COCHABAMBA, Bolivia, September 16 - 23, 2001
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results of the conference
invitación castellana
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By way of introduction:

What prevents us from realising our dreams and aspirations of a just and peaceful society, where our dignity and our different ways of life are respected? Do we have control over our own lives and communities? Who takes the decisions that affect us?

At no other time in history have so few institutions dominated so many women and men. The 15 biggest corporations are present in over 120 countries. Corporations control 70% of world trade. Our governments have actively contributed to expand the power of these companies. This growing centralised economic power has resulted in the creation of institutions such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), a legal vehicle for their policies that counts with the support of almost all our governments. More countries are now more deeply indebted than ever been before in history. The Third World pays far more in terms of services and debt transfer than it receives in the form of assistance, investment and aid.

Whilst continuing to promise prosperity for all, the present phase of capitalism is creating more victims, more environmental havoc and more vulnerability than ever before. Wealth and power are concentrated in fewer hands than they ever have been. In the last 30 years the rich have doubled their capital while poverty and misery grow. The poorest 20% possesses less than 4% of world resources whereas the richest control over 85%. The complex life of this planet, which is the source of sustenance and cultural diversity for all men and women, is increasingly transformed into a merchandise, mercilessly exploited, privatised, patented and irreversibly transformed. There are ever-increasing numbers of firearms in private hands, more destructive potential in the form of modern armies and greater stocks of conventional nuclear, chemical and biological weapons than ever before. The purpose of the majority of them is to defend the privileges of the leading players in the dominant economy.

Peoples' Global Action (PGA), since its creation in February 1998, has provided a common communication and coordination tool for movements that struggle against the social, economic and political processes that have increased vulnerability, dependence and environmental destruction. An instrument done by and for those who, from their homes, fields, factories and workplaces, are confronting all the authoritarian, centralising and homogenising processes and institutions, and believe in the importance of internationalising the struggle due to the global roots of their local problems. PGA, although being still in its own process of construction, provides a global forum for the struggles against the old and the new capitalism to associate their efforts and share experiences and skills. It has also nurtured the hope that, if we remain united within the respect to diversity, we will prevent dignity and justice from being undermined, manipulated or destroyed.

This hope strengthens our commitment to fight against oppression, domination and destruction, to unmask and abolish the institutions and companies that regulate the global capitalist regime, to build a broad unity based on the respect to difference and diversity, and to continue defining, practising and spreading local alternatives to take back control over our destiny. This hope, that lives in the irreverent determination of our bodies, minds and feelings, can and must realise our dreams of self-governance, freedom, justice, peace, equity, dignity and diversity.


From the 23rd to the 26th of February of 1998, grassroots movements of all continents met in Geneva to launch a worldwide coordination network of resistance to the global market, a new alliance of struggle and solidarity called Peoples' Global Action against 'free' trade and the WTO (PGA). That was the birth of this global tool for communication and coordination for all those who fight the destruction of humanity and the planet by capitalism and build local alternatives to globalisation.

The hallmarks of this alliance are (new hallmarks!)

  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 very clear rejection of all forms and systems of domination and discrimination including, but not limited to, patriarchy, racism and religious 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 is an evolving coordination, and as such it changes with time. For instance, the second hallmark was incorporated at the 2nd PGA conference in Bangalore (India) in order to distance clearly PGA from organisations of the extreme right looking for a political space to spread their xenophobic rejection of globalisation. At the same conference, the character of the network was redefined: its previous focus on 'free' trade agreements (and on the WTO in particular) was broadened, since we reached the consensus that PGA should be a space to communicate and coordinate globally not just against treaties and institutions, but also around the social and environmental issues related to them. An opposition to the capitalist development paradigm in general was made explicit.

The main objectives of PGA 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 capitalist development paradigm.
  3. Giving more international projection to the struggles against economic liberalisation and global capitalism.

PGA is a tool for coordination not an organisation. The political analysis and call to action of PGA are reflected in its manifesto, a dynamic, evolving document that will be revised at each PGA conference (see appendix 3). PGA has no members and does not have and will not have a juridical personality. No organisation or person represents the PGA, nor does the PGA represent any organisation or person. PGA will limit itself to facilitating coordination and exchange of information between grassroots movements through conferences and means of communication.

The PGA conferences are called by a committee of convenors, formed by organisations and movements from all continents and representing different social sectors (as well as the local organisers of the conference). This committee determines the agenda of the conference, takes decisions regarding participation at the conference and the use of economic resources, decides whether publications may be printed in the name of the PGA, and checks the contents of the PGA's information tools. The committee cannot speak in the name of PGA. Each PGA conference elects the convenors of the next conference.

The roles of the PGA conferences are, at least, to update the manifesto (if necessary), advance the process of global coordination of resistance against capitalism, coordinate worldwide decentralised Global Days of Action and electing a new convenors' committee.

PGA has no economic resources. The funds needed for the conferences and the information media must be raised in a decentralised manner. All funds that are collected for the conference are administered by the convenors' committee. Publications must be self-financing.



Hence, the convenors' committee of PGA herewith formally convenes the Third International PGA Conference, to be held in the month of September 2001 in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The conference itself, where all collective decisions about the future of PGA will be taken, will take place from the 20th to the 22nd, but the conference program also includes roundtable discussions, a visit to the Chapare and a rally in Cochabamba (to open the conference):

  • 16 September: arrival to Cochabamba. Registration and orientation.
  • 17-19 September: roundtable discussions (see description below)
  • 20-22 September: conference (see description below)
  • 23 September: visit to Chapare, a region characterised by the struggles of social movements for their own life choices, for the social control of natural resources and against the presence of North American military bases.
Issues to be discussed at the conference (20-22 September):
  1. Action strategies within the space of communication and coordination of PGA. This header includes several discussions that came up in the regional PGA meetings (Latin American meeting in Nicaragua, March 2000; South-Asian meeting in Bangladesh, September 2000; European meeting in Italy, March 2000) and in the global meeting of convenors and former convenors that took place in Prague before the protests against the World Bank and the IMF (September 2000). These meetings discussed the need to go beyond the global days of action, which are the form of global action practised so far within the PGA space, and explored the idea of sustained global campaigns as a possible step forward. Other issues discussed included the question of violence; the criminalisation of our movements, the expression of solidarity in cases of urgent need; the need to localise more deeply the PGA process, etc. In Cochabamba we should continue these discussions in a global and participatory way, together with other discussions that might come up in the regional meetings planned for the next months (North American meeting in Massachusetts, June 2001; possibly South Pacific meeting in Aoteoroa, date still to be determined).
  2. Revision of the PGA manifesto. At the second PGA conference it was not possible to revise the manifesto in depth, but several shortcomings were pointed out, especially the need to incorporate the gender perspective throughout the whole text. We expect that in the Cochabamba conference it will be possible to advance in this process.
  3. Extension of the contacts and of the space of communication and coordination articulated through PGA. One of the issues of discussion in Cochabamba is how to make the PGA known as space for coordination and communication in regions and among social sectors where so far it is not widely known. We should also discuss the communication channels of PGA, which so far have not really worked as expected.
  4. Plans of sustained action: concrete proposals of globally coordinated campaigns against particular aspects of capitalist domination. The issues discussed in Prague as possible proposals were a global campaign against the Colombia Plan (the North American intervention in Colombia and the Andean/Central American region which, using the pretext of the 'War on Drugs', wants to assure the access to the natural resources of the region and the execution of transport megaprojects such as a new interoceanic canal, mega-harbours, finishing the Panamerican road, etc., by smashing the social movements that oppose these projects), and a global campaign for the local self-government of the rural communities that struggle to keep (or regain) control over their natural resources, especially land and water. These proposals are still being worked on, and they are not exclusive.
  5. Global mobilisation: against the annual meeting of the IMF/World Bank (Washington, 2-4 October 2001), against the 4th Ministerial Conference of the WTO (Nov. 2001) and other globally coordinated actions.

