Bangalore: report of the pga-conference


my english is not good enough to write an article like this in english. For the translation od lots of words i needed a dictionary to find the right ones. So if there are mistakes in that way, please ignore them. And of course this is my personal impression.

Peoples 'Global Action conference

15th- 26th of august 1999, an impression

"If we only could work together, we could be so strong", one of the participant of the conference

"One who battles can be defeated, who does not battle has lost from the beginning", Brecht (free translation)

Just back from 6 weeks in India, from which the last 2 weeks Peoples' Global Action (PGA) gathering, on which i was the only one from the Netherlands, 5 days of excursion, 3 days of roundtable-exchanges and 4 ½ days of conference, all in south-India.

About the excursion i will write more later. Below a report of the rest. The hallmarks of the PGA, improved at the conference, are to be found on the end of the report.


The first conference of Peoples' Global Action against "Free" Trade and the WTO was in february 1998 in Geneva. In may 1998 the PGA did actions in Geneva against the WTO, which had a meeting there. In august a seminar about "freetrade" was held, also in Geneva. There are reports written about all these events.

The second, worldwide, conference was planned to be in april 1999 in Bangalore, India. A lot of people involved in the PGA were at that time busy with the Inter Continental Caravan, so the conference was postponed to august.


Nevertheless the conference was not prepared and hardly any one was invited, not even organisations in India. From Africa, Eastern-Europe, the Middle-East and Australia there was no one and only a few from North- and South-America and other countries in Asia and Oceania besides India and Nepal....

A enormous blunder of a network which pretends to be worldwide. Practical: facilitation and translation were not taken care of, not even translation in the local language (Kannada), no one had prepared or written anything and there were no facilities at the meetingplace: f.e. no computer (only a few private laptops), printer, copymachine, telephone, fax, internetconnection.

The first days, meant for roundtable-exchanges, were mainly used to prepare the conference and the roundtables and during all the days relatively a lot of time was used for all kinds of proposals concerning procedures.

The time between the last pga-conference and this one was 1 1/2 years...

Conference itself

The discussions were wearisome, by tremendous differences in knowledge and information about all kinds of discussionsubjects, about the pga and the conference and in thinking about leaders/leadership, gender, centralisation/decentralisation and hierarchy. These are not north-south differences, also differences within different countries. There was unfortunately no time for presentations of struggles/movement, this could perhaps have given more understanding for each other and for the different points of view and backgrounds.

Powergames and hidden hierarchy were amply present. A lot of internal and discussions held before remained unspoken. The first days most of the discussion didn't resulte in a decision or the formulation was so vague it was not clear there was a decision. Later things improved. The discussions about decisionmaking, about structure and future communication was good. The postpone het decison about new convenors and look for half a year is positive, in this way a capable organisation doesn't have to be one of the organisations on a pga-conference and there is a lot more space for decentralized decisionmaking on the choice of convenors. The possibility of regional supportgroups divide power even more.

The financial structure remains very vague. In the meeting and outside as well was assured there was no money asked or given for this conference by Goldsmith.

Patriarchy and Capitalism

The hallmarks of the Peoples' Global Action are improved: the PGA fights capitalism and patriarchy and not only 'against "free"trade and the WTO'. (see below). On this there was a general consensus. There is a second (for me very important) hallmark inserted,: "A rejection of all forms and systems of domination and discrimination including, but not limited to, patriarchy, racism and fundamentalism of all creeds. We embrace the full dignity of all human beings".

Despite all these beautifull words and inclusion of fighting patriarchy in the hallmarks there was a maledomination, in numbers and in atmosphere.

From India there were hardly women, only for one of the genderdiscussions womengroups from Karnataka joined.

The manifesto will be rewritten with the fight against capitalism and patriarchy as main points. So: wait and see?


During the roundtable-exchanges there was a major conflict concerning the group from Nepal and two organisors, one from Europe and one from India. The conflict was among others about the number of people from one country/movement and about the way the people from Nepal were treated. The tension raised so high the whole Nepalese group was going to leave. They felt unwanted at the conference, deceived and discriminated. When it became clear more people (fe i) were going to leave if the whole Nepalese group would leave and both the organisors vaguely apologized the Nepalese group decided a small group of them would stay.

Amazing for me: all kinds of people didn't saw this as an example of nationalism, discrimination and racism.

Inter Continental Caravan

There was no evaluation of the ICC. After a few, far to possitive, sentences in the beginning of the conference, in which it was mentioned as a "pga-project", it is ignored.

On june 18th, the worldwide actionday against the financial centra, there was a longer presentation and a video about actions in London. The planned discussionevening about j18 was cancelled because there was no time.

Actions and coalitions

All kinds of actions were proposed. Among others: during the Milleniumround of the WTO, the 30th of november: worldwide actionday against freetrade; the first of may: worldwide actionday against capitalism; actions against the autumn-meeting of IMF/WB, september 2000 in Prague. In all the regions people are going to try to form broader networks of resistance and start working on actionbulletins.

Concluding action

As concluding of the conference there was an action planned against Monsanto. Due to the elections in India no demonstrations or actions were allowed. The KRRS, the Indian organisator, was running in the elections. So no action ...


CC-network as well) and my trust in the western-european convenor (Ya Basta!/Leoncavallo, from Milano).

I 'll work among other things on the dutch part of the european bulletin and preparation of actions.

The PGA is an instrument of coordination, not an organisation.

Its main objectives are

  1. Inspiring the greatest number of persons, movements, and organisation to act against corporate domination through non-violent civil disobedience and people oriented constructive actions
  2. Offering an instrument for co-ordination and mutual support at global level for those resisting corporate rule and the capitalistic development paradigm
  3. Giving more international projection to the struggles against economic liberalisation and global capitalism

Those who participate in the PGA agree that: (new Hallmarks since Cochabamba)

  1. A very clear rejection of the WTO and other trade liberalisation agreements (like APEC, the EU, NAFTA, etc.) as active promoters of a socially and environmentally destructive globalisation;
  2. A rejection of all forms and systems of domination and discrimination including, but not limited to, patriarchy, racism and fundamentalism of all creeds. We embrace the full dignity of all human beings.
  3. A confrontational attitude, since we do not think that lobbying can have a major impact in such biased and undemocratic organisations, in which transnational capital is the only real policy-maker;
  4. A call to non-violent civil disobedience and the construction of local alternatives by local people, as answers to the action of governments and corporations;
  5. An organisational philosophy based on decentralisation and autonomy.

PGA - 2nd Conference Bangalore | AGP