[WSMDiscuss] the future of the World Social Forum again

Alexander Gruber bluewinds44 at gmail.com
Thu Apr 5 04:30:43 CEST 2018

I had forgotten the two essays to define my democratic platform.

2018-04-05 4:22 GMT+02:00 Alexander Gruber <bluewinds44 at gmail.com>:

> © April 2, 2018, Alexander Sigismund Gruber, Konstanz, Germany,
> bluewinds44 at gmail.com
> Dear Activists,
> As one looks at the present world situation, I think there can be seen
> clearly a need for a new approach to turn the tides. It seems to be
> necessary to bundle all progressive or emancipatory forces on the planet to
> avert that the world gets frozen in right-wing dictatorships on the long
> run. We need peace, intellectual integrity and ingeniousness to respond to
> the present and future challenges. Hence I am proposing a strategy here to
> combine all efforts of the global left to avert the degradation of the
> conditions of life for the majority of people, which would be expected, if
> the present business as usual scenario cannot fundamentally be changed. And
> I put it here in the context of the debate about the reformist and the
> revolutionary view within the global left. Let me send it as a comment for
> you on the latest update of my project of a global political strategy for
> the 21st century. Let me introduce the following points in this
> connection:
> 1. In the long term the* working class will rightfully trust in those,
> who show the most perspective and effort to improve the situation of
> mankind*. Who stands by their side in the struggle for a better world
> will have their trust. This can only be a reform of capitalism or reformist
> claims, as the struggle takes place within capitalism.
> Revolutionaries argue that if capitalism would be reformed such that it
> improves the situation of the working class, then the decay and abolition
> of this “rotten” system would be only prolonged. But this point is wrong.
> Reformist struggle, improving the situation of the working class within
> capitalism, makes the workers more familiar with opposing the class of the
> entrepreneurs. By winning such struggles the workers get convinced of their
> strength. And revolutionaries can only win the trust of the workers, if
> they support such struggles and take part in them. If then – after all
> these reforms – there is really a need and enough reason to abolish
> capitalism, then with these experiences the working class will swifter and
> more decidedly abolish the system, than it would be done without the
> experience of an intermediate reformist struggle. They would not faint in
> front of a revolutionary challenge.
> Hence the above argument does not account in my eyes against reformist
> struggle. Further it would of course be better to transform capitalism
> sufficiently, than to encounter the millions of victims, which the civil
> war would cost, which inevitably accompanies a violent revolution.
> 2. In any conflict between just any organizations, political parties,
> nations or classes the first task of either side is to make a peace
> proposal to their opponents or enemies. Before any kind of war, it needs an
> attempt for peace. This is the consequence of a *principle of the least
> possible violence* that should always be observed in just any kind of
> conflict. In the case of the conflict between the working class and the
> class of the entrepreneurs this would be a proposal for a *compromise of
> the classes*.
> Given the perspective of civil war and a high number of victims due to a
> violent revolution, as well as the risks that the working class would fail
> in their attempt, this approach is just rational.
> 3. To *re-conciliate the revolutionary view with the reformist view* (and
> to have more options for both views) the following strategy should be
> applied: The social movements make a list of claims, which the have
> (reforms). Then they say: “Either these reforms of capitalism or a
> (non-violent) revolution!” This is the political mode of operation, into
> which the compromise of classes should be re-worked. It is clear that this
> is a win-win situation for the revolutionary view, as well as for the
> reformist view: If the capitalist class does not make these reforms, then
> the revolutionaries can say: “We have tried it with them.” And for the
> reformists, they have the threat of a revolution behind their negotiations
> to push the reforms through.
> 4. This all derives from a humanist view. *Humanism* is just the view to
> propose those policies, which have the best result for the living
> conditions (the livelihood) of the working class (for mankind in the end).
> And if this can be obtained by a radical reform of capitalism, then this is
> so. And if a violent revolution (with its millions of victims) is really
> necessary for that, then this is so. But prejudices of either kind, based
> on vague arguments or even ideological stubbornness, are not the right
> guide here. In fact Marxists were historically wrong about the development
> of capitalism. They did not predict for example the “social partnership”
> era in Germany, in general the improvements of the economic situation of
> workers after the Second World War. Hence why should they be right today in
> their prediction of a necessary decay of the system?
