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For Our Common Future - No to War! Cancel the Debts!

by Porto Alegre, WSF 2003 Friday, Mar. 14, 2003 at 6:27 AM

"War has changed into a structural and permanent part of the global hegemony.. In the name of the liberalization of the market, the population sees itself robbed of its elementary rights. Every area of life and nature is for sale.." Porto Alegre Jan 2003

“For our Common Future – No to War! Cancel the Debts!”

Final declaration of the 2003 World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil

[This final declaration is translated from the German on the World Wide Web,…;]

We meet in Porto Alegre in the shadows of a global crisis. The belligerent intentions of the government of the United States in its determination to start a war against Iraq are a grave threat to all of us and a dramatic demonstration of the connections between militarism and economic domination.

At the same time, neoliberal globalization is in crisis. The danger of a global recession persists. The corruption scandals in the mammoth corporations are everyday news and show the reality of capitalism. The social and economic inequalities grow and threaten the structure of our societies, our cultures, our rights and our life.

The biological diversity, the air, water, forests, land and oceans are used as goods and put up for sale. All this threatens our future. Therefore we resist!

For our Common Future

We are social movements that fight against neoliberal globalization, war, racism, castes, poverty, patriarchy and all forms of determination and exclusion whether economic, ethnic, social, political, sexual or generational, We struggle all over the world for social justice, civil rights, participatory democracy, universal rights and the rights of people to decide over their own future.

We are partisans of peace, international cooperation and a sustainable society corresponding to the needs of people, in the areas of food, housing, health care, education, information, water, energy, public transportation and human rights. We are in solidarity withy women in their struggle against social and patriarchal violence. We support the struggle of small farmers, laborers, urban base movements and everyone threatened with the loss of their houses, work, land and rights.

We are millions who have demonstrated on the streets to show that antoher world is possible. This was never more true or more urgent.

No to War!

As social movements, we are against militarization, the increase of military bases and state repression producing more refugees and criminalizing social movements and the poor. We are against the war in Iraq, the attacks on the Palestinian, Tschechnya and Kurdish people, the wars in Afghanistan, Colombia, Africa and the growing threat of war in Korea. We oppose the economic and political aggression under which Venezuela suffers and the political and economic blockade inflicted on Cuba by the government of the United States. We are against all military and economic actions that force the neoliberal model and undermine the sovereignty and peace of the people of the world.

War has changed into a structural and permanent part of the global hegemony. Military force is used to control people and strategic resources like oil. The government of the United States and its allies carry out war as the increasingly common or normal form of settling conflicts. We also denounce the deliberate attempt of imperialism to intensify tribal religious, ethnic and racist conflicts so tensions and collisions exploiting selfish interests multiply everywhere in the world.

The majority of worldwide public opinion is against the next war in Iraq. We call all social movements and progressive forces to support, participate and organize protests against this war all over the world on February 15. These protests are planned and coordinated by war opponents in 30 of the largest cities of the world.

Frustrate the Plans of the WTO

The World Trade Organization (WTO), the agreement on free trade in the Americas (FTAA) and the spread of regional and bilateral agreements like the agreement for growth and trade in Africa and the free trade agreement proposed for Latin America are used by transnational corporations to advance their interests, dominate our economies and force a development model impoverishing our societies.

In the name of the liberalization of the market, the population sees itself robbed of its elementary rights. Every area of life and nature is for sale. The agro-industrial multinationals want to force genetically modified food (GMO) on the whole world. Access to cheap generic medicines is denied sufferers with Aids and other pandemics in Africa and other regions. The countries of the South are caught in an endless cycle of indebtedness forcing them to open their markets and export their wealth.

Our campaigns against the WTO, FTAA and the free trade agreements have increased in size and striking force this year.

We will make a campaign to stop and cancel the liberalization of agriculture, knowledge, energy, public services and investments allowing people to regain sovereignty over their lands, their resources, their cultures, their knowledge and their economies.

