BRICS failed to challenge imperialism: Medha Patkar

5 November 2016 by Prakash Kamat

She accused that in all these countries, private corporations are increasingly taking control of democratic institutions.

Activist Medha Patkar commented that BRICS BRICS The term BRICS (an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) was first used in 2001 by Jim O’Neill, then an economist at Goldman Sachs. The strong economic growth of these countries, combined with their important geopolitical position (these 5 countries bring together almost half the world’s population on 4 continents and almost a quarter of the world’s GDP) make the BRICS major players in international economic and financial activities. has failed to challenge the hegemony of imperialist States. She accused that in all these countries, private corporations are increasingly taking control of democratic institutions and overriding people’s participation in crucial decision-making processes.

She reminded the audience that India, despite being the largest democracy in the world, is also a sight where the poorest and the most marginalized people are continuing their struggle for social justice, dignity and identity. “People have been kept outside of the decisions that are taken on their behalf for their development,” she accused.

She accused BRICS of turning into “a free market ploy that serves the interest Interest An amount paid in remuneration of an investment or received by a lender. Interest is calculated on the amount of the capital invested or borrowed, the duration of the operation and the rate that has been set. of big capital. BRICS is no more interested in the annihilation of caste or in the welfare of its people, gender equality and justice is not a priority for BRICS anymore,” she said and added that it is fast turning into an institution that serves the interests of the elites in developing countries.

It is a matter of serious concern that BRICS is following a path that is opposed to its foundational principles by increasingly aligning with capitalist and imperialists forces of the world, lamented speakers at the two-day People’s Forum on BRICS, which kick started on Thursday at the Xavier’s Centre for Historical Research, Alto Porvorim in north Goa.

Mr. Trevor Ngwane, who led several workers’ struggles in South Africa and also an academic, recounted the extreme levels of inequality that exists in the South African society and called for a pan-African unity.

He expressed his doubts over South Africa representing the voice of Africa all by itself.

The opening plenary, chaired by renowned women’s rights and environmentalist activist Norma Alvares, saw eminent social movement leaders from the BRICS region addressing a gathering of over five hundred people from at least 10 countries around the world.

Several speakers recounted and emphasised on the fact that BRICS was formed to challenge the imperialistic and hegemonic nature of institutions such as 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.

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.
. When the five countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa came together to form BRICS, it was done with an intent to bring about social justice and equity Equity The capital put into an enterprise by the shareholders. Not to be confused with ’hard capital’ or ’unsecured debt’. in these countries that was home to over 50 per cent of the world’s population.

Most of the speakers who spoke at the event emphasised on the need to build solidarities of communities in the BRICS countries and the need for the civil society in these countries to set a people’s agenda that can overcome the consumerist and destructive agendas of capital.

Maria Luisa Belo, representing the feminist movement in Brazil, spoke about the threat that democracies across the world are facing today.

“The new government that came through the coup has already taken anti-people measures,” she said and read out the demand of the feminist movements in Brazil that is calling upon the world’s institutions, including BRICS, to come up with a people’s agenda to defeat patriarchy and poverty.

Dorothy Guerrero, while commenting on China spoke about the urban-rural divide that exists in the country. She rued the steps taken by the Chinese authorities in curtailing migration from the rural to urban, while doing little to improve the country side. She spoke about the increasing corporate control over people’s resources — leading to massive protests by people in the countryside, led mostly by the peasants. Yet, the news of such resistances rarely makes it to the global media, she lamented.

Several people’s representatives from Goa also made presentations at the event.

Source : The Hindu



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