The International Citizen Audit Network (ICAN) held its fourth meeting in London on March 28th, 30th, 31st. The conference « life before debt » presented by Jubilee Debt Campaign on the 29th was also an occasion for the members of the network to gather together and discuss the deepening of their own campaigns.
A confirmed diversity
The introductive discourse by the thirty delegates from 14 different countries |1| confirmed the differences of experiences and practices within the citizen debt audit campaigns. Some have been launched recently, others, older, have already given some results. Some focus on groundwork research, others on popular education. Some of them gather few people, others hundreds. Some are devoted to lobbying, others to popular mobilisation.
This diversity of context and approaches stood out during the open discussion on the concept of illegitimate debt. Echoing the conclusions of the last meeting in Thessaloniki (Greece), we recalled that every audit campaign should define by itself its conception of illegitimate debt through the practice of the audit since the concept is a politically dynamic notion. You will find, very soon, on the ICAN website, documents proposing definitions of this concept that are already in use.
A network to be strengthened
The network has more and more participation and new citizens’ audits movements that refuse austerity and the debt system are arising all over. It is to be recalled that this network has been inspired by the struggles carried on in the “South” and that at the moment it has a more European, rather than international, content. This is a logical evolution, considering the present crisis in Europe and all agreed on this convergence of different European campaigns struggling against debt dictatorship. However, it also true that this discussion has just started and the network is open to every kind of citizens’ audit.
The second observation was about the functioning of the network itself. This network is already extraordinary, but with just a little more effort, if only, in terms of exchange of information and experiences, it could realise much more of its potential. To do this, a communication team (internal and external) has been set up and is running. Among other concrete decisions, it is worth mentioning the launch of an audit of the European Central Bank (ECB), the production of short movies to present our own campaigns, or the « OCAx », an instrument developed by the Spanish campaign that permits the collection of debt data from the different local authorities and public entities; this instrument is open to citizens who may upload and share data, and interrogate their representatives, acting as a citizen lobby.
Part of a broader movement
One of the most underlined points of this four days meeting was the fact that a citizens’ debt audit is part of a broader movement that claims to be really democratic and struggles against the dispossession of the majority of the population at the benefit of the richest 1%.
This was clear for the militants present at the ICAN meeting who are active on many fronts and trying to converge their struggles. It was clear also during the Jubilee conference “Life before debt” on Saturday where ICAN presented a panel and a variety of workshops linked to other spheres and aspects of the same combat.
To strengthen this interconnection of subjects and struggles ICAN members will be present at the following events and mobilisation: Troika Party or Troika Watch; Social Movements University organized by ATTAC in August; the European week of action from 15th to 25th May; the week of action against the International Financial Institutions, “celebrating” their 70th anniversary this autumn, and others. See you there.
WE DON’T OWE, WE WON’T PAY !
|1| Belgium, Colombia, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Scotland, Slovenia, Spain, Tunisia, United-Kingdom, United-States.
Are you willing to fight against debt and austerity?
Are you looking for an international network to coordinate your local struggle with?
Would you like to contribute to putting an end to the Troika and its debtocratic regime?
JOIN US AT THE 4th ICAN MEETING
28th, 30th and 31st March 2014, LONDON
As debt keeps growing and austerity deepens all around Europe, the social, political and overall legitimacy crisis keeps spreading. While the debt mechanism continues to abolish our last remaining rights, people are rising up against governments, corporations and EU institutions. The Troika (EC, ECB and IMF) gives no sign of willing to change one bit its path to social destruction. However, on-going resistance is spreading everywhere, not only on the national level, but also on the European one. Anti-debt movement and audit campaigns have a key role within this resistance. And within them, the International Citizens debt Audit Network – ICAN is a tool to coordinate and communicate fighting illegitimate debts and austerity.
Under the slogan “Don’t owe! Won’t pay!” ICAN brings together movements and networks in different European and North African countries that are fighting austerity measures and illegitimate debts through the implementation of Citizen Debt Audits. On 28th, 30th and 31st March we will hold the 4th international meeting of ICAN, hosted by Jubilee Debt Campaign (JDC) in London. We would like to invite you to join this meeting of European and global movements against illegitimate debt and austerity.
Join us at the 4th ICAN meeting in London
and let’s work together to put an end to debt slavery
and the Troika’s debtocratic regime!
The agenda includes:
Friday 28th: Afternoon/evening: Welcoming session and sharing of how the debt struggles/campaigns are going in each of the participant countries (achievements, educational tools, audit, mobilizations, etc.).
Saturday 29th: All day: “Life before Debt” Conference (see below)
Sunday 30th: Morning: Evaluation of ICAN work as a network and objectives discussion. How can we strengthen ICAN and the struggles against debt and austerity?
Afternoon: Strategic discussions on: positions around debt and ICAN priorities for 2014.
Monday 31st: Morning: Communications tools and implementation of ICAN strategic plan for 2014
Note that on 29th March Jubilee Debt Campaign will be holding the Conference “Life before Debt” at the School of Oriental and African Studies – SOAS, when we will have the chance to “hear from global movements on the frontline of debt resistance, investigate the pervasive role of debt in our lives, and discuss what collective action we can take to break the chains of debt”. The “Life before Debt” Conference and the ICAN meeting are two separate events, organised back to back to facilitate activists’ participation in both of them. Check here the Conference agenda.