World Social Forum & the Trap of 'Civil Society'

Patrick Bond pbond at wn.apc.org
Sat Feb 2 03:31:23 MST 2002


----- Original Message -----
From: "Derrick O'Keefe"

Comrade, like Chuck0 on Doug Henwood's list dissing Porto Alegre for being
the preserve of yuppie NGOs, I don't think you should trash it so
conclusively. If it were such a coopted environment, how do you explain
this?


> But World Bank president James Wolfensohn, who asked to
> be included among speakers at the forum, has been
> denied entry, as the principles the World Bank defends
> are incompatible with those of the forum, said Sergio
> Haddad of the Brazilian Association of Non-Governmental
> Organizations.
>
> Wolfensohn was told he could be included as a member of
> the audience, but organizers cautioned against it as
> "it would not be advisable" in an environment where the
> "atmosphere would not be favorable," Haddad said.
>

----- Original Message -----

> Alternative World Social Forum Opens with Peace March
>
> February 1, 2002
> Agence France Presse
>
> Representing a myriad of social movements worldwide,
> tens of thousands of activists opened their alternative
> to the World Economic Forum in New York with a massive
> peace march.
>
> Local police commander Ilson Pinto de Oliveira
> estimated as many as 30,000 people joined the march to
> open the World Social Forum, a crowd slightly smaller
> than the 40,000 people expected by organizers.
>
> The six-day conference is to feature 700 workshops, 100
> seminars and 28 plenary assemblies of more than 13,000
> delegates for the 50,000 participants from 150
> countries who are gathered at the sprawling complex of
> Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul.
>
> "The importance of this forum is not simply a matter of
> how many people participate, but the enormous number of
> important topics to be discussed here," said Brazilian
> Workers' Party leader and presidential hopeful Luiz
> Inacio "Lula" da Silva.
>
> While participants at the World Economic Forum discuss
> "how to accumulate wealth," the World Social Forum will
> focus on "how to better distribute it," he said.
>
> Security for the gathering of 3,000 world economic and
> business leaders "was so expensive, a small Swiss town
> could not afford it," da Silva said, alluding to the
> forum's change of venue this year from Davos,
> Switzerland, to New York.
>
> The conference in Porto Alegre, by contrast, is marked
> by plurality and openness, he said.
>
> Among session topics at the Brazilian forum are the
> problem of debt in southern hemisphere countries,
> corporate taxation, cultural diversity, water as a
> public commodity, food securityand the role of women in
> globalization.
>
> "Our objective is to discuss how humans can live with
> dignity," da Silva said.
>
> Among the accredited participants in the forum are two
> members of Batasuna, known as the political wing of the
> Basque separatist group ETA, they told AFP, despite
> efforts by organizers to not admit delegates with links
> to armed militias.
>
> But World Bank president James Wolfensohn, who asked to
> be included among speakers at the forum, has been
> denied entry, as the principles the World Bank defends
> are incompatible with those of the forum, said Sergio
> Haddad of the Brazilian Association of Non-Governmental
> Organizations.
>
> Wolfensohn was told he could be included as a member of
> the audience, but organizers cautioned against it as
> "it would not be advisable" in an environment where the
> "atmosphere would not be favorable," Haddad said.
>
> Thursday began with an opening salvo by the
> disenfranchised, when a group of 300 homeless families
> occupied a 14-story abandoned building owned by Sul
> American insurance in downtown Porto Alegre.
>
> "We want to protest the lack of public policy for
> housing, the lack of real urban reform," said Juliana
> Gonzales, director of the National Movement for the
> Struggle for Housing, using the neglected building
> filled with dead birds and excrement and draped with
> the group's red flags as a symbol of neglect.
>
> Meanwhile thousands of young people made camp in a park
> adjacent to the state capital buildings. Organizers
> said 10,000 people from 52 countries had signed up to
> use the free facilities there.
>
> "We believe another world is possible and we are here
> to make our contribution," said Angela de Avila, 16,
> seeking a place to pitch her tent after arriving
> onsite.
>
> Copyright © 2002 AFP




~~~~~~~
PLEASE clip all extraneous text before replying to a message.



More information about the Marxism mailing list