YOUNGER DEMOCRATIC VOTERS----PLEASE KNOW THAT BILL AND HILLARY CLINTON LOOKED JUST AS HIP AND CHARMING AS TODAY'S JOSHUA HARRIS OR TULSI GABBARD AS THEY PRETENDED TO BE SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC VERSIONS OF REAGAN'S WALL STREET GLOBAL NEO-LIBERALISM------DON'T FALL FOR THE FARM TEAM---MOVING TOWARDS FAR-RIGHT LIBERTARIAN MARXISM.
I shared a video of a bank robbery with the layers of security and actions behind securing a bank. When World Bank and IMF come into a nation brought to bankruptcy by the same thing happening today in the US-----the rich through fraud and corruption centralizes all the nations' wealth to the 1% and their 2%----its job is to secure all that nation's wealth to assure the revenue gets to those 1% and their 2%. When this occurs all kinds of financial hardships occur making 99% of citizens angry and ready to fight---we have seen media for decades from Latin America----Asia----Africa where this has occurred and it is never done IN PUBLIC INTEREST. So, Baltimore City as a US Foreign Economic Zone brought to bankruptcy from all the municipal and US Treasury bond fraud-----will have a World Bank and/or IMF come in to ADMINISTER our government revenue to see that these bond deals make it to the global 1% -----
First let's review what our Congress passed in 2010 to MOVE FORWARD with global banking getting 'BAILED OUT' with our personal and government revenue/assets. Remember, in Spain and Greece -----they had those PUBLIC BANKS------and that made it easier to confiscate so what was good left-leaning policy when social Democrats had control of the Democratic Party is not good public policy under far-right wing Wall Street CLINTON/OBAMA neo-liberals or Republicans.
REPUBLICANS VOTED FOR THESE WALL STREET CONFISCATION POLICIES AS WELL BECAUSE THEY ARE WEALTH AND CORPORATE POWER. THESE ARTICLE FROM THE RIGHT MEDIA ALWAYS POINT TO A CLINTON/OBAMA NEO-LIBERAL WHILE NEVER MENTIONING THESE ARE ALL RIGHT -WING POLICIES.
'A circular cage is being built through which you will be taxed when you earn your money, spend your money, invest your money, and possibly (very soon) save your money'.
Shocking Declaration By Obama And World Leaders: Your Bank Account Isn’t Yours
Get ready in the near future to pay the bank a fee, and the government a tax, just for the honor of having a high-risk bank account that pays you nothing.
by Craig R. Smith and Lowell Ponte April 14, 2015 at 11:41am
This article is sponsored by one of our valued partners, Swiss America.
4.14.15 – Last November in Brisbane, Australia, President Obama agreed with G-20 global economic leaders that you no longer own your bank accounts. The United States now regards your bank account as an asset that, in effect, belongs to your bank and can be seized by the government to pay bank debts and obligations.
As we document in Don’t Bank On It! The Unsafe World of 21st Century Banking, the bank we used to trust to safeguard our money has become one of the riskiest places to put it.
A precedent was set for seizing bank accounts under the “bail in” doctrine in Cyprus, where people awoke one March 2013 morning to find their banks locked and ATM access to their accounts shut down. President Obama has embraced such bail ins.
Now, we have a similar new legal precedent being set in Australia for taxing your bank accounts….for your protection, of course. America might quickly adopt this, too.
A circular cage is being built through which you will be taxed when you earn your money, spend your money, invest your money, and possibly (very soon) save your money.
You are already losing money every day that you have a bank account paying less in interest than you are losing to inflation, a deceptive form of taxation.
Get ready in the near future to pay the bank a fee, and the government a tax, just for the honor of having a high-risk bank account that pays you nothing.
Taxing Bank Deposits
Near-zero bank interest has meant near-zero taxes on our savings – until now.
A new political scheme to tax bank accounts, according to the Australian Financial Review, might be locked in place in Australian banks as soon as January 1, 2016. [1-4] This could quickly be copied by other tax-hungry welfare states, including ours.
This bank deposit tax will likely begin at a low percentage, to create a legal precedent; but it is expected to grow rapidly, as the income tax did in the United States.
Like many modern taxes, this planned tax on bank accounts is being framed as a tax on the banks, not on individual customers. Its cost, however, will be passed on to depositors in the form of higher fees or lower interest paid on their accounts.
This tax on bank deposits is projected from its start to raise around $500 million each year, purportedly for a “Financial Stabilization Fund” to help protect banks from collapse in future financial crises.
In the United States, such designated taxes are often diverted to fund other politician wishes. Hundreds of billions in gasoline taxes went to the Highway Trust Fund, then was shifted elsewhere by the same politicians who complain that “our highway infrastructure urgently needs more spending.” Such politicians even looted $2.66 trillion from the Social Security trust fund, leaving behind only I.O.U.s that must be paid for with ever-heavier taxes on future generations or the denial of benefits to today’s older generations.
Truth be told, our spendaholic politicians loot whatever pools of public or private money they can grab to pay for their out-of-control spending addiction.
Escaping the Cage
In Washington, D.C., politicians now talk enthusiastically about imposing a national European-style sales tax, an easily-increased Value-Added Tax (VAT) to soak both companies and consumers.
If you invest what little money you have left after paying all your other taxes, get ready to pay capital gains taxes, which the current Administration aims to increase.
One thing Americans could do tax-free was to save their remaining money in the bank….but not for much longer, as we explain in our latest book, Don’t Bank On It!.
We owe taxes on interest the bank pays us, of course; but nowadays, banks pay almost zero – the result of a deliberate Federal Reserve policy that economists call “financial repression,” being used to herd Americans into riskier investments such as stocks.
Our banks may soon be imitating Europe, where savers are beginning to be paid less than zero – “negative interest rates” – on their accounts. Depositors instead have to pay their bank for the honor of lending it their money, interest-free.
On November 16, 2014, President Barack Obama at the Brisbane, Australia meeting of the G-20 global economic powers agreed to a new financial doctrine called the “bail in.” We explained and documented in detail what happened there in a free After The G20 White Paper.
In October 2014, Americans were shocked to read The New York Times investigation “Law Lets I.R.S. Seize Accounts on Suspicion, No Crime Required,” using a law that lets government confiscate the bank accounts of those who deposit or withdraw even relatively small amounts of cash.
This is enough under today’s law for the Internal Revenue Service to expropriate someone’s bank account, based merely on their using cash as criminals might do, even if no actual crime has been committed. This is just another sinister way government could confiscate your bank accounts in the future.
Is it any wonder why so many people are turning to smarter, safer, and more secure ways of protecting their money?
