Archive | WSF 2010

WORLD SOCIAL FORUM – WINNING THE BATTLE OF IDEAS

Posted on 25 March 2011 by editor

Mario Lubetkin, IPS Director General

By Mario Lubetkin (*)

Rome, Mar (IPS TerraViva) Paradoxically, just as history is proving the World Social Forum right in many of its predictions and analyses, the major media, those “shapers of public opinion”, are not increasing but in fact sharply decreasing their coverage of it. This silent treatment is a clear obstacle to the expansion of the WSF and a cause of real concern for many of its innumerable organisers and participants.

This situation was recognised in the final February 10 declaration by the Social Movements of the WSF, which concluded that the forum must undertake “a battle of ideas, in which we cannot move forward unless there is a democratisation of communication.”

It is curious that ten years ago journalists from around the world flocked to Porto Alegre to cover the WSF debates, which were given broad coverage in print and on television.

It could be argued that this was simply a result of the novelty of the forum and its flood of activists proclaiming, “another world is possible” while the rest of the world careened blindly towards disaster.

The surprise was greater still when the following year, in 2002, certain members of the WSF, where attendance rose steadily, were elected presidents of their countries -like Luis Inacio Lula Da Silva in Brazil.

But these developments, it would seem, were moving contrary to the currents of history. In the same period, with the exception of certain slips -like the popping of the so-called dot.com bubble and the subsequent collapse of 4854 Internet companies between 2000-2003- capitalism, and especially financial capitalism, was charging full steam ahead. It outstripped the real economy, swelled the Gross World Product and international trade, and generated massive earnings for its businesses -insurance companies and banks, especially investment banks- giving the impression that the good times would never end.

From its first years the WSF denounced with tenacity and rigour the elements of the reigning neoliberal ideology that would lead to global disaster: the so-called Washington Consensus that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was imposing on countries of the South, extreme liberalisation, blind faith in the market as the ideal arbiter of the economy, rejection of any regulation especially of the financial firms which were conducting massive levels of speculation. The ruin that resulted is plain to see all around us.

One might think that, since history proved the WSF right, the media might have grown curious about the prescient arguments and predictions of the Forum. But the opposite happened: in recent years, particularly since the global depression struck in 2008, the presence of media at the forum has dropped continuously.

What was more logical was the parallel decline in the media’s coverage of the World Economic Forum, which saw its fundamental postulates proved terribly wrong.

Of course, part of this contradiction has to do with the characteristics and errors of the WSF itself. The analysis of this matter is important given that the Forum constitutes the largest agglomeration of civil society in the world. Four aspects deserve close study:

-The structure of the forums consists of numerous simultaneous meetings on different themes. Thus the journalists must choose which they would like to attend and may find it difficult to make an assessment of the forum as a whole. This is accentuated by the organisational problems of the forum, which were particularly evident in the last meeting in Dakar. This dispersed nature of the event can thus distract attention from the ideas that it generates, including the best suggestions for solutions to the world’s problems.

-In general the journalists who cover the forum are inadequately prepared. Providing good coverage of specialised debates requires a high level of expertise on fields ranging from ecology, finance, minority rights, and philosophical, political, theological, sociological discussions.

-The WSF has thus far lacked a true communications strategy. Despite its extraordinary capacity to draw people from civil society, its management and organisational staff is limited and lacks resources. It could produce better results if it recognised the importance of having and implementing a communications strategy.

-The operation of the mass media has changed dramatically in this decade and requires a rethinking that factors in the new modes of exchange made possible by the Internet and electronic devices, social networks, and major alternative media like Al Jazeera and blogs like the Huffington Post, which have shown serious interest in this subject.

The coincidence of the Dakar Forum and the toppling of the regimes in North Africa has charged the debate and all groups linked to the WSF and challenged them to demonstrate the power and potential of those proposing to build “another world” using new forms of civil organisation and communication.

(*) Mario Lubetkin is Director-General of IPS news agency.

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WSF: Political Support Needs Financial Backing

Posted on 11 February 2011 by editor

NORAH MATOVU-WINYI. Credit:Courtesy of FEMNET

Rousbeh Legatis interviews NORAH MATOVU-WINYI, Executive Director, African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET)

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 11, 2011 (IPS/TerraViva) – “The agenda for women’s rights and empowerment in each country must be supported by the political leadership,” says Norah Matovu-Winyi, Executive Director, African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET). Continue Reading

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Este Mundo Es Imposible

Posted on 08 February 2011 by editor

Mario Lubetkin, Director General de IPS. Crédito: Abdullah Vawda/IPS TerraViva.

