From the Czech Republic: Why we organise against the IMF


The Czech anarchist organisation Solidarita/Organisation of Revolutionary Anarchists is working as part of INPEG, the Czech alliance organising the protests in Prague this September. In October one of their members will be speaking in Ireland about these protests. Vadim Barek, Solidarita's international secretary explains what the IMF means to workers in the Czech republic and why they are organising against the summit.

The elite of global capitalism will come together in Prague to plan our planet's and its working-class inhabitants exploitation for the next century. The whole event will cost Czech taxpayers about 22,500,000 dollars. A 70 million dollar loan has also been taken to reconstruct the Congress venue for the financiers needs. Their security will be provided by 11,000 cops armed to their teeth. The preparation of the state repression against opponents of capitalist globalisation has swallowed up all the states budget reserve of 3.5 million dollars.

IMF/WB and Czech Republic

In 1990 the then Czechoslovak government took a loan from the IMF of 3.9 billion dollars. In turn the government promised to liberalise and restructure the economy. The EU has pressured Czech governments to take loans from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development under the same conditions.

Now 10 years later the results are clear. Since 1989 working-class families' real incomes have dropped by 13% (farmers by 28%). In 1997 the value of basic social benefits [education, healthcare, housing] had fallen 44% - their share of GDP has dropped from 2.7% (1991) to 1.7% (1998). Purchasing power of pensions is 10% lower than before the 'Velvet Revolution'. The real value of the minimum wage has decreased by 60% since 1991.

Unemployment has grown to 9% (in some regions it has reached 20%) and about 130,000 workers do not receive their wages [In all the former East Block countries companies in trouble save money by not paying wages for months at a time]. Privatisation of the Czech railways is going to take the jobs of some 10,000 railway workers. Recently the World Bank (WB) has used its share in Nova Hut steel works to prevent the creation of a possibly viable steel consortium of the largest Northern-Moravian steel plants. Steel workers already have problems with receiving their wages and during the next few years about 20,000 of them may lose their jobs.

The Globalisation of resistance

This is why ORA-Solidarita together with other anarchist, environmentalist and socialist groups is taking part in the preparations for international protests against IMF/WB. These will culminate in a Day of Action on September 26th. Opponents of globalisation will try to make the IMF/WB summit impossible in the same way that a coalition of trade unionists, environmentalists, human rights activists and anarchists obstructed the WTO conference in Seattle last year.

During our activity in workplace struggles (like in the engineering factories Zetor, Kralovopolska, CKD DSÉ) we are trying to put the everyday problems of workers in the context of IMF/WB policy. We make information stalls in front of factories and in the streets. We agitate among workers. We put both direct and indirect pressure on Czech union confederations to take part in the protests.

But the resistance against a multinational capital has to be multinational too. That is why we organised actions of solidarity with protests in Seattle and to highlight globalisation of the resistance movement.

Freedom, Self-Management, Socialism!

Contrary to some Czech environmentalists and stalinists, ORA-Solidarita does not believe, that the IMF/WB can be reformed in some way to reduce world poverty and exploitation. They are key institutions of the global capitalist system whose purpose is the accumulation of profits. As such the institutions are only important to multinational capital if they are maximising its profits (and thus the exploitation of the global working class).

We do not seek a return to a national capitalism's protectionism. This meant the same exploitation for workers and it gave birth to neo-liberalism. Contrary to Trotskyists we do not call for the creation of "workers' states" and the replacement of the IMF/WB by a "Development Bank". This only leads towards a globalisation of totalitarian state capitalism, which we - in the Eastern Bloc &endash; overcame in 1989.

The cause of a today's worldwide misery is capitalism in all its forms and that is why it has to be dismantled. Revolutionary Anarchists fight for a genuine socialism based on freedom and workers' self-management. Socialism means a society and economy organised from the bottom up for a fulfilment of human needs and not for an accumulation of profits for a few. Socialism thus can be created only by a global revolutionary anti-capitalist movement of the working class. That is why the ORA-Solidarita supports and instigates both national and international unification of social resistance movements and fights for their libertarian and revolutionary character.

This article is from Workers Solidarity 60 - September 2000

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