January 29, 2002

A Beacon of Hope: The World Social Forum & the Protests at the World Economic Forum

Hello everyone

Social forces from around the world are gathering from January 31st to February 5th at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Unions and NGOs, movements and organizations, intellectuals and artists, together are building a great alliance to create a new society, different from the dominant logic wherein the free-market and money are considered the only measures of worth. This meeting, the second of its kind, is intended to offer an alternative to the World Economic Forum held at the same time in New York - a private summit of world leaders usually held in Davos, Switzerland - and is a grassroot initiative against globalization. Various protests are planned in New York against the 30-year-old capitalist club while over 50,000 people from the civil society will be debating in Porto Alegre about the humane, sustainable and equitable kind of world the vast majority of people on Earth would prefer. I'm providing below various excerpts from webpages and other Web resources for your information and consideration. No doubt I'll have one or more follow up compilations on these 2 major events that will be competing for our attention beginning next Saturday. As usual your comment will be welcomed.

Feel free to share widely ;-)

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator

If you receive a forward of this material and would like to receive similar compilations on a regular basis, simply send an email to globalvisionary@cybernaute.com with "Add me to the ERN list" in the Subject field of your email.

What is the World Economic Forum...

Established in 1971, The World Economic Forum (WEF) is an international summit in which thousands of the world's most powerful corporate, government, and intellectual élites come together to discuss their neoliberal agenda and develop future strategies to facilitate their dominance of global capital. Member companies include financial giants like American Airlines, Boeing, Cisco Systems, Coca Cola, Compaq, IBM, Merill Lynch, PepsiCo, and Microsoft. The WEF is essentially a multimillion dollar cocktail party in which the financiers and racketeers of global capitalism brainstorm and informally plan the imposition of "free market" imperatives upon the rest of the globe. These imperatives further aid in the destruction of the environment, the exploitation of workers internationally and locally, the erosion of human, animal, and worker rights, and the forceful replacement of native cultures with a monolithic corporate consumer culture. Finally, the WEF is a mechanism by which the cycles of classism, racism, and sexism are indirectly reproduced and spread.

Taken from http://www.anotherworldispossible.com


1. Economic Forum Moves to Manhattan
2. Testing Protest in New York
3. A Field Guide to Anti-WEF Protest in New York City
4. Some of the demands to be made by the protesters
5. Because we are all Argentinians


The official Website for World Social Forum 2002
800 workshops registered in the WSF 2002

Headed for WSF 2002 - World Social Forum charter of principles

Discussion of World Social Forum Themes

NGOs prepare for the world social forum (January 10)

Top 1% earn as much as the poorest 57%
The world's richest 50m people earn as much as the poorest 2.7bn and may soon be forced to live in heavily protected gated communities to escape the resentment of the billions living below the poverty line, a senior World Bank economist warns today.

Globalisation has to take human rights into account
A new ethic is needed to make economic globalisation adhere to the demands of human rights, according to Mary Robinson. Linking human rights with ethics and globalisation represents a connection whose time has come. And yet the task is daunting. Every day brings further evidence of the unacceptable divide in our world; the harsh statistics of millions living in extreme poverty and enduring conflict. The increasing frustration and disillusionment with market-led globalisation is evidenced by the protests at the G8, the World Trade Organisation, the European Union and other summits. We are at the edge of a big idea - the shaping of ethical globalisation.

A cure worst than the disease http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20020123/bs/switzerland_world_forum_1.html

FULL COVERAGE ON YAHOO (check the Related Web Sites)

This Is What Democracy Looks Like (Report on the first Forum last year)
Thousands gather in Porto Alegre, Brazil to look towards a future in which corporations no longer rule - "Another world is possible" That's the slogan of the World Social Forum.

