English

World Social Forum: open space or organization?

Feb 20 2018

By Chico Whitaker, Jorge Abrahão, José Correia Leite, Mauri José Vieira Cruz, Moema Miranda, Oded Grajew, Salete Valesan, Sergio Haddad.

Some ideas about the discussions on the future of the WSF

In February 2000, representatives of eight social movements, trade unions and Brazilian NGOs[1] attended the invitation of Oded Grajew, then coordinator of the “CIVES – Entrepreneurs for Citizenship” movement, to discuss in his office in São Paulo a proposal to organize a “World Social Forum”. None of us imagined, until then, the dimension that this Forum would gain. Nor, in our diversity of engagements and actions, would we develop together, for many years, an intense reflection on the form and the sense of accomplishment of the proposal and live a relearning in the way of making politics.

We also did not anticipate that the WSF would be transformed into an autonomous process, as a “common good of humanity”, freely used by collectives who discovered its usefulness to their struggles, with regional, national and local Social Forums, and ultimately thematic ones. Neither that its methodology, horizontal and plural, would be adopted in the most different spaces, as a symbol of a new form of organization. Even less, at the same time, the form and meaning they gave to the proposal would continually and insistently find the same resistance and incomprehension as to the role of the WSF in the political struggle. So much so that, 18 years after the launch of the process, would appear more daring proposals for remedies for crises lived by one of the instances created in it, which can kill what is not sick in it …

Source. Oded was returning from France, where he had witnessed the strength in the mass media of the World Economic Forum, which had been held annually since 1971 in Davos, Switzerland. Bringing together the political leaders of the richest countries and the leaders of large corporations and multinationals, this Forum facilitated the contact between them for the solution of pending problems and the promotion of their businesses, but more than that, was spreading in the world, with the enormous support of all the mass media controlled by them, the “single thought” of the capitalist logic of the market. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, this logic had come to dominate more and more spaces under the name of neoliberalism.

It had become necessary to intensify the denunciation of the perversity of this logic with regard to social justice, overcoming inequality and respect for cultural diversity, and to show that there were other paths for humanity, as well as people everywhere experimenting and fighting for alternatives. It was necessary, on the other hand, to revive the hope that was languishing. And the phrase that was eventually adopted to summarize the message of the Forum, when it was decided to carry it out, affirmed the confidence one had, that “another world is possible”.

According to the proposal, the Forum should make visible, beyond the borders of their own countries, those who are building these alternatives, and should encourage alliances – even planetary ones – that would increase their strength. It also included the need to gain space in the mainstream media, which would be facilitated if, in a communication operation, the Social Forum took place on precisely the same dates as the Economic Forum, clearly opposing it. The concomitance of dates should also compel political leaders to make a choice between participating in Davos or Porto Alegre[2].

The challenge was great, given the difference in the very nature of the two Forums: Davos, which had been held since 20 years earlier, was organized by an event company and financed with annual contributions from about 1,000 large companies in the world and $ 20,000 from each participant – all duly invited; the one in Porto Alegre would be a meeting of people and organizations of civil society interested in participating, which would be requested a symbolic financial contribution to cover the costs of the event. Making the challenge even greater, we had a short deadline ahead: there was the promise of support from a large French newspaper, the Le Monde Diplomatique[3], but for that it was important that we held our Forum in early 2001. That newspaper had been participating decisively in other mobilizations, then called anti-neoliberal globalization movement, such as the protests against the decisions prepared for the World Trade Organization – WTO Assembly in Seattle, United States, in 1999. From this newspaper came the suggestion to hold the Social Forum in Brazil, and in Porto Alegre, which became better known in the world for its experience of participatory budgeting.

Characteristics. Determined to face the challenge, we set to work. A series of guidelines on modelling the Forum were being defined, little by little, and over the months we had to prepare it. The first, soon adopted, was to characterize it as an initiative independent from governments and parties, that is, as something promoted autonomously by civil society, this new political actor who emerged as an autonomous subject in many places of the world, almost as a reaction to the manipulation of the masses by different projects of state power, that had made the world to live great tragedies. This internationally articulated civil society had had a successful experience as a political actor in Seattle, where it had blocked WTO decisions.

We immediately consulted the Rio Grande do Sul and City of Porto Alegre Governments[4] about their possible support under this condition. They were not only ready to support the event as to accept our aproach, and guaranteed the autonomy of the initiative, which was reaffirmed by the vice governor of the State[5], who joined the delegation that followed in July to Geneva to present the project to the organizations of the anti-neoliberal globalization movement, gathered there in one of their assemblies.