We are in solidarity with the Mexican farmers who say “the land cannot endure any more” and with the spirit of their struggles. We mobilize locally, nationally and internationally to frustrate the plans of the WTO and FTAA. We support the movement that fights all over the world for food sovereignty and against the neoliberal model in agriculture and in the production and distribution of food. We will concretely organize massive demonstrations in the whole world during the 5th ministerial meeting of the WTO in Cancun, Mexico in September 2003 and during the ministerial meeting of FTAA in Miami in October 2003.

For Cancellation of Debts

The complete and unconditional cancellation of the debts of the third world is a precondition for fully honoring the most elementary human rights. We support every debtor country that adjusts the payment of its foreign debts and refuses the application of the structural adjustment program of the International Monetary Fund.

Centuries of the exploitation of the people of the their world, their resources and their environment gives them the right to a reparation and prompts us to ask “Who owes whom?” The campaigns and important mobilizations occurring in 2003 will be organized around this axis: G8 (Evian, June), WTO (Cancun, September) and during the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank (Washington, September).

We Oppose the G8

We call on all social movements and progressive forces to participate in this mobilization, to denounce the illegitimacy and reject the policies of the G8 in Evian (France) between June 1 and 3, 2003. This mobilization will occur worldwide with an international meeting in Evian: a counter-summit, an alternative camp and a mammoth international demonstration.

Women: Advancing Equality

We participate in the actions that the women’s movements carry out on March 8, the international day of struggle against violence, patriarchy and for social and political equality.

In Solidarity

We call on progressive forces, movements and organizations all over the world to demonstrate solidarity with the Palestinian, Venezuelan, Bolivian and other people who are now suffering under grave crises.

Let us strengthen the worldwide network of social movements

Last year we passed a declaration at the World Social Forum that defined our goals, our struggles and the form of our alliances. The spirit of this document is alive and inspired our next mobilizations.

The world has changed very quickly since last year. We feel the necessity of going a step further in our decisional process, in our coordination and in our alliances to formulate and develop a broad, combative, democratic, plural, internationalist, feminist, non-discriminatory and anti-imperialist agenda.

We now want to create a reference point that joins our analysis and our obligations with our mobilizations. This requires the active involvement of all movements, always remembering that social movements are independent of the governments and political parties (corresponding to the charter of principles of the World Social Forum) and mindful of respecting the autonomy of the different organizations. This reference point is strengthened through the contribution of different social actors and common experiences and social praxis. In addition, it must be in harmony with the different forms of political expression and the organization of social movements and respect the diversity of ideologies and cultures. We feel the necessity of building a network of movements that fulfills the demand, is flexible and transparent. Its task is to enrich and support this process, to promote its diversity and assure the necessary coordination. The goals of the network include encouraging the movements of all continents, encouraging a deepened political debate, facilitating common actions and strengthening the initiative of concrete actors who fight for their social interests. Its work must simultaneously be oriented horizontally and be effective.

To reach these goals, we propose the formation of a contact group serving as a recourse and instrument for our international mobilizations including preparation of meetings and advancing debates and democracy through a website and e-mail distribution. This contact group will appear for a period of 6-12 months and rely on the experience of the participants of the network of the social and base movements in Brazil. This appointment is temporary and should assure continuity. The main task of this provisional group is to encourage debate so the social movements of the whole world can define the concrete processes of common work. A flowing process is involved. The first evaluation of this new contact group will occur during the meeting of the network of social movements in September 2003 against the WTO in Cancun. The assembly of social movements will have a second evaluation during the WSF in India in 2004.

The evaluation will discuss the efficiency of the coordination and seek to strengthen new forms. Continuing the process from one year to the next will be discussed and how national regional movements and thematic campaigns can be integrated. Developing a broad debate through organizations, campaigns and networks, formulating proposals and attaining a more representative and continuing reality are vital.

In the next months, we will have many opportunities to make experiences and build this process through campaigns and mobilizations that constitute our agenda.

We call all networks, all base- and social movements to sign this declaration within two months.

Porto Alegre, Brazil

January 2003

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