A MAJOR conference in London this weekend will bring activists together to discuss how to build the movement against capitalism and war. Anti-capitalist group Globalise Resistance had called the counter-conference to coincide with the planned demonstrations against the IMF/World Bank meeting in Washington.
That meeting has been cancelled. The conference has not, and has been broadened to consider the dangerous slide towards a major war following the destruction of the World Trade Centre. A new session led off by well known anti-war campaigners such as Bruce Kent will discuss opposition to the war drive.
Other workshops and debates will look at different aspects of it-such as the scapegoating of refugees coming to Britain from Afghanistan and other countries. At the same time a range of participants will debate the wider aspects of opposition to the neo-liberal policies sweeping the world, the economic counterpart of the militarism of the big powers.
The anti-capitalist movement has grown in the 20 months since the great Seattle protests. The 300,000-strong demonstration in Genoa took it to new heights. People on every continent identify with the movement. It has provided hope against the destructive forces of capitalism and the despair they create.
The more powerful that movement, the more it can offer a genuine way forward for the hundreds of millions of people across the globe who have been driven to desperation. There is, unfortunately, room only for 1,500 people at the counter-conference venue. So book now and join others the following day on the protests outside New Labour's conference in Brighton.
Resisting McLabour: how do we stop the globalisers destroying our world? 10.30am: Speakers include Tony Benn, Penny Kemp (chair of the Green Party), Gary Younge (Guardian columnist) and John Rees (Socialist Alliance).
Globalisation, imperialism and war
1pm: Bruce Kent (veteran peace campaigner), Chris Bambery (SWP), Rae Street (CND), Martin Hogbin (Campaign Against the Arms Trade).
The future of the movement
Two discussions, at 1pm and at 3.15pm, on the way ahead for the anti-capitalist movement will bring together a range of speakers from different countries: Vittorio Agnoletto is a leading figure in the Genoa Social Forum, which organised the mass protests in July. He is regularly featured in the Italian media-a sign of the ongoing impact of the Genoa demonstrations. Oscar Olivera is an activist from Bolivia, where he has helped organise mass popular resistance to privatisation and neo-liberalism.
Other speakers include journalist George Monbiot, Liz Davies of the Socialist Alliance who is a former member of Labour's national executive committee, Socialist Worker editor Chris Harman and Luca Casarini of the Ya Basta! group in Italy.
Refugees: scapegoats of globalisation
1pm: Jean Lambert (Green MEP), Teresa Hayter (author of Open Borders) and Aamer Anwar (human rights activist).
WTO, World Bank, IMF: is reform possible?
1pm: Speakers include Barry Coates of the World Development Movement.
Workers against globalisation
3.15pm: Mark Serwotka (general secretary of the PCS union, personal capacity), Candy Udwin (London Region UNISON, personal capacity) and a postal worker.
Palestine: a struggle for existence
3.15 pm: John Rose (chair of the Campaign for Palestinian Rights), al-Awda (Palestine Return Coalition) and a Palestine Solidarity Campaign speaker.
Controlling the message: the media and the movement
1pm: Paul Foot (campaigning journalist), Express journalist, John Pilger (broadcaster), and an Indymedia activist.
There is a range of other workshops and debates, including: 'Is the answer going local?', 'The fight against sweatshops', 'Women and the new global economy', 'The lessons of the 1960s', 'How do we get fair trade?', 'Climate change-how do we stop catastrophe?', and more.
There are also exhibitions, videos and other events.
How to book
The conference is taking place on Saturday 29 September, from 10am to 5.30pm, at PoNaNa (Hammersmith Palais), Shepherd's Bush Road, and at Riverside Studios (Hammersmith tube). Tickets cost £12 waged/ £6 unwaged. You can book on the door, but it is best to book now.
Phone 020 8980 3305 or 07956 681 328. Organised by Globalise Resistance, PO Box 29689, London E8 2XR. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.resist.org.uk