The second orientation, more of an organizational nature, was based on the experience of the networks, more conducive to democracy, through its horizontality, that were growing in the world and had ensured the success of the actions in Seattle. It was a daring orientation, replacing the power pyramid and its authoritarian hierarchical verticalism, used since the birth of “mass societies” in the late nineteenth century by trade unions, parties, companies, and military institutions. This option was also inspired by the proposals of the Zapatista movement of Mexico, which at that time appeared as a great innovation in the way of doing politics.

Almost naturally we assumed then that our own group of organizers would not have a coordinator or a spokesperson, which would create the risk of disputes over the exercise of leadership, as is customary in political practice. We would be a college of equals – to the despair of the journalists accustomed to hearing only the word of the leaders. With this, our decisions came to be taken by consensus, a possible method when working on co-responsibility. We thus discarded the use of vote to gauge the majority will, a rule that is basic and a conquest of democracy, but which, in the practice of almost all social organizations, leads to undue power disputes and recurrent divisions.

This orientation led the organizing group to live, during the months of preparation of the first WSF and in the years that followed, the practice it proposed to experience in the WSF: to abandon the usual tendency to assert a hegemonic condition for ehe own organization of each, in the construction of alliances and political fronts. This allowed us to build bonds of trust and cooperation, within the extreme diversity of type and area of action of each one, and to overcome, even in our personal relations, competition, the basis of the culture of capitalism[6].

The same horizontalizing orientation, combined with the principle of self-management – another old social experimentation aimed at overcoming capitalism – was adopted in the event’s own programming: instead of choosing themes, inviting speakers and covering their travel expenses – as forums do in general and, of course, that of Davos – we have chosen to suggest generic themes and offer spaces for discussion about them, without privileging any, to social and popular movements, trade unions and NGOs that would be interested.[7] In the logic of self-management, it was theirs the choice of possible speakers and the way to organize the activity itself, and it was also up to them to bear the costs of participation of guests and militants[8].

In fact, these organizational innovations belonged to the world alternative to the “single thought” of the market, competition, and state power. If we wanted to make the “other possible world” visible, the Forum itself would have to express its values, in the Gandhian line of “be yourself what you want for the world.” And the welcome that many new social movements have lately given to the principle of horizontality adopted in the WSF shows that is more generalized the perception that the “other world” requires, for its effective political construction, new ways of acting.

Throughout the preparation of the event, became increasingly clear the importance of another central principle, that many sectors of the left were still reluctant to accept, that of respect for diversity, which, in addition, is a basic condition for the survival of Nature itself. The diversity of languages, cultures and habits at international and world events was increasing. But it was necessary to respect the diversity of analyzes and strategies, types and areas of struggle, and the very position of each and every one in his or her walk, from the “beginners” to the more radical ones. It was not a matter of welcoming only leaders or people who thought the same and in the same way. For some people, the Forum would create an opportunity for mutual recognition among themselves and between organizations and overcoming prejudices and antagonisms, often created by the domination they face – “divide to dominate” – as well as the identification of convergences towards new articulations. For others, it would be a space for reflection and debate on the needs and possibilities of change, deepening of knowledge and even discovery or simple training. The very practical experience of living together gained a central role.

This reflection opened space for another, with even more demanding consequences in terms of changing political practice, on the nature of the construction of the “other possible world.” The changes – and the struggles – required for this would have to be of a huge variety and of various levels of depth. They could not be reduced to a mere seizure of political power, least of all within a country in isolation from the others, nor was it about linking action to left-wing governments, however successful they might be. A long and extremely diversified sequence of multi-generational political actions with many victories and defeats was needed. Even more after the libertarian intuitions that the world had known – that were not entirely experienced or had been distorted – sank in the common grave of the proposals defeated in the Cold War.  During the almost 50 years of arms race that this war lasted, the governments of the capitalist system developed an intense communication work, aiming to transform the Socialist and Communist proposals in synonyms of Evil, and managed to introject a huge resistance to them – which lasts until today – in the hearts and minds of people all over the world.

