When participants at the 2011 World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal, received word that former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had stepped down, swept away by a wave of popular resistance that brought millions of Egyptians into the streets, few could contain their joy.
The conference drew both supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad; conflicting opinions about the Polisario Front and the politics of Western Sahara; Palestinian activists and the Jewish Anti-Zionist Network. In short, the 13th
edition of the World Social Forum, held in Tunis on Mar. 26-30, was a melting pot of struggles and a search for common ground.
“We need a solution. The U.N. has created the problem, and they should do their work and fix it,” says Bright, a young Nigerian stuck in the Choucha refugee camp in Tunisia, a few kilometres from the Libyan border.
The World Social Forum’s traditional focus on economic, political and social injustice caused by globalisation shifted towards the revolts and unrest of the Arab Spring, in the current edition of the global gathering in Tunisia.
Zimbabwe’s rail transport system may be nearing extinction if the government does not take drastic action to solve the series of operational challenges that have made commuter and goods train services rare here.
In the final countdown to this year's World Social Forum (WSF), Tunisian civil society and the country's capital, Tunis, prepares for an influx of over 50,000 visitors. With the dates of the forum set for Mar. 26-30, uncompleted tasks are being fast-tracked while the university campus that will host the forum is being given a security face-lift.
The tragedy at the Kiss nightclub cast a dark shadow on proceedings at the Thematic Social Forum held in Porto Alegre, the southern Brazilian city renowned for hosting the first World Social Forum in 2001.
Traditional social movements of homeless and landless people have for years been organising occupations as a pressure tactic. Now "occupying" is a key element for fighting the capitalist system in its hour of crisis, and also in the realm of virtual reality.
Critical voices raised against what was dubbed "the gospel of green capitalism" resonated in every discussion and street march held during the Thematic Social Forum, which brought thousands of activists to the capital city of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, in southern Brazil.
For five centuries, Europe has taken it upon itself to enlighten the world, teaching it ways to address and overcome crises, from ideas and wars to missionary work and genocides.
The May 15 Movement (15-M) which sprang up as huge rallies in public squares in Spain's largest cities to protest against the political, economic and social system, is multiplying as assemblies in local neighbourhoods in provincial capitals and other municipalities.
More than 200 years ago, one of the United States' founding presidents, Thomas Jefferson, famously remarked: "Every generation needs a new revolution." Today, his words are more relevant than ever, as young people across the world mark 2011 as a year of change.
"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).
While the international community is now talking of a triple global crisis – food, climate and economic - a weeklong session of the World Social Forum (WSF) is coming to a close in Dakar, Senegal.
As the powerful collective energy continues to surge through Dakar, veterans of the World Social Forum (WSF) are taking a moment to examine the history, trajectory and future of the alternative global movement.