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( automatic translation from spanish to be revised)

WSF AS AN OPEN SPACE FOR MEETINGS - INSTITUTED  CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK WSF - WAYS OF SPEAKING ABOUT WSF 
Pierre George

A / WHAT DOES "THE WSF IS A SPACE " MEAN? 

/ INSTITUCION DEL WSF  - DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SPACE AND BODY

C / ON WAYS OF SPEAKING OF THE WSF

 

A / Please, what does 'the WSF is a space' mean? That doesn't make any sense, apart from the fact that 'space' has different meanings in different languages, nothing is strictly said with this statement.

If it has a meaning, the words have a meaning! The meaning that a space has to do with the concept of place, area, container, where people meet, “ open space for encounters ” etc. This concept is clear and simple,… .. and it is radically different from the concept of subject and actor -

Then to affirm that FSM is space , a political space indeed, ideologically located by values ​​and generic goals prescribed of its participants (widely described in the WSF principles), and instrumented with "forms of generic participation", which participating entities may or may not , to use, with determination and creativity, to advance in its political goals, to affirm that the WSF is also a process of intercommunication, a collective tool… .. it is to affirm that the WSF is not a “body”  , a body with a deliberative process, representation, delegation, "spokesperson", commitment of members, essential things for a body to be formally collective actor .

 To affirm that the WSF is not conceptually an actor, it is not to depolitize the WSF space, it brings with it the concrete idea that the actors are not the WSF space, but are IN the WSF space : There are two categories of actors in the WSF context: -

1 / the facilitating groups that make facilitation decisions : build, sustain, implement a particular manifestation, in the form of implementation, of the vision of the WSF process, in a certain place and time : now we are concerned with the implementation of the FSM 2021 process) 

  • This implementation manifests itself in the form of a space, a process, a tool that is collectively sustained, so that it is perceptible by participating entities, and where they understand that they can “do things” in a self-organized way (acts of participation using forms participation - that at the moment there is only one: “organize self-organized dialogue activity).
  • These facilitating collectives produce and maintain the common space mentioned in the first principle for a certain time, without them there is no common space
  • These groups do not claim to be political actors, they limit themselves in this regard to be consistent with their role, which is to make a space available and not to substitute, or compete politically with, the participating entities in this same space.

2 / the participating entities are the political actors that come to the space to combine participation acts (such as “organizing activities”, or “announcing action initiatives”, or “producing news”) according to their participation goals -  take political decisions     if they are going to articulate that such another group, if they are going to animate an articulation with, if they are going to sign a declaration etc. 

  • The "open meeting space" provides Two guarantees for participants
    • The guarantee is that the simple fact of coming to the WSF space is not a compromise.The conceptual framework of the principles, with principles 1 and 6, explicitly states that the WSF is space, and that no one can speak on behalf of all the participants in this space. Then no one will be authorized to speak on behalf of the person / or entity for the simple fact that he / she has come in the space - It is a very important guarantee if one is placed from the point of view of the participants. In the forum space There is no implicit political commitment . all acts of participation are voluntary and explicit (fill out a form and sign a document) 
    • Another guarantee is that of openness (open space): the activities are public in general, and to enter the space you  only have to declare to accept the principles or recognize yourself as participants in this process, which is a clearer awareness of what is the FSM.  There is a posteriori control   1 / it is exercised by the facilitating group to limit political participation: rejecting meetings whose content is not respecting principles, 2 it is in the form of a controversy initiated by other participants alleging inconsistency between real behavior and the prescribed generic goals and values of participant 
  • A practical semantic coherence of this vision of the WSF as a non-actor is that the WSF is not presented as an actor subject to action verbs  in the way of speaking of the WSF by those who promote participation in the forum (the narrative of participation ), since it is a space that does not act 
    • A practice accessible to all and very specific is to pay attention to the way people express themselves about the forum - Depending on whether in their sentences they are treating it as a container space or a tool process where actors do things, or if they are treating it as a global actor subject to action verbs, and without mentioning these collective processes of participants, the same text is not available, the same forum is not described 

By specifying what type of space we want, this is one of the possibilities that it is a global political subject