 

Nevertheless, libertarian intuitions continued to emerge, reinforced by the transformations that were taking place in capitalism at the turn of the millennium. On the one hand, new information and communication technologies, allowed the growth of horizontal relations, making it more difficult to restrict access to information or debates considered undesirable: Seattle protests are contemporaneous with the heyday of the struggle for software and free culture. On the other, neoliberal globalization reinforced the importance of the international articulation of struggles and encouraged the creation of new and diversified networks of social movements (also facilitated by the internet). Finally, if neo-liberal globalization had very negative consequences for the Fordist labor movement and for socialists in industrial societies, the continuity of the planet’s urbanization and transformations in the morphology and territories of the world of labour also stimulated a myriad of new movements and political experiments in public space revival – a process we already saw in Reclaim the Streets in England in the 1990s, a forerunner of the Indignados and the Occupy Wall Street.

Reactions, expected and unexpected, and many discoveries. It was this context and these concerns that made it natural for us to refuse the idea of the WSF to have a final document or take political positions as a forum. This has been and continues to be one of the most compelling claims, since the first World Social Forum, of those participants who have not been fully aware of the challenge of building the “other possible world”. How can we hope that everything converges to a single final document, a short one, so that it can be read and disseminated, or to positions statements subscribed to by all, which ends up being formal and impoverishing in the face of the richness of discussions and experiences and diversity of the tens of thousands of participants in the WSF and the thousands of debates and proposals that emerge in them? Nothing prevents in the Forum the diffusion of documents signed by those who approve them. But a single conclusive statement covering everything for all would finally lead, as some seem to wish, to the misleading manipulations so common in politics of power – as well as one could not even consider submitting this statement democratically to thousands of participants in the Forums, invited to subscribe it.

The “social movement assemblies” on the last day of the Forums were organized by those who shared the feeling that a final document was needed, to give everyone “directions for action” before they returned to their homes, as in every good assembly or party or religious convention. As if people present were part of a single movement, all having the same level of engagement and needing to be encouraged for types or areas of struggle considered to be the most important.  These initiatives were legitimate as collective conclusions of the organizations that subscribed to them, but could not claim to present them as the conclusions of that Forum as a whole (as they were often presented), or as the most important ones or the more strategic actions to build the ” another possible world. ” It was in this same perspective that in 2005 – with 150,000 participants – nineteen internationally recognized activists[9] launched a “Porto Alegre Manifesto” (or “Porto Alegre Consensus” to counteract the Washington Consensus), enumerating the twelve changes that the world needed to be more egalitarian.

Looking back, these initiatives were only aspects of the much wider open space process of the WSF, which made possible these and many other self-organized activities of movements, people and organizations. It would be good if they did not seek to “hijack” the WSF for the realization of their perspectives or objectives. What happens is that this struggle, almost permanent, about the character to be given – directive or not directive – to the final session of the WSF, is renewed now in the ongoing discussion around the last day of the Salvador Forum. Something like an assembly of social movements, under another name, will probably gain a privileged space in the WSF closing day, where its organizers will “funnel” to it what they consider the most important of what was discussed and decided in the activities of the Forum.

But in this remembrance of the process lived in the organization of the first World Social Forum, we can not forget some facts.

First, the result of the choices made during the year 2000: to the general surprise the resulting Forum brought together not the 2,500 or 3,000 people for whom the space was prepared – a size equivalent to that of the Davos Forum – but 20,000. And 16,000 of this total, mostly young people, did not come as members of organizations – we had intended that only in this quality people could participate … – but as individuals, for which a badge as “listener” was improvised. This success led Le Monde Diplomatique to put as title of the editorial in its January 2001 issue the phrase “the twenty-first century begins in Porto Alegre”.

It also pushed the organizers to the commitment of preparing a second World Social Forum in Porto Alegre the following year. It was on this occasion that, for our own guidance as well as proposals were made to hold other regional or national forums and World Forums in other countries, we began to write, together with several other organizations, as soon as we could, something which would be a Charter of Principles for the WSF, enumerating the guidelines that in our opinion explained the success of the first edition. At the same time, feeling that, in order to ensure continuity in the process that seemed to initiate, responsibility should not stay only with Brazilians, we decided to propose to the large international organizations participating in the First Forum the constitution of a Council capable of accompanying and animating the process. The first Council decision thus formed, in July 2001, was then to discuss the Charter of Principles and approve its resulting wording.

