through presentations by Emory Douglas, former member of the Black Panther Party, and a representative of the Movement for Justice in El Barrio from New York.
Black Panthers: history of struggle
Emory drew a picture of the segregation suffered by black people in the United States and of the resistance constructed by them throughout the country. In the sixties and seventies, the Democratic Party took advantage of the majority of the population being illiterate to stay in power, using as a symbol the figure of a rooster. In response, the poor black population organized using the symbol of the Black Panther, in defence of their rights and citizenship.
The Black Panther Party went on to organize from below solutions to the problems caused by the neglect and segregation they were suffering. Examples included health
clinics, feeding programmes for those unable to buy food, and schools in the communities of Oakland, with a curriculum based on enabling critical thinking and related to the reality experienced by the students. The former Black Panther also recalled the important role of women, who were often the majority in community projects and assemblies. One of them [Rosa Parkes], Emory said, was the protagonist for the mobilization of the entire movement for the rights of black people, when she sat in the
front of a bus which was then reserved for whites, and refused to leave.
The Other Campaign in New York
A representative of the Movement for Justice in El Barrio, New York, a movement adherent to the Other Campaign, screened a video-message about the processes of
resistance carried out in the city of New York, especially by Mexican migrants. The video is based on the principle that "the struggle for another world has no
boundaries" and shows the strategy of popular organization of this movement in the search for solutions to the problems they face in their daily lives, such as threats of
dispossession, homelessness, discrimination, and unemployment, among others.
Influenced by Zapatista strategy, the population organized in local committees and discussed their problems through assemblies, which united the community in the
search for solutions from below to their problems. At a time of coming together to discuss the ending of the Mayan calendar cycle and the beginning of a new era, a
Mexican migrant compañera testified in the video shown, saying that their struggle is also for a new calendar, "below and to the left", which respects the time of life and
not the time of money.
A "casino economy"
The Belgian sociologist François Houtart drew an analysis of the crisis in the process of capitalist production. He highlighted the contradiction between the falling of the
real productive economy as opposed to the rise of fictitious capital, based on speculation. It is, he says, a "casino economy". As an example of this scenario, he cited the increase suffered in recent years in the price of staple foods such as maize and beans. This increase is not due to a shortage in the market, but to speculative games.
Houtart said that in a world in which 20 percent of the population has 83 percent of all the existing wealth, it is left to the rest to organize and fight for another world. To
think about this, he rescued ideas such as the "common good", the transformation of social relations and the commodification of nature and the goods necessary to live.
Throughout the presentations, solidarity between struggles was frequently mentioned. One case was the opening of the session with the reading of a poem written by Meres-Sia, daughter of Emory. In the text, she recalled a time before countries and borders, when things were different: "Before we were you and me, we were us and we were one."
who say and those who do; the Zapatistas belong to the latter, and are an inspiration "to build another world," he added.