Issues to be discussed in the roundtable discussions (17-19 September):
As in previous occasions, the preparation and facilitation of the roundtables should take place in a decentralised way. The issues, objectives and methodologies of the roundtables will hence depend on the initiative of the participants. There could for instance be roundtables on common issues of struggle (for example, the struggles of indigenous peoples, or the struggle against industrial agriculture and biotechnology, etc.), roundtables to prepare specific topics for the conference (for example, a roundtable to discuss how to introduce the gender perspective throughout the text of the manifesto, or roundtables to prepare more in depth the proposals of global campaigns, etc.) or on any other topic. The application form includes space to propose issues for the roundtables, since the initiative should come from the participants, who are also responsible for their preparation and facilitation. There will be more information about the roundtables that will finally take place in the conference preparation package that will be sent to the participants whose applications are accepted by the convenors' committee.

Participation and finances:
We convene all the grassroots organisations and social movements that agree and identify with the hallmarks and objectives of PGA, giving priority to those who took part in the first and second PGA conferences. We have the objective of having a balance of 50% of men and women in the conference. We hope that all organisations and movements will take this into consideration while choosing their representative. If there is an over-representation of men, we will look for mechanisms to ensure a balanced participation of men and women, but we hope that this will not be needed.

At the meeting in Prague of the former and current convenors (in September 2000), one of the issues discussed was how to avoid the North-South imbalance that was experienced at the second PGA conference (Bangalore, August 1999), where Northern participants took a disproportionate space, among other reasons because it is easier to find money to travel in the North. In order to prevent this situation from happening again in Cochabamba, there should be a relation of 70% Southern and Eastern participants and 30% Northern participants with full participation at the conference. If more than 30% of the participants come from the North, some of them will be given the status of observer, meaning that they will they will be able to participate fully in the roundtables, but will not be able to speak at the conference. (The same observer status might be used in case there is a big imbalance in the number of women and men, to ensure a minimal gender balance at least among the conference participants).

Consequently, the amount of people from the North who will be able to participate fully in the conference will depend on the amount of participants from the South and the East. In turn, the amount of participants from the South and the East will depend on how much money we will all be able to raise for travel expenses, since most genuine grassroots movements from the South and the East will need help in order to be able to reach Cochabamba. We consider that gathering funds for travel expenses is the collective responsibility of all people and movements who identify with the PGA process, in the North and in the South, but the possibilities to raise funds in the North are obviously much greater.

There will be a worldwide decentralised campaign to look for funds to cover part of the travel expenses of Southern and Eastern organisations. This campaign will work in the following way: in the second half of May the PGA secretariat will publish a list of organisations and movements that want to attend the conference but don't have enough funds for the travel. This list will include, for each organisation, a brief description, the total travel expenses from the country of origin to Cochabamba, the amount that each organisation can cover and the amount that is still needed to participate in the conference. There will hence be total transparency on the funds that are being requested. We will ask people all over the world to make donations, either by paying directly the travel expenses of one Southern or Eastern organisation, or by transferring the money to one of the organisations that will channel travel funds for Southern movements. More details will be publicised with the list of movements that need financial help for the conference.

Due to the decentralised fundraising model that we have chosen, it is very important that the Southern movements that need help with their travel expenses send their application as soon as possible, in any event before the deadline for applications (15th of May). If you send it later, it is most likely that we will not be able to help.

The convenors' committee has decided that only the most basic travel expenses will be reimbursed (not including superfluous expenses such as taxis), with the cheapest transport. In exceptional cases we will consider reimbursing all the basic travel expenses, but this will only be done with movements of which we know with total certainty that they work practically without budget. In general, we expect all movements to make an effort to find their own funding possibilities, no matter how limited they are, in order to prevent us from fostering dependency or paternalism.

At the Prague meeting it was suggested that a realistic objective in terms of participation would be 140 participants from the South or the East and 60 participants from the North. (In this context, the North is understood to include Western Europe, North America and Japan, as well as non-indigenous participants from the Pacific.) We will need to raise among all of us a substantial amount of money in order to secure the participation of 140 Southern and Eastern movements. This will only be possible with the active participation of many organisations in the fundraising efforts, and even then it will also depend on the efforts of Southern movements to reduce the travel costs to a minimum and to cover part of it themselves.

Many Bolivians are interested in the conference, but most of them will participate as observers in order to avoid an over-representation from that country; only a small number of the full participants will be Bolivian. Additionally, we expect that there will be more than 60 applications from the North, so it is also planned to accommodate some Northern observers. The local organisers of the conference have made logistical arrangements assuming a maximum of 300 participants, including the Northern and Bolivian observers. Ideally, everybody will be able to participate fully, but this will depend on our collective fund-raising efforts.

At the European meeting of PGA in Milan (March 2001), a long time was devoted to discuss how to deal with the question of full participants and observers. The final consensus was than if more 30 persons from Western European movements want to participate in the Cochabamba conference, the Western European group may organise a rotational system so that different people will speak at different sessions of the conference, depending on their specific interests. The group of Western Europeans who will speak at each session will be fixed in advance. This is a proposal that the Western European convenors still have to discuss with the other convenors. In Genoa in July there will be further preparations of the participation of Western Europeans in Cochabamba, since many people will converge there for the protests against the G8 summit.

All participants will have to pay a fee to cover the organisational, food and logistical expenses. This fee will depend on the region that the participant comes from and from the character of his/her organisation. Participants from the South and the East will pay 15 US dollars, participants from Northern groups that operate without a budget will pay 100 USD and participants from Northern organisations that have a budget will pay 300 USD. This fee covers the accommodation and food during the whole period (16-24 September) and the visit to Chapare. The fee will remain the same for people who participate only in part of the programme.

Application and preparation:
Those organisations and movements interested in taking part should send the application form included below before the 25th of August 2001. As par of this form, they should send a brief description of the organisation or movement with information about its objectives, structure, experiences, etc.

If you need a visa to enter Bolivia, you should try to obtain one as tourist. When you request the visa, please do NOT say that you want to go to the PGA conference in Cochabamba, since the Bolivian government is most likely to deny it. Most Asian, African and East European citizens need a visa to enter Bolivia. There is a non-official list of all Bolivian embassies on-line at Please start working on the visa as soon as possible, during the summer it might be impossible to obtain it.

