Soenke Zehle on Fri, 1 Feb 2002 09:56:01 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-bold] SummaryFPIF Forum on Anti-Globalization Mov't


(Editor's Note: See for
the complete presentations by Thea Lee, Alejandro Bendana, Kristin Dawkins,
and John Cavanagh. We encourage readers to send us your evaluations of the
antiglobalization/global justice movement; your statements will be posted
the FPIF website.)

In the aftermath of September 11, the WTO Ministerial in Doha and the
passage of fast track legislation by the House of Representatives, many
mainstream analysts are claiming that the global justice movement and its
efforts to combat the negative effects of corporate-led globalization are
dead. Foreign Policy in Focus (online at, a joint project of
the Interhemispheric Resource Center and the Institute for Policy Studies,
organized a forum on January 25 to discuss these issues. Their conclusions
are that while these developments pose new strategic challenges for the
movement, it is far from dead. The forum included four speakers who discuss
the upcoming meetings and protests at the World Economic Forum in New York
City and the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil and analyze the new
strategic opportunities and obstacles facing the global justice movement in
the year ahead.

The first speaker, Thea Lee, serves as the assistant director for
International Economics in the Public Policy Department at the AFL-CIO. She
began by arguing against the view that the global justice movement was dead
as indicated by the agreement to launch a new trade round in Doha, the
authorization of trade promotion authority (fast track) for the Bush
administration, and the decline in street protests. Many mainstream analysts
argue that the labor and student wings of the movement irrevocably split
over the war in Afghanistan, sounding the death knell of the movement. She
argued, in contrast, that the purported victories at Doha and authorization
of fast track were much less than the rhetoric suggests. She argues that the
movement in the U.S. has succeeded in fundamentally shifting the policy
debate as to how labor, environment, and development issues should be
addressed in trade agreements--not whether they will be addressed. She
identified labor's policy agenda as focusing on the new trade agreements
being negotiated with Chile, Singapore, and the Free Trade Areas of the
Americas, and stated that the AFL-CIO will exercise its power through the
streets (protests), the suites (attending the World Economic Forum and
similar events), and the social forum in Porto Alegre to advance its agenda.
(Available online in a Global Affairs Commentary format at

Alejandro Bendaņa, director of the Center for International Studies, based
in Managua, Nicaragua, began by arguing (in contrast to the other speakers)
for the utility of the label "antiglobalization movement" on the grounds
that it reflects what people believe. He views the opportunities and
challenges facing the movement in the coming year as being about the three
"A's": Alternatives, Argentina, and Afghanistan. Alternatives will be the
primary agenda of the World Social Forum, and in contrast to the previous
meetings will strive to be more than "a supermarket of ideas" but began the
process of institutionalizing the practice of social forums throughout the
world. Argentina is important because reflects the most recent sustained
effort by a national government to resist the orthodoxy of the Washington
Consensus and therefore reflects the possibility of demonstration effects
within Latin America and renewed political space for alternatives to
neoliberalism at the level of national policy. Afghanistan is a vehicle to
link the antiglobalization and terrorism agendas to discuss the economic
roots of terrorism. (Available online in Global Affairs Commentary format at

Continuing a theme highlighted by Thea Lee, Kristin Dawkins, director of the
Program on Trade and Agriculture at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade
Policy, also noted that Doha was less than a total victory for the advocates
of corporate-led globalization. She described how farmers' groups had
succeeded in creating a development box within the WTO's Agreement on
Agriculture that would allow for developing countries to have waivers for
some of the WTO rules, enabling governments to protect some of their
farmers. She discussed how farm and environment groups are working for
alternative policies, including rapid ratification of the International
Convention on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. She also
identified a series of other civil society-based initiatives with respect to
the global commons such as genetic resources and water. These two issues
will be central to the effort to articulate concrete policy agendas at the
World Social Forum in Porto Alegre and the Preparatory Committee meeting for
the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg later this year,
which is being held in New York at the same time as the World Economic
Forum. (Available online in a Global Affairs Commentary format at

John Cavanagh, director of the Institute for Policy Studies, began by
challenging the idea that the global justice movement only began in 1999
with the demonstrations in Seattle. Instead, he suggested that the movement
is part of two longer histories. The first is a history of local resistance
to European colonialism that began over 500 years ago; the second is a more
recent period of transnational alliances among citizens' groups that dates
to the anti-slavery movement of the 19th century. John argues that the
debate over globalization is currently at a stalemate and presents a
scorecard of the movement's power and strength along eight dimensions: the
ability to influence real events; the ability to get visibility in the
media; the breadth and depth of the "Seattle Coalition;" public opinion;
moral authority; intellectual power; ongoing protests at the local level;
and things going badly for the agents of corporate-led globalization.
(Available online in a Global Affairs Commentary format at

(This summary of the FPIF forum on "The Future of the Global Justice
Movement" was written by John Gershman <>, who is an
analyst with the Interhemispheric Resource Center. Gershman moderated the
panel discussion. The entire forum is available for play through Windows
Media Player at

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