CADTM ( Committee for the Abolition of the Third World Debt www.cadtm.org ) was founded in Belgium back in 1990 in an international context already marked by popular uprisings in the South against the structural adjustment programmes (SAPs) enforced by the World Bank and the IMF. 20 years on, CADTM is active on every continent alongside men and women who are fighting to free the world’s peoples from imperialism, neo-colonialism, capitalism and patriarchy, with abolition of the debt as the spearhead of its action. .
Originally working to promote the global justice movement, in particular through campaigns and conferences, CADTM came to a turning point in 1994 when it launched a worldwide appeal “World Bank, IMF, WTO: 50 years is enough!” and co-organized the Madrid summit “The Other Voices of the Planet”. CADTM went on to produce international-scale publications that would be instrumental in building its network.
Starting in 1999, new committees were formed (in West, North and Central Africa, France and Switzerland), and other associations joined the international network (from Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Côte d’Ivoire, Congo Brazzaville, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, India, etc.).
The resounding success of the Dakar 2000 conference “Africa: from resistance to alternatives” in a context of major mobilization (massive protests against the World Bank, the IMF, the WTO and the G8 in 1999-2000), followed by the creation of the World Social Forum in 2001 in Porto Alegre, gave greater impetus to the CADTM network, which is now established in 30 countries.
Its struggle against Third World debt is constantly reported and recognized at international level. Its analyses have significant impact at the institutional level also. For example, in 2007-2008 CADTM participated in an audit of the debt in Ecuador, while the legal notions of odious debt and illegitimate debt, supported by the network for many years, are presently the subject of several UN reports.
The crisis which broke in the United States in 2007 and struck Europe in 2008 has logically led CADTM to more closely examine the public debt of the North in parallel with that of the South.
Today CADTM is a driving force in the ceaseless struggle against the IMF, the World Bank, the G8, the Paris Club and all institutions that organize peoples’ submission to the diktats of creditors. In this globalized world, only concerted study and the tracing of alternative paths can lead to the construction of a radically different logic. CADTM is working towards that end - every day, and on every continent. .
To celebrate the great adventure undertaken 20 years ago, CADTM invites you to a series of public events in Liege and Brussels (Belgium), from 24 November 2010 to 1 December 2010, which will be attended by representatives of the organizations participating in its international network. Through these activities you will discover the story of CADTM, its analyses of the debt in the South and North, the connection between the debt and human rights, the victories won over the last 20 years, the struggles that remain to be waged, and the opportunities for you to be part of them!
The fight goes on. ¡ Hasta la victoria !
Translated by Judith Harris and Christine Pagnoulle