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 Guiding Principles version 2011 for Organizing WSF Events

draft proposed by “ guiding principles “ group to methodology commission -  See also the "check list" version - with concrete questions to address

VERSION IN ENGLISH – MADE WITH 2008 ENGLISH VERSION (adopted in plenary of International Council on sept 24th in Copenhagen   ) + addition  changes @modifications or additions proposed are in block letters starting with @sign

 click here to access the accumulation of comments made on the draft version in metcom

Indice

Introduction EN.. 1

0 - Use the document (new chapter) 2

1. Criteria for Participation : 2

2. Equality of Access: 3

3. The Venue : 4

4. Funds: 5

5. Formation of an Organising Committee: 6

6. Overall commitments of the organizing committees: 7

7. Local WSF events: 8

8. Space for Horizontal Interconnectedness of organizations : 8

8b. Definition and usage of themes/axes/objectives (new chapter): 8

9 - Assemblies of Convergence and final part of the event (new chapter) 9

10. Translation, Languages, 10

11. Communication. 10

12. Website and methodology. 10

13-Cultural and participatory approaches (new chapter) 11

14 - Extension of the event (new chapter) 11

15 - Continuity between activities at various events (new chapter) 11

16 - Solidarity economy (new chapter) 12

17 - Collective Evaluation (new chapter) 12

18 - Spaces for discussing the organization of events (new chapter) 12

 

 

Introduction EN

 

The World Social Forum is not an organisation.The World Social Forum is a space, a platform for those who adhere to its Charter of Principles (CoP). The International Council and its Commissions merely guide @ facilitate,  and enlarge the processes and events undertaken under the CoP; it is not a controlling or accreditation body that may sanction and franchise events globally.

 

The Charter of Principles emerged after the first WSF assembly in Porto Alegre in 2001. The annual event continued to be held in Porto Alegre till 2003, before it traveled to Mumbai in 2004. @ and come back in Brasil in 2005 ( portoalegre and 2009 Belem

@First editions took place in Brasil hence Till its journey to Mumbai, most of the persons involved with organizing the event and understanding the political perspectives behind it were generally the same people, chiefly the Brazilian groups. There was therefore certain coherence between the event and the Charter of Principles. But once people from other parts of the World began organizing the events   the World events in Mumbai ,  @Bamako (Mali, 2006), Caracas (Venezuela, 2006), Karachi (Pakistán, 2006), Nairobi (Kenia, 2007),  y Dakar (Senegal, 2011), continental events, regional and national events, there has naturally been a diversity of approaches in organizing the events, reflected by the differing political and regional realities and understandings.

 

During these years however, @WSF multiplied itself no just in time but also in space and  has also evolved into some kind of a  ˜brand ™. One finds across the World people holding not just state or provincial events, but even sub-provincial @ or local events, attaching the WSF label to them. Where as this might in some ways signify the popularity and deepening of the WSF process, it could also be a matter of concern, since it is not at all clear that those who hold such events do so under the guidelines of the Charter of Principles, or are in fact even aware that such a charter exists and have studied it.

 

Since the WSF is not an organisation or an institution that has monitoring, investigative or sanctioning powers and mechanisms, the challenge is: how to spread and deepen the WSF process in a manner that it is not distorted from its Charter of Principles, and upholds the basic principles from which it was derived? Concerns have been raised about some of the organizing decisions of even the World events, which are otherwise so visible. What might be happening in national or sub-national events is therefore a matter of concern.

 

@ On the other hand, the multiplication of events is a renewed way of giving a face to the WSF process, and it is important to collect in one document guidelines aiming at the quality of these events as vectors of the WSF process, guiding construction, planning, and evaluation of those, in all their dimensions, and stimulating intercommunication between actors of various events.

 

To address these concerns expressed at various meetings of the IC, it was decided to prepare a set of guidelines for holding WSF events, as a complement to the Charter of Principles, which is what this document attempts. . @ This document reflects the accumulation of experience in the various editions of the WSF process events of various scales from local to global, over the years, including analysis of the strengths and weaknesses. The first version, made and approved in 2008, is revised and supplemented in 2011 with seven new chapters.

