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First review (interim and partial) of the activities of the CADTM international network at the 7th WSF at Nairobi
by Eric Toussaint
29 January 2007

This report principally contains practical information, some of which are of technical nature. Political evaluations were already formulated in the five press releases issued by CADTM between 18-29 January 2007.

We begin by saying that the meetings of the CADTM international network (in brief, henceforth I shall simply say “CADTM”) were the best that could be organised during any WSF till date. Just two dampeners in terms of absence of certain members of the network: for financial reasons and due to problems of translation, it was not possible for Venezuelan, Ecuadorian and Colombian members of the network to be present; moreover, AGAS of Syria had decided not to send delegates.

Some figures on the delegation of the CADTM international network

The presence was (about forty in all)- African delegates: Angola (1 delegate), Benin (1), RD Congo (3), Congo Brazzaville (3), Ivory Coast (2), Mali (4), Morocco (2), Niger (1), Senegal (1), Tunisia (1), Haiti (1 - 3); from South Asia: India (2) and Pakistan (6); from Europe: Belgium (7, one of them is staying in Mombasa for 2 years), France (3), Switzerland (1, already counted for Congo Brazzaville). It is to be noted that there was practically an equal number of men and women among CADTM’s participants. As for age, 8 delegates were less than 35 years old; two were more than 55 years old.

It is also to be noted that CADTM Belgium had taken care of one air ticket for each country from the developing countries, excepting Pakistan where the organisation took care of their own delegates.

The comparatively strong Belgian delegation was due to the need of assuring numerous logistical tasks.

It is to be equally noted that half of the delegates from Belgium took complete or partial care of their outstation expenses in order to leave funds free for the participation of the delegates from the South.

In the final review meeting of the network, done on the 25th January, there were additional delegates from Kenya (3 from People’s Parliament), from South Africa (1 from Jubilee South Africa) and from Japan (2, one from Jubilee Japan and the other from ATTAC Japan) and from Catalonia / Argentina (1 from the “Who owes whom” campaign, Barcelona).

The members of the network held 7 meetings during the WSF: the first one, on the 19th January (from 3-7 pm), the second, on the 20th (from 9 am-1 pm), the third, on the 21st (from 6.30-7.30 am), the fourth, on the 22nd (from 7.30 - 9am), the fifth, on the 23rd (from 7-8 am), the sixth, on the 24th (from 7.30- 8 30 am) and the seventh, on 25th January (from 9.30am- 1pm). Total 16 hours. These meetings allowed everybody to speak and to participate in the collective review of the activities which had taken place the previous day, as well as in the collective preparation of activities envisaged the same day and afterwards.

The public activities in which the members of CADTM participated as speakers.

There were at least 19 activities in which CADTM was directly involved, 7 of whom were directly organized by the CADTM. 13 of them had some link with debt; at least 6 others carried on other topics such as women’s struggles, The Françafrique [1], coordination among the movements of South Asia, the alternatives, uranium extraction in Niger, food sovereignty. In all, our speakers spoke in front of more than 4,000 people even if half of the said activities attracted only about fifty people on an average. Among these activities, 3 were organised by CADTM itself. Still it is necessary to add that great care had been taken to include other organisations in the CADTM panels. To sum up, as regards public conferences, CADTM systematically depended on synergies and convergences among movements to reinforce elaboration and common action.

Media coverage

Coverage in the news of RTBF (Belgian Radio Television) on Saturday, 20th January (between 7.30-8 pm).

Coverage in the programme of France Inter called “Over there, if I am there” on 21st January.

Coverage in France Culture on 22nd January

Coverage on Radio France International on 22nd January.

Three mentions in the Africa programme of the Voice of America (Voice of America, radio channel of the US government targeting the foreigner in several languages, much listened to in French-speaking Africa) on 23rd, 25th and 26th January.

A direct interview on the Algerian Radio on 24th January.

An interview for the news programme of Telesur on 23rd January (TV programmes broadcast by cable in entire Latin America and elsewhere via Internet).

