PGA consultation meeting
[ex Intercontinental Conference of Peoples' Global Action]
7-10 October 2005
Haridwar, Uttaranchal, North India
PGA conference booklet (pdf 194KB)
- Summary of the PGA consultation meeting, Haridwar (India), 7-8-9-10 October 2005
- Resumen de la reunión de consulta de la AGP, Haridwar (India) 7-10 octubre 2005
- Notes on PGA online chat, Dec 9 2005
- Notas sobre el chat de la AGP, 9 dic 2005
The PGA conference is postponed. There will be small international consultation meeting in Haridwar in October 2005. Please get in touch with pgaconfpreplists.riseup.net if you are planning to participate in the meeting.
- Why a global conference now? Why in Asia?
- Objectives of this conference
- Asian convenors and conference hosts
- Dates, venue and logistics
- Programme and preparation process
- calender for the conference
Global capitalism is causing more exploitation, oppression, destitution and war in our times than ever before. The governments, multinational corporations and financial interests that rule over the global economy continue concentrating wealth and power. They fasten their control over our lives and resources on multilateral institutions and agreements, such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and regional trade agreements like the EU, FTAA, APEC, etc. These entities ensure that injustice and destruction expand all over the world, increasing the pain and despair of all oppressed and discriminated people, such as peasants, indigenous peoples, women, workers, the unemployed, slum dwellers, ethnic or religious minorities, Dalits and other exploited castes, Hijras, etc . The monstrous global inequalities have reached an absurd level where almost 1 billion people suffer chronic hunger and more than 1 billion lack access to safe drinking water, while the 3 richest men own more wealth than the poorest 48 countries, and 285 individuals posses as much as half of the humanity.
In addition to the daily economic violence engendered by capitalism, imperialist countries are waging more and increasingly destructive wars to steal resources from the poor. This is why many anti-capitalist movements have actively participated in anti-war protests as a natural extension of their activity. The atrocious nature of those wars is one more consequence of capital's expansion, just like the suicides of thousands of indebted peasants in South Asia, the displacement of indigenous peoples, the exploitation of workers and women, etc. The world is full of such examples of the destructive and insatiable greed of a social and economic system that most humans reject and despise.
The people and institutions that rule over this system will continue generating abuse, misery and death, and any attempt to reform them are a waste of energy and time. For this reason, grassroots movements are working in all continents to take back collective and democratic control over our resources and forms of life, to rebuild our autonomy and self-organisation. This is the continuation of an ancient revolutionary tradition which encompasses slave insurrections and anti-colonial liberation struggles, indigenous and feminist uprisings, peasants' and workers' revolutions, anti-capitalist direct action and environmental activism, cultural and sexual self-affirmation, grassroots antagonist education and independent media, just to mention some examples.
Over the last decades, growing numbers of grassroots movements have come to the common conclusion that we need to strengthen and interconnect this revolutionary tradition. We are all fighting against common problems and adversaries, and this struggle requires the participation of all people who suffer the consequences of discrimination or oppression of all kinds. Today more than ever, the emancipation of any of us is connected to the emancipation of all oppressed people in the world. This results in an urgent need to learn from and about each other, in order to be able to support each other as much as possible. To achieve that, we also need to become aware of our own participation in sexism, racism or other forms of inequality and exploitation, and fight against them.
Another shared conclusion is the need to build locally controlled and genuinely democratic and participatory social and economic relations as alternatives to capitalism. We don't want to repeat past mistakes and replace one form of exploitation and control by another. We cannot make our freedom depend on the good will of any revolutionary vanguard or political party. All revolutions of the 20th century have confirmed that centralised power corrupts and leads to disappointment and collapse. Therefore if we want emancipation to last, it should be built and maintained by the equal participation of all people in struggle, by local autonomy combined with international solidarity and globally coordinated action.
For these reasons, grassroots movements all over the world have built tools for non-hierarchical communication and coordination on the basis of diversity, autonomy and decentralisation. Peoples' Global Action (PGA) was created with this aim in February 1998 by a wide range of grassroots movements from the South and the North. It has served as tool to call for Global Days of Action against Capitalism during summits of global bodies (like the WTO, the G8, the IMF/WB, etc), and it inspired other forms of action and solidarity (such as inter-continental caravans, local actions, gender conferences, seminars and exchanges, publications, etc). PGA is defined by a number of features that distinguish it from other international networks, expressed in its hallmarks (the basic points of consensus on which the network is based, see appendix I), and organisational principles (see appendix II).
