World Social Forum and the trap of "Civil Society".

Carlos Eduardo Rebello crebello at
Sun Feb 3 07:56:31 MST 2002

Dear Patrick: I believe that denying WB president a permit to enter Porto
Alegre was the barest minimun, given the hail of colonialist and racist
statements the Argentinian disaster has prompted those people to utter;
yesterday all Brazilian newspaper, for instance, displayed the statement by
paul O'Neil that interest rates paid by Brazil are high because of
corruption here - as if such corruption didn't result to a great deal from
interest collusion between lending foreign banks and Brazilian officers
wanting the state to spend in overpriced utilities in order to make their
cronies reap an extra profit!

Also, when Brazil is in the brink of a presidential election where the Right
is trying to uphold a presidential candidate who is a (female) scion of one
of the most backward state oligarchies from NE Brazil, and has already
engaged in a wholesale campaign of intimidation that is connected, by all
kinds of shady links, to the recent wave of assassinations which has hit 2
Workers'Party mayors, an state attorney, and wounded a MST leader, the
playful globalized media hype around Porto Alegre strikes me as insensitive
in the extreme and as an instance of a kind of NGO cretinism as much
damaging as old parliamentary cretinism - the idea that the world can be
made to spin around, and the Right kept at a safe distence, by means solely
of playful happenings. Who are the people now receiving the benefits of the
spotlights in Porto Alegre? Moth-balled specimens of the most empty
postmodern social democracy and their Brazilian counterparts. Of course, we
cannot just go on uphelding the Bolshevik programme of old, but it would be
a greater mistake and a complete folly to give it away altyogether in profit
of those people' commonplaces. That's it_Carlos Rebello

> Date: Sat, 2 Feb 2002 12:31:23 +0200
> From: "Patrick Bond" <pbond at>
> Subject: Re: World Social Forum & the Trap of 'Civil Society'
> - ----- 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

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