After Belém (Brazil) in 2009 and Dakar (Senegal) in 2011, this is the first time a global edition of the World Social Forum will be held in an Arab country. The theme this time is “dignity”.
For two years, the Arab region has been the scene of popular uprisings and political transformations. Four dictators fell, starting with Tunisia, with the overthrow of Ben Ali in January 2011. Many countries continue to struggle against dictatorship. Organizations that have a central role in these revolutionary processes are part of the organization of the World Social Forum (WSF) that will take place in Tunisia.
The WSF 2013 in an Arab country will be an opportunity to strengthen joint efforts with these new movements that have emerged in recent years, in opposition to the logic of global capitalism in the region or elsewhere.
Created in 2001 in Porto Alegre, Brazil, the World Social Forum, according to its charter of principles, is an open meeting place for reflective thinking, democratic debate of ideas, formulation of proposals, free exchange of experiences and effective joint actions of the bodies and movements of civil society that are opposed to neoliberalism and to domination of the world by capital and any form of imperialism. It is committed to building a planetary society centered on the human being.
Over time, the WSF has become the largest joint process of global civil society. However, it has not established itself as a body or entity and does not rise as representative of today’s global society. The WSF aims to facilitate “joint and decentralized networking of organizations and movements engaged in concrete action at local or international level to build another world.”
For many organizations, participation in the World Social Forum gives meaning to their actions and social struggles, and allows their integration into a global intervention perspective.
The World Social Forum is intended to discuss the world situation and prepare the global mobilization on key issues affecting humanity. To respond to a context of financial, economic, food and environmental crises, the development of new paradigms for the planet must be included, ranging far beyond the false solutions advocated in the Rio +20 by most governments under the name of “green economy”, which have been denounced in a very powerful way during the People’s Summit, the side event of the civil society.
Beyond the criticisms, the WSF has set itself the task of developing its ability to propose and disseminate viable alternatives for development and social and environmental justice. In this new edition, the clustering of activities and organizations will be encouraged from December 15, 2012, after the closing of registration activities, until mid-February 2013.
For those who cannot travel to Tunisia, the WSF organization offers various forms of remote participation, a process called “extended Tunisia”. It will be possible to follow the activities and make a contribution to Tunisia through transmissions over the Internet, or by organizing activities anywhere in the world while interacting with the public attending WSF.
The construction of the event continues at a rapid pace, with the mobilization of people and organizations worldwide.
For movements, organizations and activists for another possible and necessary world on all continents, it is time to turn our eyes on Tunisia. Tunisia will be the next capital of the globalization of solidarity!
The World Social Forum will be held in Tunis from 26 to 30 March 2013. Registration for individuals and organizations is now open and can be made through the website http://www.fsm2013.org
By Damien Hazard, member of the Council of the International Forum of NGO Platforms FIP, Co-Executive Director ABONG – Brazilian Association of NGOs and member of the International Council of the World Social Forum.