February 04, 2005

The Globalization of the Social Movements

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Just as the world economy is going through a process of globalization, the world's social movements are jumping in the process as well.

According to the El Alto Press Agency (APA), the local (and very powerful) federation of neighborhood associations, FEDJUVE, is joining a world movement to fight the privatization of drinking water. The movement is called Red Vida and came to life at the seminar "Citizen Movements Against the Privatization of Water", held in San Salvador, El Salvador on August 2003. Red Vida, which stands for Interamerican Vigilance for the Defense y the Right to Water, wants to wage a world wide war against Lyonnaise Eaux Suez (Suez). This company was the parent company of Aguas del Illimani, a company which was ejected from El Alto, thanks to the actions of FEDJUVE. Suez Group has operations all over the world working in the fields of electricity, gas, water and waste services.

This is but one more example of the way in which the social movements around the world are joining forces and "globalizing" themselves. The advanced technologies which make it easier, cheaper and more efficient to communicate, have served as a platform to the globalization process, not only for private business and governments, but also for local social movements.

One result of these global organizing efforts by the movements have been the successful gathering of thousands of demonstrators to disrupt meetings like the World Economic Forum or the G8 summits. Now we see a different flavor of organizing effort. The coming together to fight against a private conglomerate like Suez. What we are most likely to see from these efforts are more demonstrations against the company's interests all over the world. Perhaps the places to watch are those where poverty is the norm. That is poor countries.
Representatives of FEDJUVE, while attending and participating in seminars and work shops at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, expressed their reasons why they demanded the ejection of the water services company, Aguas del Illimani. They were surprised to learn of similar complains from other organizations about Suez's daughter companies in Chile, Peru, Uruguay, other towns in Africa, Asia, Europe and the US. As a result FEDJUVE decided to join Red Vida.