KAOWAO NEWS NO.
Newsletter for social justice and freedom in Burma
January 21 - February 1, 2006
Elderly, beaten and tortured as rebel
Army targets villagers for not speaking
Out of control logging worries local
Educators tutor older students in Mon
First Mon newspaper to be published in
SPDC ease back on reconnaissance in
Col Sai Yee elected to SSA leadership
Local community protest antimony plant
Respect, harmony to promote business on
The right to Vote is a privilege
Chavez Calls For Socialism Or Death
invite comments and suggestions on improvements to Kaowao
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This is a valuable piece of writing (Understanding the SPDC
General Bo Kyaw Nyein). Too bad, it is not accompanied by brief
two-liner to say who Kyaw Nyein is and what his credentials are for
writing something like this.
idea of Nai Thet Lwins Mon-Burman reconciliation may help break
the political stalemate in Burma, the Land of Pagodas in Kaowao
Issue No. 102 is too radical and too far behind. We should focus
our present situation rather than looking back the past that will
never return. All people of Burma should be united to topple down
our common enemy, the suppressive military regime.
It is a great essay (Rethinking
a Parliamentary-Federal Proposal for Burma by Salai Za Uk Ling).
Well written and organized. Very professional, thanks to have such
I just wanted to
point out something about treating chicken pox. This was a norm for
Canadian children to get chicken pox and it is better than getting
it when you are older as the symptoms worsen with age. You tend to
develop lifelong immunity once you have had the illness. There is
no medication for this. You treat the fever and keep the skin
clean. It is important that health workers educate themselves and
not spread panic as stress can impact the immune system. When I was
at the Halockhani Refugee camp I saw a lot of practices that were in
desperate need of improvement and education. That is the major
reason why I am studying nursing right now so I can go and
volunteer. Thanks guys for listening and passing this information
around. Lets not be like Americans and spread panic when it is not
Mon State at war
Village under siege: elderly, beaten and tortured as rebel
February 1, 2006)
Local authorities beat and kicked an elderly villager on the head
after accusing him of supporting a Mon national armed group in the
area. The suspected villager, Nai Adin age 68, was forced to crouch
in the hot sun along with 1000 villagers last month.
The only medical
care he received was herbal leaves applied to his wounds to stop the
bleeding. They were trying to get him to confess on the whereabouts
of the Mon armed group in the area said a traumatized detainee, Ms
Mi Tin Shwe age 56 who fled to the border recently during an
interview with a Kaowao reporter on the Thai side.
northern Ye Byu Township, Wear Kwao (Pauk Pin Kwin in Burmese)
village in Tenasserim Division, near Mon State, consists of over 400
households. The troubled region has suffered the effects of civil
war over the past decade; over 75 per cent of villagers have fled
from the area.
As I remember
it, Ici Ngwe Khin age 70 lost consciousness while sitting on the
ground and my brother-in-law Nai Tun Aung age 56 lost one leg after
being tortured. My husband left the village for about four months
for fear of being killed as Mon rebel sympathizers, said Shwe who
left the village two weeks ago.
village, consisting of about 300 to 400 households, were detained on
the ground after a SPDC military column based near the village was
ambushed and two of their soldiers were killed in the second week of
December last year she explained.
A young woman,
Shwe War age 22, gave birth during the night while under detention,
the villagers named the baby boy Memh Railway Station (Budar in
People named him
Budar because he was born on the railway station platform she said.
Ms Shwe described
authorities surrounded the village at night and the suspected Mon
guerilla sympathizers were rounded up and cruelly tortured on the
ground, almost all of them were men including the elderly. They
(Burmese soldiers) beat them over their entire body: head, fingers,
legs, arms, knees, and hands, everywhere. Many suffered from wounds
from being kicked and beaten with gun butts; some, like Amar age 25
was wounded over his entire body. Some were tortured later on. Nai
Kha, age 70 can only eat boiled rice because his mouth and face is
badly beaten and swollen.
They were forced
to line up, then told to lie face down on the ground, the three
soldiers started to beat them severely she explained. They were
especially cruel to the ones who couldnt speak Burmese and were
beaten more in response to questions asked by the soldiers.
Then they were
forced to beat each other after the soldiers got tired.
My son, Nai Pha,
the village secretary, age 32 was arrested and for three days was
tortured last year, he left the village after that she added.
My daughter with
her two month old baby was slapped and her baby fell to the ground,
I cried out said Nai Hla Aung aged 64. He was detained along with
his daughter; the SPDC accused the husband of being a Mon rebel
all day, for two whole days; some were hungry and some were hot
during the day and too cold at night Shwe explained. As I remember
it there were about ten pregnant women she added.
was that there were no toilets for the whole time, we had to go
where we were being held, no privacy she added. We would be shot
if we tried to go anywhere else outside the center she quoted a
Sergeant as saying.
There were about
30 soldiers guarding the ground. A column of Light Infantry
Battalion No 299 led by Major Sar Oo is taking the offensive against
a Mon guerilla armed group, which consists of no less then ten
soldiers, most rebels dont have guns to fight with.
Army targets villagers for not speaking Burmese
February 1, 2004)
According to refugees who recently fled from Wear Kwao of northern
Ye Byu Township, villagers were forced to work as laborers
and tortured simply for not speaking Burmese.
Nai Hla Aung from
Wear Kwao explained
what happens to the village when the Burmese troops arrive over the
past 9 years:
villagers in two groups are put on standby and are called upon to
porter when the troops take the offensive. When not on the
offensive, villagers are forced to get water from the stream and
collect wood and vegetables for cooking. Other villagers are ordered
to guard the railway road against rebel attacks, such as bombs being
thrown at soldiers at night.
Children age 10
were forced to work as laborers for the troops, but were replaced by
adults when the troops needed them to carry ammunition to launch an
offensive Aung explained.
He fled the
village with the others because he can speak Burmese and is able to
communicate with SPDC soldiers, but worried that the Mon armed group
will attack him. He added that the there was no fighting or open
fire between the two sides, only the occasional ambush like the one
last month in which SPDC soldiers were killed. The SPDC soldiers
are afraid of launching an offensive outside the village he added.
The village abbot
age 70 wanted to leave the village, but was forced by the SPDC to
stay at the village and is distressed with the situation.
cannot speak Burmese and because of this four were used to pull an
ox-cart as torture, and like an ox, a small piece of wood with nails
was used to make the men walk he added. Nai Agoh, Nai Apin and two
others were tortured in this manner. Many were tortured simply for
not speaking Burmese because they couldnt explain where the rebels
Mr Nai Aboh age
30 and Mr Nai Akyin age 35 each paid seven hundred Kyats to the
commander to be freed and the village abbot was ordered to make sure
they didnt communicate with the rebel group Aung further
Ms, Tin Shwe says
that she has given everything and has no more money left, her
husband had to flee to the border in the hope of getting work on a
rubber plantation to survive.
We have no more
money, we must work on the plantation in Thailand Shwe said.
There are two
groups from the village who just arrived at the border on the Thai
side; they say more villagers will arrive soon.
Many of our
villagers have moved out to other villages over the years, no one
wants to live in that village anymore. But it is not easy to sneak
out of the village, we can only escape gradually, we would be shot
dead if caught she explained.
Can't see the forest for the trees: out of control
logging worries local people
Kaowao: January 31, 2006)
Ye -- Over one
thousand cubic tonnes are being logged from Burmas southern forests
in Tanesserim Division every year by 3 logging companies, sources
from the area say.
