• TunisG3 contribution7-en

last modified June 15, 2014 by facilitfsm

a contribution back up an intervention in casablanca IC  - number 20   also linked to inputs4 in G2 tunis group:


1- From political views to techno-functional views

Reviewing political and methodological components of contributions made so far

Contrib1 (mauri) : mainly Political (situation in brasil is new –situation world wide is grim) - not methodological ( assert that the forum needs reinvention without details about how )

Contrib 2 (chico): Generic politics ( the forum is a tool against neoliberalism) - methodology ( asserts that network culture is an inspiration for current key issues , but without details about how – dialogue with parties – and organization of facilitating committee)

Contrib 3 ( Xavier): Political (the world order is fragmented – alterglobalisation program is weak) - methodology ( the wsf is a conjunction of thematic spaces and IC is about to organize debate in and between those spaces in order to progress on the program

Contrib 4 (Emir) :- Mainly Political ( mainly latin American centered – distinguishing movements and ngos ) – not methodological ( questioning NGO openspace and impossibility for parties to participate)

Contrib 5 ( tord) :- Mainly Political ( distinguishing four strands of alterglobalization – and explaining that none is able to set an example to other) – not methodological (wait keep the heritage of inclusive spaces as wsf

Contrib 6 ( Gus) : Mainly political ( sketching forces and strategies ) – not methodological

Political views are dominant in those contributions collected in the context of Tunis Group G3 , and they can guide understanding of “who” is willing to collaborate in forum initiatives , but this political view is not sufficient to help develop and sustain good forum processes

Political views of people willing to participate in WSF process are diverse , a few hint to changing wsf basic methodology , and many think the model should be used as it is -

In this second case it is possible to converge on some generic ideas

1/ the major changes of political context from 2001 , lead to focus again on concrete national or regional realities, where participants may more easily diverge than on global issues. This is not diminishing the need and utility of the forum againts neoliberal agenda and way of life, as a mid term common good , a back office tool for change and action , a concrete living experience , a laboratory for horizontal organizing

2/ There is no “fast track alternative” to a perserverant effort to increase the relevancy and quality of intercommunication inside and between open spaces created by social forum processes and circulating as early as possible notice of who, where, when, about what is willing to start a social forum process

3/ If the forum process is this generic tool that we , WSF participants, share, we need to develop a techno-functionnal view , an “engineering” view on it , somehow comparable to engineering view on railways network or internet network that is needed to make those networks operate and provide service they are suppose to provide .

We need to collect knowledge on how to make social forum clearer and more effective and tackle issues that can be concretely encountered, and help newcomers to the process learn faster through practice , by making documentation about this knowledge available “where and when” political motivation of wsf participants find relevant to start a forum process

2 - List of 10 broad issues and related documentating tasks

Here is a list of issues that are relevant from the techno-functionnal viewpoint, considering WSF process as a generic innovative tool useful for struggles against neoliberal agenda and transition to post neoliberal world ,that can be replicated in many contexts and scales

The tasks of exchanging visions and experiences and taking possible subsequent facilitating initiatives on those issues is then a shared challenge for active wsf participants

Issues are arranged in the following sequence : exchanging on ownership of wsf process and cooperation on line ( 1 2 ) - organizing facilitation ( 3 4 ) rooting the process through local events and concrete alternatives ( 5 6 ) - extending and meshing events ( 7 8 )– sustaining transevent initiatives ( 9 10)

  1. OWNERSHIP of WSF in ORGANIZATIONS and in INDIVIDUATED MOVEMENTS How to get larger networks and organization include systematically their agenda in the wsf process and promote facilitation of social forum processes ( thematic , local , …) in their activists constituencies , and not just participate in wsf event organized by others; Reviewing practical contribution of international networks in the process allow to make out their various attitudes from indifference based on methodological disagreement, to minimalism, to big delegations in wsf events, to stimulation of new local or thematic processes How to develop through participation understanding and ownership of wsf process by assembleist new movements, while continuing to structure the openspace through activities by collectives

  2. EFFECTIVE ON LINE COOPERATION PRACTICES How to use face to face interaction moments to prepare on line cooperation moments, which are the only channel 90% of the time . This is true for commissions , committees , initiative and also for convergence assemblies etc..

