Meeting with members of German Parliament, Madrid October 11th, 2012 – PACD

Text included in the press kit buy the PACD (Citizen Debt Audit Platform), Barcelona.

First of all, thank you for your interest in approaching mobilized sectors of civil society, for we are working hard and with an extraordinary sense of responsibility on proposals to build our future society. A more fair and democratic society than that we have created to the date, run by the dominating mechanisms.

Since the housing bubble burst and triggered the financial crisis, debt has become our worst nightmare and the perfect excuse for financial powers to impose the ultra-liberal reforms they have been after for some time in order to ensure a higher rate of capital transfer from low and middle class incomes to high ones.

As with the people of Latin America, Africa or Asia since the 80′s, debt has become financial power’s instrument of mass domination to also subjugate European democracies. Since the Maastricht Treaty for the adoption of the Euro, the treaties signed by our governments (such as the Euro Pact and the Financial Stability Pact) granted increasing monetary, fiscal and budgetary power to unelected bodies such as the European Commission or the European Central Bank, which is a direct usurpation of sovereignty.

The most blatant interference of these organisms in our sovereignty occurred last year with the shameful constitutional reform to prioritize debt repayment over people’s rights, without any social consultation. To make matters worse, the new blow to our fragile democracy that is being prepared by the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), will subject us to the dictates of the International Monetary Fund and its sadly famous Structural Adjustment Programmes, that devastated the economies poor countries for decades.

Theft of popular sovereignty has made clear that democracy is incompatible with capitalism.

This is why we claim that debt is illegitimate. As in peripheral countries, debt has been induced by financial powers to subdue populations to their private interests. In addition, most of Spanish public debt has been subscribed to benefit a small elite in detriment of the majority. The clearest example is seen in the bank rescue, which has meant more than 215,000 million euros to the public treasury, to which we must add the 100,000 million bailout fund that the EU has made available for Spanish banks and which the State is the ultimate guarantor. Private debt becomes public debt and we are all made to pay, never benefiting from it, rather the contrary, for debt payment implies a huge drawdown of resources that ensure basic rights such as health, education, pensions or decent wages.

To confront this, civil society is organising and is working on a citizen debt audit process, to demonstrate the illegitimacy of debt, repudiate its payment and demand civil and criminal liability for those who generated it. We will not resign and pay a debt we did not generate. The Spanish Citizen Debt Audit Platform (PACD), “Don’t owe, Won’t pay!”, brings together organizations and social movements in the Spanish State.

On the basis of the existence of sufficient evidence of illegitimacy in debt that Spanish Government, together with the EU and regional governments, are using as a pretext to pull ahead with bleeding austerity policies, we seek to show the details of the process that led to this situation. One of the objectives is to claim the right to decide through democratic and sovereign power, what to do with the debt and our future, without interference of financial markets, the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF.

It is a citizen process, open to all those who wish to participate. On one hand, it will address the Spanish state as debtor, public debt and private debt in risk of becoming public. It will be done on a State, regional and local level. The audit process will also have a comprehensive vision, analyzing not only economic and financial issues, but also impact on gender, environment, culture or social and political aspects. On another other hand, it will also include the role of the Spanish State as creditor of debts with countries in the Global South.

An international network is also building up: the International Citizen Debt Audit Network – ICAN, born as well under the slogan “Don’t owe! Won’t pay!”, bringing together movements and networks in different European and North African countries, fighting austerity measures through the implementation of Citizen Debt Audits. The first ICAN Euro-Mediterranean Meeting was held on April 7th in Brussels and the second one will take place in Florence 10+10 (November 8th to 11th). Countries in the network (and growing) are Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Poland, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium, Egypt and Tunisia.

We understand the audit process as a first step on the road towards a new socio-economic model guided by justice and solidarity, as well as an excellent and permanent citizen control mechanism of political and financial powers. Because only together and on a basis of fairness and transparency, can we truly build a democratic Europe.

Vídeo of the meeting: