by Yanis Iqbal
Writer, Dandelion Salad
June 14, 2021
The 2021 summit of the Group of Seven (G7) – lasting from June 11 to 13 – was held at Cornwall, a south-west England holiday destination. Bland globalism and insipid liberalism dominated the agenda on both pandemic and climate change. “Carbis Bay Declaration”– intended as a statement on the health situation – asserted that the “G7 is uniquely well-placed to lead global efforts in pandemic prevention – the group is home to two-thirds of the world’s pharmaceutical market and the four coronavirus vaccines licensed for use in the UK were all developed in G7 nations (the UK, US and Germany).” The concentration of medical resources in a few rich nations is not a thing to be proud of. In fact, this monopolist pattern has manifested itself in vaccine imperialism – the unequal distribution of COVID-19 vaccines on economic lines. Instead of facilitating a substantive dialogue over the suspension of intellectual property rights related to COVID-19, G7 nations have been content to make measly donation pledges, treating the poorer nations as passive subjects of philanthropy.
“The New Atlantic Charter” – proposed by US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as an updated version of the World War II-era “Atlantic Charter” – says: “we commit to continue building an inclusive, fair, climate-friendly, sustainable, rules-based global economy for the 21st century…the world has reached a critical point where it must act urgently and ambitiously to tackle the climate crisis, protect biodiversity, and sustain nature. Our countries will prioritise these issues in all our international action.” This vague statement has translated into the absence of any action aimed at ending the environmental catastrophe. According to an article published in “The Conversation”, 51% of the G7’s COVID-19 economic recovery fund – amounting to $189 billion – paid between January 2020 and March 2021 was allocated as financial aid for the fossil fuel industry. Further, $8 of every $10 dedicated to non-renewable energy was paid with no conditions on these companies to reduce their emissions. Understandably, hundreds of environmental protesters took to the Cornish seaside in a bid to wake up their insensitive rulers.
Why does the G7 take a reactionary stance on the pressing issues of our times? The answer to this may be found in the origins of the organization. In the words of Jason Hickel, “The thing about the G7 is that they are basically a mafia of imperialist powers who dominate global arms sales, habitually coup progressive governments in the South, prop up right-wing dictatorships, and are responsible for 77% of excess emissions. It doesn’t exactly inspire trust.” On November 15, 1975, the leaders of the newly formed G7 met at Chateau de Rambouillet, the French President’s summer residence located thirty miles southwest of Paris. The G7 had formed two years earlier when George Schultz, then US Treasury Secretary, had invited his counterparts from France, UK, and West Germany to calibrate economic policy among the allies.
American President Gerald Ford opened the Rambouillet discussion with a plea to the leaders “to ensure that the current world economic situation is not seen as a crisis in the democratic or capitalist system.” Ford’s concerns about the legitimacy of capitalism were intimately linked to a strong Third World Movement, which had turned the UN General Assembly into a veritable forum for airing the grievances of the Global South. The audacious New International Economic Organization (NIEO) document – a proposal for restructuring the global economy in a more democratic and equitable fashion for South development – and the defiant 1967 and 1973 oil embargos by member nations of the Organization of Petroleum Countries (OPEC) had greatly perturbed the Global North. The Atlantic world – under the de facto intellectual tutelage of Henry Kissinger – used G7 as a means to discuss and design a counter-attack to the challenges from the South.
The result was a series of multi-pronged shenanigans: takeover of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), conversion of the UN Security Council into a mere executive appendage of the UN, disruption of the fragile unity between the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the OPEC, and the ejection of Keynesians and developmentalists from international bodies like the UN, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank (WB). Actions on the diplomatic and policy front went hand in hand with assaults on anti-imperialist governments in the South. Four revolutions in the late 1970s – Angola, Afghanistan, Iran, and Nicaragua – forced aggressive militarism out of the woodwork, and all UN discussions became subordinated to the arms of the Global North.
After the fall of the USSR and collapse of the Third World Project, G7 became an integral component of the US-led international order. In line with the wishes of the financial oligarchy, the group leaves no stone unturned in ensuring that the Southern countries carry out financial liberalization, privatization, deregulated marketization, and free exchange in capital projects so as to facilitate inward and outward flows of globally mobile “hot money.” While G7 acts as a coordination platform for major powers, the IMF, the WB, and the World Trade Organization (WTO) serve as functional bodies for the execution of agreed policies. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) militarily underpins this politico-economic alliance, thus providing a security shield to the developed countries. As is evident, G7 promotes a highly uneven and undemocratic system. It represents only 10% of the world’s population yet enjoys disproportionate influence over world affairs. Blind to the plight of the impoverished masses, it keeps issuing imperialist declarations – and the world is merely called upon to support them. The current summit is another instance of this unwanted exercise.
