• dibco1 2020 discusionfsm input2A en

last modified August 3, 2020 by facilitfsm


  "Resisting any conservative reaction" AMLO

Oscar Gonzalez


In a recent article published in La Jornada (16/02/20) "Why has Davos survived Porto Alegre?" Emir Sader states that "the FSM has virtually disappeared, because of the wrong political positions that have prevailed," and reminds us that "the forces representing Porto Alegre's original project are political parties, governments and democratic and popular states". Or was it created only by the canned iniciative of some activists and intellectuals of an abstract civil society?


At the out-of-the-way we can ask ourselves: What has the FSM contributed over 20 years to lessen the evils of neoliberalism and savage capitalism, which it was supposed to struggle with? In the face of the obvious local, national and global realities it is, of increasing social polarization, as the figures  of economic  and environmental data are shown (presented even in Davos 21),beyond attitudes and dogmas of faith, ideological simulations and alignments with interests that overlap a the minimum well-being of popular classes  around the world,   it becomes necessary and even inescapable to adopt clear definitions,    anivocous, without  ambiguity or contradictions.


That is why in Mexico, where it has been decided to renew and relaunch a vigorous FSM21 in January next year, we have proposed and are promoting conferences, round tables, seminars and assemblies of trade unions, peasant and urban organizations, to ventilate our differences. It is a question of review the principles and objectives with which the FSM was born and which, after twenty years of regresive and opprobrium economic and social changes, become indispensable. In the face of this, there are basically two positions: the one that would like to maintain the Charter of Principles as it is without taking action on behalf of the Forum, and the one which it considers necessary to revise and update that document precisely in the light of  the global transformations.  Moreover, it is already inescapable to rethink the integration and functions of the International Council, which have never been clearly defined, in a new Declaration of Principles and Objectives  of the WSF.


There is plenty of data to show the polarization that has trifed with it the neoliberalism and globality that derives from there: superconcentration of wealth in a few hands in the face of the extent and deepening of poverty throughout the world. In the face of this global reality, there is no room for ambiguity such as those shown in the Porto Alegre Charter, document which was appropriate in its mission to generate unity and adherence from diverse perspectives. But that role has already fulfilled its comitement. The need to review it without unambiguities becomes evident. What are, among others, such inadequacies?

Let us mention some of the main articles of the Charter, in which we can see and expose  the inconsistencies and  contradictions:


Article 1.  "TheWorld Social Forum is an open meeting space for: intensifying reflection, conducting a democratic debate of ideas, drawing up proposals, establishing a free exchange of experiences and articulating effective actions by civil society entities and movements that oppose neoliberalism and world domination for capital or any form of imperialism."”.

How can we reflect, debate, propose and articulate actions,  without pointing out and defining specific ways from and with the support of the FSM to do so?  As Arundati Roy has rightly said: "The only way to fight is through specific battles with specific shapes."


Article 2.  "TheForum becomes a permanent process of searching and building alternatives."

Build is to act, create alternatives. How, where, when, with whom? Would the world's right wings fit in that effort, when it is against them that we must fight?


Article 3. "The Forum is a global process and evenevents as part of this process will have an international dimension."

Why not encourage and turn into actions the decisions of local or national movements that obviously require global dissemination and support, such as that of the FSM?


Article 6. "Anyone shall be authorized to express, on behalf of the Forum and in any of its meetings, positions that are attributed to all its participants. Participants should not be called upon to make decisions, by vote or acclamation – as a set of Forum participants – on statements or proposals for action that include all or the majority and which intend to be Forum decisions as such."

Here is one of the most authoritarian and regressive statements. Why if the consensus or a majority decides, no statements or actions on behalf of the Forum as such can be made? That goes against the most elementary rules of a democracy.


Article 7. "Youmust ensure that the entities participating in the Forum meetings are free to deliberate - during the holding of the meetings. But those statements and actions that they decide to develop must be made in isolation or in an articulated way with other participants.  

How come?  What would isolated attempts, without the support of the Forum, serve? Not acting, seems to be the slogan of a warm, ambiguous and contradictory Charter.


Article 8. "The  Forum  is a plural and diversified space, non-denominational, non-governmental and non-partisan, which articulates in a decentralized and networked way entities and movements that are involved in concrete actions by building a different world”

 What does it mean to "articulate in a decentralized way and in networks"?  Is it intended to be ignored that the vast majority of participants are involved and engaged through civil, social and political organizations in global social change.

This article directly contradicts Article 1 which speaks of "articulating  effective actions by civil society entities and movements that oppose neoliberalism" and imperialism.


Article 11. "The Forum,  as a space for discussion, is a movement of ideas that stimulates the reflection and transparent dissemination of the results of this reflection on the mechanisms and instruments of capital domination, on the means and actions of resistance and of overcoming that domain".”.

 A movement of ideas and reflections on  means of capital domination? Why, what for, if it doesn't translate into acts of resistance and counter-power??


In analysing a document drafted 20 years ago, notwithstanding its obvious ambiguities and contradictions, we can conclude that the FSM Charter of Principles has been a useful but insufficient reference to guide the Forum's activities. However, the absence in it of operational regulations on the conduct and self-government of this process, as is the null reference to what was later constituted as an International Council, shows the inescapable need to rethink the organization and the functioning of the Forum, as well as its International Council, both substantively and methodologically or procedurally. It seeks to decide by consensus to maintain unity. Consensus and unity for what? To do nothing, not to act on behalf of the Forum and its potential global political strength?

So far the actual slogan seems to be: Let everyone do their own thing, every axis, every issue, every problem must be addressed by their peers, movements, struggles, leaderships, in their disengageed and isolated thematic or regional forums without the binder and unitary power that could well and should be the FSM.


We propose that it be at a general meeting of the Forum where, on the basis of appropriate inputs and agendas, the review, debate and eventual renewal of the process will be carried out, which could be done at FSM21 in Mexico.