> As you know, there can be quit large differences between different
> countries concerning a revolutionary mood and the masses will decide it
> themselves, if they feel in need of a revolution (according to their urgent
> needs).
> 5. The general need to improve the situation of mankind is a *global
> political strategy for the 21**st** century*. An *interconnected and
> holistic approach* to respond to the challenges of the 21st century.
> Among the factors of crisis are on my opinion global warming, population
> growth and a dysfunktional global financial system. All other problems more
> or less emerge from or depend on these three. But well there can be
> different opinions. Different platforms for such a strategy may be formed
> and propagated. Against right-wing tendencies mankind needs a cooperative
> approach. *Global cooperation, instead of global fragmentation* of
> interests. This is the right response to Trump.
> Because the mentioned factors of crisis are somewhat controversial, let me
> show you, how different problems emerge from them. Because of a *global
> financial architecture*, which blocks to bring enough money into
> circulation on the demand side of the real economy, there is not created
> the quantity of jobs, which would be created with a functioning system. The
> consequences are a still high mass joblessness, pauperization of the
> workers (working poor) and social degradation of the middle class. Hence
> unjust trade agreements are negotiated by Western countries to balance this
> situation by export surplus, by absorbing money volume from foreign
> sources, to maintain their stock of industrial jobs and welfare state. In
> turn the African states (for example) accept these unfair agreements,
> because their small scale farmers due to *population growth* cannot
> nourish their families any more from the given land. Hence African
> politicians want to attract investments to create jobs and to excite export
> as well. This is the true reason for the so called “land grabbing”.
> *Global warming* in turn is said by a growing number of experts to excite
> a world food crisis not so far in the future. In fact this crisis is
> already there, but because the poor in the South of Africa have not the
> money to absorb staple food from the global market, this crisis is not
> visible by a rise of prices within the Western World.
> 6. I think that the *balance between capital and labo*r, between rich and
> poor has to be re-negotiated anew globally. Global measures are urgently
> needed to prescribe to the global class of the rich, how mankind allows
> them to make business in the future. Instead of states advertizing
> themselves to the capital by preferred conditions in a spiral downward of
> bad labor conditions, missing taxes and lack of protection of the
> environment (*eco-dumping, wage dumping, tax dumping*). Those modes of
> dumping are applied by developing countries to overcome the gap of
> technology and financial resources between them and the old industrialized
> countries. The financial oligarchy derives its power from the necessity for
> politicians to make these investors create jobs. Hence more *global
> cooperation* is urgently needed, not less. Global *environmental and
> social standards *are needed to avoid that single states by their better
> standards lose competitiveness. It is to be avoided that business is
> escaping into tax havens or is otherwise avoiding environmental and social
> standards. Hence a global political strategy for the 21st century is
> needed.
> 7. The policy of the left was always fueled by reformist struggles, as
> long as it was successful. Moreover I would say that the working class
> deserves a reformist alternative, given the risks of a revolution. The
> reformist and the revolutionary left split over the disaster of the First
> World War. But they also did not re-conciliate, because capitalism showed
> to be a much more flexible system, than was expected by Marxists. And it
> lead into the social partnership in Germany after the Second World War.
> Thus Marxists gave up reformist struggles, because it did not serve any
> more their political interests, not because it would be better for the
> working class.
> About what revolutionaries are completely wrong is that they think that
> they can gain much power with the decay of capitalism. Instead *the
> ultra-right would fill the place of the old system* almost everywhere
> (especially within the industrialized world) by their semi-dictatorships
> (Erdogan, Putin and the direction of Trump).
> The functioning of the capitalist economy is the very protection against
> the hazards of the ultra-right.
> 8. I can clearly observe the *turn to right-wing* here in Germany. When
> the middle class is endangered to be socially degraded and there are so
> many working poor, then people do not draw the consequence to abolish
> capitalism. Instead they are searching for scapegoats among their
> neighbors, whom they can make responsible. They rather allow for the losses
> of billions of Euro by tax fraud and tax evasion to the accounts of the
> rich and super-rich, than to grant their disabled neighbor a few Euro more.
