ppi.025-Peoples’ Global Action (PGA) press release


Richard Moore

                               - - -
    a public service of CADRE (Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance)
                               - - -
         ppi.025-Peoples' Global Action (PGA) press release
                         fwd from mai-not

                               - - -
                Republication permission granted for
                 non-commercial and small-press use
     with all sig & header info incorporated (in some form), please.

Date:   Wed, 20 May 1998 16:26:18 -0300 (ADT)
From: Antoni Wysocki <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: PGA press release (fwd)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 20 May 1998 10:20:47 +0200 (MET)
From: Peoples' Global Action Secretariat <•••@••.•••>
To: unlisted-recipients:  ;
Subject: International press release

May 18th, 1998

3rd international PRESS RELEASE
by Peoples' Global Action

Today the Second Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization
(WTO) starts in Geneva, in the context of a hundreds of protests all over
the World.

Nearly a million of people from all social sectors (farmers, indigenous
peoples, workers, women, ethnical groups, unemployed and many other
groups) are expressing since the 1st of May our rejection to the WTO, the
multilateral trade system, and neoliberal policies - participating in the
first international days of action of Peoples' Global Action (PGA) against
"Free" Trade and the WTO.

Selection of actions during the G8 Summit in Birmingham (16th/17th May)
and during the World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting in Geneva (18th-20th

On Saturday, at the same time as the beginning of the G8 Summit, over
a hundred thousand people throughout the world protested against the
WTO and their neoliberal policies:

Global Street Parties were celebrated in 35 cities all over the
world, for example in Geneva, Birmingham, Sydney, Toronto and Prague
with several thousand people in each town.

In Brazil, a protest march of 40 000 landless and homeless people reached
the capital Brasilia; 10 000 unemployed joined them on Monday. On
Wednesday, the final day of the WTO conference, a demonstration through
the government district of Brasilia is planned.

In India, 23 regional conferences against the WTO are occurring today. In
Hyderabad, WTO symbols are being burned in several public places. On
Saturday, there were more than 100 actions against the WTO and on May 1st,
hundreds of thousands of peasants and workers urged the Indian to withdraw
from the WTO in a massive national rally.

In Canada, a protest against the planned Multilateral Agreement on
Investment (MAI) is scheduled for today. There will be further
demonstrations and direct actions in different Canadian cities on
Wednesday. The OECD meeting starting this weekend in Montreal shall be
blocked throughout its duration.

On "Peoplesí Trade Day today, actions are being carried out in the United
States and in Geneva against different symbolic centers of global

Meanwhile, an incredible wave of repression is hitting Geneva: throughout
the town, people are being stopped by the police at random, arrested and
jailed for hours without any given reason - without judicial basis.
Foreign persons which "do not carry enough money on them" (about 500
SFrs.) are registered for police records and then deported with a
prohibition of re-entry.

Many people got heavily injured by the police on Saturday evening,
although they behaved passively. At least one young man from Geneva still
is in intensive care due to inner bleeding.  The bicycle caravan "Money or
Life" organized by WiWa Wendland in Germany was already stopped before
reaching Geneva, all foreign participants were arrested, deported and are
not allowed to re-enter Switzerland for two years. 40 Italians were
arrested on their arrival at the train station in Geneva and also

On Sunday afternoon, the caravan traveled to the French border to return
the wagons, tractors and further equipment back to the German participants
banned from Switzerland who were waiting at the other side of the border.
On their way back to Geneva, ten people were arrested, among them two
journalists from Switzerland and from Berlin. These were also registered
for police records and had to spend hours in a freezing cold civil service
building wearing summer clothes. After this custody they were given a
paper written in French accusing them of having participated in all
actions and demonstrations and were urged to sign it.

We condemn these arbitrary acts of the Genevan police and justice. These
arrests are clearly illegal. We especially protest against the detention
of journalists.

Peoplesí Global Action is a worldwide alliance of organizations and
grassroots movements that was formed the last February in a conference
where representatives of grassroots movements from 56 countries of all
continents came together. The conference produced the Manifesto of the PGA
(available at www.agp.org) that states:

"We live in a time in which capital, with the help of international
agencies like the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the International
Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB) and other institutions, is
shaping national policies in order to strengthen its global control over
political, economic and cultural life.

Capital has always been global. Its boundless drive for expansion and
profit recognises no limits. From the slave trade of earlier centuries to
the imperial colonisation of peoples, lands and cultures across the globe,
capitalist accumulation has always fed on the blood and tears of the
peoples of the world. This destruction and misery has been restrained only
by grassroots resistance.

