Saturday, January 30, 2010

The World Social Forum and Beyond

The 10th international gathering of the World Social Forum met in Porto Alegre Brazil recently to imagine once again a radical alternative to globalization. 30,000 people attended the events according to the Associated Press. The tacit theme of this years Forum was 'socialist renewal in the midst of the financial crisis'. This theme is particularly fitting for Latin America, a region of the planet that has continued for more than a decade now a spectacular drift toward people-centered economies and participatory democracy.

Despite the corporate media bias, this evolution is mass in character as evident at a recent electoral celebration for Bolivan President Evo Morales. Morales and his party won a landslide victory last month in a referendum on his left-wing nationalist policies. In attendance at the celebration were at least three other popular leftist presidents.

The next World Social Forum is planned for Dakar, Senegal and will include similar themes as this year's gathering. There is not a political or social upsurge in Africa today that can even mildly claim the vibrancy of the unfolding events in Latin America. For many enthusiasts of the transformative process in Latin America, the void of such a movement in Africa is not an immediate concern. However, the experience of similar 20th century post-capitalist experiments reveal the contradictions of isolation within the world economy and international relations. While it would be wrong to say that the success of the Bolivarian Revolution depended on similar transformations in other regions of the third world, the emergence of an African front which shared its own unique but common vision of society and the economy could be a great victory for people across the ocean in Latin America. Solidarity between progressive third world governments in both continents would open up new opportunties for fair trade, cultural exchange and greater collective bargaining power within the structures of the United Nations.

In anticipation of the 2011 Social Forum here in Dakar, I am working with the W.E.B. DuBois Pan-African Youth Collective and African grassroots activists to organize a gathering of African youth who are ready to begin constructing a political alternative in this continent. The mobilization of social movements is absolutely critical, but without explicit political vision they will remain fragmented. There are already plenty of discussions underway to make this possible by other forces as well. Hopefully, this year will mark a turning point in the history of Africa and all the regions struggling for another world.

No comments:

Post a Comment