World Social Forum. Origins and objectives of a movement

Built around the slogan ?Another World Is Possible?, the World Social Forum (WSF) is an international forum formed by people in civil society who share a common desire for ?another world? and who oppose ??neo-liberalism and domination of the world by capital and any form of imperialism, and are committed to building a planetary society centred on the human person?? (WSF Charter of Principles). As such, the WSF is not an organisation, nor a neat platform with common deliberations on which all those who participate have to agree. Rather, the basic idea is to create a space for discussing alternatives, for exchanging experiences and strengthening alliances between social movements, unions of workers, NGOs, a chance for everyone who respects such a space to come together. The first WSF, held in January 2001, in the city of Porto Alegre, Brazil, was organised at the initiative of a group of eight Brazilian associations and NGOs, including the Brazilian Association of Non Governmental Organisations, and ATTAC (a movement prominent in criticising the Multilateral Agreement on Investments); it also was supported from several sources including state and civic authorities. This extraordinary event was aimed at representing and giving voice to the growing worry and discontent all over the world concerning neo-liberal policies deregulating financial capital movements and international trade. Significantly, it was timed to coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, an annual gathering of chief executives from some of the world?s largest and most influential transnational corporations, as well as academics and political leaders who met to discuss global economic issues. Given the success of the first meeting, WSF then transformed itself into a ?world process?, marked by annual events as well as other thematic and regional meetings. The annual forums in 2002 and 2003, with ever increasing participation and press and media coverage, saw the movement grow rapidly, and the WSF has come to symbolise the strength of the anti-globalisation movement. So as to enable the continuity of the WSF process and its spread outside the borders of Brazil, the organisers drafted a Charter of Principles and set up an International Committee that today has more than a hundred delegates comprising NGOs, associations and movements with local, regional or international standing, such as Caritas Internationalis, Corporate Watch, Greenpeace, Oxfam, Social Watch and many more. [HL40101] For more information on the WSF, visit: http://www.forumsocialmundial.org.br/home.asp Website of the Davos World Economic Forum: http://www.weforum.org