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Recoiling from the austerity measures activists and organisations worldwide are starting to get together to fight back against the illegitimacy of the national debts and bailouts. On 7th April the first Euro-Mediterranean Meeting of the newly formed International Network for Citizen Debt Audits took place in Brussels. Activists and organisations from Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Poland, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium, Egypt and Tunisia were present. The main intention of the group to organise a international network campaigning for transparency on the debt, the cancellation of austerity measures, and global regulation of the financial sector.
This new direction has been inspired largely by the different approach Iceland took on the financial crisis. On 23rd April, the former Prime-Minister Geir Haarde was put on trial, and although he has been found guilty of only one minor charge and got off scot-free the simple fact that he got put in the dock in the first place trial sets a potentially ground-breaking precedent.
He was accused of negligence in regulating the private banking expansion, whose paper value before the crash had ballooned to 10 times the GDP of the entire country. The wave of protests that have swept the country since 2008 led the previous government to resign and a new left wing coalition to be elected in 2009. Since then the banks have been nationalized and a new constitution has been written which protects Iceland’s sovereignty over the power of international finance and virtual money.
Iceland's standing up to EU, UK and Netherlands has been remarkable. The main issue regards the aggressive overseas expansion of Iceland’s banks through the Icesave savings accounts offering a staggering rate of 6% in UK and 5% in the Netherlands. By the time the credit crunch was over – the country owed a staggering 4 billion euros.
There were a couple of attempts to reach a consensus of payback on a lower interest rate – however the public rejected them outright by popular referendum. Despite fierce international pressure and bullying, the population of Iceland made it clear that they hadn't profited from the original transactions and they weren't going to take the rap when the deal turned sour.
Iceland legitimised and cleared the path for what has been shouted in the streets of all Europe. Financial speculation and reckless borrowing by international banking triggered the current crisis, hence the debt is odious and illegitimate to become a public debt. Knowledge gives power and the process of how the debt was incurred needs to be scrutinized and audited rather than glossed over by the ruling elites and the bankers.
Anti-cuts protesters block Lord Freud's Highgate London home and stage "evict a millionaire" demo.
UPDATE: They finally coughed up. After two days of consistent hassling by activists at the Department for Transport earlier last month, during which one person got nicked, the DfT sheepishly released the previously top secret (read: problematic and embarrassing) documents about the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road.
'Non-citizens' take to the streets of Berlin in the latest instalment of the Refugee Strike shaking things up in Germany.
With protestors gearing up for a second round of resistance there could be 'diversions ahead' for the East Sussex County Council and the road backing scum Trinity College in the University of Cambridge.
In solidarity with 235 Sussex University workers whose jobs are threatened with privatisation, protesters from around the country converge on Sussex University's campus (alread site of an ongoing occupation), invade management HQ and make a bonfire out of corporate files.
Recent announcement by Environmental Agency grants permits to EDF aiding the production of nuclear energy at Hinkley Point C.
If the “world leaders” heading to Enniskillen in June were hoping for an easy protest-free ride they were sadly mistaken
Civil liberties activists in Germany and elsewhere are taking a novel, and militant, approach to CCTV culture.