• wsfic icfuturecontribution 15

last modified April 19, 2013 by facilitfsm

AOW or FOW ? - focus on WSF process facilitation

Dear Friends

Our dialogue in this working group is ongoing (see list of contribution nearly complete here including Oded's)


The scenario proposed by Chico about “moving to a movement” requires assessment.
A next contribution may come on the “binding elements”  mentioned in the description of this decentralized movement.

For the time being, here is one observation about this "new movement" scenario.


>>  It probably would be more realistic and efficient to call this movement "FACILITATIONS for another world” ( acronym FOW) and not "ACTIONS for another world".

The name is important here, as it reflects the scope. The scope of FOW could be "expansion and deepening of WSF process through facilitation initiatives tools and processes useful to actions located in wsf process by their protagonists".

Scope would cover :

1/  developing autonomous facilitating initiatives of the FOW movement itself, that is CREATING AND MAINTAINING APROPRIATE “OPEN SPACES” IN VARIOUS AREAS OF THE WSF PROCESS  , adapted to concrete national and political contexts, and which requires a specific and significant energy of facilitation and communication with many actors to be sustained and produce lasting effects ( see more info about the notion of facilitation herebelow 1*  creating and sustaining "initiatives-that-Everybody-deem-useful- and-Somebody-could-start-and-maintain"  


2/- supporting  - through the above mentionned facilitation initiatives - all kind of actions promoted by organisations and movements in those national contexts , inasmuch it is assessed in FOW that these actions can potentially, contribute to expansion and deepening of WSF process through successful or strengthening struggles , development of cultural awareness etc...

This potential is , according to the way these actions are conducted, using and promoting ways and tools reflecting WSF process methods and values, by organizations that are viewing themselves as participants in wsf proces, and that locate their mid-term action in WSF process frame

 Concretely  some of the “open space initiatives” mentioned (*) can be launched or grown on occasion of specific real actions by real actors, in real national and struggle contexts, and be concretely useful to these, struggles and  help them achieve results


A concrete reflection can be made on  the case of  several existing struggle agenda around the planet

As an example one can think of which facilitating initiatives could have been taken by participants in FOW in relation with a struggle such as Maple Spring in Quebec which ended up positively after a long period of action. What would be their form and which could be their ongoing effect after the struggle is ended

Same can be done in the case of civil society accelerated  and tense blossoming  in  egypt  and tunisia in the current days  (2*)

and this reflection on concrete cases can help coming up with a series of example of  "initiatives-that-Everybody-deem-useful- and-Somebody-could-start-and-maintain" - this is where the FOW movement, decentralized and rich of the wsf experience of this participants transmitted to new participants ,  comes into play and  can provide  the necessary facilitation  "energy"   to start and maintain what seems out of reach in many case for lack of "appropriate" facilitation energy  ( we know many factors for this : not enough experience people, centralization, dependence on donors, not inclusive, hidden player agenda  etc..)


We use(d) to say in methodological discussions that the way/means are as important as the goal

The underlying idea behind focusing FOW on facilitation initiatives  is as follows :

THE WAY fundamentally relevant actions/struggles promoted and owned by organisations are led and managed by those organizations, and the way these actions  can be strengthened , and influenced in their form,through use of open spaces initiatives sustained by  FOW participants),  is important for both the short-term efficiency of those actions/struggles in a concrete short term context,  and for the mid-term evolution of WSF process  

Dynamics around those actions can, beyond their immediate goals, be reinforcing the perception, practices, tools, deepening, and expansion of WSF process among the 1% and a larger part of the 98%, remembering the societal arithmetic of Occupy revisited by Chico


 Clearly positioning FOW movement scope "on WSF facilitation" would have two main advantages :

1/ because of our diversity, it is EASIER TO GET TO A CONSENSUS ON “WHAT TO FACILITATE TOGETHER?”, for the mid-term political progress of the WSF process, than on “which common actions to join and call for together?”,

It is possible to go for, or live with, a facilitating contribution to actions that one does not necessarily agree with “in substance” .

Putting, in the "terms of reference” of FOW,   a description of the  specific nature of FOW movement" can solve problems of signatures, of calls etc , and of competition with other movements... that may divide and fragment rapidly such a “new movement”.

With this scope, unusual  for many, yet familiar for who has some WSF experience, this FOW movement would appear as a specific “companion”, contributing with concrete WSF facilitation initiatives, and not as a “standard organization”, and it would stay attractive to many people involved in a diversity of organizations  

2/ with such a scope the "new" movement would not be IN COMPETITION SUBSTITUTION or CONFUSION with existing organizations, which is a looming risk if the scope is action,

To reflect this specific status,  after a list of signatories organizations for a call to action, FOW visibility could be described in this way “This action receives facilitating support from participants in FOW"

Participants in FOW can stay as members of organisations or participants in existing 2011 movements  


This scope focused on WSF process facilitation puts FOW as a “SUBSTANTIALLY NEW Movement”, which is at the service of movements acting in the dynamics of WSF process", with a minimum risk of being perceived by them as a catch-all “new” movement, in competition with them


With this "facilitation" scope, participants in FOW would be essentially doing what IC members are not doing enough  and is the cause of our debate today : that is on a daily basis, facilitation work for initiatives aiming at both reinforcing concrete actions and ensure the progress of WSF process

In this FOW movement, what would be to be gained by participants would be mainly  to be recognized as facilitator among other participants in FOW

In the background of this discussion, there is the feeling that IC is not focused enough on WSF process "facilitation" tasks, and too much focused on the WSF event biennal  "usage".


>> What do you think of focusing the movement envisioned in Chico’s scenario  on "facilitation" ?

>> What do you think of examining concrete situations and derive concrete ideas of "open spaces" that can be useful to local struggles

>> What do you think of a putting in practice a "review of facilitation contribution" ?  contribution  from organisations, inside IC if it is maintained, or contribution from participants, in the case a movement is adopted to replace current IC current form


(1*) Last September, in this same discussion ( contribution 3)  in a scenario where IC is maintained, the proposal was made of INSTITUTING A " WSF FACILITATION CONTRIBUTION REVIEW" INSIDE IC,

the need for such are review  is justified  in part 1,

then how it could work is described in part 2

  • This facilitation contribution review could easily be transposed in the context of the FOW movement, at the scale of each website operated by each "GRAP", and maybe at a common scale ( the common scale requires more assessment )


(2*) see the space : egypt and wsf where over 100 egyptian organizations are now present  -this is an example of  possible openspace for exchange focused on wsf development in egypt : who wants to faclitate it? ( send messages, translate documents, show people how to develop their contributons and make their actions visible etc..)