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EU: Anti-Globalization Movement Prepares for Genoa Summit

Agence France Presse
July 11th, 2001

PARIS -- Nine days ahead of this month's G8 summit in the Italian city of Genoa, an ever-developing anti-globalization movement prepares to make its presence felt.

The biggest anti-globalization gathering in history will demand their voice be heard from the leaders of the seven richest industrial powers plus Russia, during the meeting from July 20-22.

The first large-scale protests, which took place at the 1999 meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Seattle, were "the turning point" of the anti-globalization movement, said American protest organizer Susan George.

The meeting ended with the participants failing to agree.

"The people of Seattle were held responsible for the WTO's failure, and this is how the movement exploded on the global level," said Christophe Aguiton from the Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions for the Help of Citizens (ATTAC).

Until recently governments around the world did not realize the extent of the anti-globalization phenomenon.

But the extreme violence of the protests at the June EU summit in Gothenburg, Sweden made them take notice.

"We can not continue to organize large-scale international meetings under the protection of the police; we must build a system of dialogue" with anti-globalization groups, said French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine.

Old and respected non-governmental organizations (NGOs), in the domains of the environment or human rights, have joined younger NGOs in mostly violence-free action.

They are working together to change the anti-globalization movement.

"They make the tiles for the same roof," said Christophe Aguiton.

They are searching for ways to go from pure protest to more positive proposals. In this spirit, anti-globalization groups organized a social summit in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre in January to coincide with the Davos summit in Switzerland.

By reflecting and putting forward ideas they think of themselves as more legitimate than the international leaders attending July's G8 summit, described as the "real government of the world, but for which they have not received a mandate."

The anti-globalization movement stems from a growing gap between the political elite and public opinion. Supporters believe that classic democratic choices can no longer influence the course of events in modern market-dominated capitalism.

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