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Porto Alegre: Viva Lula

"No Global regards economic growth as a deadly weapon of capitalist globalization. .Increased production is the only standard of the prosperity of a people and the whole world, the compass of all policy.. Roberto Brambilla proposed replacing economic growth with a new indicator, DoS (Dashboard of Sustainability." This article on the Porto Alegre convergence is translated from the German on Indymedia.Germany.
Porto Alegre: Viva Lula

Chomsky Attacks the US. Ovations for Him and the Presidential Candidates of the Left

By Roberto Greco

[This article published in: Indymedia Germany, February 4, 2002 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, www.indymedia.de/2002/02/15172.html.]

The No Global movement has survived another exam, the final exam. It has decided to renounce on the "spectacular" and not paralyze the forum of parliamentarians with occupation of their assembly hall or the like. This surprised everyone. We journalists have prepared ourselves to be there where it starts. The different delegations of the countries are attacked; the battle between socialists and No Global materializes. The final document which doesn't include an unequivocal condemnation of the Afghanistan war could be an object of attack. The Italian delegation of No Global gathered for a short time and came to a decision that broke open everything. Agnolletto explained to the journalists: "The parliamentarians should choose what seems right to them. If they don't condemn the war, we condemn it. We will write a condemnation of the parliamentarians' forum in our final document. We demand as of today that none of the many fores should send anyone through the world who doesn't represent the two criteria: No to liberalism and No to war, a full stop, Basta."

The other delegations welcomed the Italian proposal. A discreet test of strength occurred. A scenario was avoided that would have drawn all the attention of the mass media and pushed the rest into the shadows. A discussion was marginalized in which a whirlpool with thousands and thousands of objections and themes concerning the future of humanity's civil and social cooperative life appeared in an incredible climate of seriousness. Some delegates from Rifondazione and other communist parties and the European Greens were a little satisfied. In the forum of the parliamentarians, they stood alone to protest war. At the end , they completed a document that sounded somewhat more pacifist than the initial document.

Enthusiasm for Lula

The forum attained its full power on February 1, 2002. The university campus called PUC (Pontificia Universidade catholica) was a unique Babel. Understanding the locations and themes of the different seminars was nearly impossible. At every hour, improvised meetings, press conferences and small or large demonstrations occurred. Two demonstrations were staged yesterday supporting Palestine plus one for union rights , one against war and one for Argentina and Colombia. Lastly there was a very spontaneous demonstration for Lula, the candidate of the left in the Brazilian presidential election.

When he entered the university complex, the end of the world resounded. Thousands of young persons received Lula with tumultuous applause and slogans. One slogan was heard again and again: "President, President, Long live Lula the comrade President." Hearts jumped. Imagining so much enthusiasm of young persons on account of a presidential candidate may be hard in European countries. The phrase "comrade President" inevitably provoked the painful memory of Allende and those miserable and bloody times for Latin America.

The Attack by Chomsky

The only one who surpassed Lula in popularity was Chomsky. Chomsky is the absolute idol of this movement. On Thursday evening, a conference on war was held in a very large auditorium accomodating three or four thousand hearers. Before the auditorium, there was a terrible racket. Chomsky could not enter since ten thousand persons crowded the entrance and blocked everything. In great haste, the organizers had to change their plans and set up picture screens in three other large auditoriums. The conference began more than an hour late.

Chomsky opened the attack against the United States at Porto Alegre. He said that the US misused September 11 to strengthen its oppressive power over the world and presented again his analysis on the terrorism of the United States. According to Chomsky, this terrorism reached its peak in the times of Reagan and is one of the important points in the foreign policy of the US.

The Ecology of Shiva and Sachs

The theme "Attack on the US" was certainly one of the key motifs of the whole forum. For example, this attack was taken up again in the discussion on sustainable development. Two important leaders ("the most intelligent minds") of the No Global movement spoke here, Vandana Shiva, scientist and chairwoman of India's social and feminist movement who is more than famous, and Wolfgang Sachs, chairperson of Greenpeace Germany, one of the best Green leaders in the world. Shiva and Sachs gave two very similar addresses that could be summarized as follows: The capacity of humanity has exceeded the limits of the capacity of the biosphere. Therefore ecology is the central intersection of politics and philosophy.

Ecology isn't the defense of rare plants or animal species. Ecology represents a theory that the space and wealth of the environment must be shared equally among people. Each of us has the same rights to water, food and the environment. Water, food and the environment are natural rights which states cannot control but must respect. Ecology is the basis of the new egalitarianism. The main enemy of this ecological policy is the United States.

This country is unjustly regarded as the land of freedom. It is a land that strives to limit the freedom of the great majority of people to elevate a tiny minority. However there is no freedom for a few or democracy for the few. Freedom and democracy are one and indivisible. Not much more time - 50 years - is available for this ecological social policy, Sachs emphasized.

War on Economic Growth

Another strong theme of the forum was the war on economic growth. No Global views economic growth as a deadly weapon of capitalist globalization. Increased production is constantly in the center of everything. As the only standard of the prosperity of a people and the whole world, the compass of all policy, increased production is a compass of the classes and races, a compass of sexism. Roberto Brambilla of Rete Lilliput proposed replacing economic growth with a new indicator, DoS (Dashboard of Sustainability). DoS is calculated on the basis of indexes like distribution capacity, gross national product, social services, toxic emissions, protection of the forests etc. Brambilla said that the wealth of every country can be translated into available productive hectars. The Italian living standard requires 4.5 productive hectars per person while in reality only 1.5 hectars are available. How can the difference be held out? In Africa and Asia, this means that every Italian (on the average) robs at least two Africans or Asians of 3 hectars of land and makes them landless. This lifestyle is clearly not sustainable and must be changed.

Africa's Extortion

At the conference on health care, the representatives of the African countries explained that acts of disobedience against the medical patents (the exorbitant prices of medicines inflating the profits of multinationals) were impossible. When an African country decides not to pay the costs of patents and produce its own medicines (which is technically possible), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund immediately cut all grants and condemn the country to death. Who decides at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund? The weight of votes is proportional to the money possessed by every country. 50% of the shares are in the hands of the seven richest states of the world.


Wake Up!

... If `the left' can unite on these principles, there is still a chance of stopping predatory capitalism. The praxis in many countries revealing `citizen councils' against corruption as control organs of the governments and unfit shows us alternatives. We should not stylize America as guilty but American firms and banks.


What is Predatory Capitalism?

What is predator capitalism? Capitalism is capitalism and therefore rotten because it is capitalism. No `citizen council' against corruption helps. Capitalism cannot function without corruption. We need no capitalism, not a better capitalism.

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