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Bretton Woods Project: IMF's European austerity drive goes on despite failures and protests
In early April, German magazine Der Spiegel reported that the IMF had finally recognised that Greece needed to restructure its debt (see Update 75, 73, 72) because the austerity programme was not going to be successful. The magazine said that the Greek government, the European Central Bank and other major EU countries rejected the IMF position in programme negotiations. After the report was published, the IMF denied that it had ever suggested restructuring, but bond markets were spooked.

In early May, 400-plus activists from Greece and across the world met in Athens to confront the current debt crisis of the European periphery and plan international solidarity and coordinated action against fiscal austerity. The gathering discussed alternatives such as debt audits and debt repudiation, including presentations on similar experiences in Ecuador, Argentina and Brazil. The concluding Athens declaration on debt called for citizens in Europe to "challenge the austerity policies of the EU and the IMF, oppose international financial power, and reject the slavery of debt. We call on people across the world to show solidarity." There is now mounting political pressure for an independent debt audit commission and financial reform in Greece as well as a push for similar calls for debt justice in other European debtor states such as Ireland.

During the end May IMF-EU review, the main square in Athens, situated in front of the parliament building, saw a giant sit-in turn into a semi-permanent encampment. With at least 30,000 in the square daily and as many as 200,000 on a weekend in early June, the protest is being compared to the social movements that toppled the governments in Tunisia and Egypt. A 'people's assembly' voted that they would "not leave the squares until those who compelled us to come here go away: governments, the Troika (EU, ECB and IMF), banks, the IMF memoranda, and everyone that exploits us. We send them the message that the debt is not ours."

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 12:04:27 PM EST

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