World Social Forum

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.

 Credit: IPS/TerraViva

WORLD SOCIAL FORUM: Another Kind of Economics Is Possible

Democratising economics as well as politics is essential for ending irrationality and discrimination as part of the struggle for social and environmental justice, said participants at one of the panels of the seminar assessing the World Social Forum's (WSF) first 10 years.

Dakarayi Matanga: 'The WSF is of crucial importance to an African population suffering the impacts of the global financial crisis.' Credit:  Stanley Kwenda/IPS

WORLD SOCIAL FORUM: Africa Continues to Draw Inspiration

The same kind of worldwide solidarity that helped bring down apartheid is necessary to free the global South from economic domination.

 Credit: Claudia Diez de Medina/IPS

WORLD SOCIAL FORUM: Crisis Could Usher In Another World

In the societies of the future, young people may not start to work until the age of 25, there will be lifelong education for everyone, with university graduation as the starting point rather than the end goal, while working hours could be reduced to 12 hours a week for all.

Seattle

LABOUR: North America’s Long Winter of Discontent

In the wake of a blizzard of economic hardship across North America, native land of the financial crash of 2008 and ensuing Great Recession, the shapes of other possible worlds are emerging from the drifts. Some are frozen and dystopian, but others may harbour green shoots of hope.

RECESSION AND RECOVERY: Cities Going One Way, Nations Another – Part 2

Some signs are emerging of a new trend shown up by the recession: local governments (and the people) are going one way, national ones another.

RECESSION AND RECOVERY: The Lucky Are Unemployed – Part 1

The agreed, if dubious, solution to the financial crisis was to get people and governments - in the richer countries - to borrow more in order to spend more. What is not in doubt is the growing numbers of people who will be able to neither borrow nor spend.

ASIA: As Economy Turns, Turning Off Stimulus Tap Is a Challenge

As the global financial crisis triggered alarms across Asia, Singapore responded with a government programme to aid its vulnerable workforce. The affluent city- state pumped in three billion U.S. dollars in an employment protection programme.

WORLD SOCIAL FORUM: Talk vs Action – the Tug-of-War Continues

A call issued by social movements to evolve towards a more active role in generating concrete action marked the opening session of a seminar assessing the 10 years of the World Social Forum (WSF) Monday in this southern Brazilian city, the birthplace of the annual global civil society gathering.

PAKISTAN: Home-Based Workers Struggle to Climb Out of Poverty

Razia Khatoon, 36, crouches over a huge wooden frame, her eyes squinting in the dimly lit room inside a squatter settlement in Orangi town in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city.

 Credit: Paulino Menezes/Terraviva/IPS

WORLD SOCIAL FORUM: Back Seat Driver of Social Change

The World Social Forum (WSF) is only "a tool" and must not be confused with the global movement for another world, says Chico Whitaker, one of the founders of this meeting which is celebrating its tenth year with a seminar to assess its track record Jan. 25-29, in its southern Brazilian place of origin, Porto Alegre.

WORLD SOCIAL FORUM: Positive Reviews, On Balance

Nearly a decade after its inception, and in spite of some reverses, on balance the World Social Forum (WSF) has proved a resounding success as a platform for planet-wide debate, from the point of view of the people most affected by the world's problems.

WORLD SOCIAL FORUM: Brazil – Another Power Is Possible

The birthplace of the World Social Forum (WSF), conceived as an alternative to international meetings pursuing free-market economics, Brazil is on its way to becoming a major economic power, analysts say. The question is, what kind of model will it adopt to avoid the behaviour it has previously criticised?

Alok (left) and Saddam (right) at the shelter in Delhi. Credit: Ranjit Devraj/IPS

RIGHTS-INDIA: Shelter for the Homeless amid Big Chill

Happiness for Alok and Saddam is the bare canvas tent set up in the middle of a grassy traffic island close to Delhi Gate, the entrance to the old quarter of India’s capital.

MIDEAST: Civil Society Takes On Israeli Settlements

Salam Fayyad turned civil society activist this week. In Salfit, on the West Bank, the Palestinian prime minister threw onto a giant bonfire goods made in Israeli settlements.

EGYPT: Economists Blame ‘Neo-liberalism’ for Region’s Woes

Egypt embarked on "neo-liberal" economics more than three decades ago reorienting its socialist-oriented policies towards those of the "free market." Now, however, many critics call the strategy a failure and blame it for the country's rampant poverty and unemployment.

WORLD SOCIAL FORUM: New and Old, US Groups Forge Broad Alliances

With civil society gearing up for the 2010 World Social Forum, and later this summer, the 2010 U.S. Social Forum in Detroit, Michigan, activists here say new alliances created at the first USSF in 2007 are going strong.

ECONOMY: Neoliberalism Ailing but Alive

The global financial crisis led many European economists and civil society activists to believe that the neo-liberal paradigm in social and economic policies across the industrialised world and many developing countries had passed away, victim of its own flaws.

BRAZIL: Solidarity Economy Thriving

The initiatives were already there, in the form of cooperatives and a variety of related activities. But they have a new connectedness thanks to the growing solidarity economy, which has opened up new horizons for alternative forms of production and social relations.

Q&A: Ecological Crisis: Next Challenge for World Social Forum

Ten years after its founding, the World Social Forum (WSF) has come to represent a rallying point for activists and grassroots groups committed to shaping an alternative world view.

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