The irresistible rise of global anticapitalism


 A River comes to Prague

The Narmada is the longest river in India, sacred to the villagers who live along her banks. In the 1980s, a World Bank loan funded the Indian government to build 30 dams along the Narmada Valley, threatening to submerge or displace 25 million villagers. Since then, Medha Patkar has led the international fight against the Narmada dams. She has sworn to drown herself in the reservoir if the Sardar Sarovar - the first and largest of the dams - rises above 90 metres. These are her words as she carried the “People’s Global Action - We Are Everywhere” banner through the streets of Prague with the pink and silver group during the September 26th protests against the World Bank and IMF in 2000.

This day is not about Northern protest, but about the solidarity all around the world. It’s not about the First and Third World, North and South. There is a section of the population that is just as present in the USA, and in England - the homeless, unemployed people, on the streets of London - which is also there in the indigenous communities, villages, and farmers of India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Mexico, Brazil. All those who face the backlash of this kind of economics are coming together - to create a newer, people-centred world order.

We’re here because our movement is the movement of the people from the Valley of Narmada fighting big dams, which the World Bank was originally involved in. But our movement successfully forced them to withdraw.

We battle for the true kind of development which is equitable and sustainable, and believe very strongly that the World Bank, IMF, the WTO, and the multinational corporations are taking society in exactly the opposite direction. That is, towards an inequitable, non-sustainable, and unjust world. We feel that the corporations and their tentacles have now taken over, not just markets, but the lives of the people. The people have to resist. The people h ave to say no, not just imports, but to impositions. I m position of culture, imposition of consumerism, i m position of a new kind of money and market based economics and related politics.

And we know that we cannot fight this alone in our corner of the world and in an isolated way. It is necessary to build alliances among the women’s movement, the fish workers’ movement, the farmers’ movement, the tribal and indigenous peoples’ movement - all those who live on the natural-resource-base and their own labour are being evicted and being impoverished.

And then we have to gather together all the sensitive and sensible people of the world to reject the corporate sector and this kind of lending and the export credit guarantees. And these will be replaced by ordinary people’s ways of exchange, of knowledge, ideas, of technology - that will be the real empowerment of the people.

- Medha Patkar