> Being used to restrict their own expenses to make the system work, they
> deny any happiness to those, who are not laboring in the same way. Rosa
> Luxemburg quoted Lew Tolstoy (in her essay about Tolstoy as a social
> thinker): “The pride of the emmet on its labor makes not only the emmet
> cruel, but also the human.” Refugees, jobless, mentally disabled (like
> myself), these they identify as “net government profiteers”, who are to be
> marginalized and deprived of their right to vote. And this mechanism of
> social envy clearly leads into fascism. This is especially so, if mankind
> would be confronted with a world food crisis.
> 9. We need *arguments against the neoliberal ideology*, which claims that
> the world belongs to the winners alone, because the losers are culpable
> themselves for their bad situation. Hence they should be neglected and
> social expenses should be cut to balance the public budget. Why is a
> minimum income that is a step above the existential minimum a matter of
> social justice? The jobless are serving as a reserve of labor on the labor
> markets. It is not laziness, what makes them jobless, but rationalization
> of labor. Humans have a right to have their share in the benefits of
> industrial revolution. There are social human rights: The right to have
> clean water, food, clothing, shelter, health care, mobility, communication
> and information, as well as being able to pursue their own life plans and
> to have education, culture and provisions for old age and childhood. How
> this is meant by me, the fulfillment of these rights would amount in
> Germany to 1250 Euro monthly (without the health care) and for the USA –
> with the prices there – this amount needs roughly to be increased by one
> fourth.
> 10. The crucial question with my view is of course, if there is any such
> reform of the present world order, to be proposed as a solution for the
> working class? From my above analysis let me give a general outline of such
> a reform. The core conception of such a reform would be a *new global
> financial architecture*, which would make the global economy run smooth
> again. In fact my proposal of a new global financial architecture (which
> you can find on my blog) would lead to a *more ecological capitalism*, it
> would *ease the origins of flight* and could reward countries for hosting
> refugees, it would *combat poverty and hunger* effectively (qualitative
> growth) and the contradiction between *investment policy and austerity
> policy* would be overcome. It would create an abundance of *new jobs* and
> would secure existing jobs. All in all it would correct the economic causes
> of *right-wing populism*.
> But the economy is only one aspect. It needs a *holistic and
> interconnected solution* of the problems, which are the challenges to
> mankind now at the dawning of the 21. century. Hence outgoing from the
> solution of the economic or social problem the other two main factors of
> crisis have to be rolled up. This new global financial architecture
> provides for a more ecological capitalism. Moreover the working class –
> with a functioning economy – would again be willing to fully support the
> protection of the environment, including to do something against *global
> warming*. Meanwhile this financial architecture would also allow to
> balance *population growth* by transfers into the developing countries.
> And then of course population growth has to be stopped in the long term and
> the agriculture needs to be transformed according to environmental and
> health criteria. Further with completely *vegetarian food* there is
> needed about seven times less solar surface to produce the same amount of
> nourishing energy, than for the production of meat.
> This is roughly the course of things with such a reform, which I have
> treated about in detail in my main essay about the new global financial
> architecture (which is posted on my blog).
> 11. *Dreams are paranormal*. They cannot figure out complicated things.
> But they can measure the perspective or importance of a project very good,
> once it is intellectually there. Hence I advise you to ask your own dreams
> about my project. Then you can see, what it means.
> Democratic policy within capitalism is not necessarily putting “*profits
> over people*”. The purpose of the system is to produce all the goods,
> people need and equipping them with the income to purchase, what they need.
> Profits, as incentives for economic activity, are a side effect, which
> allow the system to serve such. And if it does not serve such, it needs to
> be reformed. Revolutionaries should not hesitate to support the struggle of
> the working class for better conditions of labor and life. It is just the
> way to win the trust of workers at all, instead of alienating from their
> needs. This is the whole crisis of the ultra-left today. It has become a
> sect in the Marxian sense. Also this ignores any analysis to make the
> system as a whole work for the people. It is always the socialist party,
> which is the strongest political force after a violent revolution. It is
> simply pretenses, if they say that the working class would be released into
> their self-chosen democracy then. A revolution would – in the conditions to
> take place – only *replace capitalist lobbyism by left-wing clientelism*.
