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News :: Globalization : International : Organizing
Greetings from World Social Forum, Day One
01 Feb 2005
A report from the first day of the Fifth World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Imagine a large, urban university, but set up for only a six day period. Instead of becoming trained to take their places in the elites of a world defined by institutions of hierarchy and control, the students, participants really, are training each other to bring about change. Instead of ivy-covered brick or concrete buildings, classrooms are in tents of varying sizes. And instead of departments like biology, philosophy, or literature, the “university” has eleven “thematic spaces” with names such as “Peace, demilitarization, and the struggle against war, free trade, and debt,” or “Human rights and dignity for a just and egalitarian world.” Welcome to the fifth World Social Forum, in Porto Alegre, in southern Brazil.

Arnie Alpert is the AFSC’s New Hampshire Program Coordinator.
January 27, 2005

Another World is Possible

Day One of the 2005 World Social Forum
Imagine a large, urban university, but set up for only a six day period. Instead of becoming trained to take their places in the elites of a world defined by institutions of hierarchy and control, the students, participants really, are training each other to bring about change.
Instead of ivy-covered brick or concrete buildings, classrooms are in tents of varying sizes. And instead of departments like biology, philosophy, or literature, the “university” has eleven “thematic spaces” with names such as “Peace, demilitarization, and the struggle against war, free trade, and debt,” or “Human rights and dignity for a just and egalitarian world.”

Welcome to the fifth World Social Forum, in Porto Alegre, in southern Brazil. The Forum started today with a march through the city streets.
The march was much like others I’ve attended in New York or Washington, except most of the banners were in Portuguese. A small band of eleven AFSC staff marched among campaigners for a variety of causes in support of human rights, democracy, and peace, and in opposition to U.S. military domination and an economy run by trans-national corporations and supra-national trade and finance bodies such as the World Trade Organization and International Monetary Fund. Like any other parade, marchers can’t tell how many others are there; all they can see are the people and banners just in front and just behind them. The march progressed by fits and starts, finally reaching a large amphitheatre for the opening ceremony.
By then it was dark, and impossible to tell how many were there. One member of our group suggested 10,000. Another said 100,000. I decided to wait for tomorrow’s paper rather than asking anyone else.

Opening statements emphasizing the rights of people everywhere to live with dignity were given in Portuguese, Spanish, English, and Haitian French. Then, a minute of silence was observed in memory of the Asian tsunami victims. With that, the World Social Forum was officially opened. “Another world is possible. We are the other world,” the speakers said in four languages.

In between the marching and speechifying, participants attended planning sessions, leafleted each other about the events they have organized (I have never been in a group more willing to take my leaflets.), made new friends, and reconnected with old ones. Bal Pinguel, of the AFSC’s Peace-Building Unit, met people he had not seen since 1989 in the Philippines, where they are still organizing against the U.S. military presence.

Tomorrow at 8:30 AM the first “class” period begins with 186 different workshops, lectures, and discussions going on simultaneously spread between the eleven themed zones, without even counting the dozens of cultural events. There will be nine such blocks of time over a four day period. The program is in two 140-page tabloids, printed in 4 languages. The organizations, movements, and campaigns that are at the Forum are all looking for greater visibility, new participants, and more allies. That work begins in earnest tomorrow.

- Arnie Alpert is the AFSC’s New Hampshire Program Coordinator.
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Re: Greetings from World Social Forum, Day One
31 Jan 2005
for those who don't know, the World Social Forum is the exact opposite of the World Economic Forum (WEF) where the world's rich gather to decide the rest of our fate, often giving lip service to causes like ending poverty, but never following through. the WSF is for and by the people, and it's purpose is to bring people together to learn about different struggles and to fight for change. a new world is happening, from Boston to Porto Alegre.
Re: Greetings from World Social Forum, Day One
01 Feb 2005
The World Social Forum is nothing but a "feel Good" organization and an opiate of the masses. The only hope for third world countries to rise from poverty is global trade. Global Corporations provide jobs, money and higher standards of living. The World Social Forum has done absolutely nothing to end poverty. Parades and banners do not feed people. Money does. By the way Matty...censorship does nothing to end world poverty either.
Re: Greetings from World Social Forum, Day One
02 Feb 2005
It wasn't Matt Williams who hid your post but me, and I did so in the name of the collective and the agreements we have made about posts like yours. Instead of merely providing a counter argument you were just trashing the idea of the forum and everyone who criticizes the rich, which is not a reasonable or even defendable position by any standard. Even far right republicans tend to criticize the rich once in a while. You also have a history of running counter to everything ever expressed on this website. That tends to mean that you are here as a sabateur and not as a person who is stating their own opinion and listening to others.

Boston Indymedia has a policy concerning posters who seem to be present merely to disrupt the site and insult us and our readers. You have not been deemed as such a person yet, but if you were we would begin to delete every article you write regardless of content.

We welcome your input as long as its aim is mutual understanding. We do not edit based on political opinion, but instead on tone of voice, hateful language, and the potential or non-potential for constructive contribution to the conversation. There are even police officers who post on our site without being edited.