World Social Forum Seeks a 'Possible World' (January 22, 2001)

The Promise of Porto Alegre (By Ignacio Ramonet Le Monde Diplomatique January 1, 2001)
(...) Why Porto Alegre? Because in recent years the city has become something of a symbol. The capital of the Brazil's southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul, on the border with Argentina and Uruguay, Porto Alegre is a kind of social laboratory, and as such is being closely watched by international experts in urban planning. For 12 years now it has been governed in new and original ways by a leftwing coalition led by the Brazilian Workers' Party (PT). In a whole range of sectors (housing, public transport, highways, garbage collection, clinics, hospitals, sewerage, environment, social housing, literacy, schooling, culture, law and order etc) the city has made spectacular progress. The key to this success has been its "participatory budget" (orçamento participativo), which makes it genuinely possible for the inhabitants of any given neighbourhood to define concretely and democratically where municipal funds are to be allocated. In other words, the people of the city decide what kind of infrastructures they want to create or improve, and the system enables them to follow in detail how work is progressing and how the money is being spent. This leaves less room for corruption and the siphoning of public funds, and urban investment is more likely to match the majority desires of the city's population. We might add that this political experiment is taking place in an atmosphere of total democratic freedom, in confrontation with a very vocal rightwing opposition. The PT does not control local newspapers or radio stations, let alone the TV channels, which are in the hands of big media companies allied to the local employers and therefore hostile to the PT. CLIP

When Davos Meets Porto Alegre: A Memoir (February 2001)
"Hemingway said that the rich are different from you and me. How can anyone expect the people in Davos to understand the crisis that globalization has visited on the lives of people like those of us here in Porto Alegre?"

"Anti-Davos" Forum In Brazil Vows Global Fight (January 27, 2001)
"Corporations are transnational and we need to be transnational too if we're going to beat them,"


From: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nyt/20020127/bs/economic_forum_moves_to_manhattan_1.html

Sunday January 27

Economic Forum Moves to Manhattan

The New York Times

This week, the annual World Economic Forum -- a private summit of world leaders -- meets in Manhattan, shifted from Davos, a quiet village in the Swiss Alps.

TO show support for New York in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum, moved his annual jamboree here this year from its traditional home in Davos, Switzerland.

But the sojourn of the forum an unparalleled gathering of world leaders, celebrity chief executives, academics, writers and other movers and shakers that begins on Thursday from the quiet ski resort perched on the slopes of the Alps to the mean streets of Manhattan also mirrors a sharp shift in the global psyche.

Holding the forum in Davos, a secluded playground for European vacationers and, on occasion, the idle rich, would have sent the wrong message. Not only has globalization been cast by terrorists as the cause of many ills, but also it may be the culprit behind the synchronized slowdown of the world economy, the first global downturn since the oil crisis of the 1970's.

"More than anything else, the issues discussed this year will be addressed more somberly," said Robert D. Hormats, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International. "I think when historians look at the 1990's, they will look at it as a period of irrational exuberance in many respects. The cold war was over. Western economies grew at a rapid rate. Stock markets were doing extremely well. And there was a feeling almost of invulnerability. A new sense of realism has descended on us, and we realize we're all in peril."

From its inception 31 years ago, when 440 people attended and almost no one noticed, to now, when thousands participate and thousands more wish they had been invited, the forum has become an icon of globalization for both its admirers and the legions of detractors who decry its embrace of free trade, deregulation and market capitalism.

The protests against the forum have actually enhanced its credibility, although they have never approached the scale and fury of those that derailed the World Trade Organization's meetings in Seattle in 1999 and in Genoa, Italy, last year.

Davos was difficult to get to and to infiltrate; Manhattan is not. But many protesters say they will be staying away, afraid that any confrontation with the New York City police, who have become heroes since the September attacks, would damage their image. "Don't get me wrong, I am extremely supportive of the people who will be protesting in New York," said John Sellers, executive director of the Ruckus Society, a human rights group in San Francisco that has helped organize protests against global trade. "But I don't trust the media to make us look anything but ugly and unreasonable, particularly when we'd be standing across the barricades from New York's finest, the heroes of Sept. 11."

Instead, Mr. Sellers and others will head for an "anti" forum, the World Social Forum, to be held at the same time as its economic nemesis but in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Its organizers expect as many as 50,000 people to attend. CLIP


From: http://www.motherjones.com/web_exclusives/features/news/wef.html

Testing Protest in New York

Anti-globalization activists will be back on the streets at the World Economic Forum meeting in New York -- but will militant tactics backfire in a city still reeling from Sept. 11?

by Sarah Ferguson
Jan. 24, 2002

Already derailed by the war in Afghanistan, the movement against corporate-led globalization faces another challenge late next week, when more than 2,000 corporate leaders, heads of state and other members of the world's financial elite gather in New York for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.

