|Published by NetAction||Issue No. 31||December 15, 1997|
Imagine how the political landscape might change if the Central Sandinista de Trabajadores of Nicaragua were to coordinate their efforts with the Frente Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional of Mexico, and the Movimento Sem Terra of Brazil. Consider how much more effective their efforts would be if the Indigenous Women's Network in North America and the Pacific were to engage in a coordinated action with the Peasant Movement of the Philippines and the Karnataka State Farmers' Association of India.
Thanks to the Internet, this isn't just imagination.
Activists from indigenous peoples' movements around the world plan to meet in Geneva from February 23-25, 1998, to launch a globally-coordinated campaign of resistance against "free" trade and the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Peoples' Global Action (PGA) will be using E-mail and the Web to facilitate global communication and coordination of indigenous peoples' movements around the world.
In addition to formally launching PGA as a forum for resistance to the expansion of global corporate power, the Geneva conference will coordinate plans for decentralized actions in conjunction with the Second Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organizations (WTO), which is scheduled to take place May 18-20, 1998, in Geneva. The May meeting will mark the 50th anniversary of the multilateral trade system (GATT and WTO), and provide a forum for further liberalization of trade. PGA hopes to focus attention on how trade liberalization destroys rural societies as well as the environment, weakens the labor movement, and threatens cultural diversity and self-determination.
What makes this effort remarkable is that technology is providing a communications forum for organizations and individuals that are generally ignored -- or stereotyped in negative terms -- by the corporate-controlled mainstream media. By giving these organizations a voice, technology is increasing the likelihood that their concerns will acknowledged, and -- hopefully -- addressed.
PGA's conveners have already started publishing an electronic bulletin. The first issue, written by representatives of the groups that are organizing the February conference, explains PGA's goals. But the plan is to use the E-mail bulletin as a vehicle for information sharing among indigenous peoples' groups throughout the world.
For a copy of PGA's first electronic bulletin, send E-mail to: In the subject line, type: PGA bulletin #0
Conveners of the first PGA conference include:
Central Sandinista de Trabajadores (Nicaragua)
Frente Zapatista de Liberacisn Nacional (Mexico)
Foundation for Independent Analysis/Foundation for an Independent Aotearoa (Aotearoa - New Zealand)
Indigenous Women's Network (North America & Pacific)
Karnataka State Farmers' Association (India)
Mama 86 (Ukraine)
Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (Nigeria)
Movimento Sem Terra (Brasil)
Peasant Movement of the Philippines (KMP)
Play Fair Europe!
Digital Postcards From the Epidemic
There is almost no limit to creative Internet activism. Three organizations demonstrated this recently when they joined forces to call attention to World AIDS Day. The groups -- annoy.com, Visual AIDS and ArtAIDS -- collaborated on a Web site that allows users to send out dig ital postcards featuring illustrations by New York artist Copy Berg. Each one of the illustrations includes a fact about the AIDS epidemic.
Although the one-day event has passed, the Web site remains as a grim reminder that more than 30 million people throughout the world have been infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and 16,000 more people are being infected every day. According to the United Nations' World Health Organization, over 40 million children will be orphaned by the year 2010 as a result of the epidemic.
Now that the Christmas, Hanukkah and New Years' holidays are approaching, activists can use the Web site to send out electronic greetings -- along with a reminder that the AIDS epidemic won't be taking a break for the holidays.
NetAction Notes is a free electronic newsletter, published by NetAction. NetAction is a California-based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting use of the Internet for grassroots citizen action, and to educating the public, policy makers, and the media about technology policy issues.
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