rn- broadbased actions against globalization


Richard Moore

Dear rn,

In the face of the highly-organized and plentifully-funded forces of
globalization, it is a shame that opposition is so fragmented.  The rn list
started out in the hope that connections could be made - that 'webs could
be woven' in the fabric of a hoped-for coalition movement.  We offered
'Movement for a Democratic Renaissance' as a rallying slogan.

I think Jan has been doing an admirable and tireless job of 'web weaving',
both with her postings (to several different lists) and her many notes
introducing activists to one another (where she often includes me as a
Cc:).  Nonetheless, we can't claim any significant success with
movement-building.  The fact remains that there isn't a movement with the
kind of scope required to 'make a difference' in the context of

From a strategic perspective there is a vacuum - a movement is needed and
there isn't one.  As more and more people begin to understand, or to sense,
that something bigger is needed, this becomes a 'perceived vacuum' and
provides an opportunity for sufficiently inspired organizers to do
something to fill it.

The existence of a vacuum creates 'a market' for all sorts of intiatives,
both good and bad.  The best-organized (by far) player in this game is of
course the same folks who are bringing us globalization itself.  I would
expect them to be among the first to launch a well-organized 'peoples
movement' aimed at channeling popular energy into counter-productive
directions.  In fact, they seem to have done so - in the form of PGA
(Peoples Global Action), alias "U.P. Secr", which posts from the address

There are also legitimate coalitions forming, in so far as I can judge from
what I read.  One of these, in India, is called National Alliance of
Peoples Movements (NAPM).  Below is a posting about them sent to rn by Tim

One of the things PGA/UPSecr does is to forward postings of organizations
such as NAPM, apparently hoping to borrow some of their legitimacy.  PGA
has its own set of proposals for a "World Parliament" and for "Consumers'
Power Committees (CPC's)" at the national level.  Their language reads like
something out of the days of Stalinist-front organizations, and the content
of their proposals sounds like something Mussolini would have come up with.
FYI, I'm including a recent response I sent to Jan and to Aaron Koleszar
regarding PGA.

Below that is the piece about NAPM.



Dear Jan & Aaron,

7/28/99, Jan Slakov wrote:
 >Richard, I notice that you seem to see some link between the PGA and the
 >proposal Aaron sent us. but I don't think the link is there.

It most certainly is!!   "PGA" & "U.P.secr" & "peoples@post" are all the
same organization.  I'm on their mailing list.  They started using
"U.P.secr" last September in their message "INTERNATIONALIZE THE
CORPORATIONS", which included:

    The  Internet   has  made  feasible  the  old  dream  of  a
    world parliament.   At  the  First  Peoples  Global  Action
    Conference a  group  of  delegates  from  various
    continents  agreed  on  the below  principles  for  the  aim
     of  establishing  the  World Parliament of THE UNITED
    PEOPLES for  transfer  of  the  economic and  political
    power  of  the  transnational corporations,  their mass
    media  monopoly  and  their  politicians,  to  the  peoples.

With this message the mail started coming from •••@••.•••
instead of  •••@••.•••, but apparently continued using the same subscriber


There are so many things wrong with these guys that I don't know where to

Their "World Parliament" concept is totally top-down and closely resembles
Stalinist models of international communist organizations, where local
groups were sold out to Soviet realpolitik interests.

Everything they publish is devious and talks about 'non organization' and
'non leadership' when in fact they're pursuing an activist-elite top-down

Their latest stuff about fingerprint chips is almost beyond belief.  The
increasing prevalence of surveillance and required-identity cards is one of
the orwellian aspects of the global corporate regime, and here we have
"U.P.secr" trying to expedite the process.

Their Consumers' Power Committee, "CPC" (which sounds like a Stalinist-era
acronym) are again a top-down entity, issuing 'instructions' to the masses.

The strategic concept behind their ELECTRONIC SYSTEM is basically to have a
highly centralized consumer-organization which would then negotiate with
large corporations.  This is the fundamental concept behind fascism - to
bury popular movements in centralized organizations which can then be
co-opted from the top.  In this case, however, the co-option seems to have
occurred prior to the organization even getting off the ground.

The whole approach of basing popular power on consumer power is a bad idea.
It accepts corporate dominance as the major societal paradigm, and then
channels popular energy into negotiating for a better flavor of crumbs from
the corporate table.

PGA seems to be trading on the fact that activist energy is fragmented.
There are a scarcity of intitiative to build a larger coalition, and PGA is
trying to exploit that vacuum.


