Global call for U.S. boycott at World Social Forum, Brazil
--campaigners prepare for continental social forums in Africa, Asia, Americas, Europe and Pacific
Porto Alegre, February 4th 2005 Participants from around the globe united in a renewed call for a worldwide boycott of US brands as an effective action against unilateral US Foreign policies. During a meeting with more than 600 activists, boycott campaigners from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, Japan, South-Korea and Sweden repeated the rationale behind the US boycott, as both the UN and protests with millions of people does not seem to stop the destructive and self-centered policies of Washington concerning Iraq, the Kyoto protocol, the International Criminal Court, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty to name a few.
The US, which seriously considers resumption of nuclear testing in Nevada, is the only country with nuclear weapons secretly deployed on the territory of other countries. The weapons of mass destruction are part of the largest stock of an estimated 10,640 U.S. nuclear warheads, enough to kill every human being many times. The US imperialism seem to have no limits with its military expenses exceeding 50% of the world total with 500 billion US dollar in 2004, and its military power stretching to an estimated of more than 1,000 military bases outside its own territory.
During a successful strategy meeting at the WSF the boycott campaign was able to consolidate as it found many new organizers and decided to prepare for 2007 WSF in Africa by strengthening regional networks via continental forum meetings in the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Pacific in 2006.
Pol D`Huyvetter, from the international boycott campaign coordination secretariat in Belgium, declared: `The economic boycott is an effective non-violent tool with which concerned citizens around the world can vote with their wallets against the aggressive policies of Washington. We need to wake-up and explain to people and social movements that as opposition to the Nazi regime would have boycotted German companies supporting the fascist regime of Hitler, today we need to boycott US multinational corporations as an effective tool to oppose US foreign policies which are the most dangerous threat to international security and peace today`.
In a parallel meeting at the WSF, Mr. Luiz Marinho, President of CUT, the Union of Brazilian unions, called the audience of an estimated 15,000 people to support the boycott of Exxon-Mobile, Texaco, Coca-Cola, Pepsico, Mc Donalds and Altria (Kraft Philip Morris).
Ms. Waratah Rosemarie Gillespie, a lawyer and award winning author from Australia, shares the analyse that concerning the U.S. boycott campaign the people are ahead of the social movements in effectively organizing the boycott in their daily lives. Rosemarie Gillespie, also the Pacific coordinator, states that social movements from over 50 countries have now joined the boycott campaign network, it is believed that many millions of people are boycotting U.S. brands since the illegal attack and occupation of Iraq. This is confirmed by a recent survey from the Seattle based Global Market Insite (GMI) Inc. questioning 8,000 consumers in eight countries between December 10 12, 2004. The survey finds that the Bush administration`s foreign policies may be costing U.S. corporations business overseas as twenty percent of respondents in Europe and Canada said they consciously avoided buying U.S. products as a protest against the White House policies. That finding was consistent with similar polls conducted out by GMI three weeks after Bush`s November election victory and another survey by UK-based NOP World in July 2004.
Prof Hee Yeon Cho from the South Korean Defeat Bush network also found that a growing number of community leaders in his country come to understand that one can not protest U.S. policies with a can of Coca Cola in the right hand, a Marlboro in the left and ones feet in Nike shoes. As he called for strengthening the United Nations, he saw that the U.S. continues to undermine the U.N. and the International Criminal Court. Also Prof Atsushi Fujioka, economist and member of Attac Japan, finds that the boycott comes very timely as an effective non-violent weapon as was used by Mahatma Ghandi to drive out the British empire out of India, or end the apartheid regime in South-Africa.
Leo Stranius, campaigner of Friends of the Earth Finland, says his group organized the boycott campaigfn effectively in his country, using creative actions, the movement`s network as well as the main-stream media to call consumers to use their consumers power to built another world. He called people to buy local, fair-trade and organic products as an alternative for the U.S. corporate products. He also explained that the argument of unemployment created by the boycott is a false one, as the jobs lost in U.S. corporations which are driven by profit, will be replaced by jobs in companies which respect the environment and human-rights.
Dilys Dana Pierson from the US has been calling for the boycott since the illegal invasion of Iraq: "What can we say about the values that drive US foreign policy today? Vermont supporters of the international boycott believe US foreign policy today is dictated by a belief in dominance through military violence and a belief in fear as a mode of social control and international intimidation. The current US administration believes in an economic system that caters to US corporations and the rich, while nearly one billion of our brothers and sisters on this planet face starvation."
For more information: www.boycottbush.org
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