The Anti-WTO Coordination, Bern
  The Anti-WTO Coordination has been in existence since the autumn of 1997. It was founded in order to organize a mobilization against the second ministerial conference of the WTO, which took place in Geneva in May, 1998. The goal was to sensitize the public about the enormous power of the WTO and the disastrous effects of its policies: at the time, almost nobody knew of the existence or the importance of the WTO.

The Anti-WTO Coordination exists in relationship with organizations in every continent that struggle against the power of the multinationals and the logic of the economy of the market, which tends to impose its will on every domain of life. But the Coordination is not a «third world solidarity group» that exclusively criticizes the exploitation of far-away countries: on the contrary, the Anti-WTO Coordination also sees in Switzerland sufficient necessity to intervene and support social struggles, to relaunch them and to develop them. In this sense, the ant-WTO coordination participated in the founding of link«People's Global Action» in February 1998 in Geneva, an informal ensemble of organizations based all over the planet, which learn from each other in complete equality, and which work to support each other reciprocally. The common platform is a manifesto with five basic points, which are also the founding principles of the Anti-WTO Coordination:
  • A clear refusal of capitalism, imperialism, and feudalism, like all commercial accords, institutions and governments that only advance destructive globalization.
  • A refusal of all forms and all systems of domination and discrimination, including but not limited to patriarchy, racism, and religious fundamentalism of all kinds. Recognition of the full dignity of all human beings.
  • An attitude of confrontation, because we do not believe that lobbying can really influence the non-democratic organizations, which are massively influenced by transnational capital.
  • A call for direct action and for civil disobedience, supporting social movements that fight for respect for life and for oppressed people, and also for the construction of local alternatives to capitalism.
  • A philosophy organization that rests on the decentralization of autonomy.
After the success of the mobilization against the ministerial conference of the WTO, May 1st 1998, and after constructive collaboration with local groups in other Swiss towns, the Anti-WTO Coordination decided to pursue its activities within the framework of this network. Currently, local groups exist in Geneva, Lausanne, Lugano, Basel and Bern. They get together every two months to prepare collective actions. The emphasis in the last few years has been placed on the campaign against the World Economic Forum (WEF). Thanks to the popular mobilizations against the annual meetings of the WEF in Davos, the façade of the «homo economicus» of Davos is beginning to crumble. The Anti-WTO Coordination also participated in a significant way, in the spring of 2001, with the creation of the «Olten Alliance», a Swiss coordination of different organizations and parties that demand the dissolution of the WEF and who coordinate collective actions against the annual meeting of the WEF in Davos.

The Bern group for the Anti-WTO coordination is strongly linked to the autonomous cultural center link«Reitschule» («Riding School»). In addition to being the site of many meetings, the Reitschule is also often host to events and discussions organized by the Anti-WTO Coordination.

In preparing the mobilization for Davos last year, the Bern Anti-WTO Coordination organized, along with ATTAC Bern as well as the Working Group for Ecumenicism, Mission, and Development of the Reformed Churches of Bern/Jura, a series of events entitled, «Perspectives after Davos,»; which included more than thirty meetings.

The Bern Anti-WTO Coordination is participating in the project, «Le Geometrie della Memoria», by organizing the program and framework of the exhibition. In this way, the Anti-WTO Coordination seeks to contact different people and groups that are concerned with the same type of questions. The goal is to arrive at a fruitful reflection on how to transcend, here and everywhere, the inhuman relationships imposed by this system of exploitation.
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