Critical Discourse on Alternatives

The Virtues of Deglobalization

The current global downturn, the worst since the Great Depression 70 years ago, pounded the last nail into the coffin of globalization. Already beleaguered by evidence that showed global poverty and inequality increasing, even as most poor countries experienced little or no economic growth, globalization has been terminally discredited in the last two years. As the much-heralded process of financial and trade interdependence went into reverse, it became the transmission belt not of prosperity but of economic crisis and collapse.

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Challenges of regional integration

By Akbayan Representative Walden Bello*
(Speech at the Conference on “Regional Integration: an Opportunity Presented by the Crisis,” Universidad de Deportes, Asuncion, Paraguay, July 21-22, 2009.)

Globalization has ended in massive failure.
One response to this crisis has been to dump export-oriented industrialization and reemphasize the primacy of the national market in sustaining economic growth.
Another response, complementary to this, has been to build regional associations or regional blocs.
Regional economic blocs are not new. However, some of the more prominent ones have either not moved beyond a primitive stage, as in the case of SAARC in South Asia, or have been based on neoliberal principles, like ASEAN in Southeast Asia. ASEAN’s idea of integration is to see it as a step towards full-scale globalization, a process that is termed “open regionalism.”

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Regional integration : a new opportunity to face the crises

International Conference of Governments and Social Movements


Introduction

The core partners in the Regionalisms Programme organised a well-attended Regionalisms Workshop in Belem, which was framed in the context of the Global crisis. This Workshop, which included a substantive update and exchange of experience from regional networks from ASEAN, SAARC, SADC, Latin America and Caribbean and Europe, ended with a call to engage the governments on the issue of regions as a very important arena for addressing the global crisis. In a follow-up Caucus meeting, which consolidated the next phase of regionalisms work under the framework of the “People’s Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms”, the proposal was made to hold an International Conference in conjunction with the Mercosur Summit, due to be held in Paraguay in early July.

ASEAN's civil society responds to Sec-Gen’s comments

It is a rare occasion that both the ASEAN Chair and the ASEAN Secretary-General sit down to dialogue with hundreds of civil society representatives, and expectations were understandably high. However, it was a surprise that it was Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan who caused consternation by his responses to matters raised at the ASEAN Civil Society Conference dialogue session on the weekend.

Mr. Gus Miclat, Executive Director of Initiatives for International Dialogue said: “We welcome his recognition of the ASEAN Civil Society Conference as an opening to dialogue but we don’t welcome his shifting of the blame to civil society if ASEAN fails. Dr Surin urged us to push our agenda with our national governments, but failed to recognize that the main problem is what happens to ASEAN people when they try to engage repressive governments. Civil society groups that have tried to engage their governments on ASEAN Charter-related issues such as human rights and democracy have been subjected to serious and even brutal retaliation in member states such as Burma, Laos, and even the Philippines.”

Focus on the Global South events at the ASEAN Peoples' Forum

Focus on the Global South is co-organizing 10 workshops at the ASEAN Peoples' Forum on Saturday, February 21, 2009. Some of these workshops shall be available in live streaming. To download the list of workshops together with their corresponding details click here.


Emerging crises: De-globalisation and Alternative Regionalism?

Opportunities and challenges for regional alternatives



China-ASEAN Relations: People's Views, People's Responses

Workshop on Climate Justice and ASEAN

People's Energy Security Workshop (3 Workshops)

Critical Views on the ASEAN-EU FTA:

Main Areas of Concern and Campaigning Opportunities

Peace Building and People's Security (3 workshops)

Peoples' Food Sovereignty and Agrarian Reform: Solutions to the Food, Fuel, Financial and Climate Crises

Defending the Right of Peasants and Small Scale Food Producers: Towards an International Convention on the Rights of the Peasant

Focus on the Global South is co-organizing 10 workshops at the ASEAN Peoples' forum on Saturday, February 21, 2009. Some of these workshops shall be available in live streaming. To download the list of workshops together with their corresponding details click here.


Emerging crises: De-globalisation and Alternative Regionalism?

Opportunities and challenges for regional alternatives



China-ASEAN Relations: People's Views, People's Responses

Workshop on Climate Justice and ASEAN

People's Energy Security Workshop (3 Workshops)

Critical Views on the ASEAN-EU FTA:

Main Areas of Concern and Campaigning Opportunities

Peace Building and People's Security (3 workshops)

Peoples' Food Sovereignty and Agrarian Reform: Solutions to the Food, Fuel, Financial and Climate Crises

Defending the Right of Peasants and Small Scale Food Producers: Towards an International Convention on the Rights of the Peasant

‘There is no alternative to socialism’

20090102252604401
by SMITU KOTHARI & BENNY KURUVILLA



Interview with Egyptian economist Samir Amin.



SMITU KOTHARI

Samir Amin: “It was the financial corporations that asked the governments to step in and ‘nationalise’ them. The rescue package was drafted by them, and they are in control of most of the bailout money.”


