What prevents us from realising our dreams and aspirations of a just and peaceful society, where our dignity and our different ways of life are respected? Do we have control over our own lives and communities? Who takes the decisions that affect us?
At no other time in history have so few institutions dominated so many women and men. The 15 biggest corporations are present in over 120 countries. Corporations control 70% of world trade. Our governments have actively contributed to expand the power of these companies. This growing centralised economic power has resulted in the creation of institutions such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), a legal vehicle for their policies that counts with the support of almost all our governments. More countries are now more deeply indebted than ever been before in history. The Third World pays far more in terms of services and debt transfer than it receives in the form of assistance, investment and aid.
Whilst continuing to promise prosperity for all, the present phase of capitalism is creating more victims, more environmental havoc and more vulnerability than ever before. Wealth and power are concentrated in fewer hands than they ever have been. In the last 30 years the rich have doubled their capital while poverty and misery grow. The poorest 20% possesses less than 4% of world resources whereas the richest control over 85%. The complex life of this planet, which is the source of sustenance and cultural diversity for all men and women, is increasingly transformed into a merchandise, mercilessly exploited, privatised, patented and irreversibly transformed. There are ever-increasing numbers of firearms in private hands, more destructive potential in the form of modern armies and greater stocks of conventional nuclear, chemical and biological weapons than ever before. The purpose of the majority of them is to defend the privileges of the leading players in the dominant economy.
Peoples' Global Action (PGA), since its creation in February 1998, has provided a common communication and coordination tool for movements that struggle against the social, economic and political processes that have increased vulnerability, dependence and environmental destruction. An instrument done by and for those who, from their homes, fields, factories and workplaces, are confronting all the authoritarian, centralising and homogenising processes and institutions, and believe in the importance of internationalising the struggle due to the global roots of their local problems. PGA, although being still in its own process of construction, provides a global for the struggles against the old and the new capitalism to associate their efforts and share experiences and skills. It has also nurtured the hope that, if we remain united within the respect to diversity, we will prevent dignity and justice from being undermined, manipulated or destroyed.
This hope strengthens our commitment to fight against oppression, domination and destruction, to unmask and abolish the institutions and companies that regulate the global capitalist regime, to build a broad unity based on the respect to difference and diversity, and to continue defining, practising and spreading local alternatives to take back control over our destiny. This hope, that lives in the irreverent determination of our bodies, minds and feelings, can and must realise our dreams of self-governance, freedom, justice, peace, equity, dignity and diversity.
WHAT IS PEOPLES' GLOBAL ACTION?
From the 23rd to the 26th of February of 1998, grassroots movements of all continents met in Geneva to launch a worldwide coordination network of resistance to the global market, a new alliance of struggle and solidarity called Peoples' Global Action against 'free' trade and the WTO (PGA). That was the birth of this global tool for communication and coordination for all those who fight the destruction of humanity and the planet by capitalism and build local alternatives to globalisation.
The hallmarks of this alliance are:
1. A very clear rejection of the WTO and other trade liberalisation agreements (like APEC, the EU, NAFTA, etc.) as active promoters of a socially and environmentally destructive globalisation;
PGA is an evolving coordination, and as such it changes with time. For instance, the second hallmark was incorporated at the 2nd PGA conference in Bangalore (India) in order to distance clearly PGA from organisations of the extreme right looking for a political space to spread their xenophobic rejection of globalisation. At the same conference, the character of the network was redefined: its previous focus on 'free' trade agreements (and on the WTO in particular) was broadened, since we reached the consensus that PGA should be a space to communicate and coordinate globally not just against treaties and institutions, but also around the social and environmental issues related to them. An opposition to the capitalist development paradigm in general was made explicit.
The main objectives of PGA are:
1. Inspiring the greatest number of persons, movements, and organisation to act against corporate domination through non-violent civil disobedience and people-oriented constructive actions.
PGA is a tool for coordination not an organisation. The political analysis and call to action of PGA are reflected in its manifesto, a dynamic, evolving document that will be revised at each PGA conference (see appendix 3). PGA has no members and does not have and will not have a juridical personality. No organisation or person represents the PGA, nor does the PGA represent any organisation or person. PGA will limit itself to facilitating coordination and exchange of information between grassroots movements through conferences and means of communication.
