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(en) Call for PGA Asian and Gender Conference

From "dr.woooo" <dr.woooo@nomasters.org>
Date Sun, 25 May 2003 18:29:55 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E

> http://www.nadir.org/nadir/initiativ/agp/free/imf/asia/2003conference.htm
> http://www.agp.org
PGA Conference 7-14/9/2003, Bangladesh
Caravan in South -East Asia 1-24 July 2003
Call and Application Form for Conference and Caravan
Call for PGA Asian and Gender Conference
7-14 September 2003
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Caravan in South - East Asia 1-24 July 2003


The global campaign against capitalist globalization is on the increase. There
have been already many significant demonstrations, resistance, movements,
protests and many forms of non-violent direction action taking place in
different parts of the world. All of these actions are anti- imperialist in
character. Various types of networks built all over the world are playing an
important role in this connection.

PGA (People's Global Action) is one of them that is completely against 'Free'
trade and WTO. PGA is theonly network that has a clear and concrete stance
against the undemocratic and dominating institution, the WTO. It is totally
against the WTO and it thinks that WTO cannot be negotiated with at all as it
is illegal and undemocratic. It believes in local alternatives to the WTO that
would be viable and where people would be the main focus of all activities. The
PGA network is stronger in the west than in Asia. But the imprudent policy of
the WTO will affect Asia more, since most of the countries in Asia are poor and
agro-based. That's why, it is important to hold a PGA conference in Asia that
will expedite the building of PGA process.

The proposed conference is of importance in this sense that the WTO is planning
to make new destructive agreements on Investment, Competition and Government
Procurement in the next round in Cancun, Mexico to be held on November 2003.
After the failure of Seattle and Doha Ministerial Meeting the WTO is going to
hold it 5th ministerial in order to have expected results. In order to impose
many their decisions they had a mini-ministerial of rich countries that are
actually dominating the WTO in Sydney, Australia this month. The PGA conference
will have a good chance to discuss on the continued conspiracy of the WTO and
to take strategy towards Cancun.

Moreover, women in Asia in many respects bear the brunt of the capitalist
globalization process. They are losing their jobs and being deprived and
persecuted in many ways. Apart from that, women are the victims of extreme
discrimination and violence. So, the gender discussion will be given the
highest priority in the conference and there will be a session dedicated to
gender issues such as violence against women, unequal access to land, loss of
access to common property, discriminatory treatment to women in society, etc.

Activities of PGA in Asia: So far, two major activities have taken place in the
Asian continent. The second International Conference of PGA was held in 1999 in
Bengalore, India and the first South Asian Regional Conference of PGA in 2000
in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Besides, different grassroots movements take part in
different action/activities of PGA performed in Europe, America and Latin
America. Now is the time to consolidate the PGA process in Asia into an active,
sustained and living process of solidarity and mutual support between peoples'
movements in Asia.

Globalization process in Asia: In most of the Asian countries, the capitalist
globalization process has been taking place for a long time. After all, reform
activities under the so-called Structural Adjustment Programs started in these
countries in the 1980s. However, globalization formally started here since the
early nineties with the introduction of a free market economy of which sum and
substance are trade liberalization, privatization, etc. Because of this policy
all the countries encounter severe poverty, unemployment, displacement of
people, an increase in discrimination between rich and poor, destruction of
industries and agriculture. Almost all countries of Asia had signed up to the
GATT agreement except Vietnam. The big country like China that could play a
crucial role to delegitimise the WTO took membership one year ago. Now they are
formally and legally bound to perform all sorts of reform activities suggested
by the imperialism, by so-called donor agencies like World Bank/IMF, and the
WTO. The peoples of Asia are, however, subject to a range of other domination
aside from the process of capitalist globalization and the institutions that
enforce such processes. For example, unequal access to resource and forms of
physical violence are not only the result of capitalist globalization, but also
because of more locally derived social, political and economic structures.

People's movements involved in the PGA process do not only reject capitalist
globalization, they also reject all forms of domination while espousing an
organizational philosophy based on decentralization and autonomy.

PGA Hallmarks:

1. A very clear rejection of capitalism, imperialism and feudalism; all
agreements, institutions and governments that promote destructive
2. We reject all forms and systems of domination and discrimination
but not limited to, patriarchy, racism and religious fundamentalism of all
creeds. We embrace the full dignity of all human beings.
3. A confrontational attitude, since we do not think that lobbying can
have a
major impact in such biased and undemocratic organizations, in which
transnational capital is the only real policy-maker;
4. A call to direct action and civil disobedience, support for social
movements' struggles, advocating forms of resistance which maximize respect for
life and oppressed peoples' rights, as well as the construction of local
alternatives to global capitalism;
5. An organizational philosophy based on decentralization and autonomy
What is
PGA in short?

