MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH


January 28, 2003

The Writing On The Wall Series #13: Chronicling the Fall Into the Abyss and the Heroic Efforts to Prevent it


Hello everyone

I guess the title says it all...

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
http://www.EarthRainbowNetwork.com

This compilation is archived at
http://www.EarthRainbowNetwork.com/Archives2003/WritingWall13.htm

Check also my latest Media Compilation #111: "George W Bush: The Great Dissension Builder" at
http://www.EarthRainbowNetwork.com/Archives2003/MediaCompilation111.htm

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Don't miss this Wednesday, Jan 29, at 8 PM, Global Tribe a new PBS Special with Helen Samuels (a good friend of mine and an ERN subscriber) amongst others. This episode reflects the collaboration between the intentional community "C.E.S. Tierra Viva", an urban greening project run by youth in Mexico City and "Mexcalibur", a project born from the Ecovillage Huehuecoyotl in Tepoztlan, Mexico. Check also at http://www.pbs.org/globaltribe for more details.


"The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking... the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker."

- Albert Einstein


CONTENTS

1. Military Power Threatens the Planet
2. U.S. Weighs Tactical Nuclear Strike on Iraq
3. Hiroshima Peace Declaration: No Annihilation Without Representation
4. More than 100,000 expected at `anti-Davos' World Social Forum in Brazil
5. Life at the alternative Davos


See also:

Some cheer, some cry, many die
http://www.yellowtimes.org/article.php?sid=802

Terrorists and nuclear weapons
http://www.yellowtimes.org/article.php?sid=801

The Alienated State of America: A Hateful Divide (Jan. 28)
http://mutanex.com/alienated
Here at the dawn of a new millennium, every person in America shares a fate with every other person in the world: we have been colonized by a tight-knit web of elitists bent on military superiority, in a struggle over dwindling resources, with a global agenda.




1.

From: "Mark Graffis" <mgraffis@hotmail.com>

Published on January 24, 2003
by the Roanoke Times (Virginia)

Military Power Threatens the Planet

Wisdom Hasn't Advanced with Technology

by Alwyn Moss

WITH EVERY passing day, the likelihood of war in the Gulf region grows despite the efforts of many people, in and out of the realm of international and national politics, to prevent another episode of military violence as a purported means of resolving the problems in Iraq; problems which many people in the world and in our own nation believe could well be handled through diplomacy and the ongoing U.N. weapons inspections.

Yet the almost hypnotic pull toward war, a war that will be dominated by another display of overwhelming high-tech weaponry, looks to prevail in the coming months.

After 9/11, "everything changed." That was the prevailing theme of comments made in those terrible first weeks after the devastating events. Surely, this seemed as if it was one of the defining moments of human history calling for significant change. But what actually changed? Or did the response to 9/11 simply accelerate the slippery slope humanity has been on since the end of World War II?

The sense of fear we experienced in September 2001 is certainly not diminishing. Almost every new episode of violence is countered by a response of equal or greater violence. Yet to lay the cause of today's worldwide insecurity exclusively at the door of terrorism and "rogue nations" is to avoid seeing the long-term perspective and threats of our time and the future.

I refer to the widening gap between the magnitude of humankind's high-technological capacities in the realm of weaponry and warfare, as compared to our limited ability to resolve disputes peacefully. In this dilemma we can, to some extent, foresee the greatest danger of all for this planet and its people.

Soon after the dropping of the two atomic bombs on Japanese civilian centers at the end of World War II, Albert Einstein, whose discoveries went a long way toward making such weaponry a reality, is quoted as saying: "Everything has changed - except the way we think. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker."

More than 50 years later, we see the awesome but tragic unfolding of a new phase in human history. Our unlimited technology advances and the rapid spread of their use throughout the planet - without a consequent growth of restraint and wisdom - are leading to an unprecedented imbalance in almost every sphere affecting human life and the health of the planet.

Unlike earlier periods, our abilities today to inflict massive destruction on an "enemy" are limited only by the scope of our imaginations. The U.S. arsenal of military weaponry, including missile and nuclear technology, is extraordinary. Yet the patience and wisdom required to seek and utilize methods alternative to brute violence is in short supply.

We persist far too often in the belief that we can control or end opposing ideas we deem evil through our overwhelming military power rather than dealing with international conflicts by nonviolent methods. Despite the growing realization that all beings deserve respect, and that the mass killing of civilians in war is unacceptable, even when classified as "collateral damage," it is still possible to win support for intense military violence if the case for war is presented with sufficient arguments and "facts" to bolster the image of a fearful enemy.

There is nothing new in the way governments and their leaders use simple psychology tactics to bring the public on board when they believe it is in their interest to do so. At the Nuremberg trials after the end of World War II, Hermann Goering, a high-ranking Nazi official in Germany, stated: "It is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of their leaders. That is easy. All you have to tell them is that they are being attacked and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

There is something very strange and troubling when the world's foremost military power; the only nation to possess thousands of nuclear bombs, nuclear weaponry, missiles; the only nation to have actually used atomic bombs on a civilian population, demands the total disarmament of a small, devastated nation under threat of pulverizing that nation into total submission and regime change.

Incredibly, this threat includes the possible use of nuclear weapons to deal with the possibility that the other nation might have some nuclear capability.

We would like to believe that the United States could be the force of change that might deliver humanity from its present misery, often as not due to poverty aggravated by endless wars. Yet it is well known that the United States leads the world in sales of weapons of every variety. The character and quality of a nation - even a superpower - can be judged by its priorities. A look at the figures describing our global military expenditures tell the story.

The United States will spend $343 billion this year (and increasing amounts each coming year) for military expenditures. All our allies combined will spend $205 billion in 2003, China $42 billion, Russia $60 billion, while all the so-called rogue states' military budgets will not exceed $14 billion.

It is not difficult to foresee an abyss into which many centuries of ethical-moral progress may fall. At a time when the technology of war has succeeded in making weaponry more lethal, while bestowing an aura of surgical cleanliness as a way of having modern warfare seem more "acceptable," it is essential that we not lose the moral foundations of our humanity, still striving to affirm the value of all life against the tremendous odds of a power-dominated planet.

As one of millions of Americans who can see no legitimate reason for a new war, and who has tried to speak sanity to our current leadership, I wonder how we shall endure the anguish of watching the needless massacre of innocent lives and the devastation of fragile regions of our precious Earth. How shall those of us who truly believe that violence only begets more violence, and that the risks of peace are far less than those of war, walk on and not despair?

Alwyn Moss of Blacksburg is a writer, art teacher and member of the Society of Friends.




2.

Sent by "Mark Graffis" <mgraffis@hotmail.com>

From: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/wire/la-fg-nuke25jan25.story

Published on January 25, 2003 by the Los Angeles Times

U.S. Weighs Tactical Nuclear Strike on Iraq

WASHINGTON -- As the Pentagon continues a highly visible buildup of troops and weapons in the Persian Gulf, it is also quietly preparing for the possible use of nuclear weapons in a war against Iraq, according to a report by a defense analyst.

Although they consider such a strike unlikely, military planners have been actively studying lists of potential targets and considering options, including the possible use of so-called bunker-buster nuclear weapons against deeply buried military targets, says analyst William M. Arkin, who writes a regular column on defense matters for The Times. Military officials have been focusing their planning on the use of tactical nuclear arms in retaliation for a strike by the Iraqis with chemical or biological weapons, or to preempt one, Arkin says. His report, based on interviews and a review of official documents, appears in a column that will be published in The Times on Sunday.

Administration officials believe that in some circumstances, nuclear arms may offer the only way to destroy deeply buried targets that may contain unconventional weapons that could kill thousands. Some officials have argued that the blast and radiation effects of such strikes would be limited.

But that is in dispute. Critics contend that a bunker-buster strike could involve a huge radiation release and dangerous blast damage. They also say that use of a nuclear weapon in such circumstances would encourage other nuclear-armed countries to consider using such weapons in more kinds of situations and would badly undermine the half-century effort to contain the spread of nuclear arms.

Although it may be highly unlikely that the Bush administration would authorize the use of such weapons in Iraq -- Arkin describes that as a worst-case scenario -- the mere disclosure of its planning contingencies could stiffen the opposition of France, Germany and Middle East nations to an invasion of Iraq.

"If the United States dropped a bomb on an Arab country, it might be a military success, but it would be a diplomatic, political and strategic disaster," said Joseph Cirincione, director of nonproliferation studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. He said there is a danger of the misuse of a nuclear weapon in Iraq because of the chance that "somebody could be seduced into the mistaken idea that you could use a nuclear weapon with minimal collateral damage and political damage."

