nettime's roving correspondent on Sun, 17 May 1998 17:50:01 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> Massive mobilisation in India against the WTO

>     *** please distribute to potentially interested people ***
> Hyderabad (India), 2nd May 1998 - Hundreds of thousands of peasants,
> agricultural labourers, tribal people and industrial workers from all
> regions of India took the streets of Hyderabad yesterday to show their
> rejection against the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and neoliberal
> policies, and to demand the immediate withdrawal of India from the WTO. The
> rally was organised by the recently launched "Joint Action Forum of Indian
> People against the WTO and Anti-People Policies" (JAFIP), composed of 50
> peoples' movements representing a wide range of regions and social groups.
> The demonstration was proceded by a three-days convetion in which the JAFIP
> was officially launched. The convention and rally, convened by a number of
> Indian peoples' movements, including the Karnataka State Farmers'
> Association (KRRS), the All-India People's Resistance Forum (AIPRF), the
> Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) and others, took  place against the backdrop of
> a growing wave of suicides of peasants, which according to all members of
> the JAFIP are directly caused by the impact of WTO-imposed policies. It
> also took place in the context of increasing state violence against
> peoples' movements all over India. The convention and rally were held in
> Hyderabad, capital of Andhra Pradesh, because of the particularly high rate
> of suicides and killings in this Southern state, where more than 600
> peasant activists have been killed by the Indian army from 1992 to 1998,
> and more than 400 suicides have taken place in the last five months. The
> assasination of peoples“ movements“ activists in Andhra Pradesh was
> intensified in the weeks leading to the convention, in what amounts to a
> very clear signal of the way in which the Indian government will deal with
> peaceful opposition to the WTO.
> The convention, attended by more than 900 representatives of peoples'
> movements, produced the "Declaration of Indian People against the WTO"
> which states that "We, the people of India, hereby declare that we consider
> the WTO our brutal enemy. This unaccountalbe and notoriously undermocratic
> body called the WTO has the potential not only to suck the sweat and blood
> of the masses of two-thirds of the world, but has also started destroying
> our natural habitats and traditional agricultural and other knowledge
> systems... converting us into objects of Transnational Corporations'
> economy of consumerism ... The WTO will kill us unless we kill it".
> The declaration also targets the national elites: "any struggle agaisnt the
> WTO-IMF-World Bank trinity has to go along a simultaneous struggle against
> the local ruling classes". Finally, the JAFIP also offers alternatives:
> "While opposing the WTO, we, the Indian people, have resolved to build a
> pro-people egalitarian social order through a genuinely democratic
> process".
> This declaration was accompanied by six specific resolutions demanding
> pro-people agricultural policy, expressing solidarity with other peoples'
> movements, oppossing the invasion of agriculture by multinationals,
> condemning the repression of peoples' movements, denouncing the wave of
> suicides of peasants all over India, and expressing the anti-WTO struggle
> of the Indian working class. All these documents will be soon available at
> http:\\
> The JAFIP made a call to all peoples' movements of India to take part in
> PGA“s decentralised days of action against the WTO that will take place
> >from the 16th to the 20th of May, parallel to the G8 meeting (Birminghan,
> 16-17 May) and the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of GATT at the
> second WTO Ministerial Conference (Geneva, 18-20 May). Prof. Nanjundaswamy,
> president of the 10-million Karnataka State Farmers Association (KRRS),
> announced at the Hyderabad rally that several hundreds Indian peasants will
> be presente at the protest actions in Geneva, representing Indian peoples'
> rejection of the WTO.

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