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Manifesto of Porto Alegre (unofficial translation)

by World Social Forum Friday, Mar. 11, 2005 at 6:49 AM
mbatko@lycos.com

Another devel,opment model should be realized based on an energy-saving way of life and democratic controls on natural mineral resources, particularly drinking water. Military bases of foreign countries should be closed.. Another world is possible.

MANIFESTO OF PORTO ALEGRE

Another World is Possible. Twelve Proposals.

[Some participants at the World Social Forum criticized the publication of the twelve proposals because the open character of the forum was not respected. Others welcomed the attempt to summarize the debates. The authors emphasize that this is their personal opinion. The fact that there are two versions of this manifesto underscores that it is a proposal. While sections were published by Le Monde diplomatique, this text printed in Attac’s Sand im Getriebe Nr.41 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.attac.de. See also http://www.weltsozialforum.de/.]




Since the first World Social Forum held in Porto Alegre in January 2001, the social forums have spread to all continents on national and local planes. With the WSF, a public space for civil rights arose that spans the earth. The WSF proposes political alternatives to dictation of neoliberal globalization advanced by the financial markets and multinational corporations. The military arm of these markets and corporations is the imperial power of the United States. In the meantime the movement for another world that gained strength through its diversity and the solidarity of activists and social movements has not made a difference worldwide.

The social movements generally accepted the proposals developed at the forums. The signatories of the manifesto of Porto Alegre that only voice their personal opinion and in no way speak in the name of the forum worked out twelve proposals that represent foundations for building another world. If they were implemented, citizens could finally begin to re-appropriate their future together.

This minimal platform was presented for review to the WSF participants and the social movements of all countries. The struggles necessary for their realization must be waged on all planes, on the plane of the entire planet, the continents and the national and local planes. We have no illusions about the actual will of the governments and international institutions to implement these proposals.

I. ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE:

The right to life for all persons should be respected by means of new rules in the economy.

The following measures are necessary:

1. Canceling the state debts of the countries of the southern hemisphere. These debts have already been paid several times. For the creditor states, credit institutes and international financial institutions, the debts represent the best and most effective means for dominating the majority of humanity and keeping them in poverty. The repayment of the giant sums withheld from their peoples by corrupt leaders is imperative.

2. An international taxation on financial transactions (e.g. the Tobin tax on currency speculation), direct investments abroad, consolidated profits of multinational firms, weapons trade and activities with strong emissions of greenhouse gases. State economic assistance should reach the level of 0.7% of the gross domestic product of the rich countries. These funds would be used for the border-crossing control of epidemics (including AIDS) and for assuring everyone’s access to drinking water, housing, energy, health care, medicines, education and social security.

3. Gradual removal of all forms of tax-, legal- and bank account havens that are hideouts for organized criminality, corruption, every kind of illegal trade, fraud, tax evasion and criminal business deals of large corporations and governments.

These tax havens are not limited to certain states regarded as law-free zones. The laws of developed countries are also involved. Strongly taxing the capital movements that flow in or out of these “havens” as well as the credit institutes, financial actors and others responsible for large-scale embezzlements would be a sensible first step.

4. The right of every inhabitant of this earth to work, social security and pension following the equality between man and woman as a finding element of all internal and international policy.

5. Promoting all forms of fair trade by rejecting the free trade rules of the WTO and instituting mechanisms that gradually adjust social and e4nvirnmental norms upwards in the production of goods and the provision of services. Education, health care, social services and culture must be completely excluded from the scope of the General Agreement on trade in Services (GATS) of the WTO.

In the agreement on cultural diversity currently negotiated in UNESCO, the right to culture and to public policy in favor of culture is explicitly given priority over commercial law.

6. Securing the right of every country or federation of countries to food security and sovereignty through promotion of rural agriculture. This requires both the complete abolition of subsidies for the export of agricultural products, particularly by the United States and the European Union and the possibility of taxing imports to prevent dumping practices. Every country or federation of countries should also have the unrestricted right to prevent the production and importation of genetically modified food.

7. Prohibiting every form of patenting knowledge and life (whether human, animal or plant life) and all privatization of the common property of humanity, especially drinking water.

II. ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE: PROMOTING “COOPERATIVE LIFE” IN PEACE AND JUSTICE

The following measures are necessary:

8. First of all, combating all forms of discrimination, sexism, hostility against foreigners, racism and anti-Semitism through different political measures.

9. Taking immediate steps to stop destruction of the environment and the danger of grave climate changes caused by the greenhouse effect and by the rapid growth of traffic and the squandering of non-renewable energy. Existing agreements and treaties should be implemented even if they are inadequate. Another development model should be realized based on an energy-saving way of life and democratic controls on natural mineral resources, particularly drinking water.

10. Military bases of foreign countries should be closed. All foreign troops should be withdrawn except on the explicit mandate of the UN. This is important first of all for Iraq and Palestine.

III. ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE: PROMOTING DEMOCRACY ON LOCAL AND GLOBAL PLANES

The following measures are necessary:

11. Securing the right of individuals to information and to pass on information through legislation that

- Ends the concentration of the media in gigantic communication conglomerates;

- Assures the independence of journalists over against stockholders and

- Promotes a non-profit oriented press especially the alternative and cooperatively organized media.

Observation of these rights presupposes citizens developing counter-powers, particularly in the form of national and international media-tracking stations.

12. Reforming and democratizing international organizations by enforcing economic, social and cultural human rights in the sense of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This priority requires the inclusion of the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO in the decision-making system and the decision-making mechanisms of the United Nations. Amid the continuing violations of international laws by the United States, the headquarters of the United Nations should be transferred from New York to another country, preferably in the South.

Porto Alegre, January 29, 2005

Tariq Ali (Pakistan), Samir Amin (Egypt), Walden Bello (Philippines), Frei Betto (Brazil), Atilio Boron (Argentina), Bernard Cassen (France), Eduardo Galeano (Uruguay), Francois Houtart (Belgium), Armand Mattelart (Belgium), Adolfo Perez Esquivel (Argentina), Riccardo Petrella (Italy), Ignacio Ramonet (Spain), Samuel Ruiz Garcia (Mexico), Emir Sader (Brazil), Jose Saramago (Portugal), Roberto Savio (Italy), Bonaventura de Sousa Santos (Portugal), Animata Traore (Mali), Immanuel Wallenstein (United States)

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