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By Walden Bello*

Dale Wen's short book China Copes with Globalization: a Mixed Review, published by the International Forum on Globalization, is probably the best comprehensive introduction to the environmental and social impacts of China's breakneck industrialization available in English (http://www.ifg.org/) Based on both Chinese and non-Chinese sources, the report carefully reviews China's economic policies from Mao to the present leadership, discusses the consequences of the economics of the reform era from 1978-92, analyzes the globalization of the economy since 1992, and surveys the alternative voices in the Chinese scene, including the environmental movement and the "New Left."

By Walden Bello*

thumb_milton2
While economists laud the recently deceased Milton Friedman for being “a champion of freedom whose work transformed economics and changed the world,” as a full-page advertisement in the New York Times put it, people in the South will remember the University of Chicago professor as the eye of a human hurricane that cut a swath of destruction through their economies. For them, Friedman will long be associated with two things: free-market reform in Chile and “structural adjustment” in the developing world.

Soon after the coup against the government of Salvador Allende on 11 September 1973, Chilean graduates of Friedman’s economics department, who were soon dubbed the “Chicago Boys,” took over the helm of the economy and launched a program of economic transformation with doctrinal vengeance. In light of his much-quoted assertion about political freedom going hand-in-hand with free markets, the irony that in Chile a free market paradise was being imposed with the bayonets of one of Latin America’s most bloodstained dictatorships could not have escaped the guru.

Alejandro Bendaña*



Did the left lose? Not quite. One might first ask what is the left, what does it mean to be left in 2006, what does it mean to be left in 2006 in Nicaragua, and is the victorious Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) that left? This is not to fall into a post-modernist relativist trap, because indeed there are permanent "indicators", as it where, that throw light on the social and historical significance of the return of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) to State power -- and indeed on the profound transformation that the FSLN has experienced in recent years.

Seminar of the Social Movements
Brussels 28 September - 1 October 2006

This summary is not meant to be a list of the opinions expressed nor a benchmark draught text. We have simply tried to give some order to the ideas put forward in order to facilitate a debate at this stage in our work, based on what has already been said.

The full list of participants is at the end of the text.

***********************************************

Today social movements are confronted by a new phase in the capitalist neoliberal system's offensive. This period is characterised above all by a state of permanent global war. For most of the human race this war means recolonisation. Using the 'war on terror' as a cover, this war aims at controlling natural resources by pillaging peoples the world over. American projects in the 'Greater Middle East' and South America are the most visible signs of this. Nevertheless, they cannot cover up the 'forgotten wars' in Africa and Asia. Zionist expansion is also part of this desire to subjugate the whole planet.

Mobilising social movements against this state of permanent war means defining new corss-border ways of ensuring solidarity with those peoples that are mounting resistance. The nature of some of these movements poses questions, especially with regard to the values that we share. We should embrace such a debate.

However, the violence the system uses does not just manifest itself in open warfare against 'peoples who resist neoliberal thinking'. Other weapons used to break down resistance are the repression of social movements and the restriction of basic rights. Military occupation and the establishment of foreign bases are an open attack on peoples' sovereignty and their desire to cast off the shackles of imperial domination.

Other forms of violence, such as the forced displacement of people and expropriation of land, are the result of a desire to commodify land, water and other natural resources. This state of war affects society as a whole and violence becomes the natural means of oppression. Women are amongst the first victims.

The planet itself is suffering the consequences of the system's headlong rush. The concept of maximum profit at maximum speed leads to climate change and pollution and endangers the natural equilibrium.

Such violence affects all aspects of social life. People who reject the privatisation of natural resources, which only benefits multinationals, are likened to terrorists. By questioning the sovereignty of the people, the use and division of their natural resources and products, the very foundations of democracy are being undermined. Dictatorships and corruption thrive in this environment. Basic rights are denied to the victims, the producing classes, small holders, etc. The poorest people are in an even more precarious position both in the global North and the global South. Billions of people are deprived of basic public goods such as education, health and the right to housing. Farmer and fishermen organisations, as well as the population as a whole, demand food sovereignty in order to satisfy their needs independently of the world market.

People who fall victim to these policies and the conflicts linked to them are often forced to flee their country. In the era of free movement of capital a fundamental task of the social movements we belong to is defending migrants' rights, the rights of those fleeing neoliberalism and oppression, and the rights of women fleeing from forced marriages or sexual mutilation.

