Summary of the PGA consultation meeting, Haridwar (India)
7-8-9-10 October 2005

Around 50 people from different countries (India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, Germany, Greece, Spain, UK, Ukraine/USA) met in Haridwar for a preparatory consultation meeting prior to the 4th Global Conference of PGA. Unfortunately, friends from Latin America and Africa could not attend the meeting due to visa problems and other technical issues. However, those present felt that it was a very useful and productive meeting, both for the local process of PGA in India and for the global process. All international participants were deeply impressed and inspired by the hospitality, strength, dignity, political seriousness and degree of activity of the Indian movements.

We started with a round of analysis of the situation of grassroots struggle and of PGA in different parts of the world, as well as a brainstorm of ideas and suggestions to strengthen the PGA process. We also noted the reasons for the lack of global coordination since 2001, and for the unequal development of the PGA process in different regions during recent years. In Asia the process is very strong and lively, in Europe it is maintained though quite inward-looking and is not totally functional or visible, in the Pacific it is being strengthened, and in other regions the situation is unclear.

Amongst the reasons for the current situation that were mentioned were the lack of visibility of PGA even in actions that are done primarily by organisations that are part of PGA, and the decision to concentrate on regional processes taken at the Cochabamba conference in 2001, which led to the neglect of the global circulation of ideas and struggles (which had previously driven the development of the network).

Some of the strategies suggested to revive the global process were: making PGA more visible at the global level through reviving the PGA bulletin, preparing a "PGA package" with information about the history of the network, organising extended political exchanges between movements from different regions, and the collection of artistic and cultural materials (songs, poems, paintings, videos, etc) to circulate between movements from all regions. All these ideas were developed later in the meeting, while discussing the preparation for the next global conference.

We continued discussing the coordination of actions. We started with a report about the situation in Nepal after the imposition of a dictatorship by the king and the struggle of movements against him. We also heard about the demonstration and conference planned by ANPA (All-Nepal Peasant Association, Asian convenor) on 2-3-4 December 2005, combining the resistance against the WTO minsterial conference in Hong-Kong with the struggle for democracy, peace and food sovereignty. You will receive in a separate email a statement of solidarity with this event, which we hope will be signed by as many organisations as possible from all continents before December 2nd.

We later heard the mobilisation plans from Indian farmers' movements, more specifically from the Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers' Movements (ICC). North-Indian farmers will hold a confrontational rally in Delhi on November 18th, and hand over signatures (collected through an educational campaign at the grassroots level) demanding both that India come out of the WTO, and that agriculture and food are taken out of the WTO system. During the WTO ministerial conference in Hong-Kong (14-18 December) all Indian farmers' movements will organise decentralised protests, which will include direct actions against government offices, multinational corporations and GM seeds, in all the districts of India where the movements are strong. Plans were also announced for a large-scale action in 2006 in order to lock up the American embassy in Delhi, as a way to express rejection of US-led wars, in particular those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine, and also of the global war against the poor through the WTO, the international financial institutions, multinational corporations, among others.

Our friends from the Assembly of the Poor in Thailand announced a week of actions on different topics during the WTO ministerial conference. They also reported about plans for actions in Hong-Kong itself, where 150 people from Thailand will be present, even though the conditions for protesting will be extremely complex. They announced their decision to focus their energies on the struggle against the implementation of WTO agreements in national legislation. In Bangladesh, the Krishok Federation will hold a demonstration against the WTO conference. No concrete action plans were presented from Europe or North America, and therefore the Asian movements wrote a call for action encouraging groups and organisations from all over the world to take direct action against the WTO ministerial conference, which is being circulated in a different email and will be available on PGA's webpage (

The call for action against the G8 summit of July 2006 in St Petersburg (Russia) was presented, and everyone agreed to express support and solidarity for it. Finally, an international call for action in solidarity with both political prisoners and prisoners of war on December 3rd was presented and it was decided to bring it to the attention of all groups of the network, which might want to act on it possibly relating it to the mobilisations in Nepal, as a way to express solidarity with the movement against the dictatorship in that country.

After the action plans, we discussed different aspects of the global PGA process, including the next global conference. All that follows are just ideas and proposals to start a discussion in which we hope that many more organisations and movements will participate. We propose to start this collective discussion one month after the circulation of these minutes (i.e. on the 19 of November) through a chat session in Indymedia; the details of this chat session will be circulated later.

One of the proposals was to create working groups on different aspects of the global PGA process and the preparation of the next global conference. As a result, 2 working groups were created, but hopefully more will be created in the future.

One working group will focus on communication, which will be working on 3 major projects: the PGA bulletin, the "PGA package" and a cultural project.

Regarding the PGA bulletin, the objective of the working group is to set a process in motion by which multitudes of movements and organisations from all continents will contribute reports of their struggles periodically, as well as participate in the rotation of responsibility for the bulletin compilation and lay-out. In addition to reports of struggles around the world, bulletins might include educational resources, briefings on global policies and institutions, and samples of grassroots artwork (according to the desires of the collectives editing them). A part of each bulletin could also explore a specific theme of special interest for the organisation putting it together.