The PGA conferences are called by a committee of convenors, formed by organisations and movements from all continents and representing different social sectors (as well as the local organisers of the conference). This committee determines the agenda of the conference, takes decisions regarding participation at the conference and the use of economic resources, decides whether publications may be printed in the name of the PGA, and checks the contents of the PGA's information tools. The committee cannot speak in the name of PGA. Each PGA conference elects the convenors of the next conference.
The roles of the PGA conferences are, at least, to update the manifesto (if necessary), advance the process of global coordination of resistance against capitalism, coordinate worldwide decentralised Global Days of Action and electing a new convenors' committee.
PGA has no economic resources. The funds needed for the conferences and the information media must be raised in a decentralised manner. All funds that are collected for the conference are administered by the convenors' committee. Publications must be self-financing.
THIRD INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF PGA
Hence, the convenors' committee of PGA herewith formally convenes the Third International PGA Conference, to be held in the month of September 2001 in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The conference itself, where all collective decisions about the future of PGA will be taken, will take place from the 20th to the 22nd, but the conference program also includes roundtable discussions, a visit to the Chapare and a rally in Cochabamba:
16 September: arrival to Cochabamba. Registration and orientation.
Issues to be discussed at the conference (20-22 September):
1. Action strategies within the space of communication and coordination of PGA:
This header includes several discussions that came up in the regional PGA meetings (Latin American meeting in Nicaragua, March 2000; South-Asian meeting in Bangladesh, September 2000; European meeting in Italy, March 2000) and in the global meeting of convenors and former convenors that took place in Prague before the protests against the World Bank and the IMF (September 2000). These meetings discussed the need to go beyond the global days of action, which are the form of global action practised so far within the PGA space, and explored the idea of sustained global campaigns as a possible step forward. Other issues discussed included the question of violence; the criminalisation of our movements, the expression of solidarity in cases of urgent need; the need to localise more deeply the PGA process, etc. In Cochabamba we should continue these discussions in a global and participatory way, together with other discussions that might come up in the regional meetings planned for the next months (North American meeting in Massachusetts, June 2001; possibly South Pacific meeting in Aoteoroa, date still to be determined).
2. Revision of the PGA manifesto:
At the second PGA conference it was not possible to revise the manifesto in depth, but several shortcomings were pointed out, especially the need to incorporate the gender perspective throughout the whole text. We expect that in the Cochabamba conference it will be possible to advance in this process.
3. Extension of the contacts and of the space of communication and coordination articulated through PGA:
One of the issues of discussion in Cochabamba is how to make the PGA known as space for coordination and communication in regions and among social sectors where so far it is not widely known. We should also discuss the communication channels of PGA, which so far have not really worked as expected.
4. Plans of sustained action:
concrete proposals of globally coordinated campaigns against particular aspects of capitalist domination. The issues discussed in Prague as possible proposals were a global campaign against the Colombia Plan (the North American intervention in Colombia and the Andean/Central American region which, using the pretext of the 'War on Drugs', wants to assure the access to the natural resources of the region and the execution of transport megaprojects such as a new interoceanic canal, mega-harbours, finishing the Panamerican road, etc., by smashing the social movements that oppose these projects), and a global campaign for the local self-government of the rural communities that struggle to keep (or regain) control over their natural resources, especially land and water. These proposals are still being worked on, and they are not exclusive.
5. Global mobilisation:
against the annual meeting of the IMF/World Bank (Washington, 2-4 October 2001), against the 4th Ministerial Conference of the WTO (Nov. 2001) and other globally coordinated actions.
Issues to be discussed in the roundtable discussions (17-19 September):
As in previous occasions, the preparation and facilitation of the roundtables should take place in a decentralised way. The issues, objectives and methodologies of the roundtables will hence depend on the initiative of the participants. There could for instance be roundtables on common issues of struggle (for example, the struggles of indigenous peoples, or the struggle against industrial agriculture and biotechnology, etc.), roundtables to prepare specific topics for the conference (for example, a roundtable to discuss how to introduce the gender perspective throughout the text of the manifesto, or roundtables to prepare more in depth the proposals of global campaigns, etc.) or on any other topic. The application form includes space to propose issues for the roundtables, since the initiative should come from the participants, who are also responsible for their preparation and facilitation. There will be more information about the roundtables that will finally take place in the conference preparation package that will be sent to the participants whose applications are accepted by the convenors' committee.
