• salvador15 report abong en

last modified September 10 by pierre

WSF IC - FSM CI |  |  Salvador report abong  EN - FR - PT |Gus report FR |  IC restructuration group report   EN  - ES - FR  

download document

 

logofsm.jpg 

WSF INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL MEETING REPORT

October 29-31, 2015

 

Oct.29 – INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP: Impertinent Dialogues: The WSF and the construction of another possible world. Promoted by: WSF collectives from Bahia and Brazil, WSF International Council;  Supported by: Abong, CTB, CUT, Vida Brasil, Government of the State of Bahia; Cultural Support: Kamaphew Tawa, Ametista Nunes, Aloysio Ribeiro, ABDCR (Cabral e Rocha)

 

The international workshop and the International Council (IC) meeting at Salvador were the result of a collaborative construction and horizontal articulation of the WSF Brazilian collective. The agreement at the IC meeting was that the observers would have the opportunity to speak, but in a specific moment after the speech of those who are members. The rule that the organizers of world Forums are members of the IC was applied.

 

IC Members: Liége Rocha - FEDIM; Nilza Iraci - Afro-Latin American, Afro-Caribbean and Diaspora Women's Network [Rede Latino Americana e Caribenha da diáspora das mulheres afrodescendentes]; Rafael Bogoni UNE/OLCLAE; Salete Valesan CLACSO FLACSO; Rogério Pantoja – CUT/Brazil; Francisco/Janaína Digital Repository/Memory Project [Repositório digital Projeto Memória]; Pierre Jorge - Caritas International; Yilmaz Orkan - Kurdish Network; Oscar - Kurds in LA; Norma Fernandes – Argentina; Gustave Massiah - CRID/Attac; Ismail Radwan PNGE/Palestine; Raphaël Canet /Carminda Lorin - WSF Canada Montreal Organising Collective; Maíra – Abong; Sheila Ceccon – IPF; Hugo Braun - Attac/Germany; Rita Freire Ciranda/WFFM; Lopes CONAN – International Alliance of Inhabitants; Janneth Lozano Bustos REPEM - Network of Popular Organization, Colombia; Gina Vargas Peru/Belgium; Moema Miranda - Ibase; Chico Whitaker - Brazilian Comission of Justice and Peace; Abdelkader Azraih - FSMAGH – Maghreb/Morocco WSF; Alla Talbi - FTDES/ WSF Tunisia; Damien Hazard - Abong/Brazil; Hamouda Soubhi - Alternatives Marocco; Maria Helena Saludas - CADTM / Attac Argentina.

Observers: Ruth Monteiro - Labor Force [Força Sindical]; Lélio Falcão - Labor Force; Raimundo de Oliveira - Abong; Mauri Cruz WSF Porto Alegre/Abong; Leticia Haddad CUT/RS; Luiz Henrique – CUT and TSF Local Committee; Edson França Unegro; Gilberto Leal CONEN e WSF Committee from Bahia; Kátia Melo CONEN Bahia.

 

logofsm.jpg 

Conjuncture analysis: A Panorama of the struggles in the world and solidarity among peoples

 

Brazil

In 1985, Brazil lived its political and democratic opening as a result of the struggle of the Brazilian people towards the enforcement of social rights. Since then, the country has lived a growing process of social achievements and a richness of social movements independent from parties and governments. In 1988, a new Constitution was written by means of a participatory process and we began to have rights, but that only started to materialize from 2003 on with the election of the Brazilian Workers’ Party (PT). With this government still in power, the rights to food sovereignty, housing and work have been partially guaranteed and materialized. This was possible due to a strategic pact between social movements and the elites, where both bet on a joint construction without giving up their critical standpoints. Rights were accessed without major ruptures. With this, the poor became less poor, and the rich became richer. We are aware that to continue conquering rights, we have to deal with privileges, promote ruptures and we haven’t prepared our social movements for this moment of rupture. The ongoing debate in Brazil now is about competency and honesty, rather than inequality. Our horizon ahead is the overcoming of capitalism, without which an emancipation of the Brazilian people will not be possible. The WSF is important for overcoming this domination.

 

The point of view of Central Única dos Trabalhadores (CUT – Unified Workers’ Central) and the Forum Porto Alegre 15 years, is that the political and social situation in LA is no different from what is happening in the rest of the world. We are going through a third moment in our historic fight; in the past Brazil fought to resist military dictatorship, and those who fought, taught the rest that we must protect a greater good: democracy. Freedom and democracy not only from the individual’s point of view, but from a collective one, including the workplaces. We shouldn’t compete with each other, we need solidarity amongst us. LA goes through a period of resistance, like for example the electoral process in Argentina where the bourgeoisie intervention in the electoral process happens via the media the same way as in Brazil. It’s this rupture we want to discuss, the hostility of the bourgeoisie that cannot bear the reduction of poverty and the poor occupying new spaces in society. The plenary of social movements needs to think a joint action for the next 20 years, not just a segment point of view. In other words, what does the working class want in this period to come?

 

We need to advance in the integration of our struggles both internally and globally. To reflect, analyze, build strategies and go to the streets. Bring together all of the Brazilian organizations to critically reflect on its region and to defend the integration of Latin America. Another world is possible with much more unity and struggle.

In Brazil, the context is of social movement criminalization, with anti-terror law that tries to inhibit them. Whatever anti democratic events that may occur in Brazil will end up having a devastating effect on Latin America as a whole (impeachment, criminalization of movements), even though we hold criticism against the government. We are a very young democracy.

 

Latin America

The debate’s proposal of an impertinent dialogue is positive, irreverent, audacious, it bothers and shocks, and this is our role. These are times of crisis, deeper and more complicated than when the WSF started in 2001, a multifaceted crisis: political, economic, food, climate and civilization crisis. We from Latin America did not feel the crisis when the rest of the world faced it, we didn’t feel it because we are producers of raw materials, we continue with this model of capitalism under the idea that this way we could reach an alleged development. In a few days in Argentina, a caravan against the agro export model will start; across the Andes, groups fight against the mining companies which impact and contaminate the environment severely. People are fighting for land, for national sovereignty against this model of development, this agro extractivist export model. Our fight has to be blunt and clear, anti-capitalist, anti-patriarchy, anti-colonialist. 10 years ago we defeated the FTAA with international networking. Now, there is the COP 21 on the climate crisis: what are the causes of the crisis? This system. This is the debate.

The Great fight that brought us together and that we should become inspired by in this moment of transition in Latin American left-wing governments: the campaign to stop the FTAA, that happened 10 years ago in Mar Del Plata, its political articulation, popular consultations and the efforts in popular education. It is necessary to find campaigns that bring us together, and that enable us to move from one network to the other, in emancipatory processes.

Most countries continue with the same economic, cultural, productive, agro extractivist export model of development. Most of us are struggling against the same issues within our own territory. What kind of development is this? To think in terms of infinite growth is complicated, we need to think alternatives to this development model. We still haven’t found a way out of the current production model; we have thought about compensatory policies to improve peoples’ lives, but inequality still remains. This production model is highly prone to concentrate wealth, so we have to discuss this in regional forums such as the Mercosur and Unasur, and bring this kind of debate and agglutinating campaigns to the WSF.

We are undergoing a financial and political crisis, we have to create conditions to overcome differences and build unity in LA. A cycle of progressive governments. Only unity will be able to overcome the wave of conservatism in LA in which the US is involved. We have to recover the unity of the anti-FTAA campaign. Re-articulation of the social movement, of the big action fronts, in Brazil the Frente Brasil Popular [Popular Brazil Front] and Frente Povo sem Medo [People Without Fear Front]. In Colombia we see unity in the student movement. It is important to prioritize this space in the WSF; a high activity scenario indicates that the LA movements are very attentive.

 

Arab World

Maghreb and Mashriq

We are facing armed conflicts within democratic regimes. Each day, migrants cross Africa towards Europe and the sea has become a tomb in open air. We can’t just stand and watch the black refugees being drowned in the sea fleeing the war.

In Africa, where natural resources are exploited, what makes the Africans suffer is the social decadence and conflicts that force inhabitants out of their countries. Ebola, malaria, no country in the world is facing this kind of issue; there is a lack of scientific research, there is the issue of education, and the IMF and World Bank system captures public resources. After Africa’s decolonization, 9 million people died, the wars since 1990 cost 200 bi Euros and there is the exodus from countries in conflict and neighboring countries.

We must keep in mind that the struggle against migration issues and the exploitation of natural resources needs solidarity.

The region is the place where major global conflicts explode, and that poses the risk of a new Cold War (Russia X US). The region has great wealth, especially oil. The biggest challenge for our region is the influence of Radical Islam, a movement that fights against all that is modern, all that is new in the world. The Emirates alliance with the US has caused changes. With the emergence of the Islamic State, we’re not in a religious conflict as before, the IS has an independent economy, it sells oil on the black market and has great wealth in its hands, it controls Iraq’s oil and much of Syria’s as well. That inevitably puts the whole region in conflict and war.

Since the WSF POA, we’ve been working with social movements to build regional, local and social Forums, and we managed to organize two WSF in Tunisia. There were major revolutions and a process of change, and we attribute the changes to the intervention of civil society. In Tunisia, the trade unions and the association of lawyers – who are members of the WSF 2013 and 2015 organizing committees – worked together mediating conflicts since the beginning of the democratization process; this resulted in the Nobel Peace Prize, which we dedicate to the Tunisian civil society. There was a murder and that triggered a movement where civil society was a mediator in a process of national dialogue; five months later a group of technocrats came, and we wanted a new constitution and parliamentary elections. The Tunisian civil society also had an important role in the organization of municipal elections in 2014.