> But the difference is that the economy would not work any more. A large
> part of mankind is genetically programmed by biological evolution to be
> egoistic. To eliminate these people would involve a genocide. This is no
> solution. Hence a radical reform of capitalism will make their attitude
> just useful for the community and hedging their egoism properly. Yes the
> word “hedge fund” is instructive. We need funds to develop a strategy to
> hedge capitalism. The failure of capitalism would end up in fascist
> dictatorships. Hence we have all reason to provide the necessary reforms
> for a functioning capitalism. To this purpose my work is dedicated.
> Feminists are so proud of having succeeded that the criterion of lowering
> population growth was put away from the agenda for sustainable development
> of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in
> Rio in 1992. I think in turn that any intelligent species of course has the
> task to regulate their population number on their planet, keeping it within
> an acceptable limit to enable a good standard of living for all people.
> Otherwise the human species would be subject to the same hazardous effects
> as any species, be it extraterrestrial, human or animal, which reproduces
> highly under good conditions and then bounces at the resource limit within
> its ecosystem. Feminists have still not abandoned the materialist world
> view, which treats the human species as not being part of their environment.
> A certain inequality needs to be encountered with a capitalist system,
> which enables an appropriate standard of living. And the population number
> needs to be regulated accordingly. The criticizers on population policy are
> always putting up their arguments, as if mankind should only survive from
> its resources. As if any surplus could be consumed by further population
> growth. But I think that the human species should stay well beyond the
> limit of the maximal population number for survival. There should be always
> a surplus beyond this limit for all people. I am concerned about the
> happiness of the people in terms of certain social human rights, which go
> well beyond survival. The problem is that the system presently withholds
> this good standard of living from so many people and the inequality is too
> large and too much in vain. At this point my new global financial
> architecture would do something about that.
> In our time mankind has for the first time in history the chance that
> there can exist a world, which is organized such way that all human beings
> can be happy or content (at least in that sense of social human rights). A
> world, which has the technology and political and economic organization for
> the well being of all humans.
> Neoliberalism, by focusing on absorbing money volume from foreign sources
> by export in competition against other countries, is already a nationalist
> undertaking. Trump, right-wing populism and protectionism, is consequently
> the next step. My new global financial architecture in turn is an
> internationalist and cooperative policy. It is appropriate to defend
> democracy against the return of totalitarian rule.
> My proposed new global financial architecture provides the idea for a
> politically achievable and at the same time radical reform of capitalism.
> If the central banks make money gifts to balance the losses of rich and
> super-rich investors, why can they not balance the mischief in the lives of
> the poor and hungry? Thus creating demand, which makes the economy run
> smooth again. Why not spending the same printed money, which is today spent
> to bail out super-rich share holders of commercial banks, to bail out the
> poor and hungry?
> This is the core of my new global financial architecture. Moreover the
> essay provides a full analysis of the economy. Unlike with the 2005 Porto
> Allegre Manifesto of the World Social Forum or the UN-millenium goals, with
> my platform analysis, goals and the means to reach these goals are closely
> connected. The global strategy text is not giving a ready made agenda, but
> is to explore the topic of a global political strategy for the 21st
> century for democratic debate. I have seen this text in white color in my
> dreams. In my color code of dreams it means that with you this text is just
> neutral, not good, not bad, but somehow OK. But I cannot write another
> text, before my democratic platform is not recognized in a way that the
> many working hours to write a new text are justified. I think that the
> goals of my project widely overlap with the 2005 Porto Allegre Manifesto of
> the World Social Forum. Good luck with your “reform” of the World Social
> Forum.
> With solidary Greetings – Alexander Sigismund Gruber
> P.S.: Just one remark about the source of dreams, which I call the
> “unconscious spirit”. According to my lifelong experience it is certainly
> an ethical being. Hence I was puzzled by the question, how such a being in
> the human could evolve within biological evolution (the survival of the
> fittest). And my explanation is the following: Humans can often reproduce
> better in a peaceful situation. To raise ones kids unhindered is better
> performed, if the needs of all persons in a community are fulfilled,
> because in such a situation less envy and dangerous struggle is exited.
