Onward to Belém, the global network of social movements appeal to get out in the streets on 26th of January 2008 to act together for another world

5 November 2007

Today social movements are confronted by a new phase in the capitalist neoliberal system’s offensive. This period is characterised above all by a state of permanent global war. For most of the human race this war means recolonisation. Using the ‘war on terror’ as a cover, this war aims at controlling natural resources by pillaging peoples the world over. American projects in the ‘Greater Middle East’ and South America are the most visible signs of this. Nevertheless, they cannot cover up the ‘forgotten wars’ in Africa and Asia. The governments of the state of Israel expansion is also part of this desire to subjugate the whole planet.

Mobilising social movements against this state of permanent war means defining new cross-border ways of ensuring solidarity with those peoples that are mounting resistance. However, the violence the system uses does not just manifest itself in open warfare against ‘peoples who resist neoliberal thinking’. Other weapons used to break down resistance are the repression of social movements and the restriction of basic rights. Military occupation and the establishment of foreign bases are an open attack on peoples’ sovereignty and their desire to cast off the shackles of imperial domination.

Other forms of violence, such as the forced displacement of people and expropriation of land, are the result of a desire to commodify land, water and other natural resources. This state of war affects society as a whole and violence becomes the natural means of oppression. Women are amongst the first victims. The planet itself is suffering the consequences of the system’s headlong rush. The concept of maximum profit Profit The positive gain yielded from a company’s activity. Net profit is profit after tax. Distributable profit is the part of the net profit which can be distributed to the shareholders. at maximum speed leads to climate change and pollution and endangers the natural equilibrium.

Such violence affects all aspects of social life. People who reject the privatisation of natural resources, which only benefits multinationals, are likened to terrorists. By questioning the sovereignty of the people, the use and division of their natural resources and products, the very foundations of democracy are being undermined. Dictatorships and corruption thrive in this environment. Basic rights are denied to the victims, the producing classes, small holders, etc. The poorest people are in an even more precarious position both in the global North and the global South. Billions of people are deprived of basic public goods such as education, health and the right to housing.

Farmer and fishermen organisations, as well as the population as a whole, demand food sovereignty in order to satisfy their needs independently of the world market.

People who fall victim to these policies and the conflicts linked to them are often forced to flee their country. In the era of free movement of capital a fundamental task of the social movements we belong to is defending migrants’ rights, the rights of those fleeing neoliberalism and oppression, and the rights of women fleeing from forced marriages or sexual mutilation, as well as defending sexual diversity.

The patriarchal system is reinforced by the dominant economic set-up. Trafficking of women and children and prostitution are further proof of the commoditisation of all aspects of life. The situation of women at work is exacerbated further, especially in free trade areas where they account for a large part of the labour force and enjoy few rights.

Our direct enemies are clearly identified. The G8 G8 Group composed of the most powerful countries of the planet: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the USA, with Russia a full member since June 2002. Their heads of state meet annually, usually in June or July. , devoted to the interests of transnationals, but also the World Bank World Bank
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, 189 members in 2017), 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.

and the 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.

, who impose their policies and are the motors behind this recolonisation. The debt imposed by these institutions not only allows the privatisation of the world’s wealth but also the transfer of wealth produced in the South to the dominant classes, based for the most part in the North.

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.

and bilateral agreements further aggravate the situation. In areas such as agriculture, labour, environment, intellectual property, migration or the liberalisation of services, restrictions are imposed on people throughout the world. States themselves encourage these policies or even apply them.

The challenge for social movements is to ensure joint global mobilisation against these enemies both in developing countries and in developed countries, where people also suffer the effects of these policies.

We should also note the difficulties the capitalist system faces in its attempts to reach its objectives. It has faced significant setbacks at the hands of popular resistance. Our greatest victory, however, is burying the false idea that there is no possible alternative. The idea that there is only one train of thought has been called into question and the legitimacy of the dominant system is being challenged on a massive scale.

In the continuity of the world Social Forum process, and the ongoing work of building alliances between our social movements, of which the Brussels’ meeting in October 2006 is an important step, the social movements, here present in Belem, call to participate actively to the global days of action, which will culminate on 26th of January 2008

Belem, 30th of October 2007

Signatories :

FMJD (Federación Mundial de juventudes democraticas)
CADTM Belgique
Alternatives International ( Alternatives Canada, AIC, IPAM, Terrazul, etc )
Conselho Pan-Amazonico
Instituto Mauricio Grabois ( IMG) Belém - Brasil
CUT Brasil
Marcha Mundial das Mulheres
Via Campesina
European Marches against unemployment Precarity and Social exclusion
Encuentros Hemisfericos
Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC), USA
Jubileu Sul America / Grito continental
CADTM Pakistan - National Trade Union Federation
OCLAE ( Organisation Continental Latino Americana y caribeña de estudiantes )
Marcha Mundial de las Mulheres
Focus in the Global South
CLACSO- LPP / Cebrapaz-pa/Cada)
Congress of South Africal Trade Union ( COSATU)
FDIM (Federaçao Democratica Internacional de Mulheres)
Convergencia de los movimientos de los pueblos de los Americas (COMPA)
Grupo de Trabalho Amazonico
Facultad de Ciencias Política-UNAM - Puente de Ixtla, Morelos- UNAM
Confederazione COBAS
Nord-Sud XXI - Suisse
Vikas Adhyayan Kendra ( India )
Comité Exécutif régional de l’APC (Assemblée des Peuples de la Caraïbe)
La Ligue pour la Justice, le Développment et les Droits de l’Homme - LJDH - Mali
Centro Brasileiro de Solidariedade aos Povos e Luta pela Paz - CEBRAPAZ
Forum Social Sénégalais ( FSS)
Kenya Debt Relief Network (KENDREN)
Anjuman Asiaye Awan - GCAP/MDGs Campaign Coordinator Pakistan
AMSEL / CADTM Lubumbashi - RDC
FDIM (Federaçao Democratica Internacional de Mulheres)
Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio - RMALC
Social Movements Indaba, South Africa



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