TRANSCRIPT CONTINENTAL WEBINAR ASIA 18 NOV 2022 ( DRAFT VERSION)
Willam. Alright. ok. So. on a positive note, we're better than Houston, because Houston took months in terms of getting some technology right, and they finally launched a rocket to the moon, but we have been able to at least keep this going [ despite interpretation issues], and make some adjustments,
That is the human spirit, and that's why we also here today, to tap into that human spirit, that human spirit of struggle, of movements, of engagement on social issues, and looking for a world, that we came together many, many years ago, what seems like many years ago, when we get together and we said “another word is possible”. And for now, looking at what it's happening in the world today, and recognizing that what brings us together is the belief that “another word is necessary”.
IDEA OF CONTINENTAL MEETINGS
And for that, we have our own first Asia Pacific continental meeting, in which we are looking at some of the issues that are predominant in our regions, big challenging issues. These continental meetings are happening all across the globe, this is the Asia-pacific one, and the idea here is to be able to look at what are the immediate and pressing, and future challenges, that we see in our region, and how, we, as people's movements, social movements, civil Society organizations, different stakeholders from Academia, everybody who has a stake in making the world a better place, come together as social movements in this common space of ours, to be able to deliberate, digest, and commit, to a better world.
So I'd like to thank all of you who have made it for this meeting today. This is the first of meetings that will happen in the Asia-pacific region, in different configurations, and towards the end of the session, I will give you some updates on some of the other meetings that will happen, but let's start for today
Today to kick it off we had actually three speakers who are going to kick this off, I see two of them present in the room already, and one missing. I see Anselmo and Anuradha present.
The third presenter was supposed to be Lidy, she is actually at the moment fighting for the cause, in Egypt in Sharm el-Sheikh, where the COP 27 meeting is happening. So all of us who know Lidy, you know that if she's not here, then she's probably fighting a battle somewhere for Social Justice and for the environment and for a better world. So I hope she will still come in, but until she comes in, we keep this conversation going,
And I d like to start with the first reflection, inviting Anuradha Chinoy to kick us off, and also let me give a little background on Anuradha. She is retired from JNU University in Delhi she's currently adjunct professor at Gendal global University. She's professor and Dean of the school of International Studies, She has been chairperson of JNU center for Russian and central Asia studies earlier. She has written many books and articles. She has done short-term consultancy with international Committee of the Red Cross, UNESCO, Action aid, UN women, and human peacekeepers, That is wide diverse experience. She has evaluated the work of organizations, she has given insight into the work of organizations, like Focus of the global south, and the Asia Europe people forum, She is heavily engaged in many social movements and civil Society organizations.
Anu’s books include : “The maoists and armed conflicts”, “Human security concepts and implications”; “militarism and women in south asia”, “The making of new russia”, “Country and Militarization, peace and intersectionality”.
That is Anu who is with us today in this continental discourse, on the challenges that we have before us in the region, and the role that the APSF can actually play in looking at these issues, deliberating on them, and coming to some kind of sense of how our involvement can be one of change, of transformation in making the world a better place.
QUESTION TO ANU
So let me start with you then, Anu. In terms of the region, any day when you pick up the paper; or you put on the news, it is always news that is troubling. Our region seems to be in turmoil, and we are very close to reaching panic situation, if you listen to the impact of the war, impact our region, you look at some struggles of the people, coming out of covid, living with covid, some of the small conflicts, some of the authoritarianism that is spreading in our region.
There is a lot of challenges in our region, and when you look at this, in your experience, what would you say, at the most of the most immediate things you should be looking at, or trying to make sense of, or putting our heads around. Anu the floor is yours
Anuradha ; Thank you so much for having me, I will speak of five interlinked challenges and turmoils as you call it, to show “What these turmoils are?”
“what the challenges are”, “what are the breakthroughs already”, so that we know that it's not what the social movement have been doing is negligible, because what they are doing is really significant but we need to focus where to move forward and “What remains” and What the Asia social forum and WSF can do? 
WHAT ARE THE MAIN Categories OF TURMOILS
1/ CLIMATE CHANGE
So the first of course is the most clear and where Lidy is also speaking is about climate change and the decimation of sensitive ecologies, and everyday I think this is existential and something that our media and news need to constantly refer to, but we do not see sufficient discussion to this in the media and it saddens us.
For instance, yesterday I saw that 70% of the animal life that we had has almost ended, just in the last 25 years, now that's really sad. So climate change always has to be on top of our agenda, it's linked to an existential threat, that we all face, all of humanity, and yet we know that the social movements are much ahead of the other stakeholders, who actually control the levers of how we manage climate change, like the corporate and state nexuses.
And during the COP meeting in Egypt in Sharm el Sheikh (2022) itself, you can see who has sponsored this COP event? it's Coca-Cola, which produces 25 billion plastic bottles a year. So they are our sponsors. And who arrived for it? 300 private jets. So these are the stakeholders that we have to sometimes work with, call out, and yet move forward. So there are some areas in this.
