• gtiandwsf farewelltowsf discussion input0

last modified November 1, 2019 by facilitfsm

DIBCO1: Around GTI discussion on WSF | About DIBCO1 

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input#0/ Discussion intro (Paul)

Dear GTN,

Since 2001, the World Social Forum has served as civil society’s answer to the World Economic Forum, the annual powwow in Davos of the masters of the neoliberal universe. Over the years, the WSF has brought together hundreds of thousands of activists to meet, network, and reenergize commitments.@1 It has stood as a tangible expression of the diffuse but vibrant “alter globalization” community, and a source of hope for the emergence of a systemic global movement.

@2 At the same time, the WSF has mirrored the movement’s immaturity. Most significantly, the disabling fragmentation within civil society has been reflected in the forest of separate tents that spring up at Forums, each devoted to specific issues and grievances, with little exploration of common visions, positions, and coordination mechanisms.@3  More prosaically, the logistical chaos that has plagued Forums and frustrated attendees symbolizes the underdeveloped organizational capacity of the “movement of movements.”

Now, as these deficits take their toll and the times change, the WSF seems to be losing momentum and relevance. So it’s timely to critically reflect on its achievements and whether the WSF, itself, needs a Great Transition.

Our September GTN Discussion—FAREWELL TO THE WORLD SOCIAL FORUM?—takes up the challenge.  

Looking Back
@ 4 What has been the historic significance of the WSF? @5 In what ways has its strategy of providing a neutral gathering space advanced (or curtailed) the “movement of movements”? 

At a Crossroads
@6 Does the WSF retain its vitality as a beacon of “another world,” or is it losing momentum? @7 Has its unbending commitment to radical pluralism sacrificed movement unity? 

Looking Ahead
@8 Should the WSF continue to operate as an open space? @9 Seek to reinvent itself as a collective force for political action? @10 Or should attention shift to fresh initiatives for building a coherent global movement?

Paul