The AEPF this year in Brussels brought together citizens for dialogue, solidarity and action, as a platform from which to oppose corporate-dominated, undemocratic and neoliberal responses to ongoing crises.
Amongst many other analyses and debates, the more extensive awareness of the active role of the state and of states in the purportedly highly successful 'market economies' in East Asia and South East Asia is bringing discussion of the role of state back into quite mainstream development discourse.
South Africa is playing a significant role in supporting and extending the power of the World Trade Organisation, a new system of global government. This not only entails South Africa surrendering its own policy-making rights and space, but also means bargaining away the South African peoples’ democratic rights to determine their country’s internal economic, environmental, social and cultural policies.
The current paradigmatic crisis needs to be dealt with at the regional level. In this respect, Latin American movements have already mobilised and placed different models of development and integration at the centre of their struggle. However, the European Union model, whereby integration is geared towards the interests of transnational corporations, should be avoided.
The institutions that are supposed to reproduce daily life are incapable of acting on behalf of the people any more, so we need to produce our own institutional alternatives based on micro-experiments and universal values.
There's widespread disappointment over India's choice of negotiators for the recent dialogue over Kashmir, which looks more like an effort to pretend - in advance of Obama's visit to the country - that the government is "doing something" about the situation.
Mining in India has been significant in contributing to the 45 million people displaced thanks to "development" projects, yet the industry is still not being made to compensate communities for the loss of livelihoods, homes and environmental health.
As images of Pakistan coping with the crisis and of its destitute people were being shown on European television, a French air force helicopter was transporting the richest man in Pakistan to his most extravagant European property, a 16th century chateau.
The ideological reasoning behind UK government policies is that the market is the only way to make public services 'efficient'. Isn't it time we talked about social efficiency, maximising public benefit rather than maximising profit?
The massive concentration and growth of corporate power poses a major threat to what remains of public services, highlighting the ever-deepening crisis of democracy, and the urgent need for people to reclaim the state.
We have to talk to, learn from and support the indigenous movements which have inserted ecosocialist and degrowth like concepts into the formal constitutions, as in the states of Bolivia and Ecuadorian.
The WSF must work to strengthen and deepen the alliance of social movements with environmental campaigners, that was forged in Copenhagen, and broaden the alliance to include peace and conflict organisations as well.
Ben Hayes, Praful Bidwai, Susan George, Walden Bello
29 စက်တင်ဘာလ 2010
Ahead of the Asia Europe People's Forum (AEPF) which coincides with the official ASEM8 summit this year in Brussels, four TNI scholar-activists - Susan George, Praful Bidwai, Ben Hayes and Walden Bello - discuss some of the key struggles facing citizens from both regions.