Date: Thu, 15 Jan 98 10:28:41 CST|
From: "Workers World" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Organization: WW Publishers
Subject: U.S., IMF Force Asia to Ax Millions
Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the January 22, 1998
U.S., IMF force Asia to ax millions
By Fred Goldstein, Workers World
22 January 1998
It's a full-court press.
The world's biggest bankers, represented by the Clinton
administration and the International Monetary Fund, are
putting enormous pressure on the governments of Indonesia
and south Korea. These finance capitalists are demanding
agreements to keep themselves solvent during the present
crisis. The losers will be the masses of people.
Clinton sent Deputy Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers to
tell Indonesian President Suharto to sign on to the IMF's
program of bankruptcies and layoffs--or else.
The Summers-Suharto meeting was preceded by a series of
warning telephone calls to Suharto from President Clinton,
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Japanese Prime Minister
Ryutaro Hashimoto and Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
It also followed a two-day-long high-pressure campaign from
IMF Deputy Manager Lawrence Fischer, who met with Suharto
and other Indonesian government officials.
The imperialist powers were outraged because Suharto
hadn't moved vigorously enough to force bankruptcies of
local banks and corporations and hadn't dropped from his new
budget several high-employment public projects.
The IMF and the world's financiers are blaming Indonesia's
financial crisis on corruption and cronyism. But their real
aim is to secure payback on the estimated $135 billion in
loans they have pumped into Indonesia in search of easy
Suharto came to power in 1965 in a CIA/Pentagon-inspired
military coup that killed an estimated 1 million people. Yet
he got nothing but praise from the imperialist countries
when he opened up Indonesia's natural resources to foreign
His regime is under fire now because the imperialist
bankers want him to push even harder against the masses with
tax increases, austerity programs and layoffs. And if this
provokes widespread rebellion--well, that's why Suharto and
his army got built up by the U.S. in the first place.
Summers brought this message during a 40-minute meeting
with Suharto Jan. 13. He was then joined by Defense
Secretary William Cohen--who spent another 40 minutes
hammering home the same message from the Pentagon.
When it was all over, Suharto pledged to go along with the
IMF President Michel Camdessus will be in Indonesia Jan.
15 to make Suharto sign an agreement.
The other pressure point right now is south Korea.
Camdessus went there on Jan. 12 and got the leaders of both
the militant Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, which
last January led a general strike against mass layoffs, and
the bigger, more conservative Korean Federation of Trade
Unions to agree to join a commission with the bosses and
This body is supposed to discuss how to restore the
economy. Its real mission, however, is to facilitate
legislation permitting mass layoffs. The KCTU and the KFTU
had previously said they would not join the commission.
Meanwhile, the south Korean Labor Ministry reported that
"more than 1,000 South Koreans a day, or more than six times
last year's average, are applying for unemployment
benefits." (Agence France-Presse, Jan. 11)
In Indonesia, the economic collapse is staggering.
According to a Jan. 14 AFP report, "Jakarta's growing army
of unemployed ... are being offered a one-way ticket back to
their home villages. In Jakarta alone, an estimated 2.5
million people have lost their jobs in recent weeks."
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