TURMEL: Critique of TOES 99 Agenda

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John Turmel

Jun 8, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/8/99

>The Alternative Economic Summit, Cologne June, 17th-18th
JCT: The following is a critical analysis of the issues on the
TOES 99 agenda. As many of you know, this year, the WEED organizes
have restricted participation to speakers of their choice and have
prevented any panels on the LETS local currency solution.

>Call to action by the Alliance Cologne 99
JCT: It ends up being more a call to talk and look but not
engineer a solution.

>The next EU Summit, chaired by Germany, will take place in Cologne on
>June 3 and 4 1999. It will be followed, two weeks later, by the last
>G7 summit of the century, on 18 and19 June.
>The actions of the powers-that-be are contradictory to their loudly-
>proclaimed goal of promoting human welfare world-wide. The current
>world order in its present garb of neo-liberalism is a threat to the
>people. It destroys the environment and social security. It sharpens
>poverty and exclusion, unemployment and the indebtedness of the third
>world. It strengthens and encourages the oppression and exploitation
>of women world-wide. Ecological overexploitation and war-violence,
>rooted in economic policy, are on the increase.
>At a time when resources are more plentiful than ever before, the
>debts of developing countries have reached a gigantic scale. These
>debts hardly leave any real chance for development: the rich
>creditors have acquired the rights to resources and future work for
>generations to come. At the same time, the indebted countries have to
>meet the repayment conditions of the International Monetary Fund
>(IMF) and World Bank, with the effect that the living conditions of
>ordinary people deteriorate.
JCT: I guess they didn't notice that even the developed countries
are up to their necks in debt too.

>World-wide, more than 100 million people are fleeing from poverty,
>war, oppression and environmental destruction. Far away from
>admitting any responsibility for this situation, the EU and G7 states
>make their boundaries ever tighter. Refugees are turned away and on
>some occasions even killed when they try to enter these priviledged
>countries. Refugees and immigrants who succeed in entering are
>discriminated against, excluded from mainstream society and sometimes
>deported. Racism and xenophobia frequently threaten their lives.
>State policy and daily racism exacerbate this situation.
JCT: Sure there are 100 million refugees from poverty and how
they expect to do anything about after barring discussion of the LETS
anti-poverty timecurrency system is going to interesting.

>The concentration of wealth is increasing. The inequality between the
>industrial countries and the Third World is growing, as is the gap
>between rich and poor in the rich capitalist countries. In Germany,
>for example, 10% of the households possess half of Germany's total
>assets, while the poorer 50% of households possess only 2.5% .
>Deregulation and unemployment furthur increase dog-eat-dog mentality,
>exclusion and lack of solidarity.
JCT: Of course, interest rates make wealth concentrate in the
hands of those with money by taking it away from those without money.
Too bad discussion of interest-free LETS is not on the agenda. Yet.

>International resistance to the current system is not new. In all
>parts of the world, people are fighting against the different forms
>of exploitation and repression. People are turning against
>destruction of nature, ecological overexploitation and waste of
>resources. They are turning against the social exclusion of all who
>do not fit within society's definition of normal for instance, gays,
>lesbians and disabled people. Women are defending themselves against
>deep-rooted patriarchal structures, against exploitation in the
>family and at work, against abuse and violence.
>Movements against debt and the globalisation of poverty are not only
>to be found in the indebted countries of Asia, Africa, Latin America
>and Eastern Europe. In the richer creditor countries more and more
>people and institutions are demanding cancellation of Third World
>debt. Unemployed people and workers have started to work together and
>organise international actions. Illegalised immigrants, refugees and
>other migrants have come together and a variety of antiracist
>initiatives have been built throughout society, in solidarity against
JCT: Again, they only aim for the easing of Third World debt and
do not advocate any kind of solution for the poor in First World
countries. Of course, without a general solution, forgiving the debts
of the Third World would cause the collapse of the First World's
banking system so without a better banking system, their demands are
doomed to failure.

