Radicals return to the UN

by Nick Dearden
from Red Pepper

After 30 years of marginalisation, commentators from across the world are hailing the United Nations conference on the economic crisis as a new opportunity for progressive change. While the June summit’s outcomes were not as radical as many would have liked, the battles that took place between rich and poor countries hold out some hope for the enfranchisement of the majority world – the global South.

Southern governments demanded the conference as the economic crisis started to grip the world last November. Despite repeated offers by UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon to host talks on the crisis, rich countries have preferred their own company. They have, however, used the relatively unheard of G20, rather than the G8, to add a sprinkling of legitimacy to decisions – and, more importantly, because the financial reserves of countries such as China and Saudi Arabia are essential to stimulating the global economy.

The fightback on behalf of the UN was led by Latin American countries. After months of attempts by rich countries to downplay and delegitimise the summit, it finally happened on 26 June. more

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