The Htoo, Linn
Yaung Chi, and May companies log the forests with permission from
SPDC and pay taxes to three ethnic armed groups, namely, New Mon
State Party, Democratic Karen Buddhist Army and Karen National Union
who are active in the eastern part of Mon State and Tenasserim
Nai Akah, an
environmentalist from southern Mon State says that 'most logs are
transported to foreign countries.' There are 3 areas in which
logging is occurring, one in Mon State and the other two are in Ye
Byu township of Tenasserim Division.
to produce 1000 cubic tonnes each, the companies are working at
capacity to reach the targeted amount. 'Loggers from Linn Yaung Chi
are cutting down almost all sizes of trees including the smaller
ones, but the smaller ones are left behind. The managers take only
the big trees,' he said.
There were more
forest fires last year during the dry season because the branches
and leaves of the trees being cut down are left to dry in the
forest said Nai Par Ngeh a Mon villager from southern Ye. Plus
the small streams in the area are being clogged up by debris and
soil from the logging he added.
'Orchid and other
species of flora in the area used to fill the forest in the past,
but now we cannot see any because of more fires' says a local Mon
hunter from Aleh Sahkan. The wildlife has also been affected by
deforestation and local hunters say they havent seen that many
monkeys, gibbons, and deer he pointed out.
deforestation, traditional gardeners whose livelihood depends on how
much their crops produce are worried about low production. 'Betel
nut trees need more oxygen and water, especially during the dry
season,' explained Nai Thein, a gardener from Ye township. 'My
garden used to produce about four thousand betel nuts, but now it
produces two and half thousand because of the longer dry season' he
added. According to local gardeners, 45% of their gardens have
gotten less water from a rise in temperature in the area.
logging practices in the area have also been affected by the bigger
timber firms who are displacing them. Local people have been making
a living on small-scale logging and bamboo production for
generations says the environmentalist. 'We cannot live without
trees, streams and wildlife' says Nai Chein from southern Mon State.
Most local people
are ethnic Mon, Karen and Tavoyan and are worried about what will
happen to them if the bigger firms continue to operate without any
control or regulation.
Educators tutor older students in Mon language
January 21, 2006)
The Mon refugee community recently celebrated the graduation of some
of their older students who completed a two-month learning the
basics in Mon language course at Halockanee refugee camp along with
the camp children.
I was surprised
to see older people join the language classes despite putting in a
full days work on their farms said Ms Aie Sorn, secretary and
educator of the Mon Youth Progressive Organization who sponsored the
Every day they
set off to work collecting branches in the early morning, then weave
and bind brooms in the evening, then after they would come to our
class to learn Mon, their mother tongue. The class begins in the
late evening to accommodate people who work during the day said a
source from the camp.
In our class of
33 students, there are only a small number of males, 75 percent are
women and the remaining are men said the teacher. The three
trainers also provide companionship and support to the older
students only a few can read and write in Burmese, but all express
a desire to learn to read and write in their mother tongue
explained one of the tutors.
the group, Miss Mi Morh said she wants equal access for men and
women to learn Mon and English, but is unable to find more men, both
young and old. We also dont have enough books and other school
supplies, we should be able to accommodate more students from the
surrounding area she explained.
We are not blind
or illiterate in our language now, we can read and write a little
now said a recent graduate who spoke at the closing ceremony Jan
responsible for their families and that may explain why some dont
attend the free classes, though many are busy working noted Sorn.
But most of the students want to continue with their studies and
will return for more classes she added.
All the students
have high expectations of us, we are seen as a sort of recovery
strategy in which they can gain control of their lives pointed out
been an important part of refugee assistance in the Mon camps,
Halocknee refugee serves 3 villages. Ive been trying to get more
elderly men involved Sorn said. For many students, learning Mon and
English were cited as the most important need and the Mon women
group at the border have set up another six-month English class
inside southern Mon State along the border.
First Mon newspaper to be published in Thailand
(Mi Loa Htaw,
IMNA: January 27, 2006)
Voices of Mon
the first Mon newspaper to be published in Thailand is ready to be
distributed from February.