The PGA secretariat will send in the middle of June several preparatory documents, including the final programme of the conference and the roundtables. We request all participants and observers to present in written before the 15th of July their comments and criticisms of these documents, and their proposals of changes for the PGA manifesto and organisational principles ( see appendix 4), if possible in English and Spanish.


APPENDIX 1: Brief history of Peoples' Global Action

PGA has been one of the principal instigators of the new global, radical, anticapitalist movement which today is challenging the legitimacy of global governance institutions. Demonstrations and 'countersummits' during international reunions already have a long tradition. The originality of PGA has been to call for Global Days of Action (GDA), local actions all around the world during these events, so that the local and daily resistance of grass roots movements be recognised as a common and radical refusal of the existing economic order and as the real force capable of changing the course of history and proposing local alternatives. In less than three years, this new movement - by demonstrating in the streets and breaking the law - has largely delegitimised WTO/IMF/WB and allowed popular organisations to be heard. The NGOs, etc., that had claimed to speak in the name of 'civil society' have had to take more radical positions. The WTO, IMF and WB have lost important ideological battles and have been obliged to slow down their offensive.

Paradoxically, the growing success of these calls for local mobilisations (there were demonstrations in 110 cities around the world during the Global Day of Action of September 26, during the IMF/WB assembly in Prague), by spurring a new anticapitalist movement in the North, has also multiplied the capacity for central mobilisations in the places where the summits of global institutions take place. At the epicentre of each GDA there have been ever larger and more determined mobilisations. Adopting the confrontational perspective and forms of action advocated by PGA, these central demonstrations first tarnished and finally seriously perturbed various assemblies of the 'empire': in Geneva ('riots' during the 2nd WTO summit in May 1998), London (paralysis of the financial centre, June 18, 1999), Seattle (blockade of the 3rd WTO summit, November 30, 1999) and Prague (blockade and hurried adjournment of the IMF/WB assembly, 26 September 2000).

That is not to say that these events were directly organised by PGA. That would be to misunderstand the originality and the force of a process that develops as a network, with more and more connected centres of initiative that maintain their complete autonomy and define their own identity. The initiative for issuing the calls for action and organising the central blockades came each time from an autonomous group that was connected to the network (Reclaim the Streets in London, Direct Action Network in Seattle, Solidarità-INPEG in Prague, etc), calls that were then relayed by the convenors and the rest of the network.

The idea of PGA has not only created a network capable of coordinated action. It has also contributed to triggering a much larger movement. This year, no institution of global governance (Climate conference, G8, ASEAN, the World Economic Forum, NATO, TABD, etc.) could meet anywhere without a coalition of local movements coming together to attack them. As a consequence, some of these institutions are starting to face serious problems to find a city to meet, since nobody wants to cover the repression costs and the damage of public image that they bring with them. This larger movement, evolving spontaneously, has assumed some of the functions that PGA tried to assure before (see for example the role of the activist information network Indymedia). However, within this larger movement, PGA continues to offer an essential space for coordination and political debate. A common space where questions like these can be discussed: Global Days of Action have been an incredible success, but what are their limitations? What opportunities have they opened? What kind of counter-offensive are they triggering from the side of the state, and how can we neutralise it? What is the next step?

The trepidating history of PGA

In August 1997, representatives of grassroots movements from the south and north of the world met to prepare resistance against the 2nd ministerial conference of the WTO (that was going to take place in may 98 in Geneva with the objective of commemorating the 50th anniversary of GATT), and to develop tools that would give continuity to the communication and coordination among those who fight against the WTO and other 'free' trade agreements. The meeting took place in El Indiano (Spain) immediately after the Second Intercontinental Meeting for Humanity and against Neoliberalism organised by the European Zapatista support network. At that meeting the idea of PGA as a network-process was born and it was decided to convene a conference to create it in Geneva in February 98.

Over 300 representatives from the grassroots movements of 71 countries and all continents met in Geneva from 23 to 25 February for the founding conference of the PGA. Teachers on hunger strikes against the privatisation of education in Argentina met with women organised in the struggle against slave labour in the 'maquilas' in Mexico, Bangladesh, El Salvador and Nicaragua; peasants fighting against globalisation in India, the Philippines, Brasil, Estonia, Norway, Honduras, France, Spain, Switzerland, Senegal, Mozambique, Toga, Peru, Bolivia, Columbia and many other countries; Ogonis, Maoris, Mayas, Aymaras and other indigenous peoples fighting for their cultural rights and their physical survival; women and men fighting against patriarchal societies; students fighting against nuclear energy and the repression of strikers in Ukraine and South Korea; Canadian postal workers fighting against the privatisation of postal services; militant protesters against the business corporations in the United States; ecologists, the unemployed, fisherfolk, anti-racists, pacifists... This world meeting of men and women working in grassroots movements was an incredible experience which gave us energy, hope and determination. Despite great material differences, the fights are increasingly similar in every part of the global empire, setting the stage for a new and stronger sort of solidarity. This conference was a good example of this new form of solidarity, since it was made possible largely thanks to the social centres and 'alternative' scene in Geneva.

Geneva, May 1998

The first Global Day of Action against 'free' trade took place during the G8 Summit in Birmingham and the WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva, and they were a great success: over 65 demonstrations (including one of several hundred thousand farmers in India), actions and street parties took place all over the world from the 16th to 20th of May in 29 countries; In Geneva itself, about 10,000 people mobilised in the biggest demonstration of solidarity in many years. Demonstrations and civil disobedience stole the media spotlight from the summit despite massive arrests.

At a meeting of the convenors' committee (Finland, September 98), the second conference of the PGA was programmed to take place in India several months before the third Ministerial Conference of the WTO in Seattle (USA). At this meeting, the convenors also endorsed two other large projects for the first half of 1999: the Inter-Continental Caravan for Solidarity and Resistance (from 22 May to 20 June) and the Global Day of Action against the financial centres on June 18th.

The Intercontinental Caravan for solidarity and resistance brought together in Western Europe 450 representatives of grassroots movements from the South and East of the world. The majority came from India (farmers' organisations, fisherfolk, the indigenous Adivasis and anti-dam movements). There were also representatives of the 'Sem Terra' landless farmers' movement of Brazil, Zapatista support groups from Mexico, the landless women's movement of Bangladesh, the mothers of Plaza de Mayo from Argentina, the Mapuche people of Chile, the Process of Black Communities from Columbia, environmental organisations from the Ukraine, human rights organisations from Nepal, etc. The groups that received the Caravan in Europe included organisations of the unemployed, groups fighting genetic engineering, squatted social centres, feminist organisations, etc., who invited the caravan participants to over 12 countries.

Actions during the Caravan included demonstrations against the headquarters of multinational groups such as Novartis, Monsanto, Cargill, Nestlé and others; against detention centres for migrants; against the NATO base in Aviano (from which they were bombing Serbia, excepting the day when it was taken over by the caravan); against the headquarters of institutions such as the WTO, NATO, the European Central Bank, the FAO, etc. Direct action done during the Caravan included the destruction of two experimental fields planted with genetically modified crops and of a the complete collection genetically modified rice in a state laboratory, in collaboration with the French Peasant Confederation. The Caravan culminated in Cologne for the protest against the World Summit on economy, also known as the G8 Summit.

