Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Egypt's IMF-backed revolution? No thanks

Year after year, the IMF praised Mubarak's 'progress'. Signing up to its $3bn loan now hardly seems a break with the past

Wael Khalil

(Wael Khalil is a socialist activist and a blogger at He is active in the Palestinian solidarity, anti-war and democracy movements that filled the Egyptian scene in the decade that preceded the revolution.), Tuesday 7 June 2011

"News that the Egyptian interim government has struck a deal with the IMF through which the fund will hand Egypt a $3bn loan has met with differing reactions. It was greeted with relief by some, as proof of the country's positive economic prospects in the medium and long term, and a rebuttal to those scaremongers who have been loudly warning that Egypt is on the verge of bankruptcy because of the revolution and of the continuing protests and street activities.

But many people, myself included, were unhappy with this news and the impact such a loan will have on deepening the country's debt and mounting debt servicing burden.

And there's a more disturbing detail – this is the IMF for God's sake. I recall repeatedly demonstrating over the past 10 years against the Hosni Mubarak regime and chanting against the "Fund" and the "Bank", meaning the IMF and the World Bank. "We will not be governed by the Bank, we will not be governed by imperialism", we chanted, "and here are the terms of the Bank: poverty, hunger and rising prices."

The IMF and the World Bank have for years been pushing the neoliberal measures implemented by Mubarak and his governments, piling praise on him for his courage and achievements.....

I believe that this country's future lies not with the same highly paid, unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats of the IMF, nor with their sacred indicators of budget deficits and market economics. Our future lies with a new home-grown economics that caters for the majority of Egyptians, the schools where their children are educated, the hospitals where they receive healthcare, and the jobs that guarantee them decent and honourable living.

Our revolution, before it called for bringing down Mubarak, has called for "social justice and human dignity" and we will not stop until that is achieved."

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