Participation and finances:
We convene all the grassroots organisations and social movements that agree and identify with the hallmarks and objectives of PGA, giving priority to those who took part in the first and second PGA conferences. We have the objective of having A BALANCE OF 50% OF MEN AND WOMEN IN THE CONFERENCE. We hope that all organisations and movements will take this into consideration while choosing their representative. If there is an over-representation of men, we will look for mechanisms to ensure a balanced participation of men and women, but we hope that this will not be needed.
At the meeting in Prague of the former and current convenors (in September 2000), one of the issues discussed was how to avoid the North-South imbalance that was experienced at the second PGA conference (Bangalore, August 1999), where Northern participants took a disproportionate space, among other reasons because it is easier to find money to travel in the North. In order to prevent this situation from happening again in Cochabamba, there should be a relation of 70% Southern and Eastern participants and 30% Northern participants with full participation at the conference. If more than 30% of the participants come from the North, some of them will be given the status of observer, meaning that they will they will be able to participate fully in the roundtables, but will not be able to speak at the conference. (The same observer status might be used in case there is a big imbalance in the number of women and men, to ensure a minimal gender balance at least among the conference participants).
Consequently, the amount of people from the North who will be able to participate fully in the conference will depend on the amount of participants from the South and the East. In turn, the amount of participants from the South and the East will depend on how much money we will all be able to raise for travel expenses, since most genuine grassroots movements from the South and the East will need help in order to be able to reach Cochabamba. WE CONSIDER THAT GATHERING FUNDS FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES IS THE COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY OF ALL PEOPLE AND MOVEMENTS WHO IDENTIFY WITH THE PGA PROCESS, in the North and in the South, but the possibilities to raise funds in the North are obviously much greater.
There will be a worldwide decentralised campaign to look for funds to cover part of the travel expenses of Southern and Eastern organisations. This campaign will work in the following way: in the second half of May the PGA secretariat will publish a list of organisations and movements that want to attend the conference but don't have enough funds for the travel. This list will include, for each organisation, a brief description, the total travel expenses from the country of origin to Cochabamba, the amount that each organisation can cover and the amount that is still needed to participate in the conference. There will hence be total transparency on the funds that are being requested. We will ask people all over the world to make donations, either by paying directly the travel expenses of one Southern or Eastern organisation, or by transferring the money to one of the organisations that will channel travel funds for Southern movements. More details will be publicised with the list of movements that need financial help for the conference.
Due to the decentralised fundraising model that we have chosen, it is very important that the Southern movements that need help with their travel expenses send their application as soon as possible, in any event before the deadline for applications (15th of May). If you send it later, it is most likely that we will not be able to help.
The convenors' committee has decided that only the most basic travel expenses will be reimbursed (not including superfluous expenses such as taxis), with the cheapest transport. In exceptional cases we will consider reimbursing all the basic travel expenses, but this will only be done with movements of which we know with total certainty that they work practically without budget. In general, we expect all movements to make an effort to find their own funding possibilities, no matter how limited they are, in order to prevent us from fostering dependency or paternalism.
At the Prague meeting it was suggested that a realistic objective in terms of participation would be 140 participants from the South or the East and 60 participants from the North. (In this context, the North is understood to include Western Europe, North America and Japan, as well as non-indigenous participants from the Pacific.) We will need to raise among all of us a substantial amount of money in order to secure the participation of 140 Southern and Eastern movements. This will only be possible with the active participation of many organisations in the fundraising efforts, and even then it will also depend on the efforts of Southern movements to reduce the travel costs to a minimum and to cover part of it themselves.
Many Bolivians are interested in the conference, but most of them will participate as observers in order to avoid an over-representation from that country; only a small number of the full participants will be Bolivian. Additionally, we expect that there will be more than 60 applications from the North, so it is also planned to accommodate some Northern observers. The local organisers of the conference have made logistical arrangements assuming a maximum of 300 participants, including the Northern and Bolivian observers. Ideally, everybody will be able to participate fully, but this will depend on our collective fund-raising efforts.
