Resisting the Shock Doctrine: Ukraine, Debt, and Reconstruction

12 May 2023 by Eric Toussaint , Sushovan Dhar , Ashley Smith , Yuliya Yurchenko


A discussion of Ukrainians’ struggle to cancel their country’s debt as part of the global movement against neoliberalism.



In the midst of Russia’s imperialist war, Ukraine’s left, unions, and popular movements have struggled to cancel their country’s debt held by international financial institutions and resist Volodymyr Zelensky’s neoliberal policies. Already the IMF 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.

http://imf.org
has attached conditionalities to new loans to Ukraine, setting an ominous precedent for its reconstruction. The panel with Yuliya Yurchenko, Eric Toussaint, and Sushovan Dhar contextualized Ukraine’s struggle as part of the global movement against neoliberalism.

Speakers:

Yuliya Yurchenko is a Senior Lecturer in Political Economy at the Department of Economics and International Business and a researcher at the Political Economy, Governance, Finance and Accountability Institute, University of Greenwich, UK. She is the author of Ukraine and the Empire of Capital (Pluto, 2017).

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 Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt and sits on the Scientific Council of ATTAC France. He is the author of Debt System (Haymarket books, 2019).

Sushovan Dhar is a political activist and trade unionist based in Kolkata, India. He is involved in the debt cancellation campaign and is the International Council member of the Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt, a member of the advisory group of South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE), and Vice-President of Progressive Plantation Workers Union (PPWU).

This event was sponsored by the Ukraine Solidarity Network and Haymarket Books.


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 Greece 2015: there was an alternative. London: Resistance Books / IIRE / CADTM, 2020 , Debt System (Haymarket books, Chicago, 2019), 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, 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. He was the scientific coordinator of the Greek Truth Commission on Public Debt from April 2015 to November 2015.

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Ashley Smith

Ashley Smith is a socialist writer and activist in Burlington, Vermont. He has written in numerous publications including Truthout, International Socialist Review, Socialist Worker, ZNet, Jacobin, New Politics, Harpers, and many other online and print publications. He is currently working on a book for Haymarket entitled Socialism and Anti-Imperialism.

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