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World Social Forum

The future of the World Social Forum after Nairobi

Tuesday 30 January 2007, by CADTM

The 7th WSF ended on 25 January in the Kenyan capital. It was followed by a two-day meeting of the International Council (IC), a decision-making body consisting of about one hundred organizations from all continents. [1] After a first contradictory assessment of the forum, the IC confirmed its decision to launch a global Day of Action towards the end of January 2008.

Depending on countries and areas, the form and duration of this action can vary around a reference date (probably 26 January) coinciding with the opening of the World Economic Forum at Davos. The set of actions to be carried out on an international scale aims at fighting neoliberalism and is inspired by the Charter of Principles of the WSF.

The next meeting of the International Council is to take place at Rostock (Germany) just after the annual G8 meeting and the protest actions that will go with it. Probable date: 9 and 10 June 2007. The IC will also have on its agenda further debate on where the 8th WSF should take place in 2009. Several proposals have already been made: back to Brazil, for instance at Salvador de Bahia or Curitiba, or in a Mexican city close to the US border so as to bring together a large number of Mexicans, North Americans and Central Americans. Other proposals will certainly emerge, Bolivia, for instance, where indigenous people are fighting for the control of common goods such as water, gas, and other natural resources. Or Thailand or South Korea, which would anchor the process in East Asia. It is also possible that another WSF in Africa be suggested. Indeed, while for obvious material reasons resulting from the harsh realities prevailing on the African continent the 7th WSF did not gather as many participants as in Porto Alegre 2003 and 2005 or in Mumbai 2004, most members of the IC agree on the need to further reinforce struggles in Africa. They wish to increase an African presence, which can only make the WSF process richer and more significant.

It was also decided to define guiding policies for the organizers of future World Social Forums in order e. g. to avoid the pitfalls of merchandizing. In the future the WSF should be more and more consistent with the aim of another possible world. This involves an increased participation of those who suffer most from the consequences of a capitalist and patriarchal system.

On the other hand debate on alternatives must be promoted as support for the social and political struggles that aim at bringing them about.

CADTM rejoices at the success of the 7th WSF in Africa and is convinced that we will have to be back there in the near future.

Taken from the CADTM website.


[1] CADTM has been part of the International Council since its foundation at Sao Paulo in June 2001. The international CADTM network is present in [12?] African countries (Angola, Benin, Congo DR, Congo Brazzaville, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Maroc, Niger, Senegal, Togo, Tunisia, and soon in Madagascar), in the Caribbean and Latin America (Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, Venezuela), in South Asia (India and Pakistan), in the Middle East (Syria), and in Europe (Belgium, France, Switzerland).

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