We were taught that thrift is good, but real thrift now means freeing your savings from today’s banks. Don’t Bank On It! and our newest free White Paper The Biggest Bank Heist In History will show you how to escape the tax cage being built by politicians to snare you and your hard-earned money.
This article is too long to post but it is a great representation of what the World Bank and IMF do around the world in developing nations brought to financial destruction by leaders just as is happening in the US today. The goal is privatizing all that is public----we see this happening through CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA-----but the World Bank and IMF are called to privatize those government assets that citizens know i bad policy. If we watch the national news these few decades we hear of the horrible socialism in Latin America where Venezuela or Bolivia------Argentina-----citizens are rising up to take back what the World Bank and IMF took private decades ago. These nations were attacked by 1% Wall Street creating that extreme wealth and extreme poverty back in the Reagan/Clinton years and today citizens are trying to nationalize utilities to bring wealth back to communities and people.
If US citizens stop to think what that looks like----it simply moves our once public utilities---like BGE back to being a public utility---THAT IS A GOOD THING. IT IS NOT SOCIALIST----it is social democracy to have vital utilities controlled by the public. We are losing all that is public with Obama and Congress privatizing our public schools-----and ending our public health care structures. Since the US has already privatized our railroads----our oil and natural gas-----what is left to privatize? Our US Post Office-----our public schools and universities----our public libraries-----and our public/government buildings, our public water and waste, AND OF COURSE THAT PUBLIC UTILITY CONDUIT UNDER THE CITY. . In Maryland O'Malley moved hard towards this goal in attaching municipal and US Treasury bond debt to much state and local government buildings.
IT IS THE WORLD BANK AND IMF WHICH COMES IN AND SAYS--------PRIVATIZE ALL OF THIS TO PAY THOSE BOND DEBTS -----GET RID OF THOSE PENSIONS----
This is why 1% Wall Street will have a World Bank/IMF branch in our US cities these few decades of moving our public revenue directly to global corporate campus and global factory development. It will take very, very, very high taxes, fees, and fines to meet that 30 year bond deal requirement and these global institutions tell WE THE PEOPLE what changes we will make to meet those demands.
O C C A S I O N A L P A P E R
Fiscal and Macroeconomic Impact
Jeffrey Davis, Rolando Ossowski, Thomas Richardson,
and Steven Barnett
Privatization has been a key element of structural reform in many developing and transition economies during the last decade. Governments undertaking privatization have pursued a variety of objectives: achieving gains in economic efficiency, given the extensive prevalence of poor economic performance of public enterprises in many countries and limited success with their reform; and improving the fiscal position, particularly in cases where governments have been unwilling or unable to continue to finance deficits in the public enterprise sector. In addition, liquidity-constrained governments facing fiscal pressures have sometimes privatized with a view to financing fiscal deficits with the proceeds. Other objectives have included the development of domestic capital markets.
These efforts have been reviewed in a large literature on the microeconomic aspects of privatization that has emphasized the potential efficiency gains. However, there has been less work, particularly of an empirical nature, done on the fiscal and macroeconomic impact of privatization.1 Among the international financial institutions, the World Bank has had the lead role in advising on the design and implementation of the reform of public enterprises, including divestiture. Privatization, however, has important fiscal and macroeconomic implications and is therefore also of interest to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Indeed, privatization has become an important component of programs in a large number of countries.
This paper reviews fiscal and macroeconomic issues in the privatization of nonfinancial public enterprises in developing and transition economies.2 Successive sections of the paper consider the following issues: proceeds from privatization and the factors determining the amount accruing to the budget; uses of the proceeds; empirical evidence on the impact of privatization on the budget and macroeconomic aggregates; and the privatization component of IMF-supported programs. The empirical evidence draws on a series of case study countries selected to be representative of a range of privatization experience in developing and transition economies and to reflect geographical diversity.
Proceeds from privatization have been substantial in a number of developing and transition economies. Gross receipts that can be transferred to the budget are affected by actions prior to sale, the sales process, and the postprivatization regime. Amounts accruing to the budget are found to be less than the sales proceeds as a result of extrabudgetary management and the wide divergence between gross and net receipts.
Among the major conclusions concerning privatization proceeds are the following:
First, off-budget placement of privatization proceeds can lead to limited control and lack of transparency in their use. Extrabudgetary funds should be regulated, with accounts publicly reported, audited, and subject to parliamentary oversight.
Second, privatization transactions should be transparently reported on a gross basis. Costs for restructuring, recapitalization, or writing off public enterprise debt should be recorded as spending financed by the gross proceeds of sale.
Third, privatization is an exchange of assets; the receipts are lumpy, one-off, and uncertain. Thus, privatization proceeds should be treated as a financing item in the fiscal accounts.
Issues for IMF-Supported Programs
The World Bank takes the lead in privatization, but the IMF has cooperated closely with it in this area. Drawing on the Bank's experience and recommendations, a majority of IMF-supported programs in recent years have included some form of conditionality on privatization.
Monitoring of privatization in IMF-supported programs has emphasized conditionality on process and targets. Consistent with the recent emphasis in the World Bank, there is scope for IMF conditionality to give more weight to privatization procedures where these have important fiscal and macroeconomic impact. Similarly, programs should, in some cases, give greater importance to the establishment of an appropriate regulatory environment within which privatized firms operate.
The design of financial programs should include as broad a definition of privatization receipts as possible in the fiscal targets and quantitative performance criteria, and consider the macroeconomic effects in assessing use. Adjusters should address the uncertainty attached to the amount of receipts; in general, higher-than-anticipated receipts should be saved.
Argentina was indeed taken to 1% Wall Street extreme wealth/extreme poverty with global neo-liberalism as this article says----a decade before 2001-----ECONOMIC REFORMS BY WORLD BANK AND IMF -----Argentina has been a brutal, militaristic, authoritarian society during this time----and this is why the US is filled with Latino immigrants trying to escape this. It is not something a 99% would have as a goal---this is only a 1% goal.
So, when the World Bank and IMF are handed control of our US cities deemed Foreign Economic Zones it will DECLARE that Trans Pacific Trade Pact is vital for the recovery of our US cities and will say it has the power to force American cities to install TPP---of course 1% Wall Street global pols have been installing these policies these few decades of CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA.
US citizens then have absolutely no voice in all these global corporate campus decisions----if you think our pols are ignoring us now and systemic fraud and government corruption is out of control-----
WAIT UNTIL THE WORLD BANK AND IMF ARE BROUGHT IN TO CONTROL OUR US CITY FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONE POLICIES.
Here we see Argentina looking just as GREECE does today.
