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Consensus Debt Axis, Agora99: Don’t Owe, Won’t Pay!

Published in Greek – Greece Debt Audit Campaign.

Activists from different social movements, have gathered in Madrid during this weekend in the Agora99% grassroots meeting, to work and find shared agreements on debt among movements of different countries. These are our main conclusions:

Lack of democracy in Europe has allowed that, under the threat of debt, people’s basic rights are being violated. We denounce the responsible agents of emptying democratic institutions from people’s sovereignty. We point at transnational corporations, specially international banks, for grabbing wealth through the payment of interests and the privatisation of the public companies in strategic sectors.

We already know that debt claimed to governments has not been acquired for the benefit of the people. We therefore consider it illegitimate debt and will not pay. The link between debt, austerity and privatisation is clear. We consider it urgent to end the growing impoverishment of the people and ensure that all can cover their basic needs, as reflected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; housing, food, healthcare, education, employment and social services. We call on social movements working on protection of these rights to coordinate protest actions and build alternatives together.

We know that the EU economic policies being implemented are not intended to improve the welfare of the people, neither in mid or long term, and we look at our sisters in the South, whose suffering must serve as a lesson. We demand cancellation of illegitimate debts that Southern countries have with the North, and support the movements that have been working for over two decades. Not paying debt is not enough, neither the recognition of illegitimate debt, we know that the capitalist system works with a systemic debt mechanism of impoverishment and domination. Without overcoming the capitalist system we will not end the slavery process debt implies.

We call for urgent and permanent mobilisation of citizens. The gravity of the situation, especially in the case of the Greek people, requires a coordinated European response. We will not let them make us believe that there is a conflict between nations, and warn that the real conflict is between creditors and citizens. We are all Greeks, Germans, Portuguese, Italians, French, Spanish…

We reject the validity of the constitution of the ESM Treaty and the plans of the Fiscal Pact, which threaten the sovereignty of the people, are unconstitutional and have been a silent coup. We want to recover the sovereignty of our countries and demand that decisions are taken in real democratic political institutions.

We draw attention to the polarization of the political parties and the rise of neo-Nazi parties that are serious threat to security and peace between European countries.

Debt is the major domination tool of the system.

At Agora99 Madrid, we worked on five workshops in the debt axis:

- You are not a Loan.

- University, Knowledge and Debt.

- The disastrous EU policies

- The International context and active players in the debt axis.

- Strategies, Strengths and need for a common action calender.

Based on the work done, the common proposals that have emerged are:

- Link the effect of European policies with local struggles. Underline the direct link between the mechanism of debt and its effects on citizenship: privatization, evictions, dismantling of public services…

- Shape a common international message about the illegitimacy of debt generation mechanisms. Despite the differences in each country, the funding mechanisms are similar and produce the similar problems. Point out power structures that define the policies imposed in the EU: banking, corporate power, international organizations (Troika).

- Social Pedagogy: Translation of the language of European policies for better understanding and make an effort in order to increase awareness, under a coordinated and unified message at an international level, adapted to different contexts.

- Improve and expand networks across Europe, making our message permeable to northern countries, where problems have not yet been made visible.

- Brake official speeches and work on common memes.

- We thought about how to coordinate these initiatives, opening an international list on debt and create an open blog to exchange information, documents, actions, tools…

- Boikot actions, creative trolling, communicative guerilla, civil disobedience.

- Development of 2.0 and citizen participation tools (

- There has been discussion about the need to communicate and coordinate between different axes.

- Consensus on building a common European mobilization calendar. We have talked about different dates: 14N, G8 June meeting in London, EU treaties agenda, EU summit in Brussels March 22nd, World Social Forum Tunisia March 23rd-28th, May mobilisations, European Parliament elections 2014… but we also considered interesting to see what dates come out of the international meeting in Florence 10 +10 the following weekend, and try to synchronize a common European calendar with other groups and organizations.