cj#972> re: movement strategy

1999-08-13

Richard Moore

Dear cj,

My apologies for the gap in postings.  I've been finishing up some web
development in preparation for bidding on a contract.  It's taken all of
this year to acquire the skills, and now it's time to start making some
income(!).

Ironically, I expect to have more time for writing - one can budget one's
time when working, but when _learning one wants to finish it up ASAP -
one's never certain  how much more there is to learn until the course is
over.

---

From cj#971:

    I'd like to invite discussion on the following line of
    thinking...  Perhaps the third world is the most likely
    source of a strong global movement against globalization -
    or more accurately, _for global democracy,
    self-determination, and sustainability.  Perhaps the most
    likely path for the movement to follow is to first become
    strong and unified in the third world, and for Westerners to
    be drawn in primarily out of sympathetic support.  Once
    engaged, Westerners would find themselves confronting the
    political hegemony of the capitalist elite in their own
    societies, and perhaps this would encourage the necessary
    degree of 'radicalization' to complete the creation a deeply
    committed and potent global movement for societal
    transformation.

We got several responses.  A _few followed up on the suggested topic, while
most were generic proposals or arguments re/ movement strategy or movement
goals.  I'll post the on-topic responses first and the others tomorrow.

rkm

============================================================================
Date: Wed, 04 Aug 1999 16:13:24 +0000
From: frank scott <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: Re: cj#971> Thomas Kocherry: GLOBALISATION NEEDS A DEEPER
         UNDERSTANDING

There needs to be a combined, democratic force that comes from both the
west and the rest. An either one or the other type resistance won't
work. I try to include mention of the global situation in every column I
write, also including the need for real democracy. A sample follows....

---<snip of one of Frank's columns>---

==================

Dear Frank,

I agree with you.  The point I'm concerned about is how the movement can
begin to gather significant momementum and solidarity.  There are tributary
movements aplenty throughout the world, and they will all be important, but
how is the spirit of a 'massive historic movement' going to arise?  What
can we do to encourage it?  In particular, how can more Westerners be
encouraged to wake up to the dangers that face them?  Might 'solidarity
with the third world' be a useful rallying cry?

Thanks for sending a copy of your column... useful stuff.  I'll post it as
a separate message in the next day or two.

cheers,
rkm

============================================================================
From: "g kohler" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>
Subject: re: rn-regarding the development...(04Aug99)
Date: Thu, 5 Aug 1999 17:23:22 -0400

Dear RKM

The point your are making re: democratic renaissance coming from the West or
from the rest, is very interesting and important. To add my pet example,
South Africa's struggle/revolution/evolution from apartheid to multi-racial
democracy could be added to the example of the US Civil Rights movement
which you mentioned. The dissident /reformist whites in South Africa were
important, but the main pressure for change came from the non-white
majority. I agree with your idea that Western/Northern advocates of global
change should think of building/finding a synergy (or new synergy) with the
non-Western/Southern majority world. It is not clear to me what that
entails, over and above what is already being done. But it seems important
to think about that. For example, should Northern folk donate thousands of
computers to non-Northern groups so that they can participate in the
worldwide (Northern-dominated) internet fora? The voice of activists of the
majority world is hard to find in internet circles.

Regards,
Gernot Kohler
(or, Gert, as my students call me)

============================================================================
Date: Fri, 06 Aug 1999 01:13:23 -0500
To: •••@••.•••
From: Mark Douglas Whitaker <•••@••.•••>
Subject: DAMN: 04-AUG-1999: Four Hundred Arrested, Thirteen Shot: IMF
  and Ecuadorian  government provoke violent reaction

Title: Four Hundred Arrested, Thirteen Shot: IMF and Ecuadorian
government provoke violent reaction
Date: 04-AUG
Author: the Amazon Coalition <•••@••.•••>
Source: A-Infos News Service  http://www.ainfos.ca/
Reference: http://www.amazoncoalition.org

Four months after a crisis provoked by an IMF inspired structural
adjustment plan, the country is again in the grips of the multi-lateral
organisation. This time the social convulsions, which were provoked by a
another rise in fuel prices, have been confronted in repressive fashion.
Five more people were shot yesterday as they tried to march from
Guallabamba, a small town 40 kilometres north of Quito, to the capital to
protest the impacts of the economic measures introduced during the past six
months. In Latacunga, a town of about 500,000 one hour to the south of the
capital, indigenous groups which had been closing roads, charged a military
vehicle full of troops on Saturday night. The vehicle turned tail and fled.
On Sunday the native people were not so lucky, eight were shot as they
confronted the military attempting to keep the road open. One later died.