We achieved a political revolution. However, despite the Nobel Prize, there is a process going on behind the scene, a strong force of exception, but the force of civil society is also strong. There is a long way, it is necessary to wage a social and cultural revolution, we have to review and advance the concept of social justice itself. After the WSF 2015, we saw the rise of a generational conflict, and the movement “I don’t forgive” (“Je ne pardonne pas”) is underway, an economic counter-project that we don’t want.

There is a process going on in Libya – the revolution of trash began in June 2015 and threatens the political system that is characterized by corruption – and so far we got no consensus on the political actors. In Lebanon, there is another process underway that is accelerated by young actors of the Lebanese civil society. We put the issue of environment on the table. The Maghreb region is preparing for the 2016 Games in Morocco, and it is good to highlight that we had success so far, but there’s still a long way to go.

The Islamic State is already settled in Libya, and also in the Sahrawi region and in northern Mali. This new situation presents a major challenge, which is much more a cultural than economic and social one.

 

Middle East

As a Palestinian citizen I hope one day the Palestinians will have the right to be happy in their land as Brazilian people are.

The Palestinian people are deprived of all rights, we can’t fish and swim in the two seas that surround us. We are a small country and we have one blitz every kilometer that impedes us from coming and going. We are suffering the effects of policies that force us to migrate. The Palestinians were accused of advising the Nazis to kill Jews, we are being accused of killing 6 million Jews. Two weeks ago, a Brazilian was in Palestine and he witnessed the murder of an innocent Palestinian woman on her way to the university. The media said she reacted, but he saw she didn’t and so he denounced it to the world. We are under constant civil abuse.

The Gaza Mission after the WSF 2015 in Tunis witnessed the absurdities the Palestinian people are facing. The solidarity struggle must go on, it is unimaginable the precarious situation that the fellow Palestinians go through, we continue to fight for the freedom of Palestine.

The struggle of the Kurdish people is based on the belief that the anti-systemic struggle is the root for a paradigm shift; the Kurdish struggle is in defense of self-determination of people against extreme nationalism and the capitalist system. In Syria, we have people fighting the imperialist system, we can fight for radical, local, stateless democracy, the Kurdish people are establishing this new model. The Turkish government is attacking the Kurds, the same way the Islamic State is doing in Syria. The Kurdish people are resisting and fighting against power, against the “democratic state” of Turkey and against the Islamic State. Both are on the same side against the Kurds, where women have their autonomous fight, their own force of self-defense against the state.

From the point of view of the Kurdish struggle, we understand that a revolution in the Middle East is necessary, we don’t accept imperialism, which wants us to abandon our project of democracy and democratic socialism, so we are here to talk about the international struggle. International solidarity is the only support we have in the Middle East. Western projects were imposed to the Middle East, unnatural barriers were made; we could have a democratic federalism there, and natural barriers can be reinvented. We have to start alternative global system projects in the Middle East, with self-determination of people and an anti-systemic fight. There is a house to shelter this struggle and the people who are fighting. In the Middle East there is a concrete anti-systemic project, there are oppressed people who are ready to fight, to resist. There is no concrete project greater than the one going on in Kurdistan.

 

Europe

We have police and political problems, rich people are becoming richer and poor people poorer. Social movements are facing major attacks from multinational corporations, institutions of power in the US and Europe which make transatlantic agreements; these agreements ensure a connection between northern countries and maintain inequality. It is a vicious cycle, everyone is affected, we must fight it.

In Europe there are social movements that are fighting it, we have thousands of demonstrations and public meetings against various injustices, we are a strong movement, we are able to ally ourselves, we can set common targets and common strategies. If we define our enemies we can change part of global politics. It is necessary to empower people in this international political battlefield and stay together.

Europe’s crisis shows the failure of the Euro, of the European democracy, of the construction of Europe. There is the refugee crisis, 700,000 people entered the European territory and the member states are far from agreeing on this issue. Central European states are building barriers to prevent the entry of refugees. The EU’s idea was to allow the free circulation of people. In Europe’s perspective, this means that what we’ve been building is not viable.

Today in Europe, in almost all political parties, trade unions and social movements there is a division, we are all unanimous in condemning neo-liberalism and austerity policies, but we remain divided on how to react. There is one group that thinks that being against the current policy without being against the European institution and project is enough, and there is another group that is against the European institutional project. There are good arguments on both sides, but this divides us and inhibits larger protest demonstrations. On the other side, there are growing far-right movements and parties, with a direct and short-term speech. The EU is torn apart and collapsing; the far-right is reaping results from these consecutive failures. We don’t know for sure how the movements will react. At the moment there is the preparation for the COP 21.

There is the expectation of a transatlantic agreement that will generate a political debate regarding strategies and defining a common target among CSOs. We have a growing crisis and thus austere policies, creating difficult conditions to succeed collectively. We have no convincing answers to issues like the refugee crisis and the crisis in Poland. We don’t have a solution coming from the root – an activist, peaceful solution. There are growing left-wing parties in Europe, however, we have to create the conditions for these social movements to act together successfully, we must rekindle the European Social Forum.

We need to focus efforts on bringing peace, and as the WSF, assume a more defined position. We have to face the emergence and resurgence of the far-right in Europe, which specially affects the countries in the East. The refugee crisis and the fascist behaviors are stronger in the East than in the West, they are moving forward fast and exerting influence in the region; the next government of Austria will be far-right. We have to occupy the territory of Eastern Europe, and include them more in the WSF process. We really miss the European Social Forum, I don’t know how could we, with our different networks, particularly in France and in Italy, let it die. Proposal: resume as a working group, and reconvene the European Social Forum.

If we study the right-wing parties’ programs in detail we will find protection for workers and retirees, more protection than in leftist programs. We have to change the model of production and focus firstly on economic and social rights to convince people to vote for our parties and associate to the social movements. We have to offer protection against neo-liberalism, especially in Europe.

 

North America

In Canada, there was a victory for the social movements. In October we had elections and 10 years of conservative governments were overthrown and opened space for the entry of the Liberal Party, which won in a coalition of several social movements. The elected candidate meant change, but he isn’t from the left-wing, he is from the Liberal Party – which is center right-wing and traditional –, he wasn’t the political choice of the social movements. However, during the election campaign he showed a progressive point-of-view and a left-wing agenda, and campaigned with a leftist speech. The election brought hope and boosted these struggles, because the social movements achieved this victory.

The time now is of hope and vigilance; as an opening act, the government made many promises such as open dialogue with society, defense of the middle class and of the social movements, and environmental policy. Since the elections, the government gestured by opening Canada’s borders to receive refugees from Syria. A total of 141 campaign promises were made, and all movements have them written down and will monitor and demand action.

There is a generational change, 43 years ago the father of this new prime minister (Trudeau), reinforced a positive image of Canada, of sovereignty and independence from the US. As soon as he won the elections in October 2015, his first symbolic act was to call the US and inform the withdrawal of Canadian troops from Syria and Iraq. A second important issue is that he committed to carry out “positive politics” to change Canada’s image in the international arena. We consider there are four important topics to follow: 1) extraction, 60% of the mining companies are based in Canada because the law favors them and gives them freedom; 2) environment, oil pipelines, Canada’s position in COP21, all these guaranteed a change in the Canadian position; 3) monitor the issue of free trade, WTO, regional policies, to discuss these issues at the WSF is key; 4) austerity policy, the current government defended during elections that austerity is not good for the middle class, so it should increase the budget deficit and improve welfare policies going against European austerity policies. We can hold on to this.

Next year, the US will hold presidential elections and we should think how the WSF process could influence it.

We believe in massive social struggles at the federal and provincial level. Left-wing political articulation is critical. In Quebec we have autonomous provinces that decide on education and health, and these sectors have become a battlefield, there was a student strike in 2012, a mobilization that had not been seen since 1960; the local Liberal government fell, another cabinet was formed and temporarily took over power until 2014. Then an aggressive neoliberal government took place, especially when dealing with the labor unions, which again mobilized the students. At the moment several strikes are going on in many sectors such as health and education, and there is an announcement for a general strike in early December. It’s been 40 years since the unions went on a general strike. The country is growing and there is an interesting alliance of the labor unions and the social movements, we organized ourselves now before the winter to harvest the fruits after winter.

 

World

There is a reason for concern: the perspective of growth of the control over our lives that comes along with the technological development of communication. It is increasingly possible to influence behavior through the use of the data about our lives. It is possible to use this data not to understand what we think, but how we behave and how crowds behave. The intelligence and security systems are developing, we are not far from the simulation of our intelligence by systems and machines, and we are far from realizing the impact of this in our lives.

The world has a lot of connected people, but half of its population is totally out of the internet. The poorest countries are still not connected and therefore are not spontaneously sending their information to the web (and this is 90% of the population), which means a lot of people without access to the media, but also people who are not being mapped. Marc Zurk has a project to make Facebook reach the whole world. There are more people using Facebook than using the internet. He talks about creating unity among people. A Corporation saying that is scary, it means having too much power to interfere in our communication, our imagination and in our values, in what is and what is not accepted, influencing our subjectivity (ex. Facebook vetoing and taking down photos of naked indigenous people).

