• portoagre16 oficina futuro fsm en

last modified October 26, 2016 by facilitfsm

FUTURE OF WSF PROCESS : a workshop in FST “WSF 15 years” Porto Alegre
22 january in Memorial do RS

(8 then 20 people participating) - some links added in october after wsf2016 experience

Francine : I registered this workshop for NIGD as I did not see anything about 15 years WSF assessment in this FST event, which was supposedly a thematic forum about this

Chico : yes that is a fact, it seems no one needs that assessment ! …

Pierre: I was in a “frepop” workshop this morning ( forum de education popular in brazil), FREPOP has been created in the first WSF, and their assessment of their own history, was also an implicit assessment of WSF.

Francine: well then let us say this is the last forum … !

Gina : it is clear for many of us that we are in another stage than when the forum started. Absolute hegemony of neoliberalism and fundamentalist expression. WSF is the largest convergence, not articulator of struggles, where to denounce racism patriarchy.. It is now a more reduced space : the structure of the forum are weak and not functional. A deep reform of IC is needed: where our imagination can take us …. Open more and more the space, enrich with new presences,  asking presence for what? How we can imagine the forum.

Teivo : 4 fields where to give way to our imagination - 1/ What structure for governance : let us continue with IC and secretariat? 2/ Who should be in? Do people want to come in? make it attractive - 3/ Criteria for membership be an international network has not been consistently applied Two years of existence 4/ One problem is transparency Decision making for this animal consensus principle- what does it mean ?International meeting in internet ? Possible? What is it for?

Pierre: My understanding is that this workshop is a Discussion on the future of WSF, not a workshop about the future of IC. Forums events happen with or without IC, and their success depends in good part on the efficient implementation of a good methodology. I want to share information about what is going on in the WSF 2016 collective, which has included me, and is trying to bring in some innovations

There is a good Energy in the WSF 2016 collective group, many young people among 100 people. As one among the “less young”, am trying to convey experience from earlier WSF years and IC culture. For instance I was alone, in a decision meeting held every Wednesday, arguing that we should not open registration of activities to individuals (remember we are in Quebec with a strong sense of individuation), and eventually I was listened to, thanks to the usage of consensus rule.

Here are three main innovations, coming from WSF2016 collective, may be they are not so imaginative, but I fell they are relevant, that are being implemented in line with the charter of principles. They aim at reinforcing WSF as an open space and process, oriented towards social transformation

1/ Extension of WSF event into a more continuous and inclusive process - : opening possibilities to schedule extended activities and develop remote participation in activities throughout the year 2016, this goes beyond the five days of the event and move closer to an all year round process - see the invitation text 

2/Stimulation and promotion of Self-organized Committees. This is also a tool for better collective preparation and anticipation and hence going from event to process – those committees are invited to choose their mission among the three following promotion of WSF in general, preparing sets of activities combining extended and Montreal activities can be scattered in space and time but oriented towards building a dynamics towards a common goal ( can include preparing a convergence assembly),  or preparing physical space of activities linked to a common theme and taking place in the same physical location during a same moment in Montreal or another place

3/ Initiatives: this notion comes from trying to concretize article 7 of charter about dissemination of results / declarations etc…. As it is possible to announce In the website “activities”, which are moments of intercommunication in the WSF “open space”, It will be possible for WSF 2016 to announce “initiatives”, which are social change action in the democratic public space of societies (broad or limited depending the country). Initiatives can be preexisting and reinforced by WSF 2016 process and event, or can be resulting from the intercommunications in WSF 2016 process. There will be an “agora of initiatives” on august 13th which will be replacing the notion of “assembly of assemblies”

So all in all, this can be an interesting forum for experienced participants

Chico : (to newcomers from colectivo Bahiano entering the room) Join the conversation, this is not a “table”..Although I am sitting a bit higher than others we’re all equal in grace and wisdom

Let us separate the question - the world social forum - will be the last in Montreal? … the is a lot to propose - has to see with the 15 years of forum theme – in 2001, neo-liberalism was starting to get imposed very strongly: “there is no alternative” That was 12 years after the fall of Berlin wall: there was crumbling of the socialist experience, there was perplexity, and as usual fragmentation competition, movement of women was a typical case - Cuba China were turning to the market society etc.. In this moment the social forum appears with message:” another world is possible” - there is an alternative! it is possible to build a world centered on human being ! We can do it! Let us acknowledge each other, we have not to fight but to converge. Go beyond political practices - organize as a network, horizontally ….But the world changed a lot since 2001, now people have many ways to know what is happening, with videos and photos and internet. Networks have developed tremendously …. And other things have not changed

IC is another discussion, it was a tool that was invented to make the process international and choose paths for it; The IC decides by consensus but the forum is not deciding anything. Because the practice of movements was to end any meeting with a document, or there was a manipulation by some groups…All the approach

The IC is currently in crisis and The forum is groping its way, because conception and practice changed and many movements found what they what looked for and did not further invest into the forum At World level, WSF process is now uncontrollable -there are a lot of forums taking place of various kinds, this works and lives [ see the calendar

So that is three discussions

1/- we are loosing the world, we are in another world - so bad but great for the “big money” and china market socialism In the earlier “socialists countries”, Mafias substituted political directions Big corporations are destroying.. we loose

 But there is a great increase of actions that no one knows about. We should/could create instrument in the IC to disseminate this information and find the form to overcome the domination of communication by neoliberalism

2/ was experimented here in POA - a table on the uranium mines in brazil, and many denouncing that no one knows : send them out ! IC should help this project. We need to concentrate on communication issues

Moema : Two issues about the world: we need to rethink deeply in front of atrocious victory of neo liberalism to demote political as a way of doing in the public sphere. This strengthens violence and policies, and leaves us with no more the legitimate space where to build alternatives.

It is different from 2001, when we tried to articulate anti systemic movements. This has created disillusion in politics in Latin America: people are fed up with politics and do not want to engage, then the forum is no more attractive.

 In 2001 People were happy with a nearly magical energy and believed in alternatives that were built through politics. But we had left governments that implemented liberal agendas and not only here: in India and in Europe it has been the same…The forum was a space of political building of alternatives ( ….)

Chico talks about world centered on “human being”. I think that it is fundamental to have an ecological alternative: Mother Earth. We live in a living planet and a “human world” can devastate the planet. This is a bigger issue, and now an alternative has to be ecological.

Francine: we are from the same networks Teivo, Gina, Chico, Vijay: social justice. It is my third day in POA, and I have been to three of the big conferences of the “gurus”. What I learned there is that “we are all against wars, especially imperialist wars”, “we are against Zionism, especially Zionism of the left”, and all against racism colonialism. I mean, if we are in a new phase, but not through these conference may young people be happy, it is the same message as 15 years ago, and we did not progress and that is my problem. I agree, Chico, you have described the first years of the forum, but it was at the beginning, and what Pierre describes as innovation this has been done in USSF, a wonderful process, but a national process

Many people are unhappy with the process and we are not seeing any progress or political advances. Let us better organize! What is this all for? What is our objective? We are not building global movement of resistance. In the first years, many networks have been formed, and do not need the forum any more, and they are well organized, like RIPESS. New things are happening and we badly need initiative to better facilitate networks - The situation is getting worse, rights are dismantled where are we with the forum? I agree with the principles for the forum, and we should better practice it – if i speak in Europe about the social forum, they do not listen,…. it is past

Would like to find mechanism to rejuvenate.. Problem of IC is linked. Forum has been a space for change – we should make it again. Movement that are listened to are not here anymore


Vijay : the potential of WSF was imposed on me in 2003 by my networks for Hyderabad. The Brazilian those among the 8 original sinners [the WSF 2001 organizing committee with 8 organizations] had gone to India for December2001 in Bangalore. Many leading social movement were present - were not collectively ready to answer, so we had another meeting in Delhi: representatives of organized left, new social movement, national people alliance etc, new governance campaigns, came to Delhi meeting and elected me as convener, and we said yes to the Brazilians. Btw, I was introduced to WSF by Candido in a sauna….

