G20 on Trial in Pittsburgh

Public News Service

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G20 on Trial in PA

PITTSBURGH, Penn. - As leaders of the world's largest economies begin the two-day Group of Twenty (G-20) summit in Pittsburgh today, a global justice organization is putting the group "on trial" in Pennsylvania, charging its policies on trade and deregulation are widening the gap between the 'haves' and 'have-nots.' 

The G-20 members include finance ministers and central bank governors from 20 world powers, including the U.S., U.K., China, Russia and Germany. The group's stated mandate is to promote open and constructive discussion between industrial and emerging-market countries on key issues related to global economic stability. The group's focus includes curbing poverty and creating prosperity through responsible international development. 

But, Robin Alexander, member of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance in Pennsylvania, says those policies, in many cases and many places, have had just the opposite effect.

"Deregulation, privatization, free trade; all over the world, the poor have been getting poorer and the wealthy have been getting far wealthier."

The trial will rely on a panel of serious and notable participants, says Alexander.

"We're going to have a series of respected community leaders as judges, and they'll hear testimony from people about the impact of G-20 policies in their communities."

Earlier this year in London, G-20 members pledged $1 trillion to help tackle the global financial crisis, including boosting global trade and tightening financial regulations worldwide. Alexander admits the financial sector may be gaining a more solid footing through the work of the G-20, but she argues Pennsylvanians are still losing their jobs and having a hard time finding new ones.

"These are very real, very serious things that have an impact on people's lives, and we're not seeing the kinds of policies that are satisfactorily responding to them."

The G-20 People's Tribunal intends to put on trial the group's economic development priorities, assigning the G-20 itself as defendant in this non-legal event. Testimony will be heard and a verdict reached on how G-20 policies are promoting unemployment, crime and drugs, and failing to improve the lives of the world's children.