September 2001 - VOLUME 22 - NUMBER 9
B e a r i n g t h e B u r d e n of I M F a n d W o r l d B a n k P o l i c i e s
Against the Workers
How IMF and World Bank Policies
Undermine Labor Power and Rights
By Vincent Lloyd and Robert Weissman
After a decade of economic “reform” along lines advised by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, Argentina has plunged into a desperate economic crisis.
The economy has been contracting for three years, unemployment is shooting up, and the country is on the brink of defaulting on its foreign debt payments.
To avoid default, Argentina has negotiated for a new infusion of foreign funds to pay off the interest on old loans and obligations, and to forestall a pullout by foreign investors.
Traveling down that road took Argentina to the gatekeeper for such loans: the IMF. In August, the IMF agreed to provide a new $8 billion loan for Argentina, intended to forestall default. That followed a nearly $40 billion January bailout package with a $14 billion IMF loan as its centerpiece.
But like the loans Argentina has negotiated with the IMF and World Bank over the last decade — and like all other such loans from the IMF and Bank — the new monies came with conditions.
Among them are requirements that Argentina: promote “labor flexibility” — removing legal protections that inhibit employers from firing workers; revamp its pension system to generate “new savings” by cutting back on benefits for retired workers; slash government worker salaries; privatize financial and energy operations of the government.
These requirements, and others, infuriated the Argentine labor movement, which responded in March with general strikes that stopped economic activity in the country. In August, with the latest loan package, tens of thousands of workers took to the streets in protest.
That the IMF would demand such terms is no surprise. A Multinational Monitor investigation shows that the IMF and World Bank have imposed nearly identical mandates on dozens of countries. Based on reviews of hundreds of loan and project documents from the IMF and World Bank, the Multinational Monitor investigation provides detailed evidentiary support for critics of the international financial institutions who have long claimed they require Third World countries to adopt cookie-cutter policies that harm the interests of working people.
Multinational Monitor reviewed loan documents between the IMF and World Bank and 26 countries. The review shows that the institutions’ loan conditionalities include a variety of provisions that directly undermine labor rights, labor power and tens of millions of workers’ standard of living. These include:
• Civil service downsizing;
• Privatization of government-owned enterprises, with layoffs required in advance of privatization and frequently following privatization;
• Promotion of labor flexibility — regulatory changes to remove restrictions on the ability of government and private employers to fire or lay off workers;
• Mandated wage rate reductions, minimum wage reductions or containment, and spreading the wage gap between government employees and managers; and
• Pension reforms, including privatization, that cut social security benefits for workers.
The IMF and Bank say these policies may inflict some short-term pain, but are necessary to create the conditions for long-term growth and job creation.
Critics respond that the measures inflict needless suffering, worsen poverty and actually undermine prospects for economic growth. The policies reflect, they say, a bias against labor, and in favor of corporate interests. They note as well that these labor-related policies take place in the context of the broader IMF and World Bank structural adjustment packages, which emphasize trade liberalization, orienting economies to exports and recessionary cuts in government spending — macroeconomic policies which further work to advance corporate interests at the expense of labor.
The Incredibly Shrinking Government Workforce
Perhaps the most consistent theme in the IMF/World Bank structural adjustment loans is that the size of government should be reduced.
Typically, this means that the government should spin off certain functions to the private sector (by privatizing operations), and that it should cut back on spending and staffing in the areas of responsibility it does maintain.
The IMF/Bank support for government downsizing is premised, first, on the notion that the private sector generally performs more efficiently than government. In this view, government duties should be limited to a narrow band of activities that either the private sector cannot or does not perform better, and to the few responsibilities that inherently belong to the public sector.
In its June draft “Private Sector Development Strategy,” the World Bank argues that the private sector does a better job even of delivering services to the very poor than the public sector, and that the poor prefer the private sector to government provision of services.
A second rationale for shrinking government is the IMF and Bank’s priority concern with eliminating government deficits. The institutions seek to cut government spending as a way to close and eventually eliminate the shortfall between revenues and expenditures, even though basic Keynesian economics suggests that slow-growth developing nations should in fact run a deficit to spur economic expansion.
In most countries, rich and poor, the government is the largest employer. In poor countries, with weakly developed private sectors, the government is frequently the dominant force in the nation’s economy. Sudden and massive cuts in government spending can throw tens or hundreds of thousands out of work, and contribute to a surge in unemployment, and to a consequent reduction in the bargaining power of all workers.
In Nicaragua, for example, the Chamorro administration that followed the revolutionary Sandinista government worked with the IMF to slash the public sector. In the first three years of the new regime, the number of government employees plummeted from 290,000 to 107,000 (resulting in loss of employment for more than 9 percent of the Nicaraguan labor force). Through 1999, the government eliminated more than 18,000 additional jobs.
The closure or downsizing of state-owned banks “yielding a total reduction from 9,100 employees in 1990 to 3,500 in 1993” was the first in a series of financial sector reforms resulting in smaller government payrolls and greater foreign ownership of Nicaraguan businesses, according to a Nicaraguan report to the IMF.
The dramatic two thirds reduction in the size of government was driven in part by a concerted government effort “to strip out the Sandinistas from government jobs,” according to Marie Clarke of the Quixote Center, but was also directed and required by the IMF and World Bank in a series of loan agreements through the 1990s and in the present decade. A 1991 World Bank Economic Recovery Credit was designated to assist with “downsizing and restructuring the public sector.” Continually reducing the size of government has been a consistent benchmark criteria included in IMF and World Bank loans, with specific cutbacks designated as evidence of Nicaragua’s adherence to structural adjustment conditions.
Nicaragua is presently undergoing a “second generation” of structural reform programs, including yet another round of government cutbacks. Unemployment now stands at 14 percent, but combined unemployment and rampant underemployment totals 50 percent.
Other countries have witnessed similar emaciation of the public sector under IMF and World Bank tutelage:
• In Kenya, the government plans to cut nearly 50,000 employees from 2000-2002.
• In Uganda, by early 1997, the size of the civil service was cut in half to 150,000, and the government set a target of 58,100 by June 1997.
• In Yemen, a 1999 IMF document reported plans for a civil service reform initiative expected to reduce public payrolls by 20 percent.
• In Zambia, 20 percent of the public sector was laid off in 1998 and 1999. IMF loan documents set a goal of reducing government employment from 110,000 (in year 2000) to 10,000 to 12,000.
Privatize, Privatize, Privatize
The civil service downsizing included in IMF and World Bank conditionalities is frequently bound up with privatization plans: under IMF and Bank instruction, governments agree to lay off thousands of workers to prepare enterprises for privatization. But privatization itself is frequently associated with new rounds of downsizing, as well as private employer assaults on unions and demands for wage reductions.
Privatization is a core element of the structural adjustment policy package. Blanket support for privatization is an ideological article of faith at the IMF and Bank.
The range of IMF and Bank-supported or -mandated privatizations is staggering. The institutions have overseen wholesale privatizations in economies that were previously state-sector dominated — including former Communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as many developing countries with heavy government involvement in the economy — and also privatization of services that are regularly maintained in the public sector in rich countries, such as water provision and sanitation [see “Privatization Tidal Wave,” page 14], healthcare, roads, airports and postal services:
• In Argentina, according to the World Bank, “virtually all public services and federally owned enterprises” have been privatized, including postal services.
• In Ecuador, the government reports that bids have been or are being invited for private operation or ownership of urban sewage and water systems, seaports and oil refineries, among other facilities.
• In Malawi, a massive privatization effort has included the “outsourcing, privatization or liquidation of specific services and agencies of the four largest ministries (Health and Population, Education, Transport and Public Works, and Agriculture and Irrigation,” according to a government submission to the IMF, and “the government also intends to increase private sector participation in the roads sector.”
• In Nigeria, public enterprises set for the auction blocks have included the national airways, power generators, and oil refiners. In a 1999 IMF document, the government stated it would study privatization of customs clearance at major ports.
• In Uruguay, ports and roads have been privatized.
Labor unions do not offer blanket opposition to all privatization. Particularly in the case of Central and Eastern Europe, but also in many developing countries, unions have agreed that privatization of some government operations may be appropriate. But they have insisted on safeguards to ensure that privatization enhances efficiency rather than the private plunder of public assets, and insisted that basic worker rights and interests also be protected.
But those safeguards by and large have not been put in place.
“Unfortunately, trade unions’ proposals regarding the form of privatization, the regulatory framework and treatment of workers were usually not listened to during the massive privatization wave in Central and Eastern Europe,” notes the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) in a report published in advance of the fall 2001 IMF and World Bank meetings. The IMF and Bank acknowledge some of their mistakes in Central and Eastern Europe, ICFTU notes, but “similar mistakes may well be repeated in Central and Eastern Europe and in other regions.”
The ICFTU report highlights the case of Pakistan, where the military government is planning, with World Bank assistance, a major privatization initiative. The Bank’s support for the initiative comes “despite the potential for abuse in privatizing natural monopoly services, especially given the lack of democratic control, and the refusal of the authorities to negotiate with trade unions affected by the privatization program,” ICFTU notes. The Bank “does candidly admit that a risk exists that Pakistan’s economic reform and devolution plan ‘could be hastily implemented and captured by powerful interest groups,’ but makes no suggestion as to how to avoid such an eventuality.”
The Freedom To Fire
Another core tenet of IMF and Bank lending programs is the promotion of “labor flexibility” or “labor mobility,” the notion that firms should be able to hire and fire workers, or change terms and conditions of work, with minimal regulatory restrictions.
The theory behind labor flexibility is that, if labor is treated as a commodity like any other, with companies able to hire and fire workers just as they might a piece of machinery, then markets will function efficiently. Efficient functioning markets will then facilitate economic growth.
Critics say the theory does not hold up. Former World Bank chief economist Joseph Stiglitz described the problem to Multinational Monitor: “As part of the doctrine of liberalization, the Washington Consensus said, ‘make labor markets more flexible.’ That greater flexibility was supposed to lead to lower unemployment. A side effect that people didn’t want to talk about was that it would lead to lower wages. But the lower wages would generate more investment, more demand for labor. So there would be two beneficial effects: the unemployment rate would go down and job creation would go up because wages were lower.”
“The evidence in Latin America is not supportive of those conclusions,” Stiglitz told Multinational Monitor. “Wage flexibility has not been associated with lower unemployment. Nor has there been more job creation in general.” Where “labor market flexibility was designed to move people from low productivity jobs to high productivity jobs,” according to Stiglitz, “too often it moved people from low productivity jobs to unemployment, which is even lower productivity.”
Indeed, some of the IMF and Bank documents treat labor flexibility almost as code for mass layoffs. For example, a “structural benchmark” in Nicaragua’s dealings with the IMF is that the country “continue to implement a labor mobility program aiming at reducing public sector positions.”
But the essence of the problem from the point of view of labor is that the IMF and Bank’s version of labor flexibility is synonymous with stripping away legal protections for workers. In Honduras, more labor flexibility is being introduced because “collective contracts at large enterprises often act as straightjackets,” according to a World Bank document. In Ecuador, the use of temporary contracts is touted in an IMF document as a means to improve labor flexibility.
In its recommendations to the new Mexican government of Vicente Fox, the World Bank has spelled out just how far-reaching its promotion of labor flexibility is. The Bank encourages Mexico to phase out a wide array of worker rights and protections: “the current system of severance payments; collective bargaining and industry-binding contracts; obligatory union memberships; compulsory profit-sharing; restrictions to temporary, fixed-term and apprenticeship contracts; requirements for seniority-based promotions; registration of firm-provided training programs; and liability for subcontractors’ employees.”
Spreading The Wage Gap
Few things more clearly run contrary to workers’ interest than wage reductions. Wage freezes, wage cuts and wage rollbacks are all commonplace in IMF and World Bank lending programs, as is “wage decompression” — increasing the ratio of highest to lowest paid worker.
These initiatives usually occur in the public sector, where the government has authority to set wages and salaries, and where the rationale is to reduce government expenditures. (A different logic is applied to managers, however, where the assumption is that higher salaries are needed to attract quality personnel and to provide incentives for hard work.)
Sometimes the IMF and World Bank-associated wage freezes or reductions do apply to the private sector, as in cases where the minimum wage is frozen or reduced.
Sometimes the overarching policy is referred to as “wage flexibility” and is undertaken in connection with labor market reforms.
• In Argentina, the August 2001 bailout monies was conditioned on a 13 percent wage reduction in the public sector.
• In Belarus, according to IMF documents, the government is working at “liberalizing” the labor market in order to “increase the flexibility” of wages, particularly at state-owned enterprises.
• The Nigerian government reported in an 1999 IMF document that 1998 wage increases “had been partially rolled back.”
• In Turkey, the government agreed in 1999 IMF loan documents to work to limit public sector and minimum wage increases to the inflation rate. This position was reiterated in 2000 and 2001.
• Wage decompression is pervasive in IMF and Bank loan documents, and has been a condition applied in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Zambia, among many others. In Mozambique, under IMF guidance, the government highest-to-lowest government salary ration went from 9.6:1 in April 1998 to 13.2:1 in August of that year, and the government announced plans to “top up” civil service salaries and expand the ratio to 17:1.
The institutions have elaborate justifications for opposing wage supports. An April 2001 World Bank policy working paper, for example, concludes that minimum wages have a larger effect in Latin America in the United States — including by exerting more upward influence on wages above the minimum wage — and promotes unemployment.
Pensions: Work Longer, Pay More, Get Less
Pension and social security reform has emerged as a high priority of the IMF and Bank in recent years, with the World Bank taking the lead.
The thrust of the World Bank and IMF’s proposals in this area has been for lower benefits provided at a later age, and for social security privatization.
In Nicaragua, for example, one of the performance criteria for continued IMF support has been the adoption of drastic pension reforms, including raising the retirement age, increasing the minimum contribution period to receive benefits, and upping the level of employee contributions.
A 1999 informal World Bank report on Nicaragua’s social security system concluded, “The parameters of the system need to be re-defined and a mandatory, defined contribution system based on individual capitalization accounts introduced.” The Bank recommended these accounts be managed by private companies determined through an “international competitive bidding process.”
Drawn up under World Bank supervision, Nicaragua’s new pension system is designed to “increase contribution rates, raise the retirement age, standardize eligibility requirements, reduce replacement rates, increase collection efficiency and tighten eligibility for disability benefits.” Under the new system, Nicaragua has satisfied its IMF performance criteria: payroll contributions have nearly doubled, mandatory length of service to receive a pension has been increased by nearly 10 years, and the retirement age has been raised by nearly a decade.
Again, the policies foisted on Nicaragua have been pushed around the world:
• In Bolivia, under World Bank instruction, the government in 1996 privatized its pension system, replacing a defined benefit, publicly managed system with a defined-contribution, privately managed system of individual capitalized accounts.
• A 1998 IMF document stated that in Turkey “a sweeping reform of the social security system is obviously needed,” and detailed Turkish plans to raise the minimum age for retirement, extend the minimum contribution period to receive a pension, and increase the level of contributions required. In a 1999 IMF report, Turkey indicated its new social security law achieved all of these goals, surpassing even the proposals in the 1998 document. The 2000 report announced a plan to undertake a new round of reforms, involving social security privatization.
The ICFTU reports that the World Bank has been involved in pension reform efforts, increasingly driving toward privatization, in over 60 countries during the past 15 years.
Dean Baker, co-director of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Economic and Policy Research, says the Bank’s support for social security privatization is not based on the evidence of what works efficiently for pension systems. “The single-mindedness of the World Bank in promoting privatized systems is peculiar,” he says, “since the evidence — including data in World Bank publications — indicates that well-run public sector systems, like the Social Security system in the United States, are far more efficient than privatized systems.
The administrative costs in privatized systems, such as the ones in England and Chile, are more than 1500 percent higher than those of the U.S. system.”
Baker adds that “the extra administrative expenses of privatized systems comes directly out of the money that retirees would otherwise receive, lowering their retirement benefits by as much as one-third, compared with a well-run public social security system. The administrative expenses that are drained out of workers’ savings in a privatized system are the fees and commissions of the financial industry, which explains its interest in promoting privatization in the United States and elsewhere.”
Wither Labor Rights?
Few labor advocates argue that privatization should never occur, or that no government lay off is ever necessary, though many would argue in almost all cases against certain IMF and Bank policies, such as reductions or mandated freezes on the minimum wage, and privatization of Social Security.
But among the most striking conclusions from the Multinational Monitor investigation of IMF and World Bank documents is the near-perfect consistency in the institutions’ recommendations on matters of key concern to labor interests.
None of the documents reviewed by the Monitor show IMF or Bank support for government takeover of services or enterprises formerly in the private sector; they virtually never make the case for raising workers’ wages (except for top management); they do not propose greater legal protections for workers.
And on-the-ground experience in countries around the world shows little concern that implementation of policies sure to be harmful to at least some significant number of workers in the short-term is done with an eye to ameliorating the pain. Worker safeguards under privatization, for example, repeatedly requested by labor unions around the world, are rarely put into force.
For former Bank chief economist Joseph Stiglitz, as well as unions and worker advocates, the IMF/Bank record makes it imperative that basic worker rights be protected. If there are to be diminished legal protections and guarantees for workers, and if IMF and Bank-pushed policies are going to run contrary to worker interests, they say, then workers must at the very least be guaranteed the right to organize and defend their collective interests through unions, collective bargaining and concerted activity.
But the Bank has stated that it cannot support workers’ freedom of association and right to collective bargaining.
Robert Holzmann, director of social programs at the World Bank, told a seminar in 1999 that the Bank could not support workers’ right to freedom of association because of the “political dimension” and the Bank’s policy of non-interference with national politics.
Holzmann also raised a second “problem” with freedom of association. “While there are studies out — and we agree with them that trade union movements may have a strong and good role in economic development — there are studies out that also show that this depends. So the freedom by itself does not guarantee that the positive economic effects are achieved.”
Shortly after the 1999 seminar, labor organizations met with the World Bank and IMF. According to a report from ICFTU, World Bank President James Wolfensohn reiterated Holzmann’s point, saying that while the Bank does respect three out of the five core labor rights (anti-slavery, anti-child labor and anti-discrimination) it cannot respect the other two (freedom of association and collective bargaining) because it does “not get involved in national politics.”
ICFTU reports that “this statement was greeted with stunned disbelief by many present.”
Vincent Lloyd is an intern with Multinational Monitor. Robert Weissman is the magazine’s editor. This article is based on a review of IMF and World Bank documents. Full citations and excerpts from relevant documents are posted at http://www.essentialaction.org/labor_report
MORALES IN BOLIVIA IS TRYING TO INSTALL THE SAME FAKE SOCIALISM WE SEE HERE IN THE US----WHERE THE FAR-RIGHT SIMPLY BECOMES 1% WALL STREET LIBERTARIAN MARXISM.
I'm just using a few of our Latin American neighbors because they are always in the national news----but these citizen revolts occur around the world and are tied to people being mad at a World Bank and IMF coming into their nations and literally letting the 1% and their 2% loot public and personal assets in the midst of widespread banking, corporate, and government fraud and corruption -----EXACTLY WHAT IS HAPPENING TODAY IN THE US.
Bolivia was taken a few decades ago by World Bank and here we see in 1996----Clinton era----privatization of pensions---same as is happening in the US----oh, look World Bank privatized Social Security in Bolivia.
When the national news makes it sound that populist movements for justice are SOCIALIST----when they are simply citizens fighting to get their wealth and quality of life back---
The problem for all these global citizens trying to get rid of these 1% Wall Street controls on sovereign nations----often the SOCIALIST leaders are simply trying to get rich themselves.
