Report of Montreal IC meeting - Oct.09
WORLD SOCIAL FORUM – INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL
MONTREAL – OCTOBER 2009
COMMUNICATION COMMISSION REPORT
The Communication commission had asked the Liason group in advance to have a plenary discussion about communication strategies for 2010. In the agenda circulated before the IC meeting, this session was planned for the 8th, of October, after commission meetings the previous day. But this discussion time was finally changed with the agenda revision made on october 5th. Therefore the meeting of the Commission on the last day had little basis of shared discussion in the IC and this weakness was then reflected and expressed in the report back to the IC plenary.
Communication Commission's meeting on the 8th of October
Many new observers and IC members participated to the Commission's meeting; therefore the agenda was changed from the discussion on the prepared plan proposal (after the IC meeting in Rabat, the Commission worked on defining the priorities and activities for 2010, and submitted a plan to the WSF Office in order to coordinate fundraising proposals) to a more general discussion on the objectives and functioning of the Commission and the IC as a whole.
This proposal plan was developed from the general objectives decided in Rabat (http://openfsm.net/projects/communication-commission/comcom-report-in-ic-rabat-en) and is relying on the the Communication Commission working groups as well as on the support of all IC members' organisations.
A series of interventions focused on expressing uneasiness about wsf process dynamics and its communication at large, so the revision of the plan was postponed. In particular, issues about transparency, decision making and modalities in which the IC is communicating its activities and decisions were discussed.
Some meaningful political / methodological issues were identified:
on the absence of a defined strategical framework by the IC allowing to define a context for communication in 2010
on assemblies in Belem as a support for communication,
on the role of Commission to provide open spaces and public service for the WSF process and participants (regular bulletin, website(s) and other tools), not producing [editorial] content in place of organisation participating in wsf process
on cultural, artistic and dialogical dimensions of communication to be included beyond media and online participation
on the necessity of the inclusion of people from Dakar / African organising committee for 2011 to be made as soon as possible in order to build a common communication strategy towards WSF2011
on the need to have a meeting together with the methodology commission to discuss aspects of work that should be shared (online registration, memory, outcomes, etc.)
on the promotion of shared communication as one of the good practices in the WSF that allows different networks and groups to work together in a cooperative way.
It was agreed:
to make a report in IC plenary conveying the concerns expressed about the WSF governance, decision making and strategy orientation as a way to stimulate debate
to proceed with one more meeting in the same day to work on the revision of the communication workplan
Report in the IC plenary
No formal plan was thus presented by the Communication commission in the plenary, as the agenda and discussion in the meeting had raised other priorities to be cleared before the prepared plan could be finalized. Recommendations were made, pointing out that:
1. the WSF, ten years after the first event in Porto Alegre, has lost a part of it's attractiveness and perceived usefulness by social movements and public opinion.
2. the “open space” methodology / model should be updated to the new world context and needs of social movements and civil society organisations, not just declared but continuously maintained.
3. communication about the process should be consequential and coherent with how the WSF presents itself and therefore the IC should not consider it as merely instrumental, but as an essential part of its strategies.
Observers and members of the commission had other meetings in the following days, in particular about the relationship between the Communication Commission and the WSF office (for the newsletter writing process and website re-design/management).
The final version of the 2010-2011 communication working plan has been discussed and approved online.
The text is available here: http://openfsm.net/projects/communication-commission/communication-plan-2010-11-draft