However, one thing which I saw in the documents of this meeting of COP, is that there has been one small breakthrough, and that's about the accountability principle. Even though the countries of the Global South, as usual, challenged the meeting, saying that there should be differentiated accountabilities, the West, which produces the largest amount of emissions, and now Asia, India and China have joined these, but these are still developing countries. So really, we need to continue with this, because we cannot accept a futureless world, and that's what the social forum is about : about a world with a Future.
2/ WARS AND CONFLICTS
The second category of issues is about wars and conflicts. There is one hot War in Europe, And you can see how it is linked to all the other crisis that it I'm going to speak about
It is linked to climate in term of militarization, the amount of pollution which wars cause, the amount of material waste, the human waste, the devastation, the cement, the steel, the air, the carbon, and yet neither of the sides, the aggressor defender and supporters want to connect the deep linkages that militarization and wars have with climate and destruction of ecology. , Glenn Greenwald put a tweet saying that the US has already put in 90 billion dollars into Ukraine, and even more from the collective West, 90 billion dollars ! You could have provided for clean energy with such amounts, and yet the military stayed and refused to look at the link between militarism, nuclearims, and climate change, and when they do, it's actually what the activists call greenwashing.
Besides the hot war in Europe there are many other wars across the Global South, identity conflicts, low intensity conflicts, and intra-state conflicts. The number of inter-state conflicts, except for two or three, (like between India vs Pakistan and China and North and South Korea) have decreased.,, But intrastate identity conflicts, minorities at risk, secessionist movements, like , Mindanao, South Thailand, the Civil War in Myanmar continue taking a toll on lives and destroying livelihoods and inviting intervention from outside powers.These are these low intensity; long-term out often frozen conflicts, they are devastating on democracy and setback human rights and often reinforce authoritarian tendencies in states..
NEUTRALITY IN RUSSIA UKRAINE
The positive aspect in global geostrategy recently, has been the position taken by the Global South in the Russia-Ukraine War. Most of the states in the Global South have condemned war, asked for a return to diplomacy but also adopted positions of neutrality and opposed the use of unilateral sanctions. i This is a positive step, even though it is not progressive or anti-imperialist. However, they have stayed out of the war. Maybe there cannot be a third world war, when over a hundred states are saying we are neutral, we are opposing unilateral sanctions outside the UN system ; we are saying that this war outside the UN system has been imposed, these are outside international.law we don't adhere to them. Earlier Venezuela,Iran, Iraq, India Pakistan China they have all faced these unilateral sanctions, and we reject them.
So there is a bit of a positive breakthrough, and I believe this neutrality, which was not there earlier during the Cold War, and you can see how block politics pressurized many ASEAN members, into blocks, and promoted proxy wars by default
But now, in order to contain China, NATO, is moving into the Asia-pacific, so we have to put pressure, that at least we should continue with neutrality, although we would like this neutrality to be anti-imperialism, pro disarmament , we would like TPNW to be further broadened. Peace and social movements will have to pressurize states to antiwar positions.
The third major issue of course linked with war is nuclearization, where major denuclearization steps of the past like intermediate nuclear forces, the anti-ballistic missile treaty have all been stymied. The US walked out of them and recently they worked out the GCPOA that's the joint committee plan of action on Iran. So again, you know this goes against world disarmament, so we have to keep on pushing that, again, we should have a stronger NPT, against the AUUKUS kind of new military arrangements that can violate the NPT. So this has to be done at a global level, and I think WSF is a body which says that this future for human and non-human species must be preserved.
4/ NEOLIBERAL DEVELOPMENT
The fourth category of inter-linked issues and challenges and turmoils is linked of course to neoliberal development, and inequalities, which we're all familiar with, and I don't have to repeat, and how wars impact food insecurity, and energy insecurity, it impacts those who are already excluded, those we are unequal, those who are already hungry. Similarly, during the Covid pandemic, we saw that those who are most vulnerable, even though no one can stop a virus, but nonetheless, all statistics today show that those who were most vulnerable, were those who suffered, who died, who were in hospitals, and who lost their life savings.
5/ HOLLOWING OUT OF DEMOCRACIES
And the last category I speak of, , before I finish my time, is really about the hollowing out of democracies, the rise of right-wing movements, the decline in human rights, the suppression of civil society movements, of social movements, which all of us in Asia and even in Africa, and other places, and now even in Europe, are feeling: that when there are these kind of inequalities, when there is such a huge corporate and militarized culture, you will will not like dissent, you would like a dominant media which builds a narrative which creates a hegemony, and manufactures consent, and this is what is happening, so all our countries have gone down dramatically on the human rights indexes, on the democracy indexes, on civil Society indexes, and we have to again push for these.
