World Social Forum

Global Crisis Strengthens WSF’s Legitimacy

European non-governmental organisations combating neo-liberal globalisation find their position vindicated by the ongoing socio-economic and environmental crisis upsetting the world.

Katse Dam wall, Lesotho Highlands Water Project. Credit:  Patrick Burnett/IPS

ECONOMY: Same Old System Can Only Produce New Crisis

The world is in financial crisis thanks to the reckless behaviour of bankers, say campaigners, yet ordinary people are picking up the tab. Debt activists fear the recession will provide cover for a fresh round of toxic debt to countries in the South.

Mass protest against an asbestos processing plant in Muzzaffarpur, Bihar state. Credit: Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI)

WORLD SOCIAL FORUM: Dakar to Dhaka

Is it more important to build links with African civil society groups or concentrate on existing networks in the South Asian region? That is the dilemma before Indian delegates heading for the World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal, and some who have opted out.

WORLD SOCIAL FORUM: A Time of More Complex Global Crises

Neoliberalism and the attendant financial globalisation were a common enemy that unified and mobilised activists of the most diverse tendencies who founded, ten years ago in Porto Alegre in southern Brazil, the World Social Forum (WSF) as a space to meet, reflect and debate, under the slogan "Another World Is Possible".

Activists at the opening march of the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit on Jun. 22, 2010. Credit: Courtesy of USSF photo stream

WORLD SOCIAL FORUM: Poverty without Borders

It's the land of freedom, of bright lights and burgers, where daring entrepreneurs arrive from across the planet in search of fame and fortune. The United States of America - the world's melting pot - has been a symbol of hope for centuries, but behind this vision of wealth and wonder is a tale often untold.

Members of the World March of Women at the 2007 WSF in Kenya. Credit:  Claudia Diez de Medina/IPS/TerraViva

WORLD SOCIAL FORUM: Kenyans Rekindle Old Flame

"One of the things we will be taking to Dakar," says Onyango Oloo, "is [knowledge of] how not to organise a World Social Forum."

ECUADOR: Migrants Uprooted Twice

Ecuadorean immigrants have been put in an even more vulnerable position by the lingering economic crisis in the industrialised world, especially in Spain and the United States, the main destinations for migrants from Latin America.

World Forum Boosts Education for Palestinians

Education in Palestinian areas and the longing for a homeland were given a major boost over the weekend through the World Education Forum (WEF). The four-day education conference Oct. 28-31 was held in cities across the West Bank and in Gaza, as well as Lebanon.

One of the many schools in Gaza damaged in Israeli attacks.  Credit: Eva Bartlett

MIDEAST: The People Speak

The focus on people's movements in Palestine continues to gain momentum with growing non-violent demonstrations in Gaza, the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, and with a Palestine-wide call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

ECUADOR: Social Movements to Go Ahead with Int’l Meetings Despite Crisis

"What lies ahead in Colombia is an increase in the number of refugees and displaced persons, while in Guatemala and Mexico people are going to continue leaving their countries in difficult conditions in which they face dangers to their lives," said Nelsy Lizarazu, one of the spokespersons for the Fourth World Social Forum on Migration.

Americas Social Forum Calls for Agriculture Based on Solidarity

Small-scale agriculture based on the principles of solidarity and cooperation is the only way to guarantee food sovereignty in Latin America, said peasant and indigenous activists meeting in the Paraguayan capital this week.

Preparing for Fourth Americas Social Forum Credit: Natalia Ruiz  Díaz/IPS

Americas Social Forum Celebrates Change in Paraguay

The Fourth Americas Social Forum kicks off Wednesday in the Paraguayan capital with a colourful march through the streets, as some 12,000 people prepare to take part in the activities organised by 50 local groups and 550 organisations from Argentina to Canada.

SOUTH PACIFIC: ‘Poverty Measures Need Support of Rich Nations’

Social protection programmes could help alleviate poverty in the Pacific Islands region, but without the help of developed countries, they will not materialise, said an economic expert in this capital of Fiji.

These students at the Samata school in Kathmandu, Nepal enjoy the benefit of cheap but quality education. Credit: Damakant Jayshi/IPS

EDUCATION-NEPAL: Unique School Aims to Be a Ticket to Equality

Had Uttam Sanjel stayed on in the Indian city of Mumbai to pursue his dream of becoming a Bollywood director years ago, the Samata (‘equality) schools that he set up here in Nepal may not be around today.

Demonstrators protesting the firing of dispatch-contract workers. Credit: Tokyo Young Contingent Workers

JAPAN: Calls Rising for Stop to Discriminatory Work Laws

A chorus of calls for changes in discriminatory work laws is spreading across Japan in the aftermath of waves of lawsuits filed by short-contract workers.

Residents look out of their dwellings in a typical slum community in Manila, capital of the Philippines.  Credit: Kara Santos/IPS

PHILIPPINES: Economic Recovery Unfelt by Urban Poor – NGOs

Every day, 60-year old Felisa scavenges for garbage around the bustling streets of Manila, the urban capital of the Philippines.

WORLD SOCIAL FORUM: Reconciling Social and Environmental Needs

One of the greatest challenges facing the world today is to attend to the urgent social needs of the planet’s population, and particularly the one billion people living "on the brink of survival", while dealing with the equally urgent demands of the environment.

WORLD SOCIAL FORUM: Global South’s Growing Role in Post-Crisis World

"Society and Governments: debates and alternatives for a post-crisis world" is the name of a Thematic World Social Forum meeting being held in the capital of the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia.

Women and men in WSF march Credit: Verena Glass

WORLD SOCIAL FORUM: “Machista” but Valued by Feminists Nonetheless

The World Social Forum (WSF) "changed our lives," although it continues to be "machista," with men significantly outnumbering women in its organisation and almost all discussion panels, commented Nalu Farias, coordinator in Brazil of the World March of Women.

Abu Brima says the social movement in Sierra Leone was never sustained. Credit: Mohamed Fofanah/IPS

WORLD SOCIAL FORUM: Sierra Leone Sees Opportunity to Rise Up

The World Social Forum held in Nairobi in 2007 inspired Sierra Leonean activists to organise themselves to demand things like housing, health care and greater accountability from their government. That inspiration was not sustained.

INDIA: Mobilised by Old Clothes, Poor Folk Stand Up, Take Action

Salidhana village, a mere blip on the vast and arid landscape of India’s central state of Madhya Pradesh, was devoid of life’s most basic necessity – water. Until last year, there was no well in this hamlet of about a hundred families. Women would trudge hours daily to fetch water from distant areas, often losing their balance on the hilly village’s treacherous slopes.

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