The world should form a world solidarity movement against capitalist-dominated globalisation - this was the message of more than 60,000 delegates from 1,750 non-governmental European organizations meeting in Paris, amid much fanfare between Tuesday and Friday this week. The themes of the European Social Forum (ESF) will include a critical review of European agriculture policy, women?s rights, xenophobia as well as the promotion of dialogue between peoples and cultures across the world, organizers said.
French riot police guard a McDonald’s ‘restaurant’ during a demonstration by anti-globalisation activists on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.
“The ESF is concerned to find alternatives to stand steadfast in the face of multinational companies and other world organizations, and lay down visions against economic and social marginalization, power concentration and environmental damage,” said the opening statement, read in four different parts of the French capital where the activities of the three-day event would be convened. Keen to convey a unanimous agreement, the statement was read in nine languages, representing all of the nationalities of the representatives here.
Prominent anti-globalization activist turned the tone up with a fiery speech he gave against the backdrop of flashes of fireworks and loud sound of Samba drumming in St Denis. “There is a McDonalds franchise a few meters from here. They - the symbols of imperialistic hegemony - should pack up and leave,” Bove said, noting that the slogan of this year?s EFS round is “Another World Is Possible”.
Behind him, a group of youth with folded hands chanted slogans, all urging peace should be sought after releasing justice and ending occupation. Others were there representing concerns of immigrants, specifically taking criticism to French Interior Minister Nikolai Sarkozi for seeking to have new laws that would increase pressures on the immigrants here. “This is a model of the liberal thinking seeking to crush people and individuals,” Bove intercepted the objections. “So, we seek alternatives, genuine ones,” he said, with nods coming out of nearly of all those behind.
For Jacques Nikonoff, these alternatives are already there, citing the wave of support for anti-globalization movement. “Ironically, this competitive trend pushed one the right-wing pioneers to claim that he is anti-globalization, despite his government?s bids to have more greed liberal laws enacted,” Nikonoff said, with as enthusiastic as defiant tone. “For those claiming we have no alternatives, call it a day,” he said.
Representatives of all sections of radical European politics met in Paris for the ESF, in an attempt to work out a new world free of injustice, violence, and environmental destruction.
The Paris forum is the second such European meeting following the ESF in Florence in Italy last year. It will follow the principles of the World Social Forum (WSF) launched in Porto Alegre in Brazil in 2001. The ESF program will follow five “lines of discussions”.
The first line against war will bring debates on international law, global disarmament, military globalization and imperial politics. It will propose new North-South relations based on development and economic cooperation.
A second line of discussion against neo-liberalism calls for debates on citizens’ and democratic rights in Europe, and an analysis of the draft European Union constitution, said the IPS news network.
The third and fourth lines of discussions call for an examination of “the logic of profit and for an ecologically sustainable society”, and of “the merchandising processes of democratic information, culture and education”.
Among the civil society representatives attending the ESF are unions, environmental and humanitarian committees such as Greenpeace and Doctors of the World, women’s groups, supporters of immigrants’ rights, and human rights organizations from all over the continent, including Central and Eastern Europe.
The ESF will end November 15 “with a festive, massive protest to evoke a European culture of peace and citizens’ rights,” Pierre Khalfa, member of the forum’s organizing committee, was quoted by the IPS as saying. The ESF will prepare European civil society participation at the fourth World Social Forum to take place in January next year in the Indian city Mumbai.
“We will be discussing WSF subjects on a European basis, and will give peoples and organizations on our continent who cannot attend meetings in faraway places the opportunity to express themselves and to exchange views with other organizations,” Laurent Vannini, one of the ESF organizers in Paris told IPS. Within these the ESF will examine deregulation and privatization of public services, especially water.
“Several NGOs working on public services will launch a campaign to keep water in public hands,” H?l?ne Ballande of the French section of Friends of the Earth said. “We also want implementation of the international legal framework to ensure that private international corporations are held responsible for their noxious behaviour, be it environmental disasters, corruption, or exploitation of human work,” she added.
Article courtesy of Islam Online