  • Nuances and no change of conceptual framework  If "there may be several nuances of implementation of the concept" open space of encentros ", according to what its facilitator group responsible for this implementation will determine, in co-responsibility with the IC, if it is a manifestation of the" process of the WSFs ", and in accordance with the principles that speak of an" open space for encounters. "So they continue to be with an explicit identity of" space "- not of actor or subject.
  • Everyone can agree that it would be better if there were more articulations and more actions produced or reinforced in the meetings organized in the forum space, and focus on implementing together forms of participation that stimulate this without imposing it . This is the perspective of concrete cooperation that may interest all members of the IC in the current framework of the "open space for meetings", whatever their long-term vision of whether or not they want to "" actuate the WSF "as such.
  • What would an FSM Space of action be? To date, no one has clearly described what would be, and what would be the mechanisms for a “space for action” or an “actor forum” to function concretely, that is, something other than the “open space for meetings” of the current principles the presence of candidate mechanisms is necessary so that the differences between the two conceptual frameworks can be appreciated
  • (See considerations in the comment here:  http://openfsm.net/projects/dibco1/dibco1-2020-discusionfsm-input26-comment1-es/#3 ) 


Diversity in space and scale of space:

  •  "meeting space", with plural meetings, means that no meeting occupies the entire space and brings together all the participants as an "assembly of all the participants", "as a plenary" - it is not seen in the name of which "promise of unit "it could lead tens of thousands of people" almost all the participants present at a given moment ", to come in the same place. (a stadium?)   so that they put themselves in a situation of "implicit consent" to hear in a super assembly statements that they supposedly, either by their applause or their silence, "approve."  
  • sta situation inconsistent with the principle 6 peude to smaller forums in processes where there like a thousand participants, and sometimes appear inconsistent notion of "plenary" of the forum. , a context where a text can be approved by consent and without signing on behalf of everyone, which goes against principle 6. 
  • As an alternative to the mechanically centralizing format of Assembly, the Agora format, with free simultaneous and decentralized discussions, allows many participants to be welcomed without trying to produce the approval of a common speech. Long lists of signers carry much more weight and lasting visibility than applause   

How to relate the two concepts - "FSM space" and "global subject"?

  • There are people who say that the notion of global subject does not seem so useful, for others it is very evocative and motivating
    • 1 / There are people who claim that the two concepts of can be identified - This seems an insoluble, unworkable conceptual contradiction . Those who speak and act in the WSF process are the participating entities. Wanting to "make the WSF space speak / act" would mean considering it as a "body" with collective protocols that will surely bring about the fact of deliberating, then delivering a speech on behalf of the space and can only bring contortions and problems, which put the horizontal, common, non-imposing open space for meetings that proposes and guarantees the vision of the WSF communicated by current principles.
    • 2 / There are people who say that the WSF process can and should be implemented in a way that better helps those who want it to build this global subject , which cannot be anything other than "something like a network, a coalition of actors", and that it is different from the WSF, that it is not a subject but a space- This seems a realistic vision, which does not break with the current consent consensus, and this vision must be made explicit by those who are in this perspective, to avoid ambiguous formulations and assume the vision of the space forum and focus on finding better impementations of its "functions" (which are defined in principle 1)  
  •  (That the forum be a global political subject) This  is the decision we made at the CI of Porto Alegre in January of this year.
    • There has not been a focused and sustained discussion with a round of conversation, clear and a verbalized, applauded, and later written consensus formulation, which is the historical protocol for making decisions in the IC, to decide that the forum should be seen in advance as a global subject
    • There are (few) people who have mentioned this, but not in the framework of a decision-making discussion. Here is the transcript of a two-day discussion of Porto Alegre:  http://openfsm.net/projects/ic-extended/poa20-202001-reunion-ci-transcripcion-del-video-dia25-v0
    • we can focus on this difference between space and body for a moment

 

B / INSTITUCION DEL WSF  - DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SPACE AND BODY  

In the history of the WSF as a collective phenomenon there is a triple institution -

