The fourth ICAN meeting: a new step toward the convergence of audit campaigns

16 April 2014 by CADTM International

The International Citizen Audit Network (ICAN)held its fourth meeting in London on March 28th,30th,31st. The conference « life before debt » presented by Jubilee Debt Campaign on the 29th was also an occasion for the members of the network to gather together and discuss the deepening of their own campaigns.

A confirmed diversity

The introductive discours by the thirty deleguates from 14 different countries [1] confirmed the differences of experiences and practices within the citizen debt audit campaigns. Some have been launched recently, others, older, have already given some results. Some focus on groundwork research, others on popular education. Some of them gather few people, others hundreds. Some are devoted to lobbying, others to popular mobilisation.

This diversity of context and approaches stood out during the open discussion on the concept of illegitimate debt. Echoing the conclusions of the last meeting in Thessaloniki (Greece), we recalled that every audit campaign should define by itself its conception of illegitimate debt through the practice of the audit since the concept is a politically dynamic notion. You will find, very soon, on the ICAN website, documents proposing definitions of this concept that are already in use.

A network to be strengthened

The network has more and more participation and new citizens’ audits movements that refuse austerity and the debt system are arising all over. It is to be recalled that this network has been inspired by the struggles carried on in the “South” and that at the moment it has a more European, rather than international, content. This is a logical evolution, considering the present crisis in Europe and all agreed on this convergence of different European campaigns struggling against debt dictatorship. However, it also true that this discussion has just started and the network is open to every kind of citizens’ audit.

The second observation was about the fonctioning of the network itself. This network is already extraordinary, but with just a little more effort, if only, in terms of exchange of information and experiences, it could realise much more of its potential. To do this, a communication team (internal and external) has been set up and is running. Among other concrete decisions, it is worth mentioning the lauch of an audit of the European Central Bank Central Bank The establishment which in a given State is in charge of issuing bank notes and controlling the volume of currency and credit. In France, it is the Banque de France which assumes this role under the auspices of the European Central Bank (see ECB) while in the UK it is the Bank of England.

European Central Bank
The European Central Bank is a European institution based in Frankfurt, founded in 1998, to which the countries of the Eurozone have transferred their monetary powers. Its official role is to ensure price stability by combating inflation within that Zone. Its three decision-making organs (the Executive Board, the Governing Council and the General Council) are composed of governors of the central banks of the member states and/or recognized specialists. According to its statutes, it is politically ‘independent’ but it is directly influenced by the world of finance.
), the production of short movies to present our own campaigns, or the « OCAx », an instrument developped by the Spanish campaign that permits the collection of debt data from the different local authorities and public entities; this instrument is open to citizens who may upload and share Share A unit of ownership interest in a corporation or financial asset, representing one part of the total capital stock. Its owner (a shareholder) is entitled to receive an equal distribution of any profits distributed (a dividend) and to attend shareholder meetings. data, and interogate their representatives.

Part of a broader mouvement

One of the most underlined points of this four days meeting was the fact that a citizens’ debt audit is part of a broader mouvement that claims to be really democratic and struggles against the dispossesion of the majority of the population at the benefit of the richest 1%.
This was clear for the militants present at the ICAN meeting who are active on many fronts and trying to converge their struggles. It was clear also during the Jubilee conference “Life before debt” on Saturday where ICAN presented a panel and a variety of workshops linked to other spheres and aspects of the same combat.

To strengthen this interconnection of subjects and struggles ICAN members will be present at the following events and mobilisation: Troika Troika Troika: IMF, European Commission and European Central Bank, which together impose austerity measures through the conditions tied to loans to countries in difficulty.

Party or Troika Watch; Social Mouvement University organized by ATTAC in August; the European week of action from 15th to 25th May; the week of action against the International Financial Institutions, “celebrating” their 70th anniversary this autumn, and others. See you there.



[1Belgium, Colombia, France, Germany, Greece, Irland, Italy, Portugal, Scotland, Slovenia, Spain, Tunisia,United-Kingdom, United-States

Other articles in English by CADTM International (66)

0 | 10 | 20 | 30 | 40 | 50 | 60



8 rue Jonfosse
4000 - Liège- Belgique

00324 60 97 96 80