 

0 - Use the document (new chapter)

 

@ It is recommended to use that this document and the checklist, which is its summarized expression, in various ways, in the following contexts:

-Encourage discussion on "exchange space about the organizing of events," showing how these principles can be applied at various events.

-Guiding the planning and construction of local and thematic events that are within the WSF process.

-Aim / indicate dimensions of the events that can  enter  as elements or criteria evaluated in a participatory process of monitoring or evaluation.

-Inform  participants in the events on the "guidelines" recommended for any event, so they are oriented on "how things should be."

 

The Guiding Principles

 

1. Criteria for Participation :

 

One of the basic questions that arises while preparing for a WSF event, at any level, is to decide on the criteria of participation. Is the inclusion universal or restricted? The charter of principles@emphasizes importance of plurality of participating organizations  y momevents, but also gives restrictions.  It enunciates both inclusion and exclusion criteria in the following manner:

The Forum is described in the following manner:

 «The World Social Forum is a plural, diversified, non-confessional, non-governmental and non-party context that, in a decentralized fashion, interrelates organizations and movements engaged in concrete action at levels from the local to the international to build another world.

The exclusions are inherent in the following definitions:   

«The World Social Forum is an open meeting place for reflective thinking, democratic debate of ideas, formulation of proposals, free exchange of experiences and interlinking for effective action, by groups and movements of civil society that are opposed to neo-liberalism and to domination of the world by capital and any form of imperialism ¦..

  «Neither party representations nor military organizations shall participate in the Forum. Government leaders and members of legislatures who accept the commitments of this Charter may be invited to participate in a personal capacity. "@ It is important to note that these rulers and parliamentarians cannot participate in the coordination of events, or organize activities directly. The initiative and organizing of activities is the sole responsibility of civil society organizations.


« ¦.the World Social Forum seeks to strengthen and create new national and international links among organizations and movements of society, that, in both public and private life, will increase the capacity for non-violent social resistance to the process of de-humanization the world is undergoing and to the violence used by the State ¦ 


All the organizations and networks that register for the WSF event have to accept their adherence to the Charter of Principles. The track record of organisations requesting for space in relation to caste, racism, patriarchy and so on; that are not necessarily subsumed under the term  ˜neo-liberalism  would also need to be kept in consideration

The organizing committee of an event may seek the help and support of the International Council, through its Liaison Group or the concerned Commissions, when @there is doubt it is not clear to it whether a particular application is acceptable or not.

2. Equality of Access:  ( reduce)

(reference for interchange in  OE space  MOb & com

Given the vast disparity in civil society organizations, in terms of their financial capacity, use of dominant languages, and other resources, the Charter of Principles emphasizes on solidarity and local level initiatives; that should guide the organizers of events to make conscious efforts to ensure @equality of access to the WSF space: (equal access)

«The World Social Forum is a process that encourages its participant organizations and movements to situate their actions, from the local level to the national level and seeking active participation in international contexts, as issues of planetary citizenship, and to introduce onto the global agenda the change-inducing practices that they are experimenting in building a new world in solidarity.

Such a principle has many implications. For example, if the space at a WSF event is available only on payment of money, it is likely that rich organisations shall corner most of it. If the registration fees are too high, that will bar the participation of grass roots organisations. Such organisations coming from outside may also not be able to afford even the cheap hotels in the venue city.

It therefore becomes imperative that the organizers of an event ensure:

That they work as facilitators.

That there is maximum diversity in participation, particularly of grass roots social movements and organisations; and space is made available to them even without any payment, if required.

That most of the activities, if not all, are self organized; and there is no hierarchy within such activities.

That rich organisations do not corner all the spaces. If necessary, a limit is decided upon on the amount of space any organisation can hire.

Registration fees are kept in a cascade form, even allowing free entrance to those local groups who are unable to pay.

Proper arrangements, for drinking water, latrines etc. are made, and subsidized or free stay of grass roots activists is attempted. Cheap or subsidized food and water is available for them at the venue.

Language needs of such activists are given utmost attention.

Proper space is provided for their modes of expression and articulation, which may be in a variety of cultural forms, rather than through lectures and conferences. @ the space must be planned and divided in order to facilitate articulations between related groups,  and welcome properly convergence assemblies in the last steps of the event

That women participate in large numbers @ in the build up process as well as in the event itself.