  • 1 / institution through the charter of principles of a process concept - FSM space,
  • 2 / institution of a body that cares for it at the conceptual level, the IC and
  • 3 / recognition by the IC of "bodies" - the facilitating collectives ", who are responsible for a specific implementation of a WSF manifestation. The IC validating the proposal establishes a legitimacy of" facilitating collective "but does not direct them, it is a co-responsibility in relation to each implementation of the space-process

1 / the WSF is conceptualized as a “space-process” :

  • A space is a delimited place where actors meet, they are "present" in this space. If there is an intercommunication process associated with coming to this space, they are "participants" in this process. The space can be delimited by an access protocol, in the case of the FSM space-process, it is a self-evaluation in relation to a reference system (the values ​​and goals of generic participants in the process associated with this space such as described and the fact of accepting some operating principles of the process)
  • The WSF is not instituted as an actor - the instituting document (the letter of principles) conceptually defines the WSF as space and process. Furthermore, Article 6 establishes that no one can speak on behalf of all the participants present in this process-space - that is, in a synthetic way, speak on behalf of the WSF. A space does not speak, while an actor does speak
  • The wording of the letter is generally very coherent with this , with formulations in each article that highlight actors that are not “the WSF”, except for article 7 that confuses the WSF with the “collective facilitator of the event”, and on the entire article 10 that presents the WSF as an actor that has values ​​(it is necessary to do with those who wrote it the anecdotal reason for this exception, where it would have been enough to add at the beginning of the paragraph “the participants in the WSF process”, to have a text Clear)

2 / the IC, by approving this letter as its first collective manifestation, is instituted as a facilitating body of the WSF space-process (although there is no reference text that makes it explicit) 

  • To date, the manifestations of the “WSF process” have been 13 face-to-face events, and a global week of action  that can be called WSF2008 in some way (not called by the IC but by a list of organizations). The 2021 context invites the CI and the Mexican facilitator collective 2021 to implement a manifestation in 2021 of the WSF space-process with a strong online component.
  • A body is a group of actors who have a membership, and have a collective capacity through internal protocols to make collective decisions in a certain area that has to do with the legitimacy instituted and then perceived of this body in a larger context in the period. that your institution follows.
    • The electoral body in a political community is intended to elect representatives - Parliament is a representative body whose purpose is to decide laws and budget in a represented community (nation or other). The IC is a self-instituted facilitating body that makes decisions by consensus / consent (unwritten rule) to take care of the “space-process of the WSFs” the WSFs being specific manifestations of the “conceptual” WSF process space, implemented by a specific facilitating collective .
  • The IC was not instituted as a political body with general competence , but in relation to the WSF process , as a “facilitating community” of civil society entities that think it is important to develop the WSF process space so that it is an instrument to influence civil society entities in the social and political reality of the world
    • It is a community that does not have to be formally and politically representative of the potential participants in the WSF space-process. It was self-instituted under the encouragement of the collective facilitating the Porto Alegre 2001 demonstration, which genetically means that there may be a different level of appropriation of its role within the IC itself. It was instituted  to take care of a “common good” that is the WSF space-process, as a concept and above all as a possibly massive political phenomenon through its various implementations.
  • The appropriation of this facilitating role is diverse, the IC has taken little time to formalize its tasks and has not produced something significant in ten years (see tasks:  http://openfsm.net/projects/wsfic_fsmci/casa13-wsfic-tasks-tareas -taches-cifsm / # ES ) (see links 31  http://openfsm.net/projects/dibco1/dibco1-2020-discusionfsm-input31-es )
    • There is an irony, that the lack of focus and visible energy in the facilitating tasks of the IC, (such as having a website of the IC, maintaining a newsletter about the process, exploring new participation formats that are relevant for participants etc)   that It delegitimizes the IC and the WSF process in the eyes of potential participants ,  and it exasperates them   to a large extent due to the capture of attention span in the IC in debates of principle without explanation about the nature of the WSF and the IC .
    • And in the end this inactivity of the IC in its legitimate tasks, this silence in generating and disseminating a narrative of concrete participation creates an exasperation of participants and   becomes an argument used by these same renovators   who blur the IC of their tasks promoting a debate on of the FSM conceptual model without cooperating in the implementation of the current one. 
    • It should be noted that the "renovating" action plan outlined to date is focused on the IC and is not interested in the self-organized and decentralized processes of participation in the WSF space, for the participants, participants who are all their wealth and its true political potential of the WSF. (see  http://openfsm.net/projects/dibco1/dibco1-2020-discusionfsm-input37-es points @ 8 to @ 15) 
    • It seems that the WSF is reduced in the IC or around the IC, to the dramatization of IC meetings while the conceptual framework appropriate by other facilitating groups and by participants produces most of the reality of the WSF process   
  • Some interventions on the political legitimacy of the IC and on the level of compliance with its facilitating tasks
  • The deep reason for making decisions by consensus in the IC on facilitating matters is because the space-process is unique and common, implemented by a political diversity of facilitators and for a political diversity of participants, which, although it is contained located in the framework of values ​​and goals instituted by the letter of principles, is still very large.
  • The deeper reason not to have political expression of the IC body while facilitator , is that "in principle" is not sustainable
    • 1 / due to the reality of political diversity among the member entities of the IC and
    • 2 / because it would be contradictory with the message that the WSF is an unrepresentable space, misusing, in the eyes of the participants, the questionable facilitating legitimacy of the IC, to repeat a super classic representative scenario, to put oneself at the political vanguard of the process that has been created, behavior with which the concept of space-process WSF intends to radically break.
  • In the WSF conceptual framework, "open space for meetings", all political content is produced by participating entities, deliberating using the generic form "self-organized meeting". with its many variants from workshop to assembly