Printed and online media

Interview for the daily paper Le Soir (Belg .) on Saturday, 20th January.

Interview for the weekly Politis (Fr .) from middle to end of January.

Interview for the daily paper Courrier de Genève (Switzerland).

Interview for the French weekly Marianne (issued online on 20th January).

Interview for the German weekly Soz.

Interview for the US weekly Socialist Worker.

Electronic newsletters

Grain de Sable, electronic newsletter of ATTAC broadcast in French to 55,000 subscribers, published 2 reprints of the articles of CADTM during the WSF.

CADTM published 5 press releases before, during and after (18th, 21st, 23rd, 25th and 29th January) among which the first and the last were translated into Spanish and into English.

Public and non-public meetings of coordination among the “debt” campaigns

CADTM participated in 3 meetings for working out a statement and a common charter of all the “debt” campaigns present in Nairobi. These meetings took place in the evenings of 20th, 22nd and 23rd January. Besides CADTM, the Jubilee South Coordination (which has organisations in 3 continents), Kendren from Kenya, Eurodad, Jubilee Debt Campaign from Great Britain, Jubilee US, SPEDCA from Ecuador, Jubilee Czech Republic, Jubilee Ireland, ODG from Barcelona, ATTAC Germany, Blue 21 Germany & the Norwegian campaign had participated in these meetings. All these represent the present international and national organisations in more than 80 countries.

This statement and common charter (refer to the annexure) were then introduced, amended and adopted in a public meeting on 24th January morning with the cooperation of more than 300 delegates. At the end of this assembly, they collected the signatures of more than 50 organisations endorsing the statement and the charter.

A permanent committee for facilitation and coordination was set up. It is composed of Jubilee South, CADTM, Eurodad, and Jubilee US.

All of that is very encouraging and was only possible thanks to the resolute action by the campaigns, which have been meeting with a huge progress since the 5th WSF held in January 2005 in Porto Alegre. The Havana assembly in September 2005, the June 2006 meeting in Nairobi, the common global action of mid-September 2006 on the occasion of the annual meeting of the IMF and the World Bank in Singapore and the seminar of South-North social movements at the end of September 2006 in Brussels confirmed this progress. The search for unity in diversity has therefore been rewarded.

Meetings for coordinating the social movements

Let’s recall that at the end of the seminar of social movements in Brussels, a committee of facilitation had been set up. It was composed of the Continental Social Alliance of the Americas, CADTM (Committee for the Cancellation of the Debt of Third World), COMPA-Amériques, Focus on the Global South-Asia, Grassroots Global Justice-United States, Jubilee South, World March of Women and Via Campesina.

This committee convened an internal meeting of social movements, which was held on 20th January from 6-10 pm. Though it had been announced late, more than 150 delegates assembled.

In the evening of 21st January, the social movements met again in a closed circle (about 80 delegates including numerous Africans).

22nd January, from 12 noon to 2pm, meeting of a small committee of the social movements followed by a new meeting from 4-5.30 pm to prepare for the assembly.

An assembly of social movements took place between 8-11am on the 24th January: 250 delegates participated. Together they prepared for the final meeting of the afternoon. This united more than 2,000 people (from a distance, the largest assembly of the entire forum) and was chaired by Trevor Ngwame of South Africa and Wahu Kaara of Kenya. Since the first meeting of Saturday, 20th January till the general meeting of the 24th, there was a very close coordination among World March of Women, CADTM, Focus on the Global South and the South African and Kenyan social movements (mostly People’s Parliament).

CADTM led the first meeting of the 20th, Focus led the second. World March of Women coordinated the delegation to the organisers in the 23rd evening. South African and Kenyan social movements led the meetings of the 24th morning and afternoon.

