[matilda] Fwd: Intercontinental Conference of Peoples' Global Action
chris at aktivix.org
Mon Jul 18 08:34:31 BST 2005
Passing on for info...
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Intercontinental Conference of Peoples' Global Action
Haridwar, Uttaranchal, North India
see also: http://pgaconference.org/
Why a global conference now? Why in Asia?
Objectives of this conference
Asian convenors and conference hosts
Dates, venue and logistics
Programme and preparation process
Hallmarks of PGA
Organizational Principles of PGA
A brief history of Peoples' Global Action
Global capitalism is causing more exploitation, oppression, destitution
and war in our times than ever before. The governments, multinational
corporations and financial interests that rule over the global economy
continue concentrating wealth and power. They fasten their control over
our lives and resources on multilateral institutions and agreements, such
as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the World Bank, the International
Monetary Fund (IMF), and regional trade agreements like the EU, FTAA,
APEC, etc. These entities ensure that injustice and destruction expand all
over the world, increasing the pain and despair of all oppressed and
discriminated people, such as peasants, indigenous peoples, women,
workers, the unemployed, slum dwellers, ethnic or religious minorities,
Dalits and other exploited castes, Hijras, etc . The monstrous global
inequalities have reached an absurd level where almost 1 billion people
suffer chronic hunger and more than 1 billion lack access to safe drinking
water, while the 3 richest men own more wealth than the poorest 48
countries, and 285 individuals posses as much as half of the humanity.
In addition to the daily economic violence engendered by capitalism,
imperialist countries are waging more and increasingly destructive wars to
steal resources from the poor. This is why many anti-capitalist movements
have actively participated in anti-war protests as a natural extension of
their activity. The atrocious nature of those wars is one more consequence
of capital's expansion, just like the suicides of thousands of indebted
peasants in South Asia, the displacement of indigenous peoples, the
exploitation of workers and women, etc. The world is full of such examples
of the destructive and insatiable greed of a social and economic system
that most humans reject and despise.
The people and institutions that rule over this system will continue
generating abuse, misery and death, and any attempt to reform them are a
waste of energy and time. For this reason, grassroots movements are
working in all continents to take back collective and democratic control
over our resources and forms of life, to rebuild our autonomy and
self-organisation. This is the continuation of an ancient revolutionary
tradition which encompasses slave insurrections and anti-colonial
liberation struggles, indigenous and feminist uprisings, peasants' and
workers' revolutions, anti-capitalist direct action and environmental
activism, cultural and sexual self-affirmation, grassroots antagonist
education and independent media, just to mention some examples.
Over the last decades, growing numbers of grassroots movements have come
to the common conclusion that we need to strengthen and interconnect this
revolutionary tradition. We are all fighting against common problems and
adversaries, and this struggle requires the participation of all people
who suffer the consequences of discrimination or oppression of all kinds.
Today more than ever, the emancipation of any of us is connected to the
emancipation of all oppressed people in the world. This results in an
urgent need to learn from and about each other, in order to be able to
support each other as much as possible. To achieve that, we also need to
become aware of our own participation in sexism, racism or other forms of
inequality and exploitation, and fight against them.
Another shared conclusion is the need to build locally controlled and
genuinely democratic and participatory social and economic relations as
alternatives to capitalism. We don't want to repeat past mistakes and
replace one form of exploitation and control by another. We cannot make
our freedom depend on the good will of any revolutionary vanguard or
political party. All revolutions of the 20th century have confirmed that
centralised power corrupts and leads to disappointment and collapse.
Therefore if we want emancipation to last, it should be built and
maintained by the equal participation of all people in struggle, by local
autonomy combined with international solidarity and globally coordinated
For these reasons, grassroots movements all over the world have built
tools for non-hierarchical communication and coordination on the basis of
diversity, autonomy and decentralisation. Peoples' Global Action (PGA) was
created with this aim in February 1998 by a wide range of grassroots
movements from the South and the North. It has served as tool to call for
Global Days of Action against Capitalism during summits of global bodies
(like the WTO, the G8, the IMF/WB, etc), and it inspired other forms of
action and solidarity (such as inter-continental caravans, local actions,
gender conferences, seminars and exchanges, publications, etc). PGA is
defined by a number of features that distinguish it from other
international networks, expressed in its hallmarks (the basic points of
consensus on which the network is based, see appendix I), and
organisational principles (see appendix II).
The 4th global PGA conference will take place in a very different context
than the previous one, which took place in September 2001 (see appendix
III for a brief history of PGA). The September 11th 2001 attacks have been
used by some Western countries and economic interests to attempt regaining
the legitimacy of the global capitalist regime, after a period of
extraordinarily fast growth of anti-capitalist protests all over the world
(also in the North). The attacks were also presented as a justification to
invade and devastate Afghanistan and Iraq, and to intensify control and
repression and foster fear and racism all over the world. This fear and
racism is targeted especially against Arabs and Muslims, who are used as
scapegoats to divert attention from the daily violence inflicted by
capitalism over millions of people all over the world.
