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16/09/2020  Input45

A concrete proposal
Chico Whitaker
I believe that we all agree with the success of the meeting of the organizations and social movements invited by the WSF IC for a dialogue on how to face the great challenges of today's world and what is the usefulness of the WSF to help us to overcome them.@1 Congratulations to everyone who has organized the meeting and led it. I would like to greet Hector in particular for two of his interventions, initially clarifying the meaning of what we were doing and in the end stating that FSM cannot be treated as an end in itself but as an instrument at the service of our movements and organizations.

But let us not deceive ourselves: it has not yet been a dialogue but the presentation of what each one thinks and information about what each one does. The number of participants, which required everyone to speak only once and for no more than three minutes, prevents the issues from deepening and exchanges. Roberto Savio recalled this, as he has always said referring to our IC meetings. But it has been important that everyone who could speak has done it with tranquility, even if we know that there are many divergences between a certain number of IC members.

It is on this point that I would allow me to make a suggestion, so that the dialogues are real and that there are no misunderstandings that divide – which is exactly the inverse of what the FSM seeks since its inception: the construction of unity - in the diversity and with autonomy and mutual respect - and the construction of articulations between the actions in the solidarity of those who want to change the world.@2 Specifically, my suggestion is that we take more advantage of the instruments of virtual inter-communication that the pandemic made us discover and learn to use, as we are already doing with the working groups towards the next FSM.
These "virtual meeting rooms" have long been used by those who dominate the world. When the number of participants is smaller, they open up the possibility of real dialogue and deepening of what is being discussed.  What I am proposing now is that we open them up to discuss issues that are demanding enlightening debates, calmly and timely for that. There are low-cost or even free applications that can be operated in a decentralized manner and allow us, without dislocations in long and expensive trips, to stay more than two hours to discuss, each one speaking several times as much as necessary.

I make this proposal based also on my experience with the colleagues of the Brazilian anti-nuclear movement. People from all over the country meet regularly every week from more than four months ago, resulting in many initiatives and deepening the discussion of strategies and alliances to look for. And we will start doing it globally, in the preparation of our thematic social forum, the Antinuclear Global Social Forum, the fifth edition of which was scheduled to take place this year in Argentina.

There are FSM topics that are demanding internal discussions of the IC, so that we know exactly what we see behind the words we use in the written texts we exchange.@3 There are differences of understanding that arose on the eve of the reunion, such as about extractivism, as well as other well-old ones that resurface now, such as that of the WSF's relationship with political parties.

But there are many who are relatively new and already cause misunderstandings,@4 such as the concept of a political subject, which some use frequently. Or the notion of open space, which has come from the creation of the FSM. Or the notion of diversity.

Or strategy. @5 About strategy, what is it? of whom? movements? FSM? how can the FSM expand into those areas of the world where it has not arrived? Demonstration of this is the rather smaller number of participants from Asia and Africa in our Saturday meeting.

What does it mean to prioritize issues @6 in a process where there is no single direction that defines what is the most important? In this case, what should do those who act on things that are "not important"?

Are the consensus mode of decisión the best one to be used? @7

What do we mean by political action or politics itself? @8

And considering those who want to change the Charter of Principles,@9 what concrete changes do they propose? How to legitimize such changes, since the IC that has adopted it is no longer the same?
I believe that we must begin this kind of group discussion @9– if there are many interested in one topic we can divide-us by language, and then put the conclusions together.

We are risking large divisions and breakups if we maintain our intercomucation only through written texts,@10 which not all have time and ability to write.
Right now, in the post-encounter, we see the multiplication of texts, long and in several languages, of one of our companions who has that skill and time. It seems that she feels obliged to comment, on behalf of all her supporters, everything others say contrary or not to her point of view. She has absolutely right to do so. But sometimes she judges the opinion of others as inadmissible. Other times she edulcorates her critics to show that she is willing to dialogue. But she always does it from above, like a teacher who knows everything as well as what's good and what's bad.

In one of these texts she accuses so incredibly and with so many falsehoods what she calls the "forum fathers" that I myself have concluded – as those who now enter in relation with the FSM and come to read her texts will do – that these gentlemen, even if they have created something good, are very bad and malicious people.@11 And referring to one of her disagreements with them, she ends up showing what she means by dialogue: "At that point, they have clearly lost." In this case, I feel even a little anger in her way of saying things, as if she had been attained by the fatal disease of the left: to make an error on who is the enemy.
No one has so much time to answer point by point everything she says, which will necessarily be long,@12 preventing us from discussing other challenges, such as the one humanity is already facing with a global machine production whose pace is leading to a level of predation of nature that puts at risk the very living conditions on our planet. What awaits us in the post pandemic, after an experience like this, that the world has never lived? Which will be our awareness of what is essential and what is superfluous in our living conditions? And how we will see the way to stop the mechanisms that create social inequality, that the pandemic has made so clearly visible in countries as Brazil?

Anyhow, it will be berter that we start talking in "virtual rooms," where we can meet face-to-face, in mutual respect, looking to build and not destroy. I have no illusions that there won't be so many misunderstandings.@13  But there are more people who want real dialogue than those who would rather expurgate those who disagree. For me, it is enough the destruction that we are sadly experiencing in Brazil with the action of the criminal group that assumed power.