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Naomi Klein to police at G20: “Don’t play PR, do your job!”

From RabbleTV

I love this comment on the YouTube page for the video:

I could play this video 100 times and it would never get old. Naomi speaks the truth and it saddens me what Ottawa and David Miller allowed to happen to Toronto.

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G20 state of play: Austerity or recovery?

G20 state of play: Austerity or recovery?

The money talk on the inside leading up to the G20 summit

  • The G20: Fiscal Austerity or Coordinated Recovery? Excellent backgrounder by Andrew Jackson on the ‘state of play’ leading up to the summit, on whether countries should be working to expand demand (stimulus) or contract (ie spending cuts, deficit reduction).   The overall push is for deficit reduction as I have written about here, but some countries are going to have to expand domestic consumer demand in order for there to be a market out there.  The US has traditionally played this role, expanding deficits and credit to ensure growth in consumer demand, but there are signs that the U.S. may end this role at the G20.  Which countries might take it on?  Will it be the ones with large surpluses (esp. China) who can handle it, but may not want to?
  • China doesn’t want the G20 to chastise them about their currency valuation (background here), and warns that focusing on them could derail the G20.  China also reiterated their warning about over-focus on deficits at the G20 and that stimulus should not be fazed out all at once.    Background on the G20 renewed focus on cuts and deficit reduction and the serious repercussions that will likely have for the world – here, and here.
  • Canada wants the reform focus at the G20 to be on adjusting bank capital and leverage standards to reduce risk and increase solvency.  Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said this is “the main issue, we shouldn’t be distracted by side issues”.  By ‘side’ issues, he is clearly making another push to keep any form of  bank tax or levy off the agenda and quite possibly might also be hinting at not letting climate change get in the way either.

Other G20 news:

  • Speak the f**k up. Great event Wednesday night in Toronto breaking down Canada’s G8 maternal health plan.  Watch panelist Antonia Zerbisias
  • Toronto hotel workers plan strike:  The workers’ union is calling for the parent company, Accor to respect a previously signed trade union rights agreement.  Be there anytime all day to support or at 4:30 on June 24th for a planned rally!  Also, here is an audio interview on chronic understaffing at luxury hotels.
  • But I’m just a sapling. You’ve no doubt heard about the trees being uprooted in the security zone for the G20. But here it is again, humourously
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G20 finance meet. Hotel strike? Key G20 resource,…

G20 finance meet. Hotel strike? Key G20 resource,…

A few notes on a busy day. Some of these things are all over the news, so I’ll keep it brief and with links.  Just want to make sure to have the days news all available to readers.

—The G20 finance ministers and central bankers are meeting in Busan, South Korea, trying to keep the ball rolling on post-crisis economic reform.  The main approach is a decision between pushing growth through continued stimulus (lower interest rates, etc…) , or focusing on cutting deficits.  They see it as a “need to strike the right balance between trimming deficits and sustaining economic growth”  The Bank of Canada, by raising interests rates this week, started the process away from stimulus before other G20 countries.

There is no talk of how these measures will affect populations, just the general idea that by doing whatever is necessary to rescue the economy, we are all better off.  Despite a lot of wrangling and trepidation about how it will all work out, all the leaders have bought into a consensus that may not be best for the population or planet – making the world safe for capitalism at all costs.

—hotel workers at 32 Toronto hotels vote to strike – i LOVE their timing —leverage!  I’m sorry G20 leaders and entourage, you can’t stay at my place.

—the Dominion has produced a fantastic special issue on the G20, both layout and content-wise. There are stories on migrant justice, Canada’s Iran policy, the maternal and child health plan, and much more – all tied to the G8/G20 agenda. Perhaps most useful is a couple of pages of fine graphics on the G8 and G20 in relation to food security, debt relief, arms and the IMF and World Bank, which will get you up to speed in no time. And they are only 3 bucks each.  Contact me if you want copies: darren@g20breakdown.com or you can check with toronto.mediacoop.ca

It’s an invaluable resource heading into the next 3 weeks.

—I added the perimeter map (with a link to a map of the surveillance camera locations), and an excellent piece called “3 reasons you should attend the G20 protests” written by Greg Shupak.  Check it out.

—I’m not properly using my blog’s overwhelming power to speak to the masses if I don’t say a quick word about Rue McClanahan who died today.  Just a couple of weeks ago I had the chance to have a bit of a renaissance with that lovely show from my childhood and saw about 7 or 8 episodes.  Still as charming as ever. Thanks and RIP RUE.

—why is it that when the immense arsenal got shown off today, for the media it was like big boys and their toys.  Just a big list of the arsenal, happy talk with the police, and no hard questions.  I may have missed them, but there certainly not here.  List a little, but at least 50% of that article should be ripping apart how insane this is.  Instead, it legitimizes it.

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Economist editor: Globalization brings happiness!

Economist editor: Globalization brings happiness!

In case you thought that the pro-globalization chattering classes are still cowering from the fallout of the economic crisis, John Micklethwait, the editor-in-chief of the economist sets this straight with some bullish talk about the free-market economy.  He was in Montreal this week, where he talked up free markets with a Globe and Mail business writer.

Despite the turmoil markets have been in and the challenge to neo-liberalism that has come from the crisis, Micklethwait won’t let go of orthodoxy: “what I see is this process [globalization] which has brought gigantic wealth and, indeed, happiness to most people around the world.”

Happiness to most?  How does one account for the 16.4% decline of real wages in the U.S. (wages adjusted for inflation) that occurred between 1973 and 2004?  I’m sure those people aren’t dancing for joy.  Sure, there was a brief uptick just before the crisis hit in 2008, but that has since been completely wiped out.  Canada has had similar, though less drastic, results, with stagnant median real wages.

And around the world, wage inequality between the rich and poor has grown enormously.  Neoliberal policies have unquestionably created massive wealth for some, but the vast majority have been left behind.

Even if you believe corporate globalization is all that, can you really say most are happy from it?

There were even more nuggets in this short interview:

He admits globalization is “savage, sometimes cruel”, but that “globalization is about the way the ideas, people, goods, services cross borders…and anything that gets in the way of that “tends to be bad in general”.  Moving goods, people, etc… across borders can be a good thing, but not when most people actually can’t move across borders at leisure (save for the global elite) and when the game is rigged for corporations to use their enormous power to get what they want.

Micklethwait also brings up the G8/G20 meetings this year and how Obama needs to ‘resell’ global capitalism to the 12 emerging economies that make up the G8/G20 difference.  He suggests Obama will have failed if he doesn’t bring China, India, Brazil, etc…into a broadly Western framework of running the world”  If that happens, he feels is no problem merging the G8 into the G20, because these countries will be playing the right role in the global economy.

It is clear that the neo-liberals are back on the offensive, having learned nothing from the present crisis.

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