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 Damien Input35


Dear and dear companions,

I thank you, Boaventura for sending Aram's article, as well as for the declaration of intellectuals of the WSF. Many documents and reactions are being released by members of the IC and express the need for paths of renewal and greater political expression of the WSF. For an apparent majority (but there are disagreements, it is true) this means seeing the WSF as a planetary political actor. This debate is urgent and necessary, especially in the current context of health and capitalist pandemics, and must be deepened, even to better define what this means, in terms of forms of expression, convergence and decision-making processes, building unity in diversity, relationships with other progressive actors and forces.

So, as other people have done, let me react and discuss issues and points raised in your analysis, Aram, to fuel this debate.

I fully agree with the possibility of the WSF exercising this greater role on the international stage, on the IC's historic impotence to renew itself, including in its methods, and its need to interact more with reality and with movements ... And I consider that is what the IC, good or bad, through the articulation group and the international secretariat, is trying to do, with a series of dialogues with the planetary social movements and within the IC itself. This is a fundamental building path. It is true that major political issues remain untouched, but I believe that they will appear as we walk and build.

In this field of ideas, then, I disagree with other recurring narratives that consist of stigmatizing the “Brazilian committee” and the NGOs, and making them responsible as a whole for this situation of IC's domination and crisis. It is a dangerous speech that disqualifies very diverse sets of actors and that distorts reality.

There is no Brazilian “committee”, but IC Brazilian organizations and movements with profiles and opinions that converge with yours on the role of the WSF, and others do not. I will not return to the episode of the IC meeting in Canada, already commented and explained by Sheila, Liège, Boa and Francine. The problem was not the “Brazilian group”, but other issues that remain current: the IC or the WSF, can or not adopt a political position in defense of causes and find ways to do so? How to make sure that consensus does not become, as it happens, imposed by a few dissenting voices, as if it were a right of veto. This remains a major challenge: reframing consensus, facilitating decision-making without neglecting the existence of dissenting voices, but at the same time without giving them greater weight.

On the other hand, like Brazilian IC organizations, the world of NGOs is not homogeneous, in terms of struggles, profiles and political positions. It seems important to me to make distinctions and not to generalize the positions and attitudes of some organizations to a set of actors, in this case NGOs in general, for example on the crisis of the IC and the WSF.

The dynamics of the WSF go far beyond what the IC can do. In recent years, in many regions of the world, WSF events and processes have arisen through initiatives by movements, peoples and civil society organizations. It was not IC that took the initiative to build these events, as was recalled. IC needs to learn, dialogue and build with these forums, without imponsik below. All of these events and processes teach us ways, but we must be able to see them and go beyond hasty judgments. It is with this objective in mind that a dialogue between the IC and the thematic, national and regional forums of the WSF was envisaged in September.

I want to take the opportunity to return here to the last edition of the WSF, the WSF 2018 held in Salvador da Bahia. There are many narratives about the event, due to the diversity of participants. I re-read the event here, in light of the WSF 2018 report that you can find in the link https://wsf2018.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Relat%C3%B3rio-FSM-2018-1.pdf  (version in PT, other versions in other languages are expected). The WSF 2018 also points out important paths for the WSF.

WSF 2018 was the result of a long democratic process initiated by a group of Bahian and Brazilian movements and organizations. It was extremely expressive in its dimensions of “non-white”, popular, cultural and political resistance to the neoliberal, Eurocentric and colonialist model, with the emblematic presence of traditional, indigenous and African, religious and quilombola peoples and communities, of feminist movements , LGBTQI and youth, among others. The construction of the WSF 2018 was not guided by a “vision of the Brazilian Catholic base communities”, as has been said, nor with the opportunity for funding for its organizers. The WSF 2018 operated with an extremely small budget, conducted by a plural and democratic collective and sought to include in its construction process the most diverse segments, with humility. WSF 2018 showed that no one will feel included or included in the WSF process if they cannot bring their own truth and way of being.

The WSF 2018 points out ways in the anti-capitalist, anti-fascist, anti-racist, anti-patriarchal, anti-sexist and anti-colonialist struggle. We need to encourage the radicalization of our discourses in the fight against patriarchy and racism and in the defense of democracy. And fight against coloniality within our own international solidarity relations.

Yes, the WSF 2018 had a strong political expression, with the event with former President Lula, the multiple manifestations of the black and women's movements and the denunciation of the murder of Marielle Franco, several courts, and more than 20 assemblies and meetings convergence (2 related to environmental justice and climate change). Could these convergences have a greater expression in the WSF and in society? They could, and we must work for that.

The WSF 2018 finally leaves us some “lessons” about the convergence and decision-making processes. It was not an easy, but very rich dynamic, including on the concept itself and the practice of consensus. Diversity was the starting point for us to look for ways to strengthen our common struggles, without being an impediment to the search for common actions. Even without unanimity, decisions could be made, starting with the decision to hold the WSF in Salvador. It was also up to the leaders of the movements to make decisions regarding their own struggles. Disagreements became alerts, guidelines, strategies and special care on certain issues ...

We hope that the IC, together with the movements in the current dialogue, can find ways of overcoming and renewing its ways of doing politics, and being up to the dynamics of the peoples and the gravity of the planet's situation.

Damien Hazard, Vida Brasil / Bahian Collective of FSM