While celebrations were being held in Washington on the successes of the North American Free Trade Agreement’s first ten years by the business elites and the ex-presidents of Mexico, the United States and Canada who signed the international trade pact known as NAFTA into law in 1993 (Carlos Salinas, Bush Sr. and Brian Mulroney) -mass demonstrations were taking place in Mexico to declare the Mexican countryside in a state of economic, social and environmental emergency.
Opinion It will not be easy to reform Brazil, due to the problems the new government has inherited. Lula and his team will face deteriorated economic and social circumstances that have their own dynamic, limiting the possible actions and the short-term horizon.
Europe: Dock strike hits ports / South Africa: Campaign vs. AIDS discrimination / Colombia: Gov’t raids union offices / South Korea: Metal workers protest anti-labor repression / El Salvador: Protest health care privatization
PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil – Under the banner “No to militarization and war: another world is possible,” the World Social Forum, a gigantic meeting of the world’s progressive movements, opened Jan. 23 with a march of up to 100,000 people from more than 100 countries, with flags and banners flying, through this lively port city.
BERLIN – On Jan. 12, over 80,000 people kept alive the tradition of visiting the memorial sites of two great left-wing leaders, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, on the second Sunday in January.
HYDERABAD, India – The Asian Social Forum (ASF) was held in the capital of the Indian state Andra Pradesh from Jan. 2-7. Conceived as a part of international debates that have been taking place after the birth of the World Social Forum in Brazil, ASF has become the venue for organizations, unions, intellectuals, workers, dalits, peasants, tribals and activists who are engaged in creating an alternative world order and socio-economic system.
TEL-AVIV – Israel faces a very deep and dangerous economic crisis. 2002 was the worst year Israel has had since the first few years of austerity after the war of Independence (1949-53). The annual rate of inflation and consumer price index hikes reached 6.5 percent, up from one to two percent over the previous few years. Unemployment at the end of 2002 stood, according to official figures, at 10.4 percent of the civil workforce. Long-term unemployment is at almost 14 percent.