At the European meeting of PGA in Milan (March 2001), a long time was devoted to discuss how to deal with the question of full participants and observers. The final consensus was than if more 30 persons from Western European movements want to participate in the Cochabamba conference, the Western European group may organise a rotational system so that different people will speak at different sessions of the conference, depending on their specific interests. The group of Western Europeans who will speak at each session will be fixed in advance. This is a proposal that the Western European convenors still have to discuss with the other convenors. In Genoa in July there will be further preparations of the participation of Western Europeans in Cochabamba, since many people will converge there for the protests against the G8 summit.
All participants will have to pay a fee to cover the organisational, food and logistical expenses. This fee will depend on the region that the participant comes from and from the character of his/her organisation. Participants from the South and the East will pay 15 US dollars, participants from Northern groups that operate without a budget will pay 100 USD and participants from Northern organisations that have a budget will pay 300 USD. This fee covers the accommodation and food during the whole period (16-24 September) and the visit to Chapare. The fee will remain the same for people who participate only in part of the programme.
Application and preparation:
Those organisations and movements interested in taking part should send the application form included below BEFORE THE 15th OF MAY 2001. As par of this form, they should send a brief description of the organisation or movement with information about its objectives, structure, experiences, etc.
Between the 15th and the 31st of May the convenors' committee will reply to all applications, and will send the invitation (or, if this is the case, the notification that the application has been rejected) with logistical and practical information. WE EXPECT ALL ORGANISATIONS THAT HAVE RECEIVED AN INVITATION TO CONFIRM THEIR ASSISTANCE BEFORE THE 30TH OF JUNE.
If you need a visa to enter Bolivia, you should try to obtain one as tourist. When you request the visa, PLEASE DO **NOT** SAY THAT YOU WANT TO GO TO THE PGA CONFERENCE in Cochabamba, since the Bolivian government is most likely to deny it. Most Asian, African and East European citizens need a visa to enter Bolivia. There is a non-official list of all Bolivian embassies on-line at http://www.boliviaweb.com/embassies.htm. PLEASE START WORKING ON THE VISA AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, DURING THE SUMMER IT MIGHT BE IMPOSSIBLE TO OBTAIN IT.
The PGA secretariat will send in the middle of June several preparatory documents, including the final programme of the conference and the roundtables. WE REQUEST ALL PARTICIPANTS AND OBSERVERS TO PRESENT IN WRITTEN BEFORE THE 15TH OF JULY THEIR COMMENTS AND CRITICISMS OF THESE DOCUMENTS, AND THEIR PROPOSALS OF CHANGES FOR THE PGA MANIFESTO AND ORGANISATIONAL PRINCIPLES (see appendix 4), if possible in English and Spanish.
My organisation/group is interested in taking part in the Third International Conference of PGA:
At the European PGA meeting (Milan, March 2001) a group of people (including representatives of several Colombian movements) expressed the intention to organise a visit to Colombia just before the Cochabamba conference. The provisional plan is to fly to Venezuela, visit several Colombian movements and then travel by land to Cochabamba through Ecuador and Peru (where we also hope to get in contact with grassroots movements). Ideally, if we fly together we will be able to arrange cheap fares with an airline to fly from anywhere in Europe to Venezuela and return from Cochabamba or La Paz. We hope that people from other continents will join the same itinerary. The organisation process has not even started yet, but if you are interested in this initiative, please let us know in order to coordinate (no matter in which continent you live).
Please send this form (together with a one-page description of your organisation or movement), if possible by e-mail, to: PGA Convenors' Committee, technical secretariat c/o Canadian Union of Postal Workers 377 Bank Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, email <email@example.com> and <firstname.lastname@example.org> (please send the application to both addresses, to be sure that we get it).
