Over here, if the scale of events such as Quebec’s Du Pain et Des Roses march of women against poverty in 1995, the 1997 Plan G occupation of a government building, and 1998’s Opération SalAMI protesting the Multilateral Agreement on Investment opened the door, it was the massive protests of April 2001 that instigated a new cycle of social activism. For the first time, students, social groups, women’s associations, unions, and NGOs led a rising tide of citizens in protest against the neo-liberal globalization that the American proposition of a Free Trade Area of the Americas embodied.
But if the April 2001 summit was the first page of the new chapter, it was also far from being the last. In that same year hundreds of Quebecois mobilized to participate in the world’s many Social Forums. From Porto Alegre to Belém, via Bamako, Caracas, Mumbai, Nairobi, etc…, a network of progressive partners— active nationally, regionally, internationally— was created.
As members of the World Social Forum’s International Council since 2001, Alternatives— and the partners of Alternatives International— also chose to go down this path. Together they have aimed to cultivate partnerships that stretch across the array of issues within international solidarity; their priority has been to establish sustainable societies through North-South COLLECTIVE ACTION.
In Quebec dozens of organizations, likewise wishing to participate in a dynamic event influential enough to expand networks and strengthen social alliances, have launched the 2nd Forum Social Québécois (FSQ), which will kick-off in October 2009. With the strategic objective of building bridges between the social movements here in Quebec and those active around the world, Alternatives International took the opportunity to invite the World Social Forum’s International Council to hold their next meeting in Montreal— right before the FSQ!
From October 6-8, Montreal will play host to the vanguard of the world’s Alter-Globalist movement. Among the subjects on the table will be a North American Social Forum to reinforce the links between the continent’s progressive activists.
And from June 5-7, Montreal’s Sommet Citoyen de Montréal will unite hundreds of like-minded activists for a citizens’ summit at the Université de Québec à Montréal (UQAM).
And if Montreal became the epicentre of Alter-Globalist movement… ?!