Social Movements Wrap Up Meeting with Vow to Swing into Action against Injustice

Article excerpt

BYLINE: CHRISTELLE TERREBLANCHE

Nairobi: Social movements worldwide are set to step up action against economic and social injustice, vowing "to move from popular resistance into offensive actions".

A range of "global days of action" are being planned for 2007 and 2008, where their pro-poor concerns will be highlighted, including events to protest against the American war in Iraq, a fast to force 100% cancellation of poor countries' debt to rich nations and a demand for a free Palestine to coincide with the 40th anniversary of its occupation by Israel.

The political programme was adopted by social movements participating in the World Social Forum (WSF) at a closing assembly chaired by South African activist Trevor Ngwane.

He was among the country's 200-odd social movement participants, including landless people, anti- water and electricity privatisation organisations, as well as HIV/Aids and housing activists, who played a leading role in last week's 7th WSF, held for the first time in Africa.

Ngwane said the event had served to highlight Africa's problems, but had also exposed serious weaknesses in its own organisation, such as the "commercialisation" of food and water by the organisers and the fact that many of host country Kenya's social movements and poor were excluded. He personally led a forced take-over of the private restaurant at the Nairobi venue, where food was too expensive for the grassroots activists attending, most living on less than R20 a day.

The six-day event ended without much media exposure as the global spotlight again fell on the start of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, where multi-national CEOs and rich countries gather annually to set the direction of world economics. …