The patriarchal system is reinforced by the dominant economic set-up. Trafficking minors and prostitution are further proof of the commodification of all aspects of life. The situtation of women at work is exacerbated further, especially in free trade areas where they account for a large part of the labour force and enjoy few rights.

Our direct enemies are clearly identified. First of all the G8, but also the World Bank and the IMF, who impose their policies and are the motors behind this recolonisation. The debt imposed by these institutions not only allows the privatisation of the world's wealth but also the transfer of wealth produced in the South to the dominant classes, based for the most part in the North.

The WTO and bilateral agreements further aggravate the situation through Economic Partnership Agreements (ECA). In areas such as agriculture, labour, environment, intellectual property, migration or the liberalisation of services, restrictions are imposed on people throughout the world. States themselves encourage these policies or even apply them.

The challenge for social movements is to ensure joint globlal mobilisation against these enemies both in developing countries and in developed countries, where people also suffer the effects of these policies. Producers in both the formal and informal economies have their rights restricted in the name of competitivity and competition. One of financial capitalism's main aims is reducing labour costs. Workers themselves are submitted to competition through reforms to social polices, the expansion of free trade areas and relocation.

We should also note the difficulties the system faces in its attempts to reach its objectives. It has faced significant setbacks at the hands of popular resistance. The war in the Lebanon, the impasse in WTO negotiations and the resistance shown by young French workers in the face of job insecurity all show that it is possible to counterattack,

Our greatest victory, however, is burying the false idea that there is no possible alternative. The idea that there is only one train of thought has been called into question and the legitimacy of the dominant system is being challenged on a massive scale.

The Assembly of Social Movements and its objectives:

1.The Assembly has developed in step with the World Social Forum but has shown it is different by the fact that it is an open space for building joint agendas. It is a group of diverse movements with specific regional and national aims, but who together want to fight on a global scale against neoliberal, imperailist and military capitalism (permanent global war), against racism and against the patriarchal system. It aims at being a space open to all who want to fight, in all their different guises.

2. At the same time it wants to put forward concrete proposals for the idea 'A different world is possible' by proposing alternatives that reflect development and living models that are different and based on the needs and aspirations of the people and on the respect for natural resources. What sort of trade do we want? What sort of individual and collective relationship between men and women do we want? Between peoples even? We have to develop concrete ideas to answer these questions starting from the primacy of rights for all, public goods for all and the experience gained from the social struggles themselves... The Assembly is not the only initiative and the movements concerned do not represent the entirety of their geographic regions nor all areas of struggle, not even all of the interested parties, but the fact that it exists is an achievement in our desire to rally people and expand.

3. Bringing together actors is a process designed to end the isolation many struggles face, to build forces and to better coordinate. This allows us to identify a common enemy and enumerate the different mechanisms it uses to exploit and subject. In real terms the Assembly is also a space for debate and exchanging views on the international situation, on relations with political parties and left-wing governments, on the nature of and dialogue with the various resistance movements. By doing so we can define joint working approaches, agreements, agendas, calendars and joint campaigns, while at the same time respecting movements' independence. This type of process has to respect the rhythm of the various collective actors, for fear of paralysis and the alienation of grassroots militants. It is also necessary to draw up our own agenda separate from the agenda of capitalist institutions.

4. The working method must therefore be in keeping with these trends, i.e., with clear objectives in mind and it must be democratic. It must aim at creating the Assembly's public space. With this in mind the following proposals have been put forward, without wanting to stifle the process:

- The setting-up a follow-up and facilitating group, composed of the networks and organisations that initiated this seminar, without delay, according to the working speed of the different regions or continents.

The group's mandate would be:
- to ensure the report on this meeting is disseminated in various languages
- to prepare the WSF in Nairobi. In particular with regard to the agenda for the fourth day dedicated to campaigns. The assembly of social movements should allow the consolidation of the campaigns and movements and should plan the fundamental political points to be debated.
- to send out the actions calendar
- to create tools for better communication (website)

Other proposals have been made and they are still to be looked at in greater depth. These are:
a. A world day of action to give our joint project greater visibility.
b. Eventually considering a reference document based on progress as a whole.