Other activities in which delegates of the CADTM participated

On 20th January, two delegates of CADTM (Morocco and Benin) attended the meeting of ATTAC global. Two others went to the meeting of ATTAC which reviewed WSF in the 25th evening. A CADTM delegate (Benin) participated in several meetings of the World March of Women from Saturday, 20th January. 5 or 6 delegates of the CADTM made to the assembly of Jubilee South on 21st January evening. About fifteen delegates of the CADTM went to the Jeevanjee Park where the open session of People’s Parliament took place for three days. 6 or 7 of them also had a programme to meet this movement after the conclusion of WSF (notably with a common meet of the campaign).

A deputation of CADTM went to attend the meeting of CRID France in the evening of 20th January (more than 300 persons were present).

Distribution of books and other publications of CADTM

Throughout the WSF CADTM shared a stall with Jubilee South. We also sold and distributed publications during a dozen conferences on debt. We sold publications by applying a positive discrimination, at cost price, in favour of the persons from South who paid half of the price charged to the delegates from North. The booklet called “Let’s Launch an Enquiry into the Debt - A Manual on How to Organise Audits on Third World Debts” was freely distributed. More than 80 copies of the Indian edition of the book “The World Bank - A never ending coup d’état” were sold during the WSF. We would have been able to sell more copies had our Indian friends been able to bring a larger quantity.

Financial aspects

The general budget estimated for the activities of CADTM in Nairobi had just slightly exceeded, for the following reasons: the delegates from South tried to find air tickets at very reasonable prices (though on an average, this constitutes twice the price paid to go from Brussels, from Mumbai or from Paris to Nairobi); some bookings from the North were at rock bottom prices (less than 600 Euros); the hotel was reserved in June, 2006 at a cost of 10 - 15 Euro per head, which is at least 1/3rd or even 1/5th of the price paid by the majority of the foreign delegations in other hotels. This shows that there were means of decent lodging without spending colossal sums. Finally, several delegates from North took care of all their own expenses (trip and stay).

Various concrete perspectives after the Forum

1. Junko, from Jubilee Japan is going to translate the book “The World Bank - A never ending coup d’état” in Japanese. (She has already translated the book “50 questions/50 answers”)

2. CADTM has proposed to Jubilee Japan to be a part of the international network of CADTM. It is to be seen...

3. As planned, Jeanne Semin (France) has immensely taken shot of the CADTM’s focal activities, of the Forum in general and of the Kenyan movements such as the People’s Parliament in particular. She is staying back till 9th February and so is Jérôme Ollier. On her part, she will make an editing which will be prepared in a DVD by CADTM by June 2007. It is to be noted that Jeanne has already done a video reporting on the activities of CADTM in the 6th WSF held in Caracas in January 2006 (this will be included in the same DVD).

4. In future, CADTM will actively participate in the committee for coordination of the debt movements with Jubilee South, Jubilee US and Eurodad.

5. CADTM is reinforcing its bonds with the debt campaign in Kenya coordinated by Kendren, which is embarking on an audit of Kenya’s debt as a step towards its repudiation. The same can be said about the campaign that has been initiated in Ethiopia.

6. The CADTM distributed more than 250 copies of the booklet in English called “Let’s Launch an Enquiry into the Debt - A Manual on How to Organise Audits on Third World Debts” mainly to the following organisations: Kendren and People’s Parliament in Kenya, the “debt” campaign in Ethiopia and Tanzania, Jubilee South Africa, VAK in India, LPP in Pakistan, the “debt” campaign of Sri Lanka, the coalition Jubilee South, Jubilee US and Jubilee U.K. Spanish versions were given to SPEDCA Ecuador and Jubilee Brazil. The French copies of these booklets were given on the spot to various organisations that were members of the network.

7.CADTM had benefited from the presence of the South African lawyer Charles Abrahams for reinforcing legal methods regarding the Republic of Congo.

8 Regional Workshops of the CADTM network.

During the meeting of the CADTM international network, the subgroups met for preparing

8.(a) The regional workshop of Central Africa (RDC, Congo Brazzaville, Angola) which would take place in end-October or early November 2007.

8.(b) The regional workshop of West Africa which would take place in November or December 2007, in Ivory Coast.

