• forum connect session5 transcription

last modified June 20, 2021 by facilitfsm



BA - EN ES - FR - PT

FORUM CONNECT SESSION 5 8 JUNE 2021 - https://join.wsf2021.net/activities/9182

  •  Each intervention is numbered  @001  to @035  and the time corresponds to the video and In each intervention are outlined and numbered @1 @2 @3 ; etc  the main ideas expressed  
  • so references can be made this way @005-1 @032-5 etc

 FC5 Connecting our WSF facilitation experiences

Video  https://youtu.be/VYwOpbnFL8I   https://our-global-u.org/oguorg/en/forum-connect/

@001 PIERRE... preparation some standard questions( http://openfsm.net/projects/forum-connect/forum-connect-session5-preparation) that have been shared with all panelists (  and that they can address as they want in their testimonies. So now going over to our first panelist Uddhab. Uddhab has been organizer of the Nepal social forum in 2018, he has been in the international council of the world social forum since 2007. He is with NIGD (https://join.wsf2021.net/?q=es/organizations/6870 ) and VK ( https://join.wsf2021.net/organizations/3924 )  and is also with an organization called SADED south asia dialogues for ecology and democracy,(https://join.wsf2021.net/organizations/5530 )  So over to you Uddhab for eight minutes. 

@002 UDDHAB  Thank you Pierre. Thank you everyone for joining this very important event Am i audible?  I have very limited time definitely, everyone has. So, quickly, for example testimony you refer to, yes definitely, we were the one in South Asia who organized the latest forum. It was 2018 march 8-10. It was the time, at least in South Asia, when Modi almost completed his first inner, and he was contesting for second one, and that is how it was difficult for South Asia to mobilize civil society etc the way Modi tried to control civil society movement. In Nepal, It was a time, for example we just passed through kind of very long political transition. We have had constitution in 2015, and when we try to organize that very forum,  we need to understand kind of Nepali political scenario. 

Most of our political parties belong to either the social democrat or communist, and the election we had just before our forum was, resulting for example both extreme left and moderate left, who could merge together and get majority in the parliament. They were having 64 % seat in the parliament, and the opposition was social democrat, but opposition was not very much organized at that time, because the party just lost election, and communist or left-wing, both radical and moderate,@1 parties were not much prepared for the kind of mobilization in the name of social forum. 

I remember, one of our conveners to organize south asia forum earlier, while we were planning, before Dhaka organized this SASF in 2011 ,one of the conveners shared for example after having heard me in  meetings and etc, he shared saying that “oh it seems to be very anti-american, and if i try to be much involved in this very forum, then maybe my political clout would be in danger. “That is how maybe I can withdraw from that very forum”. That is how  this very forum was taken into consideration by Nepali politicians, and definitely, @2 i think, as in every country, including in Bangladesh, Nepal, this it is very difficult for people to separate civil society and political actor. They are political actor, and also lead the civil society, for example, I think many of us know for example, one who leads civil society may be appointed the next day as ambassador by the party, and he or she must be paying this party for party and membership. That is why, since left was in the government,  only 25 percent or some something like them were actively participating in that forum, having a mentality.

Number one: could be for example, maybe it is anti american, and maybe my government will raise this voice, because it may create kind of confusion, not only US but also the west. Number two: maybe my government because the left is in government: maybe my government will mobilize for many of the issues raised by the social forum.

I think these two things were in their mind, that is why they were not much mobilized at that time, i should frankly say, and again i said, the social democrats, they just lost the election. That is why they were also not in the mood to participate, but even if that was the case , the kind of preparation we had, the kind of population we side with, in Nepal, the forum was a success, and a huge number of youth participation was there. We have already reported to this IC WSF and etc through writing and other things, i think i should not go into detail,(this see at the end of this intervention ) but now for example the situation has changed. 

So in South Asia it's as difficult as in 2018 or 2017, I think Modi is consolidating power further. I think Meena is there to mention this thing, but in Nepal you see, in a three years period, many changes have happened. For example a left party who was having majority with say 64 percent is now split into at least three or four factions, and the very reason for this split could be kind of deliberation this government could not do, the kind of delivery that government could not do, and in between, you could see kind of pandemic also.

And as I mentioned in my preparation notes. (http://openfsm.net/projects/forum-connect/forum-connect-session5-preparation),@3 I think this is very right time for people like us to mobilize the kind of agenda we took in the name of a social forum, take an example of the kind of development model we try to criticize.

Definitely in Nepal also as i mentioned, yes western model of development and its structure etc could be the best one, that is why we may not criticize much, rather we follow this model ,that is why we have had anxiety, and i have explained kind of anxiety , my political clout had about america development etc. 

But you see, thanks to this pandemic, which tried to expose everything of development, or modernization or westernization, or whatever we feel like.

For example, take an example of America. I quite often refer to New York city was very happy to have 1000 ICU beds; what infrastructure they have had, and this pandemic also challenged the kind of modern goods and material, we try to popularize in the name of development ,for example road. Road for what if you can't go out at least for one year, i'm speaking from home, everyone is speaking from home, you can't board in the plane, you can't use the railway, you can't use car, you can't use any metal, or thing, then what's the use of this?, why extractivism? why more and more extractivism in the name of development?

Rather for example distance, how  this social distancing is convenient for the people, meaning rural life, meaning the life most of the nepalese are now enjoying, why we feel like we have a cosmopolitan city and etc .

I think this pandemic has raised a couple of issues,  against this modernization, or against this development model, popularized by world bank IMF, which we often criticize, and also also expose kind of extractivism, that is why i think not only in Nepal, but also in south asia .

For example, yes definitely, i could read well yesterday about one proposal by Modi government in a it 800 million people be offered free food, that may be fairly okay proposal, if it is the case, Meeina may explain about it.

But if you talk about Nepal yes we have left government, but huge amount of budget, and i am finishing, huge amount of budget is allocated for infrastructure, and others, but not a single penny is offered to those who were told by the government to remain at home, if they are not getting salary, if they are not getting work, then how could they survive, and why government is not concerned about those working class, these are the concerns to be discussed, i think in the future.

That is why for me, yes definitely, my left and even global comrades, who were talking about kind of weak structure of world social forum or etc,@4 i think this is the right time for us to expose the things we generally try to expose, in a very mild tune, that is why i feel like i should be engaged more in such kind of forum.

Thank you so much i think i have spent my eight minutes, but many things but i try to yeah thank you.

intervention of uddhab in salvador de bahia March 2018 http://openfsm.net/projects/ic-extended/ci-salvador201803-notas-video-discusion-17-18-marzo-futuro-del-fsm-coloreada intervention 10 

10/ 27 mn Uddhab from Nepal : why talking future of social  forum after coming all the way from organizing nepal social forum and being here for 5 days,  I should say that we have a bright future of social forum in the world. Why am I saying so? For that we have to give up kind of notion that we have to have a perfect forum. Forum should not be considered as parallel to the WEF and we should not be using government money capitalist money.  If we try to do with a sense of perfectness, we are in difficulty, having said that, we should not forget a kind of recipes.of resistance this.resistance movement, will not be kind of perfect, alwose.The kind of enthusiasm I could see at least in Bahia, within local people, and I should tell, from Nepal as well, if we speak of perfectness, we are losing ground, as in South Asia. Because, for example, the forum in Mumbai was a real success, and now something like: “If we get failed then what will happen?” So we not do anything. That is how a process is dying, even in Pakistan. If we keep sense of perfectness, I think the forum would die. But if we continue, then I think there is future. In Nepal, also we keep trying to have social forum, and eventually we organize, and I could say it was very successful: 25 hundred people having the slogan “another word is possible”. So that could come to the forum. what are Nepal, that is how I think we are popularizing, and we should not give up, saying not to have perfectness resistance movement continue and always finish, whether people com or not, there should be continuity. without Kurdistan has a social forum, without imagine I think this forum will continue..

@003 PIERRE yeah thank you Uddhab, there will be discussion and about again how to organize the forum and the perspectives for next next steps. 

So now we go to Meena. Meena has been an organizer of the Mumbai social forum, she is president of the working people's charter,(https://workingpeoplescharter.in/ )  a nationwide network for labor organization in india, working with informal labor. She is a labor activist, writer, researcher, and historian. She has played a key role in the social forum process in India, also she's co covenor of the social justice cluster of the Asia Europe People's Forum. Over to you Meena, as the organizer of Hyderabad social forum 2016, and facilitator of mumbai social forum 2004.

@004 MEENA  thank you Pierre Hello everybody! First of all, @1i was not the organizer of anything, because these are all very collective processes, and it has particularly been in India quite collective. So I would be very wary of using the word  the organizer. co Facilitator facilitators amongst others, yeah so yeah. 

So just to start with, i'll come to that about the methodologies that we were following in India at least, and some of my thoughts, with regard to what happened in the past, because now within retrospect, there are many things that come to mind. 

Actually Uddhab  i'm not going to speak about the political situation in India, because if we are speaking about the forum, as you well know, whichever government is in power, it could be a right-wing government, it would be a left-wing government, it could be a social democratic party in power, but for different reasons,@2 whichever may be the party in power, we would still hold the forum there, in that country.

The right-wing government will oppose it, maybe, and may not,, may not give the permissions necessary to hold it, maybe centrist and the left governments might give might be more willing to allow us to meet, for instance, but i think that whichever government may be in power, the whole, the slogan of the social forum “another world is possible”

Because there is no government I think right now, no country anywhere, that can say that they have been able to establish a society of complete equality and based on democracy, and with full social justice accessible to people.

So, given that, wherever we are, I think this is a global event, in which solidarity, in which the issues and problems that people face everywhere, we come together as social movements, basically as social movements, to try and get an understanding of the kind of society we want to build, the kind of society we have, and where we want to go. 

So, in that sense, the social forum is different, and wherever it has succeeded, it has been where the focus has been on these issues, you know, @3 kind of zooming out to see the broader picture, and that in my view was also the charm of the forum, in a sense, that we were able to “zoom out”, and look at…,  okay if we somebody's working on labor, somebody is working on patriarchy, somebody is working on caste, somebody else is working on trade, somebody is talking about capitalism, somebody is talking about socialism, and whatever socialism has been seen in various parts, how did that work, what it means 

So, all these people coming together and finding solidarity, is i think the secret of the success and the charm of the forum, and its benefit and usefulness as well

So, to go back to Hyderabad in 2016 (http://openfsm.net/projects/india-and-wsf/indiaandwsf-june6-organizing-meeting-for-convention-on-dignity-diversity-democracy-hyderabad-july2016 ),  i really wouldn't like to say very much about Hyderabad, because @4 Hyderabad was more an attempt to kind of check whether there is an interest in the forum, and i can't say there wasn't, but it was very localized ,and i don't see it really as a success, it was in my view a failure, what we tried to do, to  try and get some interest, but all the various organizations across the country, they didn't pay attention, and it was more like” who is doing it”, rather than “what is being done” or what, because my idea was not to lead any process, but just to facilitate a gathering, where maybe some people might take the initiative, particularly new people, to take the initiative and build a new forum process, but that didn't happen.

So, I will go back to 2004, because that was an extremely successful forum, and there are reasons why I say it is successful. 

I don't see it as a success only because of the numbers of people who attended. There were over 100 000 delegates in the five-day social forum of 2004. Many well-known resistance movements, all sectors: farmers, workers, dalits, women, people working on culture, people working on sexuality, progressive religious groups, @5 all kinds of people were there in the forum, and they represented several tens of thousands of organizations, because naturally people don't have money to travel. India is a big country, not as big as brazil but it's still a big country to travel, and it's expensive. 

So not a lot of people came from one place, of small delegations from many, many, many people, so it's very diverse,@6 and there was a whole atmosphere, this is not something you tried to create, and people treated the forum as a kind of celebration of resistance, and people came with their drums and their music, they came with their ideas, they came with their slogans, they came with their posters.

So it wasn't that sense, this is not something that the organizer thought of doing, but you could see that's what people really wanted to do. The other thing is that many many sectors got together, had meetings, decided, you kno, like you were able to, if i'm working on labor, we were able to go to a meeting, in which there was an ILO person speaking, and there were others, who were speaking from various kinds of housing and anti-eviction movements, and there was in between a whole bunch of people working on different aspects of housing. 

@7 So it gave people, it gave social movements an ability and the possibility of linking with different kinds of movements, hearing the ideas there, and learning from it, building solidarity, and that i think was the really interesting thing about the forum So if somebody says “what happened in the forum, what came out of the forum?”,  this came out of the forum, but nobody really talks about it, and unfortunately it hasn't really been mapped, it is my plan to do it at some point, i guess before we all die, maybe we will, but this is something that really needs to be looked at.

All the various things, we have many stories from it, which i hope will come out, not i don't have time to talk about those stories right now. 

So what was the methodology that we followed?; why did this happen; and how did this happen; and why do i see it so; it's not just this the people who came to the forum. 

That was a success yes;  but the two years before that, the process of mobilizing for this forum was very very important, because what happened is that , all over the country, in not all the states, but majority of the states of India, people held @8 social forum meetings, which was,  what shall i say, special, in the sense that all kinds of political streams, all sectors of people, they came together in order to attend the meeting, and talk about”how to mobilize for Mumbai”.

So it was not as if they were having a very deep political discussion, what is your political ideology, what is my political ideology, or what is your movement? but coming together to do something together, @9 and that actually a socio-psychological,  what shall i say, a process was set in motion, where thousands of people met each other, even in the same locality who had never spoken to each other Some of them were deeply antagonistic to each other, but that simple coming together was really another success of the forum.

The other thing is the whole concept of the committees, so everything that happened in the forum was organized through committees, so there were like a media committee, there was a mobilizing committee, a content committee, a logistics committee,  committee, all kinds of committees, which also had a very lot of people, because they were drawn from a pool of an organizing committee. 

The only thing@10 , ( in order to participate in a committee) the only condition there was  :  you should give at least 40 percent of your time to the forum, until the forum is held. So they've gave that time to the process, and people work together, and that it was not built on “is there somebody from this sector and that sector and this sector” etc, but people work together. That also had it was an educative process, particularly for people from political parties, and people who have interest in building their political constituencies, because the sectarianism that arises out of that, which is i think across board people who are very deeply committed to political parties and political streams, they find it very difficult to rise above that.

But this did have that impact of, at least to some extent, building some bridges and making people a little more tolerant, a little more open, and the building of common spaces, even though i can't say that we really built it, but the attempt to build those common spaces was itself a process, that was very important.. 

Secondly the concept of consensus, as part of the decision making process. So if you were sitting in the meeting, which was this month of july, the june meeting you would sit the IOC ( india organizing committee)  would sit and have, sorry it was the @11working committee (? difference ?). 

There was an “organizing committee”, which was an open committee, anybody could come into that, and you could say that you could be part of the decision making process, so the rule was if you were there in the decisions that were taken there,  cannot be then upset by the next meeting, but of course it happened very often,@12 people said “no we want to revisit that”, so you would again revisit that, again you would try to find consensus, and if there's no consensus, no decision could be taken, so that despite that , being able to organize that despite the differences, despite the role of consensus, and because of the consensus being able to work together, i think was a great lesson in democracy for us. 

India is not very, does not have a very long democratic tradition, although we say that in our this, it is not part of the, so being having that sense of doesn't matter who they are, but every single person here has a right, every single organization that has a right. 

@13 The India organizing committee it was open only to organizations, that is also an important issue, which i'd just like to flag and i don't know how much time i've taken, ( you are just at your time, okay so take another minute or two very quickly) so why i think the principle of people representing organizations is important, is because there's a certain level of accountability. When you come into a process, that you can't just do whatever you like, you can't have individual prejudices, which you will take out on each other, because you have to report back to an organization, to which you're accountable, and i think that is very important part, which is part of the charter of the social forum.


@14 Charter is also a very important, shall i say, basis for coming together, which is which we don't think about so much, but it has a very solid basis in functionality.

