We, the women gathered at the CADTM seminar “From the North to the South of our Planet: Keys for Understanding Public Debt” held on 22, 23 and 24 May 2010 in Belgium, protest against the austerity measures imposed on Greeks by their government, the IMF, and the European Union, supposedly to offset the Greek public debt.
These measures represent a historical, and only yesterday, unthinkable turning point in contemporary European history: they ruin the social rights and benefits of millions of Greeks and particularly women. They foreshadow the fate of all of us in Europe. What are the consequences? Life in absolute poverty, unemployment, violence, and constant anguish for mere survival.
We support the actions of the women in the Greek network of the World March of Women, who broke the taboo and took the initiative for a rally on 9 May 2010 in Athens in front of the Defence ministry to protest against the military spending of the Greek governement.
Greece holds a sad record: it is the 5th largest client of arms dealers in the world and the 1st in Europe. Greece buys French frigates, German submarines, fighter planes, tanks, and sacrifices the vital needs of its citizens (employment, health care, education, and the joy of living) on the altar of the Western military industry. What hypocrisy! On the one hand, Western powers lend money to Greece supposedly to “save it”, while, on the other hand, they force it to buy weapons from them!
At this critical moment for Greece, reason dictates that it should stop this insane policy of stockpiling weapons, so that it can meet the basic social needs of its poor retired people, unemployed, and single-parent families, most of which are under the responsibility of women.
We, the women in the CADTM, demand that the repayment of the Greek public debt be immediately suspended! We demand that an audit of this debt be carried out without delay so as to determine the illegitimate part of the debt that must be purely and simply abolished!
We demand the halt of armaments expenditures and that the corresponding amounts saved be invested in socially useful spending on social needs and the struggle against discrimination and violence against women.
We call for a revolt against austerity plans forced upon us by the capitalist class. We shall not pay for their crisis! We urge the World March of Women and all social movements that will be in Istanbul from 30 June to 4 July 2010 for the European Social Forum to support our call for a revolt.
Today, these attacks against the rights of the Greek people in the name of public debt are testing our capacity to resist. These attacks have already deteriorated the living conditions in Latvia, Iceland, and Roumania. Today in Greece, and tomorrow all over Europe.
Women of Europe, stand up! Rise up!
Women in the CADTM.
Translated by Stéphanie Jacquemont in collaboration with Charles La Via