On June 18th, Global Day of Action against the financial centres, the first day of the G8 Summit, more than 50 decentralised actions took place all over the world. Movements participating were as diverse as the Chikoko Movement of Nigeria (where 10.000 people blocked the Shell building with a 'carnival of the oppressed'), the Pakistani trade unions (which were terribly repressed, the organisers were tortured and charged with treason), several social movements of Mexico (who picketed the stock exchange), and a wide-ranging group of social movements in London (where 10.000 people took over the financial centre and paralysed it the entire day), openly demonstrating their refusal of the G8 regime. Such a co-ordinated resistance in 41 countries showed that the process of convergence of different resistances was gaining strength and speed.

In August 99 the second PGA conference took place in Bangalore (India). This conference changed the character of PGA by broadening the focus of its activities. Until then, the identity of PGA had been defined by its opposition to neoliberal institutions and treaties. In Bangalore it was decided by unanimity to redefine it as anticapitalist network, a space to communicate and coordinate globally not only against the treaties and institutions that regulate the capitalist development, but also around the social and environmental problems that it provokes. The conference also showed enthusiasm for the proposals of global action on November 30th 99 and Mayday 2000.

Already before the Bangalore conference, when the WTO announced that it would hold its 3rd summit in Seattle, various groups from Vancouver to Los Angeles (several of which had participated in earlier GDAs and were inspired by the success of the demonstration of June 18 in the City of London) formed the Direct Action Network (DAN). Adopting the principles of PGA, they announced their intention to block the opening of the summit. On November 30 1999, 10 000 young activists successfully blocked the 13 accesses to the summit. Hundreds of trade unionists decided to disobey the orders of their reformist bureaucracies and joined the direct actions and the civil disobedience. This historical success, that resulted in the categorical failure of the WTO conference, gave new hope and determination to people all over the world, who thus discovered that there is also resistance in the heart of the 'empire'. Simultaneously, demonstrations occurred in over 60 different cities around the world.

For the Assembly of the IMF/WB in Prague, a call for global action and for a massive central demonstration on September 26th was distributed by Czech organisations which had participated in previous GDAs. The European network that was formed by the Inter-Continental Caravan and the PGA convenors of each continent seconded this call, which was echoed by demonstrations in 110 different cities of the world. In Prague, thousands came from as far away as Spain, Italy, Norway, Poland, Greece and Turkey. On S26, the opening day of the summit, 15 to 20 thousand demonstrators besieged the assembly for hours. Delegates attempting to leave were injured and were finally evacuated by underground. The second day many preferred to stay in the safety of their hotels while the remainder voted to cancel the third day of meetings... This victory, won in the face of 11000 police, also marked the fall of the Berlin wall for the anticapitalist movement. A new generation of activists from the Czech republic, Poland, Hungary, etc. said what they thought of their supposed 'free world', ten years after freeing themselves from the communist oppression.

Parallel to these activities, the idea of PGA has materialised itself in the development of links between movements, organisations and activists at regional level. A regional meeting of Latin-American social movements was held in April 2000 in Nicaragua. A South Asian meeting took place in Bangladesh in September 2000. A gender workshop and an emergency meeting on the Colombia Plan also brought together representatives of Andean and Central American movements in November 2000. A European regional meeting was held in late March 2001 in Italy. The North American regional meeting will soon take place (1-3 June 2001 in Massachusetts), and a discussion process has started to organise a regional meeting in the Pacific.

(For more information on PGA activities, see


APPENDIX 2: Convenors of the Third International Conference of PGA

The current composition of the convenors committee is:

  • CONFEUNASSC-CNC (Confederación Única Nacional de Afiliados al Seguro Social Campesino - Consejo Nacional Campesino): Ecuatorian peasant movement that protagonised several uprisings in a country severely affected by neoliberal policies.
  • MJK (Movimiento de la Juventud Kuna): Since decades, one of the organisational backbones of the Kuna, an indigenous people of Panama with a long history of resistance that won autonomy early in the century.
  • FNT: Union federation from Nicaragua that includes the Sandinist central and other unions.
  • ONECA/ODECO: Organisation of the descendants of enslaved Africans from Central America who created free communities in the rainforests. Part of the Afro-American Network, present in almost all Latin American countries.
  • Aoteoroa Educators: training branch of the inter-tribal Maori independence movement, called Tino-Rangatiratanga.
  • Krishok Federation: federation of peasants and landless agricultural workers from Bangladesh, that has since decades fought against the green revolution technologies introduced by the agribusiness and against mega-projects of capitalist development.
  • MONLAR - Movement for National Land and Agricultural Reform from Sri Lanka. Has fought for years against the World Bank/IMF policies in that country.
  • Ya Basta! : One of the strongest links in the Zapatista support network, also very active in the struggle against NATO imperialism in the Balkans and for the rights of illegal immigrants and against GMOs. They have participated massively in the recent mobilizations against globalization in Europe (Prague, Nice, etc.)

Acting convenors:

Provisional acting convenors for North America are the Tampa Bay Action Group and the Convergence des Luttes Anti-Capitalistes from Montreal and; the final convenors will be elected when the North American PGA meeting takes place. Similarly, Rainbow Keepers (a network of radical anarcho-ecologist action in Eastern Europe and the former soviet republics in Asia) will act as convenors for Eastern Europe and Eurasia.

There are currently no convenors for Africa and East Asia. This is due to problems in the convening process for the 2nd PGA conference, and this situation should get corrected at the 3rd conference.


APPENDIX 3: PGA Manifesto

We cannot take communion from the altars of a dominant culture
which confuses price with value
and converts people and countries into merchandise.

Eduardo Galeano

If you come only to help me, you can go back home.
But if you consider my struggle as part of your struggle for survival,
then maybe we can work together.

Aboriginal woman


We live in a time in which capital, with the help of international agencies like the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB) and other institutions, is shaping national policies in order to strengthen its global control over political, economic and cultural life.

Capital has always been global. Its boundless drive for expansion and profit recognises no limits. From the slave trade of earlier centuries to the imperial colonisation of peoples, lands and cultures across the globe, capitalist accumulation has always fed on the blood and tears of the peoples of the world. This destruction and misery has been restrained only by grassroots resistance.

Today, capital is deploying a new strategy to assert its power and neutralise peoples' resistance. Its name is economic globalisation, and it consists in the dismantling of national limitations to trade and to the free movement of capital.

The effects of economic globalisation spread through the fabric of societies and communities of the world, integrating their peoples into a single gigantic system aimed at the extraction profit and the control of peoples and nature. Words like "globalisation", "liberalisation" and "deregulation" just disguise the growing disparities in living conditions between elites and masses in both privileged and "peripheral" countries.