• 'In Bolivia, under World Bank instruction, the government in 1996 privatized its pension system, replacing a defined benefit, publicly managed system with a defined-contribution, privately managed system of individual capitalized accounts'.
'Dean Baker, co-director of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Economic and Policy Research, says the Bank’s support for social security privatization is not based on the evidence of what works efficiently for pension systems'.
Do US citizens about to be those losers of all retirements-----from pensions, 401Ks, Social Security and Medicare Trusts really think Bolivia's and other nations' citizens fighting to get it back from their 1% is SOCIALISM OR JUSTICE?
Socialist Project • E-Bulletin No. 499, May 9, 2011
This article defends the populist, capitalist government in Bolivia against the charge of failing to adopt socialist reforms, like in Cuba. It explains why reform are limited--jk.
Progress in Bolivia: A Reply to Jeff Webber
Six years after Bolivians elected their first Indigenous-led government, their ongoing struggle for national and social liberation remains a subject of debate and disagreement among socialists around the world.
- Have the Bolivian masses been able to score significant gains under the government of President Evo Morales, first elected in December 2005?
- Or has the Morales presidency served to limit popular movements and block the possibility of significant change?
President Evo Morales and army chief Gen. Antonio Cueto inspect Bolivia's army after it was declared “socialist, anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist.”
Far from moving toward socialism, Webber says, the Morales government has served to close off a “possibility of a fundamental, transformative overhaul of social, economic, and political structures” and to consolidate a “reconstituted neoliberalism.”
Jeffrey Webber has won international recognition for his writings on the social struggles in Bolivia, so his analysis deserves respectful consideration. His argument rests on his view – in my opinion correct – that Bolivia remains capitalist, and that a socialist transformation is not under way.
Oh, look----all this Cambodia World Bank stuff looks like Baltimore's PROGRESSIVE POSING fake left-leaning urban justice platform.
Below we see an article written in 1996---again Clinton era----where the same World Bank/IMF brought Cambodia down and we can read this article and see all the public policies being pushed right now by 1% Wall Street far-right CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA global pols------
When we see or hear the term TRANSFORMATIONAL as we do here in Baltimore ----it is the same as being taken by the World Bank and made into that same FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONE POLICY designed to keep extreme wealth and extreme poverty in place.
'He said that the Bank and the IMF believed that their free market policies were the "elixir that will transform [developing countries] into growing, dynamic economies."
The Bank and the IMF insist that their program of "radical deregulation, sweeping
privatization", wage containment and government spending cuts are set in place
before they loan money'.
"The idea that the key to inviting significant quantities of foreign investment is by loosening up and giving foreign investors the store - lock, stock and barrel
- is a myth, and a dangerous one".
Asian "tigers" had not grown by "internal free market reforms"
Every term and public policy being installed in Cambodia then is now being hawked by our CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA as being the development that will bring jobs, housing, and equity----
SAME WORDS----AND CITIZENS TODAY IN CAMBODIA HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE UNHAPPY AS IN ALL FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES.
Cambodia warned of the World Bank-IMF "myth"
Fri, 9 February 1996
THE "free market" reforms that the World Bank and the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) have insisted Cambodia follow are not the way to a booming economy, according
to an international expert.
Dr Walden Bello told academics, Cambodian government officials and international
organizations in Phnom Penh on January 24 that free market-led economic growth was
a "myth cooked up in the recesses of the World Bank."
Bello, a professor of public administration and sociology at the University of Philippines,
and author of Dark Victories and Dragons in Distress: Asia's Miracle in Crisis, was
speaking at the International Round Table on Structural Adjustment Program in Cambodia.
He said that the Bank and the IMF believed that their free market policies were the
"elixir that will transform [developing countries] into growing, dynamic economies."
The Bank and the IMF insist that their program of "radical deregulation, sweeping
privatization", wage containment and government spending cuts are set in place
before they loan money. Cambodia is following this regime now.
However, critics say that hardly any country with a fast-growing economy had achieved
that by following free market reforms, Bello said. Some claim that state intervention
has been a central factor in the take-off of "tiger" economies.
"The notion that rapid growth in newly industrialized countries was produced
by free trade and free market policies is a myth cooked up in the recesses of 1818
H St. NW in Washington D.C. - that is the World Bank headquarters," Bello said.
"You will probably get closer to the truth if you travel a couple of blocks
up to 17th St. and Pennsylvania Ave. NW, to the US Trade Representative's Office,
which regularly attacks some of these economies as among the most closed in the world,
among the most difficult for foreign investors, and among the most pervaded by state
intervention," he said.
State intervention and protection did not stop rapid growth, and may indeed have
contributed to growth in Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia, he said.
Japan had pushed more than $19 billion into those countries in five years, while
the "liberal" Philippines had attracted only around $1 billion during the
same time. "You pour that much money into a country, and you're likely to have
"The idea that the key to inviting significant quantities of foreign investment
is by loosening up and giving foreign investors the store - lock, stock and barrel
- is a myth, and a dangerous one".
Asian "tigers" had not grown by "internal free market reforms"
but by unexpected capital inflows, he said. US government policies in the mid-80s
had provoked "a massive migration of Japanese manufacturers seeking to lower
their production costs to cheap labor sites in South East Asia," he said. "Japanese
business executives do not need free trade to operate," Bello quoted from a
US Congressional Research report.
In response, America has been pushing for an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
Free Trade Area. "APEC has become a key instrument to reverse the process of
America's marginalization from Asia and ensure that the spluttering US economy remains
hitched to the East Asian locomotive that is expected to pull along the world economy
in the first decades of the 21st century," Bello said.
Bello said that both the "free market" and "state-assisted capitalism"
development theories had attracted a powerful array of critics.
NGOs, people's movement
and progressive academics have said there are detrimental common points in both approaches:
- Both "fetishized" economic growth as the be-all and end-all of development;
- Both perpetuated social inequality, even if rapid economic growth did take place;
- Both were ecologically destructive and unsustainable. Ecological costs were notincluded in the real costs of production in the World Bank model; while with "state-assisted
capitalism" the environment was deliberately sacrificed to attract capital;
- Both weakened agricultural communities by "channeling personnel and capitalfrom agriculture to industry";
- Both had destructive effects on communities. "In Thailand, the Philippines,Indonesia and Malaysia, the story is depressingly similar: big dam schemes imposed
from the center, uprooting and resettlement of communities."
Thailand - held up during the 1991 World Bank-IMF conference in Bangkok as an
example to the Third World - "has become instead an exemplar of the unsustainable
character of the high-speed growth model among many NGOs concerned with development."