  3. INCLUSIVE FACILITATION COMMITTES How to combine the various expectations/viewpoints about social forum ( frontline struggles – social emancipation work - quality of the forum tool - new assembleist movements )- in the membership of organizing/ committee of events or transevent initiatives

  4. HORIZONTAL AND SHARED FACILITATION How to have a consistent accountable and inclusive horizontal operation of facilitating bodies ( organizing committee of an event, process facilitating bodies) , without tension between horizontal proclaimed values and vertical organizing practices . How to make contribution to process and event facilitation attractive and rewarding , and agglutinate energies, and develop, in the wider group of facilitators of an event, an owned and concrete handling of conceptual hierarchy in discussion and decisions

  5. SUSTAINABLE LOCAL FORUMS PROCESSES How to cense and promote proven practices and protocols making repetitive social forum processes sustainable? The scarce occurrence of lower scale forums in areas where big event have existed ( latin america africa india ) shows that the practice of the process is still not rooted enough in those areas;

  6. CONCRETE ALTERNATIVES How to include more in or around social forum process expression of alternatives within reach of citizens, invited to be actors of social and ecological transformation, and steering processes of inclusive campaigns for advocacy of bigger alternatives

  7. EVENT EFFICIENCY EXTENSION IN TIME AND SPACE How to better use the event format in space ( extending the event to include remote participants ) and time ( developing quality of pre and post event period which are 95% of an event cycle ) maximize the “effects” for a same “effort” and lower and distribute the cost of events and meetings

  8. MESHING PROCESSES THROUGH REMOTE INTERCOMMUNICATION How to mesh various social forum processes through cross extended participation in respective events , through cooperation in transevent initiatives how to develop local to local relevant ( for information , for cooperation, for alliances) intercommunication between organized groups

  9. BROAD CONTRIBUTIVE COLLECTIVES How to develop creation of “collectives of wsf participants”, transevent and transnetwork , reaching contributing capacity on certain facilitation issues , in order to “improve the WSF tool”, using consensus internal facilitation and being reliable mid term actors in the process facilitation

  10. USEFUL TRANS-EVENT INITIATIVES How to create and sustain needed initiatives in a non centric way . The weakness of effective cooperation on initiatives around somehow central/common tools (mailing lists websites ) is an indicator of the fragmented reality of the process, and its immaturity in going from event to process. Reasonnable effort to give a contribution in those area can be more distributed, following the meshing of processes , with overlaps and redundancies . Also It is relevant to develop a common vocabulary for describing practices ( “activities “ in openspace events, modes of starting and growing a facilitation committee ) and protocols ( consensus protocols in facilitation)

3 - Annex Digest of earlier 6 contributions

In contribution 1 , Mauri asserts that “WSF model of 2001 is exhausted” and calls for “recreating” it

He points to the localization of agendas, the crisis of north south solidarity oc IC and the new situation of brazil after june mobilizations And the opportunity of forum in porto alegre to connect new actors

The social activists who accompany since the beginning the processes of the World Social Forum ( WSF ) know that the model started in Porto Alegre in 2001 is exhausted . […] Today , Davos is not reference or paradigm for anything . […]. So there's no need to maintain a forum  to counter Davos . The neoliberal agenda  has exhausted itself , or rather ran out because it was the lure that WSF denounced .On the other hand, the crisis of the neoliberal economic model deepens around the world.

The alterglobal connections also suffer a major crisis and , within it , the very process of the World Social Forum . Although editions of 2009 in Belém do Pará , 2011 in Dakar and in 2013 in Tunis have been excellent from the point of view of participation of old and new social movements , the process of international  connection facing the new dimensions of the crisis of civilization is wheelspinning and we do not see in a short time an effective resumption .

The agendas that mobilize social movements worldwide are of national or even regional character . Many of  them of thematic character . no new agendas  appeared and not even other ways to tackle the economic social and environmental crisis

 Most social movements are taking care of their own tasks and agendas without greater capacity to connect with international agendas . The very process of North-South international cooperation  so important to strengthen autonomous subjects in each country is waning , almost completely closing . This crisis  of alterglobalization reaches the WSF , and more particularly the international council litself which  could not solve in Tunis the dilemma of to be or not to be.

Brazil, in turn , entered the calendar of international mobilizations from the new phenomena of June. […] the previous frame of movements  semi - co-opted by the social policies of the government is no longer an absolute truth .There are several new players in the country and social movements that do not share the character and speed of the changes implemented by the Federal Government . This puts new ingredients in the discussion of national and international agendas and presses for a new inflection of the role and character of the processes linked to the WSF , including the Thematic Social Forum in Porto Alegre .

Scheduled for 23 to January 26, 2014 , the completion of this year's  edition of FSTemático2014 plays a key role in reconnecting movements and organizations of the WSF with these new subjects and actors , many of them born within the events of the WSF itself , as is the case of MPL  ( free pass movement) and Off-Axis  ( for a do eixo). It's up to us the ability to recreate the Social Forum processes to include new actors and new forms of struggle and social expression that are enriching our everyday democracy.

In contribution 2 - Chico explains that WSF still has a long walk ahead with its current model as an horizontal openspace tool in the struggle against neoliberalism.

He asserts broadly that to develop horizontal inclusive practices in facilitating forum events and facilitating the larger process, and dialoguing with governments and parties solutions can be found in the organizational novelty of " networks " and […..] the potential offered by current intercommunication  technology. ,.yest  there is no idnicaton in this direction

Careful respect  of options that determine the "model " ( explained in the WSF Charter of Principles ), ensured the success of the WSF 2013 in Tunisia […..] Does reviewing  the " model" of the WSF  means " verticalizing it " ?

Now , the "spaces " created in the WSF process offered to civil society the possibility ( which did not exist ) to hold worldwide meetings independently from  parties and governments and their structures vertical direction […..]

To " hear" what civil society has to say , we would have to use more fully the principles of operation of networks - including drawing upon the potential offered by current intercommunication  technology .These principles would be useful also to the WSF process itself , for example on its way to decide internally on the organization of forums . […..]

Now , in the broader perspective of the struggle against neoliberalism , the practices tested in the " model" of the WSF , encouraging autonomy and respecting diversity , go in the direction exactly opposite to the capital.

The new social movements also question the traditional structures of civil society itself , […..], with these questions they lead us to reflect on certain choices made in the implementation of  the” model " of the WSF , throughout the process .

The limitation as to participation in the forums was immediately broken by its own participants, even in its first edition . Four-fifths of those who came did  not " represent"  organizations  nor were sent by them. , […..], The question that arises now is therefore the composition of the Organizing Committees Facilitation " Committees for the Social Forums. With the Forums necessarily open to participants of the new social movements , how can  these movements be present in these committees ? Here again organizational novelty of " networks " can serve . And in this case even more the potential offered by current intercommunication  technology. , […..],

Today many consider that the crisis faced by the WSF International Council - consisting only of social organizations that send  to it  their " representatives " - is due to bureaucratization that the system of " representation " causes . The solution that may be given in the frame of Forum Facilitation Committees can perhaps help solve this crisis .

In contribution 3, Xavier concentrates on WSF world event, as an opportunity for contradictory dialogue inside and between thematic spaces

A Dialogue towards broadly supported elements of programme (that could be ideally discussed with a “world state”):

The very reason for the existence of the WSF is precisely to bestow the notion of ‘international community’ with a social nature. […..] The international social movement should ensure that the WSF is an opportunity for testing out ‘internal’ contradictions in one way or another, with the minimum aim of preparing possible future conditions, if not bringing about real agreement regarding a programme for moving forward

Envisage the ‘thematic spaces’ as arenas for progressing in collective intelligence by focusing efforts on the contradictory debate[…..]The convergence assemblies would have the sole aim of providing a framework to this contradictory debate, ….specifying content for our proposals.

The current IC would reach an agreement on the thematic spaces that truly exist […..]IC would have the sole function of proposing a form of methodology at the time of a new WSF edition, which would allow the thematic spaces to work with crossover points

In parallel, a committee for promoting social forums could be put together in each country. This would group together all the organisations which would have taken part in at least one WSF, and would be given the responsibility of promoting the participation of the civil society stakeholders from the country where the next WSF will be held.

Contribution 4 from Emir revolves around the relation between NGOs shaping WSF openspace, and post liberal governments of latin America :

The hegemony of NGOs and some theorists associated with the design of these entities was responsible for the decay of the WSF. […..] born in the context of an ambiguous ideological and political reaction at the end of the Cold War and the position before the State […..] NGOs and theoretical interpretations within the WSF preached against the state. […..] The WSF's own proposals, could be made only through States […..] NGOs and the theorists of 'civil society' have had their anti-State and  liberal paradigm overtaken by reality. Some of them have made Latin American progressive governments, like those of Evo Morales, Rafael Correa, Lula and Dilma their human enemies , thus serving the interests of the right." […..] NGOs characterize Forums just as place the exchange of experiences between different movements. Not even became a place of debate among post-neoliberal governments and social movements

in contribution 5 , Tord makes a review of actors in “progressive civil society” one of them being the openspace NGos

He distinguishes four strands, two of which are critical, and one not well acquainted of the concept of WSF as openspace : One is the open space NGO WSF concept which have shown that it is alive in Tunis but for how long with a key position? Then we have the social movement building a more radical program together among popular movements as expressed at the People's summit and its many demonstrations, actions and seminars in Rio 2012. Thirdly we have the more state centric view  of Sader and finally the rebellion on the streets which reached Brazil this year in a sort of black bloc 2.0 version.

Tords explains that none of those strands is currently able to set an example for others and concludes :

Whether tenants movements, small farmers, environmental, trade unions and others movements who express issues combining daily struggles with demands for changing society will be able to strengthen their collaboration is a very open question, as their relationship with political parties […..] So we have to live with quite much uncertainty for a while I believe. Meanwhile it is useful to take care of the heritage of the good which WSF and ESF as well as Alter Summit have given in terms of a wide constituency of different movements.