The newest and perhaps the most important phenomenon in the globalisation process is the emergence of trade agreements as key instruments of accumulation and control. The WTO is by far the most important institution for evolving and implementing these trade agreements. It has become the vehicle of choice for transnational capital to enforce global economic governance. The Uruguay Round vastly expanded the scope of the multilateral trading system (i.e. the agreements under the aegis of the WTO) so that it no longer constitutes only trade in manufactured goods. The WTO agreements now also cover trade in agriculture, trade in services, intellectual property rights, and investment measures. This expansion has very significant implications for economic and non-economic matters. For example, the General Agreement on Trade in Services will have far-reaching effects on cultures around the world. Similarly, the TRIPs (Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights) agreement and unilateral pressures, especially on biodiversity-rich countries, are forcing these countries to adopt new legislations establishing property rights over forms of life, with disastrous consequences for biodiversity and food security. The multilateral trading system, embodied in the WTO, has a tremendous impact on the shaping of national economic and social policies, and hence on the scope and nature of development options.

Trade agreements are also proliferating at the regional level. NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) is the prototype of a regional legally-binding agreement involving privileged and underprivileged countries, and its model is sought to be extended to South America. APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) is another model with both kinds of countries involved, and it is being increasingly used to force new agreements into the framework of the WTO. The Maastricht Treaty is of course the main example of a legally-binding agreement among privileged countries. Regional trade agreements among underprivileged countries, such as ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), SADC (Southern African Development Cooperation), SAFTA (South Asian Free Trade Agreement) and MERCOSUR (Southern Common Market), have also emerged. All these regional agreements consist of the transfer of decision-making power from the national level to regional institutions which are even more distant from people and less democratic than the nation-state.

As though this was not enough, a new treaty is being promoted by the privileged countries, the Multilateral Agreement on Investments (MAI) to widen the rights of foreign investors far beyond their current positions in most countries and to severely curtail the rights and powers of governments to regulate the entry, establishment and operations of foreign companies and investors. This is currently also the most important attempt to extend globalisation and "economic liberalisation". MAI would abolish the power and the legitimate sovereign right of peoples to determine their own economic, social, and cultural policies.

All these institutions and agreements share the same goals: providing mobility for goods, services and capital, increasing transnational capital's control over peoples and nature, transferring power to distant and undemocratic institutions, foreclosing the possibility to develop community-based and self-reliant economies, and restricting peoples' freedom to construct societies based on human values.

Economic globalisation, power and the "race to the bottom"

Economic globalisation has given birth to new forms of accumulation and power. The accumulation takes place on a global scale, at increasing speed, controlled by transnational corporations and investors. While capital has gone global, redistribution policies remain the responsibility of national governments, which are unable, and most of the times unwilling, to act against the interests of transnational capital.

This asymmetry is provoking an accelerating redistribution of power at global level, strengthening what is usually referred to as "corporate power". In this peculiar political system, global capital determines (with the help of "informal" and extremely influential lobby groups, such as the World Economic Forum) the economic and social agenda on a world-wide scale. These corporate lobby groups give their instructions to governments in the form of recommendations, and governments follow them, since the few that refuse to obey the "advice" of corporate lobby groups find their currencies under attack by speculators and see the investors pulling out. The influence of corporate lobby groups has been strengthened by regional and multilateral agreements. With their help, neo-liberal policies are being imposed all over the world.

These neo-liberal policies are creating social tensions at global level similar to the ones witnessed at national level during the first stages of the industrialisation: while the number of billionaires grows, more and more people around the world find themselves in a system that offers them no place in production and no access to consumption. This desperation, combined with the free mobility of capital, provides transnational investors the best possible environment to pit workers and governments against each other. The result is a "race to the bottom" in social and environmental conditions and the dismantling of redistribution policies (progressive taxation, social security systems, reduction of working time, etc). A vicious circle is created, wherein "effective demand" concentrates increasingly in the hands of a transnational elite, while more and more people cannot meet their basic needs.

This process of world-wide accumulation and exclusion amounts to a global attack on elementary human rights, with very visible consequences: misery, hunger, homelessness, unemployment, deteriorating health conditions, landlessness, illiteracy, sharpened gender inequalities, explosive growth of the "informal" sector and the underground economy (particularly production and trade of drugs), the destruction of community life, cuts in social services and labour rights, increasing violence at all levels of society, accelerating environmental destruction, growing racial, ethnic and religious intolerance, massive migration (for economic, political and environmental reasons), strengthened military control and repression, etc.

Exploitation, labour and livelihoods

The globalisation of capital has to a very significant extent dispossessed workers of their ability to confront or bargain with capital in a national context. Most of the conventional trade unions (particularly in the privileged countries) have accepted their defeat by the global economy and are voluntarily giving up the conquests won by the blood and tears of generations of workers. In compliance with the requirements of capital, they have traded solidarity for "international competitiveness" and labour rights for "flexibility of the labour market". Now they are actively advocating the introduction of a "social" clause in the multilateral trading system, which would give privileged countries a tool for selective, one-sided and neo-colonial protectionism, with the effect of increasing poverty instead of attacking it at its root.

Right-wing groups in privileged countries often blame "social dumping" from underprivileged countries for the rising unemployment and the worsening labour conditions. They say that southern peoples are hijacking northern capital with the help of cheap labour, weak or non-existent labour and environmental regulations and low taxes, and that southern exports are forcing northern producers out of the market. While there is a certain degree of relocation to underprivileged countries (concentrated in specific sectors like textiles and microelectronics), the teenage girls who sacrifice their health doing unpaid overtime in transnational sweatshops for miserable salaries can hardly be blamed for the social havoc created by free mobility of goods and capital. Moreover, most relocation happens between rich countries, with only a fraction of foreign investment going to underprivileged countries (and even some investment flowing to the north from countries traditionally considered as "underdeveloped"). And the threat of relocation to another rich country (by far the most usual kind of relocation) is as effective in blackmailing workers as the threat to relocate to an underprivileged country. Finally, the main cause of unemployment in privileged countries is the introduction of "rationalisation" technologies, over which underprivileged peoples certainly have no influence at all. In short, increasing exploitation is solely the responsibility of capitalists, not of peoples.

Many advocates of "development" welcome the free movement capital from privileged to underprivileged countries as a positive contribution to the improvement of the living conditions of the poor, since foreign investment produces jobs and livelihoods. They forget that the positive social impact of foreign investment is limited by its very nature, since transnational corporations will only keep their money in underprivileged countries as long as the policies of these countries enable them to continue exploiting the misery and desperation of the population. The financial markets impose extreme punishments to the countries that dare to adopt any kind of policy that could eventually result in improved living standards, as exemplified by the abrupt end to the shy redistribution policies adopted in 1981 by Mitterand in France. Also, the Mexican crisis of 1994 and the recent crises in East Asia, although presented by the media as the result of technical mismanagement, are good examples of the impact of a corporate economic rule which gains strength every day both in underprivileged and privileged countries, conditioning each and every aspect of their social and economic policies.