The Voices of
Mon will be printed both in Mon and in the Thai language and it
will cover activities of Mon people in Thailand and Mon state,
business culture and news, said the publisher Nai Ong, chairman of
Thai Raman Organization.
We want to see
Mon people understand people in Thailand, he added. A Mon migrant
worker in Thailand Nai Sa Ha Mon also said that it is very important
for Mon people to understand people of Thailand because the cultures
are quite different.
I think we will
become more united if the newspaper can help us understand each
other, said Nai Sa Ha Mon. For the first time we will distribute
newspapers for free. And we want to invite our people to subscribe
to our newspaper at 200 Bath per year. So we can continue
publishing Nai Ong said.
will publish one thousand copies, twenty pages in Thai and four
pages in Mon language. Actually we want to have more pages in Mon
but the problem is we dont have enough writers who can write the
Mon language added Nai Ong.
Even though it is
a newspaper it will be published two months at a time. In Thai-Mon
history, it will be the first such newspaper. There have been Thai
Mon newspapers before but it was only in Thai language with Mons
born in Thailand publishing it. But now both Mon people in Thailand
and Mon people from Mon state will work together to bring out the
SPDC ease back on reconnaissance in Rangoon
January 22, 2006)
The daily watch on activities of the Mon political group has eased
off recently, said MNDF chairman, Nai Tun Thein.
intelligence officers from Rangoon no longer routinely ask me about
the situation, they are more relaxed from before, the 80 year old
chairman said. I reckon it has something to do with the atmosphere
in the command structure, Khin Nyunt had a much stronger
relationship with the MI units, than this Burma Army unit, he
Nai Tun Thein
said that he has to report to SPDC intelligence only when he
travels outside Rangoon. He added that the situation is very
different from when General Khin Nyunt was in charge of Military
Intelligence or MI, who was more forceful and skillful in
situation in Mon and Karen State is different to Rangoon. Some
members from Karen State said that they have to meet
secretly during religious and social parties and not out in the
We continue to
attract the best people for our political activities, and many of
those, young and old, have to be imaginative at meeting in secret to
avoid their eyes, said a senior member of the MNDF, only Mon
political party from Pha-ann township, Karen State, who spoke to
Kaowao over phone and requested not to be identified for security
The MNDF won five
seats in the 1990 general election. Its leaders Nai Tun Thein, Nai
Ngwe Thein, Dr. Min Kyi Win, and Dr. Min Soe Lin were arrested in
1998 for urging the armed New Mon State Party to reconsider its
position on its cease-fire agreement with the SPDC and for
supporting the Committee Representing Peoples Parliament (CRPP).
Nai Tun Thein was later released and put under house arrest due to
his age and poor health. He is a Mon scholar and has been a
respected leader in the Mon national political movement for over 5
Col Sai Yee elected to SSA leadership
Col Sai Yee,
formerly of the ceasefire group Shan State National Army (SSNA), has
recently been elected to the anti-Rangoon Shan State Army - South's
supreme political body, according to the statement issued today.
According to the statement, the annual meeting of the Restoration
Council of Shan State (RCSS), held 21-25 January at Loi Taileng,
opposite Maehongson's Pang Mapha district, had re-elected Col
Yawdserk as President and elected Col Sai Yee, who had returned to
the armed struggle after 3 of his units were forced to "exchange
arms for peace" last April and May, as Vice President.
The meeting also resolved to uphold its Six Guiding Principles:
Independence, Unity, People's Welfare, Democracy, Peace and
Throughout last year, the group has been attacked by its critics as
deviating from its founding principles.
Local community protest antimony plant
January 25, 2006)
An antimony manufacture plant located at the Three Pagodas Pass
border town was shut down for four days following employee protests
over health concerns of workers and the local community, sources
from the border town said.
