3 December 2010

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G20 Time: The People Vs Recession

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 14: (L-R) Chancellor George Osborne and Former British Prime Ministers Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and Sir John Major wait to lay their wreaths at the Cenotaph during Remembrance Sunday in Whitehall, on November 14, 2010 in London, England. Remembrance Sunday tributes were carried out across the nation to pay respects to all who those who lost their lives in current and past conflicts, including the First and Second World Wars. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
The global recession has already plunged over 100 million people back into poverty and unemployment -- but this week, we could turn the tide of economic destruction.

Dear friends,

Right now, French President Sarkozy, the new chair of the G20 group of the world's largest economies, is deciding the group's agenda. Over 300 top economists have urged the G20 to launch a coordinated global investment plan that saves millions from grinding hardship. But governments are doing the opposite - going it alone, slashing spending, and blaming each other.

President Sarkozy often seizes opportunities for dramatic popular action -- a massive outcry to him this week can persuade him to lead. Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has urgently appealed to Avaaz to act...
Watch his appeal below and sign the petition for a Jobs and Justice plan, to be personally delivered to Sarkozy when we reach 500,000 voices.

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The global recession has already put 34 million people out of work and thrown 60 million people back into poverty, but governments across the world are doing exactly the wrong thing: proposing deep cuts to public services, implementing protectionist policies and reducing global development assistance – plans that destroy still more livelihoods and threaten our social fabric.

This is a familiar story: in the 1930s, amidst the Great Depression, governments sought to "reassure the markets" by slashing services and balancing budgets. But this backfired entirely: the cuts shut more and more of their citizens out of the economy, which only made the economic crisis worse. It's precisely when the markets are failing that governments must step in together to fill the gap.

We have already lost a great deal of ground, but it's not too late. The discredited economists who spurred the old bubble economy are giving way to a new wave of fresh thinkers -- including, surprisingly, the powerful International Monetary Fund, which is finally questioning its past insistence that countries in crisis cut their budgets. Brown and other prominent figures are making the rounds to world leaders to encourage this global plan. But they are the first to say that they need a mass movement to make it happen.

Let's raise our voices now for leadership to create jobs and protect citizens from poverty.

Economic collapses can threaten everything we care about. When countries turn inwards, they abandon cooperation on issues like climate change, fighting global poverty and nuclear disarmament. They blame each other and groups of their own citizens -- leading to xenophobia, conflict and, as in the 1930s, the rise of awful political movements like fascism. But cooperation can build success upon success: as we recognize that our destinies are interlinked, a joint recovery can pave the way to the world we all believe in. Let's seize this moment to raise a cry for that greater vision -- of an economy that lifts us all towards a brighter future.

With hope,

Loup Dargent
(On behalf of Ben, Stephanie, Ricken, Alex, Paula, Maria Paz, Alice and the rest of the Avaaz team)

P.S. Winning a global economic revival will take time. But this moment, when the G20 is deciding its priorities, is a pivotal chance to make a difference.

Join the call for a global jobs recovery here.

NEW DELHI, INDIA - DECEMBER 05: (L-R) French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand, French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrive at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel on December 5, 2010 in New Delhi, India. French President Nicolas Sarkozy is on a four-day working visit to India and is expected to chase lucrative French-Indian trade contracts. He is also expected to seek support for his G20 agenda, on his first visit to a G20 member state, after taking over the presidency of the G20 group. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

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