WSF activists speak


During the World Social Forum which ended at the beginning of the week, spectrezine's friends at French daily L'Humanité spoke to a number of participants. Below is a translation of a number of the comments.
Atilio Boron (Argentina), Executive Secretary, CLASCO.
“The persistence of imperialism and of its multifarious linkages disciplines governments seen as troublesome, thanks to a variety of instruments which guarantee the continuing vigour of neoliberal politics. Imperialism is, however, far from being invincible. We are in the process of defeating it, though that won’t be easy. The hardest battle will be fought on our own soil. We have an immense responsibility. Certain signs are becoming evident : the morass in Iraq, the Mar del Plata summit where the US was forced on to the back foot, Bush’s defeat at UNESCO on the issue of cultural products or again of his attempt to blockade Cuba. The hegemonic power has been overtaken. It’s no longer what it was when it dominated the world after the Second World War, economically or culturally. The mechanisms are no longer working. Imperialism is forced to be aggressive.” . Candido Grzybowski (Brazil), Directer of the Ibase Institute and member of the international council of the WSF “Since the beginnings of the Forum, at Porto Alegre, we have been seeking to globalise our movement. It’s difficult to give others the opportunity to get involved. This is very important for us Latin Americans, for those coming from the Caribbean, for all the people from here to Venezuela. I think this is already producing a different forum because there is a multitude of political questions which cover the whole of the Americas. I’m not only speaking of Venezuela, but of the whole of the Americas. It’s a mosaic, rich and diverse. This shows finally that the WSF has had results, an impact : it moves things ! We should have no regrets for Porto Alegre. Not at all. With every day that passes the movement grows. When I leave Caracas, I’ll go to Morocco, where a door is also opening, this time to the Arab countries and Islamic culture. This is the demonstration of our vitality and of the conviction of our condition as citizens and as citizens of the world, always available for the struggle.”
Paola Figueroa (Colombia), ’Proyecto Paz’ collective
“The chance to discuss, truly and openly, political participation and socialism are few and far between in my country, due to the state of war we’re living through. I am very happy to have come to Caracas and to be able to meet so many people who are thinking about a different world. The organisation which I represent has existed now for five years and from the start we have fought for recognition of women’s rights. We are feminist and socialist, and we are trying to make a permanent assessment of the impact, great or small, on Colombian women and girls, of the violence provoked by the armed conflict. Because, as so often in Latin America, women have to face a particularly reactionary tide. Our struggle goes beyond solidarity ; it’s a question of justice and of development.”
Rosa Maria Ruiz (Bolivia). Eco Foundation, Bolivia.
“With the victory of Evo Morales, we ecologists and indigenous activists are full of optimism. We have the hope that at last the rights of all Bolivians will be respected, whatever their colour or origin. And no longer exclusively just those of the rich. We are struggling for the recognition of our ancestral lands and the attribution of property titles to indigenous communities. I am sure that with the government under the leadership of the Movement Towards Socialism these peoples are going to be able to recover their natural resources and the wealth of their countries. A new era is beginning for us which, I hope, will put an end to the centuries of suffering which we have had to endure.”
Abdul Ayar (Pakistan). Peace activist
“In October, we had a very severe earthquake which caused the death of more than 5 000 people. This forced us to postpone until March the forum planned for Karachi. We are experiencing enormous difficulties and my mission in Caracas is to communicate these and find support during the next two months. In Pakistan, it’s dictatorship. This is a country greatly appreciated by the United States and the military are in power. It’s very difficult to help us : nine people from the Indian WSF Committee saw their visas enabling them to come and help us refused. Pressure is needed to create an opening. This forum in Karachi is good for all Pakistanis who are living in an oppressive situation. The world must know about their aspirations for democracy. That’s important for all of us.”`
In addition, Dutch Socialist Party Senator Harry van Bommel told spectrezine that: “The WSF, together with our own national Netherlands Social Forum and the European Social Forum together form an important source of inspiration for a party such as mine. It's now become accepted that the SP will participate. We were at the WSF in Brazil last year and now we are here in Mali. The fora are a breeding ground for ideas about alternatives to neoliberalism and for making contacts with sister parties and social organisations. Mali is especially interesting as a location for the WSF because as a country it has to deal with the day-to-day practice of the neoliberal policy inflicted by institutions such as the IMF and the Worldbank. We are also therefore spending some time in talking with Malian people about the consequences of these policies, especially their implications for the public sector.”