The World Social Forum is an international gathering of diverse social movements, activists, campaigners and non-governmental organisations whose shared enemy is neoliberal globalisation. It attempts to create practical alternatives to an economic system that has repeatedly proven itself incompatible with sustainability and social justice and does not shy away from highly politicised conclusions. It meets annually, as a direct antidote to the World Economic Forum’s shindigs in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, but its members are on the frontline in the daily struggle against capitalism, colonialism and patriarchy.
Rising to mainstream prominence after its first meeting in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2001, which attracted over 10,000 participants, the World Social Forum placed people firmly before profit in its search for a more just, sustainable and democratic world. Instead of being dazzled by the promised land of globalisation it has established a resolute opposition to a system that produces a society at the service of multinational corporations and governments or institutions working for them.
The Forum’s alternative to globalisation is fundamentally based upon a co-operative internationalism formed at grassroots level, backed up by a radical form of participatory democracy and responding to the needs of the majority. Unlike those whose activism starts and finishes with elections, the World Social Forum understands that a true democracy demands a revolutionary change in the way we do economics, ethics and politics. Unlike the Labour Party leadership, it also recognises the value of trade unions and sees socialism as offering a real hope for a better future.
Originally published in 2003 this book offers an exhaustive analysis and critical overview of the World Social Forum’s initial gatherings that successfully challenged the mainstream story of neoliberalism. Anyone fighting the evils of TTIP, corporate power’s corrupting influence on governments, austerity, GMOs, militarism and all forms of discrimination will find a willing ally in the World Social Forum.
Originally published at The Morning Star