So ultimately therefore, i just go back to my conclusion which I started off with, that, as far as the WSF and Asia social forum is concerned, we cannot accept a futureless world, none of these 5 categories of challenges I spoke about can be resolved on their own, they are interconnected, and we need to revitalize bodies like WSF. Thank you
William thanks Anu for that. It is the picture of turmoil, that you have kind of painted in our region, and now I have a sense that “turmoil” might not even be the right word, in the sense that some of the challenges that you have posted, and you have talked about, definitely the whole climate and the contradictions that you have pointed out, while we talked about climate, we need to do something, the contradictions you have pointed out, in term of the private jets that have arrived, Coca-Cola sponsoring it, this is contradiction of speak and what we do, kind of thing.
You have also talked about militarism, how it has grown, and its continuous growth which is leading to all sorts of conflicts, both interstate, not in the region that have an impact on us, but also within a region : the low intensity long-term conflicts.
But I like what you have said about neutrality, find it intriguing, you started saying some of us might not like this; I would put myself in that space to say; at least propose this question to you: in terms of the neutrality we have taken, at the same time you have pointed out to the huge cost about in terms of How It's affecting the climate in the life of people and things like, the human cost of this conflict is enormous.
WHEN DOES NEUTRALITY BECOMES NUMB
And when does neutrality become a point of … basically not able to change anything, basically you become numb, when does neutrality become numb to human suffering?
I would like you to deliberate on that question, because, while I agree with you on the essence of neutrality that asian governments have taken, and somehow the African and Latin American governments, the way this war is going on, and the announcement made yesterday that even in winter it would not stop. and almost the Ukrainian president saying that “just keep pumping us with what we need, by way of the resources, and we will keep fighting”.
So that human cost, When does neutrality become numb, I would like you to deliberate on this. And that other things you have said, like come in the next round and talk about this “manufacturing consent through a dominant press”; and I think it's a big challenge that we have seen; and if you got any kind of reflection on that: how do we overcome a dominant press? People talk of social media, and changing narrative and all, have you seen any of that becoming dominant in some way?. I'm talking also in the light of the changes coming into twitter that Elon Musk is proposing. Something to think about.I'll come back to you
But just to continue with the discussion, and get a bigger sense of the picture, I Come to Anselmo Lee. Most of you know Anselmo. He is currently the regional coordinator of the Asia civil society partnership for sustainable development since 2021, he is teaching at the mina interAsia service inter asia studies in sung ko university in Korea. He is adjunct professor, He is a senior advisor to the May 18th foundation,as well as a long standing board member of the Korean international cooperation agency. He was one of the founders of the Asian development alliance and the Asian democracy network created in 2013 in Korea.
He has been working for the Korean HR foundation as executive director from the 2013 to 2018, after serving as director general incharge of human right policy and education and
previously was working for Asia human right forum asia as executive director based in Bangkok, and prior to this appointment He was also working for international catholic Pax Romana for intellectual and cultural affairs,as secretary general.
Many of us know Anselmo in terms of being catalyst in developing some configurations, platforms of civil Society and have engaged together with him in those places as well.
QUESTION TO ANSELMO HOW APSF COULPLAY A ROLE?
Anselmo then, coming to you. What are your thoughts on where our region is at the moment?, where are the challenges, and how do you see some of the way moving forward, and particularly how the asia-pacific social forum could play a role in somewhere taking our region to a better future?. Ansemo!
Anselmo; Thank you very much for organizing this very interesting opportunity. thanks to your invitation. I took some time to reflect on what happened in the last 20 years since 2001 when in the first world social forum, in fact i shared with some of you a presentation l am not going to use that one, will just pick up some points from it .
FOCUSING ON INSIDE WSF SPACE AND RELEVANCE OF WSF
Anu very well described external challenges or context or turmoils, I want to focus more on inside. We're having the meeting in the name of the World Social Forum and APSF. so how we were able to do challenges to describe by Anu so we have described both external and internal.
And I think it's important to, since we are part of this world social forum. I think we need to be clear on ” what is the world social forum and APSF”, because as you know, there are many networks and coalitions working on similar issues described by Anu : militarisation, globalization, security issues, human rights and democracy.
So it's important to put the question “what is the relevance, as we put in the title of this continental dialogue,the relevance of world social forum, or of asia-pacific social forum, that means “why ? Why do we need the world social forum in Asia, in today's context, while we have many other networks and coalitions?
or” how we can work more effectively and then with the other existing network and collision in working on similar issues that is something we need to reflect together, so here is the meaning of relevance.
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE AND GAP IN WSF CONTINUITY IN ASIA
And as we all know, by the way personally I have attended world social Forum in Porto Alegre 2002 and 2003, and also mumbai, 2004, I was very active for several years, but like many of you, after that, not many activities in asia, and of course there were more Africa and Latin America.
So somehow there was a gap for several years in Asia, from the early stage of wsf and now that's now we're trying to revive the word social forumand Asia Pacific Social forum in today’s context because many of us believe it's time to revitalize this type of working and networking in coalition to respond to emerging challenges as described by Anu.
