• Nepal & WSF - info & discussion

  • Re: Nepal Social Forum 2017 Consultation meeting

    from Bhola Bhattarai on Dec 15, 2017 10:45 AM
    Dear Sir/Madam,
    Thank you for invitation. I will be there at 3 pm.
    Bhola Bhattarai
    On 13/12/2017, World Social Forum Nepal <wsfnepal2013@...> wrote:
    > Dear Comrades
    > As Dr. Uddhab Pyakurel wrote last month, Nepal WSF Secretariat  has been
    > busy in conducting bi-lateral and multi-lateral consultation of various
    > stakeholders to explore the possibility to revive Nepal Social Forum
    > process. As there were proposals for Nepal Social Forum to be organised in
    > Kathmandu in the first week of March 2018, we wish to invite you for the
    > consultation on the December 15, 2017 at Union House, Anamnagar at 3.00pm
    > so that we start preparatory work to make the proposal a success.
    > Also we would like to request you to please share contact emails of other
    > like-minded institutions so that we can inform them about the meeting.
    > Sincerely Yours,
    > *Nepal WSF Secretariat, **SADED-Nepal Office*
    > *Sanepa, Lalitpur, **Nepal*
    > *Email - wsfnepal2013@... <wsfnepal2013@...>*
    > *Telephone - 977-1- 5535628*
    > On Thu, Nov 30, 2017 at 3:10 PM, Uddhab Pyakurel <upyakurel@...>
    > wrote:
    >> Dear Comrades
    >> I find a very good write-up to understand what is Social Forum and where
    >> is it heading today. Please feel free to read and share your thoughts.
    >> Regards
    >> Uddhab
    >> [image: Home] <https://www.opendemocracy.net/>
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    >> Reinventing the World Social Forum: how powerful an idea can be
    >> FRANCINE MESTRUM <https://www.opendemocracy.net/author/francine-mestrum>
    >> 18
    >> November 2017
    >> The collective in Salvador has succeeded in bringing together thousands
    >> of
    >> organisations for preparing the Forum: the slogan is ‘to resist is to
    >> create, to resist is to transform’.
    >> [image: open Movements] <https://opendemocracy.net/openmovements>
    >> *The openMovements <https://opendemocracy.net/openmovements> series
    >> invites leading social scientists to share their research results and
    >> perspectives on contemporary social struggles.*
    >> *
    >> <https://cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/corebranco-783x274.png>*It
    >> was in 2001. Almost a generation ago now! The first World Social Forum
    >> (WSF) was organised in Porto Alegre, Brazil, the city of the Workers’
    >> Party
    >> of future president Lula da Silva and the city of the participatory
    >> budget.
    >> There was hope, much hope, and a belief that ‘another world’ was possible
    >> and that we could shape it. This became the slogan of all future WSFs.
    >> There were not that many people at this first meeting, though the fact
    >> that almost 15,000 people from all over the world gathered at short
    >> notice
    >> was a real surprise. Those who had taken the initiative included people
    >> from the Brazilian Workers’ Party (PT), intellectuals from Latin America,
    >> Africa, Europe and Asia, such as François Houtart, people from the French
    >> monthly Le Monde Diplomatique… It was a real success and one year later
    >> there were 50,000 making the trip to Brazil, with more than 1000
    >> journalists! The World Social Forum was the reply to the World Economic
    >> Forum in Davos and wanted to propose an alternative to neoliberal
    >> globalisation.
    >> An ‘International Council’ was created in order to strengthen the process
    >> and a ‘Charter of Principles’ was written containing the main rules for
    >> the
    >> events.
    >> Not in the name of the Forum
    >> One of the most important of these principles is that no one can ever
    >> speak ‘in the name of’ the Forum. Participants can speak for their
    >> organisations, possibly together with others, but not ‘as Forum’.
    >> Organisations involved in the armed struggle are not welcome. The Forum
    >> wants to be an ‘open space’, something that can be interpreted in
    >> different
    >> ways and at the same time needs to be seen as a guarantee for
    >> ‘horizontality’ – no hierarchies, self-management and the democratic
    >> participation of all.
    >> [image: lead]
    >> <https://cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/773806570_c9d2c0e39d_z.jpg>Opening
    >> march of the World Social Forum in Caracas, Venezuela in January 2006.
    >> Flickr/Brooke Anderson. Some rights reserved.Initially, the international
    >> council was a closed gathering of intellectuals who jealously guarded
    >> their
    >> privilege, tried to control the Forum process and discussed world
    >> political
    >> matters.[i]
    >> <https://www.opendemocracy.net/francine-mestrum/reinventing-world-social-forum-how-powerful-idea-can-be#_edn1>
    >> *Big crowds*
    >> After three very successful forums in Brazil, the event left for Mumbai,
    >> India, with as much success. Nevertheless, the first small cracks came to
    >> light when the anti-capitalists, refusing to envisage even the slightest
    >> compromise, organised their own anti-imperialist forum, parallel to the
    >> official WSF.
    >> Afterwards, we had a ‘polycentric’ Forum in Caracas, Venezuela, Bamako,
    >> Mali and Karachi, Pakistan. One year later we moved to Nairobi, Kenya,
    >> which was not a success because of failing organisation and a lack of
    >> resources. We went back to Brazil with a gigantic Forum (150,000 people!)
    >> in Belem and the focus on the Amazon region and its indigenous people. We
    >> tried Africa once more but again the organisation was below zero.
    >> The rules which were set up to guarantee democracy and horizontality were
    >> not as solid as expected. At each meeting of the international council –
    >> twice a year – a new commission, a new working-party or another liaison
    >> committee was necessary to mend the cracks.
    >> But the cracks kept emerging and the global left appeared to be as weak
    >> as
    >> its national counterparts: bickering egos, divergent philosophies … the
    >> European forums did not survive the endless squabbling.
    >> The belief in ‘another world’ came under threat after the events of 11
    >> September 2001, and almost disappeared with the financial crisis of
    >> 2007-2008. The WSF continued to gather, but became less dynamic.
    >> The Arab spring gave new hope and we organised an excellent Forum in
    >> Tunis
    >> in 2013 and another one in 2015.
    >> The Canadians proposed a new formula for the WSF and organised one in
    >> Montreal in the summer of 2016. It was fine, but there were hardly any
    >> organisations involved. As is the case for many young people today, its
    >> philosophy was focused on individuals, with little vision of the global
    >> world.
    >> *Bursting cracks*
    >> The Brazilians were fed up. They were no longer keen to organise
    >> international council meetings and had doubts on future world social
    >> forums. A couple of times, there were real clashes at meetings and one
    >> had
    >> to be an expert with lots of empathy to understand what was being said
    >> during the debates. What was meant was hidden under several layers of
    >> newspeak and empty concepts.[ii]
    >> <https://www.opendemocracy.net/francine-mestrum/reinventing-world-social-forum-how-powerful-idea-can-be#_edn2>
    >> It has often been said that the main problem of the WSF is the opposition
    >> between NGOs and social movements. NGOs are said to be reformist with
    >> little or no contact with their social base, whereas social movements are
    >> supposed to be revolutionary and very popular. I do not believe this.
    >> Some
    >> NGOs are very revolutionary and some social movements know perfectly well
    >> how to keep their members in line.
    >> *So what’s up?*
    >> A first real problem is the failing and vague definition of the ‘open
    >> space’, including its intrinsic ‘horizontality’. These are attractive
    >> principles but they do need a concrete meaning. In any place where people
    >> are gathering, in small or less small groups, power relations will exist
    >> and these have to be monitored in a democratic way.
    >> If the ‘horizontality’ means that the really existing hierarchy remains
    >> hidden behind a non-defined principle, problems with accountability and
    >> transparency will necessarily arise. If structures are so complex that no
    >> one knows who has to do what, misunderstandings are inevitable. A small
    >> group within the international council continued to request a light
    >> structure with clear responsibilities and transparency, to no avail.
    >> Those
    >> who have power, especially if it remains invisible, will not accept any
    >> changes.In Europe as well as in Latin America, Asia and Africa, democracy
    >> is threatened. The differences are often smaller than they seem to be at
    >> first sight.
    >> A second problem is that some of the Brazilian ‘fathers’ of the Forum
    >> fear
    >> political positions.[iii]
    >> <https://www.opendemocracy.net/francine-mestrum/reinventing-world-social-forum-how-powerful-idea-can-be#_edn3>
    >> Even
    >> if the first Forum was organised just before the elections that made Lula
    >> president of the country – and promoting his candidacy – today, there is
    >> a
    >> tremendous fear of touching anything political. This obviously is very
    >> absurd when one wants to shape ‘another world’, but it does lead to a
    >> permanent struggle between a small club of ‘fathers’ and the many dynamic
    >> and younger members of the international council. The former do not want
    >> to
    >> organise general forums any more and instead focus on thematic forums,
    >> such
    >> as on water, migration or nuclear matters. They keep focusing on
    >> diversity
    >> and the idea of ‘convergence’ makes them shiver.
