Éric Toussaint: “There is a disposition in the world’s masses for radical left proposals”

7 May by Eric Toussaint


On 16 April 2018, Éric Toussaint was invited to speak about the role of the central banks and the banking sector at a seminar organised by Sampreeti – Sanskriti, a cultural association linked to the All India Reserve Bank Employees Association (AIRBEA, the main trade union of the Indian central bank’s employees) in Kolkata, India. The conference was introduced by Sudipta Saha Ray, AIRBEA’s secretary in Kolkata, and chaired by Dr. Asim Dasgupta, former Minister of Finance of West Bengal (1987-2011) under the Left Front government. The event symbolically marked the celebration of the bicentenary of Karl Marx’s birth (5 May 1818).

Drawing on historical examples from the 1871 Paris Commune to the Cuban revolution seizing power in 1959, Éric Toussaint gives examples of successful actions that were taken in order to regulate and control the banking sector in order to limit or eliminate the power of private financial capital (or, in the case of the Paris Commune, the lack of such action which might have decisively worked out in favour of the Communards).

Éric Toussaint then refers to the deregulation of the banking sector that was implemented on a global scale from the 1980s onwards as a part of a broader offensive of capital against labour. This deregulation was at the core of the global financial crisis of 2007-2008, during which the private banking sector was safeguarded by massive bail-out schemes provided by the states, hence increasing illegitimate indebtedness and fuelling the sovereign debt Sovereign debt Government debts or debts guaranteed by the government. crisis in the global North.

Éric Toussaint goes further denouncing the campaign led by the Indian ruling classes and the international business media in favour of the privatisation of the Indian public banking sector, which constitutes most of the Indian banking sector. To solve the crisis of non-performing loans due by big corporations and crony capitalists in India, he calls for emergency measures aiming to make private capital take responsibility for their own risks and fraudulent behaviours, and to regulate and control the banking sector. In India as well as on the global scale, such measures are not enough and Éric Toussaint advocates for the socialisation of the banks in order to direct the banking activities in favour of the needs of the masses.

The necessity of socialisation is demonstrated by the lack of change that occurred in the banking sector since the 2008 crisis: Éric Toussaint warns about the growing bubbles of the corporate bonds Corporate bonds Securities issued by corporations in order to raise funds on the Money Markets. These bonds resemble government bonds but are considered to be more risky than government bonds and other guaranteed securities such as Mortgage Backed Securities, and therefore pay higher interest rates. market and of the stock market internationally due to the policies of the central banks. These bubbles are preparing the next financial crisis.

Éric Toussaint finally calls for the left to not only defend social conquests such as the existence of public banks in India, but also to take upon themselves radical proposals for change. Drawing on experiences such as Bernie Sanders’ campaign in the USA and Jeremy Corbyn’s successes in Britain, he states that there is a disposition in the world’s masses for a radical left-wing agenda to be implemented.



Eric Toussaint

is a historian and political scientist who completed his Ph.D. at the universities of Paris VIII and Liège, is the spokesperson of the CADTM International, and sits on the Scientific Council of ATTAC France.
He is the author of Bankocracy (2015); The Life and Crimes of an Exemplary Man (2014); Glance in the Rear View Mirror. Neoliberal Ideology From its Origins to the Present, Haymarket books, Chicago, 2012 (see here), etc.
See his bibliography: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89ric_Toussaint
He co-authored World debt figures 2015 with Pierre Gottiniaux, Daniel Munevar and Antonio Sanabria (2015); and with Damien Millet Debt, the IMF, and the World Bank: Sixty Questions, Sixty Answers, Monthly Review Books, New York, 2010. Since the 4th April 2015 he is the scientific coordinator of the Greek Truth Commission on Public Debt.

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