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International workers movement news

São Paulo Forum, Havana

The 10th meeting of the São Paulo Forum, which had been scheduled to take place in Guatemala in June, has been postponed and rescheduled to convene in Havana, Cuba, December 4-7. More than 100 parties and movements which make up the different left trends in Latin America and the Caribbean will meet, and based on the discussions and documents from the previous nine meetings and the developing political situation in the continent, could use the forum to organise more concrete and effective support for their struggles.

The forum also hopes to broaden, deepen and strengthen the communication and collaboration with left forces in other continents, and thus facilitate the convergence and joint work of left forces around the world.

Demonstrations against G8 meeting, Genoa

The huge demonstration July 21 against the meeting of the G8 in Genoa marked a new stage of the global anti-corporate movement. It emphasises the difficulties faced by the capitalist rulers of the world in the face of the growing consciousness and spreading protests against their brutal rule. They are now forced to meet on an island in Qatar, or an isolated mountain village in Canada’s Rocky Mountains.

State violence escalated with the murder of Carlo Giuliani and horrific police beatings and torture, following the shootings in Gothenburg and the killing of four demonstrators in Port Moresby. But the 300,000 demonstrators on July 21 in Genoa were a massive response. The Genoa demonstrations were quickly followed by huge demonstrations across Italy against the police murder and violence—100,000 in Milan; 40,000 in Rome; tens of thousands in other major cities.

Fausto Bertinotti, the secretary of the PRC (Partito della Rifondazione Comunista, Italy’s largest communist party) summed up the events in Genoa: “The tragedy of the dead youth and the clashes on the demonstration must not conceal a giant fact—we are faced with the real birth of a movement. These 200,000 to 300,000 people, the entry of a new generation, are a political and cultural fact of enormous importance. Those in power show they cannot tolerate the movement. They try to break it up, to put the blame on it, to provoke splits within it. But today eighty per cent were under thirty years old. And we saw the same spirit expressed in the metalworkers’ strike of the week before last. This is the rise of a new generation, and this generation will not be broken. It will not stop challenging repression, the G8, globalisation, the government. This movement can provide the force for an alternative left.”

Reports from Genoa can be read on Green Left Weekly’s web site, <www.greenleft.org.au>, issues 457 and 458.

Global resistance conference

The list of confirmed speakers for the second Asia Pacific International Solidarity Conference in Sydney March 29-April 1, 2002, continues to grow. (See the call for the conference in Links 18.) Keynote speakers who have already accepted invitations include:

  • Alain Krivine, a leader of the French Revolutionary Communist League and a member of the European parliament.
  • Alex Callinicos, British Marxist intellectual, from the Socialist Workers Party of Britain.
  • Boris Kagarlitsky, Russian Marxist writer and political commentator.
  • Farooq Tariq, General Secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan.
  • Sonny Melencio, chairperson of the Socialist Party of Labor of the Philippines.
  • Ram Seegobin, leader of Lalit, the principal revolutionary socialist organisation in Mauritius.
  • Dale McKinley, South African Marxist activist.
  • The Seraiki National Party president, Abdul Majeed Kanjoo, from Pakistan.
  • Malik Miah, Barry Sheppard and Caroline Lund from Solidarity in the US.
  • Ahmed Shawki and Paul D’Amato, leaders of the US International Socialist Organisation.
  • Luis Balbao, from the Unión de Militantes por el Socialismo in Argentina.

The Portuguese Left Bloc, with two members of parliament, has confirmed its attendance. The People’s Democratic Party in Indonesia, the Socialist Party of Timor, the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), the Communist Party of Nepal (UML) and the Power of the Working Class in South Korea will all attend.

We are also confident that a Cuban Communist Party delegation will be able to attend, as well as a leader of the Scottish Socialist Party and many other delegations from all continents.

The two key international developments that the conference will focus on and try to link together are the growing protests against capitalist globalisation and the rapid rise of alliances and sentiments for greater collaboration among left parties within countries and internationally. The conference is being organised by the Asia Pacific Institute for Democratisation and Development. Write to: po Box 515, Broadway NSW 2007, Australia. Email: <apisc2002@greenleft.org.au>.

M1 protests hit corporate Australia

Following the call issued for blockades on May 1 of stock exchanges and other financial institutions (see Links 17), the M1 demonstrations ended up being a tremendous success, with blockades in eight Australian cities in which a total of 20,000 activists participated.

Green Left Weekly #447 provided 12 pages of reports, analysis and photographs of these militant and inspiring actions. See it all on the web site: <www.greenleft.org.au>. That issue also provided coverage of the militant May Day actions around the world. Also visit the M1 web site: <www.m1alliance.org>.

Demonstrate against IMF and World Bank in Washington September 30

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank will be holding their joint annual general meeting in Washington, DC, September 28 to October 4.

A broadly supported coalition has called on activists from all over the world to come to Washington during that week to protest and expose the illegitimacy of the institutions and officials who continue to claim the right to determine the course of the world economy.

“The IMF and the World Bank are the primary architects of neo-liberal globalization”, says the coalition. “Their meetings in Washington are the most significant gathering of the proponents of corporate-led globalization in the US in 2001. It is imperative that supporters of global economic justice send a clear message: the movement for global justice continues to grow, and will not stand for continuing efforts by these institutions and the G7 governments to structure the world for the benefit of corporations and the wealthy and to deny basic justice to the majority of the world’s people.”

For more information contact <http://www.september30.org/s30/> or the 50 Years Is Enough Network <wb50years@igc.org>.

World Social Forum 2002

The second meeting of the World Social Forum has been set for January 31–February 5, again in Porto Alegre, Brazil. A meeting of the Brazilian Organising Committee was held in April to adopt a charter of principles to guide future gatherings, and an International Council was set up at a broadly attended meeting in São Paulo June 9-11. For more information visit the web site <www.forumsocialmundial.org.br/>. Pre-enrolment for delegations and workshops opened in August, and can be done via the web site.

Debate relaunched

The radical South African magazine Debate: voices from the South African left has been relaunched. Debate first appeared in 1996 as a non-sectarian and socialist-oriented platform for a diverse left that was still grappling with the implications of South Africa’s democratic transition, and with the class character of the new African National Congress (ANC) government.

The first series of Debate, however, ran for only four issues, the last of which appeared in 1998. Financial problems, poor distribution and internal divisions contributed to its demise. Many of the participants continued discussion through an email list, and in late 2000, a new editorial collective was constituted.

Articles in Debate #5 discuss the challenges facing the South African working class—from evictions, through water privatisation and mass electricity cut-offs, to the changing role of the trade unions—and examine working-class responses to the neo-liberalism of the ANC government.

Other articles consider the relevance of Frantz Fanon to the South African transition, discuss the recent assassination of Carlos Cardoso, a radical Mozambican journalist, and expose the real legacy of the late Harry Oppenheimer, the mining and manufacturing magnate whose dynasty still shapes the “new” South Africa’s destiny. There is a revolutionary culture section, with poems by Kelwyn Sole, and the popular narrator, “Righteous the Common Man”. There is also a photo essay on the emerging anti-globalisation movement.

Overseas subscriptions are US$30 per year for individuals, US$60 for institutions, and US$50 for supporters. Debate can be contacted at PO Box 517, Wits 2050, Johannesburg, South Africa, or email <debatesa@hotmail.com>.

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