The financial crisis continues to spread rapidly across the world, crippling banks, stock markets and manufacturing industries and leaving hundreds of thousands jobless in its wake. Two days after the much hyped meeting of the Group of 20 in Washington, D.C., economist Samir Amin shared his insights into and analysis of the arduous road ahead for economic globalisation and the urgent need for a course change from capitalism and the possibilities of a new internationalism in the form of a Bandung II initiative.

ASEAN People's Forum

We are glad to invite you to the upcoming ASEAN Peoples' Forum (APF), scheduled to take place December 12 through 14 2008, at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. This unique platform of direct People-to-People engagement will take place prior to the 14th ASEAN Summit in Chang Mai, and will provide civil society organizations and social movements from across the region an opportunity to gather to discuss key issues confronting the region, articulate common positions, and develop joint action among civil society actors in Southeast Asia.


Objective


The ASEAN Peoples' Forum seeks to strengthen civil society across the ASEAN region, through direct People-to-People engagement. This regional forum establishes a two-way process, in which domestic issues are escalated to higher regional forums and the local impacts of regional issues are highlighted for community level groups. The ASEAN Peoples' Forum encourages regional civil society to engage on critical ASEAN issues both among itself and with ASEAN institutions
.

Design


APF participants will gather to articulate common positions on key issues confronting the region, and develop joint action among civil society actors in Southeast Asia. Participants will have an opportunity to take part in various plenary sessions and workshops addressing a wide spectrum of urgent contemporary issues for all ASEAN peoples. Joint activities will tackle core issues, both descriptive, providing information and insights, and normative, providing analysis and alternatives. Workshops fall into four broad categories:  * full list attached below.

  1. Peace and Human Security dimension of ASEAN regionalism.
  2. Social and Cultural dimensions of regionalism – focus on environmental and sustainable development, special interest groups, media, women's rights, and youth,
  3. The Socio-Economic Dimension of regionalism – focus on globalization, labor, trade and global financial crises.
  4. Avenues of action and participation for ASEAN civil society – a People's ASEAN: civil society, social movements, active citizenship, and democracy.

The APF was initiated by Thai and ASEAN civil society groups, is coordinated by the APF program committees, and is funded through financial support of both regional civil society groups and by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Thailand, through the Institute of Security and International Studies (ISIS) at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.


Output


The ASEAN Peoples' Forum will conclude with the 4th ASEAN Civil Society Conference (ACSC IV) in the morning of 14 December 2008. The ACSC IV will present a joint statement by ASEAN civil society the ASEAN Leaders during a special interface session in the evening of December 15 2008. This interface provides ASEAN civil society with a singular opportunity to directly engage on vital issues with ASEAN's most senior political leadership.


The ASEAN Peoples' Forum will strengthen links both horizontally across ASEAN civil society and vertically, providing a crucial interface ASEAN's political leadership. Workshops and plenary session will highlight key regional issues, provide a forum for direct engagement among ASEAN peoples, and facilitate in the formulation of solutions to address ASEAN regional challenges.


The combined elements of the APF and the ACSC IV play a crucial roll in establishing the vitality and strength of ASEAN society as it marches into the 21st century, establishing its rightful place among the nations of the world.


Participation & Registration


Participation in the APF is open to all participants, regardless of professional background or nationality. All information regarding the APF is available online, and we strongly encourage all participants to register early at:

http://www.apf2008.org


Many of the APF events, panel discussions, and workshops will be made available online via the World Wide Web both in real time streaming technology, and afterwards for download. We encourage all those who can not make in person to the conference to check our web-site for updates.


Attached below please find the Agenda and Workshop list for the upcoming APF.


For more information, please contact Institute of Security & International Studies, by telephone at


+ (66) 2 218 7432-3 or by email at info@apf2008.org

Group scores Asean charter for lack of migrant labor laws

MANILA, Philippines - A group of civil society organizations have expressed disappointment over the "non-mention" of migrant labor issues in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Charter.

Asked to comment on the charter during ratification hearings by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on Thursday, the Solidarity for Asian Peoples ' Advocacies (Sapa) Working Group and of the Philippine Working Group on Asean also pointed to a "limited reference" to gender and women's rights, internal conflicts, asylum seekers, and indigenous peoples.

"Missing elements (in the charter) include the non-mention of migrant labor which makes up a substantial portion of labor flows in the region," said Jenina Joy Chavez, who spoke on behalf of the working groups.


View related SAPA Documents here

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Focus on the Global South International Course 2008

“Globalization and Social Transformation”

November 3 - 21
Chulalongkorn University
Bangkok, Thailand
Application Deadline: Sept. 15, 2008

Course Description
This course examines globalization and its socio-economic consequences. It offers an analytical interpretation of the ongoing debates concerning the dynamics, institutional structures, and central processes of globalization and the organized resistances of civil society groups and networks worldwide. Inherent in this examination is a critical understanding of the role and nature of hegemony in the relations between countries in the institutions of global governance.

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