It is very important to strengthen the debate on this in the WSF, it already happens in the WFFM, but it should be expanded and not be a debate between communication activists and technicians only. We are talking about a high level of control of our information. We all need to act on uncompromising defense of net neutrality and privacy, this needs the IC’s attention.

About the Post-2015 Agenda, the Addis Ababa conference on financing for development failed to introduce development financing mechanisms and taxation of financial capital. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) defined in September are much more ambitious than the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) even though they present major deficiencies. They don’t consider the indigenous population nor the disabled people, but include themes that we’ve been campaigning for, like participation, social justice, social sustainability and social inclusion, i.e. WSF claims that have been assumed by governments. We need to think about how to radicalize these issues and to which multilateral organizations we should aim.

Highlight the importance of ensuring cultural rights that offer us new cosmologies to think and act in the world. And finally be more decisive and clear about what it is to be a leftist; in Ecuador the government is at war with one of the largest indigenous movements in Latin America and continues to be called left-wing, while right-wing governments assume abortion rights. Groups that oppose left-wing governments are emerging and consolidating and also many movements contesting the alliances of left-wing governments with the big business and multinationals.

It’s a dramatic situation, rightist movements are growing everywhere, and this results mainly from the disappointment with the left that is occupying political space. The ruling class aggravates social inequalities and injustices, increasingly concentrates more income and power and is becoming more and more violent. The reactionaries are aware that they are losing cultural hegemony, and that’s what is making them crazy, and so they make use of every means, like repression, wars and above all the media they control worldwide.

The left-wing doesn’t respond to the criticism of the cultural hegemony pact because a part of it has allied [with big business], and the other part keeps repeating the same speech. However there is novelty in society, the Pope called movements to discuss the issue of migration.

 

logofsm.jpg 

The WSF and its challenges

Between 2008 and 2011 there was a new period, when the crisis of neo-liberalism started, demonstrating that this system can’t continue, it is not feasible and its leaders are aware of it. From the point of view of emergency there was a new situation: debt, finance and financial control, new elements. The response of people to the system, converted in mass movements, started in Tunisia, in the Maghreb region, and crossed the Mediterranean sea. Chilean students, Hong Kong, Turkey, movements in 40 countries who have put millions of people on the streets. They went to the Square of Tunis to fight for dignity and freedom – and against dictatorship and inequality –, for social justice and independence from the control of other countries.

These were emergency programs. Indeed, emergency actions don’t allow for a change in the structure of a society. While emergency programs were implemented and developed, movements within the WSF proposed a more fundamental discussion. The WSF Belem 2009 brought together the women’s, campesinos’, green and indigenous movements and they already began to say: we are facing a fundamental crisis, not just of neo-liberalism/capitalism, we need to change man-nature relationship, it is a civilizing crisis. The common good, the well living, the right of nature, Pachamama, several concepts that opened space for new ways of thinking.

Indeed, we saw at the WSF that the situation is transitional. During this period, a profound change in the alter-globalization movement took place. It is necessary to understand what changes, what transformations, what new challenges, what new forms of political commitment we want to take. These problems call for deep reflection. And there are many who question and challenge the movement demanding it to revolutionize, to be more revolutionary.

1) Ecological thinking. Ecology introduces a new dimension, forces you to think the future on a large scale. It changes the way you think about all the possibilities for transformation.

2) The fundamental social revolution thinking: all societies change. Class still defines a lot of things, the class struggle still exists, but there is a change in the nature of social structures, we can’t reduce everything to social classes. Religions and national issues, for instance, are not reducible to social class, and the movements have to consider this. We are able to do so. Issues such as job insecurity and migration threaten the unity of the working class.

3) The concept of democracy.

 

There are also related issues: the scientific and technical revolution. We are experiencing a scientific and technological revolution, the problem is that the ruling classes control the revolution, and that revolution is essential. So far the image of change was the machine, and the machine model was the body; now the image of change is the computer, and the computer model is the brain, the digital and nanotechnology, which translate the new ways of thinking and the changes that need to be done.

Regarding the new scientific and technological thinking, the financial class managed to make an alliance with highly trained technicians and executives. We have to break this alliance between experts and investors.

The ruling class also managed to dominate the political class. Corruption takes away the autonomy of the political field, we also have to break the alliance between politicians and the financial class.

These are the issues we have to discuss in the WSF. In other words, the WSF created a new political culture that has been renovated by social movements since 2011. This renovation concerns the diversity of democracy, the horizontality, the rejection of hierarchy. It addresses other issues as well, such as the changing nature of the relationship between individual and collective. The forms of engagement have changed; previously the struggle was for the independence of the colonies, now we are at another time, we have to recognize that a new generation means a new culture, and that there are new forms of radicalism.

The perspective of the World Forum on Free Media – WFFM/communication is that communication is a battlefield for any of our fights, it puts us in or takes us out of the rights and the existing achievements in society. WFFM emerged in the period in which we began to share information through other means such as the Internet, and it allowed us to get in touch and exchange on the scenario, the values [we share].

In some spaces and debates within the WSF process, the communication democratization agenda is not regarded as an universal issue. The WFFM doesn’t agree with this point of view and argues that democratizing access to all structures is what allows us to communicate.

The experience in Latin America and Brazil shows how democratization of the media is crucial to our struggle in defense of rights and for the achievement of democracy. In Brazil there is a fierce resistance to it, and this shows us that without democratizing the media we can’t move forward in the democracy we advocate.

At this time of dialogue between the IC and the Brazilian civil society movements, it is essential to highlight that the power exercised today on the media plays a central part at this moment when Brazilian institutions are threatened and there is a risk of setbacks regarding the social achievements we had already ensured.

A striking breakthrough of the right-wing always reflects errors of the left-wing. Thinking about Latin America, China’s crisis and the end of the boom of commodity prices, most of the positive processes that have allowed advances and achievements in social rights were due to the commodities’ high price, paid with the blood and tears of black and indigenous people. There was no process of political reflection and growth of awareness. We lost more heads and souls to the right-wing, people engaged in the consumer, television, crazy market. We have no answers – neither in the short-term nor in the long run. Our utopian horizon is short-term. We should reflect critically about the productivist model and on what is well living, what it means to be well in the world, in order to face the concentration of wealth and consumerism, and to build a way of inclusion that doesn’t mean having 3 cel phones.

Changing the world is an enormous task, if the WSF isn’t able to rethink itself deeply it will cease to exist.

Optimism is the weapon of revolutionaries. The crisis gives us the opportunity to expand our struggle, reflect on how to work and also consider issues and problems that emerge from this activism, attract people and keep them united.

Previously, the atmosphere in the Arab region didn’t mobilize people, now it is an important issue, which allowed the formation of a coalition. We need to give further impetus to our action. What goes up comes down. Our role is to face this resurgence of the right-wing; doing so it will fall. We must face all the things that emerge from this situation in order to discuss trade unionism and the new conjuncture.

In Africa, since Dakar, we have the African councils, which are a working tool and a meeting space for the social movements in the continent. It is important to promote workshops and reflection on the issue of religion in the world. We also need to talk about migration.

We have to highlight the importance of the WSF with respect to international solidarity in defense of the Palestinian people. The collectives appeal to the WSF collective that carried out the Gaza Mission, which is having repercussion. With political pressure, we managed to bar the nomination of an ambassador who was in favor of the settlements. This is the role of the WSF and the IC: to put international solidarity into perspective. We should have a meeting with the Kurdish people, today we see how it could have been important to make an IC meeting in Kurdistan, we would have contributed to social relations and understood a lot more about the Kurdish conjuncture issues.

Changing the development model implies considering other forms of social organization and social relations and going beyond what exists culturally. We need to look at other cosmovisions and experiences so we can have the elements to think new ways of building a society. The forms of work have changed dramatically, how do the trade unions respond to this?

There is a crisis and the WSF hasn’t stopped working, but social movements are losing the war and the situation is serious. In 2001, the launch of the WSF represented a major renewal of hope that multiplied into other possibilities in education etc. However, after this period, things have become more and more difficult. We have to be realistic and modest.

 

logofsm.jpg 

Reflections on the IC and the WSF:

Restructuring group (report attached) IC restructuration group report   EN  - ES - FR  

Survey conducted with IC members: report of results. 10 key issues to be further discussed, outlining possibilities for the IC restructuring and a new framework for the structure of the Forum and its operation. Dialogue without necessarily achieving a consensus on every topic.

The issues that emerged in interviews with IC members revolve around the political culture of lack of transparency that had established at the IC, which feeds distrust and creates confusion on the IC’s role in the WSF.

This report was produced from interviews and surveys. At the first round in Casablanca, it received many answers. This time there were few but very relevant answers. The methodology we propose groups the answers into three blocks: the first seems to be the most consensual; the second assembles the least consensual answers, including some disagreements or topics that need further discussion; and the third are the commitments and decisions we will take. The first major convergence, in everybody’s opinion, was that the IC must change.

 

10 topics:

Topic 1: The importance of the existence of the IC. We have a consensus on the need of having the IC, we need spaces such as the IC and we have to continue to exist.

Topic 2: Operation and horizontality – The survey showed we have a horizontal structure, without defining exactly what that means. We agree that we have no hierarchies, no one is more important than the other and we are all equal within the IC. This horizontality has to do with the principle of non-exclusion and the flexibility of our structure. There is consensus that we have and will keep this horizontal structure, without hierarchy.

