Citizen audit initiative, newsletter n°3

Dear friends,

Almost five months after the call for a citizen audit of the public debt, the French collective for a citizen audit (le collectif pour un audit citoyen) has now reached a decisive phase. All over France, the meetings of the collective have been a popular success, showing how much the initiative reflects shared concerns.

Given the issues looming in France and elsewhere across Europe, we need to step up popular pressure and denounce the austerity swindle. And that, of course, means mobilisation, in solidarity with the populations most directly afflicted by the destructive measures being imposed by the Troika (the European Central Bank, the IMF and the European Commission).

The Collective is preparing to mobilise, with a particular focus on fighting the Eurozone budget pact, which aims to shackle the European community with measures of austerity that will endanger both our living conditions and the democratic process itself. This campaign will of course be based on detailed explanations (like this translation of an analysis of the Treaty) and campaign material and activity developed by the Collective, as well as demonstrations still to be organised.

Here are some of the dates that have already been posted on the agenda:

Saturday 31 March: It’s time to end the debt!

Since the launch of the French citizen audit campaign, the activities of the local groups have diversified: they have brought the issues forward through a host of awareness-raising activities, a proliferation of documentation and support material, as well as meetings to explain the issues and improve our general understanding of the public debt question. At the same time, however, they have also seen the need to go beyond explanation, organising festive demonstrations or involving the local authorities in citizen debates on toxic loans or local authority funding.

On March 31, local activities have been arranged all over France as part of the ¨let’s free the elections¨ movement launched by various organisations. It’s an opportunity for local groups to build on local dynamics by organising street events and awareness-raising activities. (There’s a mobilisation kit at their disposal on the citizen audit website.) This could also be an opportunity to create a new dynamic in response to action by the local authorities (see below).

Note that you can order copies of the Public debt quiz (no charge except for postage) by sending a message to materiel-militant@audit-citoyen.org. You can also order the 4-page leaflet (in French).

Saturday 19 May: European demonstration in Frankfurt outside the Central European Bank

A huge European demonstration is being organised for 19 May in Frankfurt by the German social movement. There will be demonstrators from all over Europe, come to protest against the austerity measures imposed by the Troïka. It is due to be a major demonstration given its European scale and symbolism; it arrives at the height of regressive EU policies and when the European Central Bank has shown its clear preference for saving the banks at the expense of European people.

As the demonstration will be striking exactly the same chords as the much-needed campaign against the Eurozone budget pact and alternatives in Europe, the Collective is calling on its local groups to participate, and to do what it can to organise transport to Frankfurt. More information will follow on the citizen audit website.

Solidarity with the peoples affected by the austerity plans

All over Europe the public debt has been used to justify an unprecedented offensive against social and democratic rights. In response, demonstrations and actions are multiplying and, in their wake, European solidarity initiatives are emerging.

22 March: General Strike in Portugal

Protests have been arranged in France to express solidarity with the Portuguese people in response to an international call. In Paris, the demonstration will start at 6 pm from the Portuguese Embassy (rue de Noisiel, Paris 16ème. métro Porte Dauphine) and end at the Greek Embassy.

25 March: European Day of Action in Solidarity with Greece.

The Greek indignados are organising a  European day of Solidarity with Greece.  There will be demonstrations in Greece and elsewhere in Europe. Follow the events on Realdemocracygr.

29 March: General Strike in Spain

A historic general strike in Spain called by the main trade unions to protest against the austerity measures imposed by the government of Mariano Rajoy.

Our Collective for a citizen audit of the public debt is participating with other European groups in an effort to bring together the struggles of the European peoples. A coordination meeting for audit initiatives has been arranged in Brussels on April 7 in order to coordinate public debt initiatives.

Please note: at the request of militants in several countries in Europe and elsewhere, the Collective’s previous letter on the citizen audit has been  translated into 6 languages  (many thanks to the translators). The feedback received has shown the extent to which the activities of the Collective are arousing general interest and curiosity.

Local authorities and the public debt, and the combat and audits within the public services

Following the ¨Question your local authority¨  initiative launched by the Collective’s Local Authorities workgroup we are starting to receive the local authorities´ first official statements in support of a citizen audit.

They are available (in French) here. There is a real need to pursue the involvement of the local authorities; they are increasingly asphyxiated by the cuts in their funding and by their toxic debts. It’s an act of citizenship that is easy to organise! You will find practical instructions in French here.

Toxic debts also affect our hospitals, and they are being used to justify further budget cuts. Our Local Authorities work group has published  instructions for organising hospital audits.

We are also working closely with groups struggling to support the public services. This is the case in the area of health. At the Collective’s meeting on March 5, our Vice-President Françoise Nay spoke about the coordination at national level of the committees for the defense of local hospitals and maternity wards.

For local groups interested in getting involved in these struggles, the National Coordination of Committees for the defense of local hospitals and maternity wands website provides information on local defense groups and their combat at local level.

A documentary on the public debt and  citizen audits

One of the signatories of the ¨Call for a citizen audit of the public debt¨ is the cooperative DHR (Human Management of Resources), a group of artists and technicians from all the artistic disciplines. The cooperative is producing a documentary on the public debt it hopes will be coming out in the autumn.

Starting with the received ideas propagated by the media and a citizens «  quiz  », the idea of the film is to give the right of response to people from different walks of life – not only economists but also sociologists, historians, philosophers and artists – extra leverage to help a wider public enter a debate that is too often reserved for the ¨specialists¨.

DHR is launching a subscription to raise the extra funds needed for the project. You can help the production by making a donation to DHR (Direction Humaine des Ressources). For further information, to receive the subscription form,, or if you can help in any other way, please contact  cooperative@d-h-r.org

Thank you for reading this, and don’t forget to visit us at:  http://www.audit-citoyen.org

You can also contact us at the following address:  contact@audit-citoyen.org

The struggle continues!

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