    >> <https://cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Opening_walk_of_2002_World_Social_Forum.jpg>Opening
    >> walk of the World Social Forum, 2002. Wikicommons/Passeata de Abertura.
    >> Some rights reserved.The third problem, finally, is purely material: a
    >> lack of resources. A meeting of the international council will easily
    >> cost
    >> around 100,000 euros, except if all pay their own ticket. The budget for
    >> the forum in Salvador is around 2.5 million Euro, a very modest amount
    >> compared to previous forums. The fact that the international council paid
    >> tickets for many of its members made it very easy to make alliances. Now
    >> that this has stopped, it is only the more autonomous members who remain
    >> and can put the ‘old guard’ in a minority position.
    >> Financial constraints, all over the world, make it very difficult for
    >> many
    >> movements to make long trips. It explains why the last forums may have
    >> been
    >> a success but were not really ‘global’ forums any more. The participation
    >> of Africa has dwindled, Asian participation has almost disappeared.
    >> A new beginning
    >> The international council meeting in Porto Alegre in January 2017 was a
    >> real turning point. Two and a half days long, discussions were serious
    >> and
    >> calm, everyone fearing to repeat the clash of Montreal, where even in
    >> spite
    >> of a consensus, it was not possible to condemn the ‘coup’ in Brazil. But
    >> the last half day, the old guard flatly refused to envisage a next Forum
    >> in
    >> Salvador in spring 2018. They were defeated …
    >> Now, in October 2017, another meeting of the international council took
    >> place in Salvador in order to concretely prepare the Forum. It was a very
    >> positive and constructive meeting, without any conflicts. The movements
    >> in
    >> Salvador are very dynamic, all are very optimistic about the chances for
    >> the next Forum.We have to act as adults, forget all egocentricity and
    >> learn to search for what we have in common.
    >> A very interesting cooperation with the Federal University of Bahia, a
    >> public establishment with more than 200,000 students, is very promising.
    >> After the international council meeting, we had an international
    >> conference
    >> with activists and academics, with very good results. For the rector of
    >> the
    >> University, this is a unique opportunity for reaching out to society. The
    >> opening ceremony was particularly moving, with, obviously, many
    >> discourses,
    >> but also lots of music, theatre and poetry, and lots, lots of politics.
    >> These are politically difficult times for Brazil, the memory of the
    >> military dictatorship remains vivid and moreover, in the same way as in
    >> other parts of the world, a struggle needs to be organised against
    >> budgetary cuts in education and research.
    >> The collective in Salvador has succeeded in bringing together thousands
    >> of
    >> organisations for preparing the Forum, trade unions will be massively
    >> participating, the slogan is ‘to resist is to create, to resist is to
    >> transform’. In the same way as in the past, the Forums offered an
    >> opportunity to directly listen to Chavez, Lula, Correa and Morales, the
    >> proposal now is to invite Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders.
    >> All are very optimistic about the chances of the next Forum. The
    >> movements
    >> are very dynamic and the international council can also take a new start.
    >> From the one hundred and fifty movements on the list, fifty have
    >> confirmed
    >> they believe in its future.
    >> A global transversal gathering
    >> The WSF is not the only global Forum. Thanks to the many initiatives that
    >> were taken from the 1990s onwards, many thematic networks have been
    >> created
    >> and they continue their very useful work. But the WSF is the only global
    >> transversal gathering where different groups can discuss their
    >> objectives,
    >> their strategies and their campaigns. There is now a general
    >> understanding
    >> that climate justice is not possible without social justice, that peace
    >> is
    >> not possible without climate and social justice and that media play a
    >> very
    >> important role in all these sectors. It therefore is urgent to sit and
    >> plan
    >> together. In Mexico, a major Forum on migration will be organised in
    >> November 2018 and we all know that labour law, climate change and peace
    >> will have to be discussed there.In Mexico, a major Forum on migration
    >> will be organised in November 2018 and we all know that labour law,
    >> climate
    >> change and peace will have to be discussed there.
    >> Too many movements have now withdrawn to the local level and have
    >> forgotten that local and global levels are not opposed or hierarchical.
    >> They need to go hand in hand. Moreover, in Europe a new tendency to put
    >> up
    >> more barriers is growing, whereas we need the opposite. The WSF can make
    >> an
    >> important contribution to this.
