International seminar on the future of the World Social Forum: a proposal for discussion / methodology

by Francine Mestrum

Eng/Esp/Fra

Group on metodology:

  1. Substantive questions to be discussed in the seminar:
  1. The international Renewal Group (www.foranewwsf.org) has made substantive proposals for a ‘new WSF’ almost two years ago. Boaventura de Sousa Santos also introduced a structural proposal for this current discussion. It seems to me that if we want to ‘respect our diversity’, as we claim, it would be good to invite this renewal group to present and explain its proposals.
  • Other points that should be discussed:

aa. What can be – if there is any – strategic relevance of the WSF in the current (geo)political situation, considering our goal remains to build ‘another world’. How can social movements contribute?

  • Should the WSF become, next to being the ‘open space’ it has always been and will remain to be, a global political subject with its own voice (or several voices – see proposal for the consensus group)
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Seminario internacional sobre el futuro del foro: una propuesta para cambiar la regla del consenso

por Francine Mestrum

Eng/Esp/Fra

Re-define the ‘consensus’

  1. Reading once again the Charter of Principles I wonder where all our problems come from? Chico speaks of a ‘programmatic agreement’ signed by eight organisations? This can hardly be representative. Nowhere does the text of the Charter of Principles speak of the IC. It only says in its art. 6 that ‘the meetings of the WSF do not deliberate on behalf of the WSF’ and that no one will be authorized to speak in the name of the Forum. Why should we, then, respect a consensus in the IC? Who decided so?
  2. The difference between ‘speaking in the name of’ and publish a text with the signatures of some organisations is enormous: the WSF and its IC have authority, they are known in the whole world, its voice is taken into account and can be a leading position for other movements and organisations.
  3. Anyhow, since there now seems to emerge an agreement to change the rule of applying a consensus that – till now – means unanimity and makes possible individual veto’s, the following can be proposed:
    1. Consensus should be sought in all cases, by extending discussions in case of disagreement, hoping to reach the agreement of all
    1. When this general agreement is not possible, consensus can be understood as a qualified majority, with a very high percentage of votes necessary in order to consider something as being ‘accepted’ (75 – 80 – 85 %?)
    1. If a qualified majority of (75 – 80 – 85 %?) is reached, a position can be published in the name of the IC (or WSF, see structural proposal of Boaventura/international renewal group)
    1. If a minority group achieves more than 5 % of the vote, it will always be possible to be published as a minority position, in such a way that diversity within the IC/WSF is respected
    1. every position can always be published in the name of those who defend it.
    1. Qualified majority votes will only be possible in cases where consensus is near in the world of progressive movements, such as the ones we have known in the past: condemnation of the coup against Dilma Rousseff, assassination of Marielle Franco, condemnation of armed conflict/wars in general … movements that do not agree have in fact no place in the WSF. In more delicate cases, where we know the division amongst our movements is important, qualified majority votes will be avoided: think indeed of the condemnation of Israel, position on Russia in the current war…). A qualified majority vote of 55 or 65 % would be very divisive.
  4. A qualified majority of 75 – 80 – 85 % can hardly be seen as ‘speaking in the name of others’. In this way the WSF and its IC will always have a voice, possibly even two or three voices, agreed in a democratic way, with respect for diversity. Agreement with a new ‘consensus’ implies indeed a different interpretation of art. 6 of the CP, giving the IC c.q. WSF a possibility to politically exist.
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Preparar el seminario internacional sobre el futuro del FSM

por Boaventura de Sousa Santos

Transición

En Túnez se crea un órgano de transición con igual número de miembros del CI y de nuevas adhesiones. Este órgano  existe hasta que se reúna la primera asamblea deliberativa. El órgano de transición prepara el próximo FSM de acuerdo con la siguiente propuesta (decidida en Túnez) que tiene por objetivo transformar el FSM en sujeto político global con actuación en nombre propio.

1. El FSM se reúne de aquí en adelante virtual o presencialmente en dos momentos con el mismo tiempo de duración (dos días para cada momento): rueda de conversa y debate; asamblea deliberativa. El primer momento se destina a discutir los temas sobre lo que se deberá decidir en el segundo momento.

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Preparing international seminar in Tunis: Methodology

Contribution of Boaventua de Sousa Santos:

Transition

In Tunis, a transitional figure is set up with an equal number of members of the International Committee and new admissions. This body will exist until the first deliberative assembly meets. This transitional form is preparing the next World Social Forum (WSF) in accordance with the following proposal (decided in Tunis) which aims to transform the WSF into a global political subject with action in its own name.

