World Social Forum proposes radical plan of action

Stuart Munckton From: International News, Green Left Weekly issue #782 11 February 2009.

6 February 2009

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The ninth World Social Forum ended on February 1 in Belem with its "Assembly of assemblies" adopting "dozens of resolutions and proposals to be the subjects of a programme of mobilisations around the world in 2009", according to a February 2 Inter-Press? Service report.

The 2009 WSF, formed as an international gathering of the global justice movement, held "21 thematic assemblies" that broke "the apparent WSF taboo on taking common political stands under pressure from thousands of civil society groups anxious to seize the opportunity opened by the global economic crisis to progressive change", according to the IPS.

As a result, global demonstrations have been planned between March 28 and April 4 to demand urgent action on climate change. IPS reported that a "key target of this initiative is the G-20 summit of industrial countries scheduled for Apr. 2 in London".

The Palestinian Day of Return, on March 30, was also marked as a day for protest against Israeli aggression.

October 12, the anniversary of Spanish colonialism of the Americas has been set as another date for global actions in defence of the rights of indigenous people around the world.

According to the IPS: "Under a light rain on a soaked lawn at Belem's vast Federal Amazonian Rural University campus, a spokesman of the WSF's Assembly of Social Movements itemised some of the wider programmatic contents of the mobilization."

These included: nationalisation of banks; no reduction of workers' wages; energy and food sovereignty for the poor; ending foreign occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan; sovereignty and autonomy for indigenous peoples; the right to land, decent work, education and health for all; and democratisation of the media.

IPS claimed: "This is the closest the WSF has yet come to becoming a global political force, a dilemma it has faced since its inception in the city of Porto Alegre, in southern Brazil, in January 2001 as a counterpoint to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"Foreign correspondents and local media have underlined the sharp contrast between the vibrant atmosphere in Belem and the somber faces of corporate bosses and Western leaders in Davos, where Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown went so far as to admit the crisis has no precedent nor any reliable forecast."

A January 30 article reported that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez spoke to a meeting of thousands on January 29 as part of the forum, in which he described Latin America's social movements as "trenches of resistance" against global capitalism that need to go on an offensive towards creating an alternative to capitalism.

Chavez commented on the WSF slogan "Another world is possible" by stating that "another world is necessary, and another world is being born in Latin America and the Caribbean!"

"Just like Latin America and the Caribbean received the biggest dose of neoliberal venom", Chavez said, "our continent has been the immense territory where social movements have sprouted with the greatest strength and begun to change the world".

According to, Chavez called for social movements to "step up their popular offensive toward revolutionary changes".

Speaking at the meeting, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa slammed the First World-controlled institutions of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, stating: "Using the art of deception they will try to confuse us into thinking the victims are the guilty ones.

"They are the ones responsible for the crisis. They are not the ones to give us lessons."