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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Le G192 frappe a la porte

by Jean-Paul Pierot

G192 Knocks at the Door

Le G192 frappe a la porte

Translated Saturday 18 July 2009, by Alison Billington and reviewed by Henry Crapo

There’ll be no uniterrupted ballet of limousines offloading the great ones of this world onto a red carpet on the East bank of Manhattan, where the headquarters of United Nations stands proud. They won’t be there. However a United Nations conference is taking place, to the total indifference of the political media. It’s goal is to put the leading officials of the 192 states into action, in a fight against the economic, social and financial crisis.

Meanwhile, within the same grounds of the UN, in September 2008, before the General Assembly of the UN, Nicolas Sarkozy put himself forward as a moralising advocate of a capitalist system whose driving force, he seemed to discover, works flat out to seek profit for the few. The French President, was bustling round and talking, very busy with rescuing the banks, so much so that the debate on the millennium undertakings to pull Africa out of poverty went almost unnoticed in spite of the desperate efforts of the General Secretary of the UN, Ban Ki Moon.

The speech given on Monday by the President of the Republic at the Congress of Versailles is, in itself, an anthology of the gulfs that separate words from actions, and declared principles from betrayed values. So, Nicolas Sarkozy doesn’t fear losing his temper over globalisation which “drives the logic of competition at all cost to extremes by resorting to all forms of dumping, to commercially aggressive policies, to the crushing of buying power and the standard of living”.

Only the strait-laced and solemn mood reminded us for a few seconds that the scene was not being played at the World Social Forum of Porto Alegre but at the Chateau of Versailles. Nothing is more catastrophic than the anger from the platform hiding the lack of alternative propositions, nothing is more unbearable than this rhetoric which is so dear to the president and consists of denouncing a policy which bears a clone-like resemblance to the one he imposes. This technique can throw the electors into confusion for a while… but smooth talking about ‘buying power’, about ‘working harder to earn more’, about growth being extracted by the teeth ... ends up annoying the citizens.

The peoples from southern countries, the African man insulted in Dakar can no longer settle for words alone when a billion human beings suffer from hunger. This sort of suffering through the ages which has driven so many Irish, Polish and Italians into exile, pursues its devastation in the southern Mediterranean. Worse, it is gaining ground as the United Nations calls on what is crudely named the ‘international community’ to respect the millennium undertakings. At the hour of capitalism’s crisis, everything increases for the profiteers in the world of finance, who speculate on foodstuffs, make the prices rise for the paid worker as consumer, and drive into destitution the peasant who produces them.

Famine is no longer a curse. Its causes are known and remedies are possible. A new economic world order, a new type of development knocks at the door. Nicolas Sarkozy’s conceit and that of most of the world leaders in keeping the planet under the leadership of a club of rich countries, even developing countries, is going against the lessons of history. G7 became G8, then G20 whose meeting in London, last April resulted in a very slender showing on the balance sheet.

To ‘imagine another future’ and above all to build it, it’s G192 that we must begin to organise. Not all the states in the world will be too many when it comes to getting us out of the crisis and out of capitalism. Along the steep and stony way, the meeting ’at the summit’ that is being opened in New York brings a note of hope at a time when Paris buzzes with the latest rumours about the forming a government, actions which seems more like a hunt – will the biggest game be called Mitterand [1]? - than the formation of a team under the management of the Prime Minister, which according to the constitution still in force, directs France’s policies.

[1Fréderique Mitterand, nephew of former president François Mitterand, is well-known and admired for his contributions to the cultural scene, but his political orientation is not that of the former president. He has been selected by the president Sarkozy and the prime minister Fillon to be Minister of Culture and Communication, a move that is intended to convey a spirit of openness to the reshuffled government.

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