In the last year, Bush administration officials have repeatedly made clear that they want to be better prepared to consider the nuclear option against the threat of "weapons of mass destruction" in the hands of terrorists and rogue nations. The current planning, as reported by Arkin, offers a concrete example of their determination to follow through on this pledge. Arkin also says that the Pentagon has changed the bureaucratic oversight of nuclear weapons so that they are no longer treated as a special category of arms but are grouped with conventional military options. A White House spokesman declined to comment Friday on Arkin's report, except to say that "the United States reserves the right to defend itself and its allies by whatever means necessary."

Consideration of the nuclear option has defenders. David J. Smith, an arms control negotiator in the first Bush administration, said presidents would consider using such a weapon only "in terribly ugly situations where there are no easy ways out. If there's a threat that could involve huge numbers of American lives, I as a citizen would want the president to consider that option."

CLIP

In a policy statement issued only last month, the White House said the United States "will continue to make clear that it reserves the right to respond with overwhelming force -- including through resort to all of our options -- to the use of weapons of mass destruction against the United States."

One year ago, the administration completed a classified Nuclear Posture Review that said nuclear weapons should be considered against targets able to withstand conventional attack; in retaliation for an attack with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons; or "in the event of surprising military developments." And it identified seven countries -- China, Russia, Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Libya and Syria -- as possible targets.

The same report called on the government to develop smaller nuclear weapons for possible use in some battlefield situations. The United States and Russia have stockpiles of such tactical weapons, which are often small enough to be carried by one or two people yet can exceed the power of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, Japan.

The administration has since been pushing Congress to pay for a study of how to build a smaller, more effective version of a 6-year-old nuclear bunker-buster bomb, the B-61 Mod 11. Critics maintain the administration's eagerness for this study shows officials' desire to move toward building new weapons and to end the decade-old voluntary freeze on nuclear testing. The B-61 is considered ineffective because it can burrow only 20 feet before detonating. The increasingly sophisticated underground command posts and weapon storage facilities being built by some countries are far deeper than that. And the closer to the surface a nuclear device explodes, the greater the risk of the spread of radiation.

The reported yield of B-61 devices in U.S. inventory varies from less than 1 kiloton of TNT to more than 350. The Hiroshima bomb was between 10 and 15. Discussion of new weapons has set off a heated argument among experts on the value and effects of smaller-yield nuclear weapons.

Some Pentagon officials contend that the nation could develop nuclear weapons that could burrow deep enough to destroy hardened targets. But some independent physicists have argued that such a device would barely penetrate the surface while blowing out huge amounts of radioactive dirt that would pollute the region around it with a deadly fallout.

Wade Boese of the Arms Control Assn. in Washington said there is no evidence that conventional arms wouldn't be just as effective in reaching deeply buried targets.

---

See also:

Weapons Experts: Earth-Penetrating Nukes Generate Intense Fallout (June 7, 2002)
http://www.ucsusa.org/index.html
New Weapons Would Lower Threshold for Nuke Use, Undermine Nonproliferation Efforts
Congress is currently debating whether to fund a study for a new nuclear weapon intended to attack underground targets by hitting the earth at high speed and penetrating into the ground before exploding. A common claim is that the radioactive fallout from this weapon, called the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, would be contained underground. But a statement from a group of senior weapons experts released today dismisses that claim, stating that an earth-penetrating warhead would produce "an intense and deadly radioactive fallout."

The Revolution in Military Affairs and Directed Energy Weapons
http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/cc/mowthorpe02.html
The new missions that laser technology affords will lead to a new strategic environment in the post Soviet-era, in which laser weapons play a significant role. This is truly a Revolution in Military Affairs.

The Most Deadly Weapons of Mass Destruction on the Planet - THE TRIDENT SUBMARINES
http://www.subasekb.navy.mil/trident.htm

Trident II D-5 Fleet Ballistic Missile
http://www.fas.org/nuke/index.html




3.

THIS BELOW MAY SEEM OUTDATED BUT AS YOU'LL SEE IT IS VERY RELEVANT TO THE PREVIOUS ARTICLE ABOVE

Forwarded by "Stephanie Jill Hope" <stephanie@findhorn.fsnet.co.uk>

Hiroshima Peace Declaration: No Annihilation Without Representation

Esteemed Editors, Emissaries, Allies:

On this 57th Memorial of the atomic bombing of Japan, we submit the following letters and declarations. Please send them on to your friends and representatives, in hopes of moving toward disarmament in our lifetimes....

