Radio WIBG: Emilie Paumard: Women’s oppression and the debt work together

13 October 2015 by Emilie Paumard , Brigitte Marti

Emilie Paumard opened the plenary session of the 4th summer University of the CADTM. She presented the debt crisis in only 12 minutes. She used cynical humor to explain how seven years ago in the North neoliberal capitalists realized that the subprime crisis was also an opportunity to dismantle social protections that had emerged in Europe over the past 50 years. These countries’ labor and sexual and reproductive laws went too far; they had to be put back in the ranks. They just had to rewrite history.

And so it came to pass.

It was not deregulation of the finance economy or financial derivatives Derivatives A family of financial products that includes mainly options, futures, swaps and their combinations, all related to other assets (shares, bonds, raw materials and commodities, interest rates, indices, etc.) from which they are by nature inseparable—options on shares, futures contracts on an index, etc. Their value depends on and is derived from (thus the name) that of these other assets. There are derivatives involving a firm commitment (currency futures, interest-rate or exchange swaps) and derivatives involving a conditional commitment (options, warrants, etc.). products that caused the mess. It was the people, the women, the workers! They lived beyond their means, they should return to the “traditional” oppressive way of life! It was not 30 years of neoliberal politics!
Emilie explained that the experience of the South, ravaged by Structural Adjustment Structural Adjustment Economic policies imposed by the IMF in exchange of new loans or the rescheduling of old loans.

Structural Adjustments policies were enforced in the early 1980 to qualify countries for new loans or for debt rescheduling by the IMF and the World Bank. The requested kind of adjustment aims at ensuring that the country can again service its external debt. Structural adjustment usually combines the following elements : devaluation of the national currency (in order to bring down the prices of exported goods and attract strong currencies), rise in interest rates (in order to attract international capital), reduction of public expenditure (’streamlining’ of public services staff, reduction of budgets devoted to education and the health sector, etc.), massive privatisations, reduction of public subsidies to some companies or products, freezing of salaries (to avoid inflation as a consequence of deflation). These SAPs have not only substantially contributed to higher and higher levels of indebtedness in the affected countries ; they have simultaneously led to higher prices (because of a high VAT rate and of the free market prices) and to a dramatic fall in the income of local populations (as a consequence of rising unemployment and of the dismantling of public services, among other factors).

Programs, gave her the necessary insights into the system of debt and creditors to become active in the North. In addition, as a woman and as a lesbian woman, she is subjected to a system of oppressions and restrictions.

She sees the citizens’ debt audit as an important public tool that can be vector of grassroots organizing to lead to transformative initiatives. That is most needed to face this cynical and dreadful system that dispossesses the population of their rights.

The secretive functioning of the financial speculative market pulled apart necessary regulations to protect the public system. This allowed the derivative markets to become 10 times the world GDE while political discourse bragged about controlling the banks. Emilie Paumard believes that the citizens’ debt audit allowed the oppressed population to comprehend and then organize the struggle against these opaque mechanisms that serve the neoliberal elite.

To listen the inteview of Emilie, follow the link.

For a longer interview with Emilie, in French:




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