It seems to me that we need to think further about the form of such forums and workshops.

Within the NSF I noted the customary contrast between a 2-3 hour opening plenary of notables - admittedly charismatic figures with relevant messages - and 150 inevitably fractured one-hour seminars or workshops. Despite the significant diversity, this tends to leave overall impact with the opening and closing plenaries. The nature of the opening plenary was such that even the representative of the Dutch Internationale Socialisten (IS) � a political party with vanguardist revolutionary pretensions � came out sounding no more anti-capitalist than the rest of the platform. A sign of WSF maturity and self-confidence would surely be if we could have some difference expressed, thus stimulating critical reflection rather than admiring applause from the audience. As things are, the NSF was largely dominated by the state-funded Oxfam-Novib? development agency and the IS (which compensates for its conciliatory platform performance by energetically pushing its newspaper on participants). My feeling is that those who have either financial or organisational power should, if seriously committed to the spirit of the new movement, be rather facilitating than dominating. (For an NSF report on the forum, in Dutch, see the website indicated in the resources below).

As for the workshop form� Well, even the interesting one I attended on Utopian Socialism turned out to be a plenary-session-write-small � though admittedly with a certain amount of discussion. But our session on the BA would have had to be carefully and imaginatively planned if it was to have taken account of the different levels of familiarity amongst a substantial audience. I do not have an answer to this one ready to hand. The event was useful for me and, I am sure, for the other panel members or participants familiar with either the Bamako Appeal or with discussion about the future of the WSF (further discussed in other workshops). But for the less-informed participants � some of whom approached us later for more information � it could only have served as a hypothetical stimulant.

There remains, it seems to me, a case for creating many such manifestos as the BA or the one I proposed. The latter itself was inspired by the Global Women�s Charter for Humanity (2004). There is even a case, I think, for an overarching Global Emancipation Charter. Neither of these could or should be rushed out by a handful of elite intellectuals or vanguardist politicians, for mere endorsement by the rest of the movement (this why I have now attached the word �movement� to my charter proposal). There could, would or should be a plurality of such declarations. None of them should use or abuse the name of one or other WSF event. To the extent that such declarations both address and appeal to the broader movement, they should, of course, influence the WSF. In the absence of such pressure from outside or below, �Alter-Globalisation� may translate as �capitalist globalisation with a human face�. It is surely time to surpass the originally brilliant slogan, �Another World is Possible�. A dialogue on and between documents such as the BA could help to do this.

References and Resources

Bamako Appeal. 2006. �The Bamako Appeal�. (external link)

Custers, Peter. 2001. 'Globalisation from Below. The Genua Protests against the G-8. An Eye Witness Report'. (external link)

Ebrahim, Zofeen. 2006. �WSF Karachi Ends: �The First Step Has Been Made��, (external link)

Hintjens, Helen. 2006. Internationale Socialisten. (external link)

Nederlands Sociaal Forum. �Verslag NSF 2006�, (external link)

Mestrum, Francine. 2006a. �Some Comments on The Bamako Appeal�, (external link)

Mestrum, Francine. 2006b. �World Social Forum of Porto Alegre: What Future? nigd/docs/WSFPortoAlegreWhatFutureFrancineMestrum2006

Netherlands Social Forum. (external link)

NIGD, Network Institute for Global Democracy. 2006. �NIGD News and Notes Double Issue 02-03/06: A Critical Utopia Moves to Africa�. nigd/wsf/1142604417/index_html

OpenSpaceForum?. (external link) &topic=12

Waterman, Peter. 2006a. �The Bamako Appeal: A Post-Modern? Janus?� (external link)

Waterman, Peter. 2006. (external link) Women�s Global Charter for Humanity. 2004. (external link)

X min Y. (external link)

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