The point I want to make is that political parties have similar goals etc… Lula came to power and that was a political change concomitant process with social forum. The feeling Moema has expressed today, many Indian organizations had at that time. We need a space with no boundary between citizens and agents of transformation, looking down to people as subjects to be mobilized, and social forum was the tool.

Now Pierre speaking of innovations that Canadian committee is making: this is music to my ears.

The only solution if we want the younger generation to own this WSF process, is that they interpret ideas in their own way, and they are practicing that …

As original sinner [ for creating WSF process], I would say we should forget these issues: whether WSF is relevant or not. They cannot be resolved that is the bitter truth ! …Whether us or the political parties we all share similar views about progress, meaning of life… There has been a global consensus and there is no other political tool than WSF that is pushing us to new horizons, taking ecological concern on board.

In India there is 80 million people genocide with the Adivasis, we cannot say, they have their viewpoint about life and do not want to be part of our world, whereas Dalits want … Adivasis do not want that, and WSF is the only instrument with which they can come in our space

In their image, on what is the global issue terrorisms, we see some people killing bombs, some people that have so little meaning and perspective in life that they go to martyrdom. India has been leading in Islam. in Canada there were people who talk of “good life” from scriptures, and give a counter viewpoint to ISIS. Global political elite has a consensus: they have a meaning sustainable developing goals. I would like the Canadian event used by groups to give their meaning of the good life, and create a new consensus on a better world

Have 3 or 4 tents installed by organizing committee, where organizations come and speaking visions of goals, good life, climate crisis, and separate ecological crises, then economic issue

About IC some things in print but not appropriate for this meeting

Had I not given up to organize WSF in India, things would have been different – but my socialist organization needed me, and I feel uncomfortable ……..


Caterina : am Canadian, I am not an expert and will say nothing about ideologies in the forum, but I learned a lot,and I want to share with you what the forum changed in my life. I have the impression that the forum is changing many things. An example: I discovered the forum in Ecuador 2004. In 2005, I could not participate because was pregnant, then we decided to organize forum social in Quebec. i learned that WSF helped me to know social movements of my own country, and connect to trade unions, movement of women, then I came to be part of many networks. This is great and the rough power is collective action

So to share this experience, we decided to propose creating of collective of civil society, getting prepared through monthly meetings for collective participation in events. This is now the 8th collective, taking 50 and 80 people to a forum event. Now we work together, for cop21 in Paris, people in the collective studied the situation. We lived the experience and prepared well. When the COP agreement was signed, we were happy, but fairly unsatisfied because there is nothing concrete in it. If we cannot link the issue of ecology with other issues, there will be no more struggles. I had not the understanding I have now, and the change in my organization, my network is present in 120 countries, is impressive. The forum changed all in my life, and I could not live with the idea the forum would die.

Help people to prepare to live the forum, to manage their workshop, meet on coming back. The forum is a wonderful process for me, I could not see how to work better, and where else to pursue the work am doing. My networks is now 1000 time bigger than 10 years ago (unions even invited me as person in their congress. As we prepare in the collective to participate - maybe we can develop a help page. Activity, your networks … I have many ideas

Uddhab : From Nepal - also part of NIGD which is supposed to have organized this meeting

1/ I read very analytic introspect views in the forum while I was travelling. Maybe during IC meeting we need to discuss where we are going. Couple of issues

Whether we make this forum through internet: in country like ours, we have electricity three hours a day - I live in Katmandu the capital. 4 hours a day, it means you are rushing to make things, am elite class and I have also limitations, then think about commoners.. The secretariat should be decentralized where the forum is. Giving a pamphlet in people’s hands so people read and make their mind is an efficient way.

