• dibco1 2020 discusionfsm input27 en

last modified September 20, 2020 by facilitfsm

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Let me try to address the substance.. Attempts for the renewal of the WSF are not new, and there will  always be a glimmer of hope. I just read Boaventura's text. If I understand correctly, Jai, Francine and others started a seperate initiative some weeks or months ago.

I agree with Tord. Not because I'm also coming from a country (the Netherlands) where the neoliberal order has reached a level of sophistication that seems to be designed to cause instant depression in anyone who dares to challenge it. Labelling yourself "left" mostly means you will have to defend and distance yourself from an otherworldly class of parasites that calls itself left. Also, non-directness towards others and being too polite is considered a bad feature in my culture. This is no excuse for being rude, but I read no offense in Tord's words. I think he is doing us a favor. 

Anyway, I think Tord rightly understands the "open space" vs "decision making" opposition as fake. It hides/distracts from/ignores the real problem of the WSF: the question(s) of power(s). They talk and talk, but they are all equally puzzled about the enormous lack of connection with new waves of movement. The text by Boaventura offers no clue on anything new on the crucial points of organization and communication. Instead it romanticizes the WSF's role in the anti-war-in-Iraq protests (which may have been impressive in size, but ultimately failed miserably). Well, imagine yourself a fresh Black Lives Matter or climate activist reading this text: where do you start to imagine yourself being part of the WSF process? In other words: what does any 'open space' or any 'decision' mean without any understanding of/participation in its construction process?  

I also agree with Tord on a point he made earlier responding to Jai. That the question of whether or not to adapt the Charter of Principles is not a very useful starting point for the discussion on the renewal of the WSF. In my understanding the charter is merely a flawed product of a flawed process. I can elaborate on this, based on the findings in my 2006 thesis on the WSF (human geography). In summary: the charter is spatially biased towards the 'global', underestimating the local scale as a crucial space for life,  experiencing its injustices, and struggles for emancipation. It is organizationally biased towards 'the already organized', excluding 'the not yet organized' from all key processes. The WSF never really  internalized an understanding of how and where new movements are born and how to nurture them. Presenting the WSF as 'open space' is confusing and misleading. The latest twist in this 'debate', where the decision makers will save us from the devilish open spacists, is just hilarious. After all these years, can't we just accept that an overwhelming majority of people, inside or outside the left, is perfectly capable of making the decision to denounce coups, the murder of activists, the destruction of the planet. In this world a so-called 'politicized' WSF can produce a neverending list of such statements. But it takes another world to actually stop the coups, murders and destruction. 

Tord's story about what is happening on the ground in Sweden is of great value to understand the WSF, its shortcomings and possibilities to overcome these shortcomings. I have told similar stories about the local social forum in my city, here on this list and elsewhere. I won't repeat myself here (the current state of our local social forum is 'sleep mode', which, according to my analysis, is largely due to the absence of a larger network of like minded initiatives, which we hoped to find in the WSF...). I'm not saying there are ready-made solutions coming from these stories, but not listening means the renewal of the WSF will only be realized on paper, in fantastic abstractions and magnificant charters.