Due to all these changes, from 2001 to 2005 the international activity of
many social movements was focused on reacting to the aggressions and wars
caused by imperialist countries and economic interest. Many movements did
so in the framework of large coalitions and platforms, which were not
necessarily anti-capitalist or horizontal, and more often than not
dominated, by NGOs and political parties. We believe that it is time to
strengthen again the global self-organised coordination of grassroots
antagonist action, to take again the initiative and attack the economic
interests and entities in the driving seat of global capitalism.
2. Why a global conference now? Why in Asia?
At the last global conference (Cochabamba, Bolivia, September 2001) it was
decided by consensus to focus on strengthening the regional processes at
continental level. The decentralised process that followed has been
different in each region: in some the process slowed down, while in others
it has been strengthened, expanded and consolidated (see appendix III).
Regarding the Asia region, the PGA process has been further strengthened
and consolidated after its last regional conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh,
hosted by Krishok Federation (Organization of farmers of Bangladesh) and
Kisani Shaba (Farmers women organization of Bangladesh). It was attended
by over 150 activists from grassroots people's movements from South and
South East Asia, comprising peasants, women, trade Unions, fisher folk,
indigenous people and youth.
One of the conclusions of this conference was that at this point in time
it makes sense to bring together again the regional processes into a
global conference, in order to revitalise successful forms of global
action against capitalism and explore new strategies to reinforce the
cooperation, exchange and solidarity at the global level.
It was also argument that even when there are new and well-funded
platforms with similar aims, such as the Social Forums, which started in
January 2001, there is the strong necessity of a specific space, with a
real horizontal, anti-capitalist and feminist nature for grassroots
movements. Thus, we believe in the urgent necessity of strengthening and
consolidate globally the anti-capitalist network « People Global Action »
as a tool of coordination and communication, which combines a
confrontational action-orientation with decentralisation and the full
autonomy of all participant movements (NGOs may only participate as
observers, if at all, and that representatives of political parties are
So, following the Asian PGA Conference, South Asian movements met in
Bangalore (India) and discussed the necessity of holding the Fourth PGA
Global Conference. As a result, Asian movements proposed that the next PGA
Global Conference takes place in Asia, few months before the next World
Trade Organization Ministerial Conference, which will be held in Hong Kong
in December of 2005. This proposal was bring to the rest of regions. The
European Regional Conference that took place in Belgrade in summer 2004
also agreed and supported the Asian proposal for the global conference.
3. Objectives of this conference
The objectives that we propose for the global conference are:
Contributing to the consolidation of regional PGA processes.
Planning in-depth exchanges between movements in different regions, in
particular about the construction of decentralised and alternative
livelihoods and social relations as alternatives to capitalism.
Define a plan of action and strategies of struggle, including Global Days
of Action against Capitalism, especially before and during the upcoming
WTO ministerial conference.
Revitalising a collective discussion about the global PGA process,
alongside the consolidation of autonomous regional processes.
Promoting gender work within each organisation and within PGA as a whole.
Creating a PGA women network and introducing masculinity work at global
4. Asian convenors and conference hosts
The convenors of Asia, chosen at the last regional conference in
Asian Convenor: All Nepal Peasants' Association (ANPA), Nepal
South East Asian Convenor: Assembly of The Poor, Thailand
South Asia Convenor: Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), India
This conference was initially going to take place in Nepal, hosted by
ANPA, but due to the outrageous coup d'état and dictatorship recently
imposed by the King, the venue had to be shifted to North India, near the
border with Nepal. The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers' Movements
(ICC) has taken on the task of hosting the conference.
We are holding the conference near the Nepalese border in order to make it
possible for conference delegates to visit Nepalese movements after the
conference, in case the conditions allow. Nepal is undergoing a very
interesting pre-revolutionary situation, due to the combined efforts of
many different grassroots movements. Many of these movements are eager to
meet the delegates of the PGA conference. Therefore, if the security
conditions allow, ANPA and other movements will organise a visit to Nepal,
and if that is not possible, there could be a solidarity action at the
border. We therefore advise all participants to leave some days free after
5. Date, venue and logistics
The conference will take place from the 5th to 12th October in Haridwar,
Haridwar is a town of 220.000 inhabitants in the state of Uttaranchal
(North India), 5 hours away from Delhi by train. It will be preceded by a
mass protest in Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) on the 2nd October,
which we hope to be attended by all conference participants, since it will
set a very positive and action-oriented collective tone for the rest of
the conference. A caravan of grassroots movements from South India will
reach Mumbai on the 2nd October to meet the international delegates and
participate in the protest with them, and we will travel all together to
Haridwar after the protest. We hope that all participants will join us in
Haridwar is situated at the foothills of the Himalayas, in the precise
place where the Ganges River leaves the mountain range. It has therefore
been considered a sacred place for centuries, and every night floating
lights are deposited at the point where the river enters the plains (known
as « The Stairs of God »). Thousands of people come to bath in the cold
and crystalline water (considered to have special healing powers in this
location) and every 12 years there is an immense spiritual festival. This
explains the large amount of ashrams (places for meditation, yoga and
spiritual introspection) that exist in this town.