Those who believe in the beneficial social effects of "free" market also forget that the impact of transnational capital is not limited to the creation of exploitative jobs. Most of the foreign direct investment (two thirds according to the United Nations) in both privileged and underprivileged countries consists of transnational corporations (TNCs) taking over national enterprises, which most typically results in the destruction of jobs. And TNCs never come alone with their money: they also bring foreign products into the country, sweeping great numbers of local firms and farms out of the market, or forcing them to produce under even more inhuman conditions. Finally, most of the foreign investment provokes the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources, which results in the irretrievable dispossession of the livelihoods of diverse communities of indigenous peoples, farmers, ethnic groups etc.

We reject the idea that "free" trade creates employment and increases welfare, and the assumption that it can contribute to the alleviation of poverty. But we also very clearly reject the right-wing alternative of a stronger national capitalism, as well as the fascist alternative of an authoritarian state to take over central control from corporations. Our struggles aim at taking back control of the means of production from the hands of both transnational and national capital, in order to create free, sustainable and community-controlled livelihoods, based on solidarity and peoples' needs and not on exploitation and greed.

Gender oppression

Globalisation and neo-liberal policies build on and increase existing inequalities, including gender inequality. The gendered system of power in the globalised economy, like most traditional systems, encourages the exploitation of women as workers, as maintainers of the family and as sexual objects.

Women are responsible for creating, educating, feeding, clothing and disciplining young people to prepare them to become part of the global labour force. They are used as cheap and docile labour for the most exploitative forms of employment, as exemplified in the maquilas of the textile and microelectronics industry. Forced out of their homelands by the poverty caused by globalisation, many women seek employment in foreign countries, often as illegal immigrants, subjected to terrifying working conditions and insecurity. The world-wide trade in women's bodies has become a major element of world commerce and includes children as young as 10. They are used by the global economy through diverse forms of exploitation and commodification.

Women are expected to be actors only in their households. Although this has never been the case, this expectation has been used to deny women a role in public affairs. The economic system also makes use of these gender roles to identify women as the cause of many social and environmental problems. Hence, women having too many babies (rather than the rich consuming too many resources) is seen as the cause of the global environmental crisis. Similarly, the fact that women get low wages, since their remuneration are supposed to be only supplementary income for the household, is used to blame them for the unemployment of men and the reduction in their wage levels. As a result, women are used as scapegoats, declared guilty for creating the same misery that is oppressing them, instead of pointing at the global capital as responsible for social and environmental havoc. This ideological stigmatisation adds to the physical violence suffered on a daily basis by women all over the planet.

Patriarchy and the gender system rest firmly on the idea of the naturalness and exclusivity of heterosexuality. Most of the social systems and structures violently reject any other form of sexual expression or activity, and this limitation of freedom is used in order to perpetuate patriarchal gender roles. Globalisation, although indirectly contributing to the struggles for women's and sexual liberation by introducing them in very oppressive societies, also strengthens the patriarchy at the root of violence against women and against gays, lesbians and bisexuals.

The elimination of patriarchy and the end of all forms of gender discrimination requires an open commitment against the global market. Similarly, it is vital that those struggling against global capital understand and confront the exploitation and marginalisation of women and participate in the struggle against homophobia. We need to develop new cultures that represent real alternatives to these old and new forms of oppression.

The indigenous peoples' fight for survival

Indigenous peoples and nationalities have a long history of resistance against the destruction provoked by capitalism. Today, they are confronted with the neo-liberal globalisation project as an instrument of transnational and financial capital for neo-colonisation and extermination. These new actors of the globalisation process are violently invading the last refuges of indigenous peoples, violating their territories, habitats and resources, destroying their ways of life, and often perpetrating their genocide. The nation states are permitting and actively encouraging these violations in spite of their commitment to respect indigenous peoples' rights, reflected in diverse declarations, agreements and conventions.

Corporations are stealing ancient knowledge and patenting it for their own gain and profit. This means that indigenous people and the rest of humanity will have to pay for access to the knowledge that will have thus been commodified. Furthermore, the indigenous peoples themselves are being patented by pharmaceutical corporations and the US administration, under the auspices of the Human Genome Diversity Programme. We oppose the patenting of all life forms and the corporate monopolistic control of seed, medicines and traditional knowledge systems and human genomes.

The fights of indigenous peoples to defend their lands (including the subsoil) and their forms of living, are leading to a growing repression against them and to the militarisation of their territories, forcing them to sacrifice their lives or their liberty. This struggle will continue until the right of indigenous peoples to territorial autonomy is fully respected throughout the world.

Oppressed ethnic groups

The black communities of African origin in the Americas suffered for centuries a violent and inhuman exploitation, as well as physical annihilation. Their labour force was used as a fundamental tool for accumulation of capital, both in America and Europe. Faced with this oppression, the Afro-Americans have created community-based processes of organisation and cultural resistance. Currently the black communities are suffering the effects of "development" megaprojects in their territories and the invasion of their lands by big landowners, which lead to massive displacement, misery and cultural alienation, and many times to repression and death.

A similar situation is being suffered by other peoples, like Gypsies, Kurds, Saharouis, etc. All these peoples are forced to struggle for their right to live in dignity by nation-states that repress their identity and autonomy, and impose on them a forced incorporation into a homogeneous society. Many of these groups are viewed as a threat by the dominant powers, since they are reclaiming and practising their right to cultural diversity and autonomy.

Onslaught on nature and agriculture

Land, water, forest, wildlife, aquatic life and mineral resources are not commodities, but our life support. For decades the powers that have emerged from money and market have swelled their profits and tightened their control of politics and economics by usurping these resources, at the cost of the lives and livelihoods of vast majorities around the world. For decades the World Bank and the IMF, and now the WTO, in alliance with national governments and corporate powers, have facilitated manoeuvrings to appropriate the environment. The result is environmental devastation, tragic and unmanageable social displacement, and the wiping out of cultural and biological diversity, much of it irretrievably lost without compensation to those reliant on it.

The disparities provoked within and between countries by national and global capital have widened and deepened as the rich spirit away the natural resources from communities and farmers, farm labourers, fishworkers, tribal and indigenous populations, women, the socially disadvantaged - beating down into the earth the already downtrodden. The centralised management of natural resources imposed by trade and investment agreements does not leave space for intergenerational and intragenerational sustainability. It only serves the agenda of the powers that have designed and ratified those agreements: to accumulate wealth and power.

Unsustainable and capital-intensive technologies have played a major role in corporations' onslaught on nature and agriculture. Green revolution technologies have caused social and environmental havoc wherever they have been applied, creating destitution and hunger instead of eliminating them. Today, modern biotechnology is emerging, together with patents on life, as one of the most powerful and dangerous weapons of corporations to take over the control of the food systems all over the world. Genetic engineering and patents on life must be resisted, since their potential social and environmental impact is the greatest in the history of humanity.

Waging struggles against the global capitalist paradigm, the underprivileged work towards the regeneration of their natural heritage and the rebuilding of integrated, egalitarian communities. Our vision is of a decentralised economy and polity based on communities' rights to natural resources and to plan their own development, with equality and self-reliance as the basic values. In place of the distorted priorities imposed through global designs in sectors such as transport, infrastructure and energy, and energy-intensive technology, they assert their right to life in the fulfilment of the basic needs of everyone, excluding the greed of the consumerist minority. Respecting traditional knowledge and cultures consonant with the values of equality, justice, and sustainability, we are committed to evolving creative ways to use and fairly distribute our natural resources.


