997, led to the weakening of the BULOG (National Public Stock Holding), due to which Indonesia started to import food in large scale, especially rice.

This policy then is coherent with Agreement on Agriculture of WTO, which is also about market liberalization and public stock holding. Therefore IMF and WTO as well as Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are all inter-connected with each other in terms of advancing neo-liberalism.

IMF continues to promote market liberalization and privatization through other international forums in developing countries, even though there are no countries now that can claim to be unaffected by by the IMF .That’s why people mobilized in large numbers against the IMF during the G20 meeting in Argentina July 2018, soon after Government of Argentina received new debt from IMF. As is widely know,Greece is also a ‘victim’ of IMF now.

World Bank(WB), as a world development funding institution, implements various models of mega infrastructural projects, purportedly carried out to increase economic growth. These have led to rampant land grabbing, criminalization against peasants who resist and eviction of peasant’s houses in various parts of the world such as Indonesia, India, Srilanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Philippine and Brazil.

In period of 2001 to 2010, due to large-scale investments driven by WB in the agricultural sector, mainly in African and Asian countries, around 203 million hectares of land was forcefully grabbed. In particular, the WB infiltrates the agrarian and agricultural sectors by providing an agrarian reform model that is considered to support the agricultural sector economy through a project called the Program to Accelerate Agrarian Reform (One Map Project).

This is nothing but market-based agrarian reform, which neither emphasizes the redistribution of land in a fair way, nor assures the control of the land by peasants or peasant family. Instead, it only emphasizes the issue of land monetization, which takes the control of Land from individuals and in turn facilitate capital infiltration.

It is evident in the implementation of One Map Project in Indonesia and in all developing countries from 2000 till now, where the program has only focused on the distribution of land certificates without resolving ongoing agrarian conflicts and without giving equal size to land control. Those are only to create land market or land bank for big plantation, infrastructure, factory, dam, irrigation etc.

World Bank also pushed Southern countries who were systematically ‘trapped in debt’ to privatize public sectors services, such as health, education, water management, forest and plantation, paving a way for corporations to make huge profit. At the same time, climate change brought about extreme climatic events resulting in terrible natural disasters including heavy flooding and severe drought, which aggravated the food crisis. Forced eviction, criminalization of people who resist, agrarian conflicts, hunger and poverty are terrible consequences of privatization, both directly and indirectly.

Not stopping at this oppression through infrastructure development, the World Bank expanded its activities into the realm of climate change mitigation. One such example is the Forest Investment Program (FIP) under REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). The program is a collection of funds within the World Bank to provide funds for developing countries that have forests. Recorded until 2010, funds collected amounted to $577 million.

At first glance the program appears to strike the right boxes but in reality has a negative impact on the community, especially for peasant and indigenous people. The program legalizes forceful grabbing of peasant’s land under the guise of land conservation and enter into legal partnerships with Corporations thus handing out to them the task of forest conservation. Indonesia itself in 2016 received funding from the FIP program amounting to 17.5 million USD.

This multi-faceted oppression of World Bank and IMF must be called out. We invite all social movements and civil society organizations to mobilize on the streets to resist this this neoliberal regime and help in building an alternative world; A World Beyond the Banks. Let us make ourselves heard in Bali between 8-14 October 2018.

With this appeal, as La Via Campesina we hope to move together and move forward to demonstrate the power of organized people to defend our Food Sovereignty and promote social justice.




Also Read: Global Day of Action Against WTO and Free Trade Agreements – Call to Mobilise!

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Publiée par La Via Campesina sur Lundi 3 septembre 2018