The accommodation will take place in ashrams, which are sympathetic to the
aims of the conference. The conditions will be modest and coherent with
the principles and ideas of PGA: sleeping on thin mattresses on the floor,
quite a lot of people in each room, collective toilets, etc. Participants
should bring their own sleeping bags or sheets and blankets, and are
advised to bring anti-mosquito cream and mosquito nets. There will be
rooms for women only and men only, as well as mixed rooms. The food will
be contributed by Indian peasants, members of the farmers' organisations
of the ICC (conference hosts), who despite their difficult situation want
to make this contribution to the success of the conference. We hope that
all participants will be happy to share the same simple and unpretentious
conditions. We will do our best to do special arrangements for people with
restricted mobility or any other particular need. Anyone needing any other
type of accommodation for comfort reasons should make their own
As mentioned above, besides the action in Mumbai before the conference,
there will hopefully be a visit to Nepal at the end, if the security
conditions allow. This visit will be organised by the Nepalese movements.
Registered participants will receive more information in the future. If
this visit is not possible, there might be an action of solidarity at the
border with Nepal, and visits to Indian movements. We therefore advise
everyone to leave at least one week free between the end of the conference
and their date of return.
6. Programme and preparation process
The final programme for the conference will be defined over the next
months through a collective discussion process, which will hopefully
include grassroots movements from all continents. The basic structure
proposed by the conference hosts is:
2nd October: Action in Mumbai. Travel to Haridwar with Indian movements.
4th October: Arrival of the participants to Haridwar.
5th - 6th October: Gender training workshops, including masculinity.
7th - 8th October: Information Exchange: workshops proposed by the
participant organizations, such as on the struggle against sexism and
other forms of oppression, militarism, privatisation, trade and gender,
9th - 10th October: Campaigns and plan of actions. Building alternatives.
These two days proposals of the organization of initiatives and action
strategies at the global level: exchanges, inter-regional solidarity,
sustained campaigns, etc, as well as coordination of actions against the
Hong-Kong WTO conference and other future Global Days of Action against
Capitalism will be discussed and concretised.
11th - 12th October: PGA global process: convenors committee, manifesto,
organisational principles, next conferences, etc.
13th October: Visit to Nepalese grassroots movements. If it is not
possible to visit Nepal, solidarity action at the border and visits to
The parts in italics are not part of the conference programme but we hope
that all participants will be able to attend them.
All the organizational process, as well as decision-making will be
completely transparent and collective. Regular reports on the progress of
the organization of the conference will be sent to all regional PGA lists.
The following elements will be use in the discussion process for the
preparations of the conference:
E-mail discussion: we propose to use the list caravan99lists.riseup.net.
To subscribe, send an email to caravan99-subscribelists.riseup.net
Preparatory meetings: According to the conclusions of the last European
PGA conference (Belgrade, summer 2004), there should be at least a
preparatory meeting in Europe which should be attended by all European
organisations and collectives that want to participate in the global
conference. One of the purposes of this meeting is to discuss which issues
Europeans want to take to the conference, and to talk about the programme
and all other aspects of the conference. We hope that this meeting will
take place, and would be very glad if similar meetings could take place in
other regions. Where it is not possible to hold such meetings, regional
lists can be used (such as agplatinalists.riseup.net for Latin America,
pgalists.riseup.net for North America and pga-asialists.riseup.net,
pga-asiacupboard.org for Asia)
Direct communication with participants: the application form asks
participants their opinion about the programme of the conference and
whether they want to present any workshop, film, exhibition, etc. All
answers will be sent to caravan99lists.riseup.net and the regional lists
as contributions to the collective discussion.
We hope that the combination of all these elements will make it possible
to prepare collectively the conference and define its contexts. According
to the PGA organisational principles (see appendix II), the convenors
committee has the mandate to set the conference programme, but we hope
that it will be possible to set it by a consensus-based collective
Grassroots movements, organizations, collectives, unions, etc that agree
with the PGA hallmarks (see appendix I) are welcome to join the
conference. Delegates from NGOs may have a status of observer if the
grassroots organizations coming from the same country agree. Political
parties are not allowed to send representatives.
In the case of delegations of more than one representative, at least half
of them must be women.
The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements will provide food
and accommodation for a maximum of 600 participants.
