The Other Davos: Globalization of Resistances and Struggles by Francois Houtart and Francois Polet
Published by Christava Sahitya Samithi (CSS), Thiruvalla, Kerela, India, November 2000. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted & Winnie Brock.
Chapter 1: A Strategy for the New Times, by Christophe Aguiton
We wish to extend the reflections of the different analysts and associated networks examined in the first section. In part we will continue this reflection. Each contribution has re-examined or re-examining the recent development of the capitalist regime from a particular angle. How do these same analysts propose a solution to bring back more equity? What are the salient traits of a globally organised resistance which should motivate and activate this planetary commitment?
The first article is by Christophe Aguiton ,from ATTAC. He helps us understand why the current epoch is favourable for a ‘counter-offensive’.
The idea of an alternative Davos has an intrinsic interest: it shows that there is opposition, it shows that other voices exist, of which many represent effective resistance, than those talking in the temple of liberalism. However, if it is not integrated into a more global programme this objective would have evident limits. The ideological climate is beginning to change and it is possible to make oneself heard through other means and to claim the first victories as in the case of the MAT, a victory which is yet to be confirmed. Let us now discuss the different aspects of a more global programme of international action.
1. Our departure point is the structural, economic and financial crisis, with all the practical and ideological consequences which we can draw from it for our action programme. We must first address the ideological changes. Over nearly 20 years, neo-liberalism has continued to score points, but now the wind is changing, and it is our responsibility to make this change as visible as possible and to make it the focal point of a counter-offensive. The counter-offensive must be developed on practical and concrete issues (MAT etc.), and also on the larger field of social alternatives to the disaster of neo-conservative counter-reforms.
2. This medium- and long-term project is twofold. First, to support and facilitate the development of concrete campaigns with limited objectives. Starting from simple, focused and accessible starting points is a guarantee for campaigns to have mass appeal, as was demonstrated both by the campaign against the MAT and the launch of ATTAC. After MAT (a campaign that will continue with the shift to the WTO where there is a project to coöpt, in the framework of the American lobbying system, a part of the opponents) concentration could be focussed on the tax on capital (Tobin tax etc.), the struggle against the plans of the IMF, the struggle against Third World debt.
Next we must promote social alternatives to neo-liberalism. This objective is much more difficult to realise; the debates between the militants opposed to liberalism have only just begun. During the first meetings of ATTAC, we saw the succession of clearly anti-capitalist positions and those, whose priority is the regulation of financial markets and of the world economic system. Agreement was eventually met (but that will not settle everything!) on the necessity for ‘empowering the citizen faced with the dictatorship of the market’.
3. A vast international convergence seems possible on such objectives because social forces with a radical critique of liberalism have developed (MST in Brazil, KCTU in Korea, European marches, etc.) and because international and regional demonstrations (above all in Europe, America and Asia) are growing in strength.
To achieve such convergence, we have to take into account the plurality of the preoccupations in the different countries, the verification that the initiatives do not compete with each other and the need for very large alliances, for numerous networks and movements developing around related themes. All that calls for patient, methodical unitary work so that the different initiatives being proposed in various countries work towards the common goal and within the joint perspective.