The 8th World Social Forum concluded in the Brazilian city of Belem on Monday February 2.
The six-day anti-globalisation forum was organised to coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
It was attended by over 100,000 people from all over the world. The representatives of nearly 5,000 social movements were present.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's government spent about $50 million for organising the forum which was attended by four Latin American presidents - Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Evo Morales of Bolivia, Rafael Correa of Ecuador and Paraguay's Fernando Lugo.
Of course in Latin America we have seen several highly radical social struggles that have resulted in the overthrow of neoliberal governments and the empowerment of governments that have carried out many positive reforms such as the nationalisation of core sectors of the economy and the implementation of democratic constitutional reforms.
While capitalist politicians around the world, including our own, are desperately trying to salvage something from the mess they created by making ordinary people pay the cost, the Social Forum called on ordinary people to resist such attempts.
Hugo Chavez of Venezuela held capitalism responsible for the current economic crisis and that it was time for ordinary people to go on the offensive.
He said that attempts by governments, corporations and banks to shift the burden of the crisis on to the working class had to be resisted.
In its closing statement the Forum said:
We are facing a global crisis which is a direct consequence of the capitalist system and therefore cannot find a solution within the system. All the measures that have been taken so far to overcome the crisis merely aim at socialising losses so as to ensure the survival of a system based on privatising strategic economic sectors, public services, natural and energy resources and on the commoditisation of life and the exploitation of labour and of nature as well as on the transfer of resources from the Periphery to the Centre and from workers to the capitalist class.
The World Social Forum concluded that to overcome the economic crisis and grapple with the root of the problem - namely capitalism - a radical alternative had to be built.
Some of the immediate demands of the Forum are:
- Nationalising the banking sector without compensations and with full social monitoring,
- Reducing working time without any wage cut,
- Taking measures to ensure food and energy sovereignty
- Stopping wars, withdraw occupation troops and dismantle military foreign bases
- Acknowledging the peoples’ sovereignty and autonomy ensuring their right to self-determination
- Guaranteeing rights to land, territory, work, education and health for all.
- Democratise access to means of communication and knowledge.
Not surprisingly, the World Social Forum was ignored by the New Zealand corporate media.
It was also ignored by our so-called 'liberal' bloggers - generally Labour supporters - who run a mile at the mere mention of 'socialism'.