Ten thousand young people from 52 countries are camping here in Porto Alegre, capital of the state of Rio Grande do Sul. Refused entry were members of FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia), ETA (the Spanist terrorist group), James Wolfensohn, the President of the World Bank and Guy Verhofstadt, Prime Minister of Belgium.
The Guatemalan Nobel Peace Prize-winner, Rigoberta Menchu, who was rewarded for her work in defending the rights of the Indians, said that “Western politicians are welcome if they bring a message for the future”, but they have a responsibility “to respect the environment and create well-being for everyone”.
More than 60,000 people are participating in the Forum. There are 13,000 delegates, 700 workshops, 100 seminars and 28 Plenary Conferences. The themes to be debated are pardoning of debt for poor countries, the imposition of taxes on financial transfers (it is intended that these transfers should have a tax levied on them), cultural diversity, new wealth, water as a universal item, food safety and the role of women in globalisation.
This second anti-globalisation Forum intends to portray the message that this movement is more than a handful of hooligans who inflict themselves on cities hosting World Trade Organisation meetings or World Economic Forums.
Mario soares, the ex-President of Portugal, spoke during the inauguration yesterday, claiming that “Neloiberalism, faced by the crisis which it itself, in part, creates, expounds a universal recipe which is always the same: mass dismissals and reduction of tax to foment greater business deals and a greater concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands”.
Instead, Dr. Soares, advised a return to Keynes “but with other paths to follow: stimulating the economy of peace, and not war, trying to solve social, cultural or ecological problems in today’s world, without which there is neither good government, nor sustainable economic development”.
This Forum intends to provide an alternative to the rampant and aggressive capitalism which sweeps round the world like a terrible storm, leaving destruction and misery in its wake. Instead of his obsession with buying and selling weaponry, mankind should be addressing issues such as the eradication of poverty and illiteracy, correcting inequality, combating disease, criminality, marginal activity and defending the environment.
These are the main issues in the centre of the manifestos of every Communist Party around the world. Communism is exactly this. The problem is, people hear the word “Communist” and run for shelter, expecting an imminent invasion of seven-headed monsters. The Forum here in Porto Alegre is intended to change this image.
It is not a Forum of Communists, but a Forum of ideals shared wholeheartedly by the Communists.
Marcia MIRANDA, PRAVDA.Ru BRAZIL In Porto Alegre