Por Mario Lubetkin

El Foro Social Mundial que hoy se celebra en Dakar ha sido precedido por una serie de encuentros a lo largo del año precedente que han confirmado su posición única como espacio de discusión de los grandes problemas mundiales y de las propuestas para resolverlos, que IPS ha acompañado en sus coberturas (http://www.ipsnoticias.net/). Continue Reading

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Dakar à Dhaka

Posted on 08 February 2011 by editor

Forum social mondial, Mumbai, 2004. Crédit: IPS TerraViva

Ranjit Devraj

NEW DELHI, 8 fév (IPS TerraViva) – Est-il plus important de nouer des liens avec les groupes de la société civile africaine ou de se concentrer sur les réseaux existants dans la région de l’Asie du Sud? C’est le dilemme dans lequel sont les délégués indiens qui participent au Forum social mondial (FSM) de Dakar, au Sénégal, et certains qui ont choisi de ne pas y participer. Continue Reading

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LEBANON: Trashy Bag Gets Trendy

Posted on 17 January 2011 by editor

By Mona Alami

A bag made from trash. Credit:Maya Mazloum, Trashy Bags

BEIRUT, Jan 13, 2011 (IPS) – Wafa Saab, a high-powered executive at the leading Lebanese-manufactured paint company Tinol, is an environmentally friendly fashionista. On her arm hangs a pink and blue gym bag. It’s made of garbage.
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A população que vigia sua Amazônia

Posted on 11 January 2011 by editor

Laguna das Quinas, Alto Huayabamba. Crédito: Cortesia Ampa.

Milagros Salazar

LIMA, Peru, 10 de janeiro, (IPS TerraViva) Habitantes e autoridades de uma região peruana tomaram em suas mãos a tarefa de conservar as florestas.

San Martín é uma das três regiões amazônicas mais desmatadas do Peru. Entretanto, ali, organizações sociais e moradores aproximaram-se das autoridades locais e regionais para defender a flora, a fauna e as fontes de água, e também para deter a depredação das florestas. Enquanto as águas dos rios secavam, foi crescendo o interesse das pessoas de San Martín, na selva central peruana, em solicitar ao Estado concessões de conservação em terrenos públicos de grande diversidade biológica. Continue Reading

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Aluvión de demandas acecha al Estado

Posted on 10 January 2011 by editor

Por Daniela Estrada

SANTIAGO, ene (IPS TerraViva) – Mientras muchos ya dudan del prometido “golpe de timón” en la criticada política hacia los indígenas en Chile, al gobierno de Sebastián Piñera se le acaba el plazo para cumplir con las recomendaciones de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos en atención al reclamo de mapuches presos. Continue Reading

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Haitianas se preguntan si estarán a salvo algún día

Posted on 09 January 2011 by editor

Mujeres del campamento Imakile en una manifestación ante la oficina del primer ministro en octubre de 2010. Crédito: Ansel Herz/IPS TerraViva

Por Jane Regan y Kanya D’Almeida *

PUERTO PRÍNCIPE/NUEVA YORK, 7 ene (IPS TerraViva) – Sobre una calle convertida en escombros, 60 personas están reunidas en la sala y el patio de una vivienda casi derruida que oficia de sede de la Comisión de Mujeres Víctima a Víctima de Haití. Continue Reading

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Elles font la politique autrement

Posted on 08 January 2011 by editor

Rezistans ek Alternativ logo.

Nasseem Ackbarally

PORT-LOUIS, 7 jan (IPS TerraViva) – “Je fais la politique tous les jours, mais la politique partisane? Non, merci”, déclare Jane Ragoo, syndicaliste de longue date et travailleuse sociale. Elle croit au travail permettant d’apporter le changement dans la société et d’améliorer la vie de la population; mais elle n’a aucun intérêt à grimper dans un camion pour mener une campagne afin de se faire élire.

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O desafio de cuidar das floretas globais

Posted on 07 January 2011 by editor

Lenhador no Estado de Chiapas, México. Crédito: Mauricio Ramos/IPS TerraViva

Emilio Godoy

Cidade do México, México, 6/1/2011, (IPS TerraViva) – Por sua experiência em projetos comunitários florestais, o México pode dar pistas sobre como aproveitar adequadamente as áreas de floresta e incentivar o desenvolvimento das economias locais em 2011, Ano Internacional das Florestas. Continue Reading

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