PGA Bulletin

Peoples' Global Action against “Free” Trade and the WTO

Issue number 2, June 1998

Part II:
May Actions in Asia



2nd May 1998 – Hundreds of thousands of peasants, agricultural labourers, tribal people and industrial workers from all regions of India took the streets of Hyderabad yesterday to show their rejection of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and neoliberal policies, and to demand the immediate withdrawal of India from the WTO. The rally was organized by the recently launched “Joint Action Forum of Indian People against the WTO and Anti-People Policies” (JAFIP), composed of 50 peoples' movements representing a wide range of regions and social groups.

The demonstration was preceded by a three-days convention in which the JAFIP was officially launched. The convention and rally, convened by a number of Indian peoples' movements, including the Karnataka State Farmers' Association (KRRS), the All-India People's Resistance Forum (AIPRF), the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) and others, took place against the backdrop of a growing wave of suicides of peasants, which according to all members of the JAFIP are directly caused by the impact of WTO-imposed policies. It also took place in the context of increasing state violence against peoples' movements all over India. The convention and rally were held in Hyderabad, capital of Andhra Pradesh, because of the particularly high rate of suicides and killings in this Southern state, where more than 600 peasant activists have been killed by the Indian army from 1992 to 1998, and more than 400 suicides have taken place in the last five months. The assassination of peoples' movements' activists in Andhra Pradesh was intensified in the weeks leading to the convention, in what amounts to a very clear signal of the way in which the Indian government will deal with peaceful opposition to the WTO.

The convention, attended by more than 900 representatives of peoples' movements, produced the “Declaration of Indian People against the WTO” which states that “We, the people of India, hereby declare that we consider the WTO our brutal enemy. This unaccountable and notoriously undemocratic body called the WTO has the potential not only to suck the sweat and blood of the masses of two-thirds of the world, but has also started destroying our natural habitats and traditional agricultural and other knowledge systems ... converting us into objects of Transnational Corporations' economy of consumerism ... The WTO will kill us unless we kill it”. The declaration also targets the national elites: “any struggle against the WTO–IMF–World Bank trinity has to go along a simultaneous struggle against the local ruling classes”. Finally, the JAFIP also offers alternatives: “While opposing the WTO, we, the Indian people, have resolved to build a pro-people egalitarian social order through a genuinely democratic process”.

This declaration was accompanied by six specific resolutions demanding pro-people agricultural policy, expressing solidarity with other peoples' movements, opposing the invasion of agriculture by multinationals, condemning the repression of peoples' movements, denouncing the wave of suicides of peasants all over India, and expressing the anti-WTO struggle of the Indian working class. All these documents are available at



New Delhi  

On April 28th, hundreds of thousands of people from North to South India gathered in New Delhi for a mass rally and public meeting organized under the banner of the National Alliance of People's Movements. The participants included farmers, fishworkers, labourers – living on the natural resources and human power, those facing atrocities and discriminations, displacement and deprivation. Dalits, Tribals, women, minorities gathered close to the Centre of Power to voice their protest against the wrongs of development policies and increased atrocities due to the anti-sovereign agreements and deals with global powers.

This gathering of people's organizations across the country was an Assertion of Will to have the right to the land, water, forest, mineral and aquatic wealth localised in each village community, to have a local eco-socio-economically decentralized planning for equity and sustainability. It also avowedly denounced the World Trade Organization, and propagated indigenous technology, local markets closely linking consumers to producers and simple non-consumerist living for a 'human prosperity'.

more new delhi global action days: N30



Tel Aviv Street Party – Over 500 people walked and danced from Dizengoff Square to the beach, while a van with DJ was driving in front doing the music. The party had a limited permit but since there was a crowd of a few hundreds the police had no choice but to keep the traffic from hurting them. The party ended in a pleasant sunset rave.

The party was part of the struggle against the Trans Israel Highway (road No. 6), the infrastructural backbone of economic integration in the region. Any spray or other action against Hughes, Canadian Highway Inc., or the French bank “Société Générale” which participate in the project, is welcome.

On Sunday 17 May 1998 50 people protested outside the embassy of India against the nuclear tests (as if Israel didn't have nukes!)
more tel aviv global action days: A16 - S26



A three days national workshop on the “Impact of globalization on agriculture in Nepal” was organized by Rural Reconstruction Nepal (RRN) in Chitwan, Nepal between 18 to 20 May 1998. The objectives of the workshop were to discuss, share and analyse the implications of the globalization process (particularly for the agriculture of Nepal) and the responses of the people's movements, and to develop strategies and take initiatives to start collective actions on the issues of globalization. More than twelve national and international organizations participated along with farmers, bonded labourers, tea plantation workers, teachers etc.

