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New Left Review I/230, July-August 1998


Ann Pettifor

The Economic Bondage of Debt—and the Birth of a New Movement

On 16 May 1998, the Jubilee 2000 Coalition drew a crowd of more than 70,000 people in Birmingham, meeting place of this year’s g8 summit, to form Britain’s first-ever mass protest in the form of a Human Chain. The crowd came together to demand that the leaders of the rich countries ‘break the chains of debt’ imposed on more than fifty of the world’s poorest countries. These countries are held in bondage by a g8-dominated institution that acts as the agent for all international creditors (public and private): the imf. The Human Chain was to be the central event of a range of meetings held over several days under the banner of ‘The People’s Summit’, organized and led by the New Economics Foundation and the Jubilee 2000 Coalition. The Chain itself was routed to surround Birmingham’s International Conference Centre, the focal point for the Summit meetings.

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