That the venue is so constructed@ with regards to accessibiliity and so that it is friendly to persons with disability and they are encouraged to participate.@ In thevent and in its build up process

3. The Venue :  

(reference for interchange in OE space Logistica & Area

Though there can be a variety of constraining factors in the choice of a venue, nevertheless, the choice must reflect consciousness regarding the underlying political agenda of a WSF event. The approach can not be that of a commercial event management company. Lifestyles, levels of comfort and aesthetics have strong links with cultures, economies and identities and are therefore linked to larger political processes.

Though standards vary from continent to continent and country to country, yet, at each location, the cultural and political dimensions of the choice do exist, which need to be taken into consideration. For example, one has to take a conscious decision regarding the excessive use of air-conditioning or wasteful methods of heating, as they are intrinsically linked to market driven lifestyle choices in an increasingly energy deficient and globally warming world. @ it is recomended that inasmuch possible to use natural lighting and ventilation

Similar considerations need to be given to the transportation to and from the venue, the environmental conditions  “ plastic bags and bottles, overuse and misuse of paper, use of recyclable materials and so on, and levels of cleanliness and hygiene. It would be highly desirable to make the space for the duration of the event into a  ˜common , to which not just the organizing committee but all the participating organisations have a responsibility in manner of use, maintenance and upkeep.

@ Events need to be be located near collective transport points. Even when considering decentralized organizaing of actions in the city, for example in the neighborhoods of the periphery, it is recommended to concentrate a maximum number of activities in no distant spaces, and provide between them accessible routes without obstacles. The spaces must be well marked, with maps and directions for easy understanding for participants

The farming out of services at the venue, for food, water, sanitation, communications etc. must be done in a completely transparent and open manner, with controls on pricing and ensuring equal access. It must be ensured that contracts are not given to firms and institutions owned by corrupt politicians, criminal and undesirable elements.     

In particular prominent space should be given to fair trade and solidarity economy ( see chapter 16) 

@ Finally a point to consider is the good local internet connectivity, to contribute to the dissemination and visibility of the event and if possible develop remote participation.

.

4. Funds:  (reduce and tale into account comment made)

(reference for interchange in OE space Agora)

The total resources of an event are composed as follows

Raised by the organizers from foundations and other agencies

Raised through registration and other fees, for space etc.

Raised by the participating groups for their events, travel etc.

We are here concerned with the first two types, but they have a relationship with the third component. @these resources can be human , material ,financial The major expenditure for the organizing committee should be on preparing the space and venue, with all the facilities, including translations. However, the organizing committee can also decide to hold a number of activities. Larger the number of activities the organizing committee holds, higher will be its expenditure, and it will also block more time and space that could be used by the participants. One of the important decisions that the organizing committee therefore has to make is the number of activities it will hold; reducing them will reinforce the self organization of activities in the forum event and will implies passing on the time, space and hence expenditure to the participating organisations.

Raising funds from foundations @and other agencies etc. is the major resource. But it is deeply political, since in each region and country, there can be differing opinions regarding the desirability of raising funds, from a particular or different funding sources.

@ Also be noted from which agencies and foundations financial support support is received for some events of the WSF process, taking into account that many of them are linked to the governments of Northern countries and large private companies who want to influence the agendas of social movements

Following the Charter of Principles however, one may conclude that sources that are champions of neo-liberalism must remain excluded, namely: International Financial Institutions, [trecho cortado] multinational commercial agencies and corporations, and sources with known links to drugs, mafia and crime. Another excluded category would be sponsorship fees from private corporations for allowing them to advertise or sell products at the venue, which is a classic form of raising funds in the neo-liberal paradigm.

The grey areas are funds from the governments and public sector enterprises. One may argue that since government funds come from taxpayers mostly, citizens have a right to access them, irrespective of the kind of government in power at a particular time in a particular country. The caution is that while accessing government funds, the WSF event cannot loose its autonomy and should not be seen to be hijacked by the party in power, as that would be against the Charter of Principles. Some public sector enterprises could be aligned with forces of resistance and support would be sought from them. But here too the caution would be to assess the record of a particular public sector enterprise, since many of them are also multinational, and their record in their own country and in other countries  “ environmental, land use, pollution etc. can sometimes be a matter of concern.

