Appeal to FSM from Olten Alliance about WEF

To the organisers of the World Social Forum of Porto Alegre 2003


As you know, the annual demonstration against the World Economic Forum (WEF) will take place the 25th of January. This year, a wide coalition of organisations, trades unions, and political parties of Switzerland have formed the " Alliance of Olten " in order to prepare this mobilisation, each year more massive.

For all our organisations, it is important that we observe a common strategy in our campaign against the WEF. The organisations of the Alliance have adopted the common platform (see appended copy).

One of the essential points of this platform is our determination to refuse all dialog with the WEF (point 4). We have taken this position for several reasons :

  1. The WEF is a private institution, directed by an economic elite which oppresses the whole world. It has absolutely no legitimacy in its ambition to direct our lives and take decisions for the peoples of the world. We consider that the WEF can in no case be considered a partner in dialog with social movements, but on the contrary must be considered an enemy to be fought.
  2. The WEF has always tried to establish a " dialog " with carefully chosen individuals of " civil society ". Dialog with the WEF not only strengthens its strategy of public relations, but it divides the opposition organisations into the " good " critics that accept dialog and the " bad " opposition that the WEF seeks to criminalise. Moreover, previous experiences of dialog or debate with the WEF have resulted in total and mutual incomprehension, with no positive results.
  3. Finally, this type of dialog with the WEF accredits the idea that only solutions negociated between social movements and the economic elite lead to constructif results. We consider, on the contrary, that our role is to make people aware of the necessity of liberating ourselves from their oppression, not to come to points of consensus with this elite, from whom we expect nothing. It seems to us that this is not a time for a social pact, but for the construction of a relation of force

For these reasons, we invite you to respect our position of non-dialog with the WEF, which is the object of a wide consensus among all the Swiss organisations mobilised against the WEF. For us it would be disastrous if the Swiss social movements and the FSM were divided on this point.

Signataires de la plateforme:

Platform of the Olten Alliance

Appeal for actions to protest against the World Economic Forum (WEF)

Another world is necessary

  1. The Alliance of Olten, a convergence of progressive, christian, autonomous, pacifist, anarchist, ecologist, anti-imperialist, feminist and communist people belonging to a wide range of grass-roots organisations, parties, trades unions and NGOs, call to participate in the worldwide movements of protest against the World Economic Forum. We call on all persons to use the attention raised by WEF 2002 as an opportunity to organise local, national and international activities. The interest of the public is the occasion to hold a wide debate on alternatives to the current economic system, which excludes the majority and destroys more and more lives. It is also the occasion to discuss strategies for the eradication of racist and sexist violence.
  2. More and more people experience the current form of globalisation, that is to say the concentration of power in the hands of a few, as a violent menace to life and as a commodification of all aspects of life. In Switzerland, too, impatience grows with regard to neoliberal logic, the scandalous enrichment of a handful, the arrogance of the banks and the pillage of public wealth by private investors. We will mobilise against the WEF because we struggle daily against capitalism, racism, patriarchy and all forms of domination. Aware that we are not immune to the dominant contradictions, we do not want to accept forms of domination and discrimination in our own relations. Our mobilisations are based on respect for the different forms of action and organisation.
  3. The WEF brings together one thousand of the leading actors of destructive globalisation. During its annual meetings, this auto-proclaimed elite discusses the latest strategies in the art of exploitation of humans and nature. Such a meeting, as elistist as authoritarian, cannot have the slightest legitimacy. That is why we don't want the WEF in Switzerland, or anywhere else.
  4. We call on all aid organisations, solidarity groups, unions, feminist organisations, environmental and religious groups to refuse all offers of dialog with the representatives of the WEF, and all participation in the WEF forum. Real dialog is only possible between equal partners. Dialogs in a framework established by the " global leaders " are pretexts which serve to defend their globalisation. Such dialogs only serve to legitimate publically the war that has been waged for such long time against a large part of the world population.
  5. The organisation of the annual conference of the WEF is accompanied by an added restriction of democratic rights. 2003 will be no exception : restricted entry at the frontier is on the menu again. Black lists of people to whom access to Davos is forbidden have been established. During the annual summit, Davos is transformed into a fortress. The conference hall and the adjacent hotels are a " red zone ". We call on all democratic forces to defend basic rights against the assault of the world leaders and to oppose the repression of the social movements.
  6. We protest against the social project founded on massacres provoked by economic exploitation, the destruction of the environment and military interventions. The social war against the poor and the imposition of the interests of the global elite goe together. The " war against terror " fomented by the U.S.A. since September 11th serves to strengthen control over natural ressources worldwide. The aggression planned against Irak and its oil reserves is a recent example. The Olten Alliancem considers itself an integral part of the worldwide movement against war which opposes all intervention in Irak, whether or not the UN approves such an aggression.
  7. The transnationals which organise at the WEF are also co-responsible for the consequences of neoliberal policies carried out in Switzerland. With slogans such as " competitive capacities ", " economies ", " cost reduction " they aim to dismantle and privatise public services, in particular public transport, health, education and culture. The current economic crisis makes particularly evident how employees are sacrificed on the altar of social regression and the aggravation of work conditions, ending finally unemployed to reduce the losses of shareholders and financial markets.
  8. We engage ourselves for a fundamentally different world, and we are conscious that the demands that we outline below are only a first step towards a social and economic order serving the satisfaction of human needs rather than the maximisation of profits. What is particularly necessary is wide debate on alternative forms of organisation and distribution of the riches produced by society, work, the access to natural ressources, the property of means of production and communication.

We engage ourselves already for :

Alliance of Olten

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