Gobar Times
Open Forum

"The forum is on a knife edge..."

    "The forum is on a knife edge..."   

    Overheard at the WSF 2004, Mumbai   

In one way, the WSF became a reflection of many of the social problems facing the world: too little space for too many people; too few facilities for those who most need them; too many groups marginalized; too much noise and too few listeners; and never enough food or water.

A McKenzie in TERRAVIVA, the independent
newspaper of the WSF

"The WSF is the creation of some very thoughtful, innovative people. They hit upon a creation that looks to have been wildly successful beyond their dreams. It is not a Ford creation."

Lisa Jordan of the Ford Foundation speaking to

‘'We are not engaged with the working class. We are unintelligible to each other. The process leading up to our movement is a process that does not come from the ottom. We are unintelligible to each other. We have to turn the organisation upside down.

There has been a capture of this movement by the international intellectuals.'' George Monbiot, a British writer, speaking at a session on 'The Future of WSF' “To understand what’s really going on here it helps to know something about the recent history of this city (Mumbai).

There was a huge textile industry here until recently. But the mill owners, recognising that scarce land in the city had much higher value if redeveloped, ran their mills down. Many lakhs [hundreds of thousands] of mill workers lost their jobs. It’s been going on for twenty years. People are very angry.

They’ve lost their jobs and live in unspeakably terrible conditions. The land is being redeveloped with glitzy new shopping centres and so on, shoved right up to and in the faces of the destitute. You should go and see it.”

Meenakshi Shedde of Times of India talking to Caspar
Henderson of OpenDemoracy.net

"The forum had to remain an open space because if it became a movement it would die. “The forum is on a knife edge, on one side is domination by an avant-garde; on the other is chaos. The WSF must be a process somewhere between these two events, one that overcomes differences.”

Chico Whitaker, a Brazilian social activist who is
one of the creators of the World Social Forum


‘’If this is all about networking and building solidarity, then it is okay, but that is not the case, since they are trying to change the world by declaring that ‘Another World is Possible,’’ but not saying how. There is no agenda for action to back such impressive words. This is cheating.’’

D Raja, a member of India’s Communist Party,
told Inter Press Service

"The usual hackneyed clarion calls of the socialists/leftists [IMF – Out of the South!; Down with Imperialists and Capitalist Oppressors!] mingles with the rhetoric of the oppressed [Forced Occupation of Iraq]. A local reporter remarks snidely on a morning column, “This is no Bushover!” of the shrill voices raised all over this mela. But these are no disparate voices.

There is a pattern, a larger orchestrated design. It is part of a global process that began no more than three years ago. “What we see now is a grappling of a large, very large emerging scenario that is truly worldwide,” says the mild-demeanoured Ludovic Jonard, a French architect-activist who heads the international Architecture and Design, and who works on networking peoplein countries across the North [the rich but minority nations] and the populous but poor South, on how to make our cities not the nightmare they all are."

Hariharan, head of Biconserve India Foundation, writes in
an article on WSF2004

''First they squeezed out Latin America by propping up banana republics, then they moved to South-east Asia and created rapacious dictators in countries like the Philippines and Indonesia who had to be removed through people power and now they have set their eyes on the Asian region but we are ready,''

Amarjeet Caur, secretary of the powerful All-India Trade
Union Congress as quoted in TERRAVIVA

”If Porto Alegre can be duplicated here in Asia, then why not in Africa? So, in fact, the (globalisation) of the WSF is beginning here”

Boaventura de souza Santos, a Portuguese sociologist
speaking at the WSF2004

"There has been a capture of this movement

by the international intellectuals"

"The World Economic Forum (WEF) begins its annual meeting Wednesday in Davos, a gathering of national leaders, corporate executives, financiers and economists — most of whom are entrenched supporters of the neoliberal economic credo.

The WEF is also a space, but they have all the tools they need: They have the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the G8 (Group of Eight most powerful countries). We haven't all these tools. For these reasons the only place in which we can organise our campaign is here.”

Christophe Aguiton, French activist and a spokesman for ATTAC (Association for the Taxation of Financial Transfers) for the Aid of Citizens)




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"The forum is on a knife edge..."