Raising money from registrations, use of space and facilities can of course be a major source. But it has to be ensured that these fees do not act as tariff barriers to keep the less rich organisations and activists out, and a sensible cascade structure that may even allow free access and use to the most deprived needs to be put into place.

An @important possible way to ensure equality and solidarity would be that all participating organisations contribute (not only Foundations @and other agencies) to a common pool of solidarity funds, depending on their capabilities. The organising committee could then allocate adequate subsidies and residential, food, facilities as part of the commons to those who need it.

The consolidated budgets of the WSF event should be made public on the WSF web sites within three months of the event for transparency and memory.

The funding principles described here are further elaborated in the separate Guidelines for Resource Mobilisation.     

5. Formation of an Organising Committee:  (reduce  and take into account comment made)

(reference for interchange in OESpace CO org & Volunt & Evaluacion)

Inclusiveness, diversity, broad-basing, and a process that leads to forming an organizing committee, rather than a few persons or organisations first making one organizing committee and then seeking participation from others, would be in the spirit of the Charter.

This involves putting into practice a process of mobilization and consultation throughout the region/country in which the event is to be held, and forming the committee at the culmination of such a process.

The organising committee should @ stimulate and involve the largest possible number of organizations, networks and civil society movements, to guarantee legitimacy and representativeness, as well as should promote open functioning and should not act in a top down manner. It should be clear that the committee is not the head of an organisation but a facilitating body, set up to promote a specific activity for a fixed period of time.

Amongst the primary tasks of the Organising Committee, like organising the venue and logistics, the committee must pay adequate attention to forming proper and broad-based commissions and functional groups for carrying out various tasks, involving professionals like architects, IT personnel, artistes, film-makers etc., ensure raising volunteers nationally and globally, ensure proper media linkages and outreach, a wide consultation for deciding on themes and axes providing horizontal linkages for movements and groups, and adequate attention to print and audio-visual documentation for purposes of memory.   

@ The transparency of the process of build up and providing public accountability should also be encouraged.

In particular the mobilization of volunteers should be seen as a process of political outreach rather than as a means of using cheap labour. @ Volunteers should be informed and trained on the various aspects of the WSF and the work of their responsibility. Collaboration with local universities can help in the mobilization of volunteers.

@ It is noteworthy that it is more and more is possible to efficiently include people participating remotely in the build up of the event, particularly in the areas of international mobilization, and remote participation.

@ There is no single type of organization chart and operating structure in the build up  of an event. But a model frequently used can be suggested. In this case, the organizing committee is formed by a group of organizations and movements and appoints an operating  coordination formed by a small number of organizations and people. One or more of the Operating coordination organization take charge or share the secretariat and the management of build up projects related to the event.

@ In the same time, commissions are formed by area of work in this collective build up , for example: methodology, venue, extension, resource mobilization, interpretation, communication, accommodation, logistics, local committee, volunteers ...

@ Communication between the various bodies involved in the build up of the event is critical to its success.

@ criteria can be put forward for entry into  coordination committees or commission,s. For example, the organizing committee can be composed only of networks and movements, to guarantee greater representation and legitimacy to this body responsible for polical coordination of the buildup process of the event.

@ In any case, commissions are open to smaller organizations, and individuals sensitized to the process and cooperating without friction with representatives of organizations, this in order to allow the involvement of a broad social base.

@ It is committee duty to show participants and volunteers what it is to "facilitate" a collective and inclusive process of building up implementing and monitoring an event. Commissions and volunteers will be primarily taking charge for facilitating tasks of all kinds (logistical, communicational, methodological ...). These tasks support the entire process of the event and there are clearcut responsibilities and personal and collective initiatives to be taken, coordinated with consensus-seeking process.

@ A major political achievement is that participation in the facilitation of the event is perceived as valuable and interesting by a large number of people who voluntarily decide to put skills, creativity, and time in the service of process.