>Not enough
>Although all European G7 countries now have a social democratic
>government, this is only a cosmetic change of direction. This is not
>enough! Pressure from wider society is now necessary to really reach
>fundamental changes.
>Major changes in the world economy are needed for the next
>millennium. We need, instead of profit for transnational
>corporations and banks, the interests of the majority of the people
>to be put first. The rights to food, water, clothing, housing,
>medical care, intact surroundings, education and work have to be put
>at the top of the agenda. It is not enough to have an empty
>Universal Declaration of Human Rights, human rights must be the
>cornerstone of a new economical order. It is not about charity, but
>creating economical relations which are not based on exploitation
>and oppression.
JCT: Beautiful wish list. I hope they have some alternative plans
on how to get get them delivered.

>Cologne 99
>As at G7 and EU Summits in the past, we want to make sure that in
>Cologne the summits will not pass without protest. We want, through
>our actions, to show that many people are not ready accept the
>existing situation, but at the same time we will present real
>alternatives to the current system.
JCT: So their solution seems to be to show that they don't like
the existing situation without any concrete proposal on how to change

>The protests will also act as a public forum for victims of the
>globalised economy, such as illegalised refugees, unemployed,
>persecuted trade-union members, political prisoners and
>representatives of freedom movements.
JCT: Of course, there'll be a forum for people to air their
gripes. But still no forum for discussion of a financial solution.

>We demand:
>- Cancellation of all the debts of the poor countries in Africa, Asia
>and Latin America.
JCT: And what about the our debts in the advanced nations. We
actually have more debt than they do. And we also have people starving
in the streets, even if not as many as the poorer nations.

>- Social security and a right to socially protected work.
JCT: Legislate these rights but how will it be delivered? They
seem to think that demanding better engineering results in better
engineering. It doesn't. Only a better currency blueprint can do that.

>- A world without borders, racism and exclusion, without deportation.
JCT: I like a world without borders but as long as there is
economic war and governments need tariffs and customs and duties to
stay afloat, it'll never happen, will it?

>- Equal rights for all, regardless of origin.
JCT: Great idea. How do they want it done when there's an
institutionalized theft from the poor to the rich?

>- Rearrangment of international economic relations based on social
>and ecological criteria
JCT: Oh, so all it takes is a rearrangment. They think
rearrangment is the magic word that will get it done. Too bad they
don't have any suggestions as how to effect this rearrangment.

>Therefore we call upon you for the following actions in Cologne:
>- May 29 Demonstration against the EU summit, called by European
>- Marches (against unemployment, precarious employment, exclusion and
JCT: Demonstrations and marches against the problems have been
going on for decades. As long as they can't present a viable
alternative, their wish list of rights or protests against problems
have never amounted to anything useful, have they?

>May 28 June 2 Alternative EU summit
>June 16-18 Alternative G7 summit
>June 19 Demonstration against the G7 summit
>The Alternative Economic Summit 17./18. of June 1999 VHS, Cologne
>Programme and Outline
>From 18th to 20th of June 1999 the last World Economic Summit (G-7)
>in this century will take place in Cologne.
>In Germany, social movements and NGOs are preparing several
>alternative events, among them a demonstration and a human chain.
>At the 17th and 18th of June an international congress, the
>"Alternative World Economic Summit" will take place.
>The congress is prepared by an alliance of different organisations,
>among them Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), medico international,
>the Heinrich-Bvll-Foundation, the Youth Organisations of the
>socialdemocratic and green party, the Federal Congress of Development
>Action Groups (BUKO), Oxfam Germany, Network "no one is illegal" and
>others. The conference is co-ordinated by WEED.
JCT: Even though no one has suggested and practical alternatives,
they don't want anyone to make suggestions either.

>The main-purpose of the congress is the discussion and promotion of
>alternatives to the neo-liberal world order.
JCT: Funny that the only successful anti-poverty alternative
going on the world right now, LETS local timecurrencies, has not been
allowed on the agenda. Well, not all that funny.

>In the light of the deepening crisis of the dominant economic
>paradigm the political conjuncture for alternatives has never been
>more favourable in the last decade.
JCT: They're not all that favorable when the organizers insist
only on presentations discussing the problems and none discussing the

>The congress will focus on three main issues:
>* the future of labour
>* migration
>* towards a different world economic order, in particular the finance
JCT: And the only working alternative to the present orthodox
currency systems are the LETS timecurrency systems and they haven't
been allowed on the agenda.

