Today, May 12th is planned as a day of global struggle, with coordinated mass demonstrations across the globe up to May 15th. It is another step forward in the struggle of citizens against the brutal offensive of neoliberalism.
It is nearly a year since “Indignados” May 15th, and in this time we have built together strategies, actions and different campaigns, amongst them…
Citizen Debt Audit Platform “We don’t owe! We won’t pay!”
Citizens, 15M/Indignados assemblies and various social networks and organizations around the country are building the Citizen Debt Audit Platform to demonstrate the illegitimacy of debt, identify those responsible of the crisis and demand not to pay an illegitimate debt.
In the Spanish state, as in other countries in the European periphery, we are witnessing a Debt Crisis used to justify austerity policies which are destroying social and labour rights won with the effort and struggle of past generations. With impunity, basic public services such as education, health and social services are being reduced and privatized. People are helplessly watching how retirement age is delayed, living conditions made precarious, pensions freeze and labour rights disappear.
The Spanish economy’s debt is huge, above 400% of GDP, but who subscribed and benefited from this debt? Is it true that we all have lived beyond our means, as we hear repeated over and over again? Or on the contrary, has this debt benefited a powerful minority that continues profiting from austerity policies and social cuts? Are we paying a debt that we haven’t generated, a debt that is subscribed against the general interest of the people? Or is the mechanism designed to generate debt illegitimate in itself?
From the Citizen Debt Audit Platform, we understand that there is more than sufficient evidence of illegitimacy in the debt that Spanish Government, together with the EU and regional governments, is using as the reason to pull ahead with bleeding austerity policies. This is why we demand the right to know about the details of the process that led us to this situation. This initiative has, among its objectives, the need to recover democratic and sovereign power to decide what to do with debt and with our future, without interference of financial markets, the European Commission, the ECB or the IMF.
The audit will have a wide view; not just limited to economic and financial issues; it will also include the role of the Spanish state as creditor of debt with countries in the Global South as well as considering ecological, gender, social, cultural, political and historical debt issues.
Still defining objectives and strategies, networking, developing tools and collecting data, the Platform is holding training activities and meetings, giving talks in neighbourhoods, towns, communities, schools and groups of interested people, making materials available for citizen information and opening participation channels.
Social mobilization is considered essential for the development of the campaign. The Platform has participated in various demonstrations against social cuts, the labour reform, general strikes, etc. as well as activities organized during the summit of the European Central Bank in Barcelona or actions in support of the Greek people.
There has also been international coordination efforts, celebrating the first Euro-Mediterranean meeting in April, where the “International Citizen Audit Network” was born. Activists and organizations from twelve countries in Europe and North Africa participated and are also in the process of developing or planning debt audit campaigns in their own countries. (Article on international coordination: http://wp.me/p1Atrv-1rk)
The Citizen Debt Audit Platform will participate in 12M-15M mobilizations denouncing the economic and financial policies that caused the crisis as well as the illegitimacy of debt and austerity policies imposed on us. We will work on solutions, alternatives and tools to recover people’s sovereignty, expropriated by the dictatorship of financial markets.
We will use the social spaces created to celebrate the first anniversary of 15M to appeal to our people, regardless of their knowledge or experience, to participate in this process of collective learning and empowerment.
Not one more euro to rescue banks. Citizens’ debt audit.
We will not pay illegitimate debt created by those who caused the crisis.