Life Before Debt – 29 March 2014

Why debt rules our lives and how to resist it



Six years on from the crash, the ranks of those imprisoned by debt are swelling in the UK and across the world.

For years, millions of people in the global South have been trapped in poverty by the rule of debt. Now across Europe our public services are being slashed and our economies restructured to pay for bankers’ bailouts. In the UK, as prices outstrip wages, families are turning to payday loans to get through the month, students face a lifetime of debt and the NHS is locked into 30-year contracts with parasitic companies profiting from the public purse.

Debt is at the centre of a broken economic system that is hurting ordinary people everywhere.

This free day-long conference will hear from global movements on the frontline of debt resistance, investigate the pervasive role of debt in our lives today, and discuss what collective action we can take to break the chains of debt in years to come.

Registration from 9.30am

School of Oriental and African Studies
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Nearest tube: Russell Square


Speakers include:

  • Rowan Williams, Former Archbishop of Canterbury
  • Ann Pettifor, Director, PRIME and author of Just Money
  • Andrew Ross, Strike Debt activist and author of Creditocracy: The case for debt refusal
  • Costas Lapavitsas, Professor of Economics, SOAS
  • Njoki Njehu, Daughters of Mumbi, Kenya and Africa Jubilee South
  • Jihen Chandoul, Campaign to Audit Tunisia’s Debt
  • Mohammed Mossallem, Drop Egypt’s Debt campaign
  • Allyson Pollock, Professor of Public Health & author of NHS Plc
  • Andrew McGettigan, Critical Education blog and author of The Great University Gamble
  • Nick Dearden, World Development Movement
  • Sarah-Jayne Clifton, Jubilee Debt Campaign
  • plus members of the International Citizens Debt Audit Network

Sessions include:

  • The morality of debt: why we pay debts we don’t owe
  • Debt and development: why the ‘Third World’ debt crisis hasn’t gone away
  • Payday loans: an industry without mercy
  • Dictator debt and the Arab uprisings
  • Student debt and the privatization of higher education in the UK
  • How vulture funds operate and how to stop them
  • Corporate contracts in the NHS: Britain’s odious debts?
  • Debt audits: how they work, and what they’re good for
  • plus art, music and more…
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