“We refuse economic bondage”: a letter from Cairo

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December 5, 2012 by SCNCC

This letter written, by activists battling economic imperialism from the International Monetary Fund and other global creditors, provides a bit of context to the political climate in Cairo as people from around the world follow the continuing revolt against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s recent power grab.

We Refuse Economic Bondage – Stop the Loans
Dear friends,
In the coming period we will again be facing a familiar enemy that many of you have and continue to battle. International Financial Institutions (IFIs) like the IMF have long had a hand in plundering the Egyptian economy and dispossessing the Egyptian people. We aim to resist these institutions and their depredations, but we know that this struggle is a global one and so we address this letter to all those working in solidarity against these bankers and cronies.
Since the revolution, these IFIs have once again been eyeing the country, hoping to consolidate and expand their control. Citing “economic instability,” they want to force their program onto Egypt – an economic fix that would yet again widen the gap between rich and poor and attack the livelihoods of millions. What they call “instability” is nothing less than the grassroots uprising that opposed the status quo of political and economic hegemony of Egyptian rule.
The real problem is that we have not yet removed the IFI-trained Egyptian economists who continue to run our ministries and banks, while Egypt’s new leadership maintains a neoliberal logic of governance. The Muslim Brotherhood, the generals, the bureaucrats, and the bankers have the same intentions in mind: continued exploitation, theft, and commercialization of the country’s natural and human resources.
While some of the Brotherhood’s key leaders have promoted neoliberal policies for years, shortly after taking power, the organization formally dropped its religiously-grounded opposition to an IMF loan, claiming financial “necessity.” In practice, this means prioritizing the demands of banks and financial institutions over policies that would increase social justice for Egyptians. Furthermore, while the IMF claims that the loan has no conditions, an “economic reform package” prepared by their lackeys within the Egyptian financial system must be approved by the Fund before any money is loaned. No conditions, indeed.
The IMF might be the most obvious creditor with imperial intentions, but it is not alone in creating and maintaining unequal economic, cultural and territorial relationships based on domination and subordination. Just as dangerous are institutions like the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank, who aim to commodify, privatize, and pillage anything they can, from transport and electricity to the Nile herself. Many of these banks supported our dictators for years, celebrating their attempts to subject us, our land, and our water to private capital.
Egypt is no exception. The South African revolution against apartheid was deemed a threat to economic stability – the new leadership that emerged boasted revolutionary credentials that made possible the implementation of a neoliberal program that exceeded its colonial predecessors. Following his election victory with promises of progressive programs, Lula, the president of Brazil, introduced ever more strident neoliberal policies whitewashed over with charity programs for an increasingly poor underclass. India was no different, where economic policies said to help the country enter global markets translated into thousands of farmers going into debt and losing their livelihoods while stratification between poor and rich surged. And the examples go on. The world over, these International Financial Institutions and the northern governments that run them exploit the uncertainty of “post-revolutionary” moments by imposing more austerity measures and tightening the noose around nations revolting against these very systems of control.
Egypt is no exception. Their solution is our problem, their “economic stability” is our destitution and exploitation – the reason why we revolted. By standing together we can strengthen our stance of abject opposition.
We acknowledge a lineage of struggle against IFIs and the IMF: an inspiring global network of peoples and activists of which we are a part. Today, we in Egypt are under further attack and imminent danger, and have decided to take on this fight.
For those similarly targeted by the IMF and IFIs and who have been fighting against those predators, let us find ways to combine our efforts and join forces in opposing these loans both locally and globally.
For others, we ask you to march on the headquarters of the banks based in your countries, and to use creative resistance and direct action strategies so that we can put an end, together, to the injustices and the oppression driven by these institutions.
No Bosses, No Creditors!

Sincerely,
Comrades from Cairo
31 October 2012

Footage of an anti-IMF march organized by the Popular Campaign to Drop Egypt’s Debt calling for an end of negotiations between the Egyptian government and a visiting IMF delegation last month.

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