Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tilting the axis... light of the arguments (and the modern Monroe Doctrine) I have repeatedly forwarded here.

Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is shunning the World Economic Forum in Davos this week and the chance to hobnob with business leaders and 41 heads of state. Instead, he’ll join more than 100,000 activists from around the world at an anti-capitalist jamboree in the Amazon.

Lula’s government is spending 78 million reais ($34.4 million) to bring groups from 59 countries to the 8th World Social Forum. They include a sex workers union from India and Belgians seeking to abolish the World Bank. Today, he’ll discuss the global financial crisis on a panel with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, one of the U.S.’s harshest critics, and Chavez’s presidential allies from Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay.

“He’s picked sides,” said Oded Grajew, a former businessman who organized the first Social Forum as a counterpoint to Davos in 2001 and has been a friend of Lula’s for 20 years. “Lula doesn’t want go to Davos and hear the same ideas that led the world into bankruptcy.”

Lula’s decision to attend the forum is a slap at the bankers whose “casino” mentality he cites almost weekly as bringing about a crisis in capitalism. It also helps shore up support among his leftist base, who heckled him at his last appearance at the forum in 2005 for allegedly governing on behalf of Brazil’s elites.

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