So when you said relevance, I think we need to look at number one in terms of agenda-setting or identification of the problems, I don't want to add anymore because already done by Anu
AGENDA SETTING IN WSF SPACE
In terms of agenda-setting, when i was doing the review of the last 20-years, a lot of the slogans, the memory came to me : another world is possible I really want to mention another word is necessary; and also i rememberTINA and TATA debate : TINA there is no alternative, TATA there are thousands of alternatives
So for me, this world social forum, this is a political movement, it's not simply the civil society it is a political movement, they are debates and reflections, and also there is alternative building, building alternatives;
I think that is the essence of WSF, which makes it different from the other traditional NGO movements. So from that perspective; I would like to point out a few things for the discussion with the panelists.
Number one : in terms of agenda setting, whether our diagnosis, our analysis of the global situation is really relevant to today, because, as Anu briefly mentioned, when the world social forum started, it was so called post-cold war neoliberal financial globalization.
Obviously the antiglobalisation and also anti war, because of Iraq, and then the war in Afghanistan. Two main things, but today, I do not totally agree on the notion of a new cold war, but international security has completely changed.
LESS EASY TO REACH CONSENSUS IN ANALYSIS OF THE WORLD
I think the way we look at the global situation, we need to have a more in-depth discussion and reflection, because, I know there's a lot of controversy, and also the world is divided, and also civil society and social movements are also divided, so we are not able to reach consensus compared with 20 years ago as we do In Ukraine and democracy movement in Hong Kong and China and Taiwan issues; that is why we need different reflections from different perspectives.
NOT NECESSARY TO AGREE ON EVERYTHING AND UNDERSTAND COMPLEXITIES
It is not necessarily to agree on everything, but at least have a common understanding of the complexity of the issues, so we are not easily manipulated by the political powers or some state. So we need to be very strategic about this assessment of the global situation.
EVOLUTION OF NGOS IN 20 YEARS
And also, when it comes to strategies, I want to also highlight, because, traditionally, the world social forum, the image of the word social forum was large mobilization demonstration and protest, at same time alternative on the ground, the grassroot level.
But somehow, in the last 20-years, a lot of NGOs? who are civil society organizations, have developed in terms of numbers, and they are also very influential today. My question is the way they are working on the issues, and also source of funding; these are some of the questions which make it a little bit difficult for these two Communities : traditional social movements, and also CSO, and NGOs some of them are international with big funding, to find a way how to we can work together these two Ngo and social movement engaged in advocacy the other one is more independent grassroot ideological,radical and these two groups need to find a way to keep together.
Traditionally in Asia I think, there is no common platform or space,,,,,, where these diverse groups come together, somehow this is the challenge we need to address in the process of the APSD deaf social working People movements, i think we need to embrace somehow this advocacy group among actions.
EXPERIENCE OF PP21
Lastly the networking Alliance, as I put in the powerpoint, before World social forum it was very interesting the initiative called people plans for the 21st century PP21, 1989 first time in Japan, it lasted about 10 years : 92 Bangkok and 96 in Kathmandu; after that it disappeared, and then now the world social forum comes in, and we have Asia social forum and as i was saying in the Beginning, the Asia social forum did not last.
LESSONS LEARNED AND HOW TO ATTRACT YOUTH
Somehow after this series of regional or international initiatives, I think we need to reflect again, what are the lessons we can learn from those previous global and regional networking or coalition building experiences.
So, it is not simply bringing the old veterans together, but I think we need to find a way how we can attract the young people, youth generation to this type of social movement, networking and global mobilization.
WHO IS LEADING INSIDE THE WSF SPACE - ITS POPULARITY IN ASIA
Lastly, the governance issues internally : the world social forum is global, but we have to look inside the world : Who are the ones leading this ? Obviously, the initiative comes from Latin America and some of the Latin countries in Europe, and then expanding to the rest of the world. But still, this world social forum is not that popular in Asia, maybe India, because of Mumbai and Hyderabad, but not other countries.
So we have to find a way on how to make this type of global Alliance building more relevant to the rest of the Asian countries, particularly Central Asia, and North East Asia.
These are some of the questions we need to reflect together, to make a world social forum more meaningful, and also relevant in Asian context, we can discuss more with the experts. Over to you William.
William : thanks Anselmo for those thoughts, and I start with the last thought, which you actually put as a challenge in some ways, to say that, in APSF, a lot of work needs to go into building the region, into a more cohesive kind of alliance, because there are pockets of the region that are not fully represented, or find it difficult to be part of the space, and that is well noted.
We have constantly had this struggle, whenever we have come together: there is always an issue of some region being left out, and it is something we have deliberate on, for sure.
I find it also intriguing what you have said in terms of how, in the span of time, there has been changes in terms of these growth of NGOS, with some kind of competence in advocacy, and things like that, and then very grassroots oriented social movements, hard coiled in some of their articulation of their issues, and how you pose them as two different forces,and the need for us to be able to see how those forces can embrace each other and become even more powerful, which is an interesting thought.
You've talked about our time being a different time, and I like that as well, it would be good to hear Anu on this, and the thoughts of who will now speak.Is it more difficult in our time to get consensus than it was 20 years ago? And you gave examples of issues like on China, on Ukraine, on Hong Kong. It seems that there is a difficulty to get consensus from social movements and all on this.
