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Anti-globalisation supporters convene in Zurich

Pakistani-born journalist and historian Tariq Ali was the day's main speaker Keystone

Less than a week before the opening of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in New York, the "Other Davos" was held for the second time in Zurich.

This content was published on January 26, 2002 - 18:27

Saturday's meeting, originally set up as an alternative to the WEF's formerly annual reunion in the canton Graubünden resort, was organised by ATTAC Switzerland, an anti-globalisation movement.

The day's main speaker was Pakistani writer Tariq Ali, who warned that the anti-globalisation movement would only survive if it offered an alternative to the current economic system. "If these new ideas aren't taken seriously now, it's not important," he added.

"The first men to talk about neo-liberalism 25 years before the end of the Cold War weren't taken seriously by the right or the left. But today, concepts such as deregulation, less state intervention and market forces are part of mainstream politics."

For Ali, the foundations of democracy are threatened by neo-liberalism and globalisation. The journalist and historian believes international military interventions are just another side to the globalisation of capital.

"Never before have individual democratic rights been attacked as they have since September 11," he said.

Besides the formal speeches, around 500 people attended workshops on Third World debt, threats to public service, agribusiness and warfare as an extension of neo-liberalism.

The "Other Davos" is a partner of the Porto Alegre Social Forum, which will be held at the same time as the WEF meeting. It is also supported by various media as well as unions and workers' associations.

swissinfo with agencies

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