List of participants
Name/Nombre/ Nom
Organisation/Organizacion
Email
  
AGUITON Christophe
European March Against Unemployment
aguiton@gmail.com
 
AGUS Ruli
Federation Indonesian peasant Union (FSPI) member Via Campesina
a.ruli@fspi.org
    
AKIMOTO Yoko
ATTAC Japan
nag00562@nifty.ne.jp
    
ALLAERT Benedicte
Wide Network Women in
Development
benedicte@wide-network.org
 
ARKONADA KATU Israel
Askapena
Basque Left Movement
international@askapena.org
i.arkonada@gmail.com
    
ATCHACA Emilie
CADD-Benin
tamadahoemilie@yahoo.fr
    
BAAS Randa
Anti Globalisation Activists Group in Syria
albadil@albadil.net
r_baas@scs-net.org
    
BERNOCCHI Piero
COBAS
pierobernocchi@libero.it
    
BOLINI Raffaella
ARCI Italy
bolini@arci.it
    
BONFOND Olivier
CADTM
olivier@cadtm.org
    
BRAUN Hugo
ATTAC Germany
braun@attac.de
    
BRENNAN Brid
Transnational Institute (TNI)
Netherlands
bridbrennan@tni.org
    
BULLARD Nicola
Focus on the Global South
n.bullard@focusweb.org
    
BURCH Sally
Minga Informativa Movimientos-Sociales + ALAI
info@alainet.org

BUZGALIN Alexander
Social Movement Alternatives, Social Movement Education for Everybody
alternativy@tochka.ru
buzgalin@mail.ru
    
CHALMERS Camille
PAPDA-HAITI
JSA/COMPA/APC/CADTM
camillecha@yahoo.fr
    
CODAS Gustavo
CUT Brasil
gustavo_codas@yahoo.com
    
COMANNE Denise
CADTM-BElgique
denise.comanne@cadtm.org
    
CORONADO Jorge
Alianza Social Continental
jorgecoronado@ice.co.cr
    
COUPE Annick
Union Syndicale Solidaires France
coup@solidaires.org

COURTEILLE Claire
ICFTU/Belgium
claire.courteille@icftu.org
    
COX Jennifer
Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign-USA, COMPA
jenkwru@yahoo.com
    
DE Marcellus Olivier
Forum Social Lemanique
elviejo@greenmail.ch
edecarro@cortex.ch
    
DE ROMANET Virginnie
CADTM-Belgique
virginie@cadtm.org
    
DELFORGE Isabelle
La Via Campesina
idelforge@viacampesina.org
    
DINIZ Rubens
OCLAE
rubensdiniz5@gmail.com
    
EGIREUN Josu
ESK-Colect ANITZA
tipitapa@wanadoo.es
    
ESTEVEZ Eduardo
CMT-WCL
eduardo.estevez@cmt-wcl.org
    
FRANCISCO Gigi
DAWN
gigifran_1999@yahoo.com
    
GALDON Gemma
TNI
gemma@tni.org
    

GUENNOUN Souad
Attac Maroc
arc_1@menara.ma
    
HERBERG Martin
Party of the european left
info@european-left.org
    
HOUTART Franois
Forum mondial des alternatives
houtart@hotmail.com

IGEREGI Saioa
ELA-Colect. ANITZA
nazioarte@elasind.org
    
ISSA Aboubacar
Reseau National Dette et Developpement (RNDD-Niger)
rndd@caramail.com
abou_issa2001@yahoo.fr
    
JAANA Villberg
WIDE
jaana@wide-network.org
    
JENNAR Raoul Marc
URFIG
urfig@wanadoo.fr
    
KARAMAT Ali
WSF 200b Karachi
Pakistan Social Forum
Karamatpiler@yahoo.com
    
KARATSIOUBANIS Giorgos
Endyl- European Network of Democratic Young Left
giorgos@endyl.org
    
KARLITSKY Maren
Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign-Stop the Wall Palestine
global@stopthewall.org
  
KONE Sanogo Pete Solange
FNDP/Cote D'Ivoire
konesol@yahoo.fr
kone@aviso.ci

LEON GUERRERO Michael
Grassroots Global Justice
michael@ggjalliance.org
    
LESCANT Thierry
Union Syndicale Solidaires France
thierry.lescant@solidaires.org

LIBERTE Gregorio-Bezanilla
ENDYL- PGE
libgreg@yahoo.fr
liberte.gregorio@european-left.org
    
LOUAZA Aristide Sosthene
APPASH-CADTM Brazzaville
apashbrazza@yahoo.fr
arisbruit_03@yahoo.fr
    
