Français   |  

Subscribe to the whole site

Home > English > AI and the WSF > Onwards to Belem


Onwards to Belem

Call from the Social Movements

Monday 19 November 2007

The Social Movements Assembly (SMA) met in Belem (Brazil) during the meeting of the International Council (IC) of the World Social Forum (WSF), which was held from October 28th to November 1st 2007.

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. The governments of the state of Israel expansion is also part of this desire to subjugate the whole planet.

Mobilising social movements against this state of permanent war means defining new cross-border ways of ensuring solidarity with those peoples that are mounting resistance. 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, as well as defending sexual diversity.

The patriarchal system is reinforced by the dominant economic set-up. Trafficking of women and children and prostitution are further proof of the commoditisation of all aspects of life. The situation 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. The G8, devoted to the interests of transnationals, 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. 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 global mobilisation against these enemies both in developing countries and in developed countries, where people also suffer the effects of these policies.
We should also note the difficulties the capitalist system faces in its attempts to reach its objectives. It has faced significant setbacks at the hands of popular resistance. 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.

In the continuity of the world Social Forum process, and the ongoing work of building alliances between our social movements, of which the Brussels’ meeting in October 2006 is an important step, the social movements, here present in Belem, call to participate actively to the global days of action, which will culminate on 26th of January 2008
Belem, 30th of October 2007

The organizations and individuals willing to sign this call should please send an email to

Signatories of the call « onward to Belem » (to be completed)

1. Alvares Ticiana FMJD (Federación Mundial de juventudes
2. Bonfond Olivier CADTM Belgique
3. Bonin Marie-Hélène Alternatives International ( Alternatives Canada, AIC, IPAM, Terrazul, etc )
4. Campos Luiz Conselho Pan-Amazonico
5. Cleybe Silva Da Costa Augusto Instituto Mauricio Grabois ( IMG) Belém - Brasil
6. Codas Gustavo CUT Brasil
7. Dantas Gisele Marcha Mundial das Mulheres
8. Fontes Gerardo Via Campesina
9. Grabiel Leo European Marches against unemployment Precarity and Social exclusion
10. Hernandez José Miguel Encuentros Hemisfericos
11. Honkala Cheri Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC), USA
12. Lestienne Bernard Jubileu Sul America / Grito continental
13. Mansoor Nasir CADTM Pakistan - National Trade Union Federation
14. Maracas Ulysses MST
15. Maria Prestes Ana OCLAE ( Organisation Continental Latino Americana y caribeña de estudiantes
16. Matte Diane Marcha Mundial de las Mulheres
17. Menon Meena Focus in the Global South
18. Nobile Rodrigo CLACSO- LPP / Cebrapaz-pa/Cada)
19. Ntshalintshali Bheki Congress of South Africal Trade Union ( COSATU)
20. Rocha Liege FDIM (Federaçao Democratica Internacional de Mulheres)
21. Rousset Pierre, Europe solidaire sans frontières (ESSF), France
22. Suarez Joel Convergencia de los movimientos de los pueblos de los Americas (COMPA)
23. Temistocles Marcelos FBOM
24. Toussaint Eric CADTM Belgium
25. Vieira Adilson Grupo de Trabalho Amazonico
26. Orlando Adame Villalobos Facultad de Ciencias Política-UNAM - Puente de Ixtla, Morelos- UNAM
27. Bernocchi Piero Confederazione COBAS
28. Ahmad Soueissi Nord-Sud XXI - Suisse
29. Dhar Sushovan Vikas Adhyayan Kendra ( India )