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Owners of the world, listen to these rebels

Candido Grzybowski
The EastAfrican, 23 to 29 January, 2006

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"We are stimulating creativity and the will of a people hungry for rights, for social justice, freedom and participation".

Many, even within the anti-globalisation movement, have claimed that it is running out of steam, particularly its flagship event, the World Social Forum (WSF). Yet here we are, brimming with vitality and creativity.

Continuously, surprising and innovative, the WSF is moving closer and closer to the people who feel most directly the effects of globalisation designed to increase the earnings of the major financial-economic corporations. And this year, we will demonstrate our capacity not only to grow but also to multiply ourselves, since there will be not one but four Forums in 2006: in Bamako, Mali; Caracas, Venezuela; Bouznika, Morocco; and Karachi, Pakistan. We are sprouting like mushrooms even where no one expects us. Certainly, there are obstacles and problems, and new contradictions, but what we are succeeding in building is a marvel.

This will be the sixth Forum and as always there will be challenges. We began in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 2001. At the time, no one could imagine the extraordinary draw and reverberation of the event. In a Latin America dominated by the most extreme globalisation policies of the so-called 'Washington Consensus' we managed to arouse hope, to general astonishment. It seemed that it was no more than a dream.

However, dreaming is one of the most human of acts, which inspires us to live and to believe in the future.

And so it was that the dream began to become reality: the governments that subscribed to the 'Washington Consensus' began to fall one after the other, whether at the polls or from protests in the streets. Latin America began to change course. And while we may not be changing as fast as many hope or think necessary, the changes are real and are having an effect the world over. Through we are passing through bouts of political turbulence, we are stimulating creativity and the will of people hungry for rights, for social justice, freedom, and participation.

The transformational political-cultural movement that is rooted in the WSF - which many still don't consider a true movement but a sort of wave racing towards the shore unconscious of what effect it will have - has won over the world. The initiatives inspired by the WSF are multiplying in every corner of the planet. Their only common reference is the Charter of Principles, ethical in its basic inspiration and radically political in its potential to transform cultures and practices. It has been appropriated and interpreted by a wide variety of movements, entities, networks, coalitions, alliances and campaigns across the planet, without the need of an Inquisition or a Politburo to examine what is correct and what is incorrect.

The IDEA of a polycentric WSF, like the current one, grows out of this innovative and human adventure, at the centre of which is the recognition of a common humanity in diversity, solidarity in respect for human rights of all human beings, and the radical awareness that the greatest common good is nature and its resources, which we must conserve and share.

We should celebrate the fact that the WSF is now acknowledged as a point of reference for the world political landscape. That leaders, political representatives, and even the "owners" of the world feel obliged to respond to this rebel citizenry, which in its own way comprises a world power, is evidence of the size and impact that we have had.

And the fact that the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which is our antithesis, feels the necessity of adopting issues from our agenda, which it has done in recent years; that heads of state and governments, as well as representatives from the multilateral organisations, try to stay in tune with the concerns of the WSF; and that each day the media report our activities - are all clear indicators that our strategy is working.

Many think that we are taking a risk in trying uncertain paths. Guided by a sense of radicalness, we respond that choosing the path of democracy to achieve social transformation is to accept uncertainty as a rule of human coexistence. It is also the demonstration of our vitality and conviction and our condition as citizens of the world, always ready to fight. This is why the presence of the WSF in many parts of the world is causing such concern and unrest among the dominant system.


Further Information

Candido Grzybowski, a Brazilian sociologist, is a member of the International Council of the World Social Forum

World Social Forum website: http://www.forumsocialmumdial.org.br

Details of the Forum's Charter of Principles can be found on the above website.

The EastAfrican, Nairobi, Kenya

Website: www.nationmedia.com/eastafrican



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