From: "Tim Murphy" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Fw: Globalisation needs a deeper understanding
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 1999 01:29:21 +0100

Rich Winkel <•••@••.•••> wrote in message
/** twn.features: 301.0 **/
** Topic: Globalisation needs a deeper understanding **
** Written  5:18 PM  Jul 28, 1999 by •••@••.••• in cdp:twn.features

July 1999

Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder, writer of the bestseller Sophie's World,
which is a novel about the history of philosophy, donated a large sum of
his fortune from book sales to the cause of environment and development.
This year's Sophie's Prize of US$100,000 was shared by the leader of the
Indian traditional fisherpeople Thomas Kocherry and American economics
professor Herman Daly. Below is Kocherry's acceptance speech, delivered on
15 June in Oslo.

By Thomas Kocherry

First of all I want to thank the Sophie Foundation for honouring me with
the Sophie Prize. In particular I thank Jostein Gaarder for creating the
Foundation for honouring such ventures to recognise and to encourage
re-imaging a world where every human being is equal in opportunities;
without discrimination on the basis of caste, class, creed, religion or
gender. Please accept my heartfelt thanks.

Today we are in the context of 'globalisation' and 'liberalisation'. The
words look very attractive, but the vast majority of the people are the
victims of globalisation.

Globalisation began with colonialism. In the 16th century Europe was
overpopulated and the people began to migrate from Europe to other
continents as if they were discovering new places. It ended up with
conquering other places and people. The Sword and the Cross went together.
They forcefully enslaved and converted natives and indigenous peoples. They
conquered lands, exploited the resources and accumulated wealth.

In the 20th century, the world witnessed the uprising of peoples for
political freedom. However, economic exploitation continued through
multinational corporations (MNCs) and transnational corporations (TNCs).
But the rich and the ruling class of the newly freed Third World countries
generally sided with the MNCs for their own advantage, against the interest
of the common people.

Again the natives and the indigenous peoples were the worst hit. As a
result, according to a UN study, today 20% Northern minority of humankind
has: 82.7% of world gross national product, 81.2% of world trade, 94.6% of
all commercial lending, 80.5% of all domestic investment, 80.6% of all
domestic savings, 94.0% of all research and development.

It is in this context that we should understand 'globalisation' today.
Those who have more are bound to get more. This means more accumulation and
centralisation. The North's 20% people are better placed to take away even
the 10-20% of the wealth in the hands of 80% people in the South. The real
Centre is G8 countries and of course the USA is the real centre of the

They are wielding the power of wealth and arms. They are placed in a better
position for quick profit at the expense of the vast majority of people and
the environment. All the rest are in the periphery. Thus, the
peripheralisation of the vast majority is the other side of globalisation.

In the period following de-colonisation and political independence of the
Third World (South) countries particularly after World War II, the
international relationships among the countries at bilateral and
multilateral levels were considered very important and viewed as mutually
beneficial. This language and practice seems to be in the wane today.

Northern MNCs want to take over the control of the UN. If the UN does not
dance according to their tune they will not give it their share. They are
more interested in strengthening the WTO than the UN. They talk of
democracy and human rights but they have no concern for the people of the
South. The market economy determines everything, there is no other value in
life. Money has more value than people of the South.

The UN has become a weak instrument. Globalisation is beneficial to those
who have. All those who are have-nots are the victims. Globalisation is a
mechanistic process (and therefore most easily manipulatable by the
wielders of power) in the face of which there is no choice and alternative.
This is the most insidious aspect of this ideology: that it could present
itself as the only possible way of being. It creates a certain sense of
inevitability and absoluteness. Outside globalisation and the market
economy, there is no salvation.

Let me show how this is true as regards the fisheries sector. In the 1990s
fishing reached the point of diminishing returns. Many fish populations
have fallen to levels from which they can no longer recover without
significant reductions in the catches or a moratorium on fishing. There are
simply too many boats catching too many fish.

The first surge in numbers of fishing vessels occurred during the
industrial revolution. This upwell tapered off during the two World Wars,
but boomed again in the 1950s through the 1970s. The world's fishing fleet
doubled between 1970 and 1990. More than 100 million people in developing
countries (South) are dependent on fisheries for our livelihoods. For us
fishing is a way of life, not just a source of income. The Sea is our

Traditionally, small-scale or artisanal fishers have provided fish for
local consumption; but as fish becomes scarce and its value increases, it
enters the global market and becomes unaffordable for common people.

In the process we are displaced and the MNCs take over completely. Most
governments, particularly those of the North, are trying to prop up an
unsustainable fishery. According to the FAO, every year governments world
wide pay US$116 billion to catch just $70 billion worth of fish.

