WSF Tunis

Declaration of the Assembly of Social Movements – World Social Forum 2013 29 March 2013, Tunisia

31 March 2013 by Assembly of Social Movements

As the Assembly of Social Movements of the World Social Forum of Tunisia, 2013, we are gathered here to affirm the fundamental contribution of peoples of Maghreb-Mashrek (from North Africa to the Middle East), in the construction of human civilization. We affirm that decolonization for oppressed peoples remains for us, the social movements of the world, a challenge of the greatest importance.

Through the WSF process, the Assembly of Social Movements is the place where we come together through our diversity, in order to forge common struggles and a collective agenda to fight against capitalism, patriarchy, racism and all forms of discrimination and oppression. We have built a common history of work which led to some progress, particularly in Latin America, where we have been able to intervene in neoliberal alliances and to create several alternatives for just development that truly honors nature.

Together, the peoples of all the continents are fighting to oppose the domination of capital, hidden behind illusory promises of economic progress and the illusion of political stability. Now, we are at a crossroads where retrograde and conservative forces want to stop the processes initiated two years ago with the uprisings in the Maghreb-Mashreq region that helped to bring down dictatorships and to challenge the neoliberal system imposed on the peoples. These uprisings have spread to all continents of the world inspiring indignation and occupation of public places.

People all over the world are suffering the effects of the aggravation of a profound crisis of capitalism, in which its agents (banks, transnational corporations, media conglomerates, international institutions, and governments complicit with neoliberalism) aim at increasing their profits by applying interventionist and neocolonial policies.

War, military occupations, free-trade neoliberal treaties and “austerity measures” are expressed in economic packages that privatize the common good, and public services, cut wages and rights, increase unemployment, overload women ́s care work and destroys nature. Such policies strike the richer countries of the North harder and are increasing migration, forced displacement, evictions, debt, and social inequalities such as in Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, Italy, Ireland and the Spanish State.

They re-enforce conservatism and the control over women ́s bodies and lives. In addition, they seek to impose “green economy” as a solution to the environmental and food crisis, which not only exacerbates the problem, but leads to commodification, privatization and financialization of life and nature.

We denounce the intensification of repression to people ́s rebellions, the assassination of the leadership of social movements, the criminalization of our struggles and our proposals. We assert that people must not continue to pay for this systemic crisis and that there is no solution inside the capitalist system! Here, in Tunes, we reaffirm our committment to come together to forge a common strategy to guide our struggles against capitalism. This is why we, social movements, struggle:

- Against transnational corporations and the financial system (IMF IMF
International Monetary Fund
Along with the World Bank, the IMF was founded on the day the Bretton Woods Agreements were signed. Its first mission was to support the new system of standard exchange rates.

When the Bretton Wood fixed rates system came to an end in 1971, the main function of the IMF became that of being both policeman and fireman for global capital: it acts as policeman when it enforces its Structural Adjustment Policies and as fireman when it steps in to help out governments in risk of defaulting on debt repayments.

As for the World Bank, a weighted voting system operates: depending on the amount paid as contribution by each member state. 85% of the votes is required to modify the IMF Charter (which means that the USA with 17,68% % of the votes has a de facto veto on any change).

The institution is dominated by five countries: the United States (16,74%), Japan (6,23%), Germany (5,81%), France (4,29%) and the UK (4,29%).
The other 183 member countries are divided into groups led by one country. The most important one (6,57% of the votes) is led by Belgium. The least important group of countries (1,55% of the votes) is led by Gabon and brings together African countries.

http://imf.org
, WB World Bank
WB
The World Bank was founded as part of the new international monetary system set up at Bretton Woods in 1944. Its capital is provided by member states’ contributions and loans on the international money markets. It financed public and private projects in Third World and East European countries.

It consists of several closely associated institutions, among which :

1. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, 180 members in 1997), which provides loans in productive sectors such as farming or energy ;

2. The International Development Association (IDA, 159 members in 1997), which provides less advanced countries with long-term loans (35-40 years) at very low interest (1%) ;

3. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which provides both loan and equity finance for business ventures in developing countries.

