A disparate movement which owes its (state-financed) existence to the efforts of the ruling class to prevent the working class arriving at an awareness that only one "other world" is possible: communism.

Only the communist revolution can make poverty history!

The forthcoming British presidency of the G8 - and the accompanying summit in Scotland in July - has been the focus of a campaign to ‘Make Poverty History’: a coalition of ‘the great and the good’. Churches, charities, trade unions, and a galaxy of celebrities are calling for fair trade, debt-relief and improved aid. Huge parades and rock concerts are being planned, their stated aim being ‘to make the politicians care’...

For the working class all jobs are precarious

In issue 279 of World Revolution we wrote an article criticising the false alternatives to the crisis of capitalism posed by the activists present at the ‘Beyond the ESF’ event, which ran alongside the ‘official’ European Social Forum in October last year. This event, organised by the WOMBLES, attracted a wide range of ‘anti-capitalists’ from around the world with the promise of a “part conference, part direct action [and] part celebration of self-organised cultures of resistance”...

ESF: For a class perspective on job insecurity

Where the big meetings at the ESF considered how government policies could be changed, the fringe events 'Beyond the ESF' had proposals for action. Typically they put a positive spin on all sorts of activities that have nothing to do with the struggle of the working class. For example, a Class War meeting on the issue of precarity (job insecurity), extolled the virtues of the black economy, and saw petty trafficking (e.g. in contraband cigarettes) as an expression of the class struggle, just because those who engage in it are hassled by the police. At other meetings there were calls for individuals to shoplift, fare dodge and squat empty buildings.

ESF: Old reformism in new packaging

The European Social Forum, having visited Florence and Paris in previous years, passed through London in mid October. As before there were hundreds of meetings, seminars, 'workshops' and cultural events touching on a wide range of issues, and a concluding demonstration where everyone was able to dress up and make a lot of noise. While a Guardian (18/10/04) leader announced that "New politics takes a bow" and banners declared that "Another world is possible", it was clear that there was nothing 'new' on display and nothing that even hinted at the possibility of an end to capitalist society and all its horrors.

Anti-globalisation: ideological poison for the proletariat

The ideology of 'anti-globalisation' is an emanation of the bourgeoisie. Its role is to derail any attempt by the working class to understand the world and draw the necessary conclusions, to drag all those who begin to question the current system back into the fold of the defence of democracy, of the capitalist state. It is thus a real danger to the working class.

An Earth Summit of exploiters and despoilers

The World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg from August 26 to September 4 addressed issues that are vital for the survival of the human species, just as the previous summit held in Rio did ten years ago. And just like Rio it will not mark a turning point in the despoliation of the planet but the start of a new descent as capitalism plunges ever further into crisis, dragging humanity with it. Capitalism threatens humanity

Working class struggle is the only anti-capitalism

The range of issues raised at each 'anti-capitalist' demonstration is wide. The state of the environment, climate change, free trade, the role of big corporations, privatisation, Third World debt, economic policies of the G8, the role of the World Trade Organisation, the structural adjustment programmes of the IMF and the World Bank - these are all targets of the leftists, anarchists, greens, religious groups and non-governmental organisations that turn out for the 'anti-globalisation' protests.

Genoa: Capitalist democracy is a police state

In Genoa, during the meeting of the G8 in July, Carlo Giuliani was shot and then run over by a police vehicle. Following the shooting of protesters at June's EU summit in Gothenburg - the first time since 1931 that the Swedish police have used live ammunition against demonstrators - Giuliani's death was the first fatality in 'anti-globalisation' protests.

Leftists united for state capitalism and bourgeois democracy

In last year’s US presidential elections Ralph Nader, standing in favour of a more ‘green’, less corporate, capitalism, persuaded more than 2.5 million people to vote for him, including many who would not otherwise have bothered turning up at the polling station. In Britain, the ruling class is also concerned about the growing lack of interest in capitalist politics. Learned professors from Essex and Sheffield Universities are concerned at the results of their research which “if this is confirmed by actual turnout in a few months’ time, electoral participation will look like it is in long term decline” (Guardian 1/3/01). They suggest that “the 2001 general election is set to have the lowest turnout of any since Lloyd George went to the country in 1918” (ibid). In this context the Socialist Alliance has just launched its general election campaign. Supported by celebrities such as Harold Pinter, Ken Loach, Linda Smith, Jeremy Hardy, Rob Newman, Mark Steel, Mark Thomas, Ricky Tomlinson and John Pilger, the SA exists because today, with discontent and suspicion in the working class, there is the possibility that beyond apathy with elections there lies the potential for a struggle against the whole capitalist system. Following on from the Nader example, a report from its opening press conference says that “the SA campaign claims that it will attract disenfranchised voters who would otherwise not vote at all - at least 100,000 overall” (Guardian 2/3/01).

May Day 2000: The only alternative to capitalism is communism

Following on from J18 and Seattle, MayDay 2000 promises a global day of action against capitalism. From New York to Paris, from Auckland to London, thousands of people will be involved in actions aimed at protesting against the effects of capitalism. These events promise to build up a strong grass-roots movement for social change, a better environment and even an end to exploitation.