MALAZARIVO Toto Julien
Via Campesina Madagascar
cpm@wanadoo.mg
    
MATTE Diane
Marche mondiale des femmes
dmatte@marchemondiale.org
    
MAURO Gilmar
MST/ Via Campesina
sri@mst.org.br
gilmarmauro@yahoo.com.br
    
MECOZZI Alessandra
Fiom-Italy
a.mecozzi@fiom.cgil.it
    
MESTRUM Francine
ATTAC Vlaanderen/ Belgique
mestrum@skynet.be
    
MUKADI YANKUMBA Jose
UDEP/Belgique
jfmukadi@hotmail.com
    
MURTHY PK
IWC-ISF-CITU INDIA
murthypk1941@rediffmail.com
    
NICHOLSON Paul
EHNE-CPE-Via Campesina
pnicholson@ehne.org
    
NOBRE, Miriam
Marche Mondiale des Femmes
minobre@marchemondiale.org
    
NZUZI M Bembe Victor
NAD
Nouvelle alternative pour le developpement
victor_nzuzi2000@yahoo.fr
    
ODY Morgan
Via Campesina Europe
morganody@yahoo.fr
    
OGUTU Sophia
NCEC/KSF
sdowllar@yahoo.com
sophie@ncamovement.org
    
OLELA-SHONGAMA Genero
CADTM Belgique
   
OLIVET Cecilia
TNI-The Nederlands
ceciliaolivet@tni.org
    
OROZA Rebeca
centro de estudios europeos-Cuba
rebeca@cee.co.eu

OUBAHA Brahim
attac-cadtm/Maroc
fb9703@yahoo.fr
attacmaroc_secretariat@yahoogroupes.fr
    
PEREIRA Antonio Pinto
CIDAC - Centro de Intervencao para o Desenvolvimento Amilcar Cabral
ed@cidac.pt
eduardoppereira@netcabo.pt
 
PONOMAREV Ilya
Russian Social Forum
Left Front of Russia
Union of Coordination protest Committees
Iponomarev@gmail.com
    
POURRE Annie
No Vox
annie@echanges-partenariats.org
www.novox.ras.eu.org
    
QUEMAR Claude
CADTM France
claude.quemar@cadtm.org
    
RAHMANI Mimoun
ATTAC Maroc
rahmani_mimoun@yahoo.fr

RIFFAUD Josie
Confederation paysanne CPE-Via Campesina
josieriffaud@yahoo.fr
 
RODRIGUEZ Graciela
IGTN-INT Gender and Trade Network
graciela@equit.org.br
    
ROUSSET Pierre
Europe solidaire sans frontieres (ESSF), France
contact@europe-solidaire.org
    
SANJAY Mangala Gopal
National Alliance of People's Movements(NAPM),India
sanjay.mangalagopal@gmail.com,mumbainapm@gmail.com
    
SEDDIK Omeyya
Collectif 18 octobre Tunisie/MIB
zonegrise@yahoo.fr

SERAG Hani
People's Health Movement
secretariat@phmovement.org
    
SOLER Juan Pablo
Censat Agua Viva REDLAR
energia@censat.org
ambientesano@yahoo.es
    
SUAREZ Joel
COMPA/CADA/No Bases
joel@cmlk.co.cu
    
TADDEI Emilio
CLACSO Argentine
emilio@clacso.edu.ar
   
TAYLOR Guy
Globalize Resistance
office@resist.org.uk
    
TIPS Jeannine
Comite Splintex
jeannine-tips@scarlet.be
    
TOUSSAINT Eric
CADTM
international@cadtm.org
    
TROUT Wilhelmina
World March of Women
troutw1@telkomsa.net
    
TYLER Galen
Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign-USA, COMPA
info@economichumanrights.org
galentyler@hotmail.com
    
UIVIER Denis
Solidarite nouvelles
uivierdenisfr@yahoo.fr
    
VALERIANO REYNAGA Fabian
Movimiento Boliviano por la Soberania y la Integracion Solidaria de los Pueblos contra el TLC y el ALCA consbvc@hotmail.com
boliviasoberanaysolidaria@yahoo.com
    
WARSCHAWSKI Michel
Alternative Information Jerusalem/ Bettlehem
bmikaic@alt-info.org
    
ZAFARI Sophie
FSU
sophie.zafari@fsu.fr
sophie.zafari@snuipp.fr
    

 

Walden Bello*
[Published on Sunday, October 15, 2006, by The Nation. ]
The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Muhammad Yunus, regarded as the father of microcredit, comes at a time when microcredit has become something like a religion to many of the powerful, rich and famous. Hillary Clinton regularly speaks about going to Bangladesh, Yunus's homeland, and being "inspired by the power of these loans to enable even the poorest of women to start businesses, lifting their families--and their communities--out of poverty."

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