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Prague


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From: The Socialist issue 174, 22 September 2000: New Labour in Crisis

Search site for keywords: Prague - Capitalist - Protest - Socialism - International - Socialist - Capitalism - Czech - World Bank - IMF

Prague anti-capitalist protest Fight For Socialism

ON 26 SEPTEMBER, capitalism's globetrotting circus stops in Prague, the Czech Republic's capital city. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank are in town.

Manny Thain

Wherever the representatives of the world economy meet, they meet resistance. A tradition is being established where every conference, summit and forum is besieged by tens of thousands of protesters mobilised around a multitude of issues: environmental campaigns, Third World debt, the rights of workers and indigenous peoples, to name but a few.

From last November's demonstrations in Seattle to Washington DC; from Davos in Switzerland to May Day in London; from Okinawa to Melbourne, Australia, the rich men (predominantly) at the top are forced to run the gauntlet of angry crowds.

The authorities are expecting serious confrontations. Officers from Scotland Yard have been briefing their Czech counterparts on British protesters expected to arrive. The FBI has helped with training and Interpol has provided further intelligence. At least 11,000 police will be on duty with 5,000 soldiers on standby.

As events outside the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Melbourne last week testify, the state forces will be ready and willing to employ brutal tactics to ensure the world's business leaders' meetings go ahead. (see page 7)

The decisions these capitalists will make made, behind closed doors, will in turn violate the rights, working and living conditions of billions of people across the globe, especially of those in the neo-colonial countries, sometimes referred to as the 'Third World'.

Those decisions will further destroy whole swathes of the planet's natural environment. The short-term pursuit of profit will continue to reign supreme.

Today, 1.2 billion people live on less than $1 a day, up by 20% since 1995 according to the UN. The three richest men own as much wealth as 600 million people in the poorest countries of the world. And the gap between the incomes of the richest and poorest countries is growing ever wider. According to the Unaited Nations global inequalities this century have increased "by orders of magnitude out of proportion to anything experienced before".

This obscene concentration of economic wealth and the political power that flows from it, is the main obstacle to freeing the world's workers and poor from exploitation, poverty, disease and wars.

Taking control of capitalism's accumulated wealth and democratically planning these resources to meet human needs, ie socialism, represents the only viable alternative to capitalist greed.

The fight for a socialist alternative must be an international fight linking the world's working class and poor people's against global capitalism. That is why the Socialist Party is part of a socialist international organisation - the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI).

Join us in the fight for socialism.

Fact 1: The world's top 200 billionaires had a combined wealth of $1,135 billion in 1999. In contrast 1.2 billion people, a fifth of the world's population, exist on less than $1 (70p) a day.

Source: UN Human Development Report

Fact 2: Tanzania makes $2.2 billion a year, shared among 25 million people. Goldman Sachs bank makes $2.6 billion, shared between 161 people.

Source: The Guardian

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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