APC joins Global Day of Action against WTO
The Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) joins the Global Day of Action against WTO, led by the Indonesian People’s Alliance (IPA), as the 9th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference concluded on 6th December at the Nusa Dua Convention Center in Bali, Indonesia.
The Global Day of Action against WTO was participated by various people’s organizations, in simultaneous protests around the world, calling for an end to the WTO, which led to the destruction of the agriculture and manufacturing industries of developing countries, including the member countries of APC like the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Malaysia and Nepal.
Hundreds of grassroots groups, national organizations and international networks from over 20 countries, including APC members from the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia, joined the rally outside the US Consulate office in Renon, Denpasar, on 6th December afternoon. The rally led by the Indonesian People’s Alliance (IPA) started a caravan from GOR Ngurah Rai Sports Center and marched from Renon Park to US Consulate office to call for the junking of the WTO that liberalized agriculture.
Carrying banners and posters, they protested the WTO meeting in Nusa Dua and demanded the government of Indonesia to quit its WTO membership.
“Junk, junk, WTO! Bubarkan WTO!,” yelled by protesters, in front of the gate of US Consulate General office, which was protected by barbed wire.
IPA spokesperson Ahmad said the group had targeted the US Consulate General as the US played a major role in the WTO.
“The WTO should be junked, Indonesia should be firm to quit from WTO and be free of foreign intervention,” Ahmad said adding the WTO is trying to implement neo-liberal measures through the package being negotiated in Bali. “The negotiations are important for the capitalists to strengthen their interventions in developing countries,” ended Ahmad.
Nusa Dua rally
Meanwhile, at around 10:00 in the morning also on 6th December, a rally was held at the gate of Nusa Dusa Convention Center with some 50 peasant activists from the Philippines, Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Indonesia identified with the Asian Peasant Coalition (APC), the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS), International Fisherfolk and Fishworkers Coalition (IFWC) and the Indonesian People’s Alliance (IPA). The groups were joined by the members of youth and workers’ organizations from the Philippines and Indonesia. The protest happened despite the increased security and the public declaration of the Indonesia government that they will be disallowing protests in Nusa Dua. The group said WTO Director General Azevedo is a rabid apologist of WTO and a salesman of neo-liberal globalization. The Bali TV news featured the protest for about 3 minutes.
Action in the Philippines
More than 500 people representing different progressive groups, including the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas or Peasant Movement of the Philippines (KMP), marched to the US Embassy in Manila, Philippines on 6th December as their counterpart mobilization during the “Global Day of Action against WTO”.
The KMP led more than 100 peasants and staged a rally in front of the Department of Agriculture before joining the multisectoral rally at the US Embassy which was led by the New Patriotic Alliance (BAYAN).
“We are adamant in registering our long-standing opposition to the continuing liberalization policies in agriculture enforced by the WTO,” said Antonio Flores, KMP secretary general. According to Flores, since the inception of the WTO in 1995, the Philippine government willingly took away quota restrictions on all imported agricultural products, except rice. Eventually ,in the late 1990s, Flores said, rice proved to be unsafe from WTO’s agenda.
KMP said that WTO is beyond review, reform and repair as it was designed only to serve imperialists’ interests and submit billions of people to further exploitation and oppression. “It is therefore correct and just to rise and protest, to heighten the call to junk WTO in the face of the worsening crisis of the world’s capitalists system.”
Junk WTO! Bubarkan WTO!
Rahmat Ajiguna, APC deputy secretary general and concurrent secretary general of the Aliansi Gerakan Reforma Agraria (AGRA-Alliance for Genuine Agrarian Reform based in Indonesia), stated that, “as expected the 9th Ministerial Conference of the WTO concluded a new trade deal. The Bali trade deal is the first multilateral agreement reached in almost 20 years of WTO history. World leaders are now celebrating the Bali agreement for restoring confidence in the WTO after over a decade of failed Ministerial meetings.”
“But our position remains the same: Junk WTO!, Bubarkan WTO! The “Bali trade deal’ will never resolve the global disaster inflicted to humanity of more than 6 billion people. These deals are meant to break all existing barriers to borderless trade in favor of global monopolies and these trade deals are further meant to deny agrarian injustice, thoroughgoing and sustained economic development for the vast poor majority,” Rahmat ended. #