• Sweden's news in English

Sweden plays host to anti-globalization activists

The Local · 16 Sep 2008, 09:59

Published: 16 Sep 2008 09:59 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

rapidly losing speed.

The anti-globalization movement entered the political scene in 1999 with loud protests on the sidelines of the World Trade Organisation meeting in Seattle -- promoting democracy, economic justice and environmental protection -- but activists admit its influence has waned in recent years and the movement is now struggling to regain its former dynamism and strength.

Known today as the alter-globalization movement, it aims to promote concrete alternatives to what many feel is the capitalist nature of globalization, pushing instead for global cooperation on social issues.

The European Social Forum in the southern town of Malmö, Sweden's third-largest city, is the fifth such meeting to be held since 2002. The last one took place in Athens in 2006.

The meeting, which opens on Wednesday and closes on Sunday, will feature some 250 seminars and 400 cultural activities, all under the theme "Making another Europe possible."

Around 800 associations, non-governmental organizations, unions and other networks will take part.

The activists will discuss a slew of subjects, ranging from social issues in Europe to women's and oppressed people's rights, as well as the international financial crisis, AIDS and climate change.

Contrary to previous forums, this year's ESF is expected to yield "proposals to bring about real solutions," Susan George, the head of the Transnational Institute (TNI) which provides critical analyses of global problems, told AFP.

In the past, delegates spent "too much time on explanations, on descriptions, and on analyzing various crises," she said.

"This time, we're really going to talk about Europe among Europeans and see how we can together create a more democratic, more social, more environmental Europe."

George also said that the geographic location of the meeting -- Scandinavia -- was a good omen for the forum.

"These are countries that are very, very advanced, with small populations and solid traditions of democracy, so it's very good that the meeting is taking place there," she said.

Meanwhile, Christophe Aguiton, a researcher and member of the French Attac movement, said that climate change issues would be in the spotlight, with just 15 months to go before a UN climate summit in Copenhagen.

"There are many of us who believe that the demands of environmentalists and ecologists have to be combined with social issues," he said.

He attributed the alter-globalisation movement's inertia in recent years to the rise of nationalism in China and Russia among others, and the emergence of other movements providing a counterweight to the United States.

"There was a very brief moment in 2000 to 2003 when world issues seemed so global or totally centered around one actor -- the United States, which was launching a war on Iraq -- that a response from a global movement looked like the only possible alternative," Aguiton explained.

"It was a period when the Social Forum had a lot of influence on the agenda because it was the only counter-power," he added.

Today, "we have ... a kind of fragmentation due to the rise of nationalism which is in fact a delayed response to the US offensive (in Iraq) in 2003," he said.

Story continues below…

One of the highlights of the forum will be a peaceful demonstration on Saturday with the slogan "Power to the People -- Against Capitalism and Environmental Destruction. Another World is Possible!"

Calls for independent activists to demonstrate on Friday evening have also been circulating on the internet.

Similar protests in the past have turned violent.

Swedish police would not disclose the security measures being taken.

"Of course there will be special measures but we never speak about the details ... There is a risk that at a time like this there will be elements or persons who want to create violence," Malmö police spokesman Lars Förstell told AFP.

AFP/Delphine Touitou

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Watch this amazing footage of Sweden’s landscapes
A still from the aerial footage of Sweden. Photo: Nate Summer-Cook

The spectacular drone footage captures both Sweden's south and the opposite extreme, thousands of kilometres north.

Sweden could be allowed to keep border controls: EU
Police ID checks at Hyllie station in southern Sweden. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Sweden could be allowed to keep ID controls on its border with Denmark beyond the current end date of November, following discussions among EU leaders in Brussels last night.

Why women in Sweden will work for free by November
File photo of a woman working in a Swedish office. Photo: Anders Willund/TT

A new study into the gender pay gap suggests Sweden still has some work to do.

Look familiar? Meet your jawbone's ancestor
Thank God for evolution, eh?

There's something fishy about the human jawbone – it has its origins in the placodermi, a jowly species of fish that lived 400 million years ago, Swedish and Chinese researchers say.

Isis claims unremarked arson attack in Malmö
The arson attack took place on Norra Grängesbergsgatan in Malmö. File photo: Emil Langvad/TT

An arson attack in Malmö that caused only minor damage and was barely reported in the media has been claimed by terror group Isis.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available