Pass residents protested last week and the plant was shut down for
four days last week; today it reopened after bribing SPDC
authorities, a Mon national who wishes not to be named due to
security reasons said. They (local residents) told the SPDC
authorities of a toxic odor coming from the plant, he added.
workers of the plant do not wear masks and gloves to prevent
exposure to the metal, and local residents worry for their health
living so close to the manufacturing plant. Last week they told
authorities about the health hazard which led to the closure for
four days' the source explained.
The plant is
owned by Nawarat of Thailand who signed a contract with the Rangoon
government to process the metal in an area under the control of the
Karen National Union. 'A Thai businessman wanted to mine for
antimony in the area under KNU control, which is about a half day's
drive from Three Pagodas Pass' the source added. 'There are about 60
mine workers, most of whom are Karen people, with each earning about
100 baht a day.
'The company does not dare operate inside
Thailand, the local Thai wouldn't put up with the plant being there'
he said. World demand for antimony is very strong in recent years
and has increased 150% over the past 4 years, on the world market it
sells at $3750 US dollars per tonne. (Source:
produces about half a ton of antimony daily equivalent to 24 bags,
one bag is 24 kilograms. 'It is then transported to Thailand for the
industrial process, more trucks have been entering Burma to dig more
mines in the area' the source explained further.
Antimony has a
wide variety of applications used in the industrial process, it is
also used in making cosmetics such as eye pencils. It is a silvery
light, brittle metal and is usually mixed with other metals such as
lead and zinc as alloys, which are used in industrial processing to
make batteries, ammunition, pewter, semi-conductors, and sheet
antimony is similar to arsenic in terms of its affect on health.
Repeated exposure through inhalation or contact with skin or eyes
can cause serious health problems. In small doses it can cause high
blood pressure, dizziness, ulcers, and depression; in high doses
stomach cramps, frequent vomiting, cardiac abnormalities, and death.
People with respiratory or heart problems and high blood pressure
are especially at risk.
Respect, harmony to promote business on Thai-Burma border
The Thai-Myanmar Cultural and Economic Cooperation will kick off a
multi-ethnic trade fair to foster better economic and business
relationships on Jan 28.
'The 9 day event
will feature the best of what the cultures living on the Thai Burma
border have to offer to promote Three Pagodas Pass as a major route
for border trade' says Nai Sak, a Thai Mon businessman from the
'The trade fair
is scheduled to begin Jan 28 to Feb 5 at Three Pagodas Pass, Thai
side, and will showcase the main ethnic groups' he added.
'This is a great
opportunity for us to build up our business confidence and work on
ideas that will help promote tourism between the two countries' he
quoted a Thai businessmen as saying.
The major ethnic
groups who live side by side at the border, the Mon, Karen, Thai,
and Lao cultures will each have a chance to present their own
entertainment and exhibitions' specialties along with Burmese and
Thai culture shows. On the last day an event on Jan 29 will be held
to celebrate the traditional wear of all the major groups, according
to a local Thai FM radio programme, a winner will be chosen.
of local handmade items such as textiles and other produced goods,
such as specialty foods, handicrafts and jewelry will also be
displayed in the fair' Sak added.
Jantiam of Thailand will head the Thai business group joined by
local Thai-Mon business people who live along the border town, who
are also members of TMCECC.
The TMCECC was
founded 2001 by General Khin Nyunt and General Chavalit
Yongchaiyudy, the Thai Mon businesswoman in Sangkhlaburi, who owned
Songkalia Resort, joined up in 2002. According to leaflet
distributed, this same committee has plans to build a motor road
from Kanchanaburi to Mon State, Kalargote island, but for the time
being it has been put on hold pending finance and funding.
The right to Vote is a privilege
(By Za Ceu Lian, Chinland Guardian)
January 23, 06- the federal election is approaching day by day,
leaders of the different political parties and their respective
candidates across Canada are campaigning hard in order to get
elected. In a democracy, the right to stand for office and the
right to vote, or not to vote, in election is enjoyed by every
citizen. Although in countries like Australia this is only half-true
because voting is compulsory.
