Anti-capitalism

European Social Forum: Paris on My Mind

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The ESF focused activists' attention on building for another world.

Over 50,000 people came to this year's European Social Forum (ESF) in Paris last month and around 150,000 marched on the demonstration that was held on the last day. They were there to participate in the 55 enormous plenary sessions, 250 seminars and hundreds of workshops. They crammed into meetings to talk about genetically modified crops, women's rights, the European Union and so on, which were being translated into seven different languages. Although people spoke in different tongues the language was the same - it was a language that spoke clearly against war and against neoliberalism.

European Social Forum: Growing Pains

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The movement has reached a critical point, and socialists' role in the debates around the European Social Forum will be key.

Politics in France are tense. The right wing Raffarin government scored a victory in the summer by forcing through pension reforms. With the budget deep in the red, they are keen to push ahead with their neoliberal progamme. But after just 18 months in office they have become deeply unpopular.

Equity, Diversity and Solidarity

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Review of 'Parecon', Michael Albert, Verso £16

The anti-capitalist movement is not what it was. From Seattle to Hyde Park, debate has ranged from the neoliberal agenda and all its implications to imperialist wars. In a global day of anti-war protest we have had an inkling of its potential strength. Now many people are arguing that all this energy and organisation must press on for alternatives to privatisation, for social justice and peace. We are not satisfied that 'the only alternative to the market was something worse - Stalinism'. This book reflects a profound shift in the expectations of millions of people.

The Cost of Living

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The collapse of the recent WTO summit is a blow against neoliberalism, but the struggle for trade justice goes beyond the issue of subsidies.

At 3.30pm on the last day of the Cancun WTO summit a Kenyan representative walked out and announced, ’The meeting is over. This is another Seattle.‘ When the Mexican chair of the meeting declared the talks formally closed there were whoops of delight from the African delegates.

An international coalition of small farmers, NGOs, trade unions and anti-capitalist activists had helped foment a rebellion of the less developed countries that has thrown the neoliberal project into confusion.

Corporate Talk Costs Lives

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The resort of Cancun seemed the perfect place for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to hold its talks.

The Zona Hotelera, where the convention centre lies, is a strip of land with beautiful beaches on one side and separated from the town by a crocodile-infested lagoon on the other. The Ritz, Sheraton, Meridian and dozens of other multimillion dollar hotels line the strip, and the street signs and shop fronts are written in English: ’liquor store‘, ’drugstore‘, ’T-bone steak‘. The Zona is a playground for the rich of the US, while half the population of Cancun (a town created solely to service the resorts) are without access to basic services such as clean water.

Brazilian Wave

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Review of 'Reclaim The State', Hilary Wainwright, Verso £15 and 'Radicals in Power', Gianpaolo Baiocchi, Zed Books £14.95

The leaders of the anti-capitalist movement seem to have fallen in love with Brazil. For years it was impossible to find a single news item about the country from one month to the next. Now every debate about the future of the movement, and the kind of world we want to build, seems to refer to Porto Alegre. Partly that is because the first three World Social Forums were held there. More importantly, though, it is because Porto Alegre has operated for more than ten years a 'participatory budget'.

G8 Protests: Streaming into Evian

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On 1 June George Bush flies to 'old Europe' to meet the other seven 'great powers' at Evian in the French Alps at the G8 summit meeting.

In his mind's eye no doubt he comes as conqueror--in reality he will be flying into a few problems. Hundreds of anti-war activists and campaigners met at the end of April to ensure that Bush and the other warmongers will get a 'warm' reception.

War Under Attack

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Opposing and organising against the conflict in Iraq is the most important task facing anti-capitalist campaigners today.

It is clear that we are currently participating in one of the most remarkable mass movements in world history. Its origins date back to before the Bush administration exploited 11 September 2001 by launching its war-drive, to the great wave of anti-capitalist protests--Seattle, Prague, Genoa. Yet, as the movement has come to focus on mobilising against imperialist war, first in Afghanistan, then in Iraq, it has grown astonishingly in extent--15 February 2003 is simply without any historical precedent as a gigantic day of global protest--and in political radicalism.

We're Only Asking for the World

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Ian Birchall reviews a new book on anti-capitalism by Alex Callinicos.

'Another world is possible' is the most popular slogan of the anti-capitalist movement. In his new book Alex Callinicos contributes to the debate about how we get there. As usual, Alex has read all the important books and articles which many of us haven't got round to. For the busy activist and the beginner who wants to know what the arguments are all about, this book is invaluable.

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