Jubilee South at the World Social Forum 2004

1 April 2004 by Jubilee South

The World Social Forum is counted by Jubilee South (JS) as among the critical international events for the articulation of analysis of the debt problem and for gathering the strengths and resources of debt organizations and movements to pursue the struggle against debt domination.

It was thus most gratifying for JS that this year’s Forum highlighted the call for a campaign and mobilizations to mark the 60th anniversary of the International Monetary Fund IMF
International Monetary Fund
Along with the World Bank, the IMF was founded on the day the Bretton Woods Agreements were signed. Its first mission was to support the new system of standard exchange rates.

When the Bretton Wood fixed rates system came to an end in 1971, the main function of the IMF became that of being both policeman and fireman for global capital: it acts as policeman when it enforces its Structural Adjustment Policies and as fireman when it steps in to help out governments in risk of defaulting on debt repayments.

As for the World Bank, a weighted voting system operates: depending on the amount paid as contribution by each member state. 85% of the votes is required to modify the IMF Charter (which means that the USA with 17,68% % of the votes has a de facto veto on any change).

The institution is dominated by five countries: the United States (16,74%), Japan (6,23%), Germany (5,81%), France (4,29%) and the UK (4,29%).
The other 183 member countries are divided into groups led by one country. The most important one (6,57% of the votes) is led by Belgium. The least important group of countries (1,55% of the votes) is led by Gabon and brings together African countries.

(IMF) and the World Bank World Bank
The World Bank was founded as part of the new international monetary system set up at Bretton Woods in 1944. Its capital is provided by member states’ contributions and loans on the international money markets. It financed public and private projects in Third World and East European countries.

It consists of several closely associated institutions, among which :

1. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, 189 members in 2017), which provides loans in productive sectors such as farming or energy ;

2. The International Development Association (IDA, 159 members in 1997), which provides less advanced countries with long-term loans (35-40 years) at very low interest (1%) ;

3. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which provides both loan and equity finance for business ventures in developing countries.

As Third World Debt gets worse, the World Bank (along with the IMF) tends to adopt a macro-economic perspective. For instance, it enforces adjustment policies that are intended to balance heavily indebted countries’ payments. The World Bank advises those countries that have to undergo the IMF’s therapy on such matters as how to reduce budget deficits, round up savings, enduce foreign investors to settle within their borders, or free prices and exchange rates.

(WB) along with other red-letter days for groups and social movements, including the
International Women’s Day on March 8 and the global anti-war march on March 20.

As in previous Forums, JS engaged the tens of thousands who came to the Forum - the official figure being over 100,000 participants from over 130 2 countries - through activities that were part of the official WSF activities and
through meetings parallel or just before or after the Forum proper.

Jubilee South’s contribution to this year’s Forum was mainly through itsparticipation and contributions to discussions at the WSF International Committee (IC) and through the conference and seminars it sponsored or co-sponsored to strengthen and further build the social and political constituency to challenge debt and globalization.

Jubilee South is one of the few inter-continental movements in the WSF IC. Aside from the official JS representatives to the IC, South Asia JS people were also most active in this year’s event as part of the local organizing teams.

As for forums and seminars, the tri-continental rganization of Jubilee South shared the responsibilities with old and new partners. Among its partners/ co-sponsors were the Comite pour l’ Annulation de la Dette du Tiers Monde
(CADTM-the Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt), Jubilee USA and Aksjon Slett U-landsgjelda (SLUG-Norway), World Council of Churches, Natural Resources and Development Institute (NADI-Indonesia), Narmada Bachao Andolan-India, Center for Concern, CAD Mali, RNDD Niger, GRAPr DR Congo, Alianza De Los Pueblos Del Sur Acreedores De Deuda Ecologica, the Peoples’ World Water Forum, etc.

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