PGA has been one of the principal instigators of the new global, radical, anticapitalist movement which today is challenging the legitimacy of global governance institutions. Demonstrations and 'countersummits' during international reunions already have a long tradition. The originality of PGA has been to call for Global Days of Action (GDA), local actions all around the world during these events, so that the local and daily resistance of grass roots movements be recognised as a common and radical refusal of the existing economic order and as the real force capable of changing the course of history and proposing local alternatives. In less than three years, this new movement - by demonstrating in the streets and breaking the law - has largely delegitimised WTO/IMF/WB and allowed popular organisations to be heard. The NGOs, etc., that had claimed to speak in the name of 'civil society' have had to take more radical positions. The WTO, IMF and WB have lost important ideological battles and have been obliged to slow down their offensive.
Paradoxically, the growing success of these calls for local mobilisations (there were demonstrations in 110 cities around the world during the Global Day of Action of September 26, during the IMF/WB assembly in Prague), by spurring a new anticapitalist movement in the North, has also multiplied the capacity for central mobilisations in the places where the summits of global institutions take place. At the epicentre of each GDA there have been ever larger and more determined mobilisations. Adopting the confrontational perspective and forms of action advocated by PGA, these central demonstrations first tarnished and finally seriously perturbed various assemblies of the 'empire': in Geneva ('riots' during the 2nd WTO summit in May 1998), London (paralysis of the financial centre, June 18, 1999), Seattle (blockade of the 3rd WTO summit, November 30, 1999) and Prague (blockade and hurried adjournment of the IMF/WB assembly, 26 September 2000).
That is not to say that these events were directly organised by PGA. That would be to misunderstand the originality and the force of a process that develops as a network, with more and more connected centres of initiative that maintain their complete autonomy and define their own identity. The initiative for issuing the calls for action and organising the central blockades came each time from an autonomous group that was connected to the network (Reclaim the Streets in London, Direct Action Network in Seattle, Solidarità-INPEG in Prague, etc), calls that were then relayed by the convenors and the rest of the network.
The idea of PGA has not only created a network capable of coordinated action. It has also contributed to triggering a much larger movement. This year, no institution of global governance (Climate conference, G8, ASEAN, the World Economic , NATO, TABD, etc.) could meet anywhere without a coalition of local movements coming together to attack them. As a consequence, some of these institutions are starting to face serious problems to find a city to meet, since nobody wants to cover the repression costs and the damage of public image that they bring with them. This larger movement, evolving spontaneously, has assumed some of the functions that PGA tried to assure before (see for example the role of the activist information network Indymedia). However, within this larger movement, PGA continues to offer an essential space for coordination and political debate. A common space where questions like these can be discussed: Global Days of Action have been an incredible success, but what are their limitations? What opportunities have they opened? What kind of counter-offensive are they triggering from the side of the state, and how can we neutralise it? What is the next step?
The trepidating history of PGA
In August 1997, representatives of grassroots movements from the south and north of the world met to prepare resistance against the 2nd ministerial conference of the WTO (that was going to take place in may 98 in Geneva with the objective of commemorating the 50th anniversary of GATT), and to develop tools that would give continuity to the communication and coordination among those who fight against the WTO and other 'free' trade agreements. The meeting took place in El Indiano (Spain) immediately after the Second Intercontinental Meeting for Humanity and against Neoliberalism organised by the European Zapatista support network. At that meeting the idea of PGA as a network-process was born and it was decided to convene a conference to create it in Geneva in February 98.
Over 300 representatives from the grassroots movements of 71 countries and all continents met in Geneva from 23 to 25 February for the founding conference of the PGA. Teachers on hunger strikes against the privatisation of education in Argentina met with women organised in the struggle against slave labour in the 'maquilas' in Mexico, Bangladesh, El Salvador and Nicaragua; peasants fighting against globalisation in India, the Philippines, Brasil, Estonia, Norway, Honduras, France, Spain, Switzerland, Senegal, Mozambique, Toga, Peru, Bolivia, Columbia and many other countries; Ogonis, Maoris, Mayas, Aymaras and other indigenous peoples fighting for their cultural rights and their physical survival; women and men fighting against patriarchal societies; students fighting against nuclear energy and the repression of strikers in Ukraine and South Korea; Canadian postal workers fighting against the privatisation of postal services; militant protesters against the business corporations in the United States; ecologists, the unemployed, fisherfolk, anti-racists, pacifists... This world meeting of men and women working in grassroots movements was an incredible experience which gave us energy, hope and determination. Despite great material differences, the fights are increasingly similar in every part of the global empire, setting the stage for a new and stronger sort of solidarity. This conference was a good example of this new form of solidarity, since it was made possible largely thanks to the social centres and 'alternative' scene in Geneva.
