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29.07.2008 03:01:13

The following is the Porto Alegre manifesto, drafted at the WSF in 2005, one of the most comprehensive alter-globalisation documents. Drafted and signed by Aminata Traoré, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Eduardo Galeano, José Saramago, François Houtart, Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Armand Mattelart, Roberto Savio, Riccardo Petrella, Ignacio Ramonet, Bernard Cassen, Samir Amin, Atilio Boron, Samuel Ruiz Garcia, Tariq Ali, Frei Betto, Emir Sader, Walden Bello, and Immanuel Wallerstein.


Porto Alegre Manifesto:
Twelve proposals for another possible world

Since the first World Social Forum took place on January 2001, the social forum phenomenon has extended itself to all continents, at both national and local levels. It has resulted in the emergence of a worldwide public space for citizenship and strife, and permitted the elaboration of political proposals as alternatives to the tyranny of neoliberal globalisation by financial markets and transnational corporations, with the imperialistic, military power of the United States as its armed exponent.

Thanks to its diversity and solidarity between its actors, and the social movements of which it is composed, the alternative global movement has become a force to be taken into consideration globally. Many of the innumerable proposals which have been put forward on the forums have been supported by many social movements worldwide. We, the signers of the Porto Alegre Manifesto, by no means pretend to speak in the name of the entire World Social Forum, but speak on a strictly personal basis.

We have identified twelve such proposals, which we believe, together, give sense and direction to the construction of another, different world. If they would be implemented, it would allow citizens to take back their own future. We therefore want to submit these fundamentals points to the scrutiny of actors and social movements of all countries. It will be them that, at all levels - worldwide, continentally, nationally and locally - will move forward and fight for these proposals to become reality.

Indeed, we have no illusions about the real commitment of governments and international institutions to spontaneously implement any of these proposals, even though they might claim to do so, out of opportunism.

29.07.2008 02:59:31

The Bamako Appeal was drafted at the the Bamako, Mali, polycentric World Social Forum, offering a comprehensive vision for the building of another possible world , and possible template for an alternative future for globalisation. It was an initiative of the World Forum of Alternatives (Samir Amin et al)



More than five years of worldwide gatherings of people and organizations who oppose neo-liberalism have provided an experience leading to the creation of a new collective conscience. The social forums -- world, thematic, continental or national -- and the Assembly of Social Movements have been the principal architects of this conscience. Meeting in Bamako on Jan. 18, 2006, on the eve of the opening of the Polycentric World Social Forum, the participants during this day dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Bandung Conference have expressed the need to define alternate goals of development, creating a balance of societies, abolishing exploitation by class, gender, race and caste, and marking the route to a new relation of forces between North and South.

The Bamako Appeal aims at contributing to the emergence of a new popular and historical subject, and at consolidating the gains made at these meetings. It seeks to advance the principle of the right to an equitable existence for everyone; to affirm a collective life of peace, justice and diversity; and to promote the means to reach these goals at the local level and for all of humanity.

In order that an historical subject come into existence – one that is diverse, multipolar and from the people – it is necessary to define and promote alternatives capable of mobilizing social and political forces. The goal is a radical transformation of the capitalist system. The destruction of the planet and of millions of human beings, the individualist and consumerist culture that accompanies and nourishes this system, along with its imposition by imperialist powers are no longer tolerable, since what is at stake is the existence of humanity itself. Alternatives to the wastefulness and destructiveness of capitalism draw their strength from a long tradition of popular resistance that also embraces all of the short steps forward indispensable to the daily life of the system’s victims.

The Bamako Appeal, built around the broad themes discussed in subcommittees, expresses the commitment to:

(i) Construct an internationalism joining the peoples of the South and the North who suffer the ravages engendered by the dictatorship of financial markets and by the uncontrolled global deployment of the transnational firms;

(ii) Construct the solidarity of the peoples of Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas confronted with challenges of development in the 21st century;

(iii) Construct a political, economic and cultural consensus that is an alternative to militarized and neo-liberal globalization and to the hegemony of the United States and its allies.

23.07.2008 02:46:49

A proposal for reframing human rights

Chris Richards and Jose Ramos  

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights sets out the minimum standards needed for every person in the world to  live a dignified, peaceful life that is free from injustice. It is a visionary document – one that dreams of a world free from war, genocide and tyranny. It is truly global – one that values each and every person who walks on the face of the earth irrespective of their sex, colour, religion or politics. For progressive people, it presents the primary foundations for building a better world.

But as a topic, human rights isn’t exciting public attention. Like peace, many people refer to human rights as if it was passé – a leftover from the loony left. There are a number of reasons. First, in political theory and public thinking, individual Responsibilities are overtaking Rights as the method to leverage social change (in use, for instance, to address disparities in the economic, social and political access held by Aboriginal communities and those without work). This effectively passes the ‘buck’ for social justice outcomes from governments to the people.

Second, in political parlance ‘values’ have overtaken ‘rights’ as the benchmarks for minimum standards expected in a civil society. Values are hot. Human rights are not. Thus, in a recent interview given to The Age, Federal Treasurer Peter Costello denied any immediate aspirations to become Prime Minister and nominated instead his agenda of three items: security, immigration and values. Yet politicians like Peter Costello who advocate that this country needs to govern and educate according to its values give very little guidance about what those values might be (see below for some examples). This ‘values vacuum’ creates an opportunity for us. Values are politically presented as standards of conduct that should be promoted by governments, our communities and our schools. If we can fill the ‘values vacuum’ with human rights (that are framed much more seductively than in the normal way we talk about human rights) then the public may warm more to the social justice outcomes that these rights offer. Before we develop this idea further,

lets take a look at….



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