The WSF would consolidate its appeal in later years. Between 2001 and 2004, protests were accompanying virtually every general meeting and summit of multilateral institutions of capitalist globalization (meetings of the WTO, the IMF, the World Bank, the G8 and also regional meetings of the Davos Forum). Porto Alegre and the Regional Social Forums that were beginning to take place were very useful spaces for organizing far-reaching initiatives, such as the campaign against the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) and the gigantic world demonstration of February 2003 (15 million of people on the streets around the world) against the US invasion of Iraq. And hundreds of other initiatives have found in the WSF their place to expand partnerships, build alliances and dialogue with other issues.

A controversial theme was then the proposal to internationalize the Forum, which was opposed by sectors that thought hosting the world event outside Porto Alegre would be an adventure. The successful holding of a successful Asian Social Forum in Hyderabad in 2003 put an end to many doubts – but the issue had to be decided in a protracted debate at the International Council, which had run through several meetings. After all, the 2004 WSF in Mumbai was a very exciting undertaking, involving 20,000 Dalits and Adivasis (the “untouchables” of India), enabling Latin American and European movements to get in touch with the Indian experience – a striking discovery of a world of millennial oppressions and inspiring struggles that took place under the sign of other narratives and performativities. After Mumbai, it was evident that the WSF was, as a format and a proposal, mature.

Almost two decades of learning. The living wealth of Mumbai was a demonstration of how that experience, born of the Latin American and European proposals in Porto Alegre, had a more ambitious vocation and could help movements and struggles in very different contexts – as we would later see in Tunisia, in 2013, and on many other occasions. But we had in each case not the repetition of the same formula, but an intense work of translating a proposal that, without losing its nature, reinvented itself and could advance or regress in function of that work, but also of the political environment that hosted the WSF event (not all places could productively host a world meeting) and the conjunctural injunctions and the correlations of forces (particularly unfavourable globally between 2005 and 2013). The World Forums in Brazil and India had a growing participation, until 2009, in Belém do Pará, with its 150,000 participants, the same number as in 2005 in Porto Alegre. In the intervals there was a polycentric Forum, in 2006, in Caracas, Bamako and Karachi; a first Africa Forum in Nairobi, Kenya[10], with half the participants of the India Forum; and a year without Forum. But the International Council took a decision in 2011 that we consider to be wrong: to hold the Dakar Forum in Senegal on a date not coincident with that of Davos. It was enough for the WSF to disappear from the mainstream media, which had long been interested in not giving it any space. A global polarization against Davos remains more necessary today than ever before[11].

Openness to the new and experimentation has been an integral part of the WSF’s life in this trajectory, but three nuclei of political traditions converged in the initial process: the experience of the Latin American left, which lived the cycle of progressivism and the conquest of governments; the experience of the most dynamic sector of the European left that launched itself in the alterglobalization (which initially, also seemed to include many north American movements); and the experience of significant sectors of Indian Maoism. In the formulation of the way of organizing the Forum and its horizontality, swayed, in turn, ideas that had been very influential in the Brazilian popular organization, inspired by the thought of the educator Paulo Freire, with the support of the progressive Christian Churches to the base communities[12].

We had, in a second moment, a reflux of important projects of the left of the European Social Democracy and of the Indian Left involved in the WSF, precisely at the moment of South American progressivism, the most visible face of which was the neo-“developmentists” governments. But even at this juncture, the WSF process did not revert from its ambition to be a global counterpoint to power owners and was able to dialogue with two burning issues in global politics: on the one hand, the environmental issue, which emerged prominently in the year of 2007, and which, together with the indigenous peoples’ “protagonism” and their vision of “well-living”, would be the mark of the 2009 WSF in Belém (and that would also be echoed in December of that year at the Copenhagen summit, and at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in April 2010 in Cochabamba); on the other hand, the effervescence of struggles in the Arab world, which exploded in 2011, starting with Tunisia (Tunis hosting the 2013 and 2015 WSF). Now, the eclipse of the South American cycle of progressivism – which has ended in Brazil and much of the continent – is compounded by an even more adverse global conjuncture in which, in the absence of strategic leftist perspectives, an extreme right-wing offensive takes shape in many parts of the planet – bringing to mind ghastly ghosts of the 1930s. We live a fairly defensive global situation and this greatly affects the WSF process.

