WSF: Behind the Invasion of Mumbai

Jacob Levich jlevich at
Tue Sep 16 19:14:14 MDT 2003

A devastating critique of the upcoming World Social Forum-Mumbai appears in
the current issue of Aspects of India's Economy, published by the Research
Unit on Political Economy -- the folks who brought you "Behind the Invasion
of Iraq." It's available on the web at . The
chapter on the Ford Foundation's international skullduggery and intimate
ties to the world of NGOs is especially fascinating.


An excerpt:

"The WSF meets in Brazil for the past three years have attracted not only
mammoth crowds but a wide range of participants, including many
distinguished forces and individuals who are opponents of imperialism. The
WSF slogan, "Another world is possible", while vague, taps the widespread,
inarticulate yearning for another social system. However, the very
principles and structure of the WSF ensure that it will not evolve into a
platform of people's action and power against imperialism. Its claims to
being a 'horizontal' (not a hierarchical) 'process' (not a body) are belied
by the fact that decisions are controlled by a handful of organisations,
many of them with considerable financial resources and ties to the very
countries which control the existing world order. As the WSF disavows
arriving at any decisions as a body, it is incapable of collective
expression of will and action. Its gatherings are structured to give
prominence to celebrities of the NGO world, who propagate the NGO
worldview. Thus, in all the talk on 'alternatives', the spotlight remains
on alternative policies within the existing system, rather than a change of
the very system itself.

"Indeed the ties of the WSF to the existing system are evidenced in a
number of ways. While several political forces fighting for a change of the
system been excluded from the WSF meets, droves of political leaders of the
imperialist countries have been attending. Not only does the WSF as a body
receive funds from agencies which are tied to imperialist interests and
operations, but innumerable bodies participating in the WSF too are
dependent on such agencies. The implications of this can be seen from the
history of one such agency, Ford Foundation, which has closely collaborated
with the US Central Intelligence Agency internationally, and in India has
helped to shape the government's policies in favour of American interests.

"In recent years such funding has grown rapidly in India, leading to a vast
proliferation of NGOs. While NGOs earlier restricted themselves to
'developmental' activities, they have expanded since the 1980s to
'activism' or 'advocacy', that is, funded political activity. This
phenomenon serves to further bureaucratise social movements and remove them
from popular control. A critique of the role of such funding agencies in
Indian political life was produced in the late 1980s by the Communist Party
of India (Marxist); however, its leading cadre are among the chief
organisers of the WSF in India.

"'Globalisation', a misleading word for the current onslaught by
imperialism, can be resisted, and even defeated, by a combination of
struggles at various levels, in various countries, in various forms; and
forces fighting 'globalisation' will need to join hands in struggle against
it. However, a careful analysis reveals that the World Social Forum is not
an instrument of such struggle. It is a diversion from it. "

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