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 3: The Platform of The Other Davos
The meeting of the Other Davos was rich with meetings, contributions and resolutions. But it also had significant repercussions in the media. The outcome of these meetings between people of different origins is given form in a text entitled “Towards The Other Davos”. This joint statement is the tangible sign that the process of convergence is possible. This resolution is a concrete milestone amongst others for an ever-growing association of social forces and citizens engaged in the struggle.
For Another Davos
The policies applied in recent years and initiated by the “global leaders” present at the Davos meetings, policies defined by the GATT/WTO (World Trade Organisation), by the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the World Bank, have led to a distribution of resources which is inefficient, unequal, and unjust. This had led in turn to a hectic race for profits and the appropriation by a few people of most of world’s wealth and to the devastation of the planet’s eco-system. Today these leaders recognize they were wrong. However, they maintain the current functioning of a capitalist market economy, free and unregulated, is the only option.
The four networks which have initiated this meeting believe that the “globalization” of resistances and struggles is imperative. Everywhere women and men are challenging the supposed inevitability of the present system. Building alternatives is possible today, based on their experiences and creativity.
Faced with the challenges with which the globalization of capital confronts us, we are encouraged and strengthened by the resistances and movements which we represent and with which we are in solidarity. We shall co-ordinate our efforts and increase the pressures we bring to bear on the system. In different domains.
Commerce and Investment. Building on our initial victory over the MAI (Multi-lateral Agreement on Investment), we oppose the plan to transfer an almost unchanged text to the WTO or the TEP (Trans-Atlantic Economic Partnership), and to the “Millennium Round” of the WTO. All these plans are based on the subordination of political power to transnational capital.
International Financial System. We demand cancellation of the debt of all Third World countries and those of Central and Eastern Europe. The international financial system and its institutions should be completely overturned and be subordinate to political democracy. The “independence” of central banks is unacceptable. We demand the elimination of tax havens, and the application of taxes on financial transactions, for example the “Tobin tax”.
Development. We must break with the destructive structural adjustment policies of the international financial institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank, London and Paris clubs, and to rethink and reconstitute a new international financial system based on a fair allocation of resources for the basic needs of peoples, based on justice and freedom.
Peace and security. The overall policy of double standards in international relationships is unacceptable, whether in international law or in the application of United Nations resolutions, or in embargoes imposed on peoples. The system of the United Nations must be democratized.
Rights and liberties. These demands cannot be separated from the guarantee of civil, trade union and political rights, nor from equal rights between women and men, as well as the extension of individual and collective rights to social, economic and ecological domains, as proposed in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
We propose many alternatives at different levels. They are rooted in social needs and the fair allocation of wealth produced by work. Their aim is to re-embed the economy in society, and to safeguard the future of the biosphere. The principles of social economy, agrarian reforms, collective rights of citizens and workers, freedom to travel and to setting, systems of social protection, public and civic responsibility must prevail. We also demand that health and educational institutions be improved and adapted, spending on armaments be reduced and these industries be converted for civilian use.
To those who speak of the “invisible hand” of the market, we stress the hands and the intelligence of women and men. These hands and these minds are building today’s economy, which generations to come will inherit. Against the oppression and arrogance of the powerful, the outlines of a new world are being drawn. In this world, citizens and workers will decide on the distribution of wealth and the organization of work. They will be in charge of the future.