8 October 2014 > 15 October 2014

Global week of action against the debt and International Financial Institutions (IFI), 8-15 October 2014

Argentina has fallen prey to a bunch of hedge funds known as ’vulture funds’. Taking advantage of the precarious financial situations of some States, these vulture funds buy debts at a discounted price on a secondary market and then sue the debtors for the initial amount to which they add interests, penalties, and legal expenses.

Vulture funds Vulture funds
Vulture fund
Investment funds who buy, on the secondary markets and at a significant discount, bonds once emitted by countries that are having repayment difficulties, from investors who prefer to cut their losses and take what price they can get in order to unload the risk from their books. The Vulture Funds then pursue the issuing country for the full amount of the debt they have purchased, not hesitating to seek decisions before, usually, British or US courts where the law is favourable to creditors.
, which are usually based in tax havens, can thus make huge benefits to the detriment of populations, as in the case of NML and Aurelius, have just won a dramatic victory in a US court.
After the 2001 crisis, in 2005 and 2010, 93% of private creditors agreed to reduce Argentina’s trade debt by 70% after the country had suspended payment in order to be able to meet the basic needs of its population. NML and Aurelius Capital refused to take part in these negotiations and sued Argentina in New York courts where they were granted the right to demand $1.33 billion, i.e. an added value of 1,600%.
Argentina is not the only country affected by this kind of legal swindle. It is critical that laws against vulture funds are passed as soon as possible. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has also been sentenced by US courts to pay vulture funds. Europe is concerned too. Greece has already been attacked.
Vulture funds are only the tip of the iceberg. What is hidden below, the entire debt system, presents equally perilous threats. This year we commemorate the 70th anniversary of IFIs, the IMF 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 global capital: it acts as policeman when it enforces its Structural Adjustment Policies and as fireman when it steps in to help out governments in risk of defaulting on debt repayments.

As for the World Bank, a weighted voting system operates: depending on the amount paid as contribution by each member state. 85% of the votes is required to modify the IMF Charter (which means that the USA with 17,68% % of the votes has a de facto veto on any change).

The institution is dominated by five countries: the United States (16,74%), Japan (6,23%), Germany (5,81%), France (4,29%) and the UK (4,29%).
The other 183 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.

and the World Bank World Bank
The World Bank was founded as part of the new international monetary system set up at Bretton Woods in 1944. Its capital is provided by member states’ contributions and loans on the international money markets. It financed public and private projects in Third World and East European countries.

It consists of several closely associated institutions, among which :

1. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, 189 members in 2017), which provides loans in productive sectors such as farming or energy ;

2. The International Development Association (IDA, 159 members in 1997), which provides less advanced countries with long-term loans (35-40 years) at very low interest (1%) ;

3. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which provides both loan and equity finance for business ventures in developing countries.

As Third World Debt gets worse, the World Bank (along with the IMF) tends to adopt a macro-economic perspective. For instance, it enforces adjustment policies that are intended to balance heavily indebted countries’ payments. The World Bank advises those countries that have to undergo the IMF’s therapy on such matters as how to reduce budget deficits, round up savings, enduce foreign investors to settle within their borders, or free prices and exchange rates.

, institutions who continue to demand repayment of odious, illegal and illegitimate debts, impose austerity measures, violate human rights, and create poverty. Vulture funds are not the only birds of prey around!
To fight back, we call upon all to mobilize during the global week of action against the debt and the IFIs. The 15th of October is the 27th anniversary of the assassination of Thomas Sankara, the Burkinabé leader who paid with his life for his refusal to repay sovereign debts and to accept the policies enforced by the IFIs.
We call upon all international associations and movements to join in this GLOBAL WEEK OF ACTION AGAINST THE DEBT AND THE IFIs, 8 to 15 October, to end the dictatorship of the debt, the perverse mechanisms of micro-credit (11 October), and the free-trade agreements such as CETA or TTIP (11 October). We demand:

- laws against vulture funds [#stop vulture funds]
- citizens’ audits of the debt to identify and consequently cancel all odious, illegal and illegitimate debts
- acknowledgement of countries’ sovereign right to take unilateral measures to default on their debts so as to meet their commitments in terms of environmental and human rights
- the setting up of an international tribunal of the debt that ensures that priority is given to human rights above the rights of creditors
- a new global and regional financial architecture that gives priority to people and the planet before creditors’ profits and corporate power
- a fair and progressive tax system.

Stand up against vulture fund and illegitimate debt!


ATTAC Argentina
CAD Mali
CADTM Africa
CADTM International
CNCD-11.11.11 (from Belgium)
Debt and Development Coalition Ireland (DDCI)
ELA Emergency Liquidity Assistance
Emergency funds loaned to the private banks by the Eurozone central banks.
(Basque country)
Environmental Association Za Zemiata - Friends of the Earth Bulgaria
erlassjahr.de - Entwicklung braucht Entschuldung (Jubilee Germany)
Initiative for Democratic Socialism (Slovenia)
Jubilee Debt Campaign (UK)
Jubilee Scotland
No Debt No Euro (Greece)
Réseau international Justice pour Sankara Justice pour l’Afrique
Strike Debt


On October 11th : European day action against TTIP

All around Europe: Decentralized actions day against TTIP, CETA (free-trade agreement between Canada and the European Union) and TISA (The Trade in Service Agreement between 50 countries, 28 of which are part of the European Union)


In Belgium: Alliance D19-20 organizes a meeting and some concerts on October 11th from 14.30 pm to 21pm, in Brussels (http://www.d19-20.be/fr)

- On October 16th, press conference and symbolic action by the Belgian debt audit platform in Namur

- On October 10th , as the Bank leaders converge in Washington D.C. for the World Bank’s annual meeting, creative mobilizations will be held simultaneously in 10 cities around the world, under the slogan “Our Land Our Business”. Join #WorldvsBank mobilizations

UK activities:

Tuesday 8 October
5.30pm, UCL Institute of the Americas

- On October 14th: Film night “TTIP- Capitalism on steroids”
6.30pm, Rich Mix, London E1

- On October 16th: Thomas Sakara commemoration
9pm, School of Oriental and African 

Ireland (Galway)

- On October 18th: Public debt event “Borrowers Can Be Choosers – Forging Debt Resistant Communities” with Dr. Alan Cibils, Christina Laskaridis and many others..

CADTM- AYNA activities:

- Séminars in Montevideo (Uruguay) :
9th October : América Latina y el Caribe. Procesos de Integración Regional / Alternativas / Modelos de “desarrollo”/ recursos naturales y energéticos/ ¿Hacia dónde VAMOS ? (http://cadtm.org/America-Latina-y-e...)

10th October : Deuda pùblica global, derecho internacional y los derechos humanos en el siglo XXI (http://cadtm.org/Deuda-publica-glob...)

- Argentina (Buenos Aires)
14th October: Public hearing in the Parliament with the participation of Eric Toussaint, founder of the CADTM.

CADTM Africa activities

9th October: Popular talk on debt organised by CAD Mali to inform the population about the impact of the World Bank « Doing Business » et « Benchmarking Business of Agriculture » projects

Attac Morocco Casablanca activities

19th October: projection of the movie “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” by Stelios Kouloglou (Arab version) and debate


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