8.(c) In addition, we have advanced in the preparation of a South Asia workshop. A preparatory meeting would take place in March 2007 in Kerala (India) with the participation of VAK India, Farooq Tariq of Pakistan, Linus of Sri Lanka and the CADTM Belgium. There is also the issue of developing collaborations between South Asia and the new contacts of East Africa (there is indeed the common language of English, a common pre-colonial history which continued during the British colonisation). Nairobi is only 6 hours by flight, directly from Mumbai. It is easily possible to send CADTM publications published in English in India or Pakistan to East Africa.

8. (d) Finally, ATTAC & CADTM Morocco proposes to organise A regional CADTM workshop for the Arab world at Casablanca in April 2007. It should be agreeable to Raid Tunisia and AGAS Syria.

9. The members of the CADTM network in Africa are unitedly trying to bring out common printed publications (these are the results of the network’s meeting in October 2006 in Liege).

10. Electronic bulletins of CADTM : one in French has been distributed to more than 10,000 subscribers in the evening of 29th January with a complete folder on the WSF. We will distribute the same in English and Spanish in the days to come.

11. CADTM Journal “The other voices of the planet”: the journal appearing in March 2007 will carry an article on the WSF.

12. On the occasion of the WSF the CADTM held talks with Eurodad regarding the reinforcement of the International Debt Observatory (IDO). It is highly promising: this will be discussed in Belgium in the coming weeks.

13. CADTM has strengthened the contacts it made at Madagascar, because many Madagascan delegates were present at the Forum. Possibly a CADTM unit will soon be opened in Madagascar.

14. A group of filmmakers based in California (see their website http://www.cinemalibrestudio.com) interviewed Eric Toussaint at length. They are making a documentary (of a big budget) on the origin of poverty in the world. Eric’s interview should result in two things: first, a 5 minutes’ slot in the said documentary along with the likes of Susan George, John Perkins, the director of UNDP, a high-profile banker and many testimonies from the South. Secondly, a TV emission of around fifty minutes starts with the sole talk by Eric Toussaint. The interview related primarily to the capitalist globalisation from the 15th to the 20th century.

Conclusion

As indicated in the beginning, this is a provisional assessment that the members of the CADTM network have been asked to carry out. All comments are to be sent to myriam AT cadtm.org

NB: It remains to be said that during the WSF, the CADTM was able to issue a press release and a study on Lebanon’s debt at the time of the conference of the “Donors” held in Paris on the 23rd and 24th January. The Agence France Presse (AFP), the daily newspapers Le Monde and Les Echos as well as Lebanese dailies reflected the standpoint of CADTM. This shows that while being present in force in Nairobi the CADTM is capable of reacting to events taking place at other corners of our planet.

Eric Toussaint
international AT cadtm.org
CADTM
345, Avenue de l’Observatoire
4000 LIEGE
Belgique
www.cadtm.org


Footnotes :

[1Françafrique - a term which refers to French neocolonialism in Africa. It was first used by Félix Houphouët-Boigny, the President of Ivory Coast and was subsequently borrowed by François-Xavier Verschave as the title of his criticism of French policies in Africa.

Eric Toussaint

is a historian and political scientist who completed his Ph.D. at the universities of Paris VIII and Liège, is the spokesperson of the CADTM International, and sits on the Scientific Council of ATTAC France.
He is the author of Greece 2015: there was an alternative. London: Resistance Books / IIRE / CADTM, 2020 , Debt System (Haymarket books, Chicago, 2019), Bankocracy (2015); The Life and Crimes of an Exemplary Man (2014); Glance in the Rear View Mirror. Neoliberal Ideology From its Origins to the Present, Haymarket books, Chicago, 2012, etc.
See his bibliography: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89ric_Toussaint
He co-authored World debt figures 2015 with Pierre Gottiniaux, Daniel Munevar and Antonio Sanabria (2015); and with Damien Millet Debt, the IMF, and the World Bank: Sixty Questions, Sixty Answers, Monthly Review Books, New York, 2010. He was the scientific coordinator of the Greek Truth Commission on Public Debt from April 2015 to November 2015.