>While cross-sectorial issues like ecology, peacekeeping and women
>will be considered.
JCT: Sure, in-depth analyses of the extent of the problems always
seem to take up the attention though they've never lead to any
concrete solutions, have they.

>The first day of the congress will focus in three parallel panel
>meetings on the main issues. International and German experts and
>civil society representatives will be invited, among others: Elmar
>Altvater, Frangois Chesnais, Susan George, Jvrg Huffschmid, Martin
JCT: Maybe Susan George might mention LETS in passing.

>The second day will integrate the results of the commissions in the
>plenary and try to further process alternatives.
JCT: I haven't actually heard of any alternatives so far.
Especially since there is only one alternative currency system around.

>Prominent figures from social movements from all over the world,
>academics etc. will be invited. We shall try to get personalities
>like Madjiguene Cisse, Vandana Shiva and Eduardo Galeano.
JCT: Invited by who? I asked WEED's Peter Waldow who got to
choose the speakers but he never answered. They're probably all
experts in how bad the problems are or leading critics of the
problems. I'll report if anyone of them suggests any kind of workable

>The congress will be held with simultaneous translation in at least
>English and German.
JCT: That's handy.

>The conference will be held in the High School for Adult Education
>(Volkshochschule) Cologne, Josef Haubrich Hof 2 (near Neumarkt).
> =========================================
>Forum I Migration (17.6)
>Opening plenary Welcome and introduction by Peter Wahl (WEED)
JCT: I wonder if this is the Peter Waldow from WEED who
discouraged Trent Schroyer's presentation, mine and who knows who
else's? I notice he gets a half-hour in the plenary to the whole
group. Maybe this will be my chance to put him on the spot about his
censoring other people's chance to speak.

>(10 - 10:30h):
>Panel 1 "We are here, because you're there"
>10:30 - 12:30
>Discussion with Videoclips
>The biographies of migrants show: The globalised capitalism worsened
>social situations and generates refugees all over the world.
>With: Theophilus E. Osezua (The Voice), Osiris Bayther (Exil-
>Colombian), Peter Kissinger (Germany), representative of Movimento
>dos Sem (Brasil), Ayten Kaplan (Yek Kom).
>Moderator: Oliver Tolmein (Journalist)
JCT: Great. A whole panel to discuss how things are worse. Bet
there won't be many suggestions about how to improve things though I
bet there will be a lot of suggestions on what things need to be
improved upon.

>Panel 2 Deportation violates human rights
>14:00 - 16:00
>Europe turns into a fortress against migrants. Thousands of people
>are in remand pending deportation. But the illegalised and locked up
>don't give up, but organise resistance.
>With: Madjiguhne Cissi (sans papiers), Osaren Igbinoba (Caravan of
>migrants and refugees), representative of SOLATINA, Fatma Bag (Church
>Asylum, Germany), Behshid Najafi (AGISRA).
>Moderator: Mekkonnen Meshgena
JCT: It's doubtful discussing the rough world we live in is going
to contribute anything worthwhile to any practical alternative. We
know the world' unfair. What we want to know is suggestions about what
to do about it.

>Panel 3 Many ways lead to one destination?!
>16:30 - 18:30
>Discussion with all speakers.
>All over the world people defend there dignity and fight for the same
>rights. Do our visions have the power to establish alternatives?
JCT: If their visions don't have any alternatives in mind, no
amount of power will engineer them into reality.

>Forum II Future of labour (17.6.)
>The general task of this Forum is to reconstruct emancipatory
>strategies and social alternatives in the light of the postfordist
>transformations. Particular attention is given to perspectives from
>the South and the East.
JCT: I'm not even sure what this means. Reconstruct sounds like
engineering but re-engineering strategies or re-engineering social
alternatives in the light of "postfordist" transformations sounds
pretty hypothetical. Still, someone might conclude they need a better
currency system and even conclude know what that system is.

>Panel 1 Beyond labour? Perspectives of the industrialised countries.
>10:30 - 12:30
>With Yann Moulier Boutang (University of Paris), Karl Georg Zinn
>(University Aachen, Germany), Thomas Atzert (Germany) and Christa
>Sonnenfeld (FALZ, Germany).
>Moderation: Mag Wompel (Labour Net Germany)
JCT: So we'll be getting some perspectives. New ways of looking
at the problems, not solving them.

