One week before the official Asia-Europe government meeting (ASEM) gathers in Milan, over 400 people from 42 countries in Europe and Asia gathered at the 10th Asia-Europe Peoples forum (AEPF) to present their demands and recommendations.
In the long term we have to transcend capitalism as it cannot ensure a decent livelihood for all nor is it compatible with preserving necessary ecological balances. In the short-term we must start out with basic social democratic demands.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In response to the aggressive corporate-led trade agenda of the EU, social movements from Latin America and Europe are mounting an Alternative Peoples’ Summit, the Enlazando Alternativas 4, which takes place from May 14-17 in Madrid.
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.