Developed nations, which have overfished their own waters, have headed into
the waters of the developing nations. The European Union (EU) has around
40% more vessels than necessary to catch fish on a sustainable basis.

Volatile 'fish wars' are commonplace. There are more than one million large
industrial fleets in the world. They have depleted all the oceans in the
world. They have become a threat to the 100 million fisherpeople in the
world. Further, these have organic links with the coastal mono shrimp

Fresh fish caught by the industrial vessels are converted into fishmeal for
the production of shrimp. Ten thousand tons of fish that would have been
available for common people are converted into fishmeal to produce 1,000
tons of shrimp that only the rich can afford to buy.

Further, the coastal shrimp industry depletes fishing grounds, salinates
drinking water, destroys mangroves and displaces fisherpeople and
agriculturists who depend on these resources for their livelihood. In
addition, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has shifted
polluting industries to the coastal belts of the developing nations,
threatening the very lives of small fishing communities who are totally
dependent on fishing and fishing alone.

All over the world the victims of globalisation - the small fishing
communities - are realising the need of coming together to establish our
right to life. We want to establish our right as persons. The World Forum
of Fish-harvesters and Fishworkers is the result of this realisation. The
Forum is involved in a campaign to establish the right of the fishing
communities to own the water-bodies, including seas and rivers, fishing
implements and distribution of the catch.

Management of the distribution of the catch should be done by the
fisherwomen. We have declared November 21 as World Fisheries Day to claim
and to campaign for this right. We wish to establish our right by
exercising our duty, even through struggles and sacrifices.

India's 10 million fisherpeople were able to change the government policy
of joint and lease fishing through long-standing struggles. Canadian
fisherpeople have been fighting against huge fishing vessels. The
Gloucester fisherpeople in the USA, particularly the wives of fishermen,
have succeeded in banning factory trawlers through legislation.

In Senegal, fisherpeople are on a war path against destructive fishing. In
Brazil the fisherpeople are involved in a struggle against predatory
fishing. In Pakistan and in South Africa the fishing communities are
struggling to establish their right to life. Thus the fisherpeople in both
the North and South, who are victims of globalisation, are involved in
establishing a new paradigm of development and politics.

We, the fisherpeople in India, are part of a larger alliance - the National
Alliance of Peoples Movements (NAPM) - all of whom are victims of
globalisation. There are over 150 peoples' movements in this alliance, not
only struggling to survive, but searching for alternatives to the present
form of development which in the long run is destructive for all.

It is through these struggles that the whole of humanity is going to be
saved. True development is not by conquering and enslaving, not by
accumulating and centralising, not by displacing peoples and destroying
cultures. True development is only by integrating and working together,
through distributive justice and decentralisation by nurturing and
including native and indigenous peoples.

It is here that the struggles of the victims of mega dams in India can be
understood. There are 3,600 mega dams in India. These have displaced 50
million natives, tribals and fisherpeople and have proved to be mass
destruction rather than development. These victims are involved in a
long-standing struggle to create a new paradigm of development, where
native skills and technologies are enhanced, small is accepted  as
beautiful and sustainable and simplicity has become a  way of  life with
due respect to native cultures.

We have gone to the extent of jal-samati - sacrificing ourselves in the
rising reservoirs - rather than inflicting violence upon others, for the
creation of this new paradigm. Right now, about 400 leaders, representing
different movements in India - farmers, fishworkers, people displaced by
the Narmada project and others - are in Europe campaigning against MNCs,
TNCs and the WTO.

For the first time such a mass campaign is taking place. The victims of
globalisation are asserting their rightful place in this planet. We feel an
urgent need to create a new paradigm of development and politics, a
paradigm in which all human beings have the right to live, with equal
access to the resources and opportunities.

Development cannot be measured solely by the quantity of production, but by
its sustainability, by its capacity to protect the livelihood of all human
beings. Production should be coupled with distributive justice. There is no
development for the sake of development.

True globalisation should make free movement of labour unhindered by
national boundaries. Let the year 2000 be a real Jubilee Year; let the
debts of the developing countries be wiped out; and let all nations
experience true freedom and equality.

The life of the planet and the dependent health and welfare of humanity
must not be sacrificed to the greed of the few. - Third World Network


About the writer: Thomas Kocherry, an Indian priest, lawyer and trade union
leader, is a prominent leader of the traditional fisherpeople's movement in
his country. He is one of the moving forces behind the World Forum of
Fish-harvesters and Fishworkers and can be contacted via email at:

When reproducing this feature, please credit Third World Network Features
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