The final point I'm going to make is the role of the IC. @15 In the entire process of building the social forum process in India, the role of the IC was quite minimal, because the IC took a decision. We were there until we took the decision was taken to hold it in India, and in Mumbai we held the asia social forum ( in hyderabad), and then the world social forum there, but at no time was there a kind of heavy-handed participation by the international council, at no point was there a feeling that the international council was a political leader of this process, not even an organizational leader of the process, not even a logistical leader of the process, @16 so that is also something i wanted to flag, because i think there's a lot of issues with giving an IC, which is not representative, which cannot be representative, giving a political role to that IC, would in my view, be extremely dangerous, because as long as people see, it as a friendly complementary body, there's not going to be a problem, with the moment the IC tries to be more than that, i think there are going to be hostilities amongst the people who are organizing the forum . ( note; you find here a text from Pierre about the nature of IC aligned with the opinion expressed by meena http://openfsm.net/projects/dibco1/dibco1-2020-discusionfsm-input31-en)

And finally, there is a new excitement about Mexico may 1st 2022, and this is something i feel is a very good opportunity for us, in Asia and in south asia, and in India, @17 and we must look for bringing in a whole bunch of new people, to revive the forum
In India We have a bunch of new people who are trying to, it's just gathering, they are going to do this and from on my part, i am very encouraging, i say most of us you should keep us on the advisory side, go ahead as young people, do it, make your own mistakes, do things away, and i feel that they will actually do a very very  good job, and i hope that in South Asia we will be able to do something together, try and build a new understanding.

@18 Nowadays in South Asia we do so little together, I hope that a social forum might be, could be, a tool in order to bridge that.  Thank you.

@005 PIERRE thank you Meena it's always very inspiring to hear you describe this experience,  which seems to have been a very strong experience for people like you, who dedicated those 40 plus percent of their time during two years, and you spoke about the charm of the forum, to zoom out to celebrate,  it was an educative process, so that's the bright side, of course, the question remains : it's now back, we are trying back to think and discuss about a possibility to restart the process, with the new generation,@1  15 years after that,  so it's also interesting to understand  what was not there, that could help other formats, creative formats to have the forum process exist during those 15 years 

Somehow this is a question i'm just putting for further discussion afterwards. Thank you.  Now we are over to Aamman. 

Aaman is from Bangladesh, he is a social activist and campaign organizer, based in Dhaka He advocates against unjust power relations manifested by corporate political nexus. He closely worked with South asia social forum, and other thematic and regional polycentric wsf processes, currently worked at Care bangladesh as director for extreme rural poverty program. He's an active member of Democratic budget movement https://www.facebook.com/democraticbudget , right to food movement, nature and life safeguard platform bangladesh, and working room on external debt etc. So Aaman over to you, eight minutes about your experience of facilitating south asia social forum 2011, and considerations for the future.

@006 AAMAN Thank you Pierre, and thank you all the panelists for your contribution and deliberation. It's my pleasure to, you know, share my experience that I have had, in the entire social forum process. I tried to, even at the very beginning I think, maybe from 2002 or 2003, i tried to observe some of the processes around world social forum.

And i first came across this Hyderabad forum, ( Asia social forum)  that was held in 2003 i guess, and also that was a kind of eye-opening kind of stuff, even when we joined in the Mumbai social forum, that was in 2004, and i think that was the first time world social forum held out of brazil right?; @1 And all  this format and process in itself was a kind of new thing to me, and many of us who also joined from Bangladesh, and other colleagues from South asia.


I think the first of all to me and i think i my other colleagues, even i see some of my colleagues are also attending here, as attendee, so i think they will also echo that, even this forum give us a kind of idea that, how some innovative formats process can engage diverse people, at least it tried, obviously it has its own limitations, i will come on that part later.

So, to me basically social forum , whether this is thematic or world social forum, or any south asian or asian kind of forum, I would see that this is the kind of civic space that helped all those movements, organic forces, and various civil society groups, to come upfront, and raise their concerns and voice. So i think this is the ultimate beauty of this forum number one.

Number two is that the format and process itself is innovative; particularly this polycentric forum; like we see in Karachi; like we see in other parts. I think in 2006; there are three four kind of regions; where we see this kind of polycentric forum,  also some kind of thematic forums, because within wsf, we see a bunch of thematic priorities : climate change, gender justice, rights of the lgbt, workers rights, so on and so forth.

So, everyone wants to have a kind of estate that those issues, their own issues are being discussed in these forums, but i see that even despite having all those kind of thematic issues, even in a social forum, at the world social forum level, or in other level, i see people might have some kind of limitations.

Regarding participation,@2  I see lots of participation from many corners, but to have a kind quality debate on some of the issues, maybe we are lagging behind

So, some of the thematic forums, i see that even this education forum at least, i try to follow some of the processes, that also gives the activists who are working for quality education, free education, universal education, so to them, i think that a kind of they get kind of a space to discuss critically on the issues around education.


But there are flip side as well.I think i will endorse what Meena said, that even i can recall, some of the processes that we followed, in the south  asia social forum in dhaka, that was held in 2011, and obviously for having this kind of big event, we need support from the state, luckily we got some insiders within the government during that time, which favored us to hold that event at a kind of public place, which was held in a university of Dhaka, that was one of the oldest university in this part of the globe, so even we got support from the other moderate, and left leaning parties, as well, some participation from the right wing, in different capacity, but not in their name. 

But anyway, that was in 2011, but the situation right now in Dhaka is lit is a bit different i was talking around this format, and around this organizing committee.

We see that even when you are in any committee, obviously your job is to focus on the events, even all the characteristics criteria to hold it in a peaceful manner, everyone is heard everyone should get a kind of proper attention  xyz, but i see that we,@2  somehow because of the nature of the organizing committee, the content that whether the even, the focus of the discussion, the quality of discussions are happening or not

So i see when even it's not only in south asia social forum, i think i also participate the Belem social forum, even i also try to organize some position over there, even coming from other part of the globe, but i got some support from other brazilian, and other latin, and other european, to hold some kind of discussion process, some creative initiatives over there, but the thing is that even whether in terms of audience that who is listening to this discussions, i see that people, many of the people, not all, but i see most of the people are roaming around, many of the tents are vacant, and this very less kind of audience in many of the tents, in many of the discussions process, even in the creative discussions, apart from the evening,  some of the even big evening cultural events, and over there, they are also even given some messages,@3  but apart from some a few interesting kind of events, i see that participation of audience, and that was missing element in my experience.

And so another concern that was also raised by Meena i would also echo around, that we see that one good thing is that there is in front of anyone else @4 we do not see that who is organizing what, so it is the kind of  invisible organizing committee, whether even the event the local organizing committee or the IC, whoever is there in one sense it is good that someone is not seen in front of you, that even someone is organizing, or you know facilitating, or whatever, so people have been given a space, and people are, they talk, they took to the space, and delivered their even concerns xyz.


But, on the other hand, as a kind of  insider of an organizing committee, particularly the south asia, and also as a kind of follower of the wsf process, as an outsider of IC international council, even if international council was also held in parallel to south asia social forum in 2011 in Dhaka,  we were also part of providing the logistics and other things, i see that even getting engaged or interface between the local organizing committee @5 and with the IC, that is a also kind of issue, and if it is not a kind of two-way process, then people might see that the IC is only providing some guidance, or maybe dictating, or maybe a superficial body, which is facilitating the process.


But,@6  if people do not see or interact with that process, people may feel lost, if this means people miss this local organizing committee, even the event the participants of the social forum. 

And i would try to consolidate what would be the way forward, i see that mexico social forum process, i do not know in Bangladesh, i do not see even i see that around 10 people from bangladesh, was also part of the even various social forum processes including the sasf, i see they are also over here, and they might have some comments, they can share in the chat box as well; 

But i do not see that people are very much enthusiast about this, the last forum or also the mexico social forum, the energy i do not see that energy, but i think, even this, even this today's dialogue is i think after a long we are interacting with even some other colleagues, converts who are part of the organizing process or facilitating process;

@7 So if you want to move forward, i think some of the concerns could be connecting the local forces, connecting between IC and the regional thematic groups, whoever is there.