The first Global Day of Action against 'free' trade took place during the G8 Summit in Birmingham and the WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva, and they were a great success: over 65 demonstrations (including one of several hundred thousand farmers in India), actions and street parties took place all over the world from the 16th to 20th of May in 29 countries; In Geneva itself, about 10,000 people mobilised in the biggest demonstration of solidarity in many years. Demonstrations and civil disobedience stole the media spotlight from the summit despite massive arrests.
At a meeting of the convenors' committee (Finland, September 98), the second conference of the PGA was programmed to take place in India several months before the third Ministerial Conference of the WTO in Seattle (USA). At this meeting, the convenors also endorsed two other large projects for the first half of 1999: the Inter-Continental Caravan for Solidarity and Resistance (from 22 May to 20 June) and the Global Day of Action against the financial centres on June 18th.
The Intercontinental Caravan for solidarity and resistance brought together in Western Europe 450 representatives of grassroots movements from the South and East of the world. The majority came from India (farmers' organisations, fisherfolk, the indigenous Adivasis and anti-dam movements). There were also representatives of the 'Sem Terra' landless farmers' movement of Brazil, Zapatista support groups from Mexico, the landless women's movement of Bangladesh, the mothers of Plaza de Mayo from Argentina, the Mapuche people of Chile, the Process of Black Communities from Columbia, environmental organisations from the Ukraine, human rights organisations from Nepal, etc. The groups that received the Caravan in Europe included organisations of the unemployed, groups fighting genetic engineering, squatted social centres, feminist organisations, etc., who invited the caravan participants to over 12 countries.
Actions during the Caravan included demonstrations against the headquarters of multinational groups such as Novartis, Monsanto, Cargill, Nestlè and others; against detention centres for migrants; against the NATO base in Aviano (from which they were bombing Serbia, excepting the day when it was taken over by the caravan); against the headquarters of institutions such as the WTO, NATO, the European Central Bank, the FAO, etc. Direct action done during the Caravan included the destruction of two experimental fields planted with genetically modified crops and of a the complete collection genetically modified rice in a state laboratory, in collaboration with the French Peasant Confederation. The Caravan culminated in Cologne for the protest against the World Summit on economy, also known as the G8 Summit.
On June 18th, Global Day of Action against the financial centres, the first day of the G8 Summit, more than 50 decentralised actions took place all over the world. Movements participating were as diverse as the Chikoko Movement of Nigeria (where 10.000 people blocked the Shell building with a 'carnival of the oppressed'), the Pakistani trade unions (which were terribly repressed, the organisers were tortured and charged with treason), several social movements of Mexico (who picketed the stock exchange), and a wide-ranging group of social movements in London (where 10.000 people took over the financial centre and paralysed it the entire day), openly demonstrating their refusal of the G8 regime. Such a co-ordinated resistance in 41 countries showed that the process of convergence of different resistances was gaining strength and speed.
In August 99 the second PGA conference took place in Bangalore (India). This conference changed the character of PGA by broadening the focus of its activities. Until then, the identity of PGA had been defined by its opposition to neoliberal institutions and treaties. In Bangalore it was decided by unanimity to redefine it as anticapitalist network, a space to communicate and coordinate globally not only against the treaties and institutions that regulate the capitalist development, but also around the social and environmental problems that it provokes. The conference also showed enthusiasm for the proposals of global action on November 30th 99 and Mayday 2000.
Already before the Bangalore conference, when the WTO announced that it would hold its 3rd summit in Seattle, various groups from Vancouver to Los Angeles (several of which had participated in earlier GDAs and were inspired by the success of the demonstration of June 18 in the City of London) formed the Direct Action Network (DAN). Adopting the principles of PGA, they announced their intention to block the opening of the summit. On November 30 1999, 10 000 young activists successfully blocked the 13 accesses to the summit. Hundreds of trade unionists decided to disobey the orders of their reformist bureaucracies and joined the direct actions and the civil disobedience. This historical success, that resulted in the categorical failure of the WTO conference, gave new hope and determination to people all over the world, who thus discovered that there is also resistance in the heart of the 'empire'. Simultaneously, demonstrations occurred in over 60 different cities around the world.