The protests and the indigenous uprising have been brought about by the
severity of the economic measures taken to supposedly pull Ecuador out of
its economic plight. The now discredited   IMF recipe of provoking
inflation and removing subsidies in order to balance the budget has been
applied without relief since the effects of the global economic crisis hit
Latin America late last year. The dollar has risen by almost 100% against
the local currency, the Sucre, since beginning of the year, food costs have
risen by about 70%, gas, electricity, gasoline, diesel, and water costs
have all risen substantially, and all this before the latest round of
transport fuel cost rises, provoked by indexation to the dollar. In the
meantime the basic salary (a form of minimum wage) has been raised by an
insulting 30%.

The taxi drivers hit back first, blocking roads and demanding that fuel
prices be reduced to their pre- June levels and frozen for two years. They
blocked roads and brought the cities to a standstill. Indigenous groups
throughout the central mountain region have joined them in an uprising
which has blocked roads, occupied state electricity offices and taken
control of communications towers. Indigenous areas are amongst the poorest
in the country and the native population, which has been badly affected by
the privatisation and globalisation agenda, is calling their actions a
fight for life, and against hunger.

Meanwhile, teachers and medical workers who have not been paid in months
have also joined the strike, along with banana workers, bus and transport
workers and even informal sellers. Whole neighbourhoods have taken over
roads in an attempt to convince the government to change course. And in the
latest of a series of actions, the offices of the Catholic Church,
criticised as pro-government, have been occupied by a number of social
groups intent on emphasising their demands that the neoliberal policies
being applied to the country be changed. Ironically, the police, charged
with repressing the demonstrations, also find themselves unpaid and without
funds to ward off their own creditors.

Part of the government's answer has been to declare a general state of
emergency, endowing the President with extraordinary powers to control the
state budget, and to order military intervention wherever and whenever he
pleases. Congress, in which the government does not have the majority, is
outspokenly opposed and will probably fight the measure, although it should
be pointed out that the majority of members are also neo-liberals (or at
best the more apologetic Blair style third wayers) and simply jockeying for
power. The other part of the strategy has been to create diversionary
tactics. Jailing a corrupt banker and paying the people whose savings were
locked up in the now officially bankrupt bank (one of Ecuador's largest).
On the other hand an overwhelming silence has surrounded the accusation
that the majority of high government officials took their money out of the
country (apparently some $200 million) a little while before all bank
accounts were frozen in March of this year.

Whether these officials, and other corrupt bankers, will ever be
investigated and brought to trial is a major question. But perhaps more
important in the long run, both for Ecuador and other countries in the
region, is whether it will be possible to find a way out of the neoliberal
export lead growth trap in which Ecuador finds itself, given that this
model favours the governing elite which controls almost all political
parties. The fact that it needs to is not in question. The country has only
gone backwards in economic terms since the debt crisis of the early
eighties, and finds itself porting increasing amounts of primary material,
only to watch prices fall or at best fluctuate wildly on markets over which
it has no control. The cost in terms of concentration of land, power and
wealth is huge. The cost in terms of the environmental and social impacts
related to finding and pumping more oil, growing more flowers, farming more
shrimp, and growing more bananas are devastating a country which is defined
by its cultural and natural diversity.

For more information, contact:

Coalition for Amazonian Peoples and Their Environment
1367 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036-1860
tel (202)785-3334
fax (202)785-3335
•••@••.•••
http://www.amazoncoalition.org

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