    >> This Forum can be a new start. The old guard of the opponents has
    >> certainly not disappeared and one may expect it will make itself heard
    >> once
    >> again after March 2018. That is why major mobilisations in Latin America,
    >> Europe, Africa and Asia are very important, because yes, another world is
    >> possible. Does anyone believe the world today is in a better shape than
    >> fifteen years ago? That the demands of the alter-globalist movement are
    >> now
    >> irrelevant? We should not be afraid of politics, on the contrary. But we
    >> have to act as adults, forget all egocentricity and learn to search for
    >> what we have in common.
    >> Today, some global initiatives are worth defending, such as the social
    >> protection ‘floors’ of the ILO, or the Sustainable Development Goals of
    >> the
    >> United Nations. But these certainly deserve a boost from social movements
    >> in order to make them really transformative. We have to act as adults,
    >> forget all egocentricity and learn to search for what we have in common.
    >> Hopefully, many movements and people will participate in the Forum,
    >> directly, in Salvador, or at a distance, thanks to the new technologies.
    >> The very interesting local initiatives, in Europe, Africa or Asia can
    >> learn
    >> from what is happening in Latin America, and vice versa. Working
    >> together,
    >> movements are strengthened and better able to tackle the dominant system.
    >> If the World Social Forum succeeds in giving a voice to many different
    >> voices, in helping movements search for their commonalities, respecting
    >> their diversity, this Forum can play a major role.
    >> In Europe as well as in Latin America, Asia and Africa, democracy is
    >> threatened. The differences are often smaller than they seem to be at
    >> first
    >> sight. By working together, we are stronger and have more chances to win.
    >> We do not need new borders but have to build new bridges.
    >> The fathers of the World Social Forum have created a very powerful idea
    >> <http://fsm2018.org/en/>!
    >> [i]
    >> <https://www.opendemocracy.net/francine-mestrum/reinventing-world-social-forum-how-powerful-idea-can-be#_ednref1>
    >> An
    >> extensive literature now exists on the World Social Forum. Here are
    >> mentioned some of the first and most important books : Fisher, W.F. &
    >> Poniah, T., *Another World is Possible, *London, Zed Books, 2003; Polet,
    >> F. (ed.), *Globalizing Resistance, *London, Pluto Press, 2004; Pleyers,
    >> G., *Alter-Globalization. Becoming Actors in the Global Age, *Cambridge,
    >> Polity Press, 2010.
    >> [ii]
    >> <https://www.opendemocracy.net/francine-mestrum/reinventing-world-social-forum-how-powerful-idea-can-be#_ednref2>
    >> For
    >> a kind of overview, see Boaventura de Sousa Santos, ‘Indispensável
    >> Reinvençao’ in *Carta Capital, *18 Outubro de 2017, p. 40.
    >> [iii]
    >> <https://www.opendemocracy.net/francine-mestrum/reinventing-world-social-forum-how-powerful-idea-can-be#_ednref3>
    >> To
    >> better understand the origins of the WSF, read Milcíades Pena, A. &
    >> Davies,
    >> T.R., ‘Globalisation from Above? Corporate Social Responsibility, the
    >> Workers’ Party and the Origins of the World Social Forum’ in *New
    >> Political Economy, *2013.
    >> On Mon, Nov 27, 2017 at 8:07 PM, Uddhab Pyakurel <upyakurel@...>
    >> wrote:
    >>> Dear WSF comrades
    >>> I wish to inform you about the bi-lateral/multi-lateral consultation to
    >>> revive Nepal WSF process. Some of our friends are for the national level
    >>> Social Forum to be organised in Kathmandu in the first week of March
    >>> 2018.
    >>> If we feel like we can do it, we need to sit together and finalise the
    >>> themes, registration process and deadline, etc.
    >>> We expect your constructive suggestions shortly so that we can move
    >>> ahead....
    >>> regards
    >>> Uddhab
    >> --
    >> Uddhab Pyakurel, PhD
    >> +977-9841566932 <+977%20984-1566932> (Nepal)/+977-15535628
    >> <+977%201-5535628>
    >> Skype: uddhab.pyakurel1
    *Bhola Bhattarai*
    Kageshori Manahar Municipality-13, Suncity, Pepsicola,
    Kathmandu, Nepal.
    Mobile: 00977-9851074770/9804237991
    Email; nafannepal8@...,
    Website: nafan.org.np
    skype;  bhola-bhattarai