6. Overall commitments of the organizing committees:

(reference for interchange in OESpace CO org & Volunt & Evaluacion)

WSF is a space where proposals and experiments for alternatives to the world, as against those being proposed or reinforced by neo-liberalism, emerge. Accordingly, the organization of a WSF event should put into practice the alternatives described in the Charter of Principles:   to  «uphold respect for Human Rights, the practices of real democracy, participatory democracy, peaceful relations, in equality and solidarity, among people, ethnicities, genders and peoples, and condemns all forms of domination and all subjection of one person by another 

The commitment to equality between women and men is central to building this other world. It implies, in particular, that no form of violence shall be tolerated on the premises of the WSF event and support shall be given, to those who come forward to denounce such occurrences, particularly the women.

It also implies that the WSF space would provide dignity, respect and a feeling of equality to the persons of colour, indigenous people, dalits and the poor. @ distinct identities. @ There is a need to nurture the idea of valuing cultural and human in events, and during their build up

7. Local WSF events:  

(reference for interchange in OE space Extension & Continuidad )

Many national and sub-national WSF events have taken place in recent @have multiplied after the first years Though the Charter of Principles states that  «The World Social Forum is a world process; All the meetings that are held as part of this process have an international dimension , it is not always clear what kind of international dimension such Forums are able to bring in. But since @ it is true that WSF and its slogan  ˜Another World is Possible have become kind of  ˜brand names, perhaps local groups feel that they have more visibility and credibility by calling something  ˜WSF

@ On the other hand, all events of the WSF, global or local are an opportunity to bring local practices and struggles of organizations and movements closer to broader and more global, initiatives for alternative or joint struggles. Local events allow in a certain way to limit the global dimension of struggles and initiatives for alternatives to a spatial universe smaller, more regional, closer to their reality.

@The local nature of the event should not prevent their inclusion into a broader vision of the global context and the great struggles and alternative initiatives worldwide. For many people, local events consist in a step on the path to the global WSF edition, and in a learning and organizational strengthening.

Since there can be no monitoring of such events, and no  ˜authority can give  ˜permission, it may yet be mandated that groups holding events (any kind of event except the World event) must ensure that six months prior to the actual event, they inform by email or ordinary mail the national WSF process of the country (if it exists, applicable only for sub-national events), and the World Social Forum secretariat of their intention to hold such an event.

This will at least ensure peer information sharing and inputs that the Secretariat or the Liaison Group could provide to the organizing committees. Since the name WSF may mislead the funders of local events, they may be asked to check with the organizers whether they, the organizers, have fulfilled this requirement of at least informing the WSF Secretariat about their forthcoming event or not.

@ It is worth mentioning the possibility to generate, at the time of a larger event, events / processes that combine self-organization of local activities and of remote intercommunication activities with this bigger event.

8. Space for Horizontal Interconnectedness of organizations :  

(reference for interchange in OE space Convergencia & Final & Memoria )

The impact of the World Social Forum has to become visible through concrete actions following an event. The WSF itself, not being an organisation, cannot @be engaged (engage) in such actions. It is chiefly the movements, that are engaged in such actions on a sustained basis, that can carry forward the action agendas they devise at WSF events.

Whereas the WSF must provide a platform for exchange of ideas, talks, workshops, lectures,   and so on, the outcome of concrete actions would however greatly depend on the degree of interconnectedness achieved by movements by using the WSF space.   

The organisers shall provide spaces and methods for (groups) of organisations to prepare make visible outcomes of their participation in   the event and stimulate them to develop   their outcome after the event

Those considerations apply both to physical spaces during the event and to virtual spaces before and after the event , in particular using  «process  websites available in the wsf context

@ Organizers can give particular attention to how their event methodology is reflected in the website of the event, to make it the most accessible, explicit, and transparent as possible.

@It must be ensured also This would also ensure a subaltern  ˜resistance from below  to neo-liberalism and imperialism. Consequently, it becomes imperative that the organizers and the IC while crafting a particular event pay adequate attention to facilitate the assemblies, tribunals and other forms of horizontal interconnectedness of different movements, by devising appropriate themes and axes, as also in the decisions regarding the allocation of space, subsidy and so on.

All efforts must be made by the organisers to ensure that a WSF event acts as a catalyst for the forces of direct action to further empower and integrate their actions, and that it is not allowed to be reduced to a mere talk-shop.

