By the Greek Debt Audit Campaign,
The utter failure of political management of public debt by the governments of George Papandreou up to the current one of Samaras in agreement with the lenders has led to a reinvigorated debate about what next on the public debt issue. The failure is confirmed by the explosion of public debt since the ‘rescue’ began, both in relative terms (from 129% to 175% of GDP) and as an absolute size (from 299 to 321 billion). The failure is also proven through the extent of the social crisis with the rapidly increasing unemployment, poverty, immigration and brutal police repression.
In this context, the cancellation of most or even all of Greek sovereign debt is raised as a pre-requisite in order to actually rescue the people and the country’s future. It is a goal that was set and widely embraced by the social movements against austerity and the Memoranda. Massive debt cancellation is also a pre-requisite to not live a life of debt slavery.
The Greek Debt Audit Campaign from its establishment in March 2011, was committed to this goal, by mobilizing the workers affected by the crisis, raising awareness and gathering information from international expertise and experience on know-how of debt audits and cancellations.
The alteration of the public debt profile to one wheremore than two-thirds are now owed to the Troika rather than to private bondholders greatly facilitates implementing a unilateral decision to cancel this part of the debt, without the consultation with the lenders. Next, the bondholder debt, which according to the most recent data (30 September 2013, Explanatory Report of the state budget for 2014) represents 23.7%, can also be cancelled. A number of constitutionalists, economists and historians have pointed out with credibility and proficiency, the odious, unconstitutional and incompatible with the international law character of Greek debt, and thus offer necessary documentation.
The January 21 statement of Syriza MP Mr. G. Stathakis which defined odious debt at only 5% by restricting it to cases of extreme corruption, are groundless on the basis of the aforementioned documentation on the illegitimacy of Greek debt. Additionally, such a statement does not contribute to the necessary struggle for debt cancellation. To the contrary, it invalidates in advance the mass effort of delegitimization of public debt, which is the first step of a grassroots demand for cancellation. Instead, the need to open the black box of Greek debt and the creation of an independent audit commission with representatives from social movements, trade unions, economists and others is greater than ever. We still need to finally expose and learn the truth about how we reached the Greek and European over-indebtedness, and what the roles of foreign and domestic banks, of governments, of the European Commission, the ECB, the IMF and other European institutions have been.
When a country is suffering an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, with hospitals and schools being shut down, a record high unemployment rate and access to elementary healthcare lacking to a large portion of the populace, the repayment of debt should not take priority over the saving of resources needed for this basic functioning of society. This is also acknowledged by relevant declarations of the United Nations.
The Greek Debt Audit Campaign calls the people to fight against the debt, the Troika and their governments. Only the people΄s struggle can ensure the overthrow of the debtocracy regime!