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CCPPD – Committee for the Cancellation of the Portuguese Public Debt


The CCPPD is a civic group aiming to:

  • promote the study, debate and publishing of the national indebtment process and its alternatives;

  • support the citizen-led audit on the public debt, with suspension of debt payment;

  • support the immediate cancellation of the illegal, illegitimate and odious debt considering national and international laws (safe-guarding individual small investors);

  • support the elimination of the national indebtment factors;

  • promote the solidarity and coordination of efforts with other like-minded collectives and groups, national and from abroad.


We live in times of profound economical and financial crisis; in times of spiralling and apparently unsolvable public indebtment; in times of dismantlement of the social state, the rule of law and the most elemental humane and humanitarian values, with negation of fundamental rights and principles subscribed more than five decades ago by the majority of the international community.

The urgency to find solutions for the debt crisis is directly proportional to the growth of misery, abandon and affliction of populations.

The first step towards the solution for the crisis, should be in our understanding, the implementation of a citizen-led audit accompanied by payment suspension of the public debt, followed by its cancellation.

The meaning of a citizen-led audit

We know, thanks to persistent declarations from the instituted powers, that all public debts are contracted in the name of populations. The aim of a citizen-led audit is to verify, if the formation of those debts benefit the general population. If this is not the case, the debt is illegitimate – recognizing the most elemental concept of justice, no one should have to pay a debt that it is not his own.

The citizen-led audit should investigate the odious, illegal or illegitimate part of the indebtment, which deserve automatic repudiation according to the international community laws. The perpetrators of these crimes should be prosecuted, individually and/or collectivelly.

It is a duty of a citizen-led audit to make the whole investigation process transparent and understandable to everyone. Everything is paid from the working people pockets in a straight-forward and immediate manner; it is their right to know in an equally straight-forward and immediate manner the reason (or the lack of reason) for the demanded payments and sacrifices.

In that sense, a citizen-led audit should be done by common citizens and civic movements – that is, by the people directly interested, those who pay the debt largest part. It is the duty of civic groups like CCPPD, specialists and academics to provide the necessary technical support – but the audit dynamics should be set by the citizens direct engagement, organized in autonomous civic movements. Otherwise, the citizen-led audit process is bound to fail, serving some particular goal, be it individual or political.

Finally, it is necessary to clarify that a citizen-led audit is not an end in itself. It is not about settling grocery bills, but about unveiling an indebtment process with doubtful contours. The audit is only a small transitory step, in a long journey to inform the populations, to achieve and maintain their welfare and to put an end to all public indebtment processes.

The need for the immediate suspension of debt payment

It would not make sense to question a debt, and at the same time proceed to pay it, before clarifying its origin and respective parcels. As a measure of elemental good sense, we advocate the debt payment immediate suspension to initiate a citizen-led audit.

In a restaurant, in a bank or in a country no one signs a cheque to pay a debt with unknown value, origin, formation process and even creditor name.

The meaning of cancellation

The debt unilateral repudiation is an immediate result of the odious, illegal and illegitimate acts according to national and international laws.

But, beyond the strictly juridical illegitimacy, it is necessary to denounce the political illegitimacy of a debt which is the result of state activity in favor of private interests, with recapitalization of private banks at the expenses of tax-payers money and systematic transference of public resources to the private sector.

The repudiation of those parcels will be useless if, after this debt crisis, another follows it and so on. The debt cancellation has to go further; it has to take steps in the way of searching for alternatives (economical, financial and political) which will end at once and forever, the indebtment process at its source.

A citizen-led audit and debt cancellation do not exist in isolation – they cross paths with questions like food sovereignty, alternative economy, ethical finance, chemical and pharmaceutical independence, renewable energy, the end of independent or private status of central banks, the collective control of financial institutions, etc. The CCPPD proposes itself to reflect and act in tune with movements and social organizations which intervene in those fields of society, aiming to collectively find ways to block the mechanisms of permanent indebtment.

However, the repudiation and cancellation process should safe-guard the interests of small investors; many of them are workers who invested their savings acquired after working all their lives; they are not directly responsible for the indebtment spiral – it would be unfair to punish these isolated investors for manoeuvres promoted by the big financial interests.

Principles and goals

The fight against the infernal spiral of indebtment will be lost on its path unless a compass of general principles more vast than the strictly financial and accounting related problem is used.

Those principles are social justice, equality, self-determination and sovereignty of the people, solidarity and international cooperation, peace and respect for nature and subordination of private economic interests to the interests of populations. These principles must be steadfast and structural to every action and alternative proposal against indebtment; with no exceptions. As a matter of fact, the national deficit is established on top of a democratic and justice deficit.

We often see commentators and activists organizations feeling defeated, declaring the debt and its payment as something inevitable, proposing it to be restructured or renegotiated, because they cannot find alternative way outs in the limited picture of a strictly economic view (this is, an ideology which reduces all social and political interests to the economical dimension of social facts). The debt crisis can be defeated in favour of the well-being and development of people, not in favour of economic interests; as demonstrated by the recent history of some countries which refused to pay illegitimate debts and scrapped the «state credit card», ending the indebtment spiral without falling in chaos, bankruptcy or misery.

International positioning

Several organizations from other countries fight against the debt problem. As it is clear that the debt crisis encompasses an international financial web, we look forward to:

  • maintain close relationships with like-minded organizations in other countries, like for example CADTM, with special attention for the European periphery countries.


Lisbon, November 1st, 2011

See the complete list of Subscribers, authors and supporters of this Manifest.

Translated by Flávio Trindade.


Index of this dossier

CADPP's founding documents

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