The 4th global PGA conference will take place in a very different context than the previous one, which took place in September 2001 (see appendix III for a brief history of PGA). The September 11th 2001 attacks have been used by some Western countries and economic interests to attempt regaining the legitimacy of the global capitalist regime, after a period of extraordinarily fast growth of anti-capitalist protests all over the world (also in the North). The attacks were also presented as a justification to invade and devastate Afghanistan and Iraq, and to intensify control and repression and foster fear and racism all over the world. This fear and racism is targeted especially against Arabs and Muslims, who are used as scapegoats to divert attention from the daily violence inflicted by capitalism over millions of people all over the world.
Due to all these changes, from 2001 to 2005 the international activity of many social movements was focused on reacting to the aggressions and wars caused by imperialist countries and economic interest. Many movements did so in the framework of large coalitions and platforms, which were not necessarily anti-capitalist or horizontal, and more often than not dominated, by NGOs and political parties. We believe that it is time to strengthen again the global self-organised coordination of grassroots antagonist action, to take again the initiative and attack the economic interests and entities in the driving seat of global capitalism.
2. Why a global conference now? Why in Asia?
At the last global conference (Cochabamba, Bolivia, September 2001) it was decided by consensus to focus on strengthening the regional processes at continental level. The decentralised process that followed has been different in each region: in some the process slowed down, while in others it has been strengthened, expanded and consolidated (see appendix III).
Regarding the Asia region, the PGA process has been further strengthened and consolidated after its last regional conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh, hosted by Krishok Federation (Organization of farmers of Bangladesh) and Kisani Shaba (Farmers women organization of Bangladesh). It was attended by over 150 activists from grassroots people's movements from South and South East Asia, comprising peasants, women, trade Unions, fisher folk, indigenous people and youth.
One of the conclusions of this conference was that at this point in time it makes sense to bring together again the regional processes into a global conference, in order to revitalise successful forms of global action against capitalism and explore new strategies to reinforce the cooperation, exchange and solidarity at the global level.
It was also argument that even when there are new and well-funded platforms with similar aims, such as the Social Forums, which started in January 2001, there is the strong necessity of a specific space, with a real horizontal, anti-capitalist and feminist nature for grassroots movements. Thus, we believe in the urgent necessity of strengthening and consolidate globally the anti-capitalist network « People Global Action » as a tool of coordination and communication, which combines a confrontational action-orientation with decentralisation and the full autonomy of all participant movements (NGOs may only participate as observers, if at all, and that representatives of political parties are not welcome).
So, following the Asian PGA Conference, South Asian movements met in Bangalore (India) and discussed the necessity of holding the Fourth PGA Global Conference. As a result, Asian movements proposed that the next PGA Global Conference takes place in Asia, few months before the next World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference, which will be held in Hong Kong in December of 2005. This proposal was bring to the rest of regions. The European Regional Conference that took place in Belgrade in summer 2004 also agreed and supported the Asian proposal for the global conference.
3. Objectives of this conference
The objectives that we propose for the global conference are:
- Contributing to the consolidation of regional PGA processes.
- Planning in-depth exchanges between movements in different regions, in particular about the construction of decentralised and alternative livelihoods and social relations as alternatives to capitalism.
- Define a plan of action and strategies of struggle, including Global Days of Action against Capitalism, especially before and during the upcoming WTO ministerial conference.
- Revitalising a collective discussion about the global PGA process, alongside the consolidation of autonomous regional processes.
- Promoting gender work within each organisation and within PGA as a whole.
- Creating a PGA women network and introducing masculinity work at global level.
4. Asian convenors and conference hosts
The convenors of Asia, chosen at the last regional conference in Bangladesh are:
Asian Convenor: All Nepal Peasants' Association (ANPA), Nepal
South East Asian Convenor: Assembly of The Poor, Thailand
South Asia Convenor: Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), India
This conference was initially going to take place in Nepal, hosted by ANPA, but due to the outrageous coup d'état and dictatorship recently imposed by the King, the venue had to be shifted to North India, near the border with Nepal. The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers' Movements (ICC) has taken on the task of hosting the conference.
We are holding the conference near the Nepalese border in order to make it possible for conference delegates to visit Nepalese movements after the conference, in case the conditions allow. Nepal is undergoing a very interesting pre-revolutionary situation, due to the combined efforts of many different grassroots movements. Many of these movements are eager to meet the delegates of the PGA conference. Therefore, if the security conditions allow, ANPA and other movements will organise a visit to Nepal, and if that is not possible, there could be a solidarity action at the border. We therefore advise all participants to leave some days free after the conference.
5. Date, venue and logistics
The conference will take place from the 5th to 12th October in Haridwar, India.
Haridwar is a town of 220.000 inhabitants in the state of Uttaranchal (North India), 5 hours away from Delhi by train. It will be preceded by a mass protest in Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) on the 2nd October, which we hope to be attended by all conference participants, since it will set a very positive and action-oriented collective tone for the rest of the conference. A caravan of grassroots movements from South India will reach Mumbai on the 2nd October to meet the international delegates and participate in the protest with them, and we will travel all together to Haridwar after the protest. We hope that all participants will join us in Mumbai.