Another important aspect of globalisation, as orchestrated by WTO and other international agencies, is the commercialisation and commodification of culture, the appropriation of diversity in order to co-opt it and integrate it into the process of capitalist accumulation. This process of homogenisation by the media not only contributes to the breakdown of the cultural and social networks in local communities, but also destroys the essence and meaning of culture.

Cultural diversity not only has an immeasurable value of its own, as reflections of human creativity and potential; it also constitutes a fundamental tool for resistance and self-reliance. Hence, cultural homogenisation has been one of the most important tools for central control since colonialism. In the past the elimination of cultural diversity was mainly accomplished by the Church and by the imposition of colonial languages. Today mass media and corporate consumerist culture are the main agents of commodification and homogenisation of cultural diversity. The result of this process is not only a major loss of humanity's heritage: it also creates an alarming dependence on the capitalist culture of mass consumption, a dependence that is much deeper in nature and much harder to eliminate than economic or political dependence.

Control over culture must be taken out of corporate hands and reclaimed by communities. Self-reliance and freedom are only possible on the basis of a lively cultural diversity that enables peoples to independently determine each and every aspect of their lives. We are deeply committed to cultural liberation in all areas of life, from food to films, from music to media. We will contribute with our direct action to the dismantlement of corporate culture and the creation of spaces for genuine creativity.

Knowledge and technology

Knowledge and technology are not neutral or value-free. The domination of capital is partly based on its control over both. Western science and technology have made very important contributions to humankind, but their domination has swept away very diverse and valuable knowledge systems and technologies based on centuries-long experience.

Western science is characterised by the production of simplified models of reality for experimental purposes; hence, the reductionist scientific method has an extremely limited capacity to produce useful knowledge about complex and chaotic systems like agriculture. Traditional knowledge systems and knowledge-production methods are far more effective, since they are based on generations of direct observation of and interaction with unsimplified complex systems. Therefore, capital-intensive, science-based technologies invariably fail to achieve their goals in complex systems, and many times provoke the disarray of these systems, as green revolution technologies, modern dam technology and many other examples demonstrate.

Despite their many failures, capital-intensive technologies are systematically treated as superior to traditional, labour-intensive technologies. This ideological discrimination results in unemployment, indebtedness and, most important, in the loss of an invaluable body of knowledges and technologies accumulated during centuries. Traditional knowledge, often controlled by women, has till recently been rejected as "superstition" and "witchcraft" by western, mostly male, scientists and academics. Their "rationalism" and "modernisation" has for centuries aimed at destroying it irretrievably. However, pharmaceutical corporations and agribusiness have recently discovered the value and potential of traditional knowledge, and are stealing, patenting and commodifying it for their own gain and profit.

Capital-intensive technology is designed, promoted, commercialised and imposed to serve the process of capitalist globalisation. Since the use of technologies has a very important influence on social and individual life, peoples should have a free choice of, access to and control over technologies. Only those technologies which can be managed, operated and controlled by local peoples should be considered valid. Also, control of the way technology is designed and produced, its scopes and finalities, should be inspired by human principles of solidarity, mutual co-operation and common sense. Today, the principles underlying production of technology are exactly the opposite: profit, competition, and the deliberate production of obsolescence. Empowerment passes through people's control over the use and production of technology.

Education and youth

The content of the present education system is more and more conditioned by the demands of production as dictated by corporations. The interests and requirements of economic globalisation are leading to a growing commodification of education. The diminishing public budgets in education are encouraging the development of private schools and universities, while the labour conditions of people working in the public education sector are being eroded by austerity and Structural Adjustment Programs. Increasingly, learning is becoming a process that intensifies inequalities in societies. Even the public education system, and most of all the university, is becoming inaccessible for wide sectors of societies. The learning of humanities (history, philosophy, etc.) and the development of critical thinking is being discouraged in favour of an education subservient to the interests of the globalisation process, where competitive values are predominant. Students increasingly spend more time in learning how to compete with each other, rather than enhancing personal growth and building critical skills and the potential to transform society.

Education as a tool for social change requires confrontational academics and critical educators for all educational systems. Community-based education can provoke learning processes within social movements. The right to information is essential for the work of social movements. Limited and unequal access to language skills, especially for women, hinders participation in political activity with other peoples. Building these tools is a way to reinforce and rebuild human values. Yet formal education is increasingly being commercialised as a vehicle for the market place. This is done by corporate investment in research and by the promotion of knowledge geared toward skills needed for the market. The domination of mass media should be dissolved and the right to reproduce our own knowledges and cultures must be supported.

However, for many children throughout the world, the commodification of education is not an issue, since they are themselves being commodified as sexual objects and exploited labour, and suffering inhuman levels of violence. Economic globalisation is at the root of the daily nightmare of increasing numbers of exploited children. Their fate is the most horrible consequence of the misery generated by the global market.


Globalisation is aggravating complex and growing crises that give rise to widespread tensions and conflicts. The need to deal with this increasing disorder is intensifying militarisation and repression (more police, arrests, jails, prisoners) in our societies. Military institutions, such as U.S.-dominated NATO, organising the other powers of the North, are among the main instruments upholding this unequal world order. Mandatory conscription in many countries indoctrinates young people in order to legitimate militarism. Similarly, the mass media and corporate culture glorify the military and exalt the use of violence. There is also, behind facades of democratic structures, an increasing militarisation of the nation-state, which in many countries makes use of faceless paramilitary groups to enforce the interests of capital.

At the same time, the military-industrial complex, one of the main pillars of the global economic system, is increasingly controlled by huge private corporations. The WTO formally leaves defence matters to states, but the military sector is also affected by the drive for private profit.

We call for the dismantling of nuclear and all other weapons of mass destruction. The World Court of The Hague has recently declared that nuclear weapons violate international law and has called all the nuclear-weapons countries to agree to dismantle them. This means that the strategy of NATO, based on the possible use of nuclear weapons, amounts to a crime against humanity.

Migration and discrimination

The neo-liberal regime provides freedom for the movement of capital, while denying freedom of movement to human beings. Legal barriers to migration are being constantly reinforced at the same time that massive destruction of livelihoods and concentration of wealth in privileged countries uproot millions of people, forcing them to seek work far from their homes. Migrants are thus in more and more precarious and often illegal situations, even easier targets for their exploiters. They are then made scapegoats, against whom right wing politicians encourage the local population to vent their frustrations. Solidarity with migrants is more important than ever. There are no illegal humans, only inhuman laws.

Racism, xenophobia, the caste system and religious bigotry are used to divide us and must be resisted on all fronts. We celebrate our diversity of cultures and communities, and place none above the other.