PGA is a tool for coordination, not an organization. PGA has no members and
does not have and will not have a juridical personality. No organization or
person represents the PGA, nor does the PGA represent any organization or
person. PGA will limit itself to facilitating coordination and exchange of
information between grassroots movements through conferences and means of

Sustained Campaigns of PGA:

a. Campaign against state militarism and para-militarism:
b. Campaign for defense and recognition of self-determination and land
sovereignty of all people: tierranadir.org
c. Campaign against all privatization: nosevendenadir.org
d. Campaign on construction of alternative models to the capitalist
based on education and formation: alternadir.org

The possible countries to attend the conference: The conference is open to all
people's movements in Asia that support and feel comfortable with the PGA

Conference agenda:

* Identify movements that we can involve in the PGA network in order to
build a
worldwide resistance movement against imperialism.
* To operationalize the sustained campaigns.
* How to support other movements in the network? Or work on ways to
mutual support amongst the many struggles of the movements involved in the PGA
Asia process.
* Brief presentation of the movements attending the conference
* Discussion of the impacts of capitalist globalization in Asia.
* The impacts of US militarism in Asia.
* Workshop on gender perspective.
* To share experience and alternative visions of economic, political and
* Strategy towards next round of the WTO in Cancun, Mexico.

Focal Issues:

The question of land has become a big issue in many Asian countries. To take
the case of Bangladesh as an example: the people are losing their important
land properties day by day. The people in the rural areas in Asian countries
who are losing their land are gradually migrating to the cities. These people
are subject to the pressures of capitalist globalization and a number of other
forms of domination. Because of the so-called green revolution the entire
agricultural sector has become a losing sector. The peasants are extremely
indebted. They are unable to sustain their farms, have no reproductive capacity
and have no purchasing capacity Acute poverty, malnutrition, pauperization,
illiteracy, the push migration, lack of health facilities, etc, accompany them.
There are lots of common property resources that the local big landowners have
been enjoying for a long time. The Khas (Fallow) agricultural and non-
agricultural land is one of them. As per government land law the landless men
and women have greater access to this land but owing to the bureaucratic
complexities they can not gain that access. The Khasland occupation movement is
struggling against these injustices.

Another focal issue is mineral resource - especially oil and gas. In Asia this
important resource is the main target of US imperialism. In the case of
Bangladesh they are trying to convince the government in the guise of different
diplomatic initiatives to lease out all the wells to the foreign multinational
companies and to get approval for the export of gas to India through pipeline.
Already the foreign companies have signed a Production Sharing Contract (PSC)
with the Bangladesh government. According to this contract, different companies
have been leased out blocks (the entire country is divided into blocks for
exploration) for exploring and extracting oil and gas. In order to make their
operation unhindered, the US administration wants to make a military base on
the coastal belt of Bangladesh through an agreement called SOFA (Status of
Forces Agreement).

Such type of agreement also exists in South Korea. In accordance with this
agreement US military will have the right to enter Bangladesh without passport
or visa at any time. Even if they commit any crime here, the Bangladesh
government cannot try them. The people of Bangladesh are protesting against
this anti-people decision of the government. This intensification of
militarisation in the region is, of course, not unique to Bangladesh. In the
aftermath of the S11 terrorist attack in New York and the recent terrorist
bombing in Bali the US and its few remaining allies have already launched a war
in Afghanistan and are planning to bomb, invade and occupy Iraq. In such a
context, the issue of militarism has become a major concern of social movements
participating in the worldwide struggle against capitalist globalization. By
the way all these things are completely against the human being.

Objectives of the conference:

* Build a strong network of PGA in Asia
* Start a sustained consultation process among the movements in Asia.
* Establish a strong solidarity among Asian people.
* Build consensus about the role of imperialism as well as the
* Build mobilization on gender issue.

Schedule: The conference will be held from 7-14 September 2003. The caravan
will start in South East Asia on 1-21 July 2003.

Venue: Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Logistics: As the grassroots movements in Asia are facing severe financial
crisis, the delegates from the movements in Asia will be provided with ticket
costs, food and accommodation. Invited persons from Europe and America will not
be given ticket costs. It would be covered by themselves but food and
accommodation would be provided.

Badrul Alam, PGA Asia Convenor, with delegates of all movements participating
in the PGA process in Asia.

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