Democracy Now! January 31, 2002

Program Title:
Democracy Now! January 31, 2002
Series Title:
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The rival realities of the World Economic Forum and the World Social Forum: Guests: two Swiss activists who have been mobilizing against the World Economic Forum in Davos for several years; in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Nigerian human rights lawyer, Oronto Douglas, and Filipino anti-globalization activist, Walden Bello; in New York, Starhawk and Seydina Senghor, two activists striking back at corporate terror.

9:01-9:06 HEADLINES 9:06-9:07 ONE-MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:07-9:20 TODAY IS THE OPENING DAY OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE ELITE AND POWERFUL: WHAT IS THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM? Today is the opening day of the World Economic Forum at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in midtown Manhattan, and the site of the grand annual retreat of the world's movers and shakers is a maze of police barriers, concrete barricades, flashing lights, blue uniforms and bomb-sniffing dogs. Only authorized vehicles and residents are allowed past checkpoints set up on the blocks surrounding the hotel. Every year the World Economic Forum brings together almost 3,000 business and political leaders, from celebrity C.E.O.'s like Bill Gates and Steve Forbes, to Russian oligarchs, kings, senators and patriarchs. An invitation to the conference is basically a membership card in a global economic and political elite: the WEF once boasted that its participants represented no less than three-quarters of the world's wealth. Leaders of 1,000 "foremost companies" from around the world pay about $25,000 each in annual dues and about $6000 for each participant who attends the meeting. This year is the first since 1971 that the World Economic Forum has been held outside its home, the Swiss ski resort of Davos. Two years ago, thousands of anti-globalization protesters came to Davos and disrupted the meetings. So before last years conference, Davos actually declared a local ban on protests. Last year only about 200 protesters made it through the valley into the sealed resort town. But after the Swiss government balked at the rising cost of security this year, the organizers moved the conference to New York. World Economic Forum organizers say they moved the forum here to express solidarity with the city after September 11th. But New Yorkers wonder if its because it will be hard to protest here, in a city so recently devastated by the World Trade Center attacks. To New Yorkers, the security lockdown in Manhattan is reminiscent of the tense days after Sept. 11. Today we are joined by two of the Swiss organizers who have been mobilizing demonstrations against the WEF for several years in Davos. GUEST: DAVID BOEHNER, THE ANTI-WTO COORDINATION, a Swiss anti-globalization organization LINKS: GUEST: ANDRE SIEGENTHALER, Zurich based anti-globalization activist with the group DIRECT SOLIDARITY WITH CHIAPAS 9:20-9:21 ONE-MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:21-9:40 MAKING ANOTHER WORLD POSSIBLE: A REPORT FROM THE WORLD SOCIAL FORUM IN PORTO ALEGRE Well, as the WEF is kicked off in NYC today, a very different kind of gathering is coming together in Porto Alegre, Brazil. For the next few days, thousands of activists are converging at the World Social Forum to weave a new vision of reality, one in which humans and nature replace profits and power as the center of concern. The forum's theme: another world is possible. The first World Social Forum was held last year, in Porto Alegre, as a kind of "people's" counterweight to the World Economic Forum. It began as a conversation between Brazilian workers, farmers, intellectuals, and clerics, and it triggered strong and immediate international support. Up to 20,000 people gathered at the forum for marches, workshops, testimonies, and movement building. In just a few short days, the WSF came to embody the growing movement against corporate-driven globalization. This year's World Social Forum picks up where the last one left off, yet even bigger. As many as 40,000 activists have gathered in Porto Alegre, including fisherfolk from India, farmers from East Africa, trade unionists from Thailand, indigenous people from Central America, and two Democracy Now producers from New York City. Well, yesterday afternoon we caught up with some of these activists in Porto Alegre. Among them: Oronto Douglas, a human rights lawyer and founder of Environmental Rights Action in the Niger Delta. Douglas arrived in Porto Alegre just days after an explosion at an armory in Lagos, Nigeria, illed thousands of people. He was in the city at the time of the explosion, talking, of course, about human rights. GUEST: ORONTO DOUGLAS, Deputy Director of Environmental Rights Action, human rights activist and lawyer (video-conference, pre-taped) LINKS: GUEST: WALDEN BELLO, executive director, Focus on the Global South and Professor of Sociology and Public Administration, University of the Philippines (video-conference, pre-taped) LINKS:,, 9:40-9:41 ONE-MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:41-9:58 PROTESTS AGAINST THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM: NEW YORK ACTIVISTS STRIKE BACK AGAINST CORPORATE TERROR Globalization critics say the World Economic Forum is a nerve center for neoliberal economics. Its members are the top decision makers of the political and business worlds. In an attempt to offset its image of a global establishment, the World Economic Forum has brought religious leaders, academics and experts, news media representatives and union leaders to join business leaders. WEF organizers also say that a quarter of the almost 3,000 participants have come from developing countries. The pledge from the New York Police Department is that protesters at the World Economic Forum can expect a huge police presence, with zero tolerance for any violations of the law. While the police lockdown midtown Manhattan to protect conference delegates, delegates prepare to party at the stock exchange and the Four Seasons Restaurant. Other companies have booked landmarks like Le Cirque 2000 and Goldman & Sachs has reserved the Rainbow Room for a Super Bowl party on Sunday. But meanwhile, at puppet warehouses and organizing spaces across the city activists, artists, writers, and labor leaders are making their own preparations for the street festival of resistance outside the Waldorf in New York. Today we are joined by to two anti-globalization activists who are working to plan demonstrations in New York. GUEST: STARHAWK, author, Pagan Cluster organizer and anti-globalization activist (IN STUDIO) CONTACT: GUEST: SEYDINA SENGHOR, cofounder, Jubilee 2000, an organization working to cancel the debt in the global South (IN STUDIO) CONTACT: LINKS:,,,,, 9:58-9:59 OUTRO AND CREDITS

Date Recorded on: 
January 31, 2002
Date Broadcast on: 
January 31, 2002
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WPFW; Amy Goodman, host. January 31, 2002
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