The WSF, however, does not create struggles or movements; it only potentializes what exists, what is constructed in the diversity of resistances to oppression, injustice and exploitation, and the utopias throughout the world. It expresses and in it are expressed the problems of the correlation of forces, the construction of tools, the radicalization or moderation or the internationalization or nationalization of struggles, of the unity or dispersion of movements, of nationalization or autonomy of political action and of flows and refluxes of conjunctures and periods. Certainly in the WSF, mistakes were made and more could have been done, for example, in communicating outwards its initiatives and debates, or broadening the learnings from experiences, or even transmitting them between generations and layers of activists. Perhaps most distressing is that, as time goes by, much of the gigantic wealth of learning that we achieved is no longer rebroadcast to new generations of activists and can be lost.  Let us mention the impact of contact with the struggle of the Dalits and Adivasis in Mumbai, or in Belém, the exchanges with the ecological and indigenous movements of the forest peoples in the questioning of developmentisms, or the meaning in Tunis, of the debate on the relationship with political Islam, to take just a few striking examples among many others. How could people who participated in these experiences and exchanges look back at the world in the same way as before, who seemed to them more and more provincial?

One last observation on this trajectory in almost two decades: when the first WSF was held in 2001, a decade had passed since the collapse of the Soviet Union, half a decade of the Zapatista experience and of the struggles against neoliberal reforms of public services in France and one year since Seattle mobilizations. A new generation emerged in the movements against neoliberal globalization and it was necessary to tune them to those struggles with previous political generations that had resisted the neoliberal tide. Two decades later, the original alterglobalism retreated and a new upsurge in struggles, mainly from autonomous movements, emerged strongly between 2011 and 2013 as a late reaction to the 2008 crises.

Political cultures on the left continue to become qualitatively more diverse, with much more plural references. All this has made horizontality, the exemplarity of practice, the struggle against conservatism and the struggle against the multiple oppressions reproduced in the daily life, issues central to the new generations of activists. Likewise, those who grew up familiar with the Internet and the digital world know the power of googles and facebooks on life and know that powerful new power structures are articulated in networks and know that fighting them requires that we take into account the logics of complex systems. Without neglecting the accumulation of struggles of the left of the twentieth century, the contemporary left has to think social logics more comprehensively than the generations whose imaginary had been galvanized by the “October paradigm.”

The IC: a collaborative governance body or  a steering body? As the Forum multiplied, IC began to experience a series of crisis of functioning and identity. By virtue of the traditional political perspective that dominated and still dominates many consciences, it had been seen by many as constituting the maximum power in the process, and many organizations began to want to participate in this supposed summit, without the IC itself, despite the many efforts made in that sense, clearly define its function and role.

Since then, an IC with many members, but with few in attendance at its meetings, has decided on dates of the WSF without major references or criteria. And the last ones were totally disconnected from Davos: the one in 2016 in Montreal ended in August and the one in Salvador will be held in March 2018.

Although other types and levels of Social Forums continue to multiply, and the possibility of using new tools on the Internet to increase the number of those accompanying the analyzes and proposals made in the Forums is increasing, the reduction of the physical presence of participants in the WSFs has facilitated, on the other hand, the diffusion of the image of emptying of the world event, surely to the great joy of the Davos organizers, who no longer need to introduce in the themes of their Forums the social problems embarrassing the capitalist world that were denounced in the World Social Forums… This decline was already due to the non-acceptance by many of its participants of the non-directive character that had been given to the WSF. But those who were more conservative, or who in fact never understood very well or agreed with what the WSF was, took advantage of it to increase their pressure, within the process itself, to change the way of organizing it and to exist, as well as its role in the global political struggle. Based on the unquestionable changes that have taken place in the reality of the world over the 18 years that have passed since the first WSF, such participants, in fact, continue to strive to ensure that the organizers of Social Forums – all self-managed by those who organize them – abandon this non-directivity, which characterized the WSF proposal, and adopt the principles of vertical hierarchical political action.

It has already been imagined that it would be possible to turn the WSF into a pretentious “movement of movements”. And there are now those who, disregarding the different political role that constitutes its original vocation, propose that the WSF or its International Council become a body that takes positions and makes statements, as it is expected – usually in the old world – of any traditional political organization. An option that will lead it to become just one more power nucleus in the world, to end up existing for itself.