Seattle and the myth of 'globalisation'

And what a victory it was. Who would have thought, even a year ago, that sixty thousand people would turn up to greet delegates of the World Trade Organisation. Who'd have thought that trade unionists would be marching with environmentalists people dressed as turtles marching with sacked steelworkers, the topless lesbian avengers mingling with farmers. Churchgoers with the anarchist black-block. The mass protests helped focus world-wide attention on what the WTO really stands for and it crumbled under the pressure. Forget all their talk about 'free trade', the WTO is nothing more than a nasty little organisation fighting for the rights of multinational organisations to dismantle every country's labour and environmental laws" SchNEWS website bulletin, 10.12.99

Only one other world is possible: communism

Between 12th and 15th November, the "European Social Forum" was held in Paris, a kind of European subsidiary of the World Social Forum which has taken place several years running in Porto Alegre, Brazil (in 2002 the ESF was held in Florence, Italy, while the 2004 event is planned in London). The ESF has attained considerable proportions: according to the organisers, there were some 40,000 participants from countries ranging from Portugal to Eastern Europe, a programme of 600 seminars and workshops in the most varied venues (theatres, town halls, prestigious state buildings) distributed across four sites around Paris, and to conclude a big demonstration of between 60 and 100,000 people in the streets of Paris, with the unrepentant Italian Stalinists of Rifondazione Comunista at the front, and the anarchists of the CNT at the rear. Though they received less media attention, two other "European forums" took place at the same time as the ESF, one for members of the European parliament, the other for trades unionists. And as if three "forums" were not enough, the anarchists organised a "Libertarian Social Forum" in the Paris suburbs, at the same time as the ESF and deliberately presented as an "alternative" to it.

'Anti-globalisation': an ideological trap for the proletariat

The success of the European Social Forum (ESF) in Paris last November is a striking illustration of the growing strength of the "alternative worldist" movement during the last decade. After some hesitation, the initially fairly limited audience (limited in kind rather than geographically, since the movement quickly attracted an audience amongst "thinkers" and academics) grew to take on all the hallmarks of a traditional ideological current: a popular reputation thanks to the radicalism of the demonstrations in Seattle 1999 during the summit of the World Trade Organisation (WTO); then the media figures, amongst whom José Bové is the uncontested star, and finally the major and unmissable events: the World Social Forum (WSF) which aimed to be an alternative to the Davos forum that brings together the world's major economic players, and whose first three meetings (2001, 2002, 2003) have been held in Porto Alegre (Brazil), a town supposed to symbolise "citizens' self-management".

The bourgeoisie uses 'popular protest' to hide the class struggle

The crisis of capitalism is making living conditions worse for virtually everyone, causing a great deal of anger among workers and other sections of the population. This growing discontent has been channelled into a number of protest demonstrations. In particular we have seen the ‘anti-capitalist’ demonstrations outside the World Economic Forum in Melbourne and the World Bank and IMF in Prague; the opposition protests against Milosevic in Serbia; and the blockades of oil refineries in Britain and various European countries.

WSF in Mumbai: A anti-imperialist bluff

The World Social Forum, that has so far met annually in Porto Alegre, Brazil, this year met at Mumbai, India between Jan 16 and 21, 2004. The WSF at Mumbai was no different from other such gatherings. It had all the trappings of a gigantic fair (it was held at National Exhibitions Grounds, a venue of Trade Fairs) with pronounced 'ethnic' and 'tribal' flavour. The show was definitely big - nearly 80000 people from 132 countries are supposed to have participated in 1200 events around the WSF. Even more are supposed to have joined the Anti-American rally on 21st Jan 2004 at the end of the WSF.

European Social Forum offers no alternative to capitalism

The World Social Forum has recently been held in Mumbai (Bombay), India. This grand festival of 'anti-globalisation' gathered together 80,000 people of numerous political colours and social backgrounds under the slogan 'another world is possible'. In a forthcoming issue of WR, we hope to publish a report on this event written by comrades in India who intervened at some of its many meetings and debates. In the meantime, we are publishing an article written by our French section, Revolution Internationale, on the European Social Forum held in Paris last November. As the article shows, this was yet another rally 'against capitalism' supported from start to finish by the bourgeoisie.

Can the WOMBLES go 'Beyond the ESF'?

The WSF/ESF are the 'official' faces of 'anti-globalisation'. Not everyone is convinced of their claims to be a real focus for 'anti-capitalism'. Many people have reflected on a movement that has been under way since before the 1999 Seattle demonstrations against the World Trade Organisation and have developed wide-ranging criticisms and alternative forms of organisation.

ESF: The only alternative world is communism

In the last few years, the movement which describes itself variously as the 'anti-globalisation' or 'anti-capitalist' movement, the 'alternative world' or 'global justice movement' has been in the forefront of protest across the world. Through its speeches, writings and demands everything is being done to give the impression that this movement is the bearer of a new analysis of the current social order and that it holds the key to doing away with all its ills. This is summed up in its slogan 'another world is possible'. What does this 'new social critique' really amount to?

Only the proletarian revolution will save the human species

There is not one international organisation of the bourgeoisie – World Trade Organisation, World Bank, OECD, IMF – which doesn’t proclaim its intention to do everything it can for “sustainable development”, so concerned are they for the future generations. There’s not one state which doesn’t proclaim its deep respect for the environment. There’s not one ecologically-oriented Non-Government Organisation (NGO) which hasn’t organised all sorts of demonstrations, petitions or memorandums. There’s not one bourgeois newspaper which hasn’t featured a pseudo-scientific article on global warming. All these fine people, with all their fine intentions, had their representatives at the conference in The Hague from the 13 to the 25 November 2000, which had the aim of defining the ways in which the Kyoto protocol (1) would be put into effect. No less than 2000 delegates, representing 180 countries, surrounded by 4000 observers and journalists, had the job of concocting the miracle recipe for putting an end to climatic abnormalities. Result: Nothing. Strictly zero. Or rather, there was one result: one more proof that for the bourgeoisie, considerations about the survival of humanity fall a very long way behind the defence of the national capital.

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