Some activists see the meeting as a vital opportunity to revive the movement against corporate-led globalization, which has struggled for direction in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Still, the decision by WEF leadership to hold the 2002 meeting at New York's Waldorf Astoria hotel presents those same activists with a quandary: How can a movement which has relied on militant street actions to sustain its momentum stage protests in a still-shaken city without alienating the public at large?

The movement seized the world's attention in 1999, virtual shutting down the World Trade Organization summit in Seattle with a high-profile campaign stressing non-violent direct action. Since then, similar tactics have been used to disrupt other global summits, such as the IMF/World Bank meetings in Prague and Washington and the 2000 WEF regional meeting in Melbourne, Australia. But the increasing trend toward violence and property destruction by militants -- which culminated in smashed storefronts and police shootings of young activists in Gothenburg, Sweden and Genoa, Italy last summer -- have put authorities in New York on edge. In fact, some activists say it is no accident the WEF chose to switch its annual meeting to New York from its regular haunt -- the Swiss resort town of Davos. While WEF officials are publicly promoting the move to New York as a show of solidarity with the stricken city, it is no secret they were looking to escape the wrath of European activists, who for the last two years have transformed Davos into a security-planner's nightmare. "It's a brilliant PR move, to essentially dare the globalization movement to do anything in confrontation with the NYPD," says Mike Dolan, deputy director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. "And I think it's a potential PR disaster if we don't agree on rules of engagement that are explicitly non-violent. The minute a provocateur puts a brick through a window in Midtown Manhattan, the media will grab onto it and that'll be the story. In the post 9/11 climate, this is a trap."

While vowing to allow peaceful demonstrations to go forward during the WEF summit, which starts Jan. 31 and ends Feb. 4, New York officials have vowed to crack down quickly and decisively if any protests turn violent. Activists say their threat is being exaggerated--the militants in Europe have always been far more hardcore than their counterparts in the US, and no oneâs expecting vast numbers of protesters to saturate the streets of New York. Still, With the New York Daily News already describing protesters as "crazies" and even the Village Voice portraying the New York police as "blue-collared multi-ethnic centurians" set to do battle with "jet-setting troublemakers," activists concede they are swimming in hostile waters.

Nevertheless, many activists insist that it would be a mistake wrong to let the subdued mood in New York scare them off the streets.

"We want to highlight the hypocrisy of the WEF coming here to promote their agenda of corporate-led globalization, a system whose inequities help foster terrorism," says Eric Laursen of Another World Is Possible, an umbrella group of mostly local student, left, peace, and direct action groups which formed to mobilize for the WEF meeting. "It's amazing that they're coming to a city which has been a victim of that. At a time when the city is facing cutbacks and recession, I think people should be outraged."

With the House's recent vote to grant the president fast-track trade authority and the effort to launch a new round of WTO talks following the trade summit in Qatar last fall, Laursen and other activists say they cannot allow the WEF to present its agenda unchallenged.

"If we back down now, we'll send the message that the antiglobalization movement has been scared quiet," says Brooke Lehman of Another World Is Possible. "I think it's more important to come together and put our message out, knowing full well the media may spin it in such a way that's unfavorable, but that's a chance I think we have to take. We owe it to the other billions of people around the world who are suffering the effects of global capitalism and dealing with far worse repression than we are."

Concerns about the potential for backlash have prompted many social justice and non-governmental groups to keep their distance this time. Groups such as Global Exchange and the Ruckus Society -- both key players in Seattle -- have opted instead to focus on participating at the World Social Forum, a grassroots-led counter-summit which is expected to draw tens of thousands to Porto Alegre, Brazil, next week.

Other groups, such as Friends of the Earth and Public Citizen, will host forums and debates in New York but have thus far steered clear of endorsing any street actions that do not explicitly denounce violence or property damage.

"The political climate has changed so dramatically, people are exercising caution," says Colleen Freeman of Friends of the Earth. "What we're trying to achieve hasn't changed, but you have to be sensitive to everything that New York has experienced."

