A Global Declaration: 330 Organizations Rally Against IMF Policies
The United Nations designates October 17 as the World Day Against Poverty, with this year's focus on "Decent Work and Social Protection: Realizing Human Dignity for All."
In Turkey, over half the population, 51.6 million citizens, live below the poverty line, a stark violation of human rights exacerbated by the economic strategies of the AKP government.
Yesterday, Vice President Cevdet Yılmaz, in presenting the 2024 budget, hinted at a challenging year ahead.
In fact, on the World Day Against Poverty, devoted to dignified employment, Turkish citizens learned from the highest authority that unemployment is set to rise, not abate.
This stems from the new economic administration, which, despite claiming to rescue the faltering economy, is embracing IMF policies based on austerity.
These austerity measures, voluntarily implemented by Yılmaz, Treasury and Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek, and Central Bank Governor Hafize Gaye Erkan, come without explicit endorsement or signatures, aiming to eradicate budget deficits by curtailing spending and increasing taxes. The consequence of such policies, imposed on impoverished, highly indebted nations, is amplified unemployment and deepening poverty.
Today, more than six billion people worldwide grapple with the repercussions of the IMF's adherence to neoliberal economic doctrines.
Following the IMF's annual meetings in Marrakesh, Morocco, an intriguing declaration emerged.
It was issued by 330 non-governmental organizations, academics, activists, and economists from various corners of the globe.
The declaration, shared by Professor Dr Erinç Yeldan from Turkey, bore an intriguing title: "End Austerity."
Preserve Social Programs!
Within the declaration, appeals were directed to the IMF, governments, and finance ministers:
- Cease the reduction of vital budgets for social safety nets, education, healthcare, public transportation, housing, and other social initiatives.
- Put an end to wage reductions, especially in the recruitment and compensation of teachers, healthcare and social workers, and local public servants.
- Stop the reduction of subsidies that aid households.
- Terminate pension and social security reforms that lead to diminished benefits, ensuring systems remain equitable and sustainable.
- Refrain from diminishing employers' contributions to social security.
- Stop labour flexibilization reforms.
- Stop privatization and public-private partnerships in socially critical domains, often camouflaged as "State-owned enterprise reforms."
- Stop other budgetary reductions or reforms with detrimental social consequences, particularly for women.
- Transparency, consensus, and political determination are paramount. Decisions impacting millions cannot be made clandestinely within finance ministries.
- They must be deliberated transparently in national social dialogues. That entails governments negotiating accords with input from diverse stakeholders, including representative trade unions, employers' federations, and civil society, as a facet of good governance.
- Instead of increasing the cost of essential goods and services, reducing household income, and stifling economic activity, governments should impose taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations, including the financial sector.
The demands outlined in this declaration underscore the global scale of the issue. The fight to uphold the principles of the welfare state resonates worldwide.
Workers, the underprivileged, the marginalized. In essence, true prosperity can only materialize when workers worldwide unite!