1. The WSF meets from here on out virtually or in person in two moments with the same duration (two days for each moment): conversation and debate round; and deliberative assembly. The first moment is intended to discuss the issues about what should be decided in the second moment

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Preparar el seminario internacional sobre el Futuro del FSM

Eng/Esp/Fra

Proposal for ‘Future of WSF’ discussion in Tunis

The world has changed. We know it and we have been saying it for several years. The time has come to act accordingly, more particularly when we want to discuss the future of the World Social Forum.

The world has changed in several ways. Globalisation is not the big threat anymore it was twenty years ago. On the contrary, we might even want more of it in these times of nationalism and ‘systemic competitors’. Civil society has changed as well, since we can have no illusions anymore on its potential to change the world. Furthermore, social movements as well have largely turned their back to the world and are now more active at local and national levels. Finally, geopolitically, we live in a totally different world today, where different countries and regions can be accused of imperialism. As for capitalism, according to some academics, financialization, the digital and platform economy have turned it upside down threatening all living beings. Our planet is in danger.

This single paragraph cannot do justice to the real changes and threats we are living with. The war that recently started in Europe is much more than just one armed conflict to add to the many ongoing wars in all different continents. It has the potential to become a third and even a nuclear world war.

For social movements meeting in the World Social Forum this should be an urgent reason to come together and seriously reflect on our future: what can and should we do? In what way can we be useful?

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Por qué y para qué un grupo renovador en México?

por Felix Juan de Dios Cadena[1]

“OTRO FORO SOCIAL MUNDIAL ES POSIBLE”

ANTECEDENTES

El primer Foro Social Mundial (FSM) realizado en Porto Alegre, Brasil en 2001 fue una respuesta a los impactos depredadores de la fase neoliberal del capitalismo que se padecían a nivel global y en particular al encuentro que sus principales promotores realizaban en Davos, Suiza en el mes de enero de cada año. Como uno más de las decenas de miles de activistas y directivos de organizaciones y movimientos que respondimos a la consigna: “Otro Mundo es Posible”, estuvimos en ese evento y en algunos subsecuentes que se llevaron a cabo en esa ciudad, en uno más en Caracas y participamos en la coordinación y desarrollo de los temáticos realizados en México en 2008 y 2009.

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Grupo Renovador FSM Mexico:

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Ukraine: Complexity and War

Is it still possible to think?

As if the global crisis generated by the pandemic were not enough, the world has just drifted into a new and serious warlike phase that could still lead to an even greater crisis. The proximate cause of this deterioration is Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, but to be blamed is also the US’s notorious dismissal, for the past three decades, of Russia’s concerns about its own security. We are living in an extraordinarily stressful moment, the repercussions of which are being made plain by the intense media focus on the Ukraine crisis, notably along the North-Atlantic axis, including Australia, Japan and Brazil.

Read the article by Boaventura de Sousa Santos

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Por una autocrítica de Europa

Debido a que Europa no ha sido capaz de hacer frente a las causas de la crisis, está condenada a hacer frente a sus consecuencias.  El polvo de la tragedia está lejos de haberse asentado, pero, aun así, nos vemos obligados a concluir que los líderes europeos no estaban ni están a la altura de la situación que estamos viviendo. Pasarán a la historia como los líderes más mediocres que Europa ha tenido desde el final de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Ahora están haciendo todo lo posible en la ayuda humanitaria, y no se puede cuestionar el mérito de dicho esfuerzo. Pero lo hacen para salvar las apariencias ante el mayor escándalo de este tiempo. Gobiernan pueblos que, en los últimos setenta años, más se han organizado y manifestado contra la guerra en cualquier parte del mundo donde sea que esta se haya producido. Y no fueron capaces de defenderlos de la guerra que, al menos desde 2014, se venía gestando en casa. Las democracias europeas acaban de demostrar que gobiernan sin el pueblo. Hay muchas razones que nos llevan a esta conclusión.

Artículo por Boaventura de Sousa Santos

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Como hemos llegado aqui?

por Boaventura de Sousa Santos

La soberanía de Ucrania no puede cuestionarse. La invasión de Ucrania es ilegal y debe ser condenada. La movilización de civiles decretada por el presidente de Ucrania puede considerarse un acto desesperado, pero presagia una futura guerra de guerrillas. Putin debería tener en cuenta la experiencia de Estados Unidos en Vietnam: el ejército regular de un invasor, por poderoso que sea, acabará siendo derrotado si el pueblo en armas se moviliza contra él. Todo esto augura pérdidas incalculables de vidas humanas inocentes. Apenas recuperada de la pandemia, Europa se prepara para un nuevo desafío de proporciones desconocidas. La perplejidad ante ello no podría ser mayor.

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