Organized labor, a key component of the anti-globalization coalition in Seattle which has taken pains to show its support for the Bush administration since the Sept. 11 attacks, will be in New York to voice its dissent, too. On Thursday, January 31, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and other labor leaders will host a forum on the global economy followed by a rally in front of a midtown Manhattan Gap store. Their aim is to link job layoffs and corporate bailouts in the US with sweatshops and growing inequities abroad.

"We want to tell the WEF that the corporate-driven economy is not working for working people," says Simon Greer of Jobs with Justice, a coalition of labor, student and religious groups. "But we're no endorsing any of the other rallies because of their anti-war language, and because we don't want to get caught tangled up in any civil disobedience actions."

Of course, relinquishing civil disobedience or establishing clear rules of behavior for all the protesters will be difficult if not impossible for a movement which largely prides itself on maintaining an open-ended "diversity of tactics."

"No one's planning on starting a fight with the cops, but we don't want to create a situation where people are out of solidarity with each other," says David Graeber of the Anti-Capitalist Convergence, a coalition of anarchist groups. "People overseas are expecting this, and we feel like we're under some obligation to do something, and to show that if you can do it now, in New York, you can do it anywhere. It's scary, they're going to kick our asses, but we've got to do it anyway."

Still, even the radicals are toning down their rhetoric and actions. Instead of attempting to disrupt the summit with street lockdowns or human blockades, organizers say the emphasis will be on pageantry and street theater. Organizers expect thousands to participate in a flurry of teach-ins, rallies, and marches. Students are hosting a two-day conference at Columbia University from January 31 to February 1.

One group, Reclaim the Streets, plans to counter and possible police hostility with humor, organizing a "Tango Bloc" of activists dressed in aristocratic attire to satirize the WEF.

The wild cards in all the planning, of course, are the much-hyped anarchists, who are reportedly planning "creative and spontaneous" direct actions throughout the weekend that target specific corporations. City officials and some in the press have already predicted violence, but organizers say even the most militant of the anarchists recognize smashing windows in New York isn't a good idea right now.

"Nobody's talking about taking two-by-fours to Starbucks," says Graeber, "though I wouldn't rule out paint bombs."


Mother Jones’ series of older articles on Globalization

2002 the Public Eye on Davos moves to New York

In 2002, the WEF annual meeting moves to New York, and the “Public Eye” will be there too. Open to the public, the “Public Eye” conference features discussions between representatives from both northern and southern countries on the negative impacts of a globalization that only represents economic interests, and the social and environmental development alternatives. "The Public Eye on Davos“ is a joint initiative of NGOs from various countries worldwide. The project aims to provide informed criticism of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the neoliberal policies it promotes. At the same time, "Public Eye on Davos“ is the name of an international conference that takes place during the same period as the WEF annual meeting. Until this year, both the WEF annual meeting and the “Public Eye on Davos” took place in Davos.

New York Cops Vow to Crush Violent Protest at World Economic Forum Law of the Fist
Seen through the eyes of New York cops, the anti-globalization movement looks like one bloody line of terror and mayhem, stretching back to the Seattle riots of 1999 and heading right at them. If the protesters pouring into the city for the World Economic Forum at month's end have plans for creating more scenes of violence and destruction, the NYPD says they can just think again.

Capitalists converge: The new face of protest at the World Economic Forum in New York City
It's no surprise that after two years of escalating confrontations, the roaming road show of capitalist summits and global justice protesters would eventually land in New York City. But nobody thought it would look like this.


From: http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0204/anderson.php

A Field Guide to Anti-WEF Protest in New York City
by Ariston-Lizabeth Anderson

After months of lying low, defenders of civil liberties, opponents of the war in Afghanistan, and anti-corporate-globalization activists are determined to come out and be heard by some of the WEF's most influential business leaders. Here's how you can join the demonstrations.


This conference has been organized in sync with the annual World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil (www.worldsocialforum.org), where hundreds of progressive groups gather to hammer out ideas for alternatives to neoliberal economic policy. Prior to the opening of the WEF meetings, this forum will discuss "social and economic projects that promote human rights, fight for social justice, and build sustainable and multi-racial networks and structures." January 27, Brecht Forum, 122 West 27th Street, 10th floor, http://www.anotherworldispossible.com.