Today, capital is deploying a new strategy to assert its power and
neutralise peoples' resistance. Its name is economic globalisation, and it
consists in the dismantling of national limitations to trade and to the
free movement of capital.

The effects of economic globalisation spread through the fabric of
societies and communities of the world, integrating their peoples into a
single gigantic system aimed at the extraction profit and the control of
peoples and nature. Words like "globalisation", "liberalisation" and
"deregulation" just disguise the growing disparities in living conditions
between elites and masses in both privileged and "peripheral" countries.


Land, water, forest, wildlife, aquatic life and mineral resources are not
commodities, but our life support. For decades the powers that have
emerged from money and market have swelled their profits and tightened
their control of politics and economics by usurping these resources, at
the cost of the lives and livelihoods of vast majorities around the world.
For decades the World Bank and the IMF, and now the WTO, in alliance with
national governments and corporate powers, have facilitated maneuverings
to appropriate the environment. The result is environmental devastation,
tragic and unmanageable social displacement, and the wiping out of
cultural and biological diversity, much of it irretrievably lost without
compensation to those reliant on it.


The WTO, the IMF, the World Bank, and other institutions that promote
globalisation and liberalisation want us to believe in the beneficial
effects of global competition. Their agreements and policies constitute
direct violations of basic human rights (including civil, political,
economic, social, labour and cultural rights) which are codified in
international law and many national constitutions, and ingrained in
people's understandings of human dignity. We have had enough of their
inhuman policies. We reject the principle of competitiveness as solution
for peoples' problems. It only leads to the destruction of small producers
and local economies. Neo-liberalism is the real enemy of economic freedom.


The need has become urgent for concerted action to dismantle the
illegitimate world governing system which combines transnational capital,
nation-states, international financial institutions and trade agreements.
Only a global alliance of peoples' movements, respecting autonomy and
facilitating action-oriented resistance, can defeat this emerging
globalised monster. If impoverishment of populations is the agenda of
neo-liberalism, direct empowerment of the peoples though constructive
direct action and civil disobedience will be the programme of the Peoples'
Global Action against "Free" Trade and the WTO."

In a press briefing that took place today at United Nations the
representatives of PGA declared: "The struggle that takes place in these
days will continue until the disappearance of the WTO and all other
institutions and agreements that cause misery and death. It is part of a
process of convergence of millions of people fighting all over the planet
for a just society in harmony with the environment. The movements that
participate in this process want to send a clear message to the WTO: we
will not allow economic globalisation to destroy our environment, our
culture, our future, our lives. Consequently, we reject the treaties of
the WTO and we will not allow their implementation".

For more information please contact our press office:
phone: (0041) 22/ 344 47 31 fax: (0041) 22/ 940 20 70
e-mail:  •••@••.•••

For MAI-not subscription information, posting guidelines and
links to other MAI sites please see http://mai.flora.org/

Date: Wed, 20 May 1998
From: Jeff Jewell <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: Re: ppi.018-Geneva: It started out peacefully...

Richard K. Moore wrote:

> Who has benfitted from the semi-violent turn of events?
> I now understand why the anti-Vietnam marches in Berkeley always had
> "monitors" who marched alongside the parades, separating the demonstrators
> from the police and from the windows.  Democracy is not about a minority
> setting the agenda for the majority, whether that minority be a few fat
> cats at the WTO or a few drunken kids who like to throw their empty beer
> bottles at police (or a few hired agent provacateurs, which they may well
> have been).

Richard, while I have no experience with such incidents, it would seem
extremely unlikely to me that the rabble rousers were genuine social
activists.  Far more likely is the agent provocateur scenario - which
may not even have needed to have any mercenaries do the dirty work.

At least in North America, the occasion of a public demonstration - such
as follows a major sports championship - is well recognized by gangs as
a opportunity affording their commission of vicarious acts of vandalism
and violence.

An agent provocateur could ensure that the legitimate protest would be
discredited in the eye of the unsuspecting public merely by seeing to it
that suitable subcultures realized the opportunity of the event -
although it seems unlikely that the European low-life would be less
savvy than their North American cousins.

This, I suppose, is the reason why peaceful protests require
"monitors".  And the real lesson must be learned by social activists -
though it would help if we could also enlighten public awareness to not
accept such situations at face value.


Dear Jeff,

Thanks for your comments.  As much as I support PGA, and believe they are
doing good things, I find it highly questionable that in the press release
above no mention is made that provocations against police and random
property did in fact occur in Geneva on Saturday night.



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