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World Social Forum: Africa continues to draw inspiration 7

The same kind of worldwide solidarity that helped bring down apartheid is necessary to free the global South from economic domination. According to Dakarayi Matanga, member of the Southern Africa Social Forum, “global solidarity has proved to be the only sustainable mode of confronting the divergence in the economic and social development of the industrialised world and the developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, as exemplified by the liberation struggles that were fought in the 20th century”.

Compared to Latin America, where leaders of global civil society are meeting in Brazil this week, Africa has not seen large-scale mobilisation against neo-liberal policy, Matanga says. But a series of World Social Forum activities throughout 2010 and the global meeting taking place in Dakar, Senegal in 2011 will help Africa’s social movements to better connect to the global demand for alternatives.

Several prominent Latin American heads of state will be present, but not a single leader from Africa is attending.

Apart from political posturing, the African government leaders are more neo-liberal than their Latin American counterparts.  The forum is therefore “none of their business”.

What is the opportunity presented by the return of the World Social Forum to Africa, in the form of a series of thematic meetings in 2010 that will culminate in the global forum to be held in Dakar in January 2011?

The World Social Forum has developed into the major trans-movement world gathering. It brings together thousands of social movements, NGOs, trade unions, self-help and advocacy groups from a majority of the world’s countries.

The WSF in Dakar will be the second major one in Africa, and thus an important step towards integrating African movements and NGOs into the transnational network against neo-liberalism, imperialism, fundamentalism, war and other anti-human elements of the present global financial crisis.

It will be of importance in Africa since the population of this continent suffers intensely the impacts of the crisis.

The WSF will present opportunity for Africa to reflect and rededicate time to fighting the immense poverty that’s gripping the continent.

What is it needed to be done to prepare the ground and take full advantage between now and then?

The Forum has been seen by a lot of people as an annual reunion, a time to swap stories and reconnect with old friends. There are five widely held critiques of the WSF and the forum process.

What are these critiques?

First, that it is too large, incoherent, and more of a carnival, than a space for serious engagement in ideas, strategizing and mobilising; there are too many fora, and too little time in between for action.

The forum’s governance and accountability structures are weak and largely undemocratic, and the emergence of local fora is undervalued by the leaders of these structures.

The forum is too inclusive of forces that themselves are products of the neo-liberal project – for example, large establishment-oriented NGOs, big foundations, and inter-governmental bodies.

Finally, little is done to include dynamic social movement actors that do not yet have traditional organisation.

What can be done to address the African edition of the forum?

These issues need to be addressed in preparation for Dakar 2011. Publicity work in Africa needs to be stepped up through local actions and community mobilisation. National and Regional coordination needs to be galvanised as well.

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By Stanley KwendaIPS

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  1. Torong LD Ramela says:

    Greetings and Salutations to all Social Movement Activists in the world,

    My opinion is that WSF is the next super power on the planet.

    Long Live the struggle for social change long live!
    “another world is possible”

  2. Great post and very useful information.

  3. Dusty Boda says:

    grievous journal you latch on to

  4. Nicolás says:

    Dear friends, I would like to receive as much detailed information as possible in order to planify my participation at the worls social forum in Dakar. Any support will be welcome, as I can gather little at this moment in Argentina. Best regards, Nicolás nhicuf@arnet.com.ar

  5. World social forum has created a platform for evolution of idea and creativity in a manner that the change keeps on revamping from one place to another due to the fact that the world its self is a global village I encourage the organizers of the world social forum to be open and accessible to all people in the world as the name suggests. Lets join hand to help the children who are been abused. George Akwiri child counselor/ cum peer educator- Kenya.

  6. Lorraine Heunis says:

    We a group of grassrooted poor women from diffrent community organisations thats been trying unsuccesful to get funding to attend the wsf can you maybe help us please many thanks Lorraine Heunis from South Africa, Cape Town

  7. Torong LD Ramela says:

    Greetings comrades,

    Who is funding South African Activists to Dakar

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