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Is another power possible?

 

Indonesian trade unionist Dita Indah Sari, chairperson of the Indonesian National Front for Labour struggle, addressed 6000 people at the World Social Forum on January 17. On returning, she wrote the following comment on the conference.

Like at previous world social forums, the main themes which emerged centred around issues of neoliberal globalisation, war, peace (or the lack of it), women, racism, health, education and the environment.

Anger against the United States and US President George W. Bush was expressed in nearly every single forum — and often expressed by the delegation from the US itself. Posters and banners condemning the numerous injustices of the world adorned every corner of the venue. The WSF was an arena for intellectual debate, cultural festivals and at the same time an opportunity for the opposition movements and activists from the north and south to meet and exchange ideas.

Since the first WSF was organised in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 2001, the WSF has become the largest forum for the meeting and the consolidation of anti-globalisation activists in the world.

The growth of the anti-war and anti-globalisation movements has sent a resounding message to capitalism and its policies of neoliberal globalisation — that these policies have failed the world’s people and an alternative needs to be found. The international financial and trade institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation have also been condemned internationally.

There is a growing awareness that their policies only benefit the interests of a small number of monopolistic corporations.

There are two issues which I think are important here, but which have not been taken up by the WSF forums and its charter of principles. Firstly, what is the position of the anti-globalisation movement with regard to national governments who are acting in the interests of neoliberal globalisation? Secondly, what alternative to such policies will have real meaning and potential for change in Third World countries.

There are a number of countries which have been relatively successful in establishing alternative economic and political systems: Vietnam, Venezuela and even Cuba, and these need to be explored more thoroughly.

This WSF, like the ones that proceeded it, failed to produce any concrete proposals, initiatives or campaigns. There was no resolution or explicit statement put to the delegates by the organising committee to adopt a position on issues such as Palestine, Iraq or Myanmar (Burma). In the end, the WSF has simply become an arena to exchange ideas, for brainstorming and intellectual discussion.

The WSF was clearly dominated by non-government organisations and social movements that tend to distance themselves from the issue of state power.

Criticism of global capitalism was not followed by attempts to examine and oppose the policies of national governments that have become agents of international corporations.

Moreover, in the name of asserting its “independence”, the WSF maintains the greatest possible distance from real political struggles. It limits itself to calling for the rejection of the excesses of capitalism and neoliberalism but avoided the question of replacing national governments that have clearly become the tools of global capitalism.

Their dependency on donor organisation makes NGOs choose activities with the minimum political risk. The moderation of the militancy of their demands and social struggle is therefore inevitable, bearing in mind that radicalisation will end in open confrontation with the state.

The obvious consequence is that it is not possible for NGOs to promote the self-confidence of ordinary people to build an alternative government, one which is completely outside of the existing political elite.

The WSF, the anti-globalisation and anti-war movements have made a huge contribution to the broadening of social awareness about the need to struggle against neoliberal globalisation and against dictatorships throughout the world.

What is needed now is the courage and readiness to transform this into an international political movement, based on activists from every single country working together to build an alternative force to counter their national governments.

This transformation from a moral movement to a political movement is now an absolute necessity. As the global economic crisis and the globalisation of neoliberalism impacts, the people of the Third World descend even further into abject poverty and misery. Add to this the hundreds of thousands who are being sacrificed by the economics of global militarism and colonial-style wars by the imperialist countries.

Another world is possible, this is the WSF’s slogan, its message to the peoples of the world. But the level of struggle now requires an additional or new slogan of struggle: Another power is also possible.

Is another power possible?

Indonesian trade unionist Dita Indah Sari, chairperson of the Indonesian National Front for Labour struggle, addressed 6000 people at the World Social Forum on January 17. On returning, she wrote the following comment on the conference.

Like at previous world social forums, the main themes which emerged centred around issues of neoliberal globalisation, war, peace (or the lack of it), women, racism, health, education and the environment.

Anger against the United States and US President George W. Bush was expressed in nearly every single forum — and often expressed by the delegation from the US itself. Posters and banners condemning the numerous injustices of the world adorned every corner of the venue. The WSF was an arena for intellectual debate, cultural festivals and at the same time an opportunity for the opposition movements and activists from the north and south to meet and exchange ideas.

Since the first WSF was organised in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 2001, the WSF has become the largest forum for the meeting and the consolidation of anti-globalisation activists in the world.

The growth of the anti-war and anti-globalisation movements has sent a resounding message to capitalism and its policies of neoliberal globalisation — that these policies have failed the world’s people and an alternative needs to be found. The international financial and trade institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation have also been condemned internationally.

There is a growing awareness that their policies only benefit the interests of a small number of monopolistic corporations.

There are two issues which I think are important here, but which have not been taken up by the WSF forums and its charter of principles. Firstly, what is the position of the anti-globalisation movement with regard to national governments who are acting in the interests of neoliberal globalisation? Secondly, what alternative to such policies will have real meaning and potential for change in Third World countries.

There are a number of countries which have been relatively successful in establishing alternative economic and political systems: Vietnam, Venezuela and even Cuba, and these need to be explored more thoroughly.

This WSF, like the ones that proceeded it, failed to produce any concrete proposals, initiatives or campaigns. There was no resolution or explicit statement put to the delegates by the organising committee to adopt a position on issues such as Palestine, Iraq or Myanmar (Burma). In the end, the WSF has simply become an arena to exchange ideas, for brainstorming and intellectual discussion.

The WSF was clearly dominated by non-government organisations and social movements that tend to distance themselves from the issue of state power.

Criticism of global capitalism was not followed by attempts to examine and oppose the policies of national governments that have become agents of international corporations.

Moreover, in the name of asserting its “independence”, the WSF maintains the greatest possible distance from real political struggles. It limits itself to calling for the rejection of the excesses of capitalism and neoliberalism but avoided the question of replacing national governments that have clearly become the tools of global capitalism.

Their dependency on donor organisation makes NGOs choose activities with the minimum political risk. The moderation of the militancy of their demands and social struggle is therefore inevitable, bearing in mind that radicalisation will end in open confrontation with the state.

The obvious consequence is that it is not possible for NGOs to promote the self-confidence of ordinary people to build an alternative government, one which is completely outside of the existing political elite.

The WSF, the anti-globalisation and anti-war movements have made a huge contribution to the broadening of social awareness about the need to struggle against neoliberal globalisation and against dictatorships throughout the world.

What is needed now is the courage and readiness to transform this into an international political movement, based on activists from every single country working together to build an alternative force to counter their national governments.

This transformation from a moral movement to a political movement is now an absolute necessity. As the global economic crisis and the globalisation of neoliberalism impacts, the people of the Third World descend even further into abject poverty and misery. Add to this the hundreds of thousands who are being sacrificed by the economics of global militarism and colonial-style wars by the imperialist countries.

Another world is possible, this is the WSF’s slogan, its message to the peoples of the world. But the level of struggle now requires an additional or new slogan of struggle: Another power is also possible.

   

From Green Left Weekly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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