Towards the II FSA and the VI Polycentric WSF

Towards the II FSA and the VI Polycentric WSF

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By Irene León

In January 2006, the II Americas Social Forum and the hemispheric edition of the VI World Social Forum will be held in Venezuela. In the past two simultaneous events held on April 15 in Quito, the importance of the Forum as a process and the symbolic significance of the next venue as a concrete expression of the struggles against neoliberalism was underlined.

In January 2006, the II Americas Social Forum and the hemispheric edition of the VI World Social Forum will be held in Caracas (Venezuela), which this time will take a polycentric format, characterized by the decentralized holding of events in the different continents. At the presentation of these two simultaneous events held on April 15 in Quito (Ecuador, headquarters of the First Americas Forum in 2004), with the participation of members of the Venezuelan and Ecuadorian organizing committee, and representatives of the Hemispheric Council of the Americas The importance of the Forum as a process and the symbolic significance of the next venue as a concrete expression of the struggles against neoliberalism was underlined.

“Four years ago the collective and global cry of 'Another World is Possible' broke with the lie that neoliberal domination is inevitable, as well as the 'normality' of war, social inequality, racism, castes , of patriarchy, imperialism and the destruction of the environment. To the extent that the peoples appropriate this truth, their strength becomes unstoppable and materializes in concrete acts of resistance, demand and proposal. ”, Emphasizes the appeal produced in 2005 by the Assembly of Social Movements, the largest a world space of confluence of the latter, which finds in the World Social Forum the propitious ground to agree on its agenda of priorities and actions.

This is precisely the spirit that encourages the development of a broad participatory process in which a multiplicity of movements, networks, organizations, entities and people are interrelated, who view the World Social Forum - and its regional and local initiatives - as the ideal environment to exchange ideas, experiences and actions of resistance to neoliberalism, a sphere in which a substantial productivity that characterizes the process since its inception in 2001 stands out.

Innovative ideas on methodologies, proposals and practices abound in this process, among which are those promoted by the First Americas Social Forum which, by interrelating issues such as free trade, war and debt, strengthen the analysis and strategies of resistance to the routing of common struggles that movements are already developing, increasingly, jointly in various settings.

Also noteworthy are the debates on ideas to overcome the routine of common places, and position visions that allow facing specific discriminations while thinking about global changes. This is the case of the Women's Charter for Humanity, led by the World March of Women, whose development implies a broad mobilization that, since March 2005, has been traveling across the five continents, fostering the generation of local approaches. that, according to the specificities of each context, incite societies to think about a different world and with equality between the genders. Concomitant with this type of concrete initiatives, the deployment of feminist thought is notorious: to reinvent the economy or rethink autonomy, to vindicate the knowledge of women or the collective management of peoples' assets, such as seeds, land, etc. water, and others.

The explicit identification of diversity and equality between genders as a cross-cutting axis of the world process and of the Americas, also fosters a remarkable wealth in the development of proposals to formulate and promote it. The eradication of racism, homophobia, xenophobia, ethnocentrism, and others, are part of an order of the day that raises at the same time a wide range of multicultural, ecumenical and dignity proposals. Unique places of special weighting in this sense are those generated from the First Americas Social Forum, on the one hand, by the Congress of Indigenous Peoples and, on the other hand, by the Social Forum for Sexual Diversity, both of which show an innovative agenda of proposals that interrelates the specificities of each one of these problems with the structural issues inherent to neoliberalism.

The arguments on the fight against globalization, deglobalization, alterglobalization, anti-imperialism, and multiple nuances among all these, are numerous, deep and in full swing. These reflect the different perspectives inherent in the variety of actors that participate in this space, unique for its openness to heterogeneity, and illustrate the great dynamism of a living process, in which both the creative exercise of thinking, debating and developing spirit concur. critical, which in times of unique thinking is a challenge to the system, such as generating actions and practices of proposal and resistance, which in a context of neoliberal authoritarianism is the greatest challenge.

Some current and future challenges

The path traveled by the Forum, which in its short existence has already positioned itself as the largest space for global articulation against the model, far exceeds the event itself, since it encompasses a global mobilization whose ramifications and aspects are regional, national, local and thematic. , which turn the call of the Forum into the vertebra of a participatory process, the direction of which challenges in different senses.