> Those, who fight, in turn are often killed in their fights. But fighting is
> also a means of getting better conditions for reproduction. Hence the human
> nature came somewhat polarized out of biological evolution. And the
> unconscious spirit is the cooperative, more peaceful, more balancing pole.
> This is the pole, which I am emphasizing by my conscious work. To make it
> not just verbal announcements, I have worked out this idea in detail in my
> political essays.
> 2018-04-01 16:39 GMT+02:00 Francine Mestrum via WSM-Discuss <
> wsm-discuss at lists.openspaceforum.net>:
>> Op 28/03/2018 om 19:37 schreef jasper teunissen via WSM-Discuss:
>> Hi Francine!
>> Op 27-3-2018 om 18:59 schreef Francine Mestrum via WSM-Discuss:
>> Some people are blocking the methodology, that is the problem. As for
>> strategy: there never has been any and it was never possible to discuss it.
>> I hear you propose to prioritize one issue over the other and to make
>> political statements on behalf of the forum. How will this create a WSF
>> that is able to "contribute to the coordination of actions and the
>> organization of movements"? You also say that "a very large majority of the
>> more than 2000 activities are purely mobilizing, only a small minority is
>> focused on the development of alternatives or on strategy." What is the
>> difference between being mobilizing and having a focus on alternatives and
>> strategy? Did the organizing committee or the International Council have a
>> strategy to visualize, interrelate, circulate the outcomes of all these
>> activities?
>> fm: no, no strategy to visualize, etc. Except for the 'agora' of the last
>> day, where people came to announce what they had decided.
>> The difference between mobnilizing/strategizing/alternatives is a kind
>> invention of myself, to make in fact the difference between 'indirect'
>> (don't know if that is the right word) and 'direct' political action. The
>> examples I gave: LGBT and hiphop vs decent work or neoliberal World Bank
>> policies
>> I do not know why you think I want to 'prioritize' one issue over the
>> other?
>> The International Coucil fails to facilitate the discussion on the *when,
>> where and who* of the the next forum, which makes the exclusive focus on
>> the *how* hypothetical, unsolvable and thus frustrating. If you want to
>> talk strategy, what about this:
>> In 2020 we organize seven World Social Forums, in different parts of the
>> world. Not on the same dates, but spread throughout the year, like an
>> estafette. The IC provides an inspiring framework for collective
>> communication and basic organisational support (conflict resolution). The
>> IC finds funding to send small delegations of particpants from one event to
>> the other.
>> In january 2021 all seven organizing committees, and all organizers of
>> other global/thematic/regional/national/local forums of the past 20
>> years, are invited to gather in Porto Alegre. The International Council is
>> discharged honorably and after evaluating the WSF together, a new body is
>> established according to the needs and future plans of all present.
>> fm: this indeed would create 'a process', something that is now talked
>> about but does in fact not exist and it should exist
>> What you describe in  your last para is precisely what we have been
>> trying to do all those years. And if you do not have a sheer idea of how to
>> get involved, it means something is lacking in your understanding of the
>> so-called process.
>> Maybe. To my understanding one has to found an NGO, find proper public or
>> private funding, act as if you are representing a social movement, talk a
>> lot about how to change the world and how other people should behave and
>> act, apply for membership of the International Council if you are lucky
>> enough to know how to address them, then wait for a couple of years for an
>> answer, and then, finally: you can fly around the world to attend council
>> meetings where the same people are repeating the same things over and over
>> again in four or five star hotels. Of course, this sounds ridiculous, so
>> something must be lacking in my understanding of the so-called process. How
>> come? Please, enlighten me!
>> fm: let me reassure you: we are not gathering in 4 or 5 star hotels...
>> If you want to get involved in the 'WSF process' you just go there and
>> try to organise things with others; Since it is an 'open space' no one can
>> stop you.
>> groetjes Jasper
>> ps. Francine: although I disagree with some of your proposals, I really
>> appreciate your writings about your experiences in the WSF and IC, because
>> inside information is rare and hard to find, and these discussions may help
>> us to find answers to the deadlock.
>> fm: if I am still involved it is because I am convinced we do need to
>> coordinate and to get better organized, at the global level. The
>> articulation of our actions from the local via the national to the global
>> level is, I think, extremely important and urgent.
>> Francine
>> Best,
>> Francine
>> Op 27/03/2018 om 05:06 schreef jasper teunissen via WSM-Discuss:
>> Dear all,
>> Reading Francine Mestrum's review (pasted below) of the WSF event in
>> Salvador earlier this month, I got a flashback. The discussion about the
>> future of the WSF is very depressing. It's a blame game repeating itself:
>> the old guard is blocking change, horizontalism equals the tyranny of
>> structurelessness, the forum and the international council are apolitical
>> and powerless. In my view this means blaming the wrong people,
>> misunderstanding the role of methodology and strategy, and
>> expecting/demanding something from the forum that it never has been or ever
>> will be. I can elaborate on this if anyone is interested, I certainly do
>> not claim to have the key to this 'deadlock', but I'm happy to repeat my
>> earlier points about communication and continuity.
>> The forum in Salvador had very little international coverage, and limited
>> participation from abroad. There must have been something like "WSF
>> Extension", online participation, but it's not visible anywhere. The most
>> up-to-date place to look for reports is the facebook (sic) page of the
>> event: https://www.facebook.com/forumsocialmundial2018  (Just saying:
>> much of the coverage is focused on the assassination of activist Marielle
>> Franco in Rio, and call me conspiracy theorist but I simply cannot
>> unremember the impact of the murder of Chokri Belaïd on the eve of the WSF
>> 2013 in Tunis, the Bardo museum attack on the eve of the WSF 2015 in Tunis,
>> the Bataclan attack on the eve of the COP21 mobilization in Paris. Do you
>> have your tin foil hat ready for the next potentially meaningful protest?)
>> There is hope. Just look at the "vlogging" videos here:
>> https://intercoll.net/Forum-Social-Mondial-2018-Salvador-Bahia-Bresil
>> (english subtitles). Especially, the last one is asking interesting
>> questions about the relevance of the WSF...
>> I attended a (european) Climate Justice Action meeting last january.
>> Although I felt there was an overorganized faciliation team with way too
>> many expectations (firstly of themselves and secondly of others), the
>> result was pretty good: an improvised map of initiatives (thus also showing
>> disconnections) and a calendar of events promoted by participants,
>> available here: https://climatejusticeaction.net/en/climate-camps/
>> Participants were able to see their projects in a broader context,
>> transversally connected in time and space, as part of a collective effort,
>> promising and inviting.
>> This is the way to go for the WSF, or any global initiative that is
>> willing to put itself into service of emancipation, social justice, global
>> solidarity, etc. Just imagine if we had connected all participants of
>> previous WSF events, continuously informing them through a well functioning
>> website (including newsletters, mailinglists, social networks). If we had a
>> structure to build a calendar of future mobilizations and an 'eternal'
>> public library of past mobilizations. If we had a strategic focus on
>> translation and resonating the voice of local struggles. If we had any idea
>> when and where the next WSF event is planned. And if we only had the
>> sheerest idea of how to get involved in all this...
>> grts jasper
>> ---
>> The World Social Forum is dead! Long live the World Social Forum?
>> Francine Mestrum <https://www.alainet.org/es/autores/francine-mestrum>
>> https://www.alainet.org/es/node/191824
>> Opinión
>> 25/03/2018
>> This was my conclusion, but it did not last for long, just the first days
>> of the Forum. Today, I am not that sure anymore. Maybe we are stuck with
>> the old apolitical forum and with a powerless International Council. What
>> does this mean for the future?
>> Salvador de Bahia in Brazil is a wonderful city. A very diverse and
>> cheerful population, many blacks and even more coloured people, a lot of
>> music, a beautiful though dilapidated old town, the Pelourinho, a good
>> climate and beautiful beaches.