At the workshop it was decided to form a forum called “Globalization concerned group in Nepal” and to publish a bimonthly bulletin in order to disseminate information about the negative impacts of globalization in Nepal. Rural Reconstruction Nepal was given the responsibility to coordinate the activities at the moment.

The workshop concluded with a number of declarations, expressing support and solidarity with all the struggles and movements organized against globalization, expressing commitment to raise awareness of the negative impacts of globalization, expressing rejection towards all the networks created to enhance the process of globalization, etc.

Contact: Sarba Raj Khadka <>


The Kathmandu-based International Institute for Human Rights, Environment and Development (INHURED International), and Rastriya Sarokar Samaj (National Concerns Society), a national campaign platform of actions, organized on May 17 a open public forum in Kathmandu called “Nepal and WTO: What to gain? What to lose?”.

Speaking at the forum, some of Nepal's renowned economists, legal, environmental and development experts, as well as the Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs and Human Rights Committee of the House of Representatives, made critical observations about WTO, and several of them strongly opposed the whole concept of WTO and GATT, and asked the Government of Nepal not to rush for its membership. They also criticized the WTO as the most undemocratic institution of this century and demanded the international community to help developing and the least-developed countries, like Nepal, in their struggles for freedom from debt, imperialist globalization and imposition of the most inhuman-profiteering interest of multinational corporations backed by the G8 countries.

The speakers and participants of the forum also expressed their strong solidarity with the tremendous work of the Peoples' Global Action network and the alliance members around the world.

For further information, please contact: Gopal Siwakoti 'Chintan', Executive Director of INHURED International, and General Secretary of Rastriya Sarokar Samaj. P.O. Box 2125, New Plaza, Putalisadak, Kathmandu. Tel: +977-1-429741, Fax: +977-1-419610. E-mail:
more nepan global action days: N30 - S26



One thousand marchers belonging to the fisherfolk movement Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) and the peasant movement Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), and their supporters from churches and government employees, staged a protest against new President Joseph Estrada's intentions to sustain and even expand programs that lay peasant and fisherfolk livelihoods open to attack from global market forces. The protest took place at Malacañang Palace on 15 May.

The KMP chair said the march also coincides with similar mobilizations opposing the second Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization in Geneva. The marchers say that the WTO will further force poorer countries to open their markets to surplus goods from abroad.

The delegates of KMP and Pamalakaya met in Manila to plan how to prevent the new Fisheries Code from being implemented in their villages. The chairman of Pamalakaya said 1.2 million poor fishers like him will continue to lose their catch to about 3,000 registered commercial crafts, while the Code's “flexible policies to attain food security” has allowed cheap imports of “japayuki galunggong” (scad fish from Japan and Korea) to flood the market and further bankrupt local economies.

According to Apole, a Pamalakaya representative, the fisherfolk have no choice but to continue mass actions to pressure the incoming government to junk the Fisheries Code. “We also demand from the next administration the abrogation of treaties signed with the World Trade Organization, APEC and BIMP-EAGA, in order to reorient our food production and market to feed the Filipino people and not aristocrats abroad,” Apole said.
more: Fishers, Peasants refuse to bite next regime's bait

Sri Lanka  

Excerpts of the Solidarity Message from People's Organizations:

We, several People's Organizations fighting against WTO, GATT & “Free Trade” in Sri Lanka, are sending you our greetings of solidarity with the People's Global Action activities taking place in Geneva and throughout the world, these days. As a country that has already suffered tremendously under the Globalization processes, imposed by the powers of international capital, we protest against the massive destruction caused by these processes imposed upon millions of people in our country and throughout the world.

In Sri Lanka all sectors ... have been constantly protesting and struggling against the detrimental effects of the above process, which is seen by many as nothing other than “recolonization”. (...) Acceptance of GATT, WTO, SAPTA & Intellectual Property Rights Agreements readily by the government would lead to further destruction of domestic agriculture, natural resources, food security and the right of communities to their cultural heritage. (...)

We have already published some of the information on the activities taking place in various countries to oppose the moves taken by the WTO. We will soon be circulating the Draft Manifesto of the People's Global Action, translated into local languages, for study and discussion by the active groups in Sri Lanka. (...)

We share in your confidence that these recolonization attempts will be defeated and the survival of millions of people endangered by it, both in developing as well as in develop countries, will be assured. (...) We wish you faith, strength and success!

Contact: (MONLAR)
Solidarity Message from People's Organizations in Sri Lanka
more sri lanka global action days: index of part IIS26