Certainly those who have been resisting these pressures – which, it should be remembered, have existed since 2001- would welcome methodological changes that would increase the effectiveness of the Forums, at all levels and of all types, in its role of building an ever growing union, respecting diversity, of those who fight for the “other possible world”. But they will surely continue to resist changes that may lead the WSF to its destruction – that is, to cease to be an open space for discussion and engagement in the enormous quantity and diversity of actions necessary for the effective construction of this “other world”, which we believe possible and increasingly necessary, and to become something else. The World Social Forum we need has to be open to the newness in history, which will not fail to surprise us. 09/02/2018

 

[1]            The eight organisations were as follows: abong — Associação Brasileira de Organizações Não-Governamentais, Attac sp — Ação pela Tributação das Transações Financeiras em Apoio aos Cidadãos, cbjp — Comissão Brasileira Justiça e Paz, da cnbb, Cives — Associação Brasileira de Empresários pela Cidadania, cut — Central Única dos Trabalhadores, ibase — Instituto Brasileiro de Análises Sociais e Econômicas, mst — Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra, Rede Social de Justiça e Direitos Humanos. The corresponding representatives were: Sergio Haddad, Antonio Martins, Chico Whitaker, Oded Grajew, Kjeld Jakobsen, Candido Grzybowski, João Pedro Stedile e Maria Luiza Mendonça

[2]               It was probably to mark their choice that three candidates for the Presidency of France came to the WSF of 2002.

[3]          This management was facilitated by a happy chance: Chico Whitaker (who would later participate in the group of organizers of the Forum) was also in France and he proposed to take advantage of an interview that he had already scheduled on another subject with Bernard Casssen, director of Le Monde Diplomatique, to present the proposal. Cassen, who welcomed the Brazilians with interest, later came to Porto Alegre to participate in several organizing meetings of the Forum and was able to present the proposal to the Assembly of anti-neoliberal globalization movements in Geneva.

[4]            The state governor and the Mayor of Porto Alegre were, respectively, Olivio Dutra and Tarso Genro, both of the Workers Party.

[5]          The vice governor of the State was then Miguel Rossetto.

[6]            Among other similar experiences in other forums at various levels, the organizers of the first World Anti-Nuclear Social Forum recently held in France were able to join in the same effort members of organizations that almost destroyed each other in the difficult fight against nuclear power plants in their country.

[7]            In this perspective, the experience of organizing the Forums led us a few years later to change the name of our group: from the we began to identify ourselves not as Organizing Committee but as a Facilitating Committee, a name that would better express its function and which has been generally adopted in all the Social Forums that are organized today.

[8]           This is another guideline that has been adopted in many of the Forums that are done today. And it was taking advantage of this possibility that, in 2001, a group of journalists and activists organized a conference call between Davos and Porto Alegre. In it it was seen that neither of the Forums were pyramids of power, with their summits speaking in their name. In Davos four of their guests, including two United Nations officials and the mega-investor George Soros, accepted to go to the venue prepared for the debate. In Porto Alegre the organizers of the activity chose twelve people who, in their opinion, better “represented” the 20,000 participants of the Forum. Among them, the Argentinean Hebe Bonafini, of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo movement, who, in a tense moment of debate, called her interlocutors “hypocrites” and asked: “How many children do you kill a day?” The activity, a media success, showed that this kind of summit dialogue was impossible and confounded some journalists and Forum participants about the character of the WSF. But the principle of self-management of initiatives, consolidated later in the Charter of Principles, was respected.

[9]            Aminata Traoré, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Eduardo Galeano, José Saramago, François Houtart, Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Armand Mattelart, Roberto Savio, Riccardo Petrella, Ignacio Ramonet, Bernard Cassen, Samir Amin, Atilio Boron, Samuel Ruiz Garcia, Tariq Ali, Frei Betto, Emir Sader, Walden Bello and Immanuel Wallerstein were the “personalities” who presented this Manifesto, articulated and drafted by some of them, in a large hotel in Porto Alegre, where the main foreign journalists were also staying.

[10]          At the WSF in Kenya it was exciting to see a group of former Mao-Mao guerrillas, already elderly, participate with their symbols and photos of the Forum’s Opening March.

[11]          On a trip to Brazil Davos organizers wanted to meet WSF organizers, perhaps concerned about finding some form of “dialogue”, we do not know very well about what… In this meeting, which was civilized, we were told that we had “robbed” the dates of Davos …

[12]          The Catholic Church itself had carried out at the international level in the 1970s, within the objective of denouncing the dictatorship, an experience of horizontal intercommunication of struggles against oppression,  deepening the knowledge of the mechanisms of domination, based on the “teacher and student teach and learn” of Freire and other thinkers from the non-directivity line, such as the American Carl Rogers.

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