Topic 3: Executive Secretariat – There is consensus on its need. The problem is where will we seek resources to support its cost. We decided that the Executive Secretariat would be responsible for updating the website and for the memory of the Forum. The Secretariat is a technical space, not a political one.

Topic 4: IC meetings. We have always had problems with the lack of time and resources to carry out the meetings. The meetings should serve the purpose of: presenting the situation of each region; transferring funds to the Executive Secretariat; making decisions and defining guidelines for the WSF; constituting Working Groups.

Topic 5: Commissions, teamwork. The commissions worked for some time, then they stopped working. Should we restructure the commissions? Keep them as they are? Or should we take another path, for example, when we have do discuss a topic, create a specific WG to work on it. We need to make a decision.

Topic 6: Decisions by consensus. We avoid voting. We have a majority and a minority, and we always choose to decide by consensus. When there is no possibility to decide by consensus, we will decide by consensus anyway. The consensus has to be sovereign, with no need to vote.

Topic 7: Videoconferencing. There is a need and the possibility of meeting by videoconference. Search virtual alternatives to carry out the meetings. How should we do the virtual meeting? We don’t know, but we have to search the best way to meet virtually at least once a year.

Topic 8: Charter of Principles. Most answers are in favor of maintaining the Charter of Principles, but an important part advocates in favor of changing it. Some think this change is necessary, but that now isn’t the ideal time.

Topic 9: Financial contribution by IC members – We never implemented it.

Topic 10: Funding issues. We need to discuss how to obtain financial resources. Will we ask members for annual contributions? Will we search for a fund to finance our meetings? Can we oblige members to pay? I think not. But we need to decide. We need to have a serious discussion on how to raise funds for the IC.

 

logofsm.jpg 

Observations of the restructuring WG:

About the composition of the IC: the WSF has changed a lot, but the IC is still the same. We feel that there is a loss we must recognize. I don’t believe that we should bring all of our old members back, but some of them are crucial like those from Asia and Africa. What could be our strategy to bring back these people?

Types of representation. Some call it: “Actors” (permanent), Members and Observers; others Originators, New Members and Observers.

Politicization of the IC. Discuss how to move forward with another type of methodology – a minority opinion expresses that the WSF should take a position on global struggles; others say that the movements are the ones who should take these positions, which is our current decision.

Everyone says we need more democracy, transparency and accountability. We have this discussion since the beginning. Most of the people who answered the questionnaires think that the IC is not very horizontal. None of us wants to do something that is not democratic and transparent, but the way we’re acting – especially when urgent decisions need to be taken and the others aren’t informed – generates complaints that we aren’t transparent. We need to know what decisions were made, who made the decision and who will report it. Simple as that. It is not a matter of blaming someone, but we are dealing with something that is displeasing people in the IC – so think of the other, whenever you make a decision.

The last topic is a consequence of the previous ones. We discussed the commitment of members. This questionnaire was the one that had less answers, so I immediately thought that people are not very committed to the IC and that they are not reflecting on this commitment. This discussion has been done so many times, so why must we answer this questionnaire again? This has to do with commitment, with the politicization of the IC. We must review the methods to have a greater commitment. In this IC, we will not hear from anyone that he or she is no longer interested. People want to commit, but they also want to have a clear idea of the way we are working. Can we, together, try to improve our work and operation? I think it is possible. These are the key topics.

Another question was posed: how does the IC connect to the dynamics and changes that happen in the WSF? The question refers not only to assistance and facilitation, but to the knowledge about what’s going on, to the articulation with the participating movements.

 

- Emphasis on the importance of the restructuring WG specifying when a statement is a personal opinion and when it is a result of the questionnaires.

 

About some topics discussed at the meeting

Agreed:

- Each topic presented and debated should show results that reflect what was agreed, what was developed and where did it stop.

- The meeting was called to discuss the restructuring of the IC, so we proposed to discuss the topics and forward the results to the rest of the IC.

- Many of the issues in the document are syntheses that are already underway; there isn’t a lot of controversy in the document.

- We’ve been discussing the restructuring for four years now, however not very consistently until 2015, when this WG was formed again, with the proposal that we should build a form to discuss the issues concerning the restructuring of the IC.

Not agreed:

- We haven’t assembled even a third of the IC members in this meeting. We are not interested in saying that we delivered a decision, if this is not something that will strengthen the Council and the dynamics of the process of the Forum. The WG did an excellent job, whatever we come to agree will be important, but it is necessary to engage the rest of the IC in the discussion process. We should avoid false controversies or debates that waste time and evade the main discussion.

- We shouldn’t make any decisions on the composition of the IC now, the process is continuous, the IC may meet in Porto Alegre, then in Montreal and after Montreal. The important thing is to use common sense and move forward as far as possible.

 

Proposals: 

- Reflect, but also deliver some proposals. Launch something that represents a new stage that shows we are transitioning towards the ideal form we desire. The proposal of radicalizing the IC hasn’t advanced for years, so we have to move forward, that’s why we believe this process should be thought of as a transition.

- Discuss the consensus on the composition of the IC.

 

logofsm.jpg 

Reflections for the transition process

Renew the WSF / expand the IC:

This is a time of renewal, the end of a cycle in the global context. This is also the end of a cycle of the WSF. The TSF - Porto Alegre 15 years will carry out an evaluation.

The WSF as a process went through major changes and the IC remained the same.

It is necessary to deconstruct our prejudices towards other struggles, the convergence shouldn’t happen only between equals, but between the different (the divergent). Review the convergence processes, the movements can’t only act in their cause, they must divide the same space sharing ideas.

It is important to bring forth the issue of urban reform, the emergency issue of the homeless. Proposal: Focus our attention on people when they are victims of environmental accidents.

The WSF as an internationalist space of social movements. A space to discuss politics and to agree in actions. Give value to the streets because the streets are the big stage of social movements. The WSF can have an assembly as a central space for the construction of effective convergence.

Many struggles are not represented in the IC, especially the active presence of empowered disabled people, a movement that should be included in the IC.

Amalgamate themes that are out of the WSF; include the ensemble of civil society organizations that aren’t represented in the WSF process. It is necessary to create the conditions so that they feel protagonists in this process. Key issues: expansion of the IC to segments of the excluded and the guaranteeing of their rights.

The restructuring WG has built a modest program, which matured in the IC for the past 4-5 years. Let’s adopt its proposals? Adopt some of them? So that the IC works better in a way that allows for the renovation of the WSF, what do we have to do? We can assume some proposals, and see which are the movements that will renew the WSF. The hardest thing for us is that for years we’ve been saying “come and take power” and no one comes. Why? Because power we don’t take, we contest? I think we should work from the proposals that are being made.

 

Methodology

How could we change our work method and our coordination? Should we work through our national and regional networks?

Now we’ve reached the limits of our actions. How can we surpass the methodology we use since 2002? This sets us the challenge to reinvent ourselves. A challenge to interact and intervene in processes beyond ideological issues, save human lives, react to projects that go against human lives, like the ones against the Kurds, the Palestinians and the refugees. The WSF is a space for making networks; in 2003 we had a mobilization against the Iraq war, we should use these strategies.

 

Importance of the existence of the IC

There is a consensus that the IC should continue to exist. We shouldn’t end the IC, but change it and rethink its role. The question is: the existence of the IC will be as it already is, or will it be something new?

It is important to have an IC, a discussion about its dismantling has no interest. We need this space. It must be modified, but it still serves to safeguard an important space for social movements.

It is not the existence of the IC that is being questioned, but the decisions that are made in it.

 

The IC has to undergo self-criticism

The WSF is a political process formed by political collective actors. They are not individuals but collectives. There should be a space for these collectives to gather and build their agendas. It is necessary to have a coordination of the process. The process isn’t spontaneous, a methodology with an agenda and organization is necessary. The IC can fulfill this role as a space where collective actors can join and that also organizes this process. Why has it not done so? Because it detached itself from the process. The WSF continues to happen around the world, it isn’t wondering if it should exist or not. But the IC detached from this process. Our problem is less about the existence of the IC, but about its relationship to the WSF. This debate about horizontality and representation is alive in the WSF, but not in the IC. The issue of having doubts about if the meeting should be closed or open is something that is detached from the WSF dynamics. The IC needs to be more open. The IC needs to catch the spirit of the WSF, there is doubt whether the IC has the ability to reinvent itself, and I see that the political time for this to happen is the WSF in Canada.

The WSF’s popularity has decreased before, but the last two Forums in Tunis reinvigorated and some Thematic Forums showed strength. In Tunisia, we observed a revitalization of the local social movement. If the WSF weren’t so important, there wouldn’t have had such a dispute on who would host the next WSF.

There is a need to restructure the WSF itself.

 

The History of the IC

The Brazilian [organizers of the first forums] concluded that if the WSF was to continue, it was necessary to divide the "hot potato" with other countries, so the IC was created in order to provide international continuity. The IC of Miami decided to create the commissions. A process of knowledge and learning.

 

Mobilization for the IC

What mobilizes people to be here? What makes the IC attractive? We should make sense so that people stay and commit. After organizing the current members we can rethink the structure, the criteria. Or else we will continue calling and no one will come. To whom does it make sense?

Until we define how the IC will function it is meaningless to call in new members. We need to know: For what are we calling in new members?