As Third World Debt gets worse, the World Bank (along with the IMF) tends to adopt a macro-economic perspective. For instance, it enforces adjustment policies that are intended to balance heavily indebted countries’ payments. The World Bank advises those countries that have to undergo the IMF’s therapy on such matters as how to reduce budget deficits, round up savings, enduce foreign investors to settle within their borders, or free prices and exchange rates.

http://worldbank.org
and WTO WTO
World Trade Organisation
The WTO, founded on 1st January 1995, replaced the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT). The main innovation is that the WTO enjoys the status of an international organization. Its role is to ensure that no member States adopt any kind of protectionism whatsoever, in order to accelerate the liberalization global trading and to facilitate the strategies of the multinationals. It has an international court (the Dispute Settlement Body) which judges any alleged violations of its founding text drawn up in Marrakesh.

http://wto.org
)
, who are the main agents of the capitalist system, privatizing life, public services and common goods Common goods In economics, common goods are characterized by being collectively owned, as opposed to either privately or publicly owned. In philosophy, the term denotes what is shared by the members of one community, whether a town or indeed all humanity, from a juridical, political or moral standpoint. such as water, air, land, seeds and mineral resources, promoting wars and violations of human rights. Transnational corporations reproduce extractionist practices endangering life and nature, grabbing our lands and developing genetically modified seeds and food, taking away the peoples’ right to food and destroying biodiversity.

We fight for the cancellation of illegitimate and odious debt which today is a global instrument of domination, repression and economic and financial strangulation of people. We reject free trade agreements that are imposed by States and transnational corporations and we affirm that it is possible to build another kind of globalization, made from and by the people, based on solidarity and on freedom of movement for all the human beings.

- For climate justice and food sovereignty, because we now that global climate change is a product of the capitalist system of production, distribution and consumption. Transnational corporations, international financial institutions and governments serving them do not want to reduce greenhouse gases. We denounce “green economy” and refuse false solutions to the climate crisis such as biofuels, genetically modified organisms Genetically Modified Organisms
GMO
Living organisms (plant or animal) which have undergone genetic manipulation in order to modify their characteristics, usually to make them resistant to a herbicide or pesticide. In 2000, GMOs were planted over more than 40 million hectares, three quarters of that being soybeans and maize. The main countries involved in this production are the USA, Argentina and Canada. Genetically modified plants are usually produced intensively for cattle fodder for the rich countries. Their existence raises three problems.


- The health problem. Apart from the presence of new genes whose effects are not always known, resistance to a herbicide implies that the producer will be increasing use of the herbicide. GMO products (especially American soybeans) end up gorged with herbicide whose effects on human health are unknown. Furthermore, to incorporate a new gene, it is associated with an antibiotic-resistant gene. Healthy cells are heavily exposed to the herbicide and the whole is cultivated in a solution with this antibiotic so that only the modified cells are conserved.


- The legal problem. GMOs are only being developed on the initiative of big agro-business transnationals like Monsanto, who are after the royalties on related patents. They thrust aggressively forward, forcing their way through legislation that is inadequate to deal with these new issues. Farmers then become dependent on these firms. States protect themselves as best they can, but often go along with the firms, and are completely at a loss when seed thought not to have been tampered with is found to contain GMOs. Thus, genetically modified rape seed was destroyed in the north of France in May 2000 (Advanta Seeds). Genetically modified maize on 2600 ha in the southern French department of Lot et Garonne was not destroyed in June 2000 (Golden Harvest). Taco Bell corn biscuits were withdrawn from distribution in the USA in October 2000 (Aventis). Furthermore, when the European Parliament voted on the recommendation of 12/4/2000, an amendment outlining the producers’ responsibilities was rejected.


- The food problem. GMOs are not needed in the North where there is already a problem of over-production and where a more wholesome, environmentally friendly agriculture needs to be promoted. They are also useless to the South, which cannot afford such expensive seed and the pesticides that go with it, and where it could completely disrupt traditional production. It is clear, as is borne out by the FAO, that hunger in the world is not due to insufficient production.

For more information see Grain’s website : https://www.grain.org/.
and mechanisms of the carbon market like REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), which ensnare impoverished peoples with false promises of progress while privatizing and commodifying the forests and territories where these peoples have been living for thousands of years.

We defend the food sovereignty and support sustainable peasant agriculture which is the true solution to the food and climate crises and includes access to land for all who work on it. Because of this, we call for a mass mobilisation to stop the landgrab and support local peasants struggles.

- Against violence against women, often conducted in militarily occupied territories, but also violence affecting women who are criminalized for taking part in social struggles. We fight against domestic and sexual violence perpetrated on women because they are considered objects or goods, because the sovereignty of their bodies and minds is not acknowledged. We fight against the traffic of women, girls and boys.

We defend sexual diversity, the right to gender self-determination and we oppose all homophobia and sexist violence.

- For peace and against war, colonialism, occupations and the militarization of our lands.

We denounce the false discourse of human rights defense and fight against fundamentalism, that often justify these military occupations such as in Haiti, Líbia, Mali and Syria. We defend the right to people’s sovereignty and self-determination such as in Palestine, Western Sahara and Kurdistan.

We denounce the instalation of foreign military bases to instigate conflicts, to control and ransack natural resources, and to foster dictatorships in several countries. We struggle for the freedom of organization in trade unions, social movements, associations and other forms of peaceful resistance. Let’s strengthen our tools of solidarity among peoples such as boycott, disinvestment and sanctions against Israel and the struggle against NATO NATO
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
NATO ensures US military protection for the Europeans in case of aggression, but above all it gives the USA supremacy over the Western Bloc. Western European countries agreed to place their armed forces within a defence system under US command, and thus recognize the preponderance of the USA. NATO was founded in 1949 in Washington, but became less prominent after the end of the Cold War. In 2002, it had 19 members: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the UK, the USA, to which were added Greece and Turkey in 1952, the Federal Republic of Germany in 1955 (replaced by Unified Germany in 1990), Spain in 1982, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic in 1999.
and to ban all nuclear weapons.

- For democratization of mass media and building alternative media, that are fundamental to overthrow the capitalist logics.

Inspired by the history of our struggles and by the strength of people on the streets, the Assembly of Social Movements call upon all people to mobilize and develop actions - coordinated at world level – in a global Day of mobilization on the XXXX (day to decide)

Social movements of the world, let us advance towards a global unity to shatter the capitalist system! No more exploitation, no more patriarchy, racism and colonialism! Viva la revolution! Long live the people’s struggle.

Communique of Assembly of Social Movements facilitating group in Tunisia

We, the facilitation group of the Assembly of Social movements, wish to inform the public regarding the events that took place at the end of the assembly on march 29th of 2013, at the World Social Forum in Tunisia.

The program of the Assembly – a self-organized event supported by more than 50 organizations active in the World Social Forum - was interrupted in an aggresive manner by Moroccan delegates. They took over the stage and violently attempted to prevent the reading of the last section of the declaration where we were affirming that we “defend the right of peoples to self-determination and sovereignty, as in Palestine, the Western Sahara, and Kurdistan.”

Time for public comments was planned after the reading of the declaration, but that became impossible because of the verbal and physical threats that were made against the MCs of the assembly. In light of the difficulty of continuing the debate, we announced that the end of the assembly once the reading of the declaration was finished.

We vehemently condemn this ocurrence and remind everyone that this is not the first time this ocurrs at the World Social Forum. We have documented that people who identify as members of civil society, from Morocco or the Moroccan diaspora in Europe, took similar actions at the Mediterranean Social Forum, which took place in Cataluña in 2005, and at the World Social Forum of 2011 in Dakar, where they interrupted the Women’s Assembly and made it impossible to state the affirmation of the defense of the self-determination of Saharawi women.
Furthermore, in Dakar there were sistematic acts of provocation and disturbance of activities organized by the Saharawi delegation.

This behavior is unacceptable. Furthermore, it contradicts the values of freedom of expresion, democracy, and mutual respect that are expressed in the Charter of Principles of the World Social Forum, and the principle of self-determination of peoples. These ocurrences should be noted when we discuss the future of the WSF.

We affirm, once again, our solidarity and active commitment with the Saharawi people and in favor of the respect for international agreements that recognize their rights. We re-affirm our position against intolerance and in favor of space for collaboration between men and women in the same struggle. We demand from the governments of Morocco and Tunisia the security of the social movement activists from those countries, and we call on all the participants in the WSF process who are committed to the Charter of Principles to stay informed regarding these events and alert for inititiaves of solidarity and protection on behalf of the international activists that are not afraid to defend the struggle of the Saharawi people for self-determination.

March 31, 2013, Tunis.

- CADTM
- CUT
- FDIM
- GGJ
- IAC
- MMF MMF
Money Market Funds
Mutual investment funds that invest in securities, including money funds.

- PPHERC
- Stop the Wall
- Via Campesina

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Translation(s)

CADTM

COMMITTEE FOR THE ABOLITION OF ILLEGITIMATE DEBT

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info@cadtm.org

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