Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 24 January 2004

World Social Forum 2004, Mumbai

NGOs Provide No Solutions For The Exploited

OVER 120,000 people attended the World Social Forum (WSF) in Mumbai, India. The majority came in their tens of thousands from the most poverty stricken areas of India as well as other countries in Asia such as Pakistan, South Korea, Tibet and the Philippines.

Kevin Simpson (CWI), Mumbai

Also present were hundreds of trade unionists who explained the horrific conditions they face as a result of the exploitation of the multinational companies and also local capitalists (interviews in next week's the socialist).

However, they would not have found a programme from the WSF organisers and most speakers on how to fight back against mass unemployment, poverty, and discrimination.

NGOs' failings

THE ATTENDANCE at the WSF is dominated by members of the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). While many sincere people work for the NGOs, their leaders have played a negative role in the workers' movement in Asia. With Western aid, they have diverted a whole layer of potential activists from class struggle with the promise of jobs and a personal solution for the problems they face.

While the NGOs produce much factual material explaining the horrific conditions faced by workers and poor farmers in the region, they, in reality, oppose a determined struggle to change the conditions of the masses in this part of the world.

NGO leaders who in the past have been good trade union and community activists are now in control of huge budgets that have had a corrupting influence on their politics. It is also the case that some NGOs have made millions of Rupees at this event by winning contracts to provide goods and services.

The WSF has a programme of meetings which numbers over 200 pages with literally thousands of meetings at the six-day event. However, even at meetings scheduled to have over 20,000 delegates present they attracted only a few hundred. This is because most of the meetings provide no solutions to the problems that they face.

At the bigger meetings dominated by political activists, the leaders of NGOs address the meetings in terms which simply are not understood by the workers, peasants and youth who are there.

As the President of the United Labour Federation, V. Prakash told CWI members: "The panel meetings simply exchange grievances of various different sectors facing exploitation. When those attending the meetings ask 'how are we going to change things', the panel speakers simply say: 'we have to rush to the next panel'."

At a meeting of the main left parties, including Bertinotti of the PRC (Communist Refoundation, Italy) and representatives from the Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India (Marxist), not one speaker mentioned what kind of society should be fought for. The words "socialism" and "communism" never passed their lips.

Socialist alternative

DESPITE THIS, many genuine activists, workers and youth have attempted to find their own solutions through thousands of informal discussions, exchanging experiences and attempting to formulate strategies to fight back against the conditions they face.

The Committee for a Workers International (CWI - the socialist international organisation to which the Socialist Party is affiliated) has members from Australia, Austria, Britain, CIS, India, Sri Lanka and Sweden attending the event. We distributed over 40,000 leaflets (in English, Tamil and Hindi) explaining the case for socialism.

We were the only political group who produced material like this for the event. 121 copies of the CWI's Indian Paper (Dudiyorohaata - Workers' Struggle) were sold at just one session to mainly poor farmers from the Karnataka region of India. Many workers and youth have eagerly snatched this material from our hands and become involved in animated discussions. The betrayals of the Communist Parties in India mean that there is a layer of young people looking for anti-capitalist and socialist ideas in the form of a new party.

At a CWI meeting on Sri Lanka (with speakers from the CWI's party in Sri Lanka) two workers from Tamil Nadu in southern India joined the New Socialist Alternative, the CWI's section here.

It is workers and young people like these that the CWI is seeking to provide answers to through our political explanation and our record of campaigning against oppression and exploitation across the globe.

The CWI fights in countries throughout the world for a programme for the workers, poor and oppressed of the world which includes policies such as:

Support for local struggles against landlords and capitalists
Establishment of mass workers' parties
Repudiate all foreign debt, oppose the IMF, World Bank and WTO
Nationalise the big landed estates and put them under the democratic control of the rural workers and rural poor.
Nationalise all foreign companies without compensation, and place them under workers' control and management
Overthrow the corrupt elites and establish a workers' state, based on workers' control and management of the commanding heights of the economy, with a plan of production based on the needs of the people.
Work for a socialist world, a world plan of production democratically agreed at local level

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 24 January 2004:

No Fees!

Top-Up Fees And Blair's Future In The Balance

Make Big Business And The Rich Pay

Australia: Fees Don't Work

Socialist Party workplace news

For a fighting leadership of the teachers' union

Strike Back Against Low Pay

Fighting Low Pay At Sainsbury's

Ealing's Financial Crisis

Support Francis Tienga Ngale

Karl Debbaut - Next Hearing 26 January

Socialist Party feature

London: Obscene Wealth And Abject Poverty

International socialist news and analysis

Iraq: Imperialism's Quagmire

NGOs Provide No Solutions For The Exploited


Home   |   The Socialist 24 January 2004   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:

World Social Forum:

triangleInternational news in brief

triangleTunisia: thousands demonstrate


triangle110 years ago: massacre at Santa Maria school in Chile - commemorate 21 December 1907

triangleThe Socialist's 2017 quiz

triangleTwo in five 'right to buy' homes now for let

triangleBrexit deal no solution to Tory rifts


triangleA world in crisis, ripe for revolution

triangleCaerphilly & RCT Socialist Party: The work of CWI members around the world

triangleZimbabwe: Mugabe gone - but his regime remains in power


triangleTamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting

triangleExtreme weather events and global warming


triangle4,800 young people hurt after officers 'restrain' them

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


North West

Arriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise



Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers


Waltham Forest

Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents



Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell



Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos



Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts



Tory plan to hold dinner at coal mining museum defeated



Bradford campaign to save children's services launched


South London

South London health bosses' cover-up



Unite day of action against blacklisting



Brighton victory



Newham anti-academies strikes


Tamil Solidarity

Tamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting



Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout



Unite protest against blacklisting

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle16 Dec Arriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

triangle16 Dec Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice