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The alter-globalist compass points towards the anti-Davos 2008

The alter-globalist compass points towards the anti-Davos 2008

By Sergio Ferrari

All the Swiss alter-globalist paths seem to point to Davos. Four months later the social actors took the initiative again, in a weekend where the social movement made its voice heard.


All the Swiss alter-globalist paths seem to point to Davos. Four months later the social actors took the initiative again, in a weekend where the social movement made its voice heard.

The ATTAC Summer University; a youth social forum as well as a mobilization of organizations that oppose nuclear energy in the Federal Square in Bern (on Saturday 8) and which brought together about three people. Meanwhile, the associations that work in favor of immigrants met that same day, also in the capital, their States General.

Young people “appropriate” the Social Forum

Prepared for several months, on Friday the 7th and Saturday the 8th a first Social Forum of Bienne (FSB) met, a city located in the canton of Bern about 40 kilometers from the capital. Inspired by a similar initiative that took place at the beginning of the current year in San Gallen, it was organized by a dozen young people whose ages range between 20 and 25 years.

Aimed especially at a young audience, the FSB program included a podium and nearly thirty workshops on topics as diverse as development cooperation, human rights, racism, work in maquilas or international observation in situations of tension - cases of Palestine, Guatemala and Chiapas / Mexico.

Micheline Calmy-Rey, current “rotating” president of the Swiss Confederation in the current year sent a message of support. After analyzing the impact of poverty on the current planetary reality, it points out the contribution of Swiss cooperation and Swiss NGOs (non-governmental organizations) in favor of “… a social development, which tries to attack evil by the root".

In this context, the president underlined "the decisive contribution represented by the commitment of the Social Forum and the participating NGOs, both from the perspective of sustainable development and the fight against poverty."

In the opening session with almost a hundred participants, a public debate was held that brought together personalities from the political, university and media world.

Who deepened the reflection on the meaning-impact of development cooperation; the national Campaign underway to demand an increase to 0.7% of the Swiss domestic product for this sector; as well as the contributions of the Swiss federalist experience in other regions of the planet.

“We are very satisfied with this first FSB”, emphasized Sara Bukies, one of the organizers. Who confirmed that more than one hundred and fifty people had participated on Saturday in the various workshops and about a hundred in the opening day on Friday. "We are willing to repeat this initiative ... perhaps in two years," he said.

The Bienne Social Forum -as well as that of San Gallen- is included in a process of creating spaces for reflection and exchange of Swiss civil society. Both constitute the continuity of the two Swiss Social Forums, held at the national level in 2003 and 2005.

Process that has the World Social Forum of Porto Alegre as a primary reference. This was held for the first time in that Brazilian city in 2001 –repeating in 2002, 2003 and 2005-. Meanwhile, the 2004 edition was convened in Mumbai, India and the 2007 edition in Nairobi, Kenya. In 2006 a decentralized WSF was held on three continents.

The Bienne Social Forum concluded with a popular party organized in conjunction with ATTAC (Association in favor of the application of the Tobin Tax to international speculative capital).

ATTAC: the press as a central theme

The now usual ATTAC Switzerland summer university focused on the analysis of the media. It was supported by the alternative newspapers "Le Courrier", "Die WoZ" and "Antidot" and brought together more than three hundred participants.

During the three days, which also included the annual assembly of the movement, five workshops and a panel discussion were held that brought together prominent national and foreign journalists.

"The quality of the information indicates the quality of a country's democracy," emphasized Ignacio Ramonet, director of the French monthly "Le Monde Diplomatique," at the well-attended opening conference.

In which the African-born journalist and writer Innocent Naki also participated, who has just published an analysis book on the treatment of various events in the Swiss press.


Ramonet reaffirmed his theory on the need to implement "an information ecology" that allows cleaning up news content contaminated by advertising and economic power.

"In the same way that in food we demand more in more * bio * products, in information we aspire to press media not subject to manipulation," he stated.

The exchanges and debates also left room for concrete proposals. "It would be essential to gather in 2008, the General States of the information, summoning all the actors involved in it", proposed the journalist Bruno Clement, secretary of the Comedia union that brings together more than two thousand press men in Switzerland.

For Clement, journalists, editors and the public must reflect together in favor of a “responsible, independent press that is understood as a public good-service and that rejects the dictatorship of short news, without content and without verification. of the sources ”.

Prepare the anti-Davos 2008

At the conclusion of the Summer University, Florence Proton, coordinator of ATTAC Switzerland confirmed that her association will convene with other organizations for January 2008, the “Other Davos”.
Meeting-conference that takes place every year on the same date as the Davos Economic Forum.

"On this occasion, the Other Davos will be held within the framework of the international call made this year by the World Social Forum in Nairobi, to promote a global day of action on January 26," he concluded. The last week of January will be held in Davos the Economic Forum that brings together several thousand representatives of the world of finance, economic power, and the main governments of the planet.

That day will be intense and challenging in Switzerland. In addition to the "Other Davos" a citizen mobilization is planned in Basel. Cultural and protest actions will take place in Bern like every year. And an independent group anticipated their interest in calling for a popular mobilization in Zürich.

The last week of January will not go unnoticed in the Davos host country. The alter-globalist compass already points to that Alpine city, a paradigm today not only of world hegemonic power but also of those who resist it.

* From Bern, Switzerland


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