• wsmdandwsf input4

last modified May 30 by facilitfsm

The WSF at 20


I think we all know the global political situation.

It is a situation of growing austerity and growing authoritarianism, of growing inequalities and of growing power for transnational corporations.

It is a situation of climate change and loss of biodiversity.

It is a situation of looting, grabbing, extracting, without any respect for people or for the planet.

With the coronacrisis, it is now clear to all what the disastrous consequences are of decades of privatisations and deregulations in the social sector, health care, labour law, income guarantees.

And as usual, the victims are all those with little power in society: women, the elderly, children, indigenous people, migrants, the homeless, informal sector workers etc etc.

Today, on all continents, beginning of the 21st century, people are dying from hunger …

And yes, of course there is resistance, a social struggle is going on, in most of our cities and countries.

Just think of the gilets jaunes in France, the protests in Santiago de Chile, in Baghdad, in Hong Kong, in Beiruth, in Algeria… Just think of the women’s march on the 8th of March. Just think of the Fridays for Future.

People, everywhere, are fighting for social justice, are fighting for democracy and human rights. All, within their city or country borders. They are powerless.

Because we are losing, the left is losing, because of our fragmentation and our lack of organisation. Rightwing forces are gaining power, fascism is re-emerging. We should not fool ourselves, the situation is very very dangerous.

So what is needed?

While our interdependence is now so crystal clear, global transversal organisations are lacking. What is needed is a strong, global voice to say No, to say Basta, to say STOP, no pasarán.

The WSF could be that voice, but its fathers do not want it. They do not want us to speak. They want us to have an open space where we can all dance and sing and say that we love each other, where we can state that hiphop is so very important for youth.

They do not want us to speak politics, they do not want us to get organized, and that, dear friends, is a very rightwing attitude.

I could talk to you about the problems in the Mexican preparatory process, but there is no time for that. Let me just say that today, a meeting has been cancelled because the fanatics of the purity of the open space do not want to look for a compromise. The meeting was organised to look for concrete solutions for the existing conflicts, but they do not want solutions. It is an undemocratic and excluding process. We are even accused of conspiracy. This is madness.

We, ‘the politicals’ in the Mexican process, have very pragmatic proposals, we just want an opportunity to discuss the relevance of the Charter of Principles of the WSF, 20 years after its emergence, but even that is unthinkable for some. Yet, the political situation today is so very different from then.  

In conclusion, I think the fathers of the Forum do not want a world social forum anymore. They are hiding their power behind a fetishized principle of ‘horizontalism’. Just like two years ago in Salvador, they will try to boycott the Mexican process. And in the same way as two years ago, they will now propose to have some kind of regional or thematic forum.

People in resistance need to get organized, at a global level. The WSF can be an open space and can be a global actor. The world needs a strong voice, a strong organisation, a strong resistance. We want to organize that voice. We want the WSF to survive.


Francine Mestrum, CETRI, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium