Alternatives and strategies against Debt and Austerity Measures.
European activists meet in Greece to discuss the debt problem, coordinate resistance strategies and propose alternatives.
The International Citizen Audit Network (ICAN) holds its third meeting in Thessaloniki from February 15th to 18th 2013, with the participation of activists against debt and austerity measures from Spain, Italy, Portugal, France, Belgium, the UK and Greece. ICAN brings together, from April 2012 and under the slogan “We don’t owe! We won’t pay!”, movements and networks in different European and North African countries fighting austerity measures and debt problems through Citizen Debt audits.
Thessaloniki’s meeting was organized by the local movement No Debt No Euro in collaboration with the Greek Debt Audit Campaign (ELE), with the participation of other local groups. The meeting, held at the Aristotle University, had internal ICAN network meetings for the definition of common resistance strategies in Europe, and public spaces for debate around issues such as “Reasons to cancel the Debt”, “Who wins with debt? Privatization, labor reforms and bank bailouts” or “Debt and Inequalities. The rise of fascism and gender impacts”.
The purpose of the meeting was to deepen the understanding among participants about the situation of European countries which are threatened by excessive debt, focusing on the situation in Greece, where unprecedented social struggles in Europe are met with equally unprecedented repression. Therefore, the event was followed by a series of meetings with social movements, citizen initiatives and activists that, both in Thessaloniki and Athens, are daily facing the consequences of the crisis. A group of 10 activists from Spain, Italy, Belgium and the UK formed a delegation which met up with groups of unemployed, occupation initiatives, victims of police and fascist violence, groups of migrants, freedom of press advocates, unions and education or healthcare workers that drive initiatives in neighborhoods particularly affected by the crisis.
Delegates from the different countries shared the situation in their countries, the impacts of the crisis and bank bailouts, and the progress of their citizen debt audit processes. They also collected testimonies of the impacts of the crisis, the prioritization of debt payment and the Troika policies, attacks on freedom of press or the increase of fascism in Greece, in order to spread the experience in their own countries.