GUIDE TO WORLD
- and their acronyms
It's not just the IMF and the
Call us paranoid, but one of the key weapons
used by those at the top against the rest seems to be boredom.
They deliberately make their institutions sound so dull no sane
person would want to read about them. Just seeing the name Organisation
for Economic Co-operation and Development is enough to send anyone
Acronyms are part of this plot. Just think,
if asylum seekers renamed themselves TMPs (transnational migratory
persons) they might get left alone by Britain's institutionally
racist press. Nowadays reading an article on international politics
is akin to a trip through the human genome: IMF, TABD, WTO, NAFTA,
IBRD, IFC, ERT, TRIPs (okay, that one's funny), UNEP, G-7, ILO,
OECD, UNHCR, NATO, OSCE...
It wouldn't be so bad if these bodies and treaties
were politically irrelevant - sports societies, perhaps, or flu-like
diseases (I'm sorry Mrs Jones, I think youčre coming down with
a nasty case of WTO). But unfortunately for anyone interested
in the way the world works, they are important. Each has a specific
role to play in keeping the march of the global economy onwards.
If that isn't incentive enough to read about these organisations
just try thinking of the western elite as Mr Garrison and the
IMF as Mr Hat. Which makes the folks in Prague the kids from South
G7/G8 (Group of 7/8)
The G8 is the 'Group of 8' industrialised nations:
the USA, Britain, Japan, France, Canada, Italy, Germany and, since
the fall of communism, Russia. Given Russia's poor economy, the
cabal is often still referred to as the G7. This is where serious
discussion and economic policy-making takes place, and its influence
spreads throughout all the major international bodies.
Now this one's really naughty. The World Trade
Organisation's main aim is to eliminate 'barriers to trade'. It
might be easier to think of barriers to trade as barriers to profits.
These can include decent worker's rights, environmental standards,
and human rights concerns. National laws can be overturned if
they interfere with a corporation's divine right to make money.
OECD (too long to fit!)
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development is 'Diet WTO'. It pushes free trade and economic liberalisation,
but lacks enforcement powers. Most of its members are in the rich
North, but some lucky industrialised outsiders such as Mexico
and South Korea have been invited in. It is most notorious for
developing the MAI, which acronym lovers can read about below.
WEF (World Economic Forum)
In their own words the World Economic Forum is
'an independent, impartial, non-profit foundation which acts in
the spirit of entrepeneurship in the global public interest to
further economic growth and social progress'. Nothing dodgy there,
then. They're a network of corporate bosses, top politicians,
academics and media moguls exchanging information and formulating
policy in the interests of, well, themselves, really, and accountable
to no one.
UN Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is intended
to maintain international peace and security. There are five permanent
members - the USA, United Kingdom, France, Russia and China. Ten
elected members also sit on the Council. They pass resolutions
that can be vetoed by any permanent member and ignored by US allies
such as Israel. The security council can order military action.
Atlantic Treaty Organisation)
The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is a military
alliance linking Western Europe with the US. A cold war institution,
it now provides a living for arms dealers (as new members from
Eastern Europe have agreed to increase their military spending).
This is useful for the US as an alternative route for action when
a UN security council member would otherwise block it, as happened
OSCE (another silly long one)
Now we're getting obscure. Organisation for Security
and Co-operation in Europe. This is essentially NATO (see above)
minus the US. NATO-lite - when a less gung-ho approach to military
affairs is needed. Rarely used.
MAI (and again)
The Multilateral Agreement on Investments would
have given multinational companies supremacy over governments
in international law. 'Barriers to trade' could be challenged
directly by them, instead of their host nations through the WTO.
There were too many shocking aspects to list. Thankfully it was
defeated after massive protest.
ICC (International Chamber
The International Chamber of Commerce is little
known, but extremely influential. In brief terms, it is a collective
lobbying body made up of corporations that are powerful in their
own right. Their stamp is all over the policies of the institutions
already mentioned, and they even wrote large chunks of the draft
TABD (Transatlantic Business
Business leaders seem to spend all their time
knocking up text for international economic institutions to regurgitate.
The Transatlantic Business Dialogue is another forum for this,
this time a group of US and European corporate representatives.
ERT (European Round Table)
Business leaders of Europe.
The European Round Table of Industrialists write and put forward
ideas that become European Union legislation. An example of which
was their blueprint for a trans-european road network. This road
network is now EU policy.
Taken from 'Financial Crimes', produced by
Reclaim the Streets for September 26th and beyond