* * *

The WTO, the IMF, the World Bank, and other institutions that promote globalisation and liberalisation want us to believe in the beneficial effects of global competition. Their agreements and policies constitute direct violations of basic human rights (including civil, political, economic, social, labour and cultural rights) which are codified in international law and many national constitutions, and ingrained in people's understandings of human dignity. We have had enough of their inhuman policies. We reject the principle of competitiveness as solution for peoples' problems. It only leads to the destruction of small producers and local economies. Neo-liberalism is the real enemy of economic freedom.


Capitalism has slipped the fragile leash won through centuries of struggles in national contexts. It is keeping alive the nation-state only for the purposes of peoples' control and repression, while creating a new transnational regulatory system to facilitate its global operation. We cannot confront transnational capitalism with the traditional tools used in the national context. In this new, globalised world we need to invent new forms of struggle and solidarity, new objectives and strategies in our political work. We have to join forces to create diverse spaces of co-operation, equality, dignity, justice and freedom at a human scale, while attacking national and transnational capital, and the agreements and institutions that it creates to assert its power.

There are many diverse ways of resistance against capitalist globalisation and its consequences. At an individual level, we need to transform our daily lives, freeing ourselves from market laws and the pursuit of private profit. At the collective level, we need to develop a diversity of forms of organisation at different levels, acknowledging that there is not a single way of solving the problems we are facing. Such organisations have to be independent of governmental structures and economic powers, and based on direct democracy. These new forms of autonomous organisation should emerge from and be rooted in local communities, while at the same time practising international solidarity, building bridges to connect different social sectors, peoples and organisations that are already fighting globalisation across the world.

These tools for co-ordination and empowerment provide spaces for putting into practice a diversity of local, small-scale strategies developed by peoples all over the world in the last decades, with the aim of delinking their communities, neighbourhoods or small collectives from the global market. Direct links between producers and consumers in both rural and urban areas, local currencies, interest-free credit schemes and similar instruments are the building blocks for the creation of local, sustainable, and self-reliant economies based on co-operation and solidarity rather than competition and profit. While the global financial casino heads at increasing speed towards social and environmental disintegration and economic breakdown, we the peoples will reconstruct sustainable livelihoods. Our means and inspiration will emanate from peoples' knowledge and technology, squatted houses and fields, a strong and lively cultural diversity and a very clear determination to actively disobey and disrespect all the treaties and institutions at the root of misery.

In the context of governments all over the world acting as the creatures and tools of capitalist powers and implementing neo-liberal policies without debate among their own peoples or their elected representatives, the only alternative left for the people is to destroy these trade agreements and restore for themselves a life with direct democracy, free from coercion, domination and exploitation. Direct democratic action, which carries with it the essence of non-violent civil disobedience to the unjust system, is hence the only possible way to stop the mischief of corporate state power. It also has the essential element of immediacy. However we do not pass a judgement on the use of other forms of action under certain circumstances.

The need has become urgent for concerted action to dismantle the illegitimate world governing system which combines transnational capital, nation-states, international financial institutions and trade agreements. Only a global alliance of peoples' movements, respecting autonomy and facilitating action-oriented resistance, can defeat this emerging globalised monster. If impoverishment of populations is the agenda of neo-liberalism, direct empowerment of the peoples though constructive direct action and civil disobedience will be the programme of the Peoples' Global Action against "Free" Trade and the WTO.

We assert our will to struggle as peoples against all forms of oppression. But we do not only fight the wrongs imposed on us. We are also committed to building a new world. We are together as human beings and communities, our unity deeply rooted in diversity. Together we shape a vision of a just world and begin to build that true prosperity which comes from human empowerment, natural bounty, diversity, dignity and freedom.

Geneva, February-March 1998


APPENDIX 4: Organisational principles of the Peoples' Global Action (PGA)

  1. The PGA is an instrument for co-ordination, not an organisation. Its main objectives are:
    1. Inspiring the greatest possible number of persons and organisations 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 capitalist development paradigm.
    3. Giving more international projection to the struggles against economic liberalisation and global capitalism.

  2. The organisational philosophy of the PGA is based on decentralisation and autonomy. Hence, central structures are minimal.
  3. The PGA has no membership.
  4. The PGA does not have and will not have a juridical personality. It will not be legalised or registered in any country. No organisation or person represents the PGA, nor does the PGA represent any organisation or person.
  5. There will be conferences of the PGA approximately every two years. These conferences will take place about three months before the WTO Ministerial Conferences. The functions of these conferences will be:
    1. Updating the manifesto (if necessary)
    2. Advancing in the process of co-ordination at global level of the resistance against "free" trade
    3. Co-ordinating decentralised actions parallel to the following WTO Ministerial Conference

  6. The conferences of the PGA will be convened by a Convenors' Committee conformed by representative organisations and movements. The composition of this committee must show a regional balance, and a balance regarding the areas of work of the organisations and movements that conform it. The local organisers will be part of the committee.
    This committee will fulfil the following tasks:
    1. Determining the programme of the conference
    2. Deciding which organisations can send delegates to the conference
    3. Deciding about the use of resources; especially, deciding which organisations will receive help to pay the travel expenses to attend the conference
    4. Advising the local organisers in technical and organisational questions
    5. Interpreting the manifesto if this would be necessary, deciding which publications can be printed under the name of the PGA, and deciding about the content of the information tools of the PGA (see point 7)

    The committee cannot speak in the name of the PGA.
    In each conference of the PGA the Convenors' Committee of the next conference will be elected. The Convenors' Committee must change 100% of its membership in each conference. The old Convenors' Committee will choose a small group that will act as advisers of the new committee. This advisory group will not have decision-making power.

  7. The PGA should have several information tools, including a regular bulletin, a web page and other publications, which will be done voluntarily by organisations and individuals supportive of the aims of the PGA. Their elaboration will take place in a decentralised and rotative manner. Before these informative materials appear under the name of the PGA, their contents have to be revised by the Convenors' Committee (including the modifications of the web page). The committee can make the publication of these materials conditional on the modification or removal of part of its contents, if these are in conflict with the manifesto of the PGA.
  8. The PGA will not have any resources. The funds needed to pay the conferences and the information tools will have to be raised in a decentralised way. All the funds raised for the conference will be administered by the Convenors' Committee. The publications will have to be self-financed. The bulletin will be distributed by a network of organisations which will also be responsible for collecting subscription fees. Any surplus produced by the subscriptions will be used to send the bulletin to organisations that cannot afford paying subscription.
  9. The PGA has a rotative secretariat, which changes every year. Each Convenors' Committee will decide where the secretariats will be during their two-years term.
  10. The conferences of the PGA will not include the discussion of these organisational principles in the programme. If there is a concrete request, a discussion group on organisational questions will be formed. This discussion group will meet parallel to the programme of the conference, to elaborate concrete modification proposals which shall be voted upon in the plenary.
  11. The PGA hopes that it will inspire the creation of different platforms (both regional and issue-based) against "free" trade and the different institutions that promote it. There will not be, however, a relationship of pertenence between these platforms and the PGA. The platforms will hence be completely autonomous.
PGA contact address:
Peoples' Global Action
c/o Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW),377 Bank Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
e-mail: agpweb (AT);