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
International Monetary Fund Along with the World Bank, the IMF was founded on the day the Bretton Woods Agreements were signed. Its first mission was to support the new system of standard exchange rates.
When the Bretton Wood fixed rates system came to an end in 1971, the main function of the IMF became that of being both policeman and fireman for globalised capital: it acts as policeman when it enforces its Structural Adjustment Policies and as fireman when it steps in to help out governments that are going bankrupt.
As for the World Bank the votes resulting in decisions are based on the amount paid as contribution by each member states. 85% of the votes are required to modify the IMF Charter (which means that the USA with 17,35% of the votes can paralyse any decision).
The institution is dominated by five countries: the United States (16,75%), Japan (6,23%), Germany (5,81%), France (4,29%) and Britain (4,29%).
The other 177 member countries are divided into groups led by one country. The most important one (6,57% of the votes) is led by Belgium. The least important group of countries (1,55% of the votes) is led by Gabon and brings together African countries.
http://imf.org , 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.
Contact:femmes at cadtm.org
Translated by Stéphanie Jacquemont in collaboration with Charles La Via