Prospects for change? The Anti-Globalisation Movement post September 11

March 1, 2002

In January 2002, over 50,000 activists from all over the world converged in the town of Porto Allegre, Brazil to discuss visions, strategies and tactics for the global movement for justice and sustainability. The World Social Forum (WSF), held in counter-position to the World Economic Forum, showed that the 'anti-globalisation' movement is here to stay and is moving beyond "anti". The upcoming Australian speaking tour by Michael Albert, will play an important part in the development of this movement.

Since the terrorist attack on September 11, there have been many questions about the relevance of the anti corporate/globalisation movement that had seen a string of massive street protests from Seattle, to Prague, to Melbourne. For many commentators, the movement is no longer relevant as the focus of concern has shifted towards terrorism. However, for the millions of people around the world who bear the brunt of 'economic rationalism' / 'neoliberalism' / 'globalisation', little much has changed. If anything the struggles for justice and democracy have become more urgent in the face of increased US military/economic/political domination.

For the anti-globalisation movement in Australia, like in other parts of the world, the focus is shifting beyond 'blockading summits' and towards visioning and articulating alternatives. An exciting part of this development is the upcoming national tour by Michael Albert.

Michael Albert, author, intellectual and co-founder of Boston based Z Magazine (www.zmag.org) has been an activist for over 30 years and has written extensively on movement building and alternatives to "capitalism" and "globalisation". Michael recently gave a keynote address to the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, presenting his visions for a participatory economy (Parecon). Michael is also a long-time exponent of independent media ' his Znet website receives over 1 million hits per week!

Michael's most important contribution to the 'anti-globalisation' movement has been his work on developing alternative visions
"...if we were to create a stack of all the speeches and talks and conversations and books and essays about how capitalism hurts people that have been offered in those thirty years - and if we were to create another stack of all the speeches and talks and conversations and books and essays about an alternative to capitalism and how it could benefit people that have been offered in those thirty years'the pile documenting misery would touch the sky, perhaps reach the moon, and the pile describing a superior option would barely leave the ground."
Michael Albert ' World Social Forum keynote address Jan 2002

His work (with co-author Robin Hahnel) on Participatory Economics (www.parecon.org) is a breath of fresh political air - moving beyond both 'free market capitalism' and 'command economies/state socialism'. His upcoming national tour is an exciting opportunity for Australians to hear his challenging and prophetic ideas.

Michael Albert Tour details:

16 ' 17th March: Brisbane Social Forum, Brisbane Powerhouse
23rd March: Another World is Possible ' public forum - Melbourne
24th March: 'Borderline' independent media conference - Adelaide
29th March ' 1st April: Global Links conference - Sydney

Michael will also be giving numerous other public lectures and workshops.

For further information contact:

John Hepburn
Ph: (07) 3846 5793
E mail: foebrisbane@uq.net.au

For a biography and collections of Michael Albert's work, visit www.brisbanesocialforum.org or www.zmag.org