This year’s World Social Forum (WSF) took place in Tunis, for the obvious reason. It is now twelve years since the first World Social Forum (WSF) convened in Porto Alegre, Brazil, ushering in the emergence of a committed and collaborative civil society on the world stage. It all began when the so-called globalized economy started to wobble under the influence of recurrent bubbles. Around the turn of the century, the dot.com bubble burst, taking down with it a whole lot of assumptions uncritically swallowed by all and sundry. The sundry ones down and under, there and then decided to take matters on their own hands. Argentina unashamedly defaulted on its unsustainable debt or on its financial obligations (to sound more like the scoundrels-the banksters.) The captains that were supposed to maneuvers the global economic ships on the high seas proved just as good as the old captain of the Titanic! When the situation became obvious even to toddlers, the scoundrels were scared out of their wits (because of impending deflation) and decided to inflate the global economy as if there is no tomorrow. In doing so they foolishly created even a bigger bubble–the housing bubble. A case of ‘jumping from the frying pan into the fire.’ The rest is history!
At this time, level headed souls in the South who were not completely enslaved by the narratives of the Northern status quo decided to investigate saner alternatives, rather than fatalistically succumb to Mrs. Thatcher’s TINA (There Is No Alternative.) In 2001 progressives/open-minded individuals met in Porto Alegre and baldly proposed an on-going forum/process to help find alternatives (with an s) to the fast collapsing world system. The movement swiftly captured the imagination of millions/billions around the world and its slogan ‘Another World is Possible’ promptly laid TINA to rest, probably for good! It now seems the Baroness herself has also succumbed to TINA’s fate! Thereafter, the World Social Forum became an establishment on its own right overshadowing WEF, (World Economic Forum) against which it was initially intended to posture! Today millions of active people across the globe, not only subscribe to WSF’s objectives, but are also engaged in interrogating/analyzing weighty matters the status quo (global) conveniently and cynically ignored.
To say WSF has become a factory of ideas is not an overstatement! See the articles next column, page 54 & 55. There is literally no limitation as to the kind of topics discussed/argued in the various WSF gatherings. Incidentally WSF decided earlier in its formative years;the biennial gatherings would only take place in the South, where victims uncomfortably live! Only the militarily jingoistic (including the states) or the racist types are not allowed in WSF, otherwise the forum is open to all! The WSF believes it is futile to engage in violent activities when it is the very violence of the states/non-state actors it is peacefully challenging/combating. Besides, to employ violence against those legitimatized and accomplished practitioners (states, etc.) might not be such a smart idea.
The most important objective of WSF still remains the revealing of the entangled ‘Truth’ (concrete reality, not the make believe world of Hollywoodian import) and the determination to fight the unjust global order; however protracted the struggle! Take heart, at times even those who have been in the thickest of it all can say no to the unrelenting lies/crimes of entrenched interests. Those with conscience (not the born psychopaths/sociopaths) ultimately would be compelled to side the truth. Here is a case in history!
“War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses. I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we’ll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag. I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket. There isn’t a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its “finger men” to point out enemies, its “muscle men” to destroy enemies, its “brain men” to plan war preparations, and a “Big Boss” Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.
It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.” Major General Smedley Butler, United States Marine Corps (excerpts from a speech delivered on ‘Interventionism’ in 1933.) Good Day!