Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Social Forum: Another World is Possible

The rallying slogan of the World Social Forum WSF of another world is possible .This slogan expresses the yearning of the vast majority of society of for a different society from that of today. A society where three multinational capitalists
like Bill Gates have more wealth than three billion people, where the IMF, World bank and WTO demanded that the last dollars of poor countries be used to pay off debts accrued by local elites when hospitals are collapsing and millions are
hungry, a society where tens of thousands are killed in Iraq, Lebanon, DRC and Somalia, so that the oil and mining barons can make more dollars. A society where RBZ governor G Gono splashes trillions on a Mercedes Benz whilst three thousand people die weekly of AIDS because of lack of ARVs . In short the demands of this country’s and world’s people are for an alternative to the barbarism of the system of capitalism and imperialism. This is what motivated the formation of the WSF in Brazil in 2001 and the Zimbabwe Social Forum in 2003 .To create an open space for working people, the poor , the oppressed and exploited to discuss and strategize on how to link up our struggles and liberate ourselves , just as the capitalists and the governments, annually meet at the World Economic Forum in Davos and other national, regional and international forums.
Along with the WSF the ZSF has grown .This year the WSF meets for the first time in Africa in January .Locally, whereas in 2003 less than three hundred people attended our first event in Harare in 2004 we hosted the Southern Africa Social Forum attended by three thousand people and in 2006 they were regional social forums in Chitungiza, Mutare and Bulawayo . In 2005 we started on the road to becoming a living social forum of struggle, with the ZSF massively supporting the ZCTU called anti poverty demonstration on 8 November.
Challenges and way forward
However , the Social Forum process faces many challenges .The most urgent challenge is the transformation of the process into a truly living Forum facilitating the struggles of working people locally and internationally against dictatorship,
neoliberalism , imperialism and capitalism in general .We recommended a few ideas on the way forward • Adoption of campaigns : Some have referred to the Social Forum process as a trade fare of politics ideas ;indeed they are leading elements in the Social Forum process who would like to keep it like that as a safety valve or talk shop for working
people to vend out the anger every now and then ,but leaving the structures exploitation , oppression and violence of global capitalism intact .These elements dominate amongst many of the middle class dominated NGOs and reformists parties like the Brazilian workers party which initiated the social Forum process and still controls it up to date with
PT ‘ S LULA , once in power become a darling of the IMF and multinationals. Our actions must go beyond protests and marches but decisively general strikes that hurt the system where it hurts the most –the process of production and source of profits. The global proletariat must thas become a key part of the Social Forum process.
At the Nairobi WSF concrete resolutions on the regional and international actions shoulkd be adopted , whilst locally the ZSF should come up with a few well selected agreed campaigns and actions , which all clusters and organizations will mobilize for and support.
• Build a democratic , accountable and non commodified Social Forum .Today the Social Forum process locally continentally and internationally , is disproportionally and undemocratically controlled by NGOs and other elites at the exclusion of grass roots movements , activists and revolutionary left .The WSF charter prohibits voting and election insisting on consensus , whilst political parties are excluded .This leaves the administrative and political leadership structures of the Social Forum process controlled by un elected and un accountable self appointed middle class elites from the NGOs of their allies .Many of these become specialists in plane – hotel activism and spicing meetings with rented crowds from the poor .We call for a complete overhaul of the Social Forum structures so that leaders are elected and recallable , whilst decisions are made democratically , which means elections and voting where consensus fails .Representation at regional , continental and international structures must represent the different segments of the Social Forum process including thematic , regional and national constituencies with due and elected mandate for their constituencies. The ban on political
organizations and parties must go as they already participate but in disguise.
* Decentralise: The Social Forum process must go down right to the grass roots. If the campaigns , demonstrations and general strikes are to be successful , mobilization has to start right at the grass roots in urban , industrial and rural areas
* Unconditional open space: The demands of the SF process confine it within an ideological straightjacket. It is not for fat cats, bosses, multinationals or bourgeois politicians. Indeed most of these accept this but the agenda is non the less carried out in the Social Forum process by various of their agents and friends especially amongst the middle class run and
bourgeoisie funded NGOs or right wing lobour officials. This requires extensive educational and cultural teach ins and programmes amongst participants in the SF process to understand that its goals can only be achieved by a movement which is
agains neoliberalism , imperialism , dictatorship , multinationals – indeed against capitalism. And only but a fighting and living SF rooted in the struggles of working people and not in talk shop jamborees dominated by agents and friends of the rich and powerful. Contrary to the reformists and bourgeois NGOs they try and trick the masses saying “ there is
one bug no but many yes” – we argue that the only alternative to capitalism is the overthrow of national bourgeois states and private property internationally and bring the world’s wealth and resources under the democratic control of the working people of the world whereby production will not be for profits of the few but for the human need –that world can only be communism.
Finally , despite the above weaknesses of the SF process , it offers a very important platform , locally and internationally , bringing together many of those who are being radicalized by the failure of neo-liberal globalization and capitalism and its violent wars and who have not traditionally participated in socialist politics. It is with such strata that the revolutionary left will have to build relationships with, if it is to rise to its fundamental challenge of building a truly global mass revolutionary movement of working people that can take over global capitalism and build a new society.
by M Gwisai

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