Number two is that, despite creating these platforms, or even this polycentric, or whatever democratic processes, whatever is that is created, still there are limitations,@8  i would say that social forum is heavily represented by the ngos , rather, i think this is a common debate that the apart from this brazilian, or even i see even some of the south africa, african farmers movement, or even a few movements from India, and other parts, i see that that many of the local movements, organic movements, their representation somehow is overshadowed by the representation of the in ngos, Ingos or others, 

so connecting those i think is also kind of important to move this process ahead. 

Another concern is that whether there is still appetite  to hold other social forum, it could be asia social forum or south asia social forum in this part of the globe, and i think Uddhab ji and Meenaj  truly said that, even if since i think @9  it's long that  within south asia, we do not connect each other, so there is a kind of fatigue within the organizations, it could be because of rise of the extremist forces, and took into they are in the in most of the countries, i see that even this more right, even the ruling parties, that is also a kind of authoritarian in nature, and then the civic space is shrinking.

There are some bad laws enacted, even in Bangladesh, this digital security act, even he cannot talk, even on social  media,  earlier it was widely used by many  independent activists, but nowadays, if you comment something, very critical comments on social media, you will be held accountable, and you will be forced to custody, so this kind of new bad laws, and coming upfront, and obviously, we see that the tyranny of capitalism is very much seen, particularly even in many part and also in Bangladesh, this nexus between the political forces and the businesses .

We see many of the members of the parliaments, they basically came from the business,, big businesses, and many of the government policies are now basically influenced by them.

Even we see lots of new economic zones, housing projects, and people are being displaced, even law enforcement authority they are opening fire to the people agitating the forces, even in Covid pandemic, we see the laborers, the workers are forced to work, despite having a kind of safety protocol and xyz, @10 so i think on the ground the crisis are mounting, but on the other hand, i would say that if we couldn't create a favorable space, an encouraging space, then it will be difficult to even have an appetite, or create an appetite among the activists, so i'll stop here, thank you Pierre and everyone. 

@007 PIERRE  okay thank you Aaman, You have raised a number of issues, about the relevancy of the forum, so you have talked about having a quality debate, we are lagging behind. Many people roaming around in a physical event, and not enough interested audiences, and raising frustration. Also the organizing is a bit kind of invisible organizing, or is it@1  maybe the  the “software”, or  the “organizing mental software” of the forum that's not disseminated among participants, so they have the criteria to understand that self-organization is paramount, and the energy, well that's the alchemy that needs to be found among the groups interested to use this format, and manifest the process, in some way or another. Thank you for these considerations, and for being here. 

Now we go to Farooq. Farooq Tariq is from Pakistan, with a communication and psychology education, He is general secretary since 2007 of Kisan Rabita,(  https://www.facebook.com/PakistanKissan/ )  a peasant coordination, and also coordinator of about tens of peasants fault farmers, fisher folks, and agricultural worker organizations and movements, around all the five provinces of Pakistan. He's also an alternate member of la Via Campesina, south asia international coordination committee, an advisor for South Asian Alliance for Poverty Eradication SAAPE,  https://saape.org/ and on international organizing committee of Asia Europe People's Forum, https://aepf.info/  and he was instrumental in co-facilitating Karashi social forum in 2006, so it is as such that he is a panelist today, and he can convey his experience about how this forum was organized, and how there was not a follow-up after that, and what are his consideration for the future.  Farooq over to you. Eight minutes. 

@008 FAROOQ  Thank you Pierre. It was very good to hear Aaman, Uddhab, and Meena, the experiences of Nepal, India and Bangladesh. I have participated in indian Mumbai world social forum, and also at the Dhaka world social forum, and we were really motivated to organize the world social forum in Pakistan. 

After a large delegation attended the Mumbai world social forum, that really gave an incentive motivation to go ahead also in Pakistan, so decision to hold the polycentric world social forum in Karachi in 2006 was taken in Sri Lanka, in a meeting, @1 asian meeting, attended by over 200 activists, where this was decided :that we will hold this polycentric event in Karachi.

And, as you all are aware, that it was Bamako, and Caracas, same year in 2006, that the two events had  held and when it was held in Karachi, we had prepared well, we had a local pakistan social forum, lot of meetings took place in different parts of Pakistan, 

And it was at the time when military dictator general Musharraf was in power, and these were the days when there was not much possibilities and chances for the activists to speak about their issues.


So, when the world social forum Karachi was held, 300 events were organized,  and friends from 59 countries participated, and over 35 000 were in attendance, and we also made sure that food at this event should not go very expensive. 

@2 So, we subsidized that food, and we provided food for 35 rupees for a dish, and our guests in Karachi world social forum included jeremy corbyn, who enjoyed his rikshaw drive in Karachi and also Tariq kali, and actually there's a photograph of me Tara kali and Tarak fateh so three Tariqq together, which was quite here and there shared at one time.

And this event brought together most of the social movements of Pakistan, and this was like peasants  fisherfolk, there was a women right activist, human rights activist, and particularly those activists from exploited nationalities, who never had a chance to speak. 

So, we had a large attendance from Sindh, and also from Balochistan, and the true provinces with the national exploitation was at its peak, during general Musharraf time, and there was a campaign against building of a large dam, called Kalabal dam, @3 and world social forum Karachi became the center of the opposition to this large dam, which was never built to till today, and the foundation was laid down in that forum.

And it was mainly three issues that we discussed: it was against neoliberalism, it was against militarization, and it was against imperialist globalization, and around these three themes, most of the events at world social forum Karachi took place. 

There was great jubilations, and we came from Lahore, like a thousand people from Lahore travelled to Karachi, which is over 1300 kilometers, and we were living in a tent, and we brought a lot of books to be sold, and we sold a lot of books, our weekly paper at that time “the struggle”, we sold over two thousand copies.

And this brought me to a memory of world social forum mumbai, one of the main memory i have : we brought a pamphlet smart complete called “rise of political islam”. A thousand copies were sold in a few hours on the Mumbai world social forum. I went around in the evening to look for a press, a printing press, to reprint it and i found one, and i convinced one indian to print me in few hours, and he did that, and we printed another two thousand copies, and sold those two thousand copies in one day again, and then again, i wrote a pamphlet with some people on the peasant movement in Pakistan, and that pamphlet printed and sold in Mumbai. 

@4 So this was a great thirst of ideas, a great thirst to read each other's literature, and it brought together particularly south asian like never before. We were the first major delegation to enter Amritsar inside the city on the way to Mumbai, when we went by train. 

So Karachi event was also like that : it brought together communities, although i would say the european delegations are small, i think they were too tired of attending the two events earlier, it was not at large, it was mainly south asian who attended, but also from other parts of the world: 59 countries were participating in Karachi event, and we had few dozens of activists working weeks before, voluntarily, at Karachi, to build this event, and this was held in a stadium. 

@5 And the local government was a reactionary government, but still we were able to convince them to let us, give us permission to hold this, and we got the permission, and I said in one of the meetings, that we had Mumbai world social forum, and we got rid of BJP and vajpayee, and i said we are holding this world social forum in Karachi, and we will get rid of this military dictator general Musharraf, and in a year ,in 2007, a campaign started and he has to leave, and we have again a new round of democratic governments in Pakistan.

@6 So the world social forum was a center to campaign against militarization, which was very important for us in Pakistan, because 34 years of our history has been ruled by direct military, and this was like a forum where you could speak up your mind, and i heard Baluchee  raising azad balochistan, i heard kashmiri talking about independent kashmir, i heard sindh is talking about sindh independent, so i mean, they were able to speak at least, and this was the gain of the world social forum in Karachi.

So, what happened afterwards. I'll just take two or three minutes on that. A year after, we went to Nairobi in Kenya. Nairubi put us down. It was the most commercialized world social forum we attended. Food was very expensive, everything was like you have to pay to enter, and all these different things were there, I mean, there was some payment in Karachi, and also in Mumbai, but not like Nairobi.