Bello said the gap between rich Thai and poor had widened. Bangkok - fueled by the
rundown of natural capital, especially forests - prospered (and grows to the point
now of gridlock), while the Northeast stagnated. Thai entrepreneurs now lead the
plunder of timber in Burma, Cambodia and Laos. Air and water pollution is out of
Concerned groups were now calling for alternatives, he said.
They said sustainable development was dependent on "democratic, transparent
[and decentralized] decisionmaking" in the areas of production, exchange and
distribution by local and national communities.
Equity, the quality of life and ecological harmony would be emphasized over growth;
rural society and agriculture emphasized more than urban-based industry. They say
NGOs should represent an organized "popular sector" as the "third pillar" balance to the state and to business. Finally, they wanted community or ancestral land - or the realm of "commons" - that could not be sold off, he said.
Bello said that the need to articulate an alternative future "is, now more than
ever, a necessity, for while the rampant consumerism that comes with high-speed growth
continues to dazzle many in Asia, there is a growing feeling that a process that
is accompanied by the decline of agriculture, increasing inequality, and uncontrolled
ecological degradation is a recipe for an unlivable future.
"Governments and people in the formerly or presently socialist countries that
want to be newly industrialized countries would do well to ponder carefully the consequences
of fast track capitalism and ask themselves: Is this a model worth reproducing?"
With an attempted coup against the government of President Recep Erdogan quashed only days ago and more than 7,000 alleged conspirators now under arrest, the Turkish ambassador to Cambodia yesterday pressed the govern
CNRP lawmakers beaten
Two opposition lawmakers, Nhay Chamroeun and Kong Sakphea were beaten unconscious during protests in Phnom Penh, as over a thousand protesters descended upon the National Assembly.
Student authors discuss "The Cambodian Economy"
Students at Phnom Penh's Liger Learning Center have written and published a new book, "The Cambodian Economy".
The World Bank and IMF are installed in these developing nations where citizens are told they are there to help the people-------taking us back to that post where World Bank wants to look more PUBLIC INTEREST----A GLOBAL WORLD BANK OR CREDIT UNION----and those are the exact words used by Global Green Corporation Party------when they speak of PUBLIC BANKING.
This goes further with the description below of what PUBLIC LAND TRUST policies look like. The realm of 'commons' for land that cannot be sold is this same LAND TRUST policy we see here in Baltimore. Oh, look! NGOs should represent an organized popular sector -----
YOU MEAN MARYLAND NON-PROFITS AND ALL OF WALL STREET BALTIMORE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION 'labor and justice' organizations? SAME THING.
NGOs should represent an organized "popular sector" as the "third
pillar" balance to the state and to business. Finally, they wanted community
or ancestral land - or the realm of "commons" - that could not be sold
off, he said'.
Go to any US city deemed Foreign Economic Zone and you will see all these same NGOs----all these same housing, land trust, public banking policies from groups yelling at the Democratic Party but not interested in educating that CLINTON/OBAMA are far-right wing Republicans---not Democrats----as they push the WORLD BANK/IMF policies that will be coming when our US cities are pushed into bankruptcy.
NONE OF THIS IS LEFT-LEANING---IT IS SIMPLY FAR-RIGHT 1% WALL STREET LIBERTARIAN MARXISM.
Saving Community Gardens in NYC: Land Trusts and Organizing
Felicia Marcus and Joanne Morse
In the late 1990s, the community garden movement was thriving in New York City. In hundreds of locations, community members had cultivated gardens of all kinds on city owned land. The gardens presented a cornucopia of vegetation—with flowers, vegetables, and fruits. Some gardens were only a sliver of land wedged between buildings, while others were contemplative or artistic, but all were social centers where life literally bloomed.
The Giuliani administration decided to sell off the 114 city-owned lots for development despite the protests of members who had created these oases of green and community. The Trust for Public Land (TPL), is a national nonprofit dedicated to conserving land for people. When it became unclear whether litigation could save the gardens, TPL stepped in and purchased a little over half of the gardens, with Bette Midler purchasing the remainder through the New York Restoration Project.
TPL’s 1999 acquisition of 62 community gardens slated for destruction was the single largest nonprofit initiative in America to preserve urban gardens. (Since then, other gardens were added to bring the total protected by TPL to 70.) Some of the gardens have been turned over to the city’s Parks Department, others needed to be taken over by the community to ensure that they would be adequately stewarded over the long term. (The deal provided that the land would revert to the city if it ceased to be used for gardens).
With their immediate future secure, during this holding period, TPL invested in physical improvements to make the gardens safer, easier to maintain, and more inviting for community use. TPL also set about helping to create the community infrastructure to care for the gardens over the long term.
“Many neighborhoods where we own gardens are predominantly low-income neighborhoods of color. The gardens are places to bring families and children, and where neighbors get together to socialize,” says Paul Coppa, director of TPL’s Garden Land Trust Program in Dig It! Magazine. “Gardens enhance civic pride, they really help people take ownership and an interest in their own community. If they are able to be responsible for the governance of a garden, there is greater involvement in taking pride in a neighborhood. This plays a very positive role in contributing to pride in a community.”1
The members of these gardens, representing an extraordinary group of racially, culturally, and economically diverse people, worked with TPL to establish independent land trusts that will ensure the gardens are protected as neighborhood resources for public use; and the volunteer groups managing each garden are open to accepting new members and are governed democratically through group decisions, including voting and elections.
Three New York City land trusts—together the largest urban land trust in the United States—are now established as the Bronx Land Trust, the Manhattan Land Trust, and the Brooklyn-Queens Land Trust.
Gardeners lead each of the three new land trusts and make decisions about the governance and operation of each organization. Each land trust has a Board made up of a majority of member gardeners. The vision is local control of volunteer-managed neighborhood open space; with the land trust organizational structure, the work of protecting and maintaining the garden properties is shared. One of the most exciting aspects of these organizations is the new level of relationships of mutual help it has fostered among community gardeners. All three land trusts have developed extremely effective Maintenance and Operations committees that help each other take care of the gardens, including the very challenging maintenance of the city water systems. They have also helped each other recruit new members and set up events to encourage participation at gardens where more gardeners are needed.