>> This is where the World Social Forum took place, from March 13 to 17,
>> 2018. When it started, I already had three interesting days of debates in
>> the forum on health and social protection, say social justice. We concluded
>> unanimously on the importance of universal social protection and about the
>> need to look at as wide as possible social policies.
>> *Kurds, Sarawis and Palestinians *
>> The World Social Forum started as usual with a big demonstration: tens of
>> thousands of people walked through the city, happy faces, lots of hope, a
>> great and very motivating mobilization. It gives you energy, enough to get
>> through another year of activism.
>> You meet friends and you talk to Palestinians, Kurds, French, Germans,
>> Finns, Moroccans, Tunisians, Saharawis, Cubans and so many more good
>> people. You walk on clouds.
>> The real work started one day later. Wrestling through a programme of
>> more than one hundred pages never is easy, certainly not on screen.
>> Searching in a big university for the right faculty and the right room to
>> find your workshop is not easy either. But the atmosphere is great, there
>> is hope and confidence.
>> Doubts start to emerge with the second day. What is global about this
>> forum? More than 80%, if not 90% of the participants are Brazilians. There
>> are a lot of people from Latin America and even from Africa because the
>> links between Salvador de Bahia and Africa are quite strong. The European
>> presence is much weaker and Asia is almost completely absent. On the third
>> day, it becomes clear that few workshops are political, beyond what is
>> happening in Brazil. A very large majority of the more than 2000 activities
>> are purely mobilizing, only a small minority is focused on the development
>> of alternatives or on strategy. The major themes of the past, the
>> international financial institutions, free trade, conflicts, climate
>> change: you have to look for them with a magnifying glass.
>> A positive note should have come from the various parallel large
>> gatherings: a women's assembly, an assembly of democracies where Lula came
>> to speak, an assembly of social resistance movements. Unfortunately, they
>> were a bit disappointing. This WSF has certainly put feminism fully on the
>> map, women played a huge role in this Forum, but their action program
>> leaves much to be desired. The assembly with Lula was a moment of
>> mobilization and, obviously, mainly Brazilian. The assembly of social
>> movements was a failure, because of the active boycott of a few.
>> *A powerless International Council *
>> The international disappointment does not detract from the enormous
>> success of this Forum for the Brazilians, in politically very difficult
>> circumstances. Despite the active boycott of a few, the organizers have
>> succeeded in creating a Forum with almost 80,000 participants. There
>> certainly is no reason for any criticism.
>> However, questions have to be asked about the limited participation of
>> Europe and Asia. The price of plane tickets explains something in times of
>> austerity, but not everything. Many intellectuals have abandoned the Forum
>> some time ago and this deserves at least a thorough analysis.
>> The meeting of the International Council was short: two half days. If you
>> know the need of Brazilians to speak, often to say things that are not on
>> the agenda, you can imagine the chaos of such a meeting. Three to five
>> minutes of speaking time for everyone and no discussion. The old positions
>> are repeated. And there is no solution.
>> *A deadlock*
>> 'Another world is possible', that was the mobilizing slogan when the
>> first Forum was held in Porto Alegre in 2001. Thousands came to Brazil,
>> intellectuals and grassroots movements from all over the world. The
>> objective was to give an answer to the World Economic Forum in Davos, to
>> develop global alternatives and strategies, to build global counterpower in
>> times of neoliberal globalization.
>> To make this possible, a number of basic rules were laid down in a
>> 'charter', more particularly to avoid that the very fragmented left-wing
>> groups would fight their ideological battle among themselves instead of
>> with the common enemy.
>> Over time, this charter has come to work as a brake on political action.
>> Nobody can speak 'on behalf of' the Forum, fair enough, but does this mean
>> that the Forum has no voice and never should have a voice? That the
>> international Council can never ever take a political position? The
>> founders of the Forum, who are still very present, are blocking everything,
>> even on points on which there is a consensus, such as condemning the coup
>> against President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, or the assassination of
>> Marielle Franco last week in Rio de Janeiro. Understandably, this is met
>> with incomprehension and a lot of frustration.