 @7 So the delegation which was the main leadership of the world's social forum Karachi attended the event in Nairobi, and they were not motivated, they were demotivated, and I personally was really off the line afterwards, although I attended the two days international council meeting in Nairobi after the event. I raised all this issue over there, and I think that was the time when we went back, and we were not really motivated.

Now, with the new surge of connectivity, we are able to speak to Meena again, we are able to speak to our Bangladeshi friends, and I would say Aamansa the 2011 Dhaka event was one of my best. I was the last speaker at the closing rally, and when I raised my hand to apologize to the Bangladeshi people on behalf of Pakistan, ( because of the war in 1971) there was tears in the eyes of many, many people, and i was told by many “you brought us together”, because this was like the feeling we had in Dhaka social forum.

 But since then, we are unable to do much, and let's think what to do, and@8  I heard your opinions, and let's meet some more times, and see the possibilities. At this time, it's not possible because of the objective realities, but it would be possible, and I hope we can start the process. Thank you.

@009 PIERRE thank you Farooq. As you said, the forum is a place for a great thirst of ideas, and of course, the alchemy of those campaigns, and when you said “this event  brought together all social movements from Pakistan, and was the center of the campaign  against the dam”, so this alchemy of campaign, of articulation, i would say, and producing effects through meetings, and then you can see the effects after some time, this is the point where there is the power of the forum process.

 It's still interesting to think also in terms of center-ness on the national reality: the Karachi forum was a Pakistani centered statistically, it was held in Pakistan, @1 and how this did not reflect into some further way of manifestation of the forum process there. I think this is a generic question :  maybe it's not only events, some other formats, so what's the concept that we have, that we can implement, to make this process alive. This is an open question. I have seen that Nurul from Bangladesh has posted some some notes that we'll discuss afterwards 

Now before going into general discussion, I would ask Chandan, as a representative of the new generation invoked by Meena, to give to share some views on the next steps, so Chandan, you're welcome to take the floor for a few minutes.

@010 CHANDAN Good morning and sorry about that,  but i just wanted to, you know,  really make a sincere effort to hear the today's forum connect, and it was really beautiful to hear our comrade from Nepal Bangladesh and our brilliant brother, Farook bhai, and of course my comrade Meena. 

So i don't have anything very concrete to contribute, and talk about it ,except to say that yes, I think it's a really difficult time for all of us, and I think, for i personally feel as a young activist, that forum can definitely provide a huge space, and can create a kind of momentum and energy to consolidate, so many progressive movement, people, individuals, who are trying to make our democracy better in coming days and coming years.

@1 I think , as Meena said , that the group of younger people have started, sort of reimagining that how we can revive the forum, in india, and of course, as we now talked about the south asia, i cannot talk about south asia at this moment, but  i can talk about India, that we already started reaching out to the very diverse very different kind of groups,  starting from the working class movement to the feminist, to the dalit movement, to the tribal movement : a lot of progressive religious groups.

@2 So all kind of segments which i have learned the kind of very basic alphabet from Meena and others, about the principles, the very principles of forums, so it was really good to hear back again.

And just going back to recalling my experience to the forum to Tunisia, and it i still remember before we were flying to Tunis, there was a very deadly terrorist attack, and a lot of chaos, a lot of situation where you were wondering whether we can go or not, but finally, we decided, we agreed to go there, and I never seen such an energy from the movements around the world coming together, and talking about the better world. 

So  i think my association and connect with the forum in Tunisia; then going to the Bogota in 2019; where i met Pierre and a lot of comrades, the thematic social forum on social security,  

And i think these two forums really gave me  immense belief that what forum can do,  especially to challenge this whole,  the challenge of the growing fascism, the growing  aggressive neoliberal economic policies, which is absolutely attacking all the groups we work with :: the farmers, workers, students, all kind of people. 

@3 So I think this is the moment to basically really revive the forum. At this moment in India, we are all set for it. Thank you so much for the opportunity. I didn't have much to contribute, just wanted to share my feeling in a few minutes. So thank you really grateful to all of you for this opportunity. 

@011 PIERRE Thank you, you're most welcome chandan. Yes we met in Bogota and i'm happy that you're part of this younger people group. As Meena said, @1 we are elderly people, but full of experience and ideas, and some concepts about the forum, some buzzwords, some yes conceptual ideas, that can be guidance, that can be helpful, when people have the energy to get going. 

CHANDAN You all of you still have a lot of energy, it's just that now, you know, somebody have to take it forward, so yes, @4 finally, we have decided to take it forward, along with a lot of people, the young people group, so we would require all of your guidance, solidarity, blessings, you know, all kind of things, so but yes, we would require for all these things, so we'll look forward for that Pierre. Thank you. 

PIERRE Thank you very much, that's interesting, that's energizing for us, because you know, @2 when you have experience to transfer, you need to have someone to transfer the experience to!. 

CHANDAN Yes yes thank you. 

@012 PIERRE  Maybe now we are getting into the general discussion. As an introduction, I suggest i have there is Nurul Alam from Bangladesh, that has been also in Tunis, and who is participating today as participant,  he posted a comment in the chat. he said

I found the issues on the social forum very abstract; @1 it's important to make out issues more localized; especially to promote issues in SWF i suppose this is WSF  reshaping the local country leadership, engaging young people to popularize social forum ideas, and men mended among young people, to mobilize local resources, and take initiative to organize social forum on different local issues.

So , apparently there is some energy available here i'm sorry that Nurul is not reacting, but maybe you will put in a few words afterwards.


So, maybe we can start now, for another 45 minutes, an open discussion. So are there any issues that you want to comment on? Who wants to take the floor? We have the challenge of organizing,  finding type of implementation formats to make the forum visible and lively; in the context of the background of a forum in Mexico; which is supposed to happen in may 2022, but it's also supposed to be a mixed event


@1 The word “mixed physical/online”  for WSF 2022  is full of potential and ambiguity, because it's been created to say that it should take into account the experience of the 2021 100% virtual social forum in january, so it's supposed to be as much as possible a physical event, but it should also take into account the experience of a virtual one, which may not be compatible at a simultaneous time. 

So  it's opening possibilities of proposing formats, of maybe for instance, say,@2 a 100%virtual event which is very democratic, because there is no centrality, and anyone can prepare online activities etc, and then a physical event, where delegates that have shown up into the virtual event can go  and meet face to face, and make the charm of the forum, as Meena said, and maybe make some agreements etc,

This is just to mention that there is an issue about the format of the forum, which is open. 

Anyway  who wants to take the floor and put the question on the table and comment around those.

@013 MIKE i think Covid, the corona pandemic, has opened up enormous opportunities for us, which were there before, but we never really used them,  because we always were based on presencial world social forums, we used to stream videos and such,@1 but this last year has really opened up the possibilities to reach vastly bigger numbers of people.

In the alliance of inhabitants, we've run about 35 meetings in the last year, and what we've found is that there is a huge digital divide between us, especially here in Africa, where data is very expensive. People cannot participate, so we try and subsidize many of the activist leaders, to come and participate in online debates, but it is a cost to people in africa,

So, we're proposing two technical interventions to facilitate participation , well three in fact.

First is the interpreters which you know about.


@2 But secondly is solidarity campaign to provide the means by which activists, with the means and resources ,can directly subsidize participation by activists in the global south, through a contribution of five dollars, cup of coffee, for their data bundle, to participate

We're hoping to set this up, we found a very simple and cheap way of doing it, i'm hoping it'll launch in the next month or so , and that will help address some of the financial considerations for participation in the world social forum virtually, and all these wonderful meetings that are going on as well 

The second intervention is to look at, the hardware obstacles for participation. Many people will participate on their own laptop or their phone, using resources from their parent organization, which pay for the data and the equipment. We realize it's important to take these meetings into the community, rather than just having community leaders here representing their organizations and communities.

Let us try and go into those communities : how do we do this? Well the technology is now available, that even with a cell phone and a cheap projector, the operator can project a meeting onto a screen or a wall, and then the local community can gather around, and watch, and contribute. 