And that's why you say : maybe our analysis needs to be more current to the challenges of today. I’d like you to elaborate on that. Are you saying our analysis is outdated? Or our analysis is very nuanced, that there are issues that we're not looking at in our analysis, and therefore we need to take more time to reflect, and deliberate, and engage, which I think makes the social forum the perfect space in some ways, because the wide color of people that come to the space.
Thank you for reminding us of our Mission which is to look for the alternative to the current, something that Anu has said as well we have to look for a better future, and we said this 20-years ago: they are thousands of alternatives, the question is getting there,
So let me just quickly ask some people to respond to what they're hearing as well, before I come back to the two of you again and to the floor.
Let me start off with Meena, I know you said that is so third world : Anselmo sitting in the room with a candle, but in that burning of the candle there is a lot of hope, so you want to come in and say something about what you heard so far?
SO MANY DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW AND FORUM GIVES US OPPORTUNITY TO DEAL WITH THIS
Meena : yes thank you William, just a couple of questions, because I think this discussion is very interesting,because both the speakers covered two different things: Anu spoke a lot about the current situation, and the turmoil per se, and I think what also came out from when she was speaking, i was thinking that amongst us, in Asia,there has so many different points of view about many of the issues that she was talking about, when you talk about Ukraine war, not just conflict, even about what are the alternatives that we might want to move towards, what are the political alternatives, the economic alternatives? About new things like the digital divide, like inequality, or capital having a whole new understanding of all these things.
We have new experiences. There is a need for new ways of fighting, but there are also a number of different ways of even viewing all this, and I think that.. is that a strength or is that an obstacle ? Now that's really something that a forum like the world social forum gives us : the opportunity to work on these things together, and I think that's for me the most important.
FIRST BE PREPARED TO LISTEN TO EACH OTHER
Solidarity is the next step, I think the first thing is just to listen to each other, be prepared to listen to each other, hear about new movements, new tactics, new strategies, not just in Asia, but in other parts of the world as well, what are new ways of fighting.
Also to understand why did the right wing become popular : right wing populism should sound like an oxymoron, but it is not. So how do we view that? These are the things that a forum could give us.
All the issues in Asia, and I think I’d like to hear Anu more on that : there are different points of view, and she has spoken so much about Ukraine, it would interesting to hear about that, Is there a dialogue between people who have those different points of View? Is there a need for dialogue?
A SPACE WHERE THOSE ACTING BASED ON CHARITY AND THOSE ACTING BASED ON ENTITLEMENT CAN SPEAK TO EACH OTHER IS IMPORTANT
And Anselmo more brought out some very interesting observations about what is the need of the hour, and I think that we nearly need to build on what he said. And the size of the forum yes, maybe we won't have 100 000 people, like we had in the Bombay forum, I think those things have become too expensive, but I totally agree with what he said about the difference between the different viewpoints : that of the Ngos, or the funded organizations; the big NGOs, international NGOs, particularly, INGOs, and that of the grassroots movements. And one thing I think is important: the ideological basis on which they work : we must keep in mind that one works on charity and the other works on entitlement; so that is a very big difference.
However, a space where these two could also talk to each other is important.
That's why the forum is important, otherwise we have many fora, on which we agree with each other, sectorally we come together, and it's easier for us to bring out a statement.
HUNDREDS OF STATEMENTS IN WSF SPACE
But the WSF brings out a hundreds or more statements, and I think that's interesting: those conversations, those different statements are also interesting: one talks more about what what Putin did, and another might talk about NATO did, and another might say : “we shouldn't speak about Nato”, and another might say: “we should not criticize Putin”, but all of them are inhabiting the same space. That's all I wanted to say.
William: Thanks and I like the way you articulated the differences between social movements and NGOs : “ one works on charity and the other on entitlement”, it is a nice way of capturing it , but i like how you're emphasizing as well : the strength of that social forum, that space for dialogue, that people seem more reluctant to have today. I think even, when we speak of dialogue, the need to have transformative dialogue, so that, in that space of dialogue, we can begin to see how we embrace a common future. I think that might be useful to think of, in terms of construction.
PRESENTING MEENA AND CORA
By the way, for those who don't know Meena : she is a Labour activist and historian. She's the working president of the working people coalition, a network of organizations working with informal labour in India [xxxx]
Now we have Cora, with a core group of the members of the peace and security cluster with a Europe Asia people’s forum [xxxx]. She is for also a président of the international peace Bureau, based in the Philippines, Cora welcome !
CONTRIBUTING WITH PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OF THE LINKS WOVEN IN THE OPEN SPACE OF THE FORUM
Cora: Well it's really it's either easy or difficult to speak after Anselmo and Anu, especially on issues that we practically share, in terms of peace, human security, human rights.
So I was actually thinking : what more can I contribute? And I think at this point while we are talking about the relevance of the world social forum, maybe I should speak in terms of my personal experience, of being able to find the network, and the coming together of many organizations and activists from different parts of the world.
