From Socialist Voice, February 2011

Repudiate the debt! Demand a referendum now!

Statement by the Communist Party of Ireland
3 February 2011


The starting-point in building a sustainable and progressive economy that can meet the needs of all the people is the repudiation of the billions in illegitimate debt imposed on our people and on future generations.
     This debt was incurred by developers, speculators and financial institutions and was then immorally socialised by their friends in the Government. As a consequence, the European Union and International Monetary Fund have imposed an even greater and more crippling debt on our people, which is supported by the establishment political parties.
     This debt is odious. It was not incurred through expenditure on health, education, social welfare, housing, or anything of real value to the economy or the country: it was incurred by friends of the Government so that they could inflate and profit from the speculative bubble, with little or no real benefit to working people.
     This debt is illegitimate. This is not sovereign debt: it is a debt of private individuals and financial institutions that was socialised by the state. We are being made to pay for the debt incurred by a handful of profiteers and private companies that supported the Government, against the needs of the people.
     This debt is perpetual. It is so big that it cannot be paid off. Add the cost of bank recapitalisations and future losses, the rising cost of NAMA to the state, the cost of the bank guarantee, the cost of maturing government bonds that rose as a result, and the cost of the EU-IMF loan, and this adds up to hundreds of billions in debt that does not belong to the people.
     This debt is self-perpetuating. The EU-IMF “bail-out” is itself a loan to cover other debts. But, given its exorbitant interest rate and time limits, it only means that further loans or extensions will be necessary if payments are to be kept up. The Government has created a debt spiral that will cripple the economy and smother any potential to grow. And vast fortunes will be made by financial speculators as the debt bubble grows.
     Won’t pay—not can’t pay. A number of people and groups are calling for deadlines to be extended, or for partial defaults, because we cannot afford to make payments. While the cost argument is correct, we do not believe we should have to default, as this debt is not ours in the first place. Calling for default acknowledges the legitimacy of the debt. We must not default: we must repudiate.
     We call for a referendum on this socialised debt. The people must decide. This is a massive transfer of wealth from the poor, the unemployed, workers, small businesses, the self-employed, and family farmers. We have a choice to make: feed our children and keep a roof over our heads, or continue to pay this unbearable and unpayable debt and suffer the mass emigration of our children.
     Repudiate the debt now. Demand a referendum now.

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