So our hardware program is to equip 15 community organizations with a projector, with a smartphone if they need it, a laptop perhaps, if that's essential, and then the training and data, to @3 be able to run these meetings in a community setting, rather than in an office or just  one or two people watching, so i think those are very good, and I hope people will support those  outreach which will spread far more into the communities, than what is actually the case; quite a rarefied discussion at the moment. So that's my contribution. 

@014 PIERRE Thank you Mike. Yes  the formats and the ways of doing .. This echoes something that took place in Amazonia. There is a pan amazon thematic forum, and they made an online event in november 2020, and  @1 they also called for what they call “collective participation points”, http://www.forosocialpanamazonico.com/en/adaptando-las-luchas-a-las-condiciones-impuestas-por-la-pandemia-implementamos-los-ppc/ where people that have this infrastructure, that have a room, they have a projector, they have a laptop, they have a connection, they invite locally different organizations and they can participate with the screen and the interaction, they can voice and intervene in the discussion, and for the people, it's a kind of eye-opening or  broad opening : they become physically conscious of the existence of this community of solidarity etc in the forum. 

@2 This also we had done earlier under the name of “wsf cafe”.

So if you are in a place, you can raise, meet, convene different organizations, and if you are confident that ,in Mexico for instance, there will be people that will take care of making  activities meetings  available on live video, then you can organize the “wsf cafe”. So it's  something that needs confidence that there will be those people where the centric forum is.

Aaman in the chat Yah...long before zoom arrived we tried this WSF CAFE model to connect people at various corners of the globe...it was truly a challenging time during that time. But we now got a COVID dividend that helped us to connect virtually  http://openfsm.net/projects/sasf-bangladesh-extended/sasfbd-ext-general 

@3 When there is a virtual forum, it's not a problem, because all the meetings are on line video so nobody is at the center,  and that's the great difference when there is a physical event, but this is a discussion for organizers but  we can have that with the Chandan group, anyway. Meena maybe it's your your call  (see intervention in recent meeting transferring experience to mexican here http://openfsm.net/projects/pfsm22/pfsm22-insumo6-en 

@015 MEENA  I just wanted to put out a couple of things, so that I don't want to really contribute much to the discussion. I just wanted to say that how to move forward is definitely important and why it didn't really take off afterwards in south asia for instance, is also important, but i feel that now the world situation has changed, the issues have changed, and the whole focus on globalization, the big mobilizations on globalization, against war, those days are over.

@1 So there are new issues, new situations in different countries, but I think global solidarity is still very important, in the realm of ideas and theory, as well as in the realm of strategy, and in the realm of practice, and solutions to problems, and methodologies of struggle, and how to fight the new kind of enemies that we are facing now. 

Pakistan has been having the situation for a very long time, maybe we really need to hear from them, how they dealt with the situation of authoritarian governments 

@2 Maybe we need to talk to each other more, so that's one.

@3 I don't think that we need to really worry about “which issues are there”, because everything  under the sky will be there, we can't really tell people “no you can't speak about this, you must speak only about the issues we think are important”. Because, when you have a very diverse population participation, then all the issues that they bring there are important, and yes that will become extremely generic, because the common areas between about a thousand issues is going to be very generic, and people actually fight on a thousand issues.

For instance, if in Seattle  in 1999, when people marched, there was nobody who wasn't there, they were  the lgbt community marching, i mean there's a famous picture : the lgbt community, marching shoulder to shoulder with very suited trade union leaders. I mean these were the things that came out of Seattle and social forum actually took off from that kind of mobilization. 

So what's the situation today? We don't have to decide; and people will decide; the movements will decide; @4 the people who come there will put their posters on that space. They will put their ideas and their struggles out there, so I really am not in a .. I don't think that the IC WSF should be very .. what do you call it,  very you know, in your face about that. 

I don't think it's the IC's job, they don't represent the movements, and I don't think that we should worry about the IC business. 

IC  should just decide where the next forum should be, and help with the content and mobilization, and the outreach. I don't think that the IC should, and that's what the IC has been doing. 

So if we are looking at the IC @5 ,I don't think that's the fault of the IC, that there was a lack of interest later, it's also that the movements themselves that were not able to see this as an important thing. 

And finally of course, there's this whole thing that this costs money, and at that time there was funding for these things, to actually organize the forum

@6 We will have to find way, new ways of funding, we will have to self-organize, self-fund, and we will have to find new ways. Why are we always depending on funding? we will have to work with the governments or in the countries where we belong, we will have to, the small governments, the municipal level, panchayat level, we will have to work with them.

So, i think that the point is to do outreach, so can we do outreach?, can we talk to each other, @7 can we build some spaces, where we can talk to each other,? without worrying about who's on top, who's doing this, who is speaking, who is not speaking, who is there, and who's not there.

Let everybody be there, i mean, why are we worried if ngos are there, i mean if social movements are not there, that's a worry. In fact when we had the during the mumbai forum there were a whole bunch of people outside, who wanted to come in free, they didn't want to pay, so one of the people,  i remember somebody who's a journalist said “most times political rallies and others, their problem is how to mobilize how to get more people, and your problem is that there are too many people”. I think that is not a problem. 

@8 so it's not who is there as a problem, who is not there should be a problem, and i think we should just focus on that.

Now one of the things that we were planning to do is to have a an Asia meeting, just a very generic meeting ,which people, some of us in forum connect by thinking let's just and kimchi has been generous enough to offer a space. 

@9 So on the 26th of june, and then later again on the 26th of july. On the 29th of june, a smaller group, all of us who are here, and whoever else you would like to call, but more in a thing of just listening to each other, and seeing can we participate, what is it that we can do in Mexico, how to participate in Mexico (transcription of IC and Mexico facilitating group meeting can prove useful to empower facilitating initiatives from asia see xxxx)

I hope everyone can join, kimchi will send us the link, and i hope everyone can join on the 26th of june, that is the meeting that we are planning

That's what i wanted to say, @10 and i really like the idea of physical participants who go to Mexico reporting back from the wsf cafe, i think we can popularize this, we can even ask them to register their willingness to participate, and do this. That's something we could maybe make online. 

@016 PIERRE very good Meena. I shared in the chat the transcript of “forum connect session four”,  http://openfsm.net/projects/forum-connect/forum-connect-session4-transcription   where we had Farooq and also Varghese from India, and @1 this is also a contribution from ForumConnect, that we make those transcripts, and make them available, and translate them in Spanish and French, so that they are available also in a very easy way to other language and cultural  background. 

So about this for instance Varghese was saying that the forum now, @2 after 20 years, that there is a whole lot of “victims of identity politics”, as he said, i'm just quoting him,  that they can be outreached to, in the process of the forum mobilization. This is just a concrete quote, and i refer to this transcript that you can take further afterwards.

And yes, I agree with what Meena said, about the fact that the forum, @3 the content in the forum, is not that dictated by the organizers,  it's an expression of the participation of participants. They are the political actors, they are the ones who decide what they want to talk about, and with whom, this is not just talk to make themselves visible only, but just to articulate with others. So articulate for dialogue, or articulate for action, depending the level of maturity, and focus that they have gained i their participation.


So, the forum is a kind of very broad cultural, educational, and political process. Conceptually, it's very powerful,  and clear,  and if it's taken as such, then what you need is disseminate the vision,and the ”organizing mental software” to participants, and the formats of participation ( activities initiatives ..),  and then just let them set up their participation in the way they think relevant, using the formats that are available.

@4 And at the moment,- and this is a breakthrough, i would say, of the last virtual forum-; there are, i would say, three formats 

One historic format  is the “activity”, which is a dialogue, so it's self-organized “who wants to discuss with who about what”. 

@5 And there is a format of “initiative”, which is “who commits to do what with who”, and so this is more into action, it's outside of the forum space, but it's making visible what are the public actions  campaigns, what are the struggles, what are the declarations, what are the dynamic processes, transformative processes, that a definite group of organizations is already doing, and want maybe to bring more people in , or make it known etc, So  “initiative”  this is a new format. 

