The CADTM abolishes…linguistic barriers!

31 May 2016 by Rémi Vilain

Since its creation, the CADTM (known as the Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt since the network’s World Assembly in 2016) has paid particular attention to ensuring that the diffusion of its work be as widespread and accessible as possible. CADTM’s website is obviously a key tool in meeting this objective!

After the 2015 website renovation, the CADTM’s site is now available in 6 languages! Already accessible in French, English, Spanish and Portuguese, it will now be possible to look up our analyses and petitions in German and Italian! Not to mention the independent CADTM websites in Arabic and Greek!

No wasted effort, since the various distribution channels containing information from the CADTM network are constantly evolving. French, English, Spanish and Portuguese alike, the CADTM website was consulted by a monthly average of 110,000 individual visitors in 2015-2016. This is an increase of 1,200% since the site’s launch in 2003. Thus the CADTM website has become the best-known alternative global website concerning debt issues.

Although social networks do not have a monopoly on providing alternative information, and cannot replace real life interaction, our visibility on them is nevertheless on the rise. Our Facebook pages in French, English and Spanish are evolving every day, while other national Facebook groups (such as CADTM Belgium) – more centred on respective activities and community mobilisation – are constantly welcoming new members. Our Twitter account has also seen a rise in the number of followers. 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.

, 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.
, the WTC and other enemies of ecological and social change had better watch out!

The thinking behind our newsletter, complete with a new layout accompanied by an editorial summarising the most important facts of the week, is paying off since there are now no less than 22,873 subscribers in French, 11,156 in Spanish and 6,046 in English!

This progress on the international scene is consistent with the CADTM’s desire to be, first and foremost, a global network at the heart of social struggles across the world, through our numerous partners and CATDM network members in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and Europe. In this respect, we would like to welcome the three organisations from Gabon, Italy and Luxembourg who have recently joined us in our fight to end the debt system!

Are you interested in quashing illegitimate debt through citizen audits? In halting 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).

and austerity plans? In establishing true fiscal justice and a fair distribution of wealth? In the socialisation of banks? In defending farmer-led agriculture? In recognising ecological debt? In acknowledging the primacy of human rights over creditor rights?

If so, don’t hesitate to join us!

The CADTM website in Italian:
The CADTM website in German:

Translation : Trommons and Vicki Briault

Other articles in English by Rémi Vilain (3)



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