The World Social Forum (WSF) concluded yesterday in Belém, Brazil. Over 130,000 grassroots activists and members of civil society groups from all over the globe gather each year to present alternatives to the concurrent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The WSF, which is based in a concept of social justice, hosted discussions on topics ranging from the global economic crisis to environmental preservation to Indigenous issues and even vegetarianism. Socially conscious people met to “coordinate strategies and build partnerships,” share in cultural events, and make their voices heard by the many leaders in attendance.
One participant said:
We’re pointing out things that the developed nations don’t want to see. This is a scream of hope from the bottom, to say that we’re here and we want to change things.
-Luiz Miguel Fernandez Vega, 28, León, Mexico
Several resolutions were adopted to remedy current crises and advance the cause of social justice. These include:
- Nationalization of banks
- No reduction of salaries at enterprises hit by the economic crisis
- Energy and food sovereignty for the poor
- Withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq and Afghanistan
- Sovereignty and autonomy for Indigenous peoples
- The right to land, decent work, education, and health for all
- Democratization of media and knowledge
The ambitious aims of the WSF seem to be coming into sharper focus as the world changes and old political and economic paradigms are shifting. Many participants came away from the Forum with a renewed sense of hope that “another world is possible,” and that they can help make it happen.