Following the WSF IC Call for a Global Day of Action, two organizations in the Romanian Social Forum process – AER Foundation and AD FSR – organized the European Symposium ‘Another World is Possible!’ in Rimnicu-Vilcea as part of the global chain of actions of the civil society worldwide.
Amongst the participants there were besides the participants already in the Romanian Social Forum process, a number of Romanian and Bulgarian NGOs, people involved in the field of sustainable development, teachers and students, representatives of some local institutions related to environment, culture, education, and administration, some politicians in personal capacity, as well as some representatives of the local Media.
The participants approached the two thematic axes in the program as announced previously:
(1) Climate changes, social-ecological conversion, and sustainable development;
(2) The Charter of Principles for Another Europe
The artistic-cultural moment grabbed the attention and the spirit of the audience cheering them up. A number of well-known Romanian folk songs by ‘Melodis Group’ of Aiud were lively applauded.
There were over 100 participants from various regions of the country, plus a number of about 30 students participating in an environmentalist contest at the beginning of the symposium.
Nevertheless, the Global Action Day in Romania did not unfold without encountering obstacles. After an unusual silence and lack of counter-reaction prior to the event, the Mutant Capitalist System-Machinery got finally into action on the 26th of January attempting to discredit and break the event. Different components of the System-Machinery (the Police, the Secret Services, the neoliberal parties which hold the Power both locally and nationally, and a nationalistic-xenophobic extremist political actor) made their move – intimidating telephone calls were received, apparently from the Police, at the school secretariat calling for the cancellation of the event labeled as a ‘dangerous anti-globalization meeting’; as if ‘by chance’, similar phone calls were made by elements of neoliberal parties; infiltrated paid agents of these neoliberal parties tried spreading rumours at the venue about an imminent arrival of the Special Forces in black (nicknamed ‘the Masked’) to storm the building and evacuate the rooms; some important politicians and representatives of local administration were ‘advised’ either not to come to the event or even to withdraw in the last minute from the venue; the main organizers were constantly kept under pressure by ‘good-will’ people who, as if by chance, were coming around from time to time to ‘inform’ them about such new anonymous telephone calls and about the necessity of not speaking about politics, against neoliberalism, or against the government; some participants were approached and frightened; Petre Damo was repeatedly and aggressively interrupted during his introductory intervention while speaking about the WSF process by such an infiltrated agent under the mask of an environmentalist – the other organizers not daring to intervene for they recognized that it was the counter-action of the Mutant Capitalist System-Machinery; other subtle and silent provocations were carried out at the beginning of the event with the aim of disrupting it; a list of the people participating in the section ‘Charter of Principles for Another Europe’ was demanded but the ‘request’ was never granted.
Some conclusions here have to be drawn:
(1) First, it is clear that democracy in Romania is yet far for reality and what the government and the authorities are displaying worldwide is a mere miming of democracy. It is not enough to have laws that apparently are democratic. It is about the true application of the laws and about the changing of the mentality of those in Power. It is about allowing the actors of civil society to express their opinions even if these are critical of the government;
(2) Second, is a serious lack of culture, particularly of political culture, and of education, which has been both reinforced and exploited by the Mutant Capitalist System-Machinery to meet their own ends;
(3) Third, it is obvious that there is a neoliberal trend gaining traction in Romania since December 2004 which is influencing the people and makes the development of civil society and of social movements rather difficult.
In spite of the aforementioned obstructions, and others not mentioned here, the Global Day of Action went on and ended in Rimnicu-Vilcea, Romania, without open incidents. The participants continued by the program, each of the two thematic axes coming to an end.
In the ‘Charter’ section there was a very good, lively, open, and non-formal debate on the WSF, ESF, and RSF processes, on what neoliberalism really is, what its tenets are, and how it affects the people worldwide including in Romania, on what the Charter of Principles for Another Europe is and why the European Constitutional Treaty – both in its rejected form in France and the Netherlands in 2005 and in its Merkel reloaded variant – is not acceptable.
Critical remarks about the globalization process (for example: the neoliberal move made by the Finish transnational corporation Nokia from Bochum, Germany to Cluj-Napoca, Romania; the financial hackering attack conducted against the Romanian national currency beginning with early January which lead to a sudden and tremendous depreciation of the ‘Leu’ in comparison to the ‘Euro’; etc) and about the economic and political situation in Romania were made.
Participants in the RSF delegations at the London ESF and Athens ESF informed newcomers about how to get involved, how to participate, and about seminars. There were discussions about the ESF-5 in Malmö and about how to prepare the RSF participation there. Challenging questions were raised about how to enlarge the RSF process.
In the end we wish to thank the participants who answered our Invitation for an event in the frame of the ‘Global Action Day’ in Romania by being there, we wish to thank the authorities of the venue who made this event be possible, and to the fellow organizers who kept carrying out it to the end.
Petre Damo is President of the Association for the Development of the Romanian Social Forum – AD FSR,
Romanian Social Forum Coordination