>Panel 2 Beyond labour? Perspectives of the developing countries
>14:00 - 16:00
>With Boris Kagarlitzky (Russia), Farida Akther (UBINIG, Bangla Desh),
>Maria Rojas (Pensamiento proprio, Chile) and Ari Sitas (University of
>Natal, South Africa).
>Moderation: Christa Wichterich (Germany)
JCT: More discussion of new perspectives to look at.

>Panel 3 Ethos, Utopia and labour ideology
>16:30 - 18:30
>With Joachim Beerhorst (IG Metall), Karola Bede (Sigmund-Freud-
>Institute, Germany), Roswitha Scholz (N|rnberg, Germany) and Maurizio
>Moderator: Rudolf Walther (Journalist)
JCT: Utopia needs a utopian currency system and the utopian LETS
timecurrency system is not even allowed on the agenda.

>Forum III (17.6.): For a new economic world order
>Panel 1 Business without frontiers? World trade, Foreign Direct
>Investments and control of TNCs
>14:00 - 16:00
>With regard to the "Millennium Round" of the WTO and the ongoing
>liberalisation and deregulation on trade and investment, alternatives
>of the civil society will be discussed.
>With Sunita Narain (Centre for Science & Environment, India), Ronnie
>Hall (Friends of the Earth International), Jessica Woodroffe (World
>Development Movement, UK), Peter Fuchs (FoE Germany)
>Moderator: Myriam Vander Stichele (SOMO and TNI, Netherlands)
JCT: This should be interesting. I wonder if anyone will have any
alternatives to suggest or if it's going to be another series of
suggestions of what needs to be done and none on how to do it.

>Panel 2 Regulating the financial markets
>10:30 - 12:30
>In the last decade, the international finance markets were the main
>catalyst of globalisation. Any politics seem to be dependent from the
>power of capital. Will we be able to turn the tide? Which strategies,
>which instruments are necessary for a change?
>With Frangois Chesnais (University of Paris, France), Suzanne de
>Brunhoff (CNRS, France), Jvrg Huffschmid (University of Bremen,
>Germany), Kevin Watkins (Oxfam international, UK).
>Moderator: Martina Metzger (University of Berlin, Germany)
JCT: Regulating the financiers? Dream on. How do they expect to
regulate a system which is unherently unfair, which takes from the
poor to pay the rich without an alternative currency system in mind?

>Panel 3 (Re)Regulation of the world economic system - Democratic
>alternatives to the neoliberal world order
>16:30 - 18:30
>Is there a new order which can replace neoliberalism? A new
>architecture of the world economy and the international system will
>be discussed.
>With Candido Grzbowski (ibase, Brasil), Alain Lipietz (CEPREMAP,
>France), Ed Mayo (New Economics Foundation, London), Susan George
>(Author, France).
>Moderator: Peter Wahl (WEED)
JCT: I wonder what kind of new "architecture" these non-technical
people are going to propose. I'll make sure to attend this one. And
Peter's moderating. Should be some fireworks here if not at the

>Final discussion: Beyond Neo-Keynesianism
>With Jean-Pierre Leroy (FASE, Brasilien), Vandana Shiva (Alternative
>Nobel Prize winner, India), Michel Chossudovsky (University of
>Ottawa, Canada), Ralf F|cks (Heinrich-Bvll-Foundation)
>Moderator: Uli Brand (BUKO, Germany).
JCT: Beyond Neo-Keynesianism sounds like economists discussing
the wish list of the way things ought to be if not how to engineer
them that way.

>Plenary on the Final Day (18.6.)
>Orientation: Elmar Altvater (University of Berlin, Germany)
>Panel 1 Back to the future? Perspectives of neo-keynesian Reform-
JCT: Oh great, More new ways of looking at the problem. Doesn't
sound like there's going to much discussion of how to engineer those

>10:30 - 12:30
>With Yann Moulier Boutang (Uni Paris), Ariel Salleh (University of
>Sydney), Nicola Bullard (Focus on the Global South, Thailand), Detlev
>Hartmann (no men is illegal Germany)
>Moderation: Andrea Nahles
JCT: I don't know what this one is going be about but it might be
a different way of "focusing" on the problems.

