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Winds of Change
February 2003


 What Part Don't Coal Companies Understand?

Remembering Laura

Don't Despair - Organize and Fight Back Instead!

West Virginia Bill for Public Financing of Elections Advancing

Trick or Treat for George Bush - No War!

West Virginia's Clean Election Law - Let's Do the Right Thing and Return Honor to the Process

China - Nehlen remark unwise

Sylvester 'Dustbusters' Beat Up On Massey Energy

Massey Energy Subsidiary Denied Permit to Cover Another West Virginia Town with Coal Dust

Small Town Threatened by Huge Slurry Impoundment Proposal

Mothman Returns: Is He Sending Us Another Dire Warning?

Ken Hechler: A Hero for Our Time

Buffalo Creek 30 Years Later - Have We Learned the Lessons?

Legislation Introduced to Counter Bush Rollback of Clean Water Regulations

Whose Monument Is It?
Keep Miner, Ditch Industry Rhetoric at New Coal Memorial

World Social Forum Shows Commonality of People's Goals

The Field of Broken Dreams

Hey! The Truth IS Out There!

The Truth is Out There - Wayyyyyy Out There, in Massey Energy's Case

Honoring a Great Crusader


For viewing the PDF version


World Social Forum Shows Commonality of People's Goals

by Dianne Bady

Vivian Stockman and I traveled to the World Social Forum thanks to the Ford Foundations 2001 Leadership for a Changing World awarded to Laura Forman, Janet Fout and I.

The World Social Forum's opening march in Porte Alegre, Brazil, on Jan. 23, 2003. About 50,000 people from all over the globe, representing a huge array of issues, united to march in the streets as an affirmation of their collective belief that another world is possible - a world without neo-liberal globalization and its associated imperialism and militarization. All marchers beseeched the United States to withdraw from its threatened invasion of Iraq and instead take all means to work toward peace in the Persian Gulf region and worldwide.   photo by Viv Stockman

Close to 100,000 people from all over the planet gathered in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in late January to meet, march and celebrate the theme "Another World is Possible."

It was sobering to hear how U.S.-based extractive industries are harming other countries, but also inspiring to learn more about how in Europe, the transition to renewable energy sources is far ahead of the U.S.

One workshop I attended was called "Confronting Corporations." There were 35 of us from 19 different countries, all talking about how mining and oil corporations, most of them U.S. based, are ravaging their environment and making a mockery of democracy.

Here in central Appalachia, where coal corporations are blowing up the mountains, being an environmental activist during the Bush administration is no picnic. But we are privileged in this country. Several folks from poor nations asked me if people in our group have been murdered, as has happened in their movements.

Activists from Columbia said they believed that the U.S. military bases there, and U.S.-dominated foreign policy, are part of the overall strategy to allow oil companies to run roughshod over their country and their people.

But, just like us, folks all over the world are organizing to try to force positive change. Austrian and Canadian people told of how mass mobilizations, shareholder activism, and church involvement resulted in improvements in oil activities in Sudan.

People from the Pantanal area of Brazil and Paraguay, from Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Chile and Bolivia, all stressed the importance of working in international alliances.

Many are convinced that United States groups are especially important to have as working allies, because, as they say, we are in the belly of the beast.

Were all facing the same problems the greed and power of energy and mining corporations who have a disproportionate influence over our governments and over foreign policy.

(More on the World Social Forum will be in the next Winds of Change.)


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