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Situation of "dialogue about WSF"  - by Pierre 24 08 2020  Input34

The  controversial discussion about  wsf  is gathering speed, probably  towards a IC meeting in october 10th and  a series of consultation in september

Three main  groups are identifiable

1/ the renovators core team  have made a series of inputs since february  dibco1 2020 discusionfsm input20 en - dibco1 2020 discusionfsm input2A en - dibco1 2020 discusionfsm input21 en - dibco1 2020 discusionfsm input2A en

  •  There has been recently an emphatic "message to social forumdibco1 2020 discusionfsm input26 en  rethorical argumentation presented as first step of "campaign to lead to dialogue
  • On 23 august  there is a series of clearer orientation points being presenteed at last by one renovator : dibco1 2020 discusionfsm input33 en  to be commented 
    • @8 We think it is urgent to democratize the Forum, its structures and its governance.  It is crucial to introduce a governance that allows us to go from an open space to a space of action. There are many possibilities to strengthen the governance and to democratize the WSF.
    • @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,  ( this is the only format of participation mentioned ) 
    • @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. 

2/ Those calling for dialogue, starting from brasil 

  • with some somehow confusing statements http://openfsm.net/projects/dibco1/dibco1-2020-discusionfsm-input28-en - noting diferences  with  another text signed by brasilians two years ago http://openfsm.net/projects/dibco1/dibco1-2020-discusionfsm-input23-en
    • we see @2 no contradiction between the WSF being a meeting space, a space for articulation of actions and an actor on the international scene
    • @3 We also understand that the WSF has already acted as a global actor, publishing statements, leading global actions, defending ideas and values
    • @6 Therefore, along with this empowerment, of those networks and movements that have led international anti-capitalist struggles it is necessary to deepen a decision-making methodology 
    •  @7 Recognize that overcoming the method is the door to the construction of convergences in diversity
    • @11 If the proposed new WSF broadens democratic horizons in relations between our social movements
  • renovators are seemingly happy to find this  brazilian group open to dialgue as allies on the willingnes to dialogue now , and also on substance somehow - they will invite to sign the call for dialogue
  • in fact, there seem to be  two streams in this brazilian group, if not more, some sticking the curent principles and some ready for some level of "renovation"  and mainly "IC centered" in their expression and proposals-


3/ Those more silent,  a good part supportive of current  WSF principles 

  • A/ Some have a defensive position telling to "renovators" :  let us do the forum as usual by the current principles  and go found something else elsewhere  - this is of course ineffective  for those who want to capture  the potential of wsf for their political strategy, whatever their motivation- even though this would break the current consensus that has kept us together 20 years, whatever our performance as process facilitator may have been, and it has been poor in the last decade
  • B/Also support can come from some  thematic and national forums facilitating committees, see this input  dibco1 2020 discusionfsm input24 en however  there is also a tropism, in those smaller scale process-events, (2000 people size events)  towards taking distance with some WSF principles : having final declaration in the space of the forum and having a temptation of "networkization" of those smaller manifestation of WSF process . see the current process calendar here : http://openfsm.net/projects/wsf2012-support/wsf2018-calendar/#lista   
  • C/ Some  think that going to political strategic discusion , and "decentering it  from the forum", will recontextualize  the debate ,  however the terms of debate are not clear, and  it is quite difficult to maintain a formal frame outside the forum space  and ic legitmacy  itself ,  and then  those interested  might be  drowned in a kind of spontaneous asembleism between political actors  where  categories  shared in the forum faciltaion context do not prevail any more  and ways for facilitation of this shapeless context are unknown. It might be sheer political competition      

4/ On the times and rythms of dialogue 

  • A/ Renovators and some brasilian seem eager to mix this debate about WSF  with the ongoing consultation meetings in septembrer - and "surf" on the  spontaneous expectations of some consulted organizations  to  impose emotionnally a "renovation narrative " , with the goal to be mixing  debate on principles and preparation of WSF 2021: "to develop actions and outward communication in WSF , we need to renovate WSF" ( see input 26   and "here is how" input  33  and 37 above )
  • B/ There will be probably an attempt to request discusion time  next october 10 IC meeting for this  WSF debate on the  organizing practices in  IC - let us see how it will be  
  • C/ maintaining separated  this dialogue about WSF and the concrete preparation of WSF 2021 event -process, on substance and on times /places  will be a challenge, because of the overlooking by many IC members of the relevance of focusing ,after consulting, on defining  forms of participation, (see input 36) which will structure and refresh  the participation narrative  and attractivenes of WSF 2021
  • D/ http://openfsm.net/projects/dibco1/project-home/#index  this link is more or less giving inputs in chronology

5/ On places for dialogue 

6/ On themes of dialogue  

  • A/ renovators want to impose  as a priority  themes on representativeness and democracy,  essentially inside  IC, they care little about the formats of self organized participation made available to participants and  for common moments proposed to participants methodology   - see part 1 
    • There is a  sub discussion activated from some brazilian members is about the "IC taking political positions"  that echoes  renovators.Here in input about this longstanding issue : http://openfsm.net/projects/dibco1/dibco1-2020-discusionfsm-input31-en   The relevance of this issue is i practice very small, as  immanuel wallerstein, recently invoked by renovators, stated clearly some years ago in Monteal 
    • Note : there is a sub discusion about the "democracy in iC" or elsewhere in WSF  which echoesthat  of renovators  - it remains to be commented if the category of "democracy" is relevant in the openspace-process facilitation, which is not a place like a partiament , where decisiones HAVE to be made within a divided national community - this invoking of democracy  needs more comment
  • B/ a fourth working group in IC to document terms of dialogue in view on the internal IC discuson phase  coming afrer consutation  has been proposed in last IC meeting -  It has not yet been taken in consideration, at the time when some claim a "dialogue is necessary "

7/ Current silences on political-methodological approach focusing on facilitation

  • A/ What would be the most relevant and political consensual option,  in IC at present , would be to focus on   enhancing WSF open space  as better space for articulating actions  which is a base function of  WSF porcess . This could be done  working on new  formats of participation in WSF event process, consistent with current principles , to make the forum more attractive for those who expect political outcomes -  with a convincing "narrative of participation", not selling dreams, but proposing concrete ways to actively participate along one's goals
  • B/ This problematics is discarded by renovators, on the ground that "methodology comes after strategy" . It can be argued that there is a need to qualify "strategy"  is it facilitation strategy  of faciltating committee  or is it political strategy? and if so of who.   - because "political strategy" is content /participation - while  facilitation strategy as about "developing the forum process", and  metodology is about forms and moments.for participation with a clearcut separation between those fields  - renovators want essentially political decision made in or around IC.  They do not take the participants shoes, while in a 50 000  participants forum  those are one hundred time more numerous thand IC  of faciitating collective
  • C/ Of course the distinction  participation- contents and  facilitation-forms of participation can be also questionned  by renovators -  and a participation narrative saying  somehow "we have been lazy ten years, and we need to focus on methdology for good to revitalize WSF 2021 wiht new formats of participation ,  is a delicate self critical exercise for IC members , some of them mesmerized  by the IC centered renovation narrative .  Formulation of challenges of facilitation dibco1 2020 discusionfsm input25 en is  valuing these tasks
  • D/ "Brasilians for dialogue" claim to be open to "discussing  methodology"  however its seems reading their text ( open to signature)  to be more a methodology for political decision between particicipants  in IC , than  a methodology for enhanced participation towards more action related contents in the forum space process- The distinction between participation and facilitaion  is not clear ( see part 2) 
  • E/ Also for a not explicited yet reason , this approach " yes we can make the openspace a better space for articulation action"  is not necessarily  pushed by all supporters of the current principle. it is about making out of this option  a positive  narrative more owned in IC, contrary to the narrative of "guiltiness to be ngos and smaller organizations" or guiltiness to be lazy about methodological responsability , and being pushed emotionally to give  political space to  newcomers in IC for representativeness, without an in depth discusion about their vision of the forum- process