Continues from here

2 - For the right to information and the right to inform:

— Initiatives towards the large media

The right to obtain information and the right to inform enter in contradiction with the general logic of how the media are structured. Through their increasing concentration on a worldwide scale, the media are not only the direct recipients of the benefits of neoliberal globalization, but also the carriers of its ideology. It is thus necessary to fight tooth and nail to throw sand into the gears of this machinery for “formatting” the human spirit, machinery whose goal is to make the neoliberal order appear not only inevitable but even desirable. For this purpose, campaigns must be launched in each country, within the framework of an international coordination:

● for legislative initiatives aimed at fighting against media concentration;

● for legislative initiatives aimed at guaranteeing the autonomy of the editors as opposed to the shareholders and owners, by encouraging, where they do not exist, the creation of journalists’ associations with real power to act;

● for education encouraging criticism of the media in the school system and popular organizations.

— To support the alternative media

The alternative media and the non-profit media, in all their forms (print, radio, television, Internet), already play important role in delivering pluralist information not subject to the diktats of finance capital and multinational corporations. This is why it is necessary to demand that governments create legal and tax conditions from which these media can benefit. A watchdog group of the Alternative Media could identify the most advanced laws existing in the world today. Just as the owners and directors of the large media do, it would be useful for the alternative media to organize each year a worldwide meeting of the people responsible for the alternative media, possibly within the framework of the process of the World Social Forums.

— Don’t allow the television networks of the North a monopoly of the images broadcast to the world

The large networks of international television of North, like CNN, have profited for a long time from a de-facto monopoly and have presented a view of the world corresponding to the interests of the dominant powers. In the Arab world, the creation of Al-Jazeera?, with great professionalism, made it possible to break with the one-sided vision of Middle-Eastern? conflicts. The recent launching of Telesur makes it possible for Latin America to be seen not exclusively through the prism of the North-American? media. The creation of an African network meets an identical need, and all effort must be made to assure that it is born. (At the same time we must ensure that this is not a front of regional capitalists replacing global ones.)

3 - For the right to express oneself in one’s language:

The first way to recognize all the expatriate elites of the planet is by their use of English. There is a logical bond between the voluntary or resigned submission to the U.S. super-power and the adoption of its language as the sole tool for international communication. Today Chinese and the Romance languages have – if one promotes mutual comprehension within the large family that they form – and tomorrow Arabic will have as much a right to play in parallel the role English does. It is a question of political will. To fight against “all-English,” the following measures should be encouraged:

● to create a goal within the educational systems, if conditions allow, of teaching two foreign languages (and not only English) for active and passive competence (understand, speak, read, write) and one or two other languages for passive competence (to read and understand orally).

● To put into practice, in the education systems, methods to teach mutual comprehension of the Romance languages (Spanish, Catalan, French, Italian, Portuguese, Rumanian — which are official languages in 60 countries). When each one speaks his/her own language and understands that of the conversational partner that communication is most efficient.

● In the specific case of Africa, to make teaching and promotion of the national languages a political priority of the African Union.

To create an international fund to support the translation of the maximum number of documents in the languages of the countries which have low incomes, in particular so that they are present on the Internet. (While i support much of this, the ability to be able to communicate in one language is crucial. We should look for a way to adopt and alter that language, as has been done in patois contexts.)

10. FOR the DEMOCRATIZATION OF INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND the institutionalization of a multipolar international order

The United Nations is a peoples’ institution, and for this reason represents a step forward. But it also reflects the balance of power among national states, whose impact can prove to be ambivalent, even negative, regarding certain peoples or under certain circumstances. Changes in the UN are thus necessary, insofar as the hegemony of the most powerful countries enables them to use the UN for their own purposes. Consequently, we propose the following initiatives:

1. Democratize the area referred to as the United Nations;

2. Initiate “reforms” of the UN with a goal of limiting the inequalities of the balance of power among national states;

3. Act on the governments which constitute UN, and for this reason, to constitute within each country an observer group that permits a demonstration of the action of the governments within the United Nations, its specialized organizations and the authorities created by the Bretton Woods meeting (the IMF, the World Bank, WTO);

4. Refinance the specialized organizations such as the FAO or the WHO, to avoid their dependence upon transnational corporations;

5. Ensure a wide and effective presence of social movements and nongovernmental organizations within the international institutions;

6. Promote International Courts of Justice, in particular concerning the economic crimes, while preventing them from being manipulated by the dominant powers, and, in same time, constitute courts of popular opinion in order to promote alternative means of establishing justice;

7. Democratize the United Nations, increase the power of the General Assembly and democratize the Security Council in order to break the monopolies (right of veto, atomic powers); (More: do away with permanent membership altogether, as it breeds stupid nuclear escalation.)

8. Promote a United Nations that allows for regionalization that is equipped with real powers on the various continents. It is in particular proposed to promote a Middle East Social Forum, gathering the progressive forces of the countries of the area to seek alternative solutions instead of the U.S. project of the Greater Middle East.

9. Promote inside the UN respect for the sovereignty of national states, in particular vis-à-vis the actions undertaken by the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO.

10. Promote a world Parliament of the People to bring humanity out of the vicious circle of poverty. (Not sure how the WPP will help eliminate poverty.)

(Overall, the document needs both to reflect a consolidation of the process so far and to be open, even enabling, to organisational forms and demands that are as yet unarticulated. The emphasis on the national is not, to my mind, one that can be sustained on the basis either of history or of potential, but it figures heavily in the document. There is not much about refugees and the arms trade, or on sexual exploitation and trafficking: in each of these nations are problems not solutions. Racism as a barrier to solidarity among people too is missing. Apart from challenging neoliberalism, we also need to be aware of the resources – discourses, institutions – that it inadvertently makes available for the ends expressed here.)

Subir Sinha SOAS, University of London


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