Yanis Iqbal is a student and freelance writer based in Aligarh, India and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously published at Eurasia Review, June 14, 2021
[DS added the video report]
G7 summit: Protesters demand world leaders take action on vaccine sharing, climate change
Global News on Jun 11, 2021
From blimps of U.S. President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to activists dressed in Pikachu costumes, hundreds of protesters have targeted the G7 summit in southwest England to demand action on the climate, poverty and COVID-19 vaccine sharing.
As leaders of some of the world’s richest nations gather in Cornwall, U.K. for the three-day summit, so have dozens of campaign groups that want to court publicity for their causes and send a message to the Western political elite.
From the archives:
David Swanson: We Can’t Save the Climate Without Ending War
How the Pandemic Laid Bare the Cruelty of Capitalism, by Kenn Orphan
Begging For A Vaccine, by Sharon Black + Cuba and COVID 19 Public Health, Science and Solidarity
When the power structure in the imperialist world resides first in how money itself comes into existence – by declaration of the imperialist – then it makes damned little sense to talk about how that stuff is spent instead of money systems and the very definition of money and the structure of how it is implemented.
The tax structures in imperialist societies have always been such that the lower classes are taxed in the form of the imposed monetary unit that the imperialist creates ahead of and apart from the activity of the populace. This mandate that the taxes must be in the form of the imposed monetary unit that only the imperial overlord can create, as opposed to ‘in kind’ contributions of people to the social good, means that the labor and resources are at the whim of the overlord to control and direct.
But it is important to know the order of things. It is the illiterate and illegitimate claim over money creation itself that pays the soldiers before ANY tax is collected!
The self declared imperialist ‘sovereign authority’ to spend and then tax is a trap by which The People are ensnared into militarism they do not want. An ancient strategy called out by David Graeber in his book “Debt: The First 5000 Years.” Simple plan really – government declares its supreme authority to issue currency and first spends it into existence on the military. Then the self proclaimed authoritarian government (same self declared nonsense as the Divine Right Of Kings but disguised under the façade of ‘free and fair elections’) declares that The People must pay a tax with the ‘coin of the realm’ that the government first spent into existence with the military. (Yes, that very military industrial complex – the MIC – Eisenhower warned against.) And, wham, The People must do business with the MIC. The military needs to be fed, clothed, housed, outfitted, etc.
The soldiers are the ones at the head of the pay line of the asinine imperialist power structure. Without the soldiers the imperialist has no one to kick ass for them. From there it becomes an easy control mechanism to get the populace to support the military even if they do not want war. The feudal lord simply paid the soldiers and military folk in the coin of the realm, and the populace would then have to ‘do business’ with the ‘military complex’ (or get their asses kicked by them) in order to obtain the necessary coinage to pay taxes. There is nothing substantially different in our present system.
It is precisely the framework of the operating system of authoritarian control over the creation of the economic unit that precludes democracy and peace.
That then compels us all to look at the history of the asinine notion that some ‘authority’ exists that must create the acCounting unit ahead of and apart from the genuine economic activity that these units will be used to represent. It is acceptance by the populace of the assertion of that kind of authoritarian control over the very creation of the unit of acCount (a long history presented by Graeber and others) that leaves the populace helplessly and hopelessly at war. If we are going to stop the war mongering then We The People must stop whining about the misuse of this illiterate power to create the acCounting unit by the imperialist and define the thing called money in a logical manner according to its acCounting/annotation/record keeping function. We are at a place where we must acquire monetary literacy and establish a rational system as opposed to attempting some kind of behavior modification within a system that is completely irrational and illiterate! The symbols we use to represent the units of value embodied in genuine things of value cannot also BE the value itself! The populace is still not differentiating between abstract representation and the real stuff that is represented in the abstract units! https://www.moneytransparency.com/msta-resolutions
Buckminster Fuller has already told us about this:
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
A Systems Engineering Approach to Formal Monetary and Financial Stability Without the Vagaries of “Austerity” * https://mrcenter.info/Doc/ConferencePapers/2020/MRC%202020%20A%20systems%20approach%20to%20money_4122020%20rev2_17.01.2021.pdf
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‘uniquely well placed to lead’
Surely they jest.
We don’t have ‘leaders’ we have corporate lap dogs.
We haven’t had a leader since Mohandas Ghandi.
And before him, probably never.
It’s a wonder we didn’t self destruct much earlier in our history.
Does the G stand for greed?