ďThe anti-globalisation anti-war process needs deepening in the Asia-Pacific regionĒ

Ė John Percy

[John Percy, the National Secretary of the Democratic Socialist Party of Australia (DSP), talks to Liberation on regional cooperation among anti-globalisation and anti-war forces in the Asia-Pacific]

Liberation: What in your assessment are the achievements of the latest Asia-Pacific Solidarity Conference?

Percy: The conference was a great success with achievements at many levels, both nationally and internationally.

This conference marked a qualitative step forward compared to the first conference four years ago. This conference clearly demonstrated a higher level of political clarity and firmness amongst the participants. Partly this reflected the political events of the last few years, the development of the anti neoliberal globalisation movement, and the rising anti-war movement.

It also reflected the increasing level of mutual respect and collaboration thatís developed among the left organisations in the region in recent years. So at this conference we were able to work together to produce resolutions and perspectives to adopt at the conference, with concrete proposals for action. The informal get together of regional left organisations after the conference was a real working discussion, working out how to take the collaboration further.

This conference also saw the participation of a number of significant new organisations from the Asian region, with socialist parties being organised in South Korea, East Timor, and Malaysia

Liberation: What are the objectives of organising the regional meeting in Manila next year?

Percy: Undoubtedly thereíll be many aims for the Manila conference. But there was a specific need to provide a meeting place for all the anti-globalisation and anti-war forces in the region to come together to discuss and exchange views and mobilise their resources in a big way. Following the success of the first two World Social Forums held in Porto Alegre in Brazil, we felt there was a real need and the possibility of extending and deepening that process in the Asia-Pacific region.

Naturally enough the Asian region was rather underrepresented in Porto Alegre, which brought together huge numbers of activists and organisations from Latin America, and also southern Europe. Porto Alegre projected that the 2004 World Social Forum would be held in India, and the resolution from our conference stated that the conference and the participating organisations would throw their weight wholeheartedly behind that perspective.

Liberation: What is your view of the WSF process?

Percy: The World Social Forum process has had a remarkable success in dynamically mobilising the growing popular sentiment against imperialist globalisation and bringing together so many of the organisations and activists campaigning on the many issues of resistance. Itís based on the hundreds of thousands, the millions, of demonstrators around the world, from Seattle, to Genoa, to Barcelona and dozens of other sites of resistance to capitalismís global attacks. Itís based on the many organisations, old and new, large and small, who are organising this resistance. And it had a fortuitous start, able to use the resources of the state of Rio Grande del Sol and the city of Porto Alegre where the Brazilian Workers Party is in government, and able to provide the infrastructure for such a meeting.

But the WSF is a worldwide process, and the demonstrations and the actions and the resistance are worldwide, and the activists in Porto Alegre rightly assessed that the process had to be spread world-wide.

Also we know that the process itself will be a site of contestation, with the more conservative elements wanting to limit it, or bask in its glory, whether itís parliamentarians and ministers who are themselves involved in implementing neo-liberal attacks on the workers and the poor, or even the representatives of imperialismís international institutions themselves wanting to get on board. But the process wonít be coopted, or tainted by those efforts, because itís based on very clear demands and goals, that are in conflict with the capitalist system, and based on the activism of millions, and the ideas of democracy and freedom.

The uniting slogan of the movement Ė ďAnother World Is PossibleĒ Ė should be able to repel any efforts to divert the movement from its fundamental anti-neoliberal globalisation and anti-war goals.

We think the WSF process is a healthy development that provides a meeting place for the organisations and activists, and can have a role in furthering the struggle and clarifying the political perspectives. It wonít be a static institution of course, but must go forward as the campaigns and movements develop and get stronger, learn from those movements, and help them take further steps.