For the Assembly of the IMF/WB in Prague, a call for global action and for a massive central demonstration on September 26th was distributed by Czech organisations which had participated in previous GDAs. The European network that was formed by the Inter-Continental Caravan and the PGA convenors of each continent seconded this call, which was echoed by demonstrations in 110 different cities of the world. In Prague, thousands came from as far away as Spain, Italy, Norway, Poland, Greece and Turkey. On S26, the opening day of the summit, 15 to 20 thousand demonstrators besieged the assembly for hours. Delegates attempting to leave were injured and were finally evacuated by underground. The second day many preferred to stay in the safety of their hotels while the remainder voted to cancel the third day of meetings... This victory, won in the face of 11000 police, also marked the fall of the Berlin wall for the anticapitalist movement. A new generation of activists from the Czech republic, Poland, Hungary, etc. said what they thought of their supposed 'free world', ten years after freeing themselves from the communist oppression.
Parallel to these activities, the idea of PGA has materialised itself in the development of links between movements, organisations and activists at regional level. A regional meeting of Latin-American social movements was held in April 2000 in Nicaragua. A South Asian meeting took place in Bangladesh in September 2000. A gender workshop and an emergency meeting on the Colombia Plan also brought together representatives of Andean and Central American movements in November 2000. Regional meetings are soon going to be held in Europe (24-25 March 2001 in Milano) and North America (1-3 June 2001 in Massachusetts).
1. The PGA is an instrument for co-ordination, not an organisation. Its main objectives are:
(i) Inspiring the greatest possible number of persons and organisations to act against corporate domination through non-violent civil disobedience and people-oriented constructive actions.
2. The organisational philosophy of the PGA is based on decentralisation and autonomy. Hence, central structures are minimal.
3. The PGA has no membership.
4. The PGA does not have and will not have a juridical personality. It will not be legalised or registered in any country. No organisation or person represents the PGA, nor does the PGA represent any organisation or person.
5. There will be conferences of the PGA approximately every two years. These conferences will take place about three months before the WTO Ministerial Conferences. The functions of these conferences will be:
(i) Updating the manifesto (if necessary)
6. The conferences of the PGA will be convened by a Convenors' Committee conformed by representative organisations and movements. The composition of this committee must show a regional balance, and a balance regarding the areas of work of the organisations and movements that conform it. The local organisers will be part of the committee. This committee will fulfil the following tasks:
(i) Determining the programme of the conference
7. The PGA should have several information tools, including a regular bulletin, a web page and other publications, which will be done voluntarily by organisations and individuals supportive of the aims of the PGA. Their elaboration will take place in a decentralised and rotative manner. Before these informative materials appear under the name of the PGA, their contents have to be revised by the Convenors' Committee (including the modifications of the web page). The committee can make the publication of these materials conditional on the modification or removal of part of its contents, if these are in conflict with the manifesto of the PGA.
8. The PGA will not have any resources. The funds needed to pay the conferences and the information tools will have to be raised in a decentralised way. All the funds raised for the conference will be administered by the Convenors' Committee. The publications will have to be self-financed. The bulletin will be distributed by a network of organisations which will also be responsible for collecting subscription fees. Any surplus produced by the subscriptions will be used to send the bulletin to organisations that cannot afford paying subscription.
9. The PGA has a rotative secretariat, which changes every year. Each Convenors' Committee will decide where the secretariats will be during their two-years term.
10. The conferences of the PGA will not include the discussion of these organisational principles in the programme. If there is a concrete request, a discussion group on organisational questions will be formed. This discussion group will meet parallel to the programme of the conference, to elaborate concrete modification proposals which shall be voted upon in the plenary.
11. The PGA hopes that it will inspire the creation of different platforms (both regional and issue-based) against "free" trade and the different institutions that promote it. There will not be, however, a relationship of pertenence between these platforms and the PGA. The platforms will hence be completely autonomous.