Classie Parker, a founding member of the West Harlem Garden known as Five Star, describes how lives have been transformed by the garden: “One couple reunited in the garden. We grow herbs that help seniors with arthritis; we rub their hands and exercise. Three classes of pre-kindergarten came and drew plants on a mural featured in school for nine months. Students didn’t know where apples grew or where corn came from, so we got involved with an educational program called ‘Cook Shop.’ They bring children out to the garden and they get a chance to write about an urban farmer, of which I am one. I work with the special education kids at PS76. They calmed down when they came here. You wouldn’t believe how many lives we’ve affected through the years here.”2
Community Ownership vs. Public Ownership
One question that arises in talking about “community” ownership of land is whether it is always better to have community ownership vs. public entity (e.g., city, state, county) ownership. The best answer is that “it depends” on the circumstances. The Trust for Public Land does a great deal of public land conversion—private to municipal, county, state, or federal. Thousands of threatened properties have successfully moved into public ownership to benefit people for a host of reasons. However, public ownership may not always be best or an option in every case. In this case, the city was going to develop and demolish the gardens, so the best choice was to buy them, and then actually assist in the creation of land trusts to hold them. In other cases, land trusts exist and become logical landowners (there are over 1700 land trusts across the country). In some places, like New York, Newark, and the Bay Area—instead of changing ownership, we have found the best option sometimes is for us to take on the process of rejuvenating a city-owned park or playground and help the city fund the process, which includes extensive community engagement in the design process (e.g., Bayview Hunter’s Point or our New York Playground Program).
So, there is no set rule as to which is better—it depends upon the circumstances of the place and its community and institutional infrastructure. Regardless of technical ownership, however, the presence of an engaged community, interested in the stewardship of the land is a critical factor in its ongoing preservation—whether through physical stewardship, or through a watchdog or support role to a public agency.
Felicia Marcus is chief operating officer of the TPL. Joanne Morse is a New York City TPL program associate. The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit dedicated to conserving land in urban and wilderness areas. (See www.tpl.org.)
WE CAN SEE WHY GLOBAL MILITARIZED POLICING IS NEEDED IN FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES AROUND THE WORLD COMING SOON TO US CITIES DEEMED FEZ!
If we look at Cambodia and Bolivia today as with all the developing nations 'HELPED' by the World Bank and IMF this is what we see ----they are fighting against 1% WALL STREET EXTREME WEALTH AND EXTREME POVERTY, FAR-RIGHT, AUTHORITARIAN, MILITARISTIC, NEO-LIBERALISM
THE WORLD BANK AND IMF ALWAYS SEEM TO INSTALL THE NICEST PEOPLE AS LEADERS THINK TRUMP WITH A HILLARY HAWK IS CREATING A PICTURE OF WHAT IS COMING?.
'The demonstration was in breach of a ban on public gatherings imposed by the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen, who is enduring one of the biggest challenges to his 28-year rule and mounting criticism of bloody crackdowns on dissent'.
No liberty or freedom here my right-leaning Republican friends---but it is 100% right-wing economic policy!
THOSE FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES WITH ALL THAT GLOBAL CORPORATE CAMPUS/GLOBAL FACTORY SWEATSHOP LABOR REALLY MAKES HUMAN CAPITAL MAD-----
Cambodia at the tipping point - CNN.com
Jan 09, 2014 · Protests in Cambodia – A man armed with a wooden stick rallies during a protest in front of a garment factory in Phnom Penh on January 3.
Cambodian military and demonstrators clash during violent protest
A Cambodian activist runs as military police disperse a protest in Phnom Penh. The violent clash left eight people injured.(TANG CHHIN SOTHY/AFP/Getty Images)
Tuesday, January 28, 2014, 9:36 AMCambodian military police used smoke grenades and batons on Monday to quell a protest by demonstrators demanding that a new television channel be allowed to broadcast, wounding at least eight people, witnesses said.
The demonstration was in breach of a ban on public gatherings imposed by the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen, who is enduring one of the biggest challenges to his 28-year rule and mounting criticism of bloody crackdowns on dissent.
Military police and guards working for Phnom Penh city authorities chased down opposition-aligned protesters near the Information Ministry, with police wielding batons and electric prods. Journalists were among the wounded, according to Reuters witnesses.
The protest was against the ministry's refusal to grant a broadcast license to a new television channel run by a staunch government critic in a country where the broadcast media is accused of lacking political independence.
Cambodian riot police officers are engulfed in smoke after they fired smoke canisters at protesters led by Cambodia's most prominent human rights defender Mam Sonando demanding the government to allow him to open a new television channel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.(Heng Sinith/AP)
The violence was the latest episode in a months-long political crisis in Cambodia, which was for years racked by conflict but which recently saw more than a decade of unprecedented growth and stability.
The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) has held some of the biggest rallies the country has ever seen as part of its campaign for a re-run of a July election it says it was rigged in favor of Hun Sen's ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP).
CNRP has been joined by unions representing 350,000 garment factory workers who held strikes last year over the government's refusal to meet its demands for higher pay.
Mam Sonando (C), owner of the independent Beehive radio station and prominent government critic, and other activists run as military police officers disperse the crowd during a protest in Phnom Penh.(TANG CHHIN SOTHY/AFP/Getty Images)
Five workers were killed on January 3 when security forces fired live ammunition to quell a protest.
Military police spokesman Kheng Tito said the ongoing crackdown was necessary to ensure public order. The ban on gatherings, he said, would only be lifted when CNRP lawmakers ended their boycott of parliament and worked with the ruling party to resolve the conflict.
"SCARY AND WORRYING"
Cambodian military police officers walk in formation during a protest in Phnom Penh.(TANG CHHIN SOTHY/AFP/Getty Images)
Police clashed on Sunday with anti-government protesters and garment workers who were demanding the release of 23 people jailed for their involvement in the recent strikes.
"These instances of violence happened one after another and it has now become a very scary and worrying trend," said Chan Soveth, a worker with the Adhoc human right group.
"Without talks between the CPP and CNRP, we're worried violent crackdown will occur in the whole country," Chan Soveth said, adding that some CNRP activities had been disrupted by CPP supporters in several provinces.
Police in Cambodia fired several round of smoke canisters to hundreds of anti-government protesters in the capita on Monday, leaving at least eight people injured.(Heng Sinith/AP)
The violence comes ahead of a U.N. human rights hearing on Cambodia in Geneva, where CNRP leader Sam Rainsy and human rights groups will seek support from member states to end the deadlock. Hun Sen has refused to resign, allow an independent investigation into the election, or hold another ballot.
"Since the beginning of 2014, respect for human rights in Cambodia - including the treatment of human rights defenders - has worsened significantly to the point of crisis," the Licadho and Amnesty International rights groups said on Sunday.
Yim Sovann, CNRP spokesman, said the party would stick to its demands for a fresh election and electoral reforms.
"The situation has become worse, with crackdowns everywhere," he said. "We don't know how the CPP wants to end this crisis."