This is a public forum, please be as respectful as you would if we were all talking face to face.
Re: Greetings from World Social Forum, Day One
02 Feb 2005
To Matthau: It's often global trade and global corporations that put nations in and kept them in dept and poverty. The simple explination is this, global corporations run the trade market by making their own "rules" and "laws" that ignore or destroy the tariffs and human rights that protect the indegenous people of certain nations. The goverments of those nations will often look the other way because they will make the same profit ethier way. All that money those corporations save themselves comes out of the pockets of the workers of the world. As long as it's the workers that suffer and not the rich then what would it matter to them?
Brazil: Final declaration of the 2005 "Jornadas Anarquistas" (FAG)
07 Feb 2005
Since the last "Jornadas Anarquistas" in 2002, the world situation has changed little, though the US imperialist expansion has reached levels of brutality and irrationality unimaginable just a short time ago. Examples of this are the increase in US military strength and troop deployment in very different parts of the world, that gives unrestricted support to the Nazi policies of the State of Israel in its oppression of the Palestinian people (with the greatest abomination being the construction of the huge concentration camp in the Gaza Strip) and the intervention in Iraq and its justification that today even the infomation organs of the Empire (USA, Britain, Germany, among others) recognize was without foundation.

This same justification is used today to try to attack other countries like Iran and North Korea. However, it is not the only invented excuse. Other fantasies also serve as the basis for preventive war, such as drug trafficking, used not only in order to construct military bases in Amazon but also for the implementation of satellite monitoring programmes such as Sivan and Alcântara, not to mention the financing and training (in some cases more like command of than training) of national armies, that affects countries like Colombia, Haiti, Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, and recently even Brazil (thanks to the allegation that cocaine is processed here).

To set out all the strategies and interventions sponsored by the US would take perhaps hundreds or thousands of pages. The important thing is to have clear ideas regarding the plan for hegemony that permeates political, economic, ideological and military spheres which aims to serve the demands of the dominant classes of the world and in particular the USA.

Lula's victory in the 2002 elections was accompanied by enormous expectations and hopes for social change. However, since the PT was elevated to the status of political elite, it has dedicated itself to dealing with the agenda for the
governability of the country by the rich and the middle class. Even during the presidential campaign it was tranquilizing the international financial organs such as the IMF and the World Bank.

Later, its policies of alliances was responsible for the formation of a clearly reformist centre-left coalition and as soon as it took over the government, instead of promoting the reforms expected by the social sections that elected it, it prioritized political governability, exchanging what remained of its Programme for the neo-liberal agenda of fiscal adjustment, incentives to commercial agriculture (through tax exemptions for exports), agreements with the world financial organs, high Central Bank interest rates and repression and monitoring of the social movements with the aim of guaranteeing the application of these policies.

The Lula government's mask fell. While a good part of the social movement is in dispute with the government and demanding it changes its economic policies, the reality is that he became president with the function of implementing the Social Pact, given the great charisma he holds in the eyes of Brazil's poorest classes, and was clearly the best way to complete the project of the world and national financial elites.

A similar process in taking place in Argentina and in Uruguay, where the traditional model for the application of neo-liberal policies has also been exhausted. After the crisis in Argentina, Nestor Kirchner is developing an
ambiguous policy which, on one hand, uses populist language in order to co-opt some social sectors into his support base and repressing and persecuting the most combative sectors (as with the case of the MUP comrade Gabriel Roser
arrested eight months ago), while on the other hand aiding the interests of Argentinas dominant classes who have formed an alliance with international financial interests.

In Uruguay, like in Brazil, Tabaré Vázquez's future government is generating great hopes among wide sectors of the population that there can be change. However, there are already signs that that the neo-liberal agenda will be
implemented, going against the wishes of the people (already manifested in the elections), given that the new government is already planning privatizations and partnerships with private capital to manage the essential and profitable
public services, such as water, cellphone networks and the railways, among others.

A LIBERTARIAN ALTERNATIVE FOR A NEW PERIOD OF STRUGGLE

We politically-organized anarchists believe that the World Social Forum does not constitute an opposition space to the capitalist system. It is for this reason that we propose through the "Jornadas Anarquistas" the construction of
an alternative that can provide us with the tools we need for the development of a struggle that can truly be an antagonist in the society in which we live.

The libertarian alternative that we intend to accomplish reaffirms the method, the principles and the objectives built by generations of people who have struggled in order to advance the class war. Our tools were and continue to be popular self-organization, direct action, class solidarity, grassroots democracy and self-management. Only in this way can we build a front of the oppressed that can gather our forces and move forward with the process of building popular power. In our conception, the political organization of anarchists is necessary and can make it possible for the self-organized people
to play an ever-greater role in the struggles. Having said that, it is important to say that it was possible to share in the accumulated experiences of other anarchist groups during the "Jornadas Anarquistas". Furthermore, we wish to state, with great satisfaction, that this need of anarchists to organize was recognized by other groups and individual participants and we were not alone in understanding this. Finally, in our opinion this organization needs to be undertaken at a local level, and proceeding to regional and national level, in order to finally build an organic space that can help spread anarchist practices throughout the country and all Latin America, because only in that way will we be able to clench our fists to confront the class enemy.

He who fights is not dead!
For socialism and freedom!
America free will be victorious!

Federação Anarquista Gaúcha, Luta libertária (SP), Rede Libertária da Baixada
Santista and Federação Anarquista Uruguaia

Email: fag.poa (at) terra.com.br
Website: http://www.fag.rg3.net

Translation by FdCA - International Relations