Haridwar is situated at the foothills of the Himalayas, in the precise place where the Ganges River leaves the mountain range. It has therefore been considered a sacred place for centuries, and every night floating lights are deposited at the point where the river enters the plains (known as « The Stairs of God »). Thousands of people come to bath in the cold and crystalline water (considered to have special healing powers in this location) and every 12 years there is an immense spiritual festival. This explains the large amount of ashrams (places for meditation, yoga and spiritual introspection) that exist in this town.
The accommodation will take place in ashrams, which are sympathetic to the aims of the conference. The conditions will be modest and coherent with the principles and ideas of PGA: sleeping on thin mattresses on the floor, quite a lot of people in each room, collective toilets, etc. Participants should bring their own sleeping bags or sheets and blankets, and are advised to bring anti-mosquito cream and mosquito nets. There will be rooms for women only and men only, as well as mixed rooms. The food will be contributed by Indian peasants, members of the farmers' organisations of the ICC (conference hosts), who despite their difficult situation want to make this contribution to the success of the conference. We hope that all participants will be happy to share the same simple and unpretentious conditions. We will do our best to do special arrangements for people with restricted mobility or any other particular need. Anyone needing any other type of accommodation for comfort reasons should make their own arrangements.
As mentioned above, besides the action in Mumbai before the conference, there will hopefully be a visit to Nepal at the end, if the security conditions allow. This visit will be organised by the Nepalese movements. Registered participants will receive more information in the future. If this visit is not possible, there might be an action of solidarity at the border with Nepal, and visits to Indian movements. We therefore advise everyone to leave at least one week free between the end of the conference and their date of return.
6. Programme and preparation process
The final programme for the conference will be defined over the next months through a collective discussion process, which will hopefully include grassroots movements from all continents. The basic structure proposed by the conference hosts is:
2nd October: Action in Mumbai. Travel to Haridwar with Indian movements.
4th October: Arrival of the participants to Haridwar.
5th - 6th October: Gender training workshops, including masculinity.
7th - 8th October: Information Exchange: workshops proposed by the participant organizations, such as on the struggle against sexism and other forms of oppression, militarism, privatisation, trade and gender, etc.
9th - 10th October: Campaigns and plan of actions. Building alternatives. These two days proposals of the organization of initiatives and action strategies at the global level: exchanges, inter-regional solidarity, sustained campaigns, etc, as well as coordination of actions against the Hong-Kong WTO conference and other future Global Days of Action against Capitalism will be discussed and concretised.
11th - 12th October: PGA global process: convenors committee, manifesto, organisational principles, next conferences, etc.
13th October: Visit to Nepalese grassroots movements. If it is not possible to visit Nepal, solidarity action at the border and visits to Indian movements.
The parts in italics are not part of the conference programme but we hope that all participants will be able to attend them.
All the organizational process, as well as decision-making will be completely transparent and collective. Regular reports on the progress of the organization of the conference will be sent to all regional PGA lists. The following elements will be use in the discussion process for the preparations of the conference:
- E-mail discussion: we propose to use the list caravan99lists.riseup.net. To subscribe, send an email to caravan99-subscribelists.riseup.net
- Preparatory meetings: According to the conclusions of the last European PGA conference (Belgrade, summer 2004), there should be at least a preparatory meeting in Europe which should be attended by all European organisations and collectives that want to participate in the global conference. One of the purposes of this meeting is to discuss which issues Europeans want to take to the conference, and to talk about the programme and all other aspects of the conference. We hope that this meeting will take place, and would be very glad if similar meetings could take place in other regions. Where it is not possible to hold such meetings, regional lists can be used (such as agplatinalists.riseup.net for Latin America, pgalists.riseup.net for North America and pga-asialists.riseup.net, pga-asiacupboard.org for Asia)
- Direct communication with participants: the application form asks participants their opinion about the programme of the conference and whether they want to present any workshop, film, exhibition, etc. All answers will be sent to caravan99lists.riseup.net and the regional lists as contributions to the collective discussion.
We hope that the combination of all these elements will make it possible to prepare collectively the conference and define its contexts. According to the PGA organisational principles (see appendix II), the convenors committee has the mandate to set the conference programme, but we hope that it will be possible to set it by a consensus-based collective process.
Grassroots movements, organizations, collectives, unions, etc that agree with the PGA hallmarks (see appendix I) are welcome to join the conference. Delegates from NGOs may have a status of observer if the grassroots organizations coming from the same country agree. Political parties are not allowed to send representatives.
In the case of delegations of more than one representative, at least half of them must be women.
