The World Social Forum is an open meeting place where groups and movements of civil society opposed to neo-liberalism and a world dominated by capital or by any form of imperialism, but engaged in building a planetary society centred on the human person, come together to pursue their thinking, to debate ideas democratically, for formulate proposals, share their experiences freely and network for effective action.
Jan 29 - Portuguese author José Saramago, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize for Literature, took part in a conference Saturday titled ''Quixote Today: Politics and Utopia" as part of the fifth World Social Forum, the giant civil society gathering under way in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre through Jan. 31, which has drawn around 120,000 participants. Joining him in the panel discussion were Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano, editor of the French newspaper Le Monde Diplomatique, Ignacio Ramonet, and Brazilian presidential secretary Luiz Dulci....
Spaniard Federico Mayor Zaragoza, former head of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation), and Roberto Savio, the Italian/Argentine secretary-general of Media Watch Global and president emeritus of Inter Press Service News Agency (IPS) also participated in the conference.
For his part, Le Monde Diplomatique's Ramonet stressed the need for the WSF to move beyond debate to concrete actions, and announced the ''Porto Alegre Manifesto''....
The manifesto calls for a series of ''planetary solidarity taxes'' to fight hunger and poverty, which would by paid by rich countries and those who hold the ''biggest fortunes in the world,'' Ramonet told IPS....
The text also urges cancelling the foreign debt of the poorest countries, rolling back tax havens, and ensuring universal access to potable water.....
Saramago concurred with Ramonet that the time has come to shift to concrete actions, although he differed from most of his fellow panellists on their support for the concept of utopia...''If it were possible to achieve what they refer to here as utopia, that would be wonderful, that would be useful, and we wouldn't be calling it utopia. We'd call it development, work, determination... nothing more. We wouldn't call it utopia,'' he said.
''The only thing we have for sure is tomorrow. And if the Forum launches concrete proposals, there indeed we would have the basis for a 'now', and we wouldn't be talking about utopias,'' said the Nobel laureate.
January 30, 2005 the program will include:
- Art and Social Transformation
- climate changes
- democratization of international institutions
- the Israel-Palestine conflict
- spirituality and culture of peace
- scientific ethics
- garbage and recycling
- fair trade
- democratization of legal systems
- youth and violence
- social inclusion
William F. Fisher and Thomas Ponniah
Another world is possible :
popular alternatives to globalization at the World Social Forum
London ; New York : Zed Books, 2003.