@6 And there is also a format, which I think is an important one, about communication: “news from the forum” . So the idea is that all the participants that organize activities, or make visible initiative, are entitled to produce “news”. So these news are in their own name, but there are “news from the forum”. 

So these news can go through a specific website, ( see https://wsf2021.net/news/ ) and have a kind of stamp that these people have been participating in the forum, and showing their activities, showing their organization, showing their initiatives, and let them make an article or post, and communicate, and this is coming as an irradiation decentralized from the forum participants, and it is not a “ centralized communication agency of the forum”, which cannot exist,( because of WSF principle 6) see here some references about. communication  https://wsf2021.net/referencias-comunicacion/ 

So these are formats that can adapt to decentralized and virtual and presential formats, and and that can @7 help people visualize “how they can participate”,  what are their participation goals and participation routes. I would say this is just a few throwing into ON some concepts and ideas.

Who from our panelists wants to contribute and comment on what Meena and Chandan have said?

@017 AZAD Thank you i'm hearing the encouraging talk from the panelists. This is  really encouraging for me, long days later from world social forum. Once it was a golden time of wordl social forum in a movement, in the country level, and as part of global movement, but last few years, WSF was not too much discussed in the country level, or in the global level, 

@1 So how do you see the future of world social forum?,(see bottom of text ) and  we all know about the situation of the  global governance, global shifting, such issues 

So regarding this and now the pandemic created some opportunity to connect virtually, so how you see the future of the world social forum movements. @2 There's one thing and how you , what what do you think uh the last few years silence of world social forum in the global south ?

MEENA  i think you are  the only person who can really get this here. Maybe  Pierre you should get this question 2 

@018 PIERRE okay so  when you say three years Azad, I think you referred to the Salvador social forum ,which was held in 2018 in Salvador de Bahia in Brazil. @1 This forum was mainly, i would say, energized by the brazilian situation, with  the “lawfare coup” against the Lula and Dilma government, and which ended up with Lula in jail etc

So, it was a an interesting forum, but it was not very strong internationally, the international participation was not very prominent,  but this was the situation, because the forum has been going in a weaker way in Montreal also in 2016  http://wsf2018.org/ 

So, this is the last event big enough, it was like 80 000 people, but overwhelmingly brazilians, and there was no big articulations, or dynamics that stemmed or were visible. 

@2 Also for methodological reasons, because there was a temptation of going back to the times of one big assembly, which didn't succeed, but kind of neutralized the natural decentralized assemblies building, that took place in the forum from Belem  onwards 

Indeed  from belem 2009, there was this idea of “self-organized assemblies for action”  which were about between 20 and 30 different assemblies, at the end of the forum events, even if we stay in the frame of an event, 

So the Salvador as has been this last standard expression of the process as a physical event.  

After that,  there has been attempts, there was one group who said they wanted to organize an event  from Mexico, and they said that in Salvador de bahia, coming from the group who had organized a mexican forum in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

(let me go back in time for a broader picture) 

There was in Nairobi WSF in 2007 , Farooq may remember,  there was this decision to launch a call for a @3 “global week of action” in 2008, where it was like a decentralized forum. It was not virtual at that time, but it was completely decentralized, it was not a forum and it was called a “global week of action”, in january 2008, and there were 800 actions, which were most of them “activities” of dialogue throughout 80 countries. So it was what I call a manifestation of the word social forum process, in another format than a  physical event, that's the interesting part of that.

And after that, there was a  methodologico-political decision, it was prepared in Copenhague IC in 2008  to have assemblies, when the forum took a two year frequency, @4 and at the end of the event, there would be self-organized assemblies, so this worked fair enough in Belem 2009,  in Dakar 2011, in tunis 2013 2015, in montreal 2016,  http://openfsm.net/projects/convergences .

And in salvador 2018 it was kind of choked those assemblies were not visible enough,covered by one or two specific assemblies promoted by certain groups  and this has been restablished  in the virtual forum 2021  with about 10 / 20 assemblies (https://join.wsf2021.net/?q=assemblies-activities

Now to answer your question Azad,( about the long silence these past years)   there was this group of Mexicans that wanted to host the forum, but they thought of hosting it in 2019 or 2020. 

There was in 2019  one year of organizing in Mexico, with some tensions, because @5 part of this group was,- and is still-, willing to mix the organizing of an event with the discussion on the format of the forum itself, as an open space ( as is defined in the current charter of principles  principle)  or moving the format  into “space of action”, (see their memorandum in salvador de bahia http://openfsm.net/projects/wsfic_fsmci/salvador18-input13-en  item 7 ) so these tensions, now also developed in IC,  have hindered a bit the process in Mexico, then the pandemic has come, so this has frozen the process throughout 2020.

@6 Also  there's been a physical meeting of the international council in early 2020, in porto alegre ( http://openfsm.net/projects/ic-extended/poa-202001-extension ) where it was decided to outreach for more discussion with more international groups, and try to have a forum in Mexico, with a good political discussion with movements getting on board

,But then the pandemic came, so this has been slowing down the process, which took shape through on line discussions ( see ic meetings in 2020  http://openfsm.net/projects/ic-extended

and @7  IT  ended up in the decision  in october 2020 to make, with no budget, a virtual social forum  event https://wsf2021.net/ (in january 2021, 20 years sharp after the first event in porto alegre in brazil).

This event  was interesting ,it was not a big success, it was 10 000 people  who registered as participants, but it was done in a few, prepared in one month or two months, but it's full of interesting formats of participation ,( particularly  https://join.wsf2021.net/   see points in @016 above ) (note  this virtual forum idea had in january  a minimal response in bangladesh with only 2 organizations involved. https://join.wsf2021.net/?q=es%2Forganizations&display_name=&country=1017  

And then it gives the @8 possibility to, even from now in mid 2021, to still put activities online, to put initiatives online, to publish news ,and make organization visible ( here are indications https://wsf2021.net/proceso2021-info1/ ) 

The tools are there, in this virtual social forum?  but, at the end,in february  there was a kind of recess to the old format ( of jumping from one event to the next one  without much in between) , saying “now we hand the stick  to the mexican group, they will restart their facilitation committee, which was done in april 2021  ( http://openfsm.net/projects/pfsm22/pfsm22-reunion-17abril21-en ), and then they said they will make a forum in may 2022.

So but at the same time, we cannot go and do as if there was no pandemic, there was no virtual forum experience etc, that's why it will it will be called “a mixed event”.

@9 Now the double challenge for the Mexican is to build a powerful national mobilization, which is still not the case so much, and it is  to organize an international mobilization with an international facilitation group, and here is where the experience of the virtual forum can help, because it is no just about waiting passively that there is a centralized organizing committee, somewhere in mexico, inviting people to buy a  plane ticket, those who can afford it, and that will be  the forum. 

@10 So now, we have no money, we have the virtual possibilities, we have participation tools, https://wsf2021.net/  and if people want to use the forum, and manifest the process in their own countries, they can do things, https://wsf2021.net/proceso2021-info1/   and of course, with the perspective of sending delegation to mexico, as “the fruit on top of the cake”, but the cake is that you can use the wsf process, and make the process visible at home  using mexico as a perspective, but not confiding and relying passively on an event, which in itself will never produce miracles. 

So, @11 this is the context why, from bangladesh, Azad, you have not heard much about the forum, maybe you have received from time to time, on a mailing list, an invitation to participate in an online activity, or to an activity that's broadcasted in live video from another part of the world. i think that's the most, maybe you are on a mailing list, but i'm not sure  (created on occasion of SASF http://openfsm.net/projects/sasf-bangladesh-extended/project-home

And there have been  @12 some preliminary discussions to organize a south asia social forum in the past years, i think and Uddhab can comment on that why these efforts have not brought fruits, this is the information i can give; http://openfsm.net/projects/india-and-wsf/indiaandwsf-southasia-wsf-meeting-september

I can give more information at request. So finally , this explains the long time between 2018 and now  : a perspective of a mixed format event in may 2022.  Uddhab Aaman can  share some comments on elements that we have raised in in this discussion; 

@019 AAMAN  I think it was a good discussion, and after a long time, i think ,at least for me, it is a bit energetic, and i'm a bit energized, and i also invited some of my previous comrades, who joined earlier, so they were in the attendees list. I also see that they also put some comments, and maybe they can also contribute, and take something take from this discussion, and they contribute to the next process of wsf.

