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Another World Is Necessary: The World Social Forum decentralized

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Issue: 33 Section: International News Topics: social movements

January 27, 2006

Another World Is Necessary: The World Social Forum decentralized

by Hillary Bain Lindsay

A WSF workshop in Bamako, Mali photo credit: Antoine Doyen
The World Social Forum (WSF), an annual meeting of participants in the global justice movement, is taking place on 3 continents this year. Organizers hope the decentralized approach will make the event - previously held in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and once in Mumbai, India - accessible to broader grassroots participation. In January 2006, the WSF was held in Caracas, Venezuela and Bamako Mali and in March will continue in Karachi, Pakistan. An estimated 15,000 people attended the WSF in Mali which focused on issues considered pressing on the African continent, including political corruption and the cancellation of debt. "Debt is a stumbling block to our development," said Diarra Sekou of the Coalition for African Alternatives to Debt and Development. Sekou, quoted by the Inter Press Service while speaking at a meeting of anti-debt activists attending the WSF in Bamako, said that Mali paid about 109 million dollars servicing its debt last year, leaving little for education and health services. In Caracas, the opening "March against war and imperialism" brought tens of thousands of activists into the streets. The star speaker was American peace activist, Cindy Sheehan who, according to the Inter Press Service, called for American President George Bush to be put on trial for crimes against humanity. The WSF was conceived to provide an "antidote" or counter point to the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland each year. The latter, attended by the world's political and corporate elite, is viewed as supporting the global political and economic order, while the WSF seeks to challenge it.

All Africa

Inter Press Service

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