The following letter is also submitted for publication, on this tragic occasion.

Children for Disarmament

---

Dear Children of the World

As we enter a new millennium, we could hope that humanity would be on a path toward recovery from the illness of nuclear war. We could dream that our planet would be moving toward greater security and sanity, with peace breaking out as a prerequisite for civilization. We could pretend that terror is dissipating like a mushroom cloud in the twilight.

I am grief-stricken to realize that our world is being herded in the opposite direction, and the sickness of nuclear war has reached epidemic proportions. Weapons of mass destruction are being waved around by delusional madmen, while media-conditioned citizens cheer them on. The last great "superpower" has been taken over by warlord criminals who would make Mussolini proud.

The Bush administration, with its military growth agenda, is bent on making nuclear weapons more "user-friendly" and acceptable, while moving to a tactical first-strike posture. They are demanding weapons inspections of other nations, yet our own Congressmen can't get clearance to inspect America's secret weapons and technologies, spread across (and under) our planet like a terrible infection. Here in the Pacific the U.S. military continues to bomb sacred and irreplaceable islands just for "practice."

On this 57th Remembrance of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we note no moment of silence or mention of the event in Washington, D.C. My fellow Americans continue to suffer the mass psychosis of justification, many even willing to say they are "glad" the bombs were dropped, to "save American lives." Even as America approaches the 1st Memorial of our own tragic loss in NYC, we are yet to awake from our addiction to war, our grand, scandalous aggression.

Over the past century the American culture has become increasingly colonized by the cult of war, in the guise of industrial progress. The development of the atomic bomb was heralded as a great achievement by this cult of scientists and warlords, and they were eager to test the weapons on a large population. In a genocidal decision, they dropped two tests on two different civilian populations, in what will be remembered as the most horrific crimes against humanity in such a brief and brutal moment. It had nothing to do, in the conventional sense, with "war."

There is no sane justification for the manufacture or use of atomic weapons. It is an inherently evil technology, a tearing of the very fabric of the Unified Field, the Universe in which we exist. Any person, group of persons, or country in possession of, or engaged in the proliferation of atomic weapons should be considered a rogue, a war criminal, a hostile element on a planetary scale. In this new millennium we must expose these weapons of holocaust as violations of international and universal laws.

To apologize for this insanity seems rather rude, when the insanity continues even more deeply than before. Instead, I will speak out against the gargantuan U.S. war machine, which is now spreading as a cancer on the planet... 20 Trident submarines cruising the oceans, each costing 2 billion dollars, each armed with 120 warheads that each dwarf Hiroshima. Each submarine able to create a nuclear winter from which our planet would never recover. And these are only a few of the many thousands of U.S. weapons systems. Choking off the pathways to our children's future.

I am diagnosing this American society as terminally ill, with "weaponitis." That is, we have become so obsessed with weaponry, the production, glorification, and deployment of deadly weapons, that our brains have atrophied and we are actually coming to identify with the weapons themselves. Increasingly, you will see stories of stylized heroes who have become "the ultimate weapon." America has become a permanent warfront, masquerading as culture, from our films and TV to our schools and churches. The military dominates our consciousness so profoundly we cannot separate our identities from war, or weapons, anymore.

I bow my head in shamed silence, in remembrance of the hundreds of thousands of souls killed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki and tortured by the radiation effects. I am profoundly sorry that we have not been able to stop the nuclear nightmare after 57 years, and I pray that humankind will awaken to the horror and depravity of "industrial warfare" before many millions more must suffer.

Respectfully,

B.Z. Botani, Esq.

August 6, 2002
Planetary Rescue Corps
Kilauea, Hawai'I
planetary@wildmail.com

---

See also:

2002 "The Hiroshima Peace Declaration"
http://www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/peacesite/English/Stage3/S3-2E.html
Another hot, agonizing summer has arrived for our hibakusha who, fifty-seven years ago, experienced "the end of the world," and, consequently, have worked tirelessly to bring peace to this world because "we cannot allow anyone else to go through that experience." One reason for their agony, of course, is the annual reliving of that terrible tragedy. In some ways more painful is the fact that their experience appears to be fading from the collective memory of humankind. Having never experienced an atomic bombing, the vast majority around the world can only vaguely imagine such horror, and these days, John Hersey's Hiroshima and Jonathan Schell's The Fate of the Earth are all but forgotten. As predicted by the saying, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," the probability that nuclear weapons will be used and the danger of nuclear war are increasing. CLIP

Peace Memorial Ceremony 2002
http://www.city.hiroshima.jp/shimin/shimin/shikiten/shikiten-e.html

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum Virtual Tour
http://www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/peacesite/English/Stage1/SVtour.html

Number of names in The Hiroshima Register of Deceased Atomic Bomb Victims
Number of names as of August 6, 2002: 226,870

The Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki

At 11:02 a.m., August 9, 1945 an atomic bomb exploded 500 meters above this spot. The black stone monolith marks the hypocenter. The fierce blast wind, heat rays reaching several thousand degrees, and deadly radiation generated by the explosion crushed, burned and killed everything in sight and reduced this entire area to a barren field of rubble. About one-third of Nagasaki City was destroyed and 150,000 people killed or injured, and it was said at the time that this area would be devoid of vegetation for 75 years. Now, the hypocenter remains as an international peace park and a symbol of the aspiration for world harmony.

DAMAGE CAUSED BY THE ATOMIC BOMB EXPLOSION
- Levelled Area: 6.7 million square meters
- Casualties
Killed:73,884
Injured: 74,909
Total: 148,793
(Large numbers of people died in the following years from the effects of radioactive poisoning.)

Nagasaki Journey in Photographs
http://www.exploratorium.edu/nagasaki/journey/journey3.html

Detailed Atomic Bomb Chronology
http://www.ask.ne.jp/~hankaku/english/np7y.html

Letter of Protest TO George W. Bush BY Tadatoshi Akiba - Mayor, The City of Hiroshima
http://www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/peacesite/English/Stage0/Sprotest.html
On June 7, the United States conducted its 17th subcritical nuclear test at its underground nuclear test site in Nevada. With the rest of the world working hard to halt the proliferation of nuclear weapons and abolish all such weapons as soon as possible, America's subcritical nuclear testing and obvious intent to retain nuclear weapons indefinitely is a betrayal of the A-bomb survivors and the people of the world who wish to see this threat eliminated. Furthermore, just prior to this test, the Department of Energy made public its plan to resume the manufacture of the capsules that trigger the detonation of nuclear weapons. Such actions reveal not only a lack of intent to eliminate such weapons, but also an intent to actually use them. CLIP




4.

From: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20030123/ap_wo_en_po/la_gen_brazil_social_forum_5

More than 100,000 expected at `anti-Davos' World Social Forum in Brazil (Jan 23)

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil - As thousands of anti-globalization activists lounged near bright red banners espousing socialism, Chilean teacher Claudio Alfaro lashed out at U.S. President George W. Bush .

Alfaro said Bush personifies the darkest fears of the activists flocking to Brazil for the third annual World Social Forum: Capitalism favoring huge corporations; war with Iraq to guarantee developed countries get the oil they need.

"He's as dangerous as Hitler, and could lead us to worldwide destruction," said Alfaro, a teacher who works with the children of poor vineyard workers.

The six-day forum begins Thursday in this far southern city, and as many as 100,000 activists will attend the protest against the World Economic Forum taking place simultaneously at a luxury Swiss ski resort.

Tens of thousands are expected to officially open the social forum with a march against militancy and a U.S.-led war. In between protests, participants will hold extensive talks on alternatives to tame the excesses of global capitalism.

Italian biologist Umberto Pizzolato readily acknowledged the march would do little to deter a U.S. military strike, but said it is still important. He toted his bicycle from Italy to Porto Alegre and hoped to ride it during the march to send a message on behalf of his activist Italian cycling group.

"Less oil, more bicycles, less war," said Pizzloato, 36. "I'm sure I cannot stop the war, I'm not stupid. But if you use a car, your country has to buy oil. And with less oil, there would be fewer conflicts."

Alfaro, the Chilean teacher, traveled with 16 friends who set up tents with at least 6,000 other activists near the site where Brazil's new president will become the first government leader to personally address the forum.

The forum is now in its third year, but the appearance of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva — Brazil's first elected leftist leader — is in a sense revolutionary, because government officials were previously excluded.

Silva will deliver his speech Friday, and embattled Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was expected to attend on Sunday.

After Silva speaks, he will fly to Davos, Switzerland, to participate in the economic forum, which is expected to attract 2,000 business and government leaders.

The landslide election of Silva, a former radical union leader, in October was seen as a rejection of the free-market policies of his Social Democrat predecessor Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

Social Forum participants say their opposition to American-style capitalism should strike a responsive chord. The summit follows a year of unprecedented business scandals involving multinational corporations.

Participants will crowd into a soccer stadium, a string of warehouses alongside the muddy Rio Guaiba and at Porto Alegre's Catholic University for hundreds of panel discussions, debates and seminars on themes ranging from corporate misdeeds to the Third World's foreign debt.

They can also dance at a concert by Brazilian pop superstar Jorge Ben Jor, attend Japanese Noh theater presentations or even see a drag queen show.

Prominent activists attending include actor Danny Glover, anarchist and linguistics professor Noam Chomsky, and Aleida Guevara, the daughter of legendary guerrilla leader Ernesto "Che" Guevara.

French anti-globalization activist Jose Bove said Wednesday he had no plans to create disruption as he did at the first forum in 2001 — when he led the invasion and occupation of a farm owned by U.S. agribusiness giant Monsanto. Brazilian authorities made him leave the country.

Bove, a farmer who became famous in 1999 when he and nine others used farm equipment to dismantle a French McDonald's under construction, said there is no need for such protests now that Silva is in power.

"Things have changed in Brazil," he said.

At the campsite where Alfaro was staying, banner after banner denounced Bush for trying to incite a war.

"He's just not capable of seeing the consequences for the world with what he's doing," Alfaro said as friends sipped beer and grilled beef over a makeshift grill.

Besides destruction, a war could have dire consequences for the world economy — something the Economic Forum participants in Switzerland should recognize, said Rainer Rilling, a German social sciences professor with the Berlin-based Rosa Luxembourg Foundation.

"We hope a war can still be avoided," he said.

Forum organizers said the 2004 event will be held in New Delhi, India. The forum will return to Porto Alegre in 2005.




5.

From: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/2691927.stm

Life at the alternative Davos

Anti-war demonstrators make their voices heard

24 January, 2003

By Adriano Campolina Soares Action Aid Brazil's campaign director reports from the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre

Despite torrential rain, over 100,000 people turned up for the first day of the World Social Forum taking place from 23 - 28 January in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre.

As soon as you arrive your senses are overloaded with colourful causes and campaigns all competing for attention.

Land for all, Rights for Women, No to war with Iraq.

It can seem like chaos, but that's what the Social Forum is all about.

It does not aim to promote one view but celebrate diversity.

Different planet

Set up two years ago, the World Social Forum offers a radical alternative to the World Economic Forum, an elite meeting of international businessmen and politicians taking place in Davos, Switzerland at the same time.

The event has grown rapidly over the last two years from 20,000 attendees in 2001 to 100,000 today.

If the businessmen and political heavyweights from Davos were transported to Porto Alegre - slogan "another world is possible" - they really would believe they were on a different planet.

At the five-day meeting activists, campaigners and social movements from over 150 countries come together and share experiences.

It is here where alternatives to the free trade and neo-liberalist policies promoted at Davos are openly discussed and global alliances made.

Unique

But with over 1,500 events spread out around the city there is too much choice and it becomes a little frustrating that there is no way to take everything in.

But as the biggest meeting of its kind, Porto Alegre is unique. Where else would a gay rights march be followed moments afterwards by a pro-Palestinian protest? Or landless people's movements from Latin American, Asia and Africa be able to sit round a table and compare notes? Of course, conflict and disagreement are inevitable but that is half the fun.

Anti-war march

The Social Forum offers everyone, from spiked-haired punks to farmers to university professors the opportunity to make their protest and revel in the joys of democracy.

What's more, as it takes place in Latin America, activists from countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, who have actually suffered at the hands of corporate-driven globalisation, can have their say.

On the first day of the Forum the people took to the streets for an anti-war march. As Brazilian government ministers walked with protesters there was an air of great hope spreading to campaigners from all across the globe.

After all, if Lula, a left wing unionist without a university degree can be elected President, then maybe another world really is possible.

---

See also:

Economic gloom at Davos forum (Jan 23)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/2685963.stm

World Economic Forum
http://www.weforum.org/

Action Aid
http://www.actionaid.org/

Porto Alegre 2003
http://www.portoalegre2003.org/publique/index02I.htm

New Economics Foundation
http://www.neweconomics.org/

Full Coverage: More about World Economic Forum http://story.news.yahoo.com/fc?cid=34&tmpl=fc&in=Business&cat=World_Economic_Forum




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