>> A second difficult topic is the so-called horizontality. Again, while we
>> all agree on the necessity of avoiding vertical hierarchies and paralyzing
>> structures, the attachment to horizontality has now become a cover for
>> hiding the really existing power relations. There is no structure, no one
>> has any responsibility and hence there is no accountability. There is no
>> transparency, let alone democracy.
>> The same horizontality continues with the activities of the Forum.
>> Rejecting every hierarchy means that a workshop on 'women and football' or
>> 'LGBT and hip-hop' is just as important as a roundtable about the financial
>> crisis or about war and peace. A proposal for a conference with prominent
>> left-wing intellectuals is dismissed as 'listening to the gurus'.
>> Alternatives and strategies are hardly discussed, 'the movements themselves
>> must take care of that', is the traditional answer.
>> Or in other words, the dog bites its own tail.
>> *A lack of politics*
>> These problems within the Forum are often attributed to a contradiction
>> between NGOs and social movements. Nothing is less true. There are
>> conservative movements and progressive, political NGOs. But there is a for
>> outsiders invisible leadership, assisted by movements who are afraid of
>> politics.
>> The key question, then, concerns the usefulness of such an apolitical
>> forum? Certainly, for Brazil and even more for Salvador de Bahia this forum
>> was very useful. But for all others? If the Forum cannot exist as a Forum,
>> but only as a sum of thousands of movements, it becomes politically
>> irrelevant. If the International Council does not exist as a political
>> collective but again only as a gathering place for a few elected
>> representatives of social movements, what is its role?
>> Is there no longer any need for a global response, for a global political
>> actor, for a global strategy? In Europe as well, many movements are
>> withdrawing at the national and even the local level, and there should be
>> no doubt that local actions are important. Local utopias can be
>> particularly interesting, but can they be enough? When they come at the
>> expense of national, European and global actions, there is a real problem.
>> Because neither climate change nor digital data protection, nor fiscal or
>> social justice can be adequately tackled nationally, let alone locally.
>> '*We are an open space, we create hope and have a different vision of
>> politics'*: this is the answer, time and again, to all questions, doubts
>> and criticism. In reality there is no political approach and the objectives
>> end with the mobilization. The most striking example is the 'success' which
>> is always referred to, when, in 2003, millions of people took to the
>> streets against the war in Iraq. A few weeks later, exactly fifteen years
>> ago, that war started. Where, then, is the success?
>> The articulation between different political levels is essential for any
>> global and political meaning. The right knows this very well and acts
>> accordingly. The left too often continues its navel gazing. At a time when
>> the anger and the resistance to neoliberalism and dispossession are so
>> great all over the world, it is worrying that there is nowhere any attempt
>> to channel and activate them. Because in the meantime the repression and
>> criminalization of social movements is increasing.
>> The old, apolitical World Social Forum has no future unless it can
>> contribute to the coordination of actions and the organization of
>> movements. It is by no means the only global forum, but the only one with a
>> potential for transversal work. It would be a shame if this was lost. Next
>> year the WSF is 18 years old, the age of political majority. Maybe also the
>> age to become autonomous and disobedient?
>> - Francine Mestrum, Brussels
>> https://www.alainet.org/es/node/191824
>> ________________________________________
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>> ** Inspired by the World Social Forum, WSMDiscuss – the successor to a list named ‘WSFDiscuss’ started in 2005 - is an open, unmoderated, and self-organising forum for the exchange of information and views on the experience, practice, and theory of social and political movement at any level (local, national, regional, and global), including the World Social Forum.  Join in ! **
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>> ** Inspired by the World Social Forum, WSMDiscuss – the successor to a list named ‘WSFDiscuss’ started in 2005 - is an open, unmoderated, and self-organising forum for the exchange of information and views on the experience, practice, and theory of social and political movement at any level (local, national, regional, and global), including the World Social Forum.  Join in ! **
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>> ________________________________________
>> ** Inspired by the World Social Forum, WSMDiscuss – the successor to a
>> list named ‘WSFDiscuss’ started in 2005 - is an open, unmoderated, and
>> self-organising forum for the exchange of information and views on the
>> experience, practice, and theory of social and political movement at any
>> level (local, national, regional, and global), including the World Social
>> Forum.  Join in ! **
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