2/ The other submission – at least fourth day in brazil Brazilians at least government is support to social movement, they remember us – Was not the case for us in 2008, we had a special resolution very radical Maoist - od the weakening - Maoist government had no alternative other than go with neo liberal agenda, there was no alternative. Still there is potential, we should engage more with politicians as they are the one who come up with the policy. We should not ask whether we failed -


Teivo : the cost of a plane ticket and the cost for paying for a secured internet access anywhere is not comparable

Pierre – 1/ in the welcoming group of WSF 2016 collective, we are currently developing at international level “welcome circles” using skype (60 circles involving hundreds of people ). These are online spaces proposed by the WSF 2016 collective, and thus independent of local forum processes that may exist. There, WSF participants can ask questions, and get answers, about modalities of participation, and share their intentions of participation. They are all in theme national local context, and may know each other, and cooperate. Remember we mentioned in IC that the local context had taken more importance than at the time of start of the forum

[Added after the meeting ] : Some acts of self-organized participation by individual of by organizations can result from the interactions in the welcome circles : some organizations can decide to schedule “ extended activities” in their respective countries, and can open those to remote participation on internet, so that a diversity of people can come in the chat rooms associated to those activities.
 They also can gather and form a variety of self-organized committees, promoting WSF awareness, or preparing “spaces of activities” arranged around a common theme, or “sets of activities” structured around a common goal

We can see that the result of this “dynamics of extension” is a potential ongoing decentralized networked forum process, with a clearer capacity to send mandated delegates to face to face decisive meetings that can take place in some events, that work as nodes of the network /process. A short text is presenting this dynamics in the website : https://fsm2016.org/en/participer/hors-montreal/

2/ My second point about the relation between WSF and politics - As Moema said, the emphasis of big politics creating alternative may be down in the forum, but the forum as politically creative space remains relevant, as a place to incubate widely shared campaigns and networked viral actions, citizen actions that can influence macro political decisions etc …

Carminda : I would like to understand what is the relation between the international council and the organizing committee of the upcoming world forum-event ?. I have the impression that the OC has to constantly convince the IC that it is working relevantly and right

That is my question for IC : what is our relationship ? - this relation would be explosive in the good sense, we could benefit from the networks experience while we do what we can to outreach..; we make lists search for internet - the experience you have, the networks you have, could help us, the forum is the forum of everyone,, our forum..

Gina : wants to make a summary The working group Giuseppe Teivo Francine is asking How the IC can be more efficient than now ? What Carminda is asking – the support that she requests : In other forum there were groups of the IC that were supporting … This time, it is more diluted

The communication system of the WSF2016 is insufficient – needs more work with the secretariat iaoro Well bring a small solution. A little of anything has been output – We are in a difficult moment for the movements and a moment of consolidation of neo liberalism. Those who have put energy in our movement, this has taken a lot of energy.

We have to discuss, forum is political in another sense of politics - this is with little articulation - practical things “how” with what are we eating. The Spirit of the forum need to be adequate with the spirit of time

Francine : thank you for this summary - we have this conclusion - think on how to make it true. We can say that we want a more xxx forum how -

Vijay; in any forum, sky is the limit …. It is not question of the Canadian limit: you create a critical mass. and stimulate  contribution to Canada social form

Francine : I learned about Pierre and Catarina said and the second level can be IC and OC level I don now case where - which are the important topics at the moment – let us decide about what and to do

Gina : we are all involved

Vijay : IC is more like a “clearing house” - small meeting like here can discuss issues threadbare..; there are limitations which are inherent to any process - No process can be perfect in its operation, there is always a gap between conceptualization and operation. It is a waste of time to discuss this in IC

Through meetings like this, we can discuss as individual and networks, and in fraternity. Homework has to be done before international IC, which is a body for stamping legitimacy in what has been though outside that arena

Gina - we have to do this homework before Quebec IC Otra politica