Hallmarks of
Peoples' Global Action

changed at the 3rd PGA Conference in Cochabamba

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1. A very clear rejection of capitalism, imperialism and feudalism; all trade agreements, institutions and governments that promote destructive globalisation.

(old: 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;)

In the Bangalore Conference the opposition to " free " trade had already been extended to capitalism in general, but the change was made in the " goals " of PGA, less often cited than the principles. At the same time, the Nepalese and Indian delegates asked that feudalism should be added as it remains the immediate form of domination for many in that area.

2. 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.

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 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.

(old: 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;)

This change removes the word " non-violent " from the principle. This was considered a change of verbal form more than of political substance. The problem with the old formulation was first that the word " Non-violence " has very different meanings in India (where it means respect for life) and in the West (where it means also respect for private property). This basic misunderstanding has proved quite impossible to correct in media - or indeed in the movement itself. The north american movement felt that the term could be understood to not allow for a diversity of tactics or even contribute to the criminalisation of part of the movement. The latin american organisations had also objected to the term in their regional conference, saying that a " call to civil disobedience " was clear enough, whereas " non-violence " seemed to imply a rejection of huge parts of the history of resistance of these peoples and was as such badly taken by large parts of the movement.

This point of view was particularly put forward by the movements of Ecuador and Bolivia, who at the same time have actually been practicing civil disobedience by the hundreds of thousands these last years, although they may throw some rocks when the army kills with bullets (as it regularly does).

In fact, there was always an understanding in PGA that non-violence has to be understood as a guiding principle or ideal which must always be understood relative to the particular political and cultural situation. Actions which are perfectly legitimate in one context can be unnecessarily violent (contributing to brutalise social relations) in another. And vice versa. Precisely to make this clear, the zapatista army (EZLN) was invited to be among the first generation of convenors. The wording finally found seemed to respect this fundamental stance, since it explicitly advocates MAXIMISING respect for life.

5. An organisational philosophy based on decentralisation and autonomy.

The Accelerating History of PGA | S26 Global Action Day Reports | "Cronologia dos Novos Movimentos" (português) | www.agp.org