We have to go back and work with those who agreed with us on the existence of the WSF and that consider the IC an important space that should be maintained.

 

logofsm.jpg 

Operation and horizontality of the IC:

Will we continue to work with the principle of horizontality? Will we establish hierarchies? Sometimes decisions are made and no one knows who made them. Should we agree that those who make a decision should report it to us and explain why it was made? Transparency with accountability.

No one disagrees with the principle of horizontality, nor with the principle of transparency. We’ve got the principles, the problem is practice. We must further develop our horizontal practices, accountability and transparency.

This has created many misunderstandings; many table compositions, for example, were chosen without dialogue. This is a practical matter, since there will always be members that are more active than others, especially the ones that organize the activities. Certain decisions don’t include everyone, but this has more to do with process than with transparency. One solution is to announce, for example, that the meeting organizers decided that such a person will be the coordinator. But, beyond transparency, there must be mutual trust.

No one disagrees about the importance of horizontality, which doesn’t mean that the organization can’t delegate responsibilities, especially so that the IC becomes more practical. It is important to have spaces where decisions and policies discussed by the IC can show clearer guidelines.

The experience in the so-called “new social movements” offers some interesting principles: it is important to note that horizontality is a quest, so we have to have the humility to recognize that we are in this search process. Suggested tools: talk with our hands to demonstrate whether we agree or not, to measure the “temperature”; to advance in a debate, we use this as a sign, among other tools.

Anarchy and “democracism” benefit the stronger ones, and therefore doesn’t necessarily favor democracy. Horizontality is built in the process. Horizontality and transparency of whom to whom? One of our problems is group immaturity. For example, the fact that someone has organized the table’s coordination is not a problem, but if someone didn’t agree with the composition and remained silent then there is a problem. Organization and refutation should be part of the dynamics, that’s what happens in the WSF and this should “contaminate” the IC.

The principle of mutual trust and the possibility of questioning are very important, but the biggest problem is how we are seen from outside. The IC is seen as a foreign body, of weird people that make decisions that are not transparent from the outside. Transparency recognized by the WSF as a whole is what’s fundamental. Broadcasting meetings on the Internet was important and we need to think of other actions.

We lack mechanisms. For example, 100,000 people arrive at the WSF, but often without prior contact with the IC and with the scheduled activities. Activities are self-programmed, but most of the people arriving at WSF aren’t aware of this. If they don’t know the mechanism of the WSF, they won’t know the IC’s ones.

The WSF historic website hasn’t done its’ job for too long, if we, the ones engaged in the process, aren’t making this connection with people, bringing the WSF’s memory, they won’t get involved. How could we do this?

We are, with the WSF, re-educating ourselves for real democracy and horizontality, which is not the way our pyramidal and authoritarian society functions. Therefore, we must consider this as one more problem we carry, to reeducate ourselves so we can spread something which is not usual in society.

How will the IC be? We speak about a pact, of struggles, of social movements, and it’s from this pact that we will discuss the “with whom” we need to talk.

The commissions stopped working, they fell apart. The way things were going there was no way we could continue.

Instead of saying that the IC is emptied, we need to reactivate WGs, seek new ways and think positively so we can find solutions.

During the transition, think of communication tools for the WSF process, such as open meetings. We can have a meeting on the facilitation of processes where other actors can contribute in loco or remotely. An open workgroup, with a mandate and tasks and no barriers.

Issues: the lack of transparency not only internally but also externally. Can we find simple mechanisms to solve this? What was the problem mentioned and what are the solutions that should be taken? We can search for this mechanism now. This can be a decision to be made now.

 

Proposals:

- To create mutual trust it is necessary to cooperate in practical tasks, because it creates familiarity and solidarity among people. Discuss the issue of tasks. We spoke about decision, but not about tasks. The IC has tasks and we need to discuss them.

- The website has to serve as a mechanism on how the process works. For example, in the next WSF, we need to think of a website to inform the process through which things are being done.

- Give priority to communication as a tool, especially meetings/remote participation

- We need to improve our internal communication, face the challenge of communication and transparency.

- Make a list of people who want to contribute and give them tasks.

 

Guidelines:

- The IC needs more technological ways to connect such as videoconferencing. Form a workgroup that begins to put into action this kind of proposal.

- The IC has to address horizontality as a process and the search for transparency. We haven’t yet managed to define the communication and accountability mechanisms.

- Consensus on the absolute importance of an organ such as the executive secretariat, responsible for the technical part. The IC is the body with a political role. But we have not discussed what would the characteristics of this executive secretariat be. Will it take turns in every organization of the WSF, or will it stay in one place and establish mechanisms of relationship with the IC (political body)?

- How will we take on the tasks? We need to discuss this at this moment of transition. Think of WGs that can carry out the necessary tasks.

- The composition of the IC. There is clear consensus that we need new movements, new social actors in the IC. We have to discuss how to bring them, what mechanisms are necessary to begin to expand this council with new voices that will oxygenate and stimulate it.

And also how to regain the members that were active during all these years in the IC and left, such as the members of the Asian and African regions.

- Discuss the quality of the associates. There is a proposal that we have to discuss about the roles of members and observers.

 

We can summarize in three topics: 1 democratization of the IC, which are the mechanisms of accountability and transparency; 2 role of executive secretariat; 3 what are the possible advancements we can make in the IC’s politicization.

 

logofsm.jpg 

The composition of the IC

The composition of the IC remains the same since we started 15 years ago (organizations and movements, observers, holders).

The responses to the questionnaires raised doubts if some members will continue to commit to the WSF.

The WFFM members aren’t present in the IC. We need mechanisms to measure activities and discussions of the WSF process in various regions. People are talking about the WSF all the time and they aren’t here right now. Committees should start a process of building permanent entry mechanisms in the IC.

We could anticipate discussions with new organizations on the Charter of Principles, social movement agendas, the thematic axes of previous editions of the WSF, methodologies, the definition of the role of the IC, international agendas that are being addressed, and all these should be a calling for organizations to participate in the process.  People who act and will indeed promote dialogue, intellectuals who can make a bridge with the labor movement and the WSF. Also, people who will work these axes permanently in the IC and that will call organizations to get involved in the process.

The IC is composed of organizations that need to renew the agreement, the Charter of Principles, the holder and the alternate. We have a large number of members who don’t participate and don’t know what's going on. We must reaffirm in the Charter that they are organizations that are part of the WSF, and that are invited to join in.

The active IC organizations are related to important organizations that are represented in networks such as Via Campesina. We should talk to them and think of ways to weave networks and continue with the process.

 

Mapping of organizations and struggles

The IC is distant from the dynamics of the Forums. In order to rethink the issue of the composition of the IC we will have to come closer to the dynamics of the forums and social movements. What is relevant in the struggles around the world? We must redo a mapping of the organizations, of their thematic and regional representation, their networking and ability to articulate; what each organization articulates with other movements and networks and what is their own contribution.

 

Evasion of members

The issue is not only about who's not at the Forum – of course inclusion has always been a target of our attention –, but which movements left the WSF. Many left this important space of movement articulation.

 

Reorganization of the list of members

We have a list of members, but no one knows who’s an active member. All members have substitutes. We have 40 active people in the IC; the others are people who changed organizations and so information about us is not being received. Institutions should endorse people to join the IC, they need to get involved, so that it doesn’t lose its meaning.

 

Proposals

Form a group responsible for organizing the list of members and:

- Review the lists, who is actually part of / is active on the list.

- Reassess the engagement and commitment of the organizations with the IC process, ask each organization to reaffirm their commitment in participating in the WSF.

- The ones responsible for the website’s database should update / clean-up the list

- Send a letter to the organizations with the following question: Are you interested in continuing in the IC? Eliminate those who are not.

- Identify the people in charge of weaving networks in different countries and in different forums (anti-nuclear, GMO etc.) that are active in their countries and regions; carry out dialogue. Strengthen the process as an element of the struggle.

- Decide who comes in. There are 13 organizations that are waiting to be accepted (afterwards, it was said that only 6 organizations were pendant), will we accept? Can we move forward?

- Youth participation in the WSF and the IC. That this space grows in its ability to congregate youth organizations, we only count with the OCLAE (Latin American and Caribbean Continental Student Organization).

- The importance of the participation of trade union movements

- National entities are not allowed to participate, only the international ones and networks.

 

Reorganize existing members. 2 proposals:

  • 3 categories: founders, historical members of the WSF; organizations of regional forums that have a certain permanence and that work in the process (bring the regional forums closer so that they belong to the IC); new movements and actors, there is some uncertainty as to how to call them.

  • Within the engagement level think of three categories: active members (hands-on); associates working on a regular basis; observers.

 

People from regional and thematic Forums are working in various parts of the world, we need to integrate them and for that we need a team to work with these issues.

 

Commitment mechanisms

- Symbolic membership fee could help to demonstrate legal member status.

- Just as in social movements, if someone is absent in four meetings without justification he/she is out, as a way to ensure commitment.

 

Criteria for the admission of new members

When we call the organizations that have expressed interest in joining the IC, there will be others interested in participating as well. What will the criteria for entering be? We have an ideological position, we have a side, what if some of the organizations that try to become part of the IC are historically part of the “other side”? What should we do, will we allow their entry?

The IC can’t be constituted by individual representation, it must be representative of organizations.