Columbia University will host a national student mobilization and counter-summit with workshops about legal and medical training for those new to street protests, WEF history, and the corporate agenda behind globalization. Confirmed speakers include activist Starhawk and Canadian anarchist Jaggi Singh. Registration required. January 31 through February 3, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Barnard College, Women's Center, 117th Street and Broadway, http://www.studentsforglobaljustice.org.


Friends of the Earth U.S. (http://www.foe.org) and the Berne Declaration () are coordinating this international coalition of watchdog organizations, which will monitor the WEF. Speakers (who include Yassine Fall of the United Nations Development Fund for Women, John Passacantando, director of Greenpeace U.S.; Bill Hartung, senior fellow of the World Policy Institute; and Adotei Akwei of Amnesty International) will offer their vision of a more humane and environmentally friendly planet. January 31 through February 3, second-floor auditorium, United Nations Church Center, 777 UN Plaza, 44th Street and First Avenue, 212-539-6747, www.publiceyeondavos.ch and www.davos2001.ch


Join AFL-CIO's president, John Sweeney, to look at how globalization and the search for cheap labor affects families. A panel of workers from around the world will discuss their experiences in the global economy. Limited seating. Call for reservations. January 31, 2:30 p.m., New York Central Labor Council, 55 East 59th Street, 212-604-9552, extension 220.


Inuenced by the spirit of community and volunteerism seen directly after 9-11, this broad band of New York leftists wants to present a vision of a world in which crippling debt is canceled, the Bush administration stops fueling terrorism with its war machine, and civil rights and immigrant rights are protected. AWIP will host a rally with performers and speakers and then march to the Waldorf, meeting at the southeast corner of Central Park. February 2, noon, 59th Street and 5th Avenue,


Last year the Esperanza Gardens were closed; then, after a long battle, the community center CHARAS/El Bohio was evicted. In protest of the continuing loss of public space, RTS/ NYC is calling for a street carnival, a satire of WEF cocktail-party-going called "Profits Before People! Rebuild NY for Big Business!" Expect "Billionaires for Bloomie," clowns, samba drums, and tango. February 2, 11:30 a.m., Columbus Circle, http://www.rtsnyc.org..


This collective of anti-authoritarians, who formed after Quebec's "Carnival Against Capitalism" at last year's Free Trade Area of the Americas meetings, say they're seeking "a joyous, creative resistance to the WEF's stifling gray culture of corporate conformity." In place of "capitalist boredom," they plan to create colorful street charades and engage in civil disobedience. After joining the AWIP march on Saturday, ACCers will partake in spontaneous direct actions throughout the weekend. http://www.accnyc.org.


The International Action Center formed International Act Now to Stop War and End Racism to protest the bombing of Afghanistan. Now their focus is on declaring a war on poverty, unemployment, and racism. They are holding a permitted demonstration in shouting distance of the Waldorf-Astoria. Gather at nine to welcome the delegates. Rally at 11 with speakers including IAC co-founder Ramsey Clark. February 2, 9 a.m., 50th Street and Park Avenue, http://www.internationalANSWER.org.


Public Citizen, one of the non-governmental organizations that helped win the battle of Seattle, is gathering environmental and human rights organizations, consumer activists, labor unions, and religious groups in the fight against corporate globalization. They're planning workshops, town hall meetings, and a public debate between WEF attendees and their opponents. Debate: February 4, 7 p.m. Check http://www.tradewatch.org for location.


Some of the demands to be made by the protesters

DUMP THE DEBT-- Wipe out the debt that is strangling the world economy. Cancel international, municipal and personal debt. Human needs come first.

REBUILD NEW YORK, REBUILD THE WORLD -- Take the money that now goes to pay the debt, fuel the military and bloat the rich, and use it to fund democratically-controlled projects to build the housing, schools, hospitals and transportation needed in New York and in every nation of the world. This will create tens of millions of jobs and wipe out unemployment.

