PGA Bulletin #0


The Bulletin of the Peoples' Global Action against "Free" Trade and the WTO (PGA) has just been born. The summary of the issue 0 (Dec 1997) follows:

1. What is the PGA?

From the 23rd to the 25th of February, peoples' movements from all continents will meet in Geneva to launch a worldwide coordination of resistance against the global market, a new alliance of struggle and mutual support called the Peoples' Global Action against "Free" Trade and the World Trade Organisation (PGA). This new platform will serve as a global instrument for communication and coordination for all those fighting against the destruction of humanity and the planet by the global market, building up local alternatives and peoples' power.

2. Information Exchange

You have in your hands the issue 0 of the PGA bulletin, the main instrument for information exchange of the Peoples' Global Action. The next issues will be very different: they will not be written by the convenors, but by movements from the whole world, and they will rarely include long articles like this one. Besides the bulletin there will be a database and other means of communication, like discussion lists, a web page, etc.

3. First Conference of the PGA - Geneva, 23-25 February 1998

From the 18th to the 20th of May 1998, heads of state and ministers from the whole world will meet in Geneva for the 2nd Ministerial Conference of the (WTO), and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the multilateral trade system (GATT and WTO). This event will, in the words of its organisers, "celebrate the past while preparing the way for the future" of trade liberalisation - i.e., of the destruction of rural societies, dignity in labour, the environment, cultural diversity and self-determination.

The PGA conference in February, besides launching the PGA as a worldwide coordination of resistance, will make sure that the WTO conference does not happen in silence. We will discuss and coordinate decentralised actions all over the world, and set up an ad-hoc press office during the WTO Ministerial Conference, with the task of passing on information materials (press releases, photos, video footages...) on the protest actions taking place in different countries to the international press accredited in Geneva.

4. The Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI)

It might be difficult to believe, but government representatives are right now negotiating a new international agreement that is even worse than all what we have seen so far. This agreement, called Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) will, among other things, give transnational corporations the same juridical status as states, forbid all controls on the movement of capital (including speculation), make it impossible for governments to set conditions on foreign investors, force the states that want to introduce new social or environmental legislation to pay billions to foreign investors, and make it virtually impossible for parliaments to introduce new rules to limit the scope of action of multinationals and speculators, as well as forcing them to eliminate all existing rules within the next few years.

5. The World Economic Forum: when the rulers of the world meet. Global Days of Action 29 January - 3 February 1998

The World Economic Forum is a private club run by the 1.000 biggest transnational corporations of the world. It is, in its own words, "the foremost international membership organization integrating leaders from business, government, academia and the media into a partnership". Its mission is "to act as a bridge builder at the highest level between the business community and governments", creating "a club-like atmosphere to address in an action-oriented way the key economic, social and political issues on the global agenda." This article reproduces some of the information that the Forum gives about itself, and makes a call for action to give these guys a bad time during their next annual meeting.

6. Speakers' Tour in Europe, March-May 1998

From the middle of March to the middle of May 1998, a number of activists will be travelling in all European countries to hold workshops about "free" trade, corporate rule, WTO and MAI. There will be up to 20 people covering each country, each person concentrating in one concrete region, going to each and every single town and village where she or he can find someone willing to organise the workshop locally. The activists will be able to speak the local language, and they will in many cases be locals of that region.

7. Information materials on "free" trade and resistance

Working against the World Trade Organisation, the MAI and similar miseries is quite difficult. One of the most important factors adding to this difficulty is the lack of good, understandable critical information materials. It is almost impossible to find anything else than official materials preaching the virtues of "free" trade, technical papers full of strange words like PPM, TRIPS, TBT or SPS, or disempowering NGO lobby papers written on the assumption that all we can do is politely ask government and industry representatives to become good guys. We want to change this situation, but we need your help.

The PGA Bulletin is edited by the Convenors' Committee of the 1st PGA Conference:
Central Sandinista de Trabajadores (Nicaragua) * Frente Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (México) * Foundation for Independent Analysis / Foundation for an Independent Aotearoa (Aotearoa - New Zealand) * Indigenous Women's Network (North America & Pacific) * Karnataka State Farmers' Association (India) * Mama 86 (Ukraine) * Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (Nigeria) * Movimento Sem Terra (Brasil) * Peasant Movement of the Philippines (KMP) * Play Fair Europe! * Geneva organising committee for the 1st Conference of the PGA