 

Dissent: We speak of the WSF’s renewal as if this were a moment of popularity of the WSF, but the moment is of the exact opposite: a number of important organizations which occupied relevant positions in the WSF are no longer interested in being part of the process. What could attract these organizations to come back? It must be renewed, strengthened, re-energized. At a time where the militants are very engaged in struggles in the national agenda, which has been very demanding, what could motivate the organizations to define one holder and one alternate and pay for a ticket to attend the IC?

We have to focus on the transition process: forms of participation, open dialogues, a seduction and persuasion process so that more organizations participate. It must be more than just set rigid rules of operation.

It is important to have a realistic idea of who are the members that actively participate and always invite the regional forums that are active and mobilized to participate as well. We should also conceive a transition process that can open dialogue with new movements, a strengthening process that will seduce and engage more people in the WSF and the IC.

 

A counterpart to the dissent: We have already started a process of transition, and the every process needs standards/rules to function; we can already start to adopt them.

 

The member list shows 150 organizations, but more than a half don’t participate. We're wasting time discussing practical issues, we need to complete this act of reflection once again to carry out the political work. We need to facilitate the process and be more concrete, with sincere and precise rules in order to have a clear and democratic operation in the IC. In this transition period we will invite new members, but what should we do with pending applications? These are practical issues that need decisions.

 

Proposal:

- Rescue the list of members, which should be sent to all of us, and think how we can reactivate the link with the organizations that pulled back and understand why they decided not to participate. Then double check the whole list.

- Write a letter to all organizations that are part of the IC and to those who want to be part of it explaining what the participation in the IC is. This forces us to say what we want today, in no more than two pages. Go back to requiring that every social movement and organization declares their desire to participate and what’s their role in the WSF process.

This will be an opportunity for each organization to define in which membership category they are interested to be in (active, observer or associate). To be an active member requires being present at the meetings or justifying the absence, and to contribute financially through quotas or volunteer work that the organization donates to the WSF, so that money isn’t an excluding factor. There are active members that don’t want to join, but that want to participate; there are IC members who no longer want to be members (Gus writes the letter). A letter explaining this moment of transition, the process we’ve just started, and which says where we want to arrive.

- Carry out a Solidarity Forum and bring in those who are active and building regional and thematic forums. This will make the IC have a connection to the actual Forum.

 

Synthesis

The Charter of Principles is the fundamental instrument to bar the entrance of neo-liberals. Important: the representation is not individual but collective, from organizations. The letter to members who aren’t participating was done more than once, and it didn’t work. It is especially important to qualify the list, a fundamental task. We need to think up mechanisms, the letter with the idea and reflection of what this transition means. Think up mechanisms to engage movements.

Financial contribution: make efforts to think what are the possible mechanisms for this. A contribution of members to the functioning of the Executive Secretariat is unreal and would eat up the international solidarity fund, which is the most important resource to ensure participation.

 

logofsm.jpg 

The IC’s role / transition process

Think about what would be the role of the IC in following the WSF processes and how we can work more effectively. It is essential that the WSF process emanates a political message, and the role of the IC is to facilitate this transmission. The WSF was born against neoliberal single thought. We have to fight against what divides us, the fear that fragments societies and movements; somehow they managed to divide us, and that’s the IC’s scenario today. With the loss of hegemony they become more aggressive. We can’t let the reactionaries have monopoly, we need to articulate internationally, and the WSF's methodology is an excellent tool to allow the encounter of movements and generations. The challenge is to build common visions. We need to think how to bring the movements in without imposing our agenda and make the link to international solidarity.

 

Need for profound changes (prior to rethinking the recomposition of the IC).

We are facing profound changes in the world and in the WSF, the IC is in a real fragile situation. Many things stopped being done because they didn’t work anymore, like the commissions. The proposals we make fall short of the challenges; to think about the recomposition of the IC, we have to think about the real challenges. We will not succeed in including young people in the IC if we continue working with these same methodologies; we need more profound changes. And rethinking the composition of IC, depending on the decision, can bring completely different consequences.

 

There are 3 elements: The Social Forums as meetings of diversity and articulation of different members; the IC as the body that gives political support to the processes of the Forum; the secretariat that gives technical support to these events.

From that, how will we think the recomposition of the IC and of the executive secretariat, ensuring that we will attract the old members who are distant and new members? Communication tools; the list of contacts that must be updated; the every day work; the contacts; all these are fundamental.

Reflecting about the transition, the idea of attracting new and old members can’t be ignored. Propose an IC 2.0 with remote participation, because often times the organizations can’t finance their participation. It is possible to formalize the virtual participation tool that can be used by the groups. Sending the agenda and the mode of operation will help us to achieve the objectives that we are defining (attract). Interesting impact on the IC’s composition.

 

The WSF was born from a deep generosity towards a just and equal world, democratic and environmentally sustainable, that’s what it is here for. Democracy is a method to resolve conflicts between those who don’t trust each other. It allows us to build paths where everyone feels included. The IC doesn’t expand itself because of its fear of expanding processes. At each meeting the IC is deciding who is in and who is out, what the composition is. The fact of not expanding is what is bringing the WSF farther away from the struggles outside, from the real dynamic of struggles; we are boycotting ourselves and losing the ability to contribute in a process that is very much alive outside: the anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist struggles.

The WSF is a process of collective actors, there must be a space where these actors talk to each other, and the IC is that space. Whatever this space decides is legitimate: define strategic alliances and promote regional, thematic and world forums that bring together this process. The people who should be in the IC are the same actors who are in the WSF process, there is no other legitimate actor, or else, the IC isn’t being strategic.

It is legitimate and desirable that organizations that have historically built the Forum participate in this transitional IC, in this transition process.

Some activities in the WSF are very important for its members as a campaign for those who are vulnerable and need protection. We have to give them protection and campaign: against racism; against religious and sexual prejudice; for the rights of women living under exploitation; against child exploitation; in favor of education, the freedom of movement, the access to food and medical care, and for the immigrants.

Insist that we are a process and not an event, but we still have a long way to go.

When we say that we are connected to the struggles, do we want to be at the service of the struggles or of the WSF? Or being at the service of the Forum redounds in being at the service of the struggles?

For this transitional phase we propose to all the IC members: the trend of the IC (where it wants to go), and address the concrete issues: composition; function/purpose of the IC; how to act in the next stage.

In a democracy we trust in the rules. There is a fear of bringing other actors because of the fear of how they will think the WSF; we must build new political actors, with perhaps new consensus.

 

logofsm.jpg 

Funding

There has always been solidarity fund to help people from the South. Recently, Americans couldn’t afford to come, they are not from the South, but they don’t have the means to come.

Oxfam International used to help us, we had funds; now we need to raise funds for the secretariat, to update the website and for a database manager.

Concerning not participating for not having access to funding, the ability to be represented is a demonstration of organization.

 

5 topics summary:

- On the IC members, there are two proposals: the existing one (participants, observers, active and non-active), and another referring to 1 – founders, 2 – new members, 3 – regional actors. We don’t have an agreement.

- On the need to review the composition of the IC, it was proposed: assessment, list cleaning – there is consensus.

- How to include new voices in the IC. Respond pending requests; new criteria; other and new movements; committees that are working on thematic and regional Forums. We have to define the criteria to move forward.

- Operational and practical issues: develop IC operating rules and procedures; restructuring process; commissions; workgroups: their purpose and tasks; emphasis is given to the task of the communication WG in order to make it more dynamic.

- Pending themes: funding, solidarity fund, executive secretariat, meetings. How to move forward?

 

Guidelines:

- Add to the part of the criteria for the admission of members in the IC: new movements, youth organizations, historic [members], regional and thematic forums.

- Criteria for the admission of members and for the operation of the IC: join the Charter of Principles; attend meetings or justify absence; contribute to the financial resources or take on tasks; it isn’t enough to be on the list for three years to be admitted, a committed performance with the construction of another possible world is necessary, with consensual approval.

- We need a deadline for the process of change, we are in transition, but we have to act.

- Form a group that will be responsible for organizing the answers of the survey held in the workshop, the transition process may take some time. The IC has never held a meeting to review itself. A new stage in the virtual participation will be achieved after this group concludes the analysis. What is consensual and what needs further analysis? We need to answer virtually, with commitment, and react quickly.

- Perhaps change the name of the IC? Or clarify what the Council is? It can be a group of mobilization; this may mean a new stage, with new rules. The end of the transition process will be in Canada.

- The restructuring WG must continue the depuration of ideas, work on the synthesis, make progress.

- The reorganized list of organizations should circulate among the Council members, and a deadline to respond to the current secretariat should be given.

- Send out a letter about the transition process asking the members if they will join.

- For new members, previous criteria already existed. Call participants of the thematic and regional Forums to engage in the IC; set a time to talk with of these actors and together define the rules for their participation. A WG for this is necessary.

- Create a commission that would analyze the member organizations.

- Analyze the performance of the organizations that would like to be part of the IC, but who quitted the process due to the fact of the IC being closed.

- Make an IC meeting in Porto Alegre to continue the process, and to arrive in Canada showing progress.

- It is necessary to make sure that the mechanisms of circulation of information work properly, because we must receive the information.

- The restructuring WG will continue to be responsible for the ways through which the IC will expand until the next meeting. Then it will be necessary to analyze, approve or reject pending requests and find a way for the entry of new organizations.

 

Disagreement about when decisions must be made:

- There is a proposal that the final decision be made in the IC meeting at the WSF Canada. We will be carrying out other meetings and moving forward in the dialogue; we can do a preparatory meeting for further discussion (POA or Canada) and to accumulate ideas in order to reach a decision in August.

As new forums will be invited to join in, we need to discuss with them on how their participation and representation could be. Something new.

- There is a disagreement about the final decision being made at the WSF. This is a WSF that is difficult to attend (funding, visa). Proposal: hold an IC meeting in January at the TSF 15 years in POA with a deliberative purpose, and work on the process until then. Don’t let the discussion cool down. It is important to include the social movements.

 

Proposals:

- Start accepting new members at the next meeting (TSF POA).

We are working to have funding for a good representation in POA, this is a TSF 15 years. We must not wait another year to decide.

- Restructuring WG: that it carries on and grows stronger.

 

Summary of ideas presented and attempts of building consensus, syntheses and guidelines.

- The IC continues to exist.

- The importance of expanding the IC.

- Send out a letter to all IC members presenting the restructuring process underway and inviting them to rejoin the process.

- The operation of the IC must be horizontal.

- Decisions must be made by consensus.

- We will start using videoconference.

- We won’t change the Charter of Principles at this moment.

- The representations at the IC are of organizations and movements and not of individuals.

- The WG will continue its work and will produce a summarized document to present at the next IC meeting.

 

logofsm.jpg 

Membership criteria

Debate on the criteria for the applications that have already been made. An issue that was brought up in the debate was of the difficulty of assessing the pending requests with the new criteria. These criteria can apply to future requests. Debate on the solution.

Previously, the expansion commission assessed the requesting organizations to verify if they met the criteria. And at the Council meetings there was discussion seeking a consensus. When the commissions fell apart, the bodies that operated this process fell apart as well and, along the way, a few requests remained unanswered.

 

Proposals:

- Invite the organizations that have requested membership for the next IC meeting; discuss and approve the criteria for admission in this meeting.

 

 

 

- The secretariat evaluates if the old requests meet the old criteria and makes suggestions in the IC mailing list. If there is disagreement, they are not included automatically. If they meet the criteria and there is convergence, then they become members from now on.

 

Disagreement

- If we are reviewing the criteria, I see no sense in approving requests using the old criteria.

 

There is no consensus, then, as decided, this topic will be discussed again at the next meeting.

We have to be honest. We weren’t able to resolve these issues in Tunisia, and the same thing is happening now. What are we avoiding? Because most subscribers will meet the new criteria that we are going to produce. I think it is fair that who requested on time, be evaluated on time. And that who is new, be evaluated in the new model. We have to stop impeding things.

 

Proposal:

- The Secretariat moves forward in its work from now on and the IC approves the results at the next meeting.

- Hamouda forwards the requests, the Secretariat indicates the criteria, we assess them and the definition will be made at the next meeting, when the new organizations will be invited and formally accepted.

 

Disagreement

- It was said that there would be no veto, but now there was an opinion in favor of a decision that impedes us to move forward, in a situation where we want to open the IC for more people. This is a political mistake.

- Manipulation of people’s speeches.

 

Guidelines for the next IC meeting:

- Agenda for the next meeting: prioritize the entry confirmation of new members

- Instruments to ensure horizontality

- Define the role of the Executive Secretariat

- Format and organization of the next IC meeting

- Discuss the WSF’s communication

- Send out a letter to members informing that there is a restructuring process underway and ask who is interested in continuing to participate. Send out another letter informing the new criteria for admission, to verify who is interested in entering the IC.

 

New agenda:

- Next IC meeting at the Porto Alegre Forum

- Dates and times of meetings will be informed in advance, so everyone can follow them virtually.

 

Proposal: that the movements of the World Forum on Free Media participate in the communication process and prepare a communication project for the WSF.

 

Pending topics:

- FECOC meets old and new criteria.

- In the IC meeting in Mexico 2012, the Network Against the Far-Right had submitted their request

 

logofsm.jpg 

The next WSF events

 

Thematic Social Forum POA

Mauri presents the Social Forum Porto Alegre (PPT attached):

TSF on the 15 years of the WSF in Porto Alegre organizing committee. January 19-23, 2016, with the theme “Evaluation, challenges and perspectives in the struggle for another world possible”. The Opening Walk is for Peace and Social and Environmental Justice, January 19, 2016, 3 p.m., at Largo Glênio Peres.

A great mobilization is underway with organizations and social movements in Porto Alegre to make this a significant moment of re-articulation for the WSF project.

The Forum is thematic and aims to carry out an evaluation, but it is not the only one to do it.

Since the WSF in Tunisia we are spreading the news about the Forum as much as possible. We are inviting everyone, and who ever can come is invited.

We are not proposing any evaluation methodology, but offering a space for social movements that are in this process to carry it out.

 

Questions / suggestions:

- Will the secretariats of each WSF be invited to present an evaluation?

- The afternoon roundtables are co-organized or self-organized?

- A tribute will be paid to Saramago and Eduardo Galeano, but no women are represented. I suggest a tribute to Julieta Kirkwood (Chilean feminist).

- Will the Forum be national, Latin American or global? No one knows that in Europe.

 

Mauri: This is a thematic Forum, with the intention of discussing the WSF, its evaluation, its memory. The suggestion that the organizing committees of the Forum should meet is welcome. But the TSF Committee is not organizing an evaluation sheet, but opening the space for those who want carry out this evaluation.

We aren’t organizing convergence activities. We are inviting networks and movements to propose convergence activities. Any network will be able to propose an activity. We are inviting everyone to send in proposals of activities.

Proposal: that the lowering of the age of criminal responsibility be a guideline at the youth camp.

 

logofsm.jpg 

WSF Canada:

WSF Montreal 2016 Organizing Committee – August 9-14, 2016 (Carminda and Rafael) - PPT attached

 

In Montreal there is a collective of 260 organizations, the committee is seeking more support from these organizations. A partnership was established with four major universities, two French and two English. There is a negotiation process with the Montreal mayor – who supports the event – in order to use the city center; we want to build a 5km perimeter, as in Porto Alegre; the city outskirts; we are negotiating visas and financial support with the Québec government; partnership for university rooms and for the camping.

In August there was a workshop on the methodology of the Forum, the thematic axes were voted, but it is still possible to make contributions. The website is implemented, the process is moving on, there are thematic committees.

A campaign for international mobility was launched, to address the visa and funding issues. A letter of international solidarity against discrimination was built, focusing especially in the case of the refugees. A technical support team on visas was created.

Solidarity Fund: implement a solidarity funding strategy to favor those who want to participate and don’t have the means. New forms of funding; talk to organizations, groups that traditionally finance.

 

It will be possible to organize meetings outside Canada, the website will allow submissions.

 

The website https://fsm2016.org was recently launched and is now open for submissions. We will have a social network similar to Facebook, which will allow the formation of groups. Subscription of people and organizations starting in December and subscription of activities starting after the TSF Porto Alegre. Submission of activities: 20 Canadian dollars. There will be solidarity inscriptions.

 

We have a collective that has met once a week for the past 2 years and that is trying to solve all the organization challenges. There are eight workgroups. Each WG has teams, more than 50 teams, each one with specific tasks.

We ask you to commit to work on the program of the Forum, participating in the committees. The idea is to mobilize organizations to form committees in various regions of the world.

On the Forum on Free Media, we connected Canadians and foreign groups that work on this thematic.

 

Explaining the program (see slides).

At the convergence meetings we will try to respond with actions. This is our methodology, focused on convergence and working towards action. This is a criticism to the previous WSFs, too many debates and few conclusions and actions.

It is the first WSF in the Northern hemisphere, so to explain its meaning to the public is a great challenge. Many people have never heard about it. We need dissemination in the press, but we must also publicize the Forum before, to introduce this type of demonstration to a larger audience.

We will propose convergence activities, meetings and informal moments. We are seeking horizontality in the major conferences. Our perspective is to have the participation not only of renowned people, but also people who carry out “enlightening” initiatives.

There is a list of 12 thematic axes, which were proposed at the workshop held in October 2015. Under each thematic axis, there is a range of other topics. However, it is open to contributions until December.

 

Campaign for international mobilization:

 

We have launched a letter of opinion and your organizations may also subscribe.

We need to raise awareness in the government to this mobilization.

We are asking the government to facilitate the paperwork for visas for the WSF participants.

Brazilians who have entered the US or Canada before won’t be required a visa to enter Canada during the Forum. This is also the case for some other countries in Latin America.

We are campaigning for the Solidarity Fund. We have a political decision to take: who will be in charge of managing the money. We will ask the donors to indicate which groups they want to fund. They will work with a social network.

 

We depend on you to mobilize and to build bridges. And we want to reaffirm our desire to collaborate with the Tunisians, Moroccans, the Secretariat and all other Forums.

 

www.fsm2016.org

www.facebook.com/fsm2016quebecwsf

 

Questions / contributions:

- What is your relationship with the US Forum? What is your relationship with the Peoples’ Forum? I would like to see the list of themes with more detailed information, including explanations. I would also like to see included the debate on patriarchy and the gender issue. How is the relationship of the social movements with the Forum coming along?