8bDefinition and usage of themes/axes/objectives (new chapter):    

@Themes and transversal links across themes are meant to organize the “open space” of a forum event/process, Themes ( also called objectives or axes)  are felt as a common language and a common agenda, and expected to be fruitful for those tagging/locating their "activities" in them, to facilitate the cooperation and coming about of strategies, and to avoid the constitution of isolated clusters of activities 

A text is being proposed from strategy commission to further explain the use of themes : see here  

@Selection and wording of themes is important, as those are used for communication, mobilization, and agglutination purposes. The process for this needs to be explicated by the organizing committee. There is previous experience of consultation of organizations about themes to be announced in a particular event, with a working group to select a final array of themes. Protocols for contribution to theme selection through on line interactions of future event participants are yet to be explored

@In WSF process, a categorization of about ten themes worded as “objectives in WSF” is being maintained with evolutions managed by WSF International Council. In a general forum event, It can be used as an all encompassing thematic base by the organizing committee, in order to avoid a generic exercise already done by many others, and to concentrate resources on effective and creative facilitation of "agglutination" around themes. In a thematic forum event, activities promoters are invited to assess whether their activity is in the thematic scope or out of this scope

@Any given theme categorization will bring together some activities and also separate others, that would be closer along another wording of themes . Thus it is important to devise secondary systems of themes, transversal to the first array of themes, and that can, in part, be dynamically linked to "tags" used by participants when announcing their activities on the event website 

@However, the simple announcement of a set of themes  has limited impact in itself in the event mobilization and preparation dynamics, and it is useful that Organizing committee clarify long enough in advance what will be the practical usage of such set of objectives/themes in the mobilization , and in the agglutination process of announced activities. This clarification can be given for the venue and the website

-Expliciting and implementing  the various functionalities and protocols in the event website related to "agglutination":
-some of them  activated by participants (eg : effective search and display activities/ initiative by theme or by tag, creation of discussion mailing list when a tag reach a certain threshold of activities etc.)
-some others  defined and used by teams of "agglutination facilitators" ( eg invite to a  set of discussion lists around themes, with invitations to express expectations of cooperation alliances etc..) 

-Expliciting the options taken in the event programming for the physical and time dispatch of the finalized activities in the event venue, according to their self tagging in main and secondary themes , with possibilities to create spaces and moments for transversalities, etc.

9 - Assemblies of Convergence and final part of the event (new chapter)

(reference for interchange in OE space Convergencia & Final & Memoria )

@ It is recommended to Organizing committee to communicate as early as possible during the mobilization for the event, the existence of these self-organized convergence assemblies at the end of the event, and open their registration process early. This does  not rule out the possibility that new convergences and assemblies not originally foreseen arise during the event.

@ It is also recommended to clarify that the nature and purpose of these assmeblies, and their inclusion and decision protocols are defined by facilitating groups conveners of these meetings, with the principle of free association of  participants.

@ Likewise, the committee may explain the large variations possible between "testimony assemblies" where / the participants make a statement, and "process assembly process", which are designed to last after the event where they started, and give themselves a work plan agreed with continued collaboration spaces online.

@ Each organizing committee may establish rules for self-organized assemblies at the end of the event  be sufficiently plural (like asking a minimum number of organizations from various areas to get together in order to announce an assembly). The committee may stimulate organizers / facilitators of assemblies to publish lists of signatories to the declaration of the assembly.

@ In the final part of the event, the statements of several organizations bring plurality Auto Assembly, also / participants want to have an overview of the progress made during the event activities, and want to celebrate together their joint participation in the event that manifests the search for a unity in diversity.

@ The event organizers are invited design and prepare with care and careful with prior  communication to the participants, a final session, mixing in time and space assemblies statements, decentralized communications of activities results, and cultural expressions with a unifying character, so to satisfy the various final expectations of participants.

@ Also, after the event is part of the organizers agenda  to be  promoting the statements of the assemblies, the visibility of the results of other activities, and the memory of the activities, self drafted by the participants and organizers of these.