And as in our previous meeting, Meenaji you are discussing uddhabji, you are also here right?,  you rightly mentioned that, even we are  also part of many networks, but somehow over the last decades,  in the last decade i don't see that kind of an interaction within ourselves right?,


@1 So at least let's have a kind of an open kind of space, without any thematic thing, let's have a kind of open dialogue, as much as possible We can bring our friends colleagues, whoever is there. 

i think, in this kind of pandemic, we are also a bit confined to ourselves, so we need the breathing space, so i would appreciate Meenaji, Uddhabai and Farooq might have left, but if you could set up a prime initial kind of a virtual gathering, that would be appreciated, and, if there is a kind of appetite, we can also try to  contribute even in the mexico process, if there is any support, let's go from outside, so thank you Pierre, mike and everyone for arranging this. 

PIERRE Thank you Aaman; Boonthan are you there? 

@020 BOONTHAN so thank you for inviting me, and even though it is the south asian connect, i'm outside South asia, i'm from thailand, from southeast asia. Actually, we also learned quite a lot from you, what have been happening in the past many years.

@1 Actually in the region in southeast asia, we have the Asean people forum regularly every year, prior to the asean summit, or ministerial meeting, So actually we also try to do something, but since last year, we have the plum, because of the Covid pandemic, so we couldn't do that, so the virtual meeting is one of our challenges, 

But anyway , what we also can learn from you is also very helpful, in term of mobilizing our participation, especially, from what i learned, from many of you.

The social movements of the graduate movement is one dimension, but the main term is also @2 what is the challenge to overcome some sort of “people to people communication”. It  is the thing that we have to come across this issue very effectively, because , providing that the information technology is there, a variety of technology is there, but the people still have the problem of access,  as Mike from  Zimbabwe the interpreter had mentioned.  

How are we going to come across that ?, Perhaps we have to justify ourselves, and to mobilize ourselves, that  people to people communication is one of the challenges, Perphaps we need some type of people journalists is our team, also in our participation, in order to make sure that the information is reaching people at different levels.

@3 Because from the grassroots, from our experience here, it is difficult to put them together in one place, especially during the pandemic situation, or even the normal situation, to bring different farmers from different province, to come together, it's not an easy thing, because of their economic hardship, their livelihood and many other things. 

So i think this is one of the key challenges,i'm not sure if we have some sort of the different cluster,i mean within the world social forum organizing matter,  the worker caucus, the person caucus, or more class rules or rented, so i think this sort of planning is also needed, to hear from them,to mobilize them. 

From what i heard, from my proposal, I think that is also very interesting, and i heard that our friend from Bangladesh, you have done that in 2016, something? so that's sort of thing ,but how to ensure that this meaningful participation is over there?, (here the extension of SASF 2011  http://openfsm.net/projects/sasf-bangladesh-extended/sasfbd-ext-general)

@4 Actually i am part of of the PP21 process ( https://join.wsf2021.net/activities/5931  in wsf 2021  ) ,( please register here for 26th june: https://lingnan.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_s5M8MnF1S3WPbOY98mAJSg)

 which is going to organize its webinar on 26th june as well perhaps, we can also uh discuss a lot more, rather than at this particular meeting.

But anyway thank you for for letting me in, but i appreciate of your experience, and also your commitment, in order to make this people participation in the world social forum at the south asian social forum possible Thank you. 

@021 PIERRE Welcome Boonthan !  Yes as you say, putting people in the same place is not easy, except i mean, if for instance ,what Meena and Kinchi have sent information about, this pp 21 workshop on june 26th  is a concrete date, i would say., 

And i understand it will be followed on june 29th by an organizing meeting,@1 so there will be a general discussion in this  june 26th workshop 10 am UTC, and after that, there will be some of those that are interested to be actively involved into organizing, into facilitating, a process of building an “asia preparing wsf 2022” or something like that, in an open space way. 

So it's not to create a body, but just to open a space, where, as Meena said, very interestingly, people will be discussing “why and how participate in wsf in mixed format  2022,  virtual and physical . So it's not to discuss who is the boss, or who is the important theme ,etc.

So then, if people come and this work, and  this alchemy worked in mumbai towards mumbai, and as as Meena explicitly  explained.

@2 So if something like this can be reproduced, using the tools of virtual participation, the open space exists virtually, then it just has to be inhabited  and conceived of, and if you conceive of it, and then you show that you participate in it, and mutually show that you practice it, it becomes lively, it becomes inhabited. 

And then of course, some presential meeting can take place, but the space itself becomes a reality, so yes, there is this next step 26th of june, with twofold :  the public meeting involved included in the ssfs8 program, organized by global university, (SSFS8 info please see https://our-global-u.org/oguorg/en/the-8th-south-south-forum-on-sustainability/ )

,it will be a three hours meeting ,so one has to have some energy, because after that on june 29th there will be an organizers meeting preparing, as i understand, the first meeting of this ”Asia preparing wsf 2022”, which is an open space about mobilizing, and finding creative ways to manifest the forum process in Asia. 

@3 So it's Asia scale, so Boonthan, you are perfectly welcome in this ,it's Asia wide, it's not south asia, Meena can correct me or Kinshi if i have said something which is which was not in in what we discussed. 

And yes, there are many things to this .@4  Once you limit to this” why and how participate in wsf 2022” you have a very clean space, where to discuss,  and when people want to do more specific discussion, like caucus as you said Boonthan, they can create self-organized spaces, they can say:  “okay  we get five or ten organizations, and we propose a series of self organized activities, in open space context, and see what we can do from there, @5 so these more specific self organized spaces /discussions can stem out, or spin off from those this discussion about” why and how participate in wsf process towards mexico mixed event”.

I insist on the mixed event characteristics, so people don't get the idea that this is just a “package”where  you need to have a visa, a ticket, and a lot of money to sustain yourself, and this looks like a private club, No. a mixed format event can make it a very different thing

End of video recording

Some question in the Chat

@022  Joy in the chat:  Day by day  the global elites are grabbing the economy of all countries besides that global movement is also going on. But my question is why World Social Forum cannot get momentum with the changing global situation, and @1 what is your next strategy to engage again the global CSOs fighting against Corporate and global elites.


Pierre:   A generic WSF facilitation Strategy i would advocate for  in IC  and IC-FGMexico discussion, respecting autonomy of participants in the WSF, can be sketched in 6 steps 

1/ Keep the forum as a space as it is currently instituted in its principles http://openfsm.net/projects/ic-methodology/charter-fsm-wsf-en  and resist the temptation proposed by some to make the forum a de facto organization with a leadership and voice-  The participans are the autonomous political actors and build their articulations as they decide

2/.Make the social forum process better understood ( ForumConnect is but a self organized initiative in this perspective http://openfsm.net/projects/forum-connect/ https://join.wsf2021.net/organizations/3387  see in that page its activities and initiatives 

3/ Stimulate the diverse articulations that are being built or strengthened using self organized activities for dialogue in the forum, https://join.wsf2021.net/activities  and  the making visible  under the format of  self organized initiative for action  https://join.wsf2021.net/?q=initiatives, and searching for proximities between them  searching for words in the initiative list and the calendar of self organized public action list  https://join.wsf2021.net/actions-calendar

4/ Make visible news from the participants in the forum  https://wsf2021.net/news/ 

5/ Keep outreaching for building participation from the various continents using the virtual participation and local meetings  in open space spirit  why and how participate in wsf  and show participation as of now   https://wsf2021.net/proceso2021-info1/   

6/ Return to steps 2 to 5 ...

@023 Sekender Will the refugee crisis (Rohingia, Syrian refugee, etc.) be included in the thematic agenda of WSF Mexico? Executive Director of Safety and Rights Society (SRS), Bangladesh

Meena ; You can organize an activity inside the Mexico Forum  process on it ( see Meena intervention @015 above)