We're looking out, because many years ago, and I do still do that, we do focus on the issue on foreign military bases, and I think, out of social forum, whether that was in Porto Alegre, and on to Mumbai, these were opportunities by which many of the organizations and individuals, who were working on this issue, have been able to come together, and share information, and that particular moment actually help develop a network that focuses specifically foreign military bases . So that's one.
And many people that I have met , have worked with, have encountered and learned from, during the course of this interaction, during several world social forum, that I have been part of, they remain, to be friends and resources of information, including inspiration actually, and to say that,- like the strategy summit on the military industrial complex , that is about to happen,- if we look at the composition of the people who are going to the summit trying to strategize focusing on the military industrial complex, that comes from the friendship, solidarity, connections, and learning from each other, during the world social forum, in many ways.
So I think it is very enriching. It's natural that movements kind of slow down for a bit, but we have never lost touch of our dreams, and I think, even now ,that as Anu has been saying, the increasing militarization, particularly in Asia Pacific. This is really true nowadays. The NATO becoming a global military pact, this is not a joke, because, with the Awkus coming into force, our Australian friends are trying to resist this.
IMPORTANT TO HAVE THE SPACE ONCE AGAIN
And I think this it is very important to have the space once again, which is open, which gives us the opportunity to find some common grounds, so that we can become stronger.
The call for consolidation, which we can only do if we are united in our analysis, and to unite, and it's also very important that, eventually, we will need to develop a critical mass at this point. And I know that maybe this is an old term that am using I don't know how young people say “developing a critical mass”, and I go to the point where Anselmo is telling us we need to learn from the youth, we need them, they have the energy, we have to learn also the language that they are using.
SO MUCH TO LEARN FROM YOUNGER PARTICIPANTS
And so, for me, while it is true that we are, sometimes the most senior activists are called upon as being updated, I do not agree with that. At the same time I humbly submit there is so much to learn from the young people, and therefore look around in this zoom room ;I don't know many of us are below 40, which qualifies for the youth. I stop there William. I think there is more that we can talk about later.
William : thank I think yeah I think we can talk about reemphasizing what Meena said, when she talks about the need for dialogue, and what your saying enlightenment and move forward I think moving forwards it's important to understand that these characteristic of people's movement that when we come together, that's where our strength lies because from that coming together from the new streams of water kind of ran, and that is how we have moved from you know intergenerationally;
I like your point the absence of young people in some of these struggles, and not really in the absence in the struggle,as much they doing things differently, and maybe this is where to connect with what IAnselmo;has said: how can we current and the learning between Intel generation would be fantastic the kind of things as we move forward so thank you for that.
I totally agree we might be senior but we're not outdated. I like that let me then go to be going to be here.
Meena: No he's not maybe others might want to speak
William: I don't see Boonthan as well. Let me open up the floor to anybody else who want you come for your hands; if you put them up anybody want; anybody to take the floor to make initially some comments on what you've heard; or even your own thoughts; and some about the future of the APSF.
While people are deliberating whether they put their hands forward, let me come back to you Anu first and ask you …Ah OK I see Muhammad Abubakar, is it? Go ahead but there's nowhere you are from.
A PULL UP FUND
Mohamad : I'm from Nigeria, I will start by thanking the organizers of this forum, which is quite enlightening, am really glad to be part of you people.
I want to speak briefly on what one of the speakers said as regards social funding, it is no longer news that, when the issue of profiling solutions to some of the problems we're having in our society, the need for having funds is very imperative.
My suggestion is that there should be a kind of pull out fund, activating some of these causes, of these cause especially those the grassroots actually want to achieve
There should be a pull up fund, and it could be from the government of their country for those doing that job, the grassroots groups I. So it's very very important.
I can give an instance, like you can have a region, a Government of a particular region to give a certain percentage of the money they are having, the certain percentage of their income, of revenue to a certain cause. It could be climate issues, it could be gender base issue, whatever issue, some of his grassroots movements are trying to find solutions to. It Could Be 1% percent of the annual revenue, would be earmarked for such causes , am just giving an example the government within some of these goodrest roots movement, within these non-governmental organisation, So I would talk more on other issues, let me just that stop you from now and allow other to speak. Thank you very much.
William : Thank you Mohamad , and true the resource-constrained that we see you on the ground for grassroots movement is very limited, and which does not allow that struggle to come forward, it is something we need to look at , at I see in the chat box as well Mike has spoken about the digital divide, with that doesn't allow participation if we can think
In the last 2 years this Magic of zoom and has equalized participation is it the digital divide that is creating a lot of problems for us.
QUESTION TO ANU IS DIALOGUE NECESSARY?
Let me come to Anu. Anu you want to come back ? Meena posed a question to you and I did as well, in terms or how is this dialogue necessary? and how do you come to dialogue in the situation like Ukraine and other more contested ones? Anu !