The PGA Package could be a multi-media kit sketching what PGA has helped to inspire, where it is now, and what it could help create in the future. It will include a video about the history of PGA which is being made in Germany, and for which people are most welcome to send footage of actions and short interviews on what PGA means for them and how they think it should develop -- contact email address:

The 'cultural project' (working title) will invite grassroots groups worldwide to join together in gathering and stimulating original, non-corporate culture by sending poetry, music or pieces of artwork for a compilation of creative resistance. This could circulate around the world, evolve over time, and carry with it the spirit and stories of our many worlds. Another idea was to invite groups to draw a map of their regions with the faces and spirit of their struggle. Such a 'struggle map' has been drawn in Latin America and is now being sketched in Mexico. Groups could draw such maps on patches of cloth that would be sewn together, perhaps at the next global conference, weaving a kind of new world map.

A second working group will facilitate the organisation of extended exchange visits of movement representatives from region to region, and within each region. These visits would enable people from the grassroots of different movements to spend sufficient time with other movements as to be able to develop a good understanding of their struggles and have an in-depth political exchange.

The objectives of these visits would include:

To ensure that the last objective is fulfilled, regular reports of all aspects of these exchanges would be sent to the network, at least english and spanish. These reports could be a great contribution to revitalising the global circulation of ideas and struggles, as well as to preparing (and building energy for) the next global PGA conference.

It was suggested to give priority to women and youth grassroots activists when selecting the movement representatives who will travel during the extended visits, in order to also contribute to the further development of their movement in terms of generational continuity and gender balance. It was also proposed to organise training workshops for these participants before the visits start, as a way to develop their skills in areas such as languages, computer skills, organisational skills, understanding between different political cultures, and so on. These trainings could be given by resource persons from different movements. Where and when the visits will take place is still to be discussed with movements from different regions. One idea that was suggested was to take the upcoming regional conferences as a chance to invite grassroots representatives from other regions and organise extended exchange visits in that region. Other possibility that was pointed out was organising visits around events for which movements are planning to invite guests from other continents, such as the International Seed Carnival in Karnataka on April 17th 2006, or the alternative space that our greek friends are preparing in parallel to next European Social Forum in spring 2006.

The (emerging) working group on extended exchange visits would like to encourage movements from all continents to consider the possibility of hosting a visit, and also of sending a grassroots representative to participate in them, giving priority to women and youth (as noted above). We also encourage movements to also take all opportunities to develop this sort of exchanges outside of planned visits, by contacting PGA groups wherever and whenever they travel.

We hope that many people from different continents will join these working groups, and that other groups will be formed. The contact details of the working groups will soon be available in the webpage. If the projects of the already existing groups (the political exchange visits, the PGA bulletins, "PGA package" and cultural project) take place with the success that we hope, they could generate a lot of energy and interest for the next global conference.

We did not make any suggestion regarding the date or place of the next global conference, since these are decisions that should be taken by a larger amount of movements than the ones present at the consultation meeting. What we did was collecting an initial list of topics proposed for the global conference, but this list will of course change in accordance to suggestions coming out of the regional confereces, of the extended visits, and of the discussion in the mailing list. The initial topics that were suggested (in previous calls and email discussions as well as in the meeting) include:

We discussed a number of issues regarding communication and the circulation of information. It was noted that email communication is not enough, since many movements do not have access to internet, and there are also language issues. It was therefore suggested to distribute by post at least the PGA bulletins, the PGA package, and other materials of this kind, at least in Spanish and English. However, email (and other electronic means which we could use more, such as chat or internet-based phone conferences) are likely to continue being the main means for collective discussion, since this is the only affordable way to do it (and internet is more inclusive than meetings, since less people and organisations are able to attend international meetings than to follow email discussions). The regional meetings and the political exchange visits are a way to broaden the discussions and take them to grassroots movements and activists who do not follow the email lists. Regional meetings should continue having a prominent role in decision-making (as is currently thecase).

We went through the different PGA email lists that exist at global and regional level, and agreed to ask the web team to make them visible in the webpage, with descriptions of their roles and instructions on how to subscribe and unsubscribe. Regarding the global lists, the meeting supported the idea that is defined as a "good for all" global list (where people can send information about their struggles and issues), and to focus the internal discussion on the global process on the list We also suggested to kill and create separate lists for the different working groups that are formed. Another request to the (respected and appreciated) web team was to include in the web an explanation of the process of how to become a PGA info-point.

To conclude, we suggested some initial elements for a timeline for some of the proposals that came out of the meeting. This timeline should be developed by further discussions and in particular by the regional meetings. The only dates that we have proposed so far are:

The rest of the process is still open and depends on the feedback and proposals generated at regional level, which will be brought together in the globalaction list.

We want to finish underlining the very stimulating and moving effect that the meeting had on all of us. During these days, we shared not only inspiring reports, plans and discussions, but also songs, jokes, delicious food, an excursion to the Ganga river being covered with floating lights at sunset, and passionate stories of struggle, solidarity and humanhood. We made new friendships, put faces and human feelings into what used to be mysterious email addresses, and left with renewed energy to continue working together for the ideas and values that bring us together. Since this essential part of the meeting cannot be conveyed by these dry minutes, here you have a poem that a participant shared with us on the last night of the meeting.

My Love Letter to PGA

by Aliz
(written at the end of the PGA meeting,
my body was tired but my mind was alive!)

Peoples' Global Action,
Peoples' global love,
WTO, G8 and the rest,
they don't fool us.
They think that money is the key,
but we have diversity,
we will resist,
coz we insist
that this is our world
and we make it what it is.

show the world through real eyes.
Share tactics, stories,
even dance moves,
create the world that
we each chose.

Different people,
same dream,
in this world of darkness,
PGA is a sun beam.

Friends before we even met,
now I have you on my net.
Inspired, motivated,
it's never too late,
come together people,
it's time to create!

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