Alterglobalism out of steam

January 25, 2007

The current World Economic Forum (WEF)annual meeting in Davos receives due coverage in the mainstream press in Europe (checked the press not specially dedicated to economics or business or finance, such as The Guardian, Le Monde, Sueddeutsche Zeitung). But this year there is not a single word on the World Social Forum (WSF), conceived with the express aim to counter the rich-globalists-sitting-in-a-posh-Swiss-resort and sharing-the-spoils-of-the-unequal-riches-created-by corporate-globalisation.

The World Social Forum held in Brazil in Porto Alegre in 2003 made many headlines and was visited by many prominent politicians, in a time created by the buzz related to President Lula’s fresh election. (Lula went also to Davos in 2003 and is probably there too this year). Prominent people, politicians in profiling drives and leading activists made a point of showing up there, preferably followed by television cameras and headline-hunting journalists. This year, the WSF, held in Nairobi, Kenya, went absolutely unnoticed. French leftwing paper Libération – crisis-ridden and saved by the capital injection of a member of the Rothshild family, oh how very socialist – commissioned a bunch of adpets to blog about it, wrote a dossier on the topic Africa raising its voice, that is probably about it . Other openly leftwing European papers do not seem to show much interest. The Independent in the UK and the “Taz” in Germany have nothing on the Nairobi event on their websites!

I went to visit the WSF’s homepage. A long programme with your usual topics ranging from”‘IMF: Shrink It or Sink It Campaign. An Introduction” to “Gender and disability,to what extent Disabled men and women are included” (sic). as for the Libération blog – it has nothing to tell. It reveals, though, how the movement seems to be out of steam – the local Kenyans are indifferent, participation prices are said to be to high, and prominent people are missing. Among the usual suspects missing, José Bové (apologies for using Wikipedia here…), the French star alterglobalist, anti-GMO activist and hero of a small-peasant movement with international ramifications. The blog has one interesting post, entitled: “Mais au fond, vous proposez quoi?” (literally: “But, in the end, what are you proposing?”). Good question.

You might ask the same for Davos. Yet apparently Angela Merkel – leading the EU presidency for the next six months and this year’s G8 has come up with some proposals, some of them windy on the revival of the EU constitution, one very concrete, an EU-US free trade zone – whether one likes them or not is not the question: at least they are proposals.


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