- There was a Forum in Quebec where nobody was properly informed, everyone was looking for the rooms, feeling lost with so many venues, nobody could find the program, it was a labyrinth. It’s a matter of space at the University of Quebec. Have you chosen a venue with accessible rooms for everyone? Or will you make us circle around? When we receive the concept release and your presentation, we need a message... the message has to be “the first WSF in the Northern hemisphere”... “social justice”... in short, we need a theme to mobilize people. Canada now has movements focused on the mining industry, austerity policies and environment. So we need to send out this message. We spoke of the issue of discrimination and xenophobia and we also need to send out that message. Let’s not wait until April. We shouldn’t be afraid of political texts. We can show our opinion and it will mobilize more people. The visa issue can be easily solved. It is not an embassy matter anymore, but an agency one. On the innovation you did on the Solidarity Fund, you have to remember that the Solidarity Fund exists to help the Council bring important people from all over the world to the Forum.

I find seven days of Forum excessive. Will you have energy to carry out a 7 day Forum? And what about people, can they afford 7 days of activities, of accommodation? Isn’t it better to reduce the number of days?

 

- I am worried about the list of topics. I would like the Forum to discuss other themes, such as the issue of NAFTA, the Free Trade Agreement, and the structural causes of the climate crisis; the debts; the treaties with Europe. These issues can’t be left out. A few words like “governance”, for example, bother me a little since we don’t use them in the southern movements.

- I agree that there are too many thematic axes and we have the impression that some strategic actors were not involved in the construction process. “Governance of humanity,” for example. I also agree that seven days is too much. We should think of a better dynamic for the participation of the IC in the construction of the Forum. In Brazil we organized several Forums and the best ones were those that had the systematic participation of the IC – with the participation of the IC in the construction workshops in order to provide a dense preparatory process. Our responsibility as IC is to participate more actively in this process. I find it hard to participate only virtually. We could think of two meetings, mobilizing resources and people to participate in this construction, with workshops.

- We of the International Alliance claim for axes to speak of the homeless and the housing issue.

- I have a feeling that in these 12 axes it isn’t clear who the enemy is. We can’t talk about environment without talking about extractivism, in the country that has 60% of the mining companies of the world. The real issue isn’t the prevention of conflicts, it’s the war. Maybe it’s just a matter of rewording. It would be interesting if in this Forum – the first one to be held in the North – we talked about the eternal border between the North and the South. It would be important to carry out a meeting where all the people who have been in previous forums can help you to reword the proposals in order to clarify what the conflicts are.

- There’s a fundamental problem, perhaps because one WSF happens right after the other. It may have seemed that the responsibility for the thematic axes and methodology was of the local organizing committee, but it actually is a responsibility of the IC. We didn’t assume this task with you and you understood that organizing the Forum meant conceiving the methodology, the process, etc. We need to fix this urgently. Let’s try to stretch the deadline for these important issues (such as the choice of themes, etc.) to Porto Alegre. This reflects the stagnation that the IC faced.

We will organize groups to think about each axis, including its wording. “Conflict prevention”: surely Palestine isn’t included in this debate, because there is no conflict there, there is a massacre. These contributions are to be given by the movements and you ended up working alone. The IC must assume this responsibility, taking advantage of this foundation you have built.

- What about the simultaneous translations? Have you thought about it?

- I haven’t heard of the WSF Newspaper. There has always been a newspaper printed on paper. Have you thought about this? Another thing that caught my attention was the signature of a rapporteur of the UN. Will the UN participate in the WSF construction process? For me this is an important political issue.

- The mobilization, especially from the South, won’t be easy. And the Mexican networks, as well as Central American ones, are unavailable. I believe that including these countries in the mobilization is worth the effort.

 

Carminda and Rafael’s (WSF Canada) answers:

You brought up a number of issues that you can help us to build together.

- Links to US forums. I made that link there in the US. We have been to the Philadelphia Forum, with a group from the Montreal Committee. We defined strategies and techniques. The New York Forum will carry out an opening ceremony in Montreal.

- We need to mobilize Central America and Mexico.

- The thematic axes were not defined by the organization. We organized an international workshop; we also invited the IC, some of you attended and others participated remotely. In Quebec, many movements attended this meeting, which was a two-day workshop. These axes are titles. We will rationalize these words. We are going to talk about the issue of free trade, and discuss what we call decent work. We haven’t drafted it yet, we haven’t started this collaborative work. But we need to summarize this document, translate it and send it to you next month, so that you can comment and suggest on it. Do we have too many axes? We had much more, but we took a few out. The problem isn’t reducing the number of axes, but actually finding the key issues and the right wording. We will hold a workshop and would like you to participate at least virtually to help in the development of the themes.

- About the 7 days... In reality, we will only have 3 days of actual work, the other days will be for the preparation and for socializing.

- About the letter of opinion and the teacher who signed it... it is an individual signature, it doesn’t mean that the UN will participate. If the Pope wants to sign, I'll be happy, it is an individual gesture.

- About the participation of the IC in the process... we want more. Since the end of the WSF Tunis we’ve been working in the time we have, we have to find the means to articulate things.

- Do We, from the WSF Montreal organizing committee, have the authority to sign political texts? If the IC says that we can sign them, then ok!

Hamouda: in all Forums, organizers made political letters to mobilize the movements. We have to have a message... We will denounce the issue of NAFTA, we will attack the mining industry, etc. We have to reach people with a strong message. We need a political letter, delivered by the organizing committee.

- We have attended all the expansion meetings in Quebec. We have organized convergence activities between the forums. We organized 12 activities at the Peoples Forums. We are active in the Social Peoples Forum.

- We are notifying all agencies, including the application centers where visas are requested. This way, all borders will be notified that we will have the Forum in August 2016. In this matter, we are moving forward.

- At this moment, the planned program is comprehensive. And we will talk to the Free Media Forum team, in order to have an information system that can facilitate the location of the activity rooms, the choice of themes, etc.

- At this moment, we have over 200 groups supporting us, such as the trade unions, the social movements, etc. Work is moving forward and will be ongoing until the Forum. We have 6 people permanently working with the mobilization, both locally and globally. We are proud of the paths we are trailing.

- We will have a clear map for easy mobility on site.

- The crowdfunding will be an option for the Solidarity Fund; we are considering other alternatives to help bring people from abroad.

- We are experiencing the extended participation process in this workshop. We will improve it and give you feedback so that we can move forward and better understand this process.

 

Reflection: organizing a Forum is a political process, not only a practical issue. The dynamics of the production has to incorporate the political process. Our challenge (IC and Organizing Committee) is to transform these dynamics into a political process. The way you carry on the organization will or will not help the way we process it politically. Suggestion: choose a few IC members to participate in the WSF organizing process; also, organize in PoA a workshop about the WSF Canada. From now until January: carry on an approximation process, culminating in a meeting in January, so that we take a political leap.

Guideline: IC members that will participate in the Organizing Committee of the Forum:

Rita, Leo, Hamouda, Pierre, Moema, Damien, Nilza, Chico.

 

Other forums under construction

  • Pan-Amazonian Forum - October 2016 in Tarapoto, Peru, we will give more information later.

  • The Peoples Assembly in Tunis decided to carry out the Urban Social Forum in Quito in October 2016.

  • We want to carry out a Thematic Forum in Kurdistan, in Abakhar, together with these peoples (Kurds, Turks, etc.) late May or the first week of June 2016. Title: “Democratic Liberalism” and “To Radicalize Democracy in the Middle East Is Possible”.

 

The ambition is to help the development of the region – particularly in Syria and Iraq – to discuss possible solutions to the conflicts, to people and to their projects. An important issue is that the international community discusses the solution projects; another one is to bring international experiences to contribute to us, both in the Kurdish area and in Syria and Turkey.

This experience isn’t tied to the state. It aims at theoretical and ideological issues, as well as practical ones. In a conflict context, it is important to meet and have this discussion at the region – this is a region where people are suffering at this very moment.

 

The six axes of the Forum:

- Radical Democracy

- Ethnicity and religion: unity x plurality

- Women’s Freedom

- The Issue of Water...

 (Information will be shared)

These are proposals, the topics are open for discussion. We will send them to the IC and you will be able to contribute.

Those involved in the organization of this Forum are: Kurdish social movements, some movements from Iraq, women’s movement, ecological movement in Kurdistan.

 

Closing activities

Memory Project Workshop (Oct 30) memoriafsm.org

It is a collective process like the other WSF projects. Decentralized libraries; a collaborative group that creates the policies on how the material will be presented and how people can participate.

The Memory Project is a portrait of the self-organized process of the WSF, a confirmation that this political format works. It uses free software that can be customized. We can give visibility to certain things if we want.

The specific archival filing plan of the WSF includes shared communication and evaluations of the Forum; it tried to mirror the way the WSF works. It is conceived to be dynamic and to be updated in accordance to the changes the Forum goes through. It is Creative Commons-licensed.

The type of technology used in this repository allows it to connect with other international repositories. Visibility of the process; content is indexed in scientific communication with other systems; other content preservation tools. A permanent preservation tool.

We need to map the Brazilian actors, and capture contents from other contents.

We worked on the reconstruction of some documents.

 

November 1, 2015 – Dialogues in Humanity and solidarity economy thrift shop at Solar da Boa Vista (Brotas neighborhood, Salvador).

 

This activity is optional for those who stay in Salvador on 11/01/15. People interested in participating with a 5-minute intervention can sign up in advance by sending an email to rededeboranunes@gmail.com

 

For further information:

http://redeprosolidarios.org/brecho-ecosolidario

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VT0FYAnJIhM