One of them is precisely the search for balance between the event and the process, since the latter commits much more than organizing events in all parts of the world, especially if a large part of the actors that make up the Forum already hold substantive agendas, which imply the development of thought and action in the different scenarios where neoliberal attacks crystallize. On the one hand, although the organization of Forums can be an important motivation to generate or develop processes, there is nothing to prove that the vertiginous organization of events per-se creates strategic confluences. On the other hand, the visualization of the Forum as a series of international events restricts the full participation of the sectors affected by the structural gaps, which in fact are the majority.

In this sense, the II Americas Social Forum and the hemispheric edition of the VI World Social Forum, which will be held

held in Venezuela represent a challenge, but also the opportunity to strengthen a process agenda attentive to the social dynamics and the own priorities of the movements, which allows to face the specificity of the Americas with an eye, at the same time, in their interaction with the world. Without this, the realization of the polycentric world event could unfold the regional dynamics and the necessary space for its own development, among which is the necessary look at the host country itself, immersed in the construction of its own alternative to the model and original approaches to the future. Latin American and worldwide.

The region faces the challenge of thinking about itself, at a time crossed by the urgent search for solutions to the geopolitical complexity imposed by the hegemony project of the empire embedded in the day-to-day life of all countries. Hence, it is necessary to consider in depth, for example, the role of leftist governments that once in power are eager executors of neoliberal policies; It is also necessary to analyze the path taken by the movements in the fight against free trade, at a time when the integration strategies promoted by local and regional mercantile elites have their eyes set on the reissuing of a new pole of power with capitalist rules. ; It is also urgent to rethink the strategies to fight demilitarization, human rights, biodiversity, diversity, survival in the countryside, gender equality, and many other things, in a context in which the intensification of the imperial agenda It imposes a hierarchy of causes, which relativizes the creative spirit of thinking everything at the same time, interrelating problems.

The alternative movement in the region also has the challenge of assuming the defense of Cuba no longer as a matter of solidarity, but as a transcendent issue of common dignity related to self-determination and the sovereignty of all, and as a priority consistent with the possibility of creating non-capitalist societies, at a time when even the most personal matters are defined through the market. In other words, it is a collective responsibility to face the challenge of facing realities and among them is that of permanent harassment of the only project of socialist society in the hemisphere.

In the Americas, the Forum cannot avoid considering diversity as everyone's concern, not only because it is a region whose historical characterization is built on those foundations, but because any alternative vision of the future depends on it. The issue of indigenous peoples and migrants, who are now at the head of groups considered dangerous by the empire, cannot be secondary issues when thinking about alternatives. Likewise, the reality of Afro-descendants is not a folkloric or tangential issue, while structural racism and endoracism corrode even the dynamics of the social movements themselves. The alternatives can only qualify as such if they include the eradication of all forms of discrimination, including homophobia that relegates a current impetuous social movement as a marginal group. The heterogeneity of the Forum is one of its greatest strengths and therefore it is an area that requires meticulous care, since participation in this - as in all international processes - is marked by the real structural differences that exist in society. It is then a matter of principle to verify the differences that underlie the aforementioned heterogeneity, since the structural gaps affect the most discriminated social groups and mark differences in power that need to be faced head-on. Thus, it is important to strengthen -in the methodology, in the definition of contents and in the practices-, concrete measures to confront inequalities; methodological planning has to contemplate, we insist, concrete measures to guarantee inclusion.

Finally, two things are urgent
1) Strengthen the methodology for decision-making and the management of the Forum, both at the level of the International Council and in the executing bodies, in order to give greater value to the existing high level of participation. The consensuses reached in the meetings must be recorded and monitored, to guarantee their democratic implementation. Without this, the Forum runs the risk of generating a cosmopolitan elite, which will sponsor and outline the priorities for a process whose validity lies in plurality, openness and new democratic practices.

2) It is urgent to design an economic policy for the entire Forum and its process, which reflects its ethical proposals, its alternative vision, and establishes parameters for sustainability. Among the aspects to take into account for the latter are, for example, inequality –economic and power- between participants; asymmetries in access to resources - material and symbolic - to organize and promote activities; geo-economic differences between host countries; etc.

And, of course, the challenge of placing communication at the center of the process remains, not only to inform but also to facilitate debates and interactions on a permanent basis. All of this will help the Forum continue to function well, building alternatives, and being the world's largest space for the generation of thought, ideas and practices, which has done more than well on the road traveled.

* Irene Leon
ALAI-AMLATINA 04/25/2005, Quito.-
Informative Service "Alai-amlatina"
Latin American Information Agency - ALAI

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