10. Translation, Languages,

(reference for interchange in OE space Trad & Interpretacion )

Promoting diversity in the WSF event is a political decision, but it also poses challenges, for example, in the case of languages. The presence of many languages at the WSF event has to be seen as a political necessity, and ways to face such a challenge has also to be political rather than merely technical. @ The interpreters should be sensitized to understand the idiosyncrasies of this event and take notice of the specific vocabulary that can be used in the event.

The organizing committee should reflect in time on the linguistic/translation and interpretation needs of the WSF. The necessary measures and decisions should be taken well in advance of the Forum in order to get efficient and affordable translations throughout all the forum ™s events in order to have equal treatment for all participating movements and to take into account the needs of minority languages , @ including local or regional languages and sign language (for the hearing impaired). It is also important to articulate the interpreters and remote participation.

 11. Communication

(reference for interchange in OE space Media   and  OE space Mob  & Com )

@ The events of the WSF in their essence must be understood as strategies and practices of communication with society in general and its various stakeholders Utmost attention should be paid by the organizing committee to processes of communication     intercommunication , and documentation before, during and after the event, with aims of mobilization and quality in the preparation and holding of self organized activities in the event, and the effectiveness of their outcomes.

In particular:

Before the event : Create inclusive spaces, physical and online, for working groups linked to the organization committee   preparing the event. Stimulate organizations willing to hold activities in the event   to upload to sites provided in the WSF context in order to help collaboration between the self organized activities. Provide ways for organizations registering activities in   the   event website to link clearly to such associated spaces.

During the event : provide a properly functioning media center, total support to non profit and alternative media stimulating them to share production of coverage, provide maximum access to internet for participants, and also infrastructure and support to organizations setting up interconnections with organized groups that are willing to participate remotely in the event.   

After the event: Stimulate participant organizations to publish outcomes of their participation in the event site, and create spaces to develop further interconnections and collaborations, around these outcomes

12-website and methodology (new chapter)

@The website of an event is reflecting the whole social forum event collective organizing and dialogic process, and it is much more than an administrative or informative tool.

In the pre event and the post event phase - that is 95% of the time taking off one week maximum of face to face interaction , the website can be a daily interactive tool, that can  accompany and facilitate greatly the interactions of participants and the build up, and the follow up of their activities in the event. It is also a methodological tool giving a collective vision of what emerges from participant interactions and announcements.

For direct and for extended participants, alike, the website is the daily “venue” of the process. In it they can log in- present themselves, search and find partners, see the bottom up program growing, send messages to each other, edit their announcements of activities and assemblies of initiatives, merge/agglutinate activities , edit links to other pages of the website to collaborative spaces, to documents , making the event site a very useful hub of information.

The earlier the web design team is started, the better it will  collectively accommodate all aspects described in the various chapter of this document. The website operation team, whatever the organization finalized, needs to include people from various working group of the OC and start early, more in a facilitating spirit than in an editing one. A series of recommendations on the website can be found in documents related to Communication Commission.  (here)
-

 

13-Cultural and participatory approaches (new chapter)

(reference for interchange in OE space Actividades & cultura )

@ An event related to the WSF is a plural by definition, characterized by the encounter of different peoples and cultures. Culture must not be merely reduced to deve spaces and moments of representation, or artistic performances.

Culture is as political as politics is cultural. Thus, inclusion of art and culture in all areas of events, can be stimulated, including in political discussion and in the convergence assemblies.

@ Also an event is a time of intensive practice of expression and dialogue, a time for another possible communication, based on the appreciation of cultures. To this end, the participants use themes, images, forms of dialogue, collective methods, and high-intensity participatory and dialogic activities can be mounted.

@ In this perspective, the organizing committee can promote autonomous cooperation between networks of cultural activists and organizers of activities, in order to develop creativity in the ways and language of self-organized activities, and allow collective progress in the ways as well as in  the content of these, intimately including a cultural dimension in the process of social and political construction. This may allow that culture not be  "apart".

@ It should be avoided to promote artists that are not related to the struggles or the principles of the WSF, or to prioritize famous artists of business culture to the detriment of artists oriented towards resistance and alternative culture.

