From A World To Win News Service

Anti-globalization and anti-war activists converge in Mumbai

Revolutionary Worker#1230, February 22, 2004, posted at

We received the following from A World to Win News Service:

9 February 2004. A World to Win News Service.Some 100,000 people from India, Asia and around the world, determined to oppose the ugly effects of imperialist domination, gathered for two parallel events in Mumbai (Bombay), India, January 16-21: the World Social Forum and Mumbai Resistance 2004 Against Imperialist Globalisation and War. To what extent this military and economic domination represents bad policies or, instead, a vicious, unreformable system, as well as how to develop strategies for organizing real resistance to it, were major subjects of controversy, and one reason for the separate MR 2004 initiative, which was held across the motorway from the WSF. Mumbai was witness to a tremendous expression of anti-imperialist solidarity, unity and energy, which was articulated in dozens of languages, and even more varied analyses and criticism and forms of protest and rebellion.

Especially as regards the WSF, there was a very wide array of views expressed, from thinking that the goal should be to put a human face on globalization to advocating the revolutionary overthrow of imperialism worldwide. WSF organizers refused to serve Coke and Pepsi and used Linux instead of Microsoft computer software products.

Indian writer Arundhati Roy delivered keynote addresses at both WSF and MR 2004, exposing the criminal gang in the White House and denouncing the rapacious plunder of "neoliberal capitalism" around the world. She argued for economic boycotts of U.S. corporations profiting from Iraq's destruction. Roy also condemned the thousands of arrests of political opponents of the Indian regime under the Prevention of Terror Act (POTA), in which "poverty is being conflated with terror."

Both events debated the impact of imperialist trade policies on Indian peasants, who make up one out of four farmers in today's world, as well as the oppression of women throughout South Asia and the "apartheid-like" caste system in India that excludes 140 million Dalits of the lowest caste and many millions more tribal peoples (Adavasis).

Although some 20,000 participants came from 130 countries outside India to attend the two events, the overwhelming majority were Indian. Many seminars were conducted in Hindi. Forestry workers, fishermen and victims of the 1984 Bhopal Union Carbide insecticide plant disaster came. There was also a large and lively contingent of Korean students. Hundreds of Japanese anti- nuclear activists travelled to Mumbai on a "peace boat." More than 600 bookstalls lined the huge industrial warehouse that had been converted into the Forum grounds.

The Mumbai WSF was a continuation of annual meetings previously held in Porto Alegre, Brazil, which have been timed to coincide with the conclave of political and business representatives of the rich countries that meet every January in the Swiss ski resort town of Davos. In previous years, Davos was the site of major clashes between anti-globalization demonstrators and police.

MR 2004 was sponsored by a number of anti-imperialist groups, including the All-Indian People's Resistance Forum, the International League of People's Struggle, the World People's Resistance Movement-South Asia, the Filipino organization Bayan, the Anti-Imperialist Camp from Europe and many others. Sessions took up the plight of Indian agriculture held hostage by imperialism, democratic rights, the role of the working class, imperialist war, Palestine and various aspects of the national question in India, among other topics. About 2,000 people attended the seminars and participated in a day of cultural resistance with various speakers and performers. The programme featured Gadar, a very popular revolutionary singer from Andhra Pradesh identified with the Maoist-led armed struggle in India.

Opposition to the imperialist occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan was deeply felt at both WSF and MR 2004. Bush's empire and its allies were the brunt of anger expressed in many different forms of colorful art and culture, humor and political exposure. Demonstrations around a range of questions took place daily. Both events held large protest marches against the American occupation of Iraq. The Indian state revealed clearly its true undemocratic colors and submissiveness to the U.S. by denying MR 2004 a permit to march on the American consulate. Instead, the authorities barricaded the streets surrounding it and put intimidating police snipers on rooftops in the vicinity. More than 15,000 people cheered as Israeli and U.S. flags went up in flames at the closing rally of MR 2004.

Activists of the WPRM-South Asia and delegates from WPRM-Europe and the Stop the War Brigade distributed a total of more than 20,000 of two joint leaflets at both events. One was headlined, "A future of imperialist globalisation and war we will not accept: For a world without imperialism!" The other declared, "Free Comrade Gaurav! People's liberation is not `terrorism,' imperialists and reactionaries--hands off Nepal!" (Comrade Gaurav is a leading member of the Communist Party of Nepal [Maoist] imprisoned in India since last August on a charge of travelling with false papers. He is threatened with extradition into the hands of the Nepali regime.)

WPRM delegates made contributions at a number of seminars and workshops. Their interventions on the question of building a people's movement against the U.S. war machine and the occupation of Iraq were enthusiastically received. A supporter of the CPN (Maoist) made a presentation about the advances of the people's war in Nepal at MR 2004.

The next major event which participants at both the WSF and MR 2004 decided to join and build for is the planet-wide mobilization against the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq planned for March 20, 2004, the anniversary of the invasion.

During mid-February, WPRM-Europe will hold public programs in support of the revolution in Nepal and against U.S. intervention there in Frankfurt, Germany, and London. Go to for details.