Growing up under one of the cruellest military regimes (Burmese
military regime) in our day, I understand the right to vote is a
real privilege and not the one to be taken for granted. In a
country like Burma, where military dictators rule at gunpoint,
people do not have a chance to vote for the government of their
Even if the elections are held, the military regime will not honour
the result of the election unless they win. Indeed, in 1990, two
years after the Junta's mass killings of thousands of demonstrators
who were demanding the restoration of Democracy in Burma in the year
1988, the Burmese despotic regime held the general election,
promising the citizens that legitimate power would be handed over to
the winning Party. Believing that the regime would respect the
outcome of the election, the people of Burma participated in the
general election called by the military regime in 1990. In that
election, the National League for Democracy (NLD), the party led by
a Noble Peace Prize recipient, Aung San Suu Kyi had won a landslide
victory, attaining more than 83% of the seats in the Burmese
Shameless and corrupt, the group of dictators flatly ignored the
wills of the people clearly expressed in the general election.
Contrary to their promise, instead of handing over power to the
winning party, NLD, the military dictators imprisoned those
Political leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the
ongoing pro-democracy movement.
Still today, the regime refused to give power to the winner of the
1990 general election. Beside their flagrant refusal, more than 1500
political prisoners including the Noble Peace Laureate Aung San Suu
Kyi are still in detention.
looking at the example of Burma, I hope my Canadian friends will
understand that the democratic right, particularly the right to vote
in elections, is a real privilege, and a rare one that so many
people of the world do not enjoy.
understand that some people might disagree with me for comparing a
democratic country like Canada, where we enjoy our fundamental
freedom and democratic rights, and un-democratic country like Burma
where there is no freedom or democratic rights whatsoever under the
current military junta. Regardless of whether or not one country is
democratic, the point I want to make here is how fortunate people
here are to have the right to vote. Let us appreciate the fact that
we have a right to vote and make use of it for the sake of our
nation's well being.
of my interest, I talked to some of my local friends both at school
and at work regarding this coming election. Most of them are quite
cynical about the term politics and politicians. I am
disappointed by the fact that some of them intend not to vote. To
them, it seems that there is no party they want to vote for. I
dont care about politics and All the politicians are corrupted,
is what I was mostly told.
Given the sponsorship and Income Trust scandals, it is
understandable that some of my local friends are cynical about
politics. I think many might share this feeling of frustration about
politics. I understand the frustration discouraging people not to
participate in election, but am worried that not enough attention is
paid to the reasons WHY we should participate in elections.
though I fully respect individuals right not to vote in elections,
the notion that concerns me personally is the question of being a
responsible citizen. No matter how much corruption is going on or
how messy politics is, I believe that we are owe it to our nation to
fulfill our responsibility as a citizen through our vote or other
Let's be aware of the impact of our vote and our obligation as a
responsible citizen. Whether we have alternatives or not in this
coming election, I think we should choose to get out and vote for
the party from the alternatives available to us. As responsible
citizens, we should care about the future course of our nation. I
believe that elections are the time when we collectively can alter
the course and future direction of our nation. This is the
moment allowing us, especially well-informed students, to make the
right choice by making use of our individual right to vote which so
many people all over the world, like students and other people in
Burma do not have at all.
The forwarded commentary piece by Salai Za Ceu Lian, was published
by the University of Winnipeg Student Weekly Uniter, Canada on 19th
January, 06, five days prior to the actual federal election of
Around the Globe
Chavez Calls For Socialism Or Death
By Jim McIlroy & Chris Kerr,
Green Left Weekly
President Hugo Chavez proclaimed socialism or death in finishing
his rousing speech to a rally of around 10,000 people at the
Polihedro Stadium on January 27. The rally was a feature of the
Latin American section of the Sixth World Social Forum held in
Caracas on January 24-29.
attracted an audience of up to 100,000 people from all over Latin
America and the world, to a feast of more than 2000 public meetings
and seminars on themes of anti-imperialist globalisation and the
struggle for a better world.