3 / The WSF conceptual framework is clear and simple -

  • A / The WSF is a political process space, but it is not an actor and it is normal for it to have “no overall political voice”  - all political expressions in the WSF space come from articulations of participating entities that are the only political actors in the context of the forum, and those who come use the forum to advance their goals
  • B / The IC is a facilitating body, or a facilitating community, whose essential task is to make the process more relevant for its participants, and develop it in the world, and it is not a relevant political body that would also give a signal of distortion with nature of the forum that it intends to take care of
    (see text CI political body or facilitating community   http://openfsm.net/projects/dibco1/dibco1-2020-discusionfsm-input31-es )
  • C / The legitimacy of the IC is to fulfill well the tasks of the facilitating community that it assigns itself - it is not about transforming the IC into a parliament of participating movements to escape the responsibility of these facilitating tasks, and simplify it to zero by taking a leadership role political. It is true that if one sees the IC as a political leader, everything goes back to a "democratic discussion" in a kind of parliament,    using the vote, etc., but we are in another conceptual model and it is no longer the WSF
  • D / There is a history and an accumulation of the implementation of the WSF principles in successive manifestations of the WSF vision, and each manifestation of the process does not start from scratch, but what is the identity of this process?
  • E / the FSM process has functions and not objectives . A facilitating group may have objectives in taking responsibility to implement a manifestation of the process, but cannot instrumentalize this implementation for these objectives, it has to comply with the functions and generic principles as well.

If one accepts this conceptual framework, even if he is not convinced that it is the best , but understands that it is the one that is the object of current viable consensus in the IC,   several practical consequences come.

  • 1 / Recognize that FSM Espacio is the current consensus conceptual framework and make it explicit when one, as a representative of a CI member entity, expresses himself in discussions about the WSF, with the possibility of also making explicit alternative views
  • 2 / focus on the possibilities of practical implementation within the framework of the current consensus, and there is much to be done - how to implement fsm 2021 (see facilitation text and forms of participation:   http://openfsm.net/projects/dibco1/ dibco1-2020-discusionfsm-input36-en ) 
  • 3 / have a way of describing the WSF that is coherent with the nature of the WSF space where actors participate and not of the “WSF actor” where the patrons disappear - and this is manifested very concretely in the construction of the phrases that refer to the forum : not "actorizing" the forum subject to verbs of actions that are in fact those of participants, or of the facilitating group  
    (see also the text "functions and  confusions" http://openfsm.net/projects/dibco1/dibco1-2020-discusionfsm -input22-es )
  • We must be aware that, for those who want to change things in the WSF conceptual framework,  taking the attitude of seeking to "negotiate a compromise" implies coming up with explicit proposals, because there is the challenge of the conceptual inconsistencies that these commitments can introduce.