>Panel 2 Change comes bottom-up. New strategies and players?
>14:00 - 16:00
>With Boris Kagarlitzky (Russia), Brian Ashley (Alternatives
>Informations and Development Center, South Africa), representative of
>EZLN (Mexico), Viraj Mendis (organisation of unemployed people).
JCT: Reports from around the world show that LETS is certainly
changing things from the bottom up. I wonder if anyone's going to
mention it or if this is going to be another wish list of how things
should be?

>Panel 3 It is not enough to interprete the world - ways, strategies
>and alliances
>17:30 - 19:00
>With Martin Khor (Third World Network, Malaysia), Frieder Otto Wolf
>(member of the European Parliament, Germany), Farida Akhter (Bangla
>Moderator: Christa M|ller (Germany)
JCT: New interpretations. Probably not much to do with
engineering a solution here.

>Final discussion: Perspectives of a democratic world order with
>social justice and sound environment 20:00 - 21:30
JCT: More looking at different perspectives.

>Final discussion:
>20:00 - 21:30
>With Michel Chossudovsky (Canada), Madjiguhne Cissi (Sans papiers,
>France), NN (Serbian Peace Movement) and Andres Buro (German Peace
>Movement, Germany)
>Moderation: NN ( physicians against nuclear war)
JCT: So far, it seems like a conference of voyeurs. Look at the
problems this way, look at the problems that way. Looking, looking,
looking is not going to engineer, engineer, engineer a solution.

JCT: In their original program, they had slated:
>With Noam Chomsky (MIT, USA)
JCT: But it doesn't look like he's still on the agenda. Too bad.
I don't think anyone has detailed the workings of genocidal slavery
mechanism imposed on us by the money masters of the world better than
Noam Chomsky but sadly, nowhere in his many wonderful books in my
library has he ever evinced any understanding of how the money system
is the impulse behind it all.

>Dear friends,
>the preparations for the alternative summit events in Cologne, June
>99, are entering their final stage.
>There will be an international alternative conference from 17th to
>18th of June, organised by an alliance of German organisations. The
>project is co-ordinated by WEED.
JCT: WEED did a lot more than co-ordinate the conference. WEED
controlled all discussion and discouraged participation of several US
speakers and myself. And who knows who else. If they could shut out
prominent speakers like Trent Schroyer, the 1990 and 1997 TOES
organizer, they were capable of shutting out the little guys like me.
They should have stuck to co-ordinating and not controlling the

>On our Website you find the programme <prog_e.htm>, a registration
>form <regform_g7.htm> as well as practical hints for accommodation
>Apart from the conference there will be a symposium on globalisation
>and a hearing on women's labour under the conditions of globalisation
>on the 16th of June.
>On the 19th of June the Jubilee 2000 campaign is organising a human
>chain with several ten thousands of people.
JCT: These chains are always fun and inspiring if only to realize
that many people object to the debt problems of the Third World. One
would think they would be an eager audience for information about
solving their own debt problems but it's been harder than I'd ever
have anticipated to get them interested in a solution to the whole
world's debt problem instead of only those of the poorest nations.

>The alternative events will end in a big mass demonstration in the
>afternoon of the 19th of June. In the light of the war in Yugoslavia,
>the demonstration will contain a strong peace component.
>We also try to create the conditions to hold two or three informal
>meetings for networking and strategy discussions on Saturday morning
>the 19th. For further information contact WEED.
JCT: Networking and strategy discussions to accomplish what? New
perspectives? New ways of looking at things? New ways of complaining
about them?

>June 16th
>SYMPOSIUM "Alternatives to the Globalised Economy"
>09.00 h 16.00 h
>Organised by: Diverse Women for Diversity (India), International
>Society for ecology and culture (UK), Comittee "Resistance to the
>MAI" (Germany), Archive Women for Peace "Fasia Jansen" (Germany)
>Simultaneous translation German/English
>Venue: Forum der Volkshochschule, Josef Haubrich Hof 2; 50677 Kvln
>Contact: Maria Mies, Tel +49-221-135249 Fax:+49-221-1391737
>e-mail: mm...@compuserve.com
JCT: Sure MAI is an evil device for enslaving the world's peoples
to corporate control but complaining about it is only mildly useful.
Joining a LETS currency "financial life-boat" and opting out of their
financial slaveshiop is the only way to really escape their chains.
Even if successful at evading this set of chains, the corporate
intent is there and the corporations will eventually get what they
want. They always have. The only way to really beat them is to opt out
of their financial system and set up our own.

>Hearing "Call Girls of the Global Market Violations of Economic and
>Social Rights in Work and Private Life of Women"
>17.00 h 21.00 h
>Organised by: German NGO Women's Forum
>Simultaneous translation German/English
>Venue: Forum der Volkshochschule, Josef Haubrich Hof 2; 50677 Kvln
>Contact: Beate Schmidt-Behlau, Tel +49-228-9102417; Fax +49-228-
>9102466 e-mail: a.be...@bonn.comlink.apc.org
JCT: I have no objections to call girls because even ugly guys
should be able to experience sex but once we have a global LETS, no
one will have to sell themselves for money ever again unless they want

>June 17th
>Alternative International Summit Conference
>10.00 h 21.00 h
>Organised by: Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), medico
>international, Heinrich-Bvll-Foundation, JUSOS (Youth Organisations
>of the Socialdemocratic Party), Federal Congress of Development
>Action Groups (BUKO), Information Centre on Latin America (ila),
>International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, German
>Affiliate/"South-North" Working Group, Oxfam Germany, Network "no one
>is illegal", WEED. Conference co-ordinator: WEED
>Simultaneous translation German/English
>Venue: Forum der Volkshochschule, Josef Haubrich Hof 2; 50677 Kvln
>Contact: WEED, Peter Waldow, Tel +49-228-766130; Fax +49-228-696470
>e-mail: we...@weedbonn.org <mailto:we...@weedbonn.org>
JCT: I think I'll track down their email addresses and send them
a complaint about WEED's censorial control of this year's agenda.
Maybe they won't be so happy being associated with such a disreputable

>June 18th
>10.00 h 21.00 h
>Continuation Alternative International Summit Conference
>16.00 h
>Start of the official G-7 summit
>Contact: see official homepage of the federal government:
>www.G8Koeln.de <http://www.G8Koeln.de>
>June 19th
>Closing of the Human Chain for debt relief of the poor countries
>14.00 h 14.15 h
>Organised by: Jubilee 2000 Campaign
>Contact: Erla_jahr 2000 (German branch of Jubilee 2000);Tel +49-2241-
>591226; Fax +49-2241-591227; e-mail: bu...@erlassjahr2000.de
>Start of Mass Demonstration
>14.15 h
>Organised by: B|ndnis Kvln 99 (Alliance Cologne 99)
>Contact: Office of the Alliance Tel:+49-221-5102735 or 9520008;
>Fax: +49-221-9520077; e-mail: koe...@gmx.net
JCT: A mass demonstration for what solution? It'll probably end
up as a mass demonstration against... the problems.

>Final Rally of Mass Demonstration
>16.30 h 17.30 h
>Organised by: B|ndnis Kvln 99 (Alliance Cologne 99)
JCT: I guess this sounds like a pretty bitter attack on TOES. And
I am bitter. But it's not against TOES. It's against the censorship
imposed on the agenda. As Trent Schroyer suggested, TOES should be an
open forum for all who wish to present alternatives and we shouldn't
need WEED's approbation to participate. In most past TOES conferences,
even though panels were people blowing hot air on the problems, there
was usually a LETS panel where people could spread word of the
solution. Without discussion of the LETS solution, I find little
worthwhile in the agenda to discuss the problems, as you notice.
Still, I'll find someway to raise the issue of the LETS solution
at every opportunity. And I hope to shame the WEED organizers who
censored other presentations. I doubt many participants are even aware
of WEED's censorship activities but I'll make sure they all find out.

John C. "The Engineer" Turmel, Founder, Abolitionist Party of Canada
915-2045 Carling Ave., Ottawa, K2A 1G5, Tel/Fax: 613-728-2196
LETS Abolish Interest Rates http://www.cyberclass.net/turmel
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