14 - Extension of the event (new chapter)

(reference for interchange in OEspace Extension & Continuidad )

@ Travel and accommodation expenses in a Social Forum event are an important criteria for deciding participation . Many stakeholders in the WSF process cannot afford to send delegates or only manage to send one or two to an event.

@ Extending an event is a decision of the organizing committee, that consist in taking, measures of communication and logistics, which have little impact on costs, and turn the event  inclusive for many organizations, located outside the event venue, and willing to participate locally in several ways.

@It is about “local” activities in the region of the event or around the world, responding to an invitation from the organizing committee, and / or activities of  "distance encounter via internet" between local groups and others in the event venue hosting the event, and / or activities located in the venue and  “enlarged on the Internet " to allow remote participation.

@ Extension has implications for mobilization and communication and for website aspects (direct to all of those who want to participate, not just to those who will come to the central location of the event), for programming (including local activities and distance encounters activities in the program), logistics (providing a sufficient number of rooms and spaces with internet connection)

15 - Continuity between activities at various events (new chapter)

(reference for interchange in OEspace Extension & Continuidad )

@ Since the WSF process is a sequence of many events of generic and thematic approach or local subnational, national, regional, continental, global, scale, it is relevant that event organizers make contact with organizers of activities in past and future events and give them conditions facilitating their cooperation along affinities with organizers of activities scheduled in "their" event.

This can reinforce a "dialogic continuity" from one event to another, among related activities, and contribute to a stronger consistency, and an increased articulation between events, their organizers and participants, their struggles and alternative practices, in the process of construction of this other possible world.

16 - Sourcing and delivering goods and services from Solidarity Economy and Fair Trade (new chapter)

@ Many goods and services need to be sourced for any Social Forum event. They include: food, printing, technical equipment, promotional material (eg. Bags, t-shirts, etc.).  In order to make another world possible, we need to make another economy possible by using local, alternative supplies and resources – as well as banning multinational, unethical and unnecessarily imported products from the Forum space.  There are examples of good practice such as local sourcing from small scale farmers of food (if possible organically grown) and catering by local women's groups; reusing equipment from previous events (eg. computers equipped with freesoftware); .  This general approach provides income for local grassroots communities, avoids excessive emission of greenhouse gasses, builds local compence, reinforces the local / solidarity economy.

This can be achieved by working directly with local trade unions, farmers and women's groups, as well as solidarity economy and fair trade networks where they exist.

Special attention should be paid to the use of renewable and recycleable materials, equipment and energy where possible.  The event venue should also provide recycling bin facilities and filtered water instead of bottled water. 

Care should be take in the choice of local sponsors to insure they meet the above criteria.

17 - Collective Evaluation (new chapter)

(reference for interchange in OE space CO org & Volunt & Evaluacion)

@ Organizing an event is a delicate collective process, and the quality of facilitation influences the perceptions of  participants, which in turn significantly influences their effective participation. Hence the importance of collective evaluation of the process before and after the event.

 Before the event: - organizers can stimulate moments of assessing their organizational process, either internally or also laterally with other organizers through discussion in the "space for exchange about organizing events."

After the event: organizers can make a internal and lateral evaluation in the “exchange spaces”. They can use the logistics of the registration process at the event to serve even after the event for active evaluation by the participants. For example, each individual participant or organization may fill one part of its registration form with its assessment, without the need to create a specific mechanism for this after the event.

18 - Spaces for discussing the organization of events (new chapter)

(  see OE spaces in  exploratory version )

 @ organizers of  past and future events are invited to share experiences and make recommendations and proposals for cooperation to organizers of future events, being understood that these, referring to the guiding principles document  are autonomous.

The WSF International Council promotes a system of "permanent thematic spaces of exchange on the organizing of events, including event organizers responsible for these various topics at their event. Each space is facilitated by participants of the international council commissions. Participation in the exchange spaces aims for two effects.

@ On the one hand, the presence in several spaces of exchange, of various people from the same organizing committee, participating because of their various responsibilities, nurture the committee ideas and information from all over the WSF process, and helps  internal horizontal and creative dialogue in this committee.

On the other hand, exchanges encourage dialogue and concrete cooperation between event organizers, and this results in the collective progress of the experience of organizing many different events that support the WSF process, and continuous improvement of the quality of these.