ON POSSIBLE DIALOGUES AROUND UKRAINE
Anu : let's take the live example of Ukraine. Now, of course all of us in civil society, and the entire third world have said that this is an illegal war, against the UN charter, that it must stop and there should be negotiations.
But many peace activists within Ukraine reject that position.They say “we don't want this pacifism, we want direct support , and we're not going to stop, we are not ready for dialogue”
So therefore what position then do we take? A lot of activists actually now have agreed that NATO should continue arming them. Is that our position? No, I mean, it's not my position, that 90 billion dollars should be put into Ukraine, and all these weapons, because that is prolonging the conflict and it is a proxy and hybrid war as well as a war to assert US hegemony. .
So I think our task is really, not to just have these broad issues of “yes we want peace”, but see the geopolitics of it, the terrible geopolitics behind this war, which is using Ukraine, some of us believes as a proxy, but other don’t they believe it is nationalism, they have a point in that .There is also a Russian peace movement that is opposing the war and which has been oppressed within Russia. We support that also.
MAKE THE ALTERNATIVE PRESS KNOWLEDGE AVAILABLE
So, the knowledge of this war is not really available to everyone, especially, and this links to Meena's question and even yours, about consent making and hegemony, is because the dominant mainstream press is not giving all the information.
In fact and you see the alternate press, which comes out from the west itself and from other places, you know people like George Galloway, Glen Greenfield, even the realists, like Mershemar and Kissinger, they all argue that this has been a trap, and I also know that this has been a civil war since 2014, and Russia has been asking for a place in the European security structure, and that NATO should not keep expanding, include Ukraine, but the security of Russia was not guaranteed so the Russian geopolitics is that they see NATO working in Ukraine since 2014 and this for the Russians is an existential threat.
Then we get into the question of “exclusive security”, which we are opposed to. You see why I'm telling you all this, because these are complex questions, and these also divide civil society, so our task should also be to examine all this, and then come to our individual position,
and as far as Meena was saying about consensus, can we have a consensus position? Well look, the more democratic we are, the more difficult it is difficult to reach consensus, it becomes majoritarian position; but we can give alternate positions, and a consensus position can be the lowest common denominator, and say they are different positions within it, which we have done for things like, for example; the minimum floor in social justice.
POSITIONS AROUND UKRAINE CONTINUED
So these are complex questions, and I think we need to debate this with experts, even the realists who are talking about the war, have disagreements about what this war is about. On the one hand you have general MacDougal who was earlier national Security adviser to President Trump; he is saying America is completely wrong, and Russia is right in this war.
And I agree we need to condemn all imperialisms , Russian and Nato, and the fact that none of them are coming to a negotiating position, and also we cannot fully accept neutrality as it is, we need to move push neutrality further to one which is for disarmament, one which is anti-imperialist; one which is anti-colonial; and one which links peace with justice,
ELEMENTS OF JUSTICE
And that's why now social movements are not just talking about equity or climate change, they're talking about “just transitions”, meaning that these transitions, this peace, whatever position, should be, should have an element of justice within it, and diversity of positions.
Someone also raises the question about what happens if we don't trust this Media.
SOMES INFORMATION SOURCES
Look, there are a lot of sources now on YouTube etc I just watch those when I'm looking for questions. I watch Chris Hedges, the real news network , the Grey Zone, The New Atlas (about ASEAN) the George Galloway show, called “the mother of all talk shows”, most and many many others everyday; besides of course reading at least five newspapers from five different countries.
Of course I don't expect everyone else to do it, but I think debates like this where you do get experts. I hope you can see some of the Asia Europe people forum webinars, where we are getting many of these experts, or the transnational Institute webinar, recently they brought up a brilliant report on “militarisation and climate”, where they show what the states and corporations are not accounting for, in terms of carbon tax, is coming from these military exercises and wars. So they actually have tables which show that.
So there are all these alternatives available and I think it is up to us to popularize them and tell people that these are freely available also. Thank you so much.
William : Thanks again Anu, and look I will be quite straightforward here as well. I like what you're saying and I fully agree with what you are saying : we're not getting enough of that knowledge, of what is happening, so obviously, to get more information, how much you spent in terms to put together this knowledge, and recognising that not everybody would be able to … ; I was talking today to a close friend from Ukraine, and it was quite interesting about how (...) she poses this as a resilience, and there's a lot that we need to understand on these things, and of course it is time in the building of knowledge to come to a consensus. Do we have time on our side ? I will come back to you to answer that question, because you started off by saying how the turmoil are worded.
QUESTION TO ANSELMO BRINGING ANALYSIS UP TO TIME
Anselmo, you talked about something Anu he's also saying, something that Cora says as well in terms of intergenerational bringing in the young, how do we go about bringing our analysis, more upfront, what would be some of the things that we could do ? I know you are a professor activist, so what are you doing in bringing analysis up to time? Anselmo!