Chavez said that
unlike Karl Marx, when he first issued the call for socialism in the
19th century, we do not have much time left. The 21st century has
now come, when the dilemma must be finally resolved.
Time is short.
If we do not change the world now, there may be no 22nd century for
humanity. Capitalism has destroyed the ecological equilibrium of the
earth. It is now or never!, Chavez declared. We should go toward
setting up a worldwide anti-imperialist movement. We have already
taken steps in this direction, Chavez told the cheering crowd. He
commented that at the previous WSF in Porto Alegre in 2005, many
talks were occurring without conclusions. We are not here to waste
our time. We must urgently build a new socialist movement.
the US empire. It is the most perverse empire in history: It talks
about freedom while invading and destroying other nations ... The
empire is very powerful, but not infallible. This century we will
bury the US empire. The empire has to face the people of Venezuela
and Latin America. It has failed in Iraq already.
He urged the
audience to imagine a world in which the US administration declares
peace to the world, withdraws its forces, and uses its resources to
produce medicines and food for the poor people of the world.
the USs record to the achievements of the Bolivarian revolution in
Venezuela, with the help of Cuba, which taught 1.5 million people to
read through Mission Robinson in just two years.
inequality are losing: it is now up to us to define the formula of
unity for victory. We need unity of all our currents. While
respecting the right to autonomy of the movements, including the
green movement and the various political and national movements, all
of us should get together in a victorious offensive against
figures in the international progressive movement were featured on a
podium, including Aleida Guevara (Ches daughter) and Cindy Sheehan
(US anti-war leader whose son was killed in Iraq). Huge applause
greeted Chavezs speech, and the rally included a rousing rendition
of the workers anthem, The Internationale.
on the need for urgent international political action against global
capitalism and oppression was a major theme of the forum. The whole
conference was filled with the overwhelming influence of the
Venezuelan revolution. The Bolivarian spirit was pervasive from
the very first day, when around 20,000 activists marched to launch
the WSF. The lively and colourful march featured the banners,
clothing and chants of the many national contingents, especially
from Latin America.
was a group of around 15 Australians, marching with the banner of
the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network and chanting: Chavez,
friend! Australians are with you!
A panel with
speakers from the National Union of Workers, the worker-managed
Alcasa aluminum factory, organisers from participatory budgets in
Brazil, and well-known radical intellectuals, discussed how
co-management and participatory budgeting were weapons in the
struggle against capitalism and in building a democratic socialism
of the 21st century. It also featured debate on the strengths and
weakness of these various experiments so far.
Another panel of
radical Latin American economists discussed how the Latin American
integration project known as the Bolivarian Alternative of the
Americas (ALBA) was the antithesis of the US-inspired Free Trade
Area of the Americas. The panellists discussed how ALBA gave
activists a strategic and concrete alternative to struggle for and
that it must be a social integration of peoples at every level
rather than only of governments and elites.
well-attended forum discussed the Marxism of Che Guevara and its
relevance. The panel concluded that while Ches thought didnt
contain all the elements of 21st century socialism, he articulated
its essence by arguing that socialism must be centered on developing
new human beings liberated from alienation, and that this can only
be achieved through their active participation in building a society
free from capitalism and all forms of bureaucracy and hierarchy.
discussed the massive achievements of Venezuelas social missions in
improving the lives of the poor communities, and their role in
transforming the communities into organised, conscious and creative
social actors in constructing a new socialist Venezuela, thus giving
them a revolutionary character in a capitalist society.
discussed solidarity work in various countries and plans for
coordination of international solidarity activities with the
Venezuelan revolution in 2006.
The variety and
breadth of topics covered the whole spectrum of debate in the world
anti-capitalist globalisation movement. As the WSF draws toward a
close, discussion is occurring on the future of the social forum
movement and the urgent tasks facing us in the coming year.