STOP DESTROYING THE EARTH -- Corporate greed is destroying species, deforesting whole nations and wasting resources at a pace unseen in human history. In their place we get growing deserts, pollution, new strains of disease, and Frankenfoods. Restore the environment!

STOP FUELING TERRORISM, STOP THE WAR MACHINE -- Terror networks like al-Qaeda were built by the US government and its allies. US terrorist training camps like the School of the Americas are in full operation and they continue to create new networks of terror. Stop all arms production and supplies, stop all military aid and action. Stop the cycle of terror.

Taken from a poster available at http://www.anotherworldispossible.com


From: "Robert Rodvik" <robrod@uniserve.com>
Subject: Because we are all Argentinians
Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002


International call to action


In solidarity with the resistance of the Argentine people against the exploiters (Transnationals, Banks, Corrupt Government Thieves), meeting at the World Economic Forum/WEF (Davos) in New York.

SATURDAY/SUNDAY FEBRUARY 2/3, 2002 - Concrete place, time and format of the action to be decided in each city.

NEIGHBORS AND CITIZENS OF THE WORLD: Let's make our Caceroles sound together! All of the world's Caceroles sounding off at the same time in a HUGE CACEROLAZO GLOBAL.

As we shout together with the people of Argentina in rebellion: "Down with them all; not even one will remain!"


When hundreds, thousands or hundreds of thousands of people get together and bang on their caceroles (pots and pans) as loudly as humanly possible, moving forward or standing still, in collective protest. The Cacerolazo has become the symbol of Argentine popular rebellion against the neoliberal order, and is fast becoming associated with the global resistance to transnational capitalism.

Why Argentina?

Argentina is not a poor country, but rather a country that has been destroyed. It is the latest example that transnational capitalism works like a neutron bomb: destroying all living things.

A large part of the population of Argentina, once the "breadbasket of the world" with tremendous natural resources - the hope and destiny of many millions of poor immigrants from around the world- is now going hungry. Fifteen of the 36 million Argentines are living below the poverty line. Five million live in extreme poverty.


The current crisis in Argentina, the "top student" of the IMF and the Washington Consensus, is the culmination of 25 years of the neoliberal economic model imposed through significant bloodshed by the military dictatorship in Argentina (1976-1983; 30,000 disappeared, millions tortured, jailed and exiled), which was supported by the IMF and the government of the United States.

But Argentina has also been during the past few years, and especially since the popular rebellion on December 19 and 20, 2001 (that forced the pseudodemocratic government of De la Rua to resign), an example of a society, a people, and a citizenry that said ENOUGH!

No more victims! The cacerolazos have produced an irreversible and irreperable rupture in the established order.

Local, self-generated calls to action are coming from the grassroots through neighborhood assemblies, which are totally self-managed, horizontal and democratic. A profound transformation of the political culture is rapidly emerging among wide sectors of the population.

Many solidarity actions with the Argentine people have been carried out or are about to be carried out in diverse cities throughout the world, such as Barcelona, Bilbao, Paris, Toronto, Montreal, Oviedo, Berlin, Madrid, London, Porto Alegre and New York.

Why February 2/3, 2002?

There will be a huge demonstration and cacerolazo in New York City on Saturday, February 2 against the World Economic Forum (which used to take place in Davos, bringing lobbies, transnationals and banks together with government leaders), along with demonstrations and cacerolazos on the same day in cities throughout the world, particularly in Canada, Europe (above all in Spain) and Latin America (especially the city of Porto Alegre, Brazil, where the World Social Forum will be meeting at the same time, and in Buenos Aires).


The "Cacerolazo" is globalizing as a form of protest; as a method it has many advantages:

It is absolutely non-violent.

It is loud and clearly visible.

It is an extremely simple and grassroots method; it does not require expensive technology, training or special abilities. THE ENTIRE FAMILY can participate and any community or city can organize one.

It is festive, carnavalesque and it symbolizes the social response to the big winners in the Argentine Crisis and the global neoliberal order more generally.


1) Organize a CACEROLAZO shaming those who are responsible for the crisis.

2) Write a text to denounce the situation.

3) Spread the word throught the mass and alternative media.

4) Communicate progress and results through the internet and other global communication networks.