This is a new initiative and deserves all the attention of those who are already involved in the World Social Forum process.
The idea comes from Yanis Varoufakis, former Finance Minister of Greece, and his friends at the Democracy in Europe movement, Diem25.
Today, 18 September, is organised their first ‘Summit’ with eminent speakers such as Varoufakis himself, Naomi Klein, Vijay Prashad, Noam Chomsky and other lesser gods.
I briefly want to report on some ideas that came out of the first session: ‘What Comes After Capitalism?’
Yanis Varoufakis first of all explained why this initiative is so urgent and necessary. He referred, obviously, to the multiple crisis this world is faced with, to the two remaining world forces of liberal democracy and nationalist nationalisms who see progressives as a threat.
Progressives cannot accept their ‘business as usual’, since this leads inevitably to fascism. We have to understand how Corbyn and Sanders were attacked by mainstream media, we have to understand what happened in Brasil, Ecuador and Bolivia.
That is why we need an effective world progressive international. And that international will need a common narrative and one single message to serve people and planet.
What this means in practice is that we need a common programme and a collective action plan. Precisely this is what was lacking in the many resistance movements of the past decade. We need a humanist programmatic vision, backed by action. These actions can take many forms, such as a commitment to not visit the Amazon website during one common day, but also a trade union action at the local level. All has to be oriented towards a freer and fairer world. It all requires a strong international organisation.
Yanis Varoufakis also sketched his perspectives for a post-capitalist world, since capitalism cannot be civilised.
In the panel discussion it was stressed that we have to believe in hope, that the definition of being progressive means that you choose to believe to trust humankind. Naomi Klein stressed that ‘progress’ needs another definition than the supremacist one of past centuries which was at war with farmers and indigenous peoples. Progress should mean we go for systemic change, away from growth.
However, we, progressives, or socialists, should not fall in love with ourselves. We have many many problems to solve, also amongst ourselves. We have to remain critical and while we have to condemn the cold war the US is imposing on China, we also have to see what is going democratically wrong within China. Progressives will never be able to eliminate all contradictions, it is not even necessary, but they do need a common narrative and a collective action plan. The stakes are far too high to focus on our differences.
Does this not sound particularly familiar to all those in the WSF-process?