REGIME CHANGES BY 1% OF VOTES
Anselmo : Before I speak about intergenerational dialogue and youth engagement, I'd like to share one brief story. We are talking about alternatives right? , world social forum and basically, as Anu said also economic alternative and political alternatives, when it comes to political alternatives, these days I'm paying a lot of attention to the role of political parties and politicians
Some of them are former civil society activists like our friend in Malaysia, Charles Santiago but as you know , in spite of the gloomy political news everyday, few weeks ago we have one good news from Brazil : Lula. Just one just by 1%. But several months ago, there was a regime change in South Korean by 1% to the right wing.
Because I still remember Luna a head of the PT workers party when the world social forum we met lula as a head of the workers party,
IF YOU ARE CONCERNED WITH CLIMATE YOU SHOULD INVEST MORE IN POLITICS
which mean I used to tell my young people in South Korea, because these days, as you know the climate is a top priority for lot of young people, even the teenagers, they are generally concerned about climbing emergency, because their future is in at risk, but I used to tell them: “if you're really concerned by climate you should invest more in politics”.
Politics means you need to build a political party in an election? as well as a way to look at the rule. because of the election results of the params Amazon has completely reversed. That means somehow in some countries between political parties and civil Society there is a huge gap, and there is no kind of natural science among these NGOs and social movements and political parties.
FIND HOW WE CAN WORK EFFECTIVELY FOR POLITICAL CHANGE
Somehow we have to find a way of how we can work more effectively for Political change , or political alternatives, for instance the Green Party European Green Party but not many countries in Asia have this kind of party. I'm not saying that the Green Party is the solution to all the problems, but how to create political parties which are dealing with the real policy issues, in the parliament and national assembly.
So I think we need to strengthen this idea, this dimension of the social political party Alliance. This is the reflection I have these days, because of the election in Brazil and also several months ago in South Korea.
BE WHERE THERE IS INTEREST OF THE YOUTH
When it comes to our new generation, I think, depending on the country's context, they are more interested, these days in South Korea where are young people? They are not in the traditional human right or democracy issues. They are more concerned Animal Rights, climate, also some feminism, social cultural issues, rather than traditional and political issues. I think we need to reframe the strategies starting from their own concerns We may see it is not important but important things
In there I'll follow need to be where there are, and bring them to the bigger issues, national to global issues, and that way we can have more young leaders in our movements.
Let me stop here. Over to you William
William alright thanks for that new twist to this discourse : the need for social movements to somewhere reconnect with (....) but it's interesting that you are saying, that we should reconnect again.
Look, we are running out of time people, I know we did start late, but I know it's also Friday in our region, and Friday means people want to rush back from work or whatever, but I don't want to keep people waiting on a Friday.
So I ask Anu to speak just from that one question, if anybody has a question or comments, put it in the chat box. I have seen, Mike, what you have said as well, and some of the points you put in the discussion are very intriguing as well. I will let me come back to Anu first, with that question : do we have time on our side to build that knowledge base that you're talking about? . Anu you have hinted to some discussions that are ongoing, and to some platforms.
CHOOSE YOUR EXPERTS
Anu : Look, I think you have to choose the right experts, because not everyone has the time to look at everything. I myself I've learnt a lot from chosen experts i have trusted in my life like Walden Bello Amit Bahaduri and public intellectuals like Noam Chomsky So that's how we build our knowledge-based, and that's how we work so far (....) so we don't have to reinvent the wheel, we just have to ask people to help us build this knowledge base.
William Thanks, and apology for putting you on that spot with your cough - We have to choose the people that will listen to, and you have given names to some of them.
With that I see no hands up, and also it's time, we will talk again,in others webinars and we got the message, and I think it's also a hint of where we are going..
THE WORD DIALOGUE COMING OUT OF OUR DISCUSSION - COMINGS TOGETHER
Throughout the discussion today, one of the most common words is dialogue, that came out, The need for dialogue, the need for understanding each other, the need for developing consensus, the need for working intergenerationally, the need for understanding more, and the need for building common Knowledge.
Now the world social forum, the asia-pacific social forum; these are spaces for that
Anselmo did mention there is no real space, and event if we come in big numbers, there is always a pocket that is missing, so let's deliberate on this , let us deliberate on those comings together , and as we build up the APSF, we don't go for numbers, we go for depth.
In those Comings together to come this coming together, intersectionally and cross-sectorally, that's one of the challenges that we have in the forum. Let's keep that, let's look for signs of Hope in the comings together of social movements in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt. People are giving up hope it is still happening. I read the statements , I like these two paragraphs on marginalized communities. let's see how we can continue conversations.
WANT TO BE PART OF THE APSF PROCESS?
For those of you two want to be part of this asia-pacific social forum and part of the wider network that is organizing this, remember it's an open space : any of you can at anytime come and be part of that place, we meet every wednesday, please do join us, just send a message and we'll put you in the group and you can see how we can proceed from there, but is an open space Anu and anselmo will have the discussion, and thanks to Cora Meena Mohammed Mike and others in the chat box.
Once again sorry for the technology failures, we surmounted to some extent and kept the conversation going. Thank you all, see you next time.