The financial and big business elite who meet in Davos every year needs more than ever a counterweight. That is the opinion of popular movements from all over the world. Therefore, they have now decided to organize the World Social Forum WSF 25 – 30 January 2021 with actions and meetings around the world connected online for a week.
It takes place in connection with the celebration of the start of the WSF in the city of Porto Alegre in Brazil 20 years ago. A meeting place that soon gathered hundreds of thousands in various places around the world. This is a protest against neoliberalism and increased corporate power that the directors, capitalists, and politicians in Davos at the World Economic Forum stand for. In 2021, the meeting that was to be held in Davos’ last week in January will be arranged online with the WSF as a counterweight.
In Helsinki, we will hold a demonstration in support of democracy in Egypt in memory of the Arab Spring and the occupation of Tahrir Square, which started on 25 January ten years ago. This is what Thomas Wallgren, Social Democrat member of the Helsinki City Council, activist, and professor of philosophy, says. We urge everyone around the world to take action on this opening day of WSF 2021. The next day continues with meetings where popular movements can discuss upcoming joint actions and campaigns. The following days cover a wide range of themes, which culminates in one day to jointly show what has been achieved and the opportunity for many movements to agree on upcoming campaigns.
In Europe, the preparatory work for WSF 2021 started already in April at an online meeting where half of the speakers were young and a half from Central and Eastern Europe on the topic of international responses to the corona crisis. From 5 to 6 December, European preparations for the theme of climate justice and peace will continue. Movements for global justice, women’s rights, common welfare, the environment, and peace and against racism from Russia to the UK gather as part of the mobilization ahead of WSF 2021.
High on the agenda is increased cooperation between popular movements to resist militarism, environmental degradation, and inequality locally and internationally, while at the same time working for constructive solutions. It is gratifying to see the positive response to the International Peace Movement’s action week at the end of April for universal disarmament, peace, environment, and welfare, says Tord Björk from Activists for Peace who participates in the European and global preparations for WSF 2021. The central role of the transition movement is particularly positive in the international renewal of the anti-globalization movement that is now taking shape. Greater emphasis is now placed on local work and societal change in practice.
The same trends are noticeable in Sweden, where the Transition Network, which brings together groups around the country, stands behind the meeting People and Peace in early January 2021. An initiative started by peace, environment, and smallholder movements to annually arrange meetings and campaigns in between. This in defense of non-alignment and nuclear disarmament and as a counterweight to the annual national conference People and Defense. A meeting that the People and Peace Network believes is increasingly dominated by the interests of the arms industry and those who wish to increase cooperation with NATO.
In different parts of the world, more and more people are opposing military rearmament, authoritarian societal solutions, and the creation of enemy images in order to instead work together for peace, the environment, and welfare. Or as the People and Peace Network and Activists for Peace say: for peace on Earth and peace with Earth!
member of the Activists for Peace and the International Council of the World Social Forum
World Social Forum 2021: https://wsf2021.net
European / Prague Spring 25 – 26 April 2020: http://www.unitedagainstracism.org/blog/2020/05/04/united-co-webinar-european-prague-conference-a-success/