The question of the repayment of public debt is undeniably a taboo subject. The heads of State and governments, the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the mainstream media present it as inevitable, indisputable and obligatory. The people have no other choice than to knuckle under and pay. The only possible discussion pertains to how the burden of the sacrifices will be spread around so as to find sufficient budget to meet the nation’s obligations. The borrowing governments were democratically elected, thus the debts are legitimate; they must be paid. Is it really so?
What brought the state to take on continually increasing debt? For what political choices and social interests has the debt been contracted? Who has profited from this? Was it possible or necessary to make different choices? Who are the lenders? Do the lenders impose conditions and, if so, what are these? How have private debts become public debts? How does the state finance debt repayments? What is the alternative?
Nathan Legrande is a member of the international network of the Committee for the abolition of illegitimate debts (CADTM). He is based in Brussels, Belgium, but he started being politically active in France as a student, in a struggle against neoliberal reforms in the education and the pension systems. In more general terms, he define himself as an anti-capitalist, eco-socialist and internationalist activist.
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The event is part of the Studies of Socialism programme, which the Center for Politics of Emancipation organizes during 2018 with the support of Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung and transform! europe.