The crisis of international debt is a problem unevenly faced by countries in the Global South, countries that are populated mostly by people of color.
Indebtedness and the power relationship that defines it find their roots in racist systems of colonialism and slavery. These systems and the far-reaching poverty that they produce are sometimes explained and criticized by organizations like ours as economic injustice and an indication of human greed.
This is true, but it is also an indication of racism. Focusing solely on issues of class often excludes issues of social injustice and implications of targeted racism and human supremacy.
Also, as a disproportionately European organization, the Jubilee USA Network also faces the issue of racism internally. It becomes apparent in the difficulties we have in outreach, involvement, and appeal with communities, individuals, and organizations of color.
Certainly, debt is a multi-pronged problem with multiple roots and motivations, thus racism can not be considered a separate item from economic injustice and the greed of global powers. We must instead evenly and broadly address all aspects of the debt crisis. Therefore we call for both a moral and strategic imperative on race to be at the center of our outreach and activism, an imperative in which we seek to be more direct in our analysis of debt, deepening our criticisms and understandings of the debt problem to include issues of racism, and showing debtís place in the system of global apartheid that has existed for centuries.
If we seek only to challenge the surface (albeit far-reaching) aspects of the debt crisis, we will have only partly met our end, for there will still exist bonds, still exist slavery, still exist a debt. Our challenge, then, must be expanded to prophetically address the ways and reasons for which things are done by global authorities like the G7, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank. We must clarify and heighten our call for the righting of relationships and expand our concept of justice. As we do these things and go about the growing of our movement, it is also essential that we programmatically and intentionally expand our own organization to include people who have been disproportionately excluded from our work in the past.
The premise of this Imperative may seem ambitious, our goals lofty, our voices weak against such an old and deep and seemingly intangible problem. But we are committed to taking on a sharp, honest, and holistic analysis of racism and of debt in order to work toward freedom and to work toward justice.
Drafted by the Moral and Strategic Imperative on Race committee following August 2004 Coordinating Committee Retreat, Jakeya Caruthers and Stan Duncan.
Approved by the Jubilee USA Network Council, November 2005
Download the MSIR