The organisations from Africa, Latin America and Asia that need support
for part of their travel costs should apply before the 20th August. Visas
or other expenses besides the travel costs will not be covered. Only in
very exceptional cases the complete cost of the flight tickets will be
reimbursed, we ask all the organisations to contribute with a minimum of
20% of their tickets, if possible more.
In order to avoid an imbalance in the representation from the South and
the North due to economic reasons, all participants from Western Europe,
North America and Australia are asked to cover their own travel costs and
establish redistribution channels to ensure the participation of
disadvantaged social sectors or regions (such as Eastern Europe). In
addition to this, we expect all participants from the North to contribute
to the travel costs of participants from Africa, Latin America and Asia.
We will try to raise funds for this purpose from coherent sources besides
the contributions of participants from the North, and any help in that
respect will be more than welcome. However, the contributions from
Northern participants are most likely to be essential to the success of
the conference, since Southern participation might otherwise be very
There will be a fee of 50 US$ for participants from Western Europe, North
America and Australia, and 10 US$ for participants from other regions.
All participants should apply and pay for their tourist visas in their
respective Indian consulates or embassies. If you face any problems to get
a tourist visa, please let us know with enough time.
The working languages during the conference will be English, Spanish and
Hindi. If you need translation to other language and cannot arrange it,
you should let us know well in advance, to see if translation can be
The final application deadline will be the 2nd September in order to leave
enough time to send the information to the different regional lists and
the caravan99lists.riseup.net list. Participants asking for help with the
travel costs should apply before the 20th August. The application form can
be found in the appendix V, and it should sent to:
I Hallmarks of PGA
[castellano | deutsch | euskra | français | nederlands | português | russkij]
The following hallmarks define the basic consensus on which PGA is based:
A very clear rejection of capitalism, imperialism and feudalism; all trade
agreements, institutions and governments that promote destructive
We reject all forms and systems of domination and discrimination
including, but not limited to, patriarchy, racism and religious
fundamentalism of all creeds. We embrace the full dignity of all human
A confrontational attitude, since we do not think that lobbying can have a
major impact in such biased and undemocratic organizations, in which
transnational capital is the only real policy-maker;
A call to direct action and civil disobedience, support for social
movements' struggles, advocating forms of resistance which maximize
respect for life and oppressed peoples' rights, as well as the
construction of local alternatives to global capitalism;
An organizational philosophy based on decentralization and autonomy
II Organizational Principles of PGA [castellano | russkij]
III. A brief history of Peoples' Global Action
A brief history of PGA will be included in the web page www.agp.org
IV. Sustained Campaigns
The following global campaigns were defined at the previous global
conference in Cochabamba (Bolivia):
Campaign against state militarism and para-militarism
Campaign for defence and recognition of self-determination and land
sovereignty of all people
Campaign against all privatisation
Campaign on construction of alternative models to the capitalist system,
based on education and training
Most campaigns have not even started at the global level, due to different
reasons (such as the post-Sept 11th wars, the fact that they were defined
at the global conference rather than emerging from the grassroots level
and passing through regional conferences, etc). At the Haridwar conference
we should decide what to do about them.
V. Application form
Please send this application form to pga-4globalconfriseup.net before the
2nd September. Organisations that need help with travel costs should send
this application before the 20th August.
1. ORGANISATION DETAILS
Name of the organization:
2. DESCRIPTION OF THE ORGANISATION
When and why was it created, where and on which issues does it work?
Objectives of the organisation
Current activities, campaigns, actions, etc.
Is your organization working on alternatives to capitalism, such as seed
banks, decentralised water management, alternative energy, cooperatives,
? If yes, please describe briefly such projects.
Name and gender of the participant(s):
4. CONTENTS OF THE CONFERENCE
Which issues does your organisation think should be discussed in the
What is your opinion of the proposed structure of the conference?
Does your organisation want to organize any workshop, performance or
Does your organization bring any exhibition or video?
5. LOGISTICS AND TRAVEL
Do any members of your delegation need any special arrangement, such as a
special diet, special beds, wheelchair or medical care?
Could your organisation help with translation of documents before the
conference? Could your delegation help with translation during the
conference (documents, workshops or informal conversations)? If yes, in
For organisations located in Africa, Latin America or Asia: does your
organisation need help with travel costs? In that case, how much can your
For organisations located in rich countries: can your organisation
contribute to the travel costs of organisations from the South? If yes,
Please, send with this form any document that your organization wants to
be distributed during the conference.
We are going to prepare a welcome document with the description of the
participant organizations and the documents send by them. This welcome
document will be distributed in Spanish, English and Hindi, but we invite
all organizations to translate this document into their own language.
If you want any document to be included in the welcome document, please
send it to us as soon as possible. We would be thankful if you could also
provide translations of your document in English and/or Spanish and/or
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