Published on Thursday, October 27, 2011 by Inter Press Service
by Cléo Fatoorehchi
AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France – Anti-globalisation and anti-capitalist groups are gathering ahead of the G20 meeting in Cannes in the south of France next week.
Cannes will be under tight police security Oct. 31 to Nov. 4, and the People’s Forum has negotiated permission from local authorities to meet in Nice, 20 miles from Cannes. The Forum will gather countless organisations, from Attac to Oxfam France, from Greenpeace France to Action against Hunger.
With their slogan “People first, not Finance!” they are determined to generate strong mobilisation against the G20 and its policy of financial supremacy.
“With strong mobilisation, we can overthrow the strength ratio,” Valérie Brulant, member of Attac (Association for the Taxation of financial Transactions and for Citizen Action), told IPS.
Commending Spain’s indignados movement in May and the Occupy Wall Street still under way in New York, with widespread support around the world, she believes that with this momentum people around the world are eventually realising that “the (financial and economic) crisis was produced by the banks, but that people are paying the bill.”
Antoine Lupera, member of the executive committee of the French Communist Party (PCF) in Aix-en- Provence told IPS the PCF will join the People’s Forum in Nice because they share the same beliefs.
“One of our main fights is the fight for men and women’s emancipation, so we believe that the system, and especially the system that is instituted with the G20, is totally inadequate for our idea of emancipation,” he said.
“(This system) empowers a small group of people, and a small group of countries (the G20) that have the financial and economic power to basically do whatever they want with it, and whatever they want with their money – to refinance the banks, to promote the capitalist system that we live in, instead of wanting a change.”
Above all, “they are against one of our main principles,” he told IPS. “Humans should come first, and that won’t be the case with this kind of meeting.”
Brulant said that given the last G20 conclusions, this group is about communication and never about concrete action. One of the main reasons for such hypocrisy is it lacks the means to apply its decisions, and to sanction countries that do not implement them, Brulant said.
“The G20 is not only illegitimate but also harmful,” she said. It is illegitimate because while the financial, economic and social crises affect all countries around the world, “only 20 are gathering to solve the problem, and 174 others cannot say a word. This is unacceptable.”
It is harmful, she said, because “the G20 does everything to perpetuate the system and to support the financial markets, and so the dictatorship of finance. The race to short-term benefits is detrimental to people, to social rights and to environmental rights, Brulant said.
Gildas Jossec, an expert on financial regulation and lobbying transparency at AITEC (the International Organisation of Technicians Experts and Researchers, which will take part in the People’s Forum), told IPS that the bank system must focus on financing the economy. Then it would “speculate less on the financial markets…thus taking less reckless risks.”
He also supported implementation of the financial transactions tax, which could generate a considerable amount of money for development financing and the fight against climate change. But, he said, the financial lobby, which led to the economic crisis, is an obstacle.
Activists are taking heart from the new challenges arising now to such dominance. “There definitely are populations who are getting informed, conscious, politicised, and who think of the society we live in from what affects them locally,” environment expert at AITEC Maxime Combes told IPS.
“The anti-G20 mobilisation in Nice will be an important moment to show the world that we refuse their system through an international protest, but also that we have propositions, recommendations, requirements, and alternative ways already into place, all of them being presented at the People’s Forum.”