Contribution to the preparation seminar of the World Social Forum (WSF) 2011 Dakar

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, by Social Movements Network

Contribution to the preparation seminar of the World Social Forum (WSF) 2011 Dakar

Letter from several social movements:

1. The purpose of this letter is twofold: to share some views on the direction of the WSF and
to express a concern about the WSF 2011 in Dakar, in particular its relation with the Social
Movements Assembly (SMA).

2. The WSF deserves high praise for its forum where thematic and cross-thematic networks
meet, grow, and work together. The WSF also has enabled to make more visible the social
struggles and its connections. Similarly, the WSF has promoted and has organized major
actions in order to build the other world for which we are fighting.

3. However, in recent years, the WSF has been showing signs of exhaustion. Therefore,
various social movements have demanded the creation of a space “more productive” with a
unifying and mobilizing character.

4. Based on this growing demand, some discussions have started, and various responses and
methodological initiatives have been tried. But until now, we can say that we have not
achieved the anticipated results.

5. In order to make the WSF more attractive for social movements, we think the solutions
require a strategic nature, so that the WSF can become more useful for the globalization of the
struggle, promote calls for concrete actions and contain greater political radicalism.

6. All of the foregoing could serve several purposes: attract and involve new actors in the
process; make the WSF more contemporary ; and make its policies a real counterweight to
those of capitalism, the latter being fully responsible for the damages with which we are
struggling to correct.

7. From the beginning, the SMA has been acting and evolving within the WSF. While
recognizing its weaknesses of SMA, we are also obliged to recognize its legitimacy as well as
its accomplishments. We have also to recognize that the SMA responds in some ways to the
strategic demands expressed above.

8. The SMA does not reflect the total universe of those who are engaged in social struggles. It
does not presume to be the epicentre of the process. But the fact of the matter is that the SMA
constitutes a space where those organizations, networks and movements primarily using
struggle and mobilization action as instruments of struggle, can meet and work together. This
point is important especially if we ask: how many we are and how many we should or we can
be to create greater resistance and struggle.

9. If WSF had the capacity to promote such initiative and action, it would become more useful
to the social movements and its struggles. Similarly, the WSF would be also reinforced with
increasing participation and involvement of social movements.

10. So, in order to make the WSF a space “more productive” and useful to the social struggles, it is necessary to take the SMA more into account and to promote and to facilitate
its potential.

11. One initiative could be to facilitate the preparation and organization of SMA during the
WSF 2011 in Dakar.

12. Although this idea was raised during the previous meeting of the International Council
(IC) of WSF in Mexico, unfortunately, we had no time to really discuss in a profound way the
issue and to arrive at a consensus.

13. Some members of the IC have advanced the argument that the SMA is an assembly like
any other assembly (war, debt, TLC, climatic, …) and as such, it would be impossible or a
lack of respect to give a preference or greater importance to the SMA in relation to the others.

14. First, it is important to note that the thematic assemblies are very important and most of us
are actively involved in them. Second, the SMA is not an assembly like the others. It is in
fact an assembly that aims to build an agenda of cross-mobilization and struggles.

15. We think that to close the WSF with the SMA, will certainly give the meeting a
connotation of greater “productivity.”

16. But it is not an absolute necessity to close the WSF with the SMA. We believe that
thematic assemblies play an important role, as the assembly of assemblies (we will have to
avoid the errors of the WSF 2009 in Belém).

17. But social movements really need adequate space, visible and coherent in order to
concentrate on the political process of the SMA and not only about logistical issues. We have
to remember what happened at the WSF in Nairobi, where it was almost impossible to
organize the SMA. Also in Belém it was very difficult, with the SMA “lost” in the middle of
the WSF with hundreds of other important activities.

18. So, we are asking to the organizing committee to think how to organize a time and space
for the SMA during the WSF 2011. If it is not possible to put it at the end of the WSF, it can’t
be at the beginning or in the middle of the WSF, because the AMS has to be a process of
collective elaboration and construction group, and also need to take into account the results of
the thematic assemblies.

19. It is clear that the Assembly would not be the exclusive patrimony of social movements,
but on the contrary, would be a space being integral part of the WSF process, where everyone
would have access, not as members of the Assembly, but because of the results which are
following from, which surely would be shared by many and in an growing way.

20. The SMA does not intend and does not pretend to be the spokesperson of the WSF. We
understand that we have to avoid this problem; and we are sure that we can avoid it.

21. We don’t want to impose anything to the organizing committee of the WSF. We are sure
that the committee is working very hard to make the next WSF a big success. We, as social
movements, will also put the most energy, time and money as available in order to make this WSF a success and an important moment to build a world with social justice and respect of
the nature, from the struggles, from and for African peoples and the world. As you know, we
are preparing a world seminar of social movements in Dakar by the beginning of November
2010, precisely in this regard.

First signatories

Pays Organisation
1 Réseau Mondial AIH Alliance international des Habitants
2 Réseau Mondial EAI Espace Afrique International
3 Réseau Mondial CADTM International Comité pour l’Annulation de la Dette du Tiers-Monde
4 Réseau Mondial FDIM Federación Democrática Internacional de Mujeres
5 Réseau africain CADTM Afrique
6 Réseau latino-américain CADTM AYNA
7 Réseau latino-américain OCLAE Organización Continental Latinoamericana y Caribeña de Estudiantes
8 Bangladesh Nabodhara
9 Bangladesh VOICE Voices for interactive choice and empowerment
10 Bénin CADD Cercle d’Autopromotion pour un Développement durable
11 Brésil CUT Centrale unitaire des travailleurs
12 Burkina Faso Attac Burkina
13 Congo Brazzaville APASH Association Pour une Alternative au Service de l’Humanité
14 Congo Brazzaville Solidaires
15 South Korea KCTU Confédération coréenne des syndicats
16 Côte d’Ivoire FNDP Forum National sur la Dette et la Pauvreté
17 Côte d’Ivoire Convergences
18 Côte d’Ivoire CN de la MMF
19 Guinée CERIDA Centre d’Etude et de Recherche pour l’Intégration Régionale et le Développement
20 Inde VAK Vikas Adhyayan Kendra
21 Inde NACDOR National Confederation of Dalit Organisations
22 Mali MSV Mouvements des sans voix
23 Mali CAD Coalition des Alternatives Africaines Dette et Développement
24 Mali AP/Mali Alliance contre la Pauvreté au Mali
25 Mali RDL/AFEF Réseau pour le Développement Local et l’Auto promotion de la Femme, l’Enfant et la Famille
26 Maroc ATTAC Maroc
27 Maroc FAM Forum des Alternatives Maroc
28 Niger RNDD Réseau National Dette et développement
29 Pakistan WWHL Women Workers Help Line
30 Pakistan CADTM Pakistan
31 RDC NAD Nouvelles Alternatives pour le Développement
33 Sénégal UNSAS Union national des Syndicats Autonomes du Sénégal
34 Sénégal UDEN Union Démocratique des Enseignants du Sénégal
35 Sénégal FDIF Sénégal Fédération Démocratique Internationale des Femmes
36 Sénégal CADTM Sénégal
37 Sénégal CIMAC Comité d’Initiative pour une Mobilisation Alternative Citoyenne
38 Sénégal APROFES Association pour la Promotion de la Femme Sénégalaise
39 Pakistan CPF UDEN Commission permanente des femmes de l’UDEN
40 Sri Lanka UFL United Federation of Labour
41 Sri Lanka ZBNFM Zero Budget Natural Farming Movement
42 Togo Association CADIP-Univers
43 Tunisie RAID ATTAC Tunisie
44 Venezuela RVCD Red Venezolana Contra la Deuda
45 Venezuela MOUSHA, Haiti-Venezuela

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