Break the Chains – Transform the System
We’ve been told that the global economy is on the road to recovery. The Wall Street casino that triggered the global financial and economic crisis is back up and running; the largest banks are back to paying out enormous bonuses to their CEOs and investors; the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) have a new lease on life with massive increases in their operating capital and political role.
People and the planet should not pay the costs of the crises!
For the hundreds of millions of people around the world who were pushed even further into poverty and marginalization due to the crisis, and for the planet Earth itself, however, this “recovery” is meaningless. Together with the food, climate, and fuel crises, the economic crisis led to massive job and wage losses, cut-backs in the provision of basic human rights to healthcare, education, housing, water, electricity, and social security, violent evictions from land and territories, increased concentration of corporate control and exploitation of natural resources, and a rise in racist, gender, religious, and sexual discrimination, among other impacts. The costs of this truly systemic crisis continue to rise, including also skyrocketing social crisis and heightened militarization, war, and criminalization of protest, even while the financial sector is again reaping record profits.
Debt levels around the globe have also increased dangerously, as a result of policies designed to subsidize the wealthy and favor the free flow of capital in a market that was supposed to be self-correcting. The debt domination that countries in the global South have suffered for decades is beginning to affect countries in the North more directly, and the types of painful “austerity measures” that devastated populations throughout the South are more widely being applied in the North. Still, it is people and the planet in the South, and those most vulnerable in the North, that stand to bear the brunt of a renewed debt crisis.
The peoples of the South do not owe; they are the creditors!
The debt that is accumulating is not just financial however. By and large, the response to the crises has been a continuation of failed policies of the past, increasing the ecological, climate, social, and economic debts owed to working people and the marginalized. The alarming failure of governments in the North to make concrete commitments to settle their climate debt to the South, through deep domestic emissions cuts and compensatory finance and technology, threatens our collective future. Similarly, limited, lender-driven and conditioned debt relief has ignored the need to respect the self-determination and sovereignty of all peoples and to address demands to end the impunity of the casino economy and make reparations for the damage done through illegitimate indebtedness.
Other wrong-headed responses to the crises include: lending for crisis needs, fossil fuels, agrofuels, mega infrastructure and energy projects or so-called clean development mechanisms; promoting the carbon market and the notion of a “green” capitalism; and the central role given to highly questioned institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, regional development banks, the Financial Stability Forum, or the World Trade Organization.
People and the planet demand debt cancellation and reparations, NOW!
Enough is enough! What people and the planet are demanding is to break the chains of debt domination and the subjugation of all life to the dictates of the market in an economic system based on accumulation and overconsumption by the few, rather than justice and solidarity among the many. We, the peoples, must unite locally and globally to build alternatives of equity and equilibrium for all, without debts or domination.
Instead of more illegitimate debt and new institutions like the G20 – the self-proclaimed “premier forum for international economic cooperation”-, that exclude the majority of countries, it is time to transform a system whose failure has become increasingly evident. Rather than profiting from the crises on the backs of the same peoples, countries, and planet that for too long now have been paying the costs of their enrichment, the governments, corporations, and institutions of the North, together with elites in the South, must provide reparations for the debts they have incurred and their responsibility for these multiple crises and the disproportionate use of the planet’s resources.
Stop Illegitimate Lending – Transform the System!
We call on movements and organizations all over the world to join forces in this fight and to unite in the GLOBAL WEEK OF ACTION AGAINST DEBT AND IFIs, October 7-17. Together let us carry out actions wherever we are, in support of the following demands and ongoing struggles:
- No more debt in response to the crises provoked by the lenders
- Unconditional cancellation and repudiation of all illegitimate financial debts
- Restitution and reparations for ecological, climate, economic, social and historical debts owed by the governments and corporations of the North to the peoples of the South
- Respect for the sovereign right of countries to repudiate or stop servicing debt claims in order to meet their human and nature rights obligations
- Solutions to the economic, climate, energy, and food crises that are equitable, participatory, and transformational
- World Bank and regional development banks out of Climate Finance
- An end to the nefarious practices of vulture funds, which profiteer at the expense of impoverished countries and debt cancellation.
- No more irresponsible lending to finance destructive projects or to prop up illegitimate governments.
- Creation of new financial institutions and global and regional financial architecture that put people and the planet before profits and corporate power
- An end to the militarization and criminalization of social protest
GLOBAL WEEK OF ACTION AGAINST DEBT AND IFIs
OCTOBER 7 to 17, 2010
INTERNATIONAL SOUTH-NORTH CAMPAIGN ON ILLEGITIMATE DEBT
Initial endorsers: Jubilee South, Jubilee USA, Committee for the Abolition of the Third World Debt (Cadtm), European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad), Africa Jubilee South, Daughters of Mumbi Global Resource Center (Kenya), Dialogue 2000 (Argentina)
CALENDAR OF ACTIONS
As part of the Global Week of Action, groups and organizations are encouraged to join with others, maximize your creativity and take every kind of appropriate action to raise our common concerns and support concrete struggles. You are encouraged to share your plans so that others can be supportive; some initial actions, like the March in Washington, DC, are noted below. The Week also includes a number of special days and targets that can help strengthen alliance-building with other movements and networks:
- · October 8: Global Day of Action on World Bank/IFIs out of Climate! and ¨Break the Chains; Transform the System¨ demonstration at the Annual Meetings of the World Bank/IMF in Washington, DC
- · October 12: Global ¨Minga¨ in Defense of Mother Earth Rights
- · October 15: Debt Repudiation Day in memory of Thomas Sankara and International Rural Women´s Day
- · October 16: World Food Day and Global Action for Food Sovereignty
- · October 17: Day of Action against Poverty and Mobilization of the World March of Women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo