Global Policy Forum

A Movement of One No and Many Yes's:


By Ella Saltmarshe
September 24, 2000

As the INPEG countersummit comes to a close, a clear theme of the debates has been that of the strength of diversity of the movement. The talks have illustrated that this is a movement led by the South that the North is joining midway. ‘A movement of One No and Many Yes's'; the INPEG Countersummit

'The protesters are certainly not part of an intellectually coherent movement. They represent a diverse set of groups, often with very differing agendas, and sometimes with mutually contradictory ones. The approach is the same every time. A variety of ill-defined and sometimes spontaneous "radical" groups—environmentalists, feminists, anarchists, neo-communists, and assorted non-aligned malcontents, to name only some—join to march on the streets'. The Economist 23/09/00.

`They say we lack focus- you‘d better believe it- we‘re everywhere- no more single issue politics' Naomi Levin 23/09/00 Whilst select members of the anti- corporate globalisation movement, were wined and dined in the palace, yesturday, courtsey of Havel, Soros and Wolfonson, it was business as usual at the Domovina Cultural Centre, the location of the INPEG counter summit. Here a variety of thinkers were asking ‚‘where do we go to from here?`. A common theme was that of strength in diversity. The philospopher George Caffentzis, comparing the movement to an Indian goddess with many arms. The anti-corporate/antiglobalisation/anti-corporate movement – take your pick- is often portrayed as crippled by its diversity.. Whilst the speakers spoke of the necessity of a degree of organisational self relflection and evaluation, they were all optimistic. The alternative to corporate globalisation is frequently portrayed as anarchy, instead, said Walden Bello, it should be concieved of as plurality.

Another theme of debate was the perceived novelty of this movement. This is the natural bedpartner of the Berkerly Mafia ideology, the notion that the demonstrators are disenfranchised middle class Western kids,involved in a kind of misplaced advocacy. Levin discounted this yesterday‚'this is an international movement- coming from the global south- we are playing catch-up joining this movement midstream'. Caffentzis said that since 1985 there have been over a hundred anti IMF/ World Bank demonstrations in the South. Bolivians, Nigerians, Ugandans have been standing up to the International Financial Institutions for over fifteen years. The stories of the activists from Brazil to Botswana here in Prague, at the People‘s Global Action Conference, further discredits this idea of a northern imposed movement. Levin said that if J18, A16 and S26, are perceived as something new, this is because, the issues of the South are finally finding a place on the streets of the North.

Whatever happens in Prague this week, the INPEG countersummit has shown that this movement has a future. Speakers have agreed that what this movement represents is the refusal to accept a Fukuyamian end of history, the refusal to accept the legitmacy of the corporate globalisation. In Levin‘s words; 'we do not have Coca Cola for blood and Microsoft for brains'.

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