The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements will provide food and accommodation for a maximum of 600 participants.
The organisations from Africa, Latin America and Asia that need support for part of their travel costs should apply before the 20th August. Visas or other expenses besides the travel costs will not be covered. Only in very exceptional cases the complete cost of the flight tickets will be reimbursed, we ask all the organisations to contribute with a minimum of 20% of their tickets, if possible more.
In order to avoid an imbalance in the representation from the South and the North due to economic reasons, all participants from Western Europe, North America and Australia are asked to cover their own travel costs and establish redistribution channels to ensure the participation of disadvantaged social sectors or regions (such as Eastern Europe). In addition to this, we expect all participants from the North to contribute to the travel costs of participants from Africa, Latin America and Asia. We will try to raise funds for this purpose from coherent sources besides the contributions of participants from the North, and any help in that respect will be more than welcome. However, the contributions from Northern participants are most likely to be essential to the success of the conference, since Southern participation might otherwise be very limited.
There will be a fee of 50 US$ for participants from Western Europe, North America and Australia, and 10 US$ for participants from other regions.
All participants should apply and pay for their tourist visas in their respective Indian consulates or embassies. If you face any problems to get a tourist visa, please let us know with enough time.
The working languages during the conference will be English, Spanish and Hindi. If you need translation to other language and cannot arrange it, you should let us know well in advance, to see if translation can be organised.
The final application deadline will be the 2nd September in order to leave enough time to send the information to the different regional lists and the caravan99lists.riseup.net list. Participants asking for help with the travel costs should apply before the 20th August. The application form can be found in the appendix V, and it should sent to:
I Hallmarks of PGA
[castellano | deutsch | euskra | français | nederlands | português | russkij]
The following hallmarks define the basic consensus on which PGA is based:
- A very clear rejection of capitalism, imperialism and feudalism; all trade agreements, institutions and governments that promote destructive globalization;
- We reject 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.
- A confrontational attitude, since we do not think that lobbying can have a major impact in such biased and undemocratic organizations, in which transnational capital is the only real policy-maker;
- A call to direct action and civil disobedience, support for social movements' struggles, advocating forms of resistance which maximize respect for life and oppressed peoples' rights, as well as the construction of local alternatives to global capitalism;
- An organizational philosophy based on decentralization and autonomy
II Organizational Principles of PGA [castellano | russkij]
III. A brief history of Peoples' Global Action
A brief history of PGA will be included in the web page www.agp.org
IV. Sustained Campaigns
The following global campaigns were defined at the previous global conference in Cochabamba (Bolivia):
- Campaign against state militarism and para-militarism
- Campaign for defence and recognition of self-determination and land sovereignty of all people
- Campaign against all privatisation
- Campaign on construction of alternative models to the capitalist system, based on education and training
Most campaigns have not even started at the global level, due to different reasons (such as the post-Sept 11th wars, the fact that they were defined at the global conference rather than emerging from the grassroots level and passing through regional conferences, etc). At the Haridwar conference we should decide what to do about them.
V. Application form
Please send this application form to pga-4globalconfriseup.net before the 2nd September. Organisations that need help with travel costs should send this application before the 20th August.
1. ORGANISATION DETAILS
Name of the organization:
2. DESCRIPTION OF THE ORGANISATION
- When and why was it created, where and on which issues does it work?
- Objectives of the organisation
- Current activities, campaigns, actions, etc.
- Is your organization working on alternatives to capitalism, such as seed banks, decentralised water management, alternative energy, cooperatives, etc...? If yes, please describe briefly such projects.
Name and gender of the participant(s):
4. CONTENTS OF THE CONFERENCE
- Which issues does your organisation think should be discussed in the conference?
- What is your opinion of the proposed structure of the conference?
- Does your organisation want to organize any workshop, performance or culture event?
- Does your organization bring any exhibition or video?
5. LOGISTICS AND TRAVEL
- Do any members of your delegation need any special arrangement, such as a special diet, special beds, wheelchair or medical care?
- Could your organisation help with translation of documents before the conference? Could your delegation help with translation during the conference (documents, workshops or informal conversations)? If yes, in which language?
- For organisations located in Africa, Latin America or Asia: does your organisation need help with travel costs? In that case, how much can your organisation contribute?
- For organisations located in rich countries: can your organisation contribute to the travel costs of organisations from the South? If yes, how much?
Please, send with this form any document that your organization wants to be distributed during the conference.
We are going to prepare a welcome document with the description of the participant organizations and the documents send by them. This welcome document will be distributed in Spanish, English and Hindi, but we invite all organizations to translate this document into their own language.
If you want any document to be included in the welcome document, please send it to us as soon as possible. We would be thankful if you could also provide translations of your document in English and/or Spanish and/or Hindi.