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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Spéculation et crises : ça suffit !

by Stop-Finance.org

Speculation and Collapse : Enough !

Translated Tuesday 1 April 2008

This petition appeared simultaneously on March 27, 2008 in l’Humanité, le Monde Diplomatique, Politis, the radio programme Là-bas si j’y suis (France), Flamman (Sweden), Trybuna Robotnicza (Poland), Publico (Spain), Il Manifesto (Italy), Tageszeitung (Germany).

Freedom for finance is destroying society. Every day, in both North and South, shareholders silently pressure firms and workers to extract higher and higher returns. The situation becomes dramatically visible when major crises display the excesses of speculative greed and its backlash on growth and employment. Lay-offs, precarious work, deepening inequalities: workers and the poor suffer most from both the speculation and the toxic effects of subsequent financial collapse.

During the last two decades, world finance has brought little but crisis: 1987: stock market crash; 1990: housing crisis in the US, Europe and Japan; 1994: US Treasury bonds crash; 1997 and 1998: international financial crisis; 2000-2002: the internet bubble bursts; and now 2007-2008: the subprime mortgage crisis spilling over into sector after sector and possibly becoming a major global financial crisis.

Why such repetition of events? It is because all obstacles to the movement of capital and to "innovative" financial practices have been abolished. As for the central banks that have permitted the bubble to expand, they have no choice but to rush in to save the banks and speculative funds that are lacking liquidity.

We refuse to wait passively for the next crisis to occur and to endure any longer the enormous inequalities fueled by market finance and the dangers it creates for everybody. Because instability is intrinsic to financial deregulation, calls for greater “transparency” or “morality” are worthless and can have no effect, much less prevent the same causes from leading to the same outcomes. Ending the speculative scourge requires radical change in the rules of the “game”, namely those of the financial structures themselves. Any such project is, however, immediately thwarted in the European Union by the outrageous protection granted to deregulated financial liberalisation via the treaties.

As European citizens, we therefore demand the abrogation of article 56 of the Lisbon Treaty which forbids any restrictions on capital flows and thus sets the perfect conditions for the overwhelming hold of finance on society. We also call for restriction on the freedom of establishment (art. 48), leaving capital free to migrate wherever conditions are most favourable and financial institutions free to seek asylum in the City of London or anywhere else they choose.

If “freedom” merely means the right of the dominant power, in the present case finance capital, to suppress the rest of society, we deny that freedom and call, rather, for the people’s right to live free from the tyranny of profit.

[Editor’s note: see Jean Ziegler: Les Nouveaux Maîtres du Monde, for a full discussion of the destructive tyranny of capital]

To sign the petition or to see more information, go to: www.stop-finance.org

Elmar Altvater (Germany), Philippe Arestis (UK), Geneviève Azam (France), Riccardo Bellofiore (Italy), Robin Blackburn (UK), Jérôme Bourdieu (France), Mireille Bruyere (France), Alain Caille (France), Claude Calame (Switzerland), François Chesnais (France),John Christensen (UK), Christian Comeliau (France), Laurent Cordonnier (France), Jacques Cossart (France), Thomas Coutrot (France), Renato Di Ruzza (France), Gérard Dumenil (France), Miren Etxezarreta (Spain), Marica Frangakis (Greece), Jean Gadrey (France), Susan George (France), Robert Guttmann (US), Bernard Guibert (France), John Grahl (UK), Jean-Marie Harribey (France), Michel Husson (France), Pauline Hyme (France), Esther Jeffers (France), Isaac Joshua (France), Matthieu Leimgruber (Switzerland), Frédéric Lordon (France), Birgit Mahnkopf (Germany), Jacques Mazier (France), Sabine Montagne (France), François Morin (France), Ramine Motamed-Nejad (France), André Rlean (France), René Passet (France), Dominique Plihon (France), Christophe Ramaux (France), Gilles Raveaud (France), Catherine Samary (France), Jacques Sapir (France), Claude Serfati (France), Henri Sterdyniak (France), Daniel Tanuro (Belgium), Hélène Tordjman (France), Éric Toussaint (Belgium), Stéphanie Treillet (France), Peter Wahl (Germany), Frieder Otto Wolf (Germany).

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