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Contact details, for enquiries : Jai Sen, CACIM, @ jai.sen@cacim.net

CACIM and fellow-travellers @ Dakar Forum, Event 1 :

Facing the Challenges of the Present and the Future :

How Well is the World Social Forum Doing ?

Workshop being organised on February 8 at the World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal, February 6-11 2011

Event Outline

February 6 2011 version

Title of event :

Facing the Challenges of the Present and the Future : How Well is the World Social Forum Doing ?

Date requested : Day 3, February 8 2010

Time : First two sessions (8:30-11:30, 12:30-3:30)

Name of registered organisation : CACIM - India Institute for Critical Action : Centre in Movement

Organisations co-organising / co-sponsoring :

CACIM (India); AFM - Articulación Feminista Marco Sur (Latin America); ATTAC France; Canada Research Chair in Social Justice; GGJ - Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (USA); Kenya Network of Grassroots Organisations (KENGONET); Mémoire des lutes (France); Mouvements (France); People’s Parliament (Kenya)

Names of already confirmed panellists that will expose or make contributions, when existing :

Part A, 8:30-11:30 (to present and critically discuss the contents of the new book, World Social Forum : Critical Explorations) :

  • Jai Sen (moderator) to open, followed by (order to be finalised) :
  • Bernard Cassen (Mémoire des lutes)
  • Boaventura de Sousa Santos (University of Coímbra and University of Wisconsin-Madison),
  • Corinna Genschel (Contact Centre for Social Movements / Committee of Basic Rights and Democracy, Berlin, Germany),
  • Demba Moussa Dembele (African Forum on Alternatives, and Dakar Forum OC),
  • Geoffrey Pleyers (University of Louvain),
  • Gina Vargas (AFM - Articulación Feminista Marco Sur),
  • Giuseppe Caruso (NIGD - Network Institute for Global Democratisation),
  • Immanuel Wallerstein (Fernand Braudel Center, State University of New York at Binghamton),
  • Marie-Emmanuelle Pommerolle (CRPLC and CEAN, Université Antilles Guyane)
  • Michael Leon Guerrero (GGJ - Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, and National Planning Committee, US Social Forum),
  • Nicolas Haeringer (Mouvements), and -
  • Wangui Mbatia (NENGO - Kenya Network of Grassroots Organisations, and People’s Parliament, Kenya).

Part B, 12:30-15:30 (to focus on and critically discuss the new Working Axis 12 that has been introduced for the Dakar Forum, and the implications of this for the WSF and the global justice movement) :

  • Moderator tbc:
  • Janet Conway (Canada Research Chair in Social Justice) to open, followed by –
  • Boaventura de Sousa Santos (University of Coímbra and University of Wisconsin-Madison),
  • Demba Moussa Dembele (African Forum on Alternatives, and Dakar Forum OC),
  • Francine Mestrum (NIGD - Network Institute for Global Democratisation),
  • Geneviève Azam (ATTAC France),
  • Giuseppe Caruso (NIGD - Network Institute for Global Democratisation),
  • GGJ (Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, USA) representative,
  • Valentin Muiba (Ayoreo leader of Bolivia and Technical Advisor of the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA)), and -
  • William Copeland (East Michigan Environmental Action Council, USA, and Member, USSF Detroit Local Organising Committee).

Background : The WSF completes ten years this year. While it is important to acknowledge it as a process incorporating extraordinary initiatives and movements, it is essential also to evaluate the WSF's relation to the new stage in human history we today are in. These involve considering : One, the financial crisis in 2007 and the recognition of the 'climate crisis' which has made clear that life on earth is under threat, but also of the profound social conflict that these are generating worldwide; two, the proactive involvement of crucial 'new' actors onto the world stage and WSF - in particular Africans, and indigenous peoples, who are putting forward crucial new notions of ‘civilisation’ and challenging old Eurocentric notions; and three, the internal debates within WSF about its relevance to the changing times and the 'new' actors on the world stage, and to the fact that we have entered what in some ways is a new future. With 2011 WSF at Dakar it is the third time that a world WSF event is being organised in Africa; we all need to critically relate to this apparent recognition of the crucial role of Africa and Africans in the world, and within the WSF.


Workshop description
: The workshop, in two parts, is an attempt to address these issues; it will be an open space for critical discussion and reflection. In the first part of the workshop, the contents of a new book titled World Social Forum : Critical Explorations, a comprehensive collection of critical perspectives on different aspects of WSF will be presented and opened for discussion. Edited by Jai Sen and Peter Waterman, this book is a sequel to a 2004 book, World Social Forum : Challenging Empires, that went on to be translated widely and become a standard reference book on the WSF and the global justice movement. It is expected that most of the contributors to the book present in Dakar will be speakers in this part of the workshop.

The 2011 WSF at Dakar has introduced as Working Axis 12 the crucial notion that humanity is today experiencing a 'crisis of civilisation', particularly that of a hegemonic Eurocentric modernity, and the need to search for alternate paradigms – particularly alternatives to development, and for alternate subjectivities and epistemologies opposed to racism, Eurocentrism, patriarchy, and anthropocentrism. The initiative for this Axis has emerged from Latin American networks which reflects the rising influence of indigenous movements in that region, and who have also put forward the notion of buen vivir, of ‘living well’, at peace with all living beings and with Mother Earth.

The second part of the workshop will critically explore the background, history, and rationale of these ideas and of this Axis, the significance for their authors, for the WSF, and for social movement in general. The workshop will provide an opportunity to reflect on conditions within the originating movements, and within the WSF and the global justice movement, and on whether and how a focus on ‘crisis of civilisation’ is helpful in confronting these issues. The workshop will invite commentary from speakers of diverse backgrounds, regions, and movements.

The workshops will not be a series of speeches but organised as panel discussions interspersed by reflections on key themes that emerge to look at the challenges of the present and of the future – of the earth and of its peoples and other living beings, and the WSF’s relation to these.

Note : This workshop will be followed by a related event on February 9 : ‘Perspectives on the ‘crisis of civilization’ as a focus for movements’, organised by the Canada Research Chair in Social Justice, CACIM (India), El Taller International (Tunisia), and the National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers (India).

Come and join us ! And look for updates and more details on the webspace we are creating for this event @ www.cacim.net.

Details of co-organisers / co-sponsors :

CACIM (India) - www.cacim.net

AFM - Articulación Feminista Marco Sur (Latin America) - http://www.mujeresdelsur-afm.org.uy/" (external link) http://www.mujeresdelsur-afm.org.uy/ (external link)

ATTAC France - www.france.attac.org/" www.france.attac.org/ (external link)

Canada Research Chair in Social Justice

GGJ - Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (USA) - http://ggjalliance.org" (external link) http://ggjalliance.org (external link)

Kenya Network of Grassroots Organisations (KENGONET) - www.kengonet.org/" www.kengonet.org/ (external link)

Mémoire des lutes (France) - www.medelu.org" www.medelu.org (external link)

Mouvements (France) - www.mouvements.info/" www.mouvements.info/ (external link)

People’s Parliament (Kenya) - www.peoples-parliament.org/" www.peoples-parliament.org/ (external link)


CACIM @ WSF 2011

CACIM