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Montreal, October 27, 2014.


Current state of the WSF 2016 Montreal process for the ICs Tunis (October 31-November 2, 2014) / (draft translation from french version)

With a view to next meeting of the International Council (IC) of the World Social Forums, the Collective FSM 2016-Montreal would like to share an overview of the process that drives us since May 2013, and for which we received the approval of the IC in its last meeting in Casablanca in December 2013 (from the report in Appendix).

1.  The Collective WSF2016 project-Montreal

Organize the first World Social Forum to be held in a northern country, in August 2016 in Montreal (Canada). The goal is to gather 80,000 people in Downtown Montreal, an event of 5 to 7 days involving 5000 organizations of local and global civil society for more than 1,500 self-organized activities, with opening and march closing a youth camp, a broad cultural programming and convergence assemblies.


2. The process in motion

Nearly 120 civil society organizations now support the process. They come from different sectors (community groups, trade unions, international solidarity organizations, women's groups, Aboriginal organizations, academic centers, student associations, environmental groups, various associations ...). All these organizations collectively have a network of communication and mobilization able to reach  to hundreds of thousands of people across the Quebec province.

The process is facilitated by a facilitation group consisting of a dozen volunteers who meet weekly for over a year and a half. This group is part of a larger group consisting of about fifty people from various backgrounds. Most participants were actively involved in the organization of the Quebec Social Forum in 2007 and 2009, and in recent social movements such as the Quebec Spring and Occupy.


3.. Our commitment to the social forum process

We firmly believe that social forum is not an end in itself but a means to promote the convergence of solutions and energies to build another world. So for us, the process is as important as the event. It is for this reason that building relationships with local, regional Social Forums, and global themes at the heart of our approach.

3a. Links with the WSF, Local and International Forums

Since the 2013 Tunis WSF, when we supported a delegation of some 80 persons from the Québec Civil Society, we have participated physically and via Internet to two Local Social Forums in Québec (Lanaudière et Bas-St Laurent), in addition to seven international social forums (Iraq, Egypt, Porto Alegre Togo, Tunis, Sarajevo and recently in the African Social Forum in Dakar). At the Peace-WSF in Sarajevo, we were present with a collective of 35 persons from the Québec Civil Society. We are presently gathering a delegation of some 100 persons from all sectors of the Québec and Canadian Civil Society, including an imposing syndicate group and an official delegation of public servants and representatives from the City of Montréal for the next Tunis WSF in March 2015.

3b. Links with the People Social Forum

Our collective aspires to mobilize a large component of the Civil Society on our territory. The People Social Forum (PSF), a pan-Canadian forum hosted last August in Ottawa was an important step in the process of Social Forums in Canada. With an estimated participation of some 6000 persons (who participated in more than 500 workshops and about 20 convergence assemblies), the PSF was definitively a great success, producing this inspiring energy well known in the Social Forums. The presences of different people sharing this vast territory was remarkable and the atmosphere inducing to networking.

The 2016 Montréal WSF Collective actively participated in the PSF process, in particular in participating in the Québec PSF Expansion Commission since May 2013 but also in organizing some 15 activities at the PSF, including a summer session accredited by the Ottawa University and a convergence assembly to encourage links between the PSF and the 2016 WSF. The PSF process and its coordinating bodies are essential foundations for the pan-Canadian mobilization for the upcoming 2016 Montréal WSF. It’s fundamental for us that the 2016 Montréal WSF be established on the dynamics created by the PSF and that of all previous forums. These events are one overall process for the creation of a convergence space for all transformative powers.

3c. Links with the US Social Forum 

We started a very interesting dialogue with the organizers of the Social Forum in the USA, which will be hosted in June 2015 in a polycentric format. Together we are considering how we to get closer for both their next forum session (with the possibility of hosting a satellite site in Montréal in 2015), and for the 2016 Montréal WSF. Our process should get consolidated in the upcoming months.

3d. Links with the extension and dynamics in Western Africa

We wish to promote the process of Social Forums in the world and contribute to the facilitation of the participation of larger groups of people, particularly for those under-represented regions at the WSF. We consider that the Internet extension of the forums is an essential mean to promote the participation of attendees that can’t travel to the meeting place. Since their beginning, we have collaborated with the Western African collective towards the 2015 and 2016 WSF with the wish that they grow and therefore inspire this type of initiatives elsewhere in the world (www.ouestafriqueversfsm.wordpress.com). These organizational groups have confirmed their desire to arrange a Social Forum in Lomé-Togo in August and September 2015 in order to create a convergence space to promote the values of the WSF, therefore sponsoring the mobilization of a large number of Africans towards future World Forums.

3e. Call for the Revitalization of the WSL Process in South Asia

During the last meeting of the International Council in Casablanca in December 2013, , a South Asian dynamic emerged, suggesting that the next edition of the WSF should take place in this region . We strongly hope that this initiative will grow, calling once more for the collaboration between the regions that normally hostthe WSF.

4 The Next Steps: South-North Collaboration, Mobilization Toward and from Tunis 2015.

It is with the desire to contribute to the continuity and the solidarity between the different editions of the WSF that we would like to concretize the commitment stated in the joint declaration presented at the IC of Casablanca in partnership with our friends of the Maghreb/Machreck Social Forum (see Appendix). This declaration explained the need to bring together the struggles taking place in the South as well as in the North. As such, we are working to put together  a collective of a hundred Quebecois/Canadiens who will participate in the Tunis WSF in March 2015. This will contribute to theTunis WSF’s international influence  and will facilitate the logistics of the 2015 and 2016 WSFs, cumulating in the envoy of an official delegation from Quebec (Ville de Montréal, Aéroport de Montréal, Société des Transports de Montréal, Tourisme Montréal)(see  Appendix for the letter from Tourisme Montréal).

In this perspective, we plan to attend  the IC meeting that will take place in Tunis after the WSF of March 2015. Also, we plan on inviting the IC to meet with us in Montréal in November or December of2015,  after the next Canadian federal elections.During the projected meeting, we hope to go over the progress of the mobilization process that took seed during the PSF and continue with the mobilization for the 2016 WSF.

5 The Objective of the Montreal 2016 WSF Collective’s Participation at the IC Meeting in Tunis

On October 4th we called for the WSF 2016 assembly at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM). On this occasion,  more than80 participants gathered.  There were citizens as well as representatives of about forty different organizations of Quebec’s civil society. This assembly, which fostered exchanges about the different visions of the process and  possible ways of getting involved, was concluded with the acceptation of the following resolution: “We support the process of the World Social Forum being held in Montréal in August 2016 and we give as mandate to the members of the Collectif FSM 2016 the declaration of our resolution at the next International Council, in Tunis, at the end of this month.”

As such, three members of the Montreal FSM 2016 Collective will attendthe IC meeting in order to reaffirm the enthusiasm of Quebec’s civil society  forthe project and to report on the progress of the mobilization work and  logistics in terms of the preparation for the 2016 WSF. We therefore ask the organizers of the meeting to kindly include the following item: “state of progress of the 2016 WSF in Montreal”, in the IC meeting agenda. We hope to get a clear and non-equivocal response fromthe IC regarding the  the WSF being held in Montreal in August 2016. We ask this in order to be able to officially enter the implementation process of this project.

Appendix:         

- Calendar of the Realizations/Projects Tunis 2013 – Montreal 2016

- IC Official Statement, 2013/12/31

- Joint Declaration Tunisia-Quebec, Casablanca 2013/12/18

- Letter of Tourisme Montreal

- List of Supporting Organizations

- FAQ (English/French)