• dibco1 2020 discusionfsm input33 en

last modified September 30, 2020 by facilitfsm

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Commenting the manifesto text - Input on WMD discuss list  23 august -  Boaventura  Input33   -

 (see Input37  "our goals" published a week later in a website) 

The World Social Forum will be twenty years old in 2021! A facilitating group is now examining the possibility of organizing a new forum in Mexico City. It is clear that all will depend on the development of the coronacrisis.

We all know the world has changed a lot since 2001 and the first WSF in Porto Alegre. At that time the founders of the forum succeeded in writing a ‘Charter of Principles’ in order to fix the rules of the game and to avoid that the forum become a space of conflicts instead of a space of conviviality and convergence. Far from helping us, the rules for the ‘open space’ have @1 recently been dogmatically interpreted and the forum was not able in not one crucial moment of current history,@2 except in one single circumstance and as an exception,  to express itself as a global political subject.

There have been various initiatives in the past to @3 get out of this impasse and to speak with a political voice from and in the name of the Forum. Think of the huge demo on February 15 2003 against the war in Iraq, initiated at the Forum. Several ‘historical’ participants of the WSF signed the ‘Manifesto of Porto Alegre’  @4– an attempt to break the paralysing consensus – and have now signed another appeal to @5 change from the ‘open space’ to ‘a space for action’, not in order to make a global political programme @6 but to interact with the outside world. Frei Betto, Atilio Borón, Bernard Cassen, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Federico Mayor, Riccardo Petrella, Ignacio Ramonet, Emir Sader, Boaventura Santos, Roberto Savio and Aminata Traoré signed this first message.

This initiative is not about imposing a political position on a collective that always has been and will be very diverse. However, at a moment the world is in danger of ecological collapse and in a severe crisis with an emerging fascism, dominant financial capitalism, racism and patriarchy, at a time when young people, women and other oppressed people are once again in the streets to demand justice and sustainable ecological policies, the Forum cannot be absent. @7 It is a moral and political duty to stop the self-reflection and to talk to the world and to act in it.

That is why the signatories of this message want to change the WSF in order to change to world. @8 We think it is urgent to democratize the Forum, its structures and its governance. Logic and history impose a change that has to be the result of an open and participatory discussion. It is crucial to introduce a governance that allows us to go from an open space to a space of action. @9 We therefore propose that the International Council integrates the new social forces that are mobilizing all over the world,@10  that we try to make a more representative body which can take a look at our Charter of Principles so as to adapt it to the new times of the 21st century,@11  that we give a place to the regional and thematic forums, @12 that we organise international days of action, @13 that we can discuss the road to follow to make the WSF a global political subject. This will not be an easy road and will require the openness and willingness of all of us in order to @14 create an efficient body able to speak to the world. There are many possibilities to strengthen the governance and to democratize the WSF. @15 We very much hope they will come out so they can be democratically discussed. 

We would like to invite you to participate in this collective reflection. It is an urgent task that can contribute to shape the ‘other world’ we so urgently want and need.

@16 If you agree, please sign this appeal.

This is the letter from the Brasilian movements  A NECESSARY DIALOGUE http://openfsm.net/projects/dibco1/dibco1-2020-discusionfsm-input28-en  ( document open for adhesion) 

Boaventura 23 august 2020 on WMD list 



As the world has been changing around us in the last twenty years, the WSF and, in particular, its IC show three intriguing characteristics: first, the major changes in the world do get reflected in our discussions as they provoke periods of more intense debate; second, the debates become often personal, even insulting and the substantive proposals rarely get to be discussed; third, nothing substantively changes. To limit myself to the more recent period, I distinguish two main moments: 2016 and now. They are different in character but it is an open question whether the differences will be reflected in different outcomes. 2016 was a period of very intense debate, before, during and immediately after the WSF2016 in Montreal. Given the weight of Latin America in the WSF we witnessed at the time a final crisis of the progressive democratic governments of the first decade of the millennium. Many of us had been critical of some aspects such governments (particularly models of development, structural racism and sexism) but our critique never omitted global solidarity. There were intense debates as to what to do in light of the antidemocratic and imperialist elements in the dismantling of such governments. I myself made some substantive proposals not only during the WSF 2016 but also later on as the WSF 2018 in Salvador was being prepared with seemingly renewed energy. Below I paste the proposals I made in December 2017.

2020. We are now in the midst of new period of major changes in the world and as a result they are being reflected in our discussions. The difference between the two periods is that now is democracy and not just progressive democracy that is at stake.  The fascists, old and new are coming to power all over the world. The debates are again intense inside the WSF. Unfortunately they are also revealing the second characteristic: personalized insulting exchanges rather that substantive discussions. It remains to be seen whether the third characteristic will also show. Many people (myself included) are ready to present new proposals and engage in serious debates. Let’s see what happens and hope for the best.x