The response to the financial and economic crisis is the same everywhere: cuts in expenditure and austerity measures under the pretext of reducing deficits and the repayment of a public debt which is the direct outcome of 20 years of neoliberal policies. Governments in the service of finance and big European capital are actually using this pretext to further reduce social spending, lower wages and pensions, privatize health care, dismantle social benefits and deregulate labour laws, increase taxes on the majority while social and tax giveaways are generalized for the big companies and the highest net worth households.
Measures of violence against the populations, similar to those tested in the Greek social laboratory for two years, are already being implemented in Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Italy, and in Eastern European countries. Latvia, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria have inaugurated the same sad litany of austerity measures, with drastic fiscal cuts (significant decrease in wages, closure of schools and hospitals, partial or total axing of social benefits, rise of VAT rates…). All the European peoples are threatened. This political orientation, which results in growing unemployment and poverty, must be radically rejected. Everywhere, companies are closing down and industrial wastelands are created, all for the greater glory of immediate gains. Everywhere, social inequalities are increasing. The public debt grows whilst many countries enter into economic recession.
Finally, while governments of technocrats are put in place by the creditors flouting universal suffrage and the most elementary democratic rules, new European treaties (ESM, European Stability Mechanism, and TSCG, Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union) are adopted to the detriment of democracy, for the benefit of financial markets and behind the people’s backs. These treaties grant immunity to senior civil servants, allow for the participation of the private sector in close collaboration with the IMF, impose a limit on deficits and give priority to the repayment of debt, no matter the consequences.
Faced with such coordinated attacks on our social gains, resistance is getting organized among Euro-Meditarrenean peoples, there are national general strikes and the ‘indignados’ movements are increasingly active. In Iceland the people refused to pay the Icesave debt to the UK and the Netherlands. In Europe as in Egypt and Tunisia, initiatives for a citizens’ audit of public debt analyze how much of the public debt is illegal, illegitimate, odious or unsustainable, and must therefore be cancelled. Until all rights are guaranteed to all habitants, all debt repayments should be suspended until exhaustive audits have been completed. Paying creditors is stealing what rightfully belongs to the population and payments will continue to be the cause of college and hospital closures, pensions cuts, etc. The Greek resistance persevered for 2 years and recent election results in Greece show a strong rejection of current neoliberal policies. We here express our firm support of the refusal, by the Greek people in their ballots on 6 May 2012, to negotiate with the Troika and to apply its memorandums and the creditors’ villainous conditionalities.
However the neoliberal steamroller has not yet been stopped, and it is high time for the populations and their organizations to develop mobilization on a more significant scale.
Along with other European and international networks such as the Joint Social Conference, the International Citizen debt Audit Network (ICAN) calls for a common mobilization of all groups and trends within the social movement, without exception, including trade unions, ‘Indignados’ and ‘Occupy’ movements, women’s movements, alterglobalization associations and NGOs, political organizations, leading figures, grassroots citizens, intellectuals and artists.
Aware of the need of convergence of all mass mobilizations, we call for large Euro-Mediterranean’s mobilizations in autumn 2012, coordinating an international level of solidarity with the Greek people, against illegitimate, illegal, odious or simply unsustainable debt and austerity measures, to be organized around the traditional week of global action against debt and international financial institutions which, this year, coincides with the 25th anniversary of the death of Thomas Sankara.
In the same spirit, we call for the creation or reinforcement of grassroots’ committees together with local audit groups in all European countries – they would spearhead resistance against the EU’s attacks and give substance to our solidarity with the Greek people and all harassed peoples.
Together we can !
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NB: For a better coordination, the International Citizen debt Audit Network (ICAN) will provide further information in each country where it is present:
Belgium, http://www.sauvetage-dexia.be/ and www.cadtm.org
France, http://www.audit-citoyen.org/ and https://sites.google.com/site/referendumdette/
Germany, http://blockupy-frankfurt.org/es and http://www.attac-netzwerk.de/ag-schulden andhttp://www.zukunftskonvent.de/
Greece, http://www.contra-xreos.gr/ and www.elegr.gr
Italy, http://rivoltaildebito.globalist.it/ and www.smontaildebito.org
United Kingdom, http://www.jubileedebtcampaign.org.uk/
Tunisia, http://www.tunisie.attac.org/dette/index.php / and http://zelzel.net/