For example, it is difficult to pretend that the WSF is a process space and truly a collective actor “at the same time . "Giving a voice to forum space" is a contradiction in terms, unless this can be reformulated and clarified with collective processes, which may be compatible with a vision of the non-actor forum.

 

C / ON WAYS OF SPEAKING OF THE WSF

1 / It is recommended for a quality debate on the WSF conceptual framework, not to use expressions "actorizing the forum" alone , and rather to use them at the end of a clear explanation of how this global "actorizing" formulation may or may not be a comfortable way to designate a " macro effect", diverse and decentralized produced by a large number of interactions between participants in the WSF space

  • As an example, a paragraph of the document “a necessary dialogue” can be pointed out ( http://openfsm.net/projects/dibco1/dibco1-2020-discusionfsm-input28-es   point @ 2)
    • We declare that we do not see any contradiction between the WSF as a meeting space, a space for the articulation of actions and an actor on the international scene . We understand how rich the experiences of dialogue, elaboration of proposals and construction of common strategies that social forums have provided during these 20 years have been. There are innumerable networks and articulations that emerged in the spaces of the Social Forum and innumerable proposals elaborated and implemented throughout these decades, many of them, becoming public policies implemented by governments on various continents.
    • The second part of the paragraph is a description of decentralized mechanisms that in the end produce an apparent collective macro effect "actor forum" that is mentioned in the first sentence. It allows us to understand that, in the vision of those who wrote this paragraph, the WSF “as such” is not considered an actor. and they are not questioning the current consensus of forum space. For this you have to be very explicit. If only the first sentence is considered, it is a statement without explanation.
  • Better to have formulations that are as explicit as possible in debates of principles

2 / An objective unconscious or semi-conscious manifestation of the way of seeing the forum is reflected in the “ distorted way of speaking of the WSF” - that is,

  • 1 /  speak of the WSF as if it were an actor, as a subject of action verbs, while in the conceptual consensus it is not,
  • -2 / speaking of the IC as if it were a “political body” -, while in the consensus it is not.

This mode of speaking is something like a denial of the current consensus . It is worthwhile to be interested, for the psychological effects of this distorted way of speaking of the WSF-

  • A / This generates in the person speaking a focus on a frustration that the WSF is not considered an actor in the IC consensus, and this generates a blurring of the paths of practical cooperation in the IC in the existing consensus, where there is much what to do together
  • B / in the person who is new to the WSF process and listens to it, probably that this distorted way of speaking of the WSF:
    • 1 / It  generates a "promise", impossible to fulfill, that there is a "sister FSM", often confused with a more political IC, which as an actor is going to help "its" participant,    or is it going to generate, in a magical way? "the great unit", (this will be a cause of frustration). It does not generate the proposal of a forum, a collective tool that must be learned to use, it is not didactic   
    • 2 / a distance generates perplexity or discomfort,   “these people who are well involved in the fSM process, are even in the IC and seem to want the forum to be an actor, and why is it no longer? So there is a problem, a tension, a division in this WSF, what is the resistance to this? "
    • This mode of speaking refers to an IC divided on fundamental principles and does not refer to an IC that works in consensus in a great field of possible cooperation, and concrete, which is the implementation of current principles , in parallel with having more quality debates. long term on whether to exit the current framework or not
  • C/las personas que conocen el proceso FSM y están de acuerdo con el marco del foro espacio, perciben este modo de hablar del “FSM actorizado”,  como una distorsión  cansativa, una produccion de confusion  pesada , una contra didactica  .  No es su manera de describir el FSM  y  ademas no tiende a  producir ideas contributivas a la  implementacion de los principios actuales de foro espacio . 
    • This becomes problematic if in a situation of "IC representation" such as "report of a meeting organized by the IC  ", this distorted way of speaking "WSF as an actor" is